Bumped. GO BRUINS - BN Eds.
1. If the Wear twins expect to keep playing 30+ minutes a game, they'll have to start contributing something, or else ask Alford to adopt them. Check out the combined stats for the Weas from yesterday's game:
34 minutes, 0 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, 5 fouls
I'm willing to give "Tavid" a little bit of a break on yesterday's low rebound numbers--after all, if you let your opponent shoot 53% from the field, there aren't as many missed shots to rebound. And to the twins' credit, they didn't chuck up as many shots as usual; they were quite efficient, needing only 3 shots to generate their 0 points. But they aren't doing enough to justify 30+ minutes a game.
The Wea twins need to find a way to make a positive contribution to the team, particularly on the defensive end. Otherwise, this team will not contend in the Pac-12.
2. Jordan Adams is a smart, opportunistic defender. Don't get me wrong--he's not a great defender like Arron Afflalo or even Malcolm Lee. But he has quick hands and he's good at getting into passing lanes. The result is that Adams is averaging 3.4 steals per game this season after averaging 2.2 steals per game last season. To put this into perspective, the last Bruin to average more than 2 steals per game for a season is Darren Collison, who averaged 2.2 steals/game during the 2006-07 season. And the last Bruin to average more than 2 steals per game during his career is Baron Davis (2.5 steals/game for two seasons). Adams isn't a defensive stopper, but he's a genuinely disruptive force on defense.
3. The Bruins have been very efficient in possession during the cupcake portion of their schedule. So far the Bruins are averaging 1.26 points per possession, which ranks third nationally. The Howland final four teams averaged a respectable 1.11 points per possession, but against far stiffer competition than the Bruins have faced so far this season. It will be interesting to see how much UCLA's efficiency in possession drops once Pac-12 games begin.
4. Tony Parker needs to build on the good things he did against UCSB. Against the Gauchos, Parker led all players with a plus/minus of 18 (Kyle Anderson was second with a +/- of 16). UCLA desperately needs a tough big man that can defend and rebound. It's time for Parker to step up and accept the role.
5. The Bruins' schedule so far has featured almost as many cupcakes as a Dan Guerrero dessert. Our strength of schedule rank through 8 games is 243. For the sake of comparison, our SOS rank at this time last year (2012-13) was 108 and the year before (2011-12) was 22. I'm pretty skeptical that such a soft early schedule is adequately preparing this team for conference games. It seems to be working out fairly well for the Alford family, though.
6. Our opponents are out-rebounding us on the offensive glass. The last time that happened was the 2009-10 season when we finished with a losing record (14-18). And the last time before that was the 2003-04 season when we finished with a losing record (11-17). And the last time before that was the 2002-03 season when we finished with a losing record (10-19).
I'm not suggesting that there's a causative link, but giving up more offensive rebounds than you get is a characteristic of a team with a significant weakness. The situation isn't likely to improve as our competition gets tougher, so Alford needs to find a way to get our bigs to start boxing out.