Yesterday, I wrote an article that talked about Calipari still not playing a modern offense. Despite the flaws I pointed to, this team does three things very well on the offensive end, and maybe better than anyone in the country.
Rebounding, Notably Offensive Rebounding
Calipari has always put an emphasis on rebounding and so has Oscar Tshiebwe. Averaging a nation-leading 16 rebounds per game, Tshiebwe is a large reason that Kentucky is the best rebounding team in the country.
In his tenure at Kentucky, Calipari has consistently had UK as a top rebounding team, but this may be his most impressive offensive rebounding team yet. Statistically, this year’s team is averaging 16.7 offensive rebounds per game, beating out 2009-10 with 14.2 per game, and 2013-14 with 14.1 per game.
Getting Shots Up
This season, Kentucky has been able to get a lot of shots up. Currently sitting second in the nation, the Cats are shooting 68.6 shots per game, only behind College of Charleston’s 69.3.
This is impressive because despite playing faster than in recent years, Kentucky doesn’t necessarily play at a fast pace, but instead they are getting their shots from the offensive glass.
With the second-chance opportunities that the Cats are hustling for, they are capitalizing on them. Converting on second-chance opportunities at the second-highest rate in the country, and overall, shooting a top 40 field goal percentage.
The combination of getting up a lot of shots up and shooting a good percentage, will obviously help you beat teams.
Sharing the Basketball
When you have a group of players that are unselfish and willing to share the basketball, you are going to have a consistent offense as you don’t have to rely on the scoring of one or two players. Kentucky is proof of that as they average 17.1 assists per game, sitting top 25 in the category.
Sure, Sahvir is the facilitator as he is the nation’s assist leader (8.7 assists per game) and produces nearly half of the team’s assists. However, there are four players averaging double figures. These players consist of Washington, Tshiebwe, Brooks, and Mintz, with Grady nearly in that category with 9.3 points per game.
With the offensive options this team has, they can truly have the next man-up mentality and still produce as a team.
When you can rebound, shoot, and share the basketball better than the other team, you have a very good chance of being a good basketball team.
While they have played inferior competition thus far, Kentucky is going to get the opportunity to show how good they are as the schedule becomes more difficult to finish December and into the SEC schedule.