Brian Dohn has a write up on the inconsistencies on UCLA offense. Dohn (who I have a lot of respect for) sort of falls in the line of conventional wisdom trying to look for a simplistic rationale explaining Saturday night’s loss:
"We definitely have to get better offensively," UCLA power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said. "We need to execute better, and try to learn how to play motion better. When we play offense, sometimes it looks like there's just one person with the ball and everybody else is standing. We have to learn how to move with the ball."
This is not something new for coach Ben Howland, who rebuilt the Bruins from ruins and took them to a second straight Final Four. But in his four years as UCLA's coach, the offense has remained frustrating to watch, and has yet to find consistency, or explosiveness.
Even then despite the common/lazy perception that UCLA offense hasn’t been efficient, it has been working out all right given the talent it has on its roster. Again this team was playing without 3 starters it lost to the NBA this past off-season. Despite having projects such as Mata and AA2 in the middle Bruins had a top-25 offense this past season (23rd ranked offense per Pomeroy ratings).
And I also think the production of our offense was all right given the fact that it was run by a first year starter playing his second year in college ball. Now could our players have executed better playing offense? Sure. They need to get better in executing their game plan. DC alludes to that fact in the same article:
"Coach put a lot of trust in us to run motion, which is simply move the ball, pass, screen and do some different things. And when we do drive, we can create for ourselves and others; and at times we became very stagnant in this game.
The lure of playing with Love next season, of keeping intact a team that didn't have a senior, appeals to Afflalo's deep sense of responsibility.
"I have a lot of respect for my teammates, the coaching staff, the university that's done a lot for me," Afflalo said. "Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for some good things. Coming back next year is something I have to think about. But my sole purpose in coming to UCLA was to win a national championship. I'm still intent on doing that."
Now for our selfish reasons we all know what we want. But I think we should give this young man all the time (and room) he needs to make up his mind. He has earned it. I don’t think he owes any of us anything. He has already given us so much in restoring the pride and tradition of UCLA hoops. So whatever he decides he is going to have my all out support.
We have a lot to look forward to next season. Our players are going to reflect on what they need to work on this off-season. And I have no doubt under our coach’s guidance and leadership they are going to get that done.