Here are the game leaders (by +/- per minute)
Johnson +1.16, +22
Wangmene +1.00, +11
Mason +0.96, +22
Brown +0.86, +18
Ward +0.84, +21
James +0.79, +23
Hamilton +0.79, +11
Bradley +0.65, +11
Balbay +0.55, +11
Williams +0.50, +2
Pittman +0.47, +8
My observations after the jump:
- The top performing players for the most part were the hustle players, glue guys, defensive role players. This should tell us that our defense had a bigger impact on the game than our offense, and that doesn't come as a surprise given Barnes' comments of specifically focusing on defense in recent practices. In addition, this should also explain the amount of minutes Ward and Mason earned, along with the lack of minutes of Bradley, Hamilton, and Pittman. Specifically with Mason, while his box score looks rather empty, I think Barnes likes what he sees on the defensive end.
- I really want to give props to Johnson and Wangmene. Johnson was the only player to not be a part of a 5-man unit that did not accumulate a negative +/- in the entire game. It's clear based on recent articles about him that he knows his role. Don't expect him to throw up a bunch of mid-range jumpers like we saw last year. He's going to focus on his defense, rebounding, and intangibles to help the team. I'm happy to have him for two more years. Wangmene is becoming a significant defensive force in the paint with his long arms. Had a block shot in 11 minutes and altered other shots. With these two guys and Pittman, our front court defense is probably top 10 in the nation at least. The ability to limit easy baskets in the paint alone will win us a ton of games this season.
- My question is how long will this minute distribution continue? Will the younger, more offensive talent players get more playing time as the season continues even if their defense fails to improve dramatically? If the offense struggles against better competition, will Barnes be willing to go to the younger guys, or be loyal to his veteran players (reminiscent to Mack Brown's decision-making a few years ago)? You would think an influx of talent would make the game easier for Barnes, but the expectations for this season and his decision-making on minute distribution and units will be a huge challenge to deal with throughout the year.
- Like PB said, we did not do a good job in utilizing Pittman (only played 17 minutes), and these numbers show he was actually the most unproductive as far as +/- per minute goes. This is personally disappointing to me considering he didn't get into foul trouble, and only had 1 turnover. Before the game I looked at Western Carolina's roster and noticed a huge size advantage for Dexter, and yet we did a poor job taking advantage of it. How much of this is on Pittman (his defense, lack of confidence from other players in getting him the ball)? How much of this is on the players around him getting the ball? Does Barnes even want to revolve the offense around Pittman? Some could argue it is not a good idea because Dexy clogging the paint could take away the skill-set of some of our other players.
- I liked that we didn't have a single rotation accumulate a negative +/- in the entire second half despite the game being in blowout mode the entire half. Are you watching this, UT football?