Friday, January 20, 2006

Sometimes you go a bit too far ...

Earlier this week, during the Wake Forest game, I really piled onto Ra'Sean Dickey and Zam Fredrick for listless performances and a lack of effort - especially on the defensive end of the court. While I still feel a lot of that criticism was correct (especially in that game), I'm also aware of the fact that Dickey in particular has taken a lot of flack for his performance this year, and his apparent lack of effort in general, and not all of it is warranted.

If you asked basketball coaches which single quantifiable basketball skill was more about hustle and effort than any other, they wouldn't all respond "rebounding". You gotta want every ball, and chase them relentlessly to be an excellent rebounder. Heck, look at Jeremis Smith - he's the epitome of a "great" rebounder with his unquestionable desire.

Something surprising pops up when you look at the comparative numbers between Dickey and Smith though ... they are almost identical. But wait, this can't be true, Dickey doesn't exert himself!

ORb %DRb %
Ra'Sean Dickey 11.0 20.1
Jeremis Smith 12.1 20.1

Dickey grabs almost exactly the same percentage of rebounds per opportunity while he is in the game as Smith does! Now, this isn't to say he is truly exerting himself to his full potential, he's bigger and longer than Smith and should be outrebounding him - but it also shows that he isn't quite the lazy oaf that I and others have been portraying him as. Does he have lapses on the defensive end? Yes, he most assuredly does. Does he have games where he seems to be going through the motions? Yes, again. But it's also possible that he's just not a hugely emotive person and has that easy athleticism that never shows up quite the same way as someone like Jeremis does.

Dickey has the potential to be a heck of a player, and there's times when he already is one. He's played well this year if you take it as a whole, and his rebounding certainly has been a bright spot. Maybe we should all lay off him just a bit, and myself as the first one on that list.


Post a Comment

<< Home