’13-’14 YEAR IN REVIEW: BRYSON SCOTT
Note: This is the third of the postseason Year In Review series. Click that shiny link to see them all. They will recap their 2013-2014 season, show their “GIF of the Year”, state my favorite nicknames, and give a best/worst case scenario for next season. Warning: stuff got real weird for my best/worst case scenarios.
2013-2014 season recap
Last season, Bryson Scott brought the energy, passion, and hustle off the bench that we all expected from him. But…he also brought suitcases full of unforced mistakes and a 1.0 assist-to-turnover ratio. This rough patch was expected while transitioning into a point guard role he wasn’t necessarily comfortable with coming out of high school, where he was looked to as the primary scorer.
Unfortunately, the scoring knack that drove him to 2013 Indiana All-Star honors was missing last year. While I definitely wouldn’t call Bryson shy, I would say he became reluctant to take jumpers that most defenses gave him.
Defenders would often play several feet off of Bryson, daring him to take the three or long jumpers. He avoided taking long-twos (though not always evil, they don’t suit his role), and shot 38% from beyond the arc in a terribly-small sample size of 13 total attempts. Bryson needs to add that shooting threat to be useful offensively, as most defenders chose to sag off of him and take away driving lanes. As you can see, he attempted 49% of his shots inside the restricted area (an ideal distribution percentage), but defenders anticipated his slash-first-ask-questions-later style and limited that field goal percentage to 56%, well below the average Division 1 shooting percentage for that range.
Sagging defenders have the additional effect of removing any space for AJ Hammons (or Isaac Haas this year) to work in the post. As we all know, AJ mightily struggles without this court spacing, and if Bryson’s poor shooting shrinks Purdue’s halfcourt sets I can see the switch to offensively-gifted transfer Jon Octeus happening a lot sooner than we expect.
On that note: In the void left by Ronnie Johnson’s premature departure, I think Bryson’s familiarity with Coach Painter’s system and chemistry with the rest of the team gives him a leg-up on the starting role to start the season. Octeus, who has experience at the point guard position, will probably take the nonconference schedule to develop a rapport with the rest of the team…especially since he missed all of the Boilermakers’ summer workouts. But I have a suspicion that Octeus will use his experience (and hopefully a lower turnover rate) to shift into the starting lineup and move Bryson back to his ideal role: an off-the-bench spark and defensive ace ready for Big Ten season.
GIF(s) of the year
Nickname: Various bulldog references, I guess? Suggestions are welcome in the comments.
Unsolicited BS Advice for 2014-2015
Develop a jumper that defenders must at least respect, and muscle straight to the rim if they play tight on the perimeter. Keep that shot volume at the rim close to 50%, but space out jumpers a little more to give the big boys working space down low. Developing a floater (that 0% made, 10% volume region) can’t hurt either.
Another benefit of a respectable jumper: a potentially devastating high pick-and-roll with Hammons. If AJ is as aggressive as predicted this year, hurtling two beasts at the rim is a weapon that few collegiate teams can stop.
Finally: don’t stop being aggressive, even if that means dolts like me complain about turnovers. The most exciting moments happened when stifling perimeter defense forced a turnover, and balls-to-the-wall hustle produced a fast break that blew the tin roof off Mackey Arena.
(Oh man, now I can’t stop thinking about Bryson and Basil Smotherman attacking bench scrubs. RIP bench scrubs.)
BEST/WORST: Remember, this is the top and bottom of the spectrum. The most likely scenario is somewhere in the middle. (Worst case scenarios come with a complimentary side of ACL tears.)
Best case: Bryson lives in the gym after Ronnie Johnson’s transfer, transforming his jump shot and improving his court vision to a level we never thought possible. Seamlessly takes over as Purdue’s primary point guard, and uses his natural passion to reestablish Purdue’s identity as a smashmouth team. Becomes a Lewis Jackson/Chris Kramer hybrid, and is the perfect mentor for incoming playmaking point guard PJ Thompson. As his successful Purdue career comes to a close, Bryson enjoys a fruitful career in Europe’s highest basketball leagues. After his playing days, he completely misinterprets the constant-comparison of his game to a bulldog and uses his basketball earnings to start a Midwest bulldog rescue. Bryson works with Purdue’s vet school to start the worlds’ premier bulldog care center, and leverages his fame by directing all talented dog-loving basketball recruits to West Lafayette.
Worst case: Everyone’s worst fears come true, as Ronnie Johnson’s departure thrusts Bryson into a role too big for his skillset as an off-the-bench energy-delivering playmaker. He becomes defined by inconsistency and garbage-time stat stuffing, and the need at starting point guard removes his chances to iron out flaws against weaker bench lineups. Coach Painter stops trusting Bryson, immediately shifts the brunt of the minutes to Octeus and the true freshman Thompson, and Bryson loses confidence. Bryson transfers to the University of Illinois-Chicago and flourishes, following in Kelsey Barlow’s footsteps as a promising point guard who clashes with Coach Painter and thrives after leaving Purdue for Chicago-based schools.