Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Bear Territory Tuesday: Will a shorter shot clock help Cal?
The NCAA shot clock for men's basketball has been shortened from 35 to 30 seconds, which will create higher scoring games and a faster pace of play. As one who likes the slower pace of college basketball as a fun contrast to the faster paced NBA game, I'm not entirely happy with this rule change. However, I do think that this rule change works to the benefit of the Cal men's basketball team, which obviously makes me like it a lot better.
The reason I like this rule change for Cal is simple: Cal is designed to play a faster tempo game. With only two true centers on the entire roster (Kingsley Okoroh and Kameron Rooks) and a lot of shooting guards and small forwards, Cal will use a lot of small lineups this season. This means that they will have to play a faster paced tempo in order to be successful.
There were times last season when Cal slowed it down too much and didn't use their speed and athleticism to their advantage. At times, they were too dependent on running a certain set of plays as opposed to using the flow of the game to their advantage. With the additions of Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown, Tyson Jolly, and Davon Dillard, and the losses of David Kravish, Dwight Tarwater, and Christian Behrens, Cal is an even smaller and quicker team than last season. As a result, they'll have to be even more aggressive in transition and really use their quickness and athleticism to their advantage.
In order for this to really work, Cal will have to really play stingy defense and force a fair amount of turnovers. Thankfully, Cal has Tyson Jolly to help do just that. Earlier this year at Walnut Creek, I met with some of the Cal basketball coaches at a meet and greet with fans. They talked about the incoming freshmen and what they could bring to the team.
When talking about Tyson Jolly, assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel said "He's an absolute pit bull. He can guard multiple positions 1, 2, and 3." Jolly is raw offensively, but defensively he should be ready to make an impact right away. He's like Tony Allen, whose defense really makes the Memphis Grizzlies go.
This isn't to say that the other players on Cal won't be able to play good defense. Tyrone Wallace, Sam Singer, Ivan Rabb, Jaylen Brown, and Kingsley Okoroh should all be able to play really good defense as well. It's just that with Jolly he's more one dimensional and that's ok. If there is anything Cal would want a guy to be more one dimensional in, it would be defense and hustle. Cal will have plenty of guys to score the ball, so it really will be ok if Tyson Jolly is just out there making plays on defense and helping other guys get easy shots.
In conclusion, if Cal is going to play to the best of their ability, they will have to play at a faster pace than other teams. With the shot clock being reduced to 30 seconds, Cal will be forced to play at a faster pace, which is exactly what they should be trying to do anyways. While it is true that all teams will be playing faster, not every team will want to play a faster tempo. But for Cal, the faster tempo really suits their player personnel. This rule change is truly a blessing. Go Bears!
---Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord for NBA news and Cal basketball updates