Prather: What would this team be like if he weren't playing at this level?

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by UFreak, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. UFreak
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    UFreak Well-Known Member

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    I think it is fair to state that Prather will be one of our best (if not simply the best) players on this team this year. I don't think anyone could have seen him playing at this level. If you did, you're probably just lying. He is playing at an All-American level and is on the Naismith watch list.

    The thing is, I thought we'd be a very good and dangerous team leading into the season.

    The question is, if Prather simply had an incremental improvement this year and was averaging say 10 points a game, what would this team be doing for offense? Would we be a three-loss or four-loss team right now? Would Finney-Smith have his offensive numbers and we'd still be a two-loss team?

    In short, Prather's ascent has been so profound and surprising, I don't know what this team would look like without him.
  2. g8tr80
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    g8tr80 Well-Known Member

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    It certainly would have made the start to this season more difficult. IMHO the surprising play of Prather has offset the disappointing losses of Harris, Graham, and Carter, and of course, the late arrival of Walker.

    The fun question would be where would this team be if all the above players were available AND Casey is playing the way he is?
  3. MadduxFanII
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    MadduxFanII Well-Known Member

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    You have to figure we'd have dropped the Memphis game, at least.
  4. UFish
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    UFish Member

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    We have two players who have shown the ability to consistently create scoring opportunities for themselves. Prather is one of them and he creates more of a mismatch problem than the other (Wilbekin). Obviously Donovan's offense is one that tries to rely less on "my guy beating your guy" and more on getting the right guy in the right spot, making the right pass, finishing, etc. But at some point every team has to have a guy who can just take the ball and go score points.

    If Prather were still at last year's level, it's safe to assume we'd be leaning more on Hill and Finney-Smith to create. I doubt our offense would be as effective as it's been in such a case.

    We would have lost the Memphis game without him. No doubt in my mind. I'm pretty sure he scored every Florida point after Hill hit the three that made it 69-61. And as unorthodox as his shot may be, he's the guy I want on the line at the end of the game. He closed that one out for us.
  5. rserina
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    rserina VIP Member

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    Kind of hard to project that. One of the surprising aspects about our post play this year is that all three of our bigs (Young, Yeguete, and DFS) have struggled finishing in the paint, leaving Prather as our most effective scorer on twos. He is scoring at a very high rate inside 15 feet.

    Of course, the downside to Prather's game is that he can't really space the floor, so putting him at the four and Frazier/Walker at the three opens would open up more driving lanes, decongest the paint, and make us a little more effective driving and finishing around the rim. But his effectiveness scoring in the paint has sort of made that difference negligible.

    At any rate, Prather has become our security blanket offensively in that he gets us points when we most need them. He has kept us afloat many games when our shooting was bad both from the perimeter and in the paint. He has really been an unexpected beneficiary of the rule changes, in the sense that his dribble drive game and physical strength enable him to draw contact and get off shot attempts, but also in the sense that he has become an outstanding free throw shooter who can convert those fouls into points.
  6. akaGatorhoops
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    akaGatorhoops Guest VIP Member

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    Of all things, I have been most impressed with his mid range game. He has always had explosive ability getting to the hops, but he is a much, much more complete players this season. . . making him infintely harder to guard.
  7. GatorPlanet
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    GatorPlanet Well-Known Member

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    I figured before the season that we'd see a slightly better version of the old Casey Prather, a reliable 6th man who'd come in behind DFS. His improvement has astonished, however, and I can't seem him losing his starting job unless it's through injury or illness.

    I hope that in the upcoming soft games, Casey takes and makes a few 3s. That'll serve notice to the SEC that you can't just pack it in inside to keep him away from the hoop when he gets it outside. And that'll make him even harder to stop.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. fox
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    fox Well-Known Member

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    There would be a lot more pressure on Young to score, and others also. Would probably be shooting more from the outside.
  9. Lawdog88
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    Lawdog88 Well-Known Member

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    From this layperson's POV, that we have slashers and cutters that drive and can score on their own without having to dish or pass back outside - Prather - is a monstrous addition to the offense.
  10. gatorjeff20017
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    gatorjeff20017 Active Member

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    Lose his starting job? No way. He's performed like one of the top few players in the country through the first 11 games, which is plenty enough to establish statistical significance. And he doesn't need to start tossing up a bunch of threes. If Prather causes the opposition to run a tight zone, he can drive and kick to Frazier or Wilbekin for the trey. As Donovan preaches, "know who you are and play to your strengths".
  11. rserina
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    rserina VIP Member

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    I think he was talking about coming into the season, not now. Without question he has a lock on the three spot, plus DFS has looked pretty bad there in short stints. There was the thought that Frazier could end up playing there in a smaller lineup, but right now I think they like bringing Hill off the bench, leaving Wilbekin and Frazier as starters in the backcourt. The real question is how they close out games. Our starting unit just does not have the floor spacing you need to get good shots at the end of games. DFS is almost a necessity, possibly Prather at the four if you can afford it on the defensive end.

    On the Prather drive-and-kick, I wonder if that would be an example of Prather actually not playing to his strengths. In the past, he has really struggled passing the ball. He has cut down on some of the bad post entry passes and dribbling the ball off his leg trying to tightrope the baseline to the hoop, but he is one of the rare guys where I think he is actually better forcing a shot if he can get to the paint. Worst-case scenario, he misses a shot inside fifteen feet with rebounders in position, but statistically speaking this year it is 2 to 1 that he either makes the shot or gets fouled. That is a pretty high rate to my mind and better than the risk he takes on a cross court pass off the bounce.
  12. gatordd
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    gatordd Active Member

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    We would be much more limited with our lineups that is for sure

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