I’m not worried about the number of guards. Perhaps Gusti will surprise, but at this point objectively looking at the roster, I think you have to factor him as depth.
I’m down with Beau playing 18 minutes of SF. Other than Beau, we don’t have a natural three man eligible on the roster (Garrett appears to be a natural three, but he’s got to sit for a year.) Therefore, we are going to play three guards a lot next year. That was true even before Walker hit town.
Clearly, Delly is going to continue to play most of the game (Ballsy statement considering he might play the most minutes in NCAA hoops since they started tracking the stat). Holt is going to play a lot, but he plays with a ton of energy and speed and he’s a good teammate and unselfish; thus, he’s suited to take some rests. Between Delly, Holt, Page, Walker, and McCoy there a major roles for three guys and a considerable role for the fourth. Just spit balling, I think you’ll have competition between Page, Walker, and McCoy for the third and fourth guard slots. Finally, if all five are playing extremely in January, you could see a situation where Walker and/or McCoy are completing with Beau for the 5th wing player position. Despite my past sins, I’m now on board with Beau and I like to have a wing player with some size, but let’s not kid ourselves, if all five guards are killing it – they can all play together because Holt can guard threes.
Delly and Holt will have defined roles and minutes. Competition and depth is good between the remaining three. They all need it and we need the insurance. If Page, McCoy, and Walker were all returning players with good health, there might be a problem. McCoy has to heal up. Walker has to be integrated. And if he wants to keep his role, Page needs to be more consistent and improve a little.
I love Page. This is not to trash Page (Braces of DJRosie’s reply). Page is talented, brilliant, and streaky. He’s got major onions. He takes and makes big shots, and he can see and create things that aren’t there for the rest of us. When he’s good, he’s amazing. Except for the occasional over aggressive turnover, he’s never “bad.” But he can be pedestrian for extended stretches. Overall he was very good last year, but I wanted both more and most consistency. At end of the season, we needed him to play a larger role in extended minutes and he really struggled during that time / or in that role. Perhaps, it was the year away and he’s about to make a major jump this year and then move into a huge role as a senior. Or maybe he’s more suited to be a vital role player, either as the 5th starter or 6th man. After saying a lot, here’s the point. He’s good enough that he plays no matter how the competition shakes out. He’s not good enough that you don’t bring in competition.
Walker. We’ve been missing a guard that can consistently attack the basket in the half court offense AND consistently finish tough shots at the rim in traffic. Tron was the last guy. Patty got most of his drives in transition. Because he’s not a burner, Delly doesn’t live in the paint. Holt can do it, but he’s not consistent with it. Page can get there, but he’s not going to attack the body of his opponent and finish strong inside. Look, at the clips, this is what Walker appears to do:
At the same time, he didn’t work out at Utah State. He’s hitting a very complex and cohesive system without the year of prep that most of our transfers get. So, there is some risk, he needs competition, and you don’t want to hand him too much early and have to reel it back. Competition is good here
McCoy. With Walker arriving I’m concerned the McCoy expectation pendulum will swing too far negative for some fans. Let’s not write dude off, but let’s be realistic. He’s had two major knee surgeries and it’s unusual for a player to be 100% productive until a year post surgery. At the same time, he’s a really talented player. And this process could be significant for his outlook on the game. Last year my concern about Paul was, based upon the clips, that he might have struggled with wanting a larger role and volume shots than were going to be available to him. After this three year odyssey, he’s matured, watched the Gael way, and wants to contribute and win. He could still be really really good come league, and amazing next year. Or he might really struggle either physically or mentally. There is simply no way to know.
McCoy’s rehab process is huge benefit for RB because it gives the team a couple of months to figure out the roles and shots fit between Delly, Holt, Page, Beau and Walker. McCoy is going to have to be patient, but if he does that RB will allow him to climb the depth chart.
Finally, the pieces aren’t duplicative. McCoy and Walker are both drivers but different. McCoy is going to slice into the lane and go around post players for tough layups. Whereas Walker is going to work around his defender and actively seek out contact with the rotating big man, thereby causing foul trouble and getting to the line. (Think Allen Iverson and Bobby Jackson respectively) Page is going to hit threes in bunches, create for others, and unclog our offense when it gets stuck. Ironically, with a summer to work on his shot and four streak shooters around him, I wouldn’t be blown away if Holt becomes our “steady” shooter, in addition to doing Steve Holt things. Beau provides defense, size, intelligence, energy and deep set shots. This should work. One player is going to suffer, but it’s going to be after honest and fair competition. It’s all good.
This is a high class problem.