With the departure of Larry Drew II and Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA is going to need a bevy of players to step up to be successful in Steve Alford‘s first season.
When I look at this roster, there’s no doubt that the Bruins have talent. The question is, will Coach Alford use it to his advantage? UCLA lost its core leader in LDII and its steady, yet lethal, scorer in Muhammad.
A scorer can always be replaced, not to insult Shabazz, but it’s difficult to find a point guard like LDII who can successfully run an offense, keep the locker room calm and hit shots in crunch time. Alford is bringing in his son, a 6’3″ guard who can play point, so he could help there. Bryce Alford isn’t athletic like Norman Powell or LDII, but boy he can shoot the lights out.
Coach Alford will have to make a difficult decision, whether to start incoming freshman Zach LaVine at the 3 and slide Norman Powell to the bench? Or bring LaVine off the bench in a Jamal Crawford type of roll?
A lineup that could be very intriguing would be the following:
Kyle Anderson (PG)
Jordan Adams (SG)
Norman Powell (SF)
Travis Wear (PF)
Tony Parker (C)
Now, this lineup will not be the best defensively, but they’ll be fun to watch. And when they get out in transition, they’ll be very fun to watch. Kyle Anderson is going to be extremely important to the Bruins. KA is plenty capable of running an offense, and he’s great at finding the open man. Powell can finish with the best of them, so it should benefit him having a 6’9″ point-forward who can handle the ball well. Tony Parker will need to anchor the defense, clogging the lane with his size. Because he’s big and not easy to move around, he could be a defensive force. If he can also crash the boards, that will only lead to easy transition buckets and will get UCLA second chance opportunities on offense too.
And I can’t forget about my man Jordan Adams—talk about a sharpshooter. All he needs is a little room and the shot is more than likely going in. Whenever he shoots, it’s a thing of beauty. When a team is hitting its outside shots, it extends the defense and can open up lanes to drive and get to the rim. Adams will be a key piece for UCLA next season, though his recovery from injury could hamper him somewhat.
Whatever the lineup may be, there’s no doubt this will be a fun season!