This is the second in a series of posts looking at the performance of individual MSU basketball players this past season. Because the end goal is to discuss improvements and/or adjustments that appear to be in order for next season, the series is limited to returning players. Today: Korie Lucious.
Korie Lucious' role was pretty well defined as a freshman: play 5-15 minutes per game backing up Kalin Lucas at point guard. He played more than 15 minutes in a game only twice and scored in double digits just three times.
Given his limited playing time, Lucious' per-game stats aren't all that illuminating:
(Notes: "Conference Regular Season" includes the Kansas game. 2PM/G = 2-pointers made per game, etc.)
For context, Lucious attempted only 24 two-point shots and 18 free throws in 38 games. There are really only three stats worth analyzing:
- 3-point shooting: Despite averaging only 9 minutes per game, Lucious attempted the fourth most shots from beyond the arc on the team. He showed the ability to get his 3-point shot off even against the tight defense and converted a respectable 35.4% of his 82 long-range attempts.
- Assists: Lucious' ability to get the ball to his teammates in position to score faded as the season progressed. Lucious made some great passes in transition during nonconference play, but his passing suffered in slower-paced Big Ten play.
- Turnovers: Let's go tempo-free here. Lucious had the highest individual turnover rate on the team at 32.0. (Technical note: That figure compensates for how much a player touches the ball and is comparable to team turnover percentage. So anything above 25 is pretty bad.) An assist-turnover ratio barely over 1.0 is not what you want to see out of a point guard, even for a freshman.
Looking ahead to next season, Lucious can expect his playing time to go up considerably. He'll be the only player besides Lucas with experience playing point guard. And you can easily envision Lucas and Lucious playing together on the floor for 10-15 minutes per game, since both can be effective players playing off the ball.
Look for Lucious to make major strides from his first season to his second. Specifically, he'll need to reduce his turnover rate and become a more consistent defender. He showed flashes of being a very good on-the-ball defender this year, but like most freshmen lacked focus at times.
The final three games of the season illustrate Lucious' potential: He scored 20 points in the 28 minutes he played against the three #1 seeds MSU faced to close the NCAA Tournament. If he can harness that scoring ability and become a more efficient ball-handler, it'll make MSU very hard to stop on offense. He'd give Tom Izzo the luxury of having an explosive point guard on the floor for all 40 minutes of every game and create defensve match-up issues for opponents when both he and Lucas are in the lineup.