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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The decline of Alex Poythress’ production: Scoring sinking with offensive rebounding

After monster performances in UK's first three games, Alex Poythress' production has fallen sharply, largely tied to his offensive rebounding. (Photo by James Pennington)

After monster performances in UK’s first three games, Alex Poythress’ production has fallen sharply, largely tied to his offensive rebounding. (Photo by James Pennington)


Alex Poythress looked renewed three games into the season, a player with a new identity and a buzz regenerated in its wake.


He was an offensive rebounding machine; through three games, he had 14 offensive boards and was shooting 70 percent from the field on possessions in which he cleaned up the offensive glass as opposed to the 33 percent he was shooting otherwise.


His renewed sense of self was profiled here on Nov. 14. An excerpt from that piece:


Poythress looks like a completely different player than the passive-at-times star freshman who went from possible No. 1 draft pick in November 2012 to returning bench player by March. Poythress has been one of Kentucky’s most valuable players through three games this season, and much of that value comes from offensive rebounding.


Since then, Poythress’ production has dropped sharply. In UK’s last seven games, he’s scored a total of 17 points in 103 minutes played; that’s a steep drop compared to his 26 points in 68 minutes in the season’s first three games against UNC Asheville, Northern Kentucky and Michigan State.


His lack of production and the resulting drop in minutes played is easily tied back to offensive rebounding. It’s what Calipari said he wanted Poythress to be—don’t be a playmaker but make plays that come to you, coach told player early on in the season—and he briefly became it before tucking safely back into the cocoon in which he hid as a freshman.


In UK’s last seven games, Poythress has a total of 11 offensive rebounds, and even then, he’s been more passive in what he’s done after collecting the boards. On those 11 offensive rebounds in the last seven games, he’s shooting 3-of-6 from the floor and is 2-of-4 from the free-throw line.


On scoring attempts not created directly from his own offensive rebounds in the last seven games at hand—these would fall under Calipari’s category of Poythress trying to make plays—Poythress is shooting 3-of-13 from the floor, 2-of-4 from 3-point range and 1-of-6 from the foul line.


In all, Poythress has scored 43 points this year, and 24 of those points—55.8 percent—have come on the 24 possessions in which he’s grabbed an offensive rebound. In the last seven games in which he’s been far less aggressive, both on the glass and once he comes down from the glass, his 17 total points indicate why he seems to have reverted to last season’s passivity when he averaged 1.88 offensive rebounds per game: simply put, because he has.


Head over to The Beat to check out game-by-game data of Poythress’ production based on offensive rebounding.



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