B.J. Mullens is NOT ready for the NBA.
Thad Matta and Big Men
I see nothing that concerns me. Matta's offense didn't have a hard time getting Dials the ball. All three of these guys were true frosh. Oden was raw offensively to being with. Didn't help he was playing with one hand. KK was not a true post player. But he was still allowed to improve his game outside the post. For what KK was, he carried us through the NIT last year. As far as Mullens and Matta's offense not being good for BJ? Matta's offense is catered to it's big man. You can't have a really great perimeter game without an inside presence. And all those spread sets limit how much an opposing team can really double the post.
Now, What's wrong with BJ's game
1. He is a freshman
- He like many freshman, lacks maturity
- He lacks physical maturity. Lebron, Howard, Kemp, etc. were men physically.
2. Hands. It really baffled me that the commentators later in the season commented on his "great" hands. BJ seems totally capable in going up and catching the alley-oop. But that is a poor example of gauging someones hands.
-BJ is poor with the horizontal grap.
-BJ is poor with grabing balls at his waist and under. Sure at 7'0 these can be difficult. But when talkin about being elite, Mullens does have a fluid "bend" at this point.
-Most importantly, BJ is thinking/going into his offensive move, before he catches the ball.
3. Rebounding. Defensively he lapses in thinking he doesn't have to find a body. Quite too often when he has a body, he doesn't have the "bend" to seal off and is pushed to far under the basket. Offensively, he lacks awareness. Sure, Thad has really promoted getting back on defense quick to set up the zone, but too many times I see Mullens just watching. He shows not moves to get off his block out and many times lets himself get blocked out by guys 6' tall.
4. Confidence. All the moves, everyone is talking about, are there. They are fluid but at the same time are slow. A defender may fooled orginally, but often recovers enough to make it a tough shot. As Mullens missed so many of the moves earlier in the year, he became reluctant to even try later in the year.
5. Leg Strength.
This affects almost everything he does. From his jumb shot to him dunking over people. But most of all it affects him being able to post. He lacks the ability to create deep position and at times when he does, he is unable to hold it or seal properly. All I can say is weight room, weight room, weight room.
Desire vs lack of court awarness.
He "appears" lazy and uninterested at times.
While that is easy to label, I really think the case is that BJ is thinking rather than reacting too much on the floor.
Part of this has to do with confidence and frustration. Part is due to leg strength in general. Part is because he just isn't that quick. Part of this is CONDITIONING.
7. Lack of a true elite point guard.
8. Perimeter passes aren't crisp or quick enough to open the lanes for entry into the post. Ball movement consistanly needs to be quicker, stronger, and faster.
9. We have no elite passers who can thread the post to compensate for the poor positioning of Mullens.
10. Too Many passes, especially of the penitration of Turner, are below his waist. Part of this is Mullens spacing and awareness on the dribble drive. Again, Mullens doesn't generally do a good job of sealing off his defender properly making the pass much more difficult.
11. Zone Defense.
Mullens spends too much time defending the perimeter corner.
(A) It limits is presence on the boards
(B) It wears him down even further. He is force to cover more ground than a traditional big man.
While I seem overly harsh, many of these things can be fixed. The most important thing that BJ needs to do during the off-season is to get himself into shape. His total dedication to his body will make or break his basketball career.