Free Brad Waldow
In Brad Waldow's freshman season at Saint Mary's he posted a decidedly un-freshman like offensive rating of 121.8, using just about 20% of his team's possessions. As a sophomore his usage went up (22% of possessions) while his efficiency remained intact (118.7 oRtg). But in those two seasons he was playing beside Matthew Dellavedova. In St. Mary's high ball screen offense, he'd set a screen, roll, find himself with a half step on his man, and the ball would magically appear in exactly the right spot for him to go up and lay it in due to Delly's supernatural ability to play the pick and roll. It was easy.
So when Dellavedova left for the Cleveland Cavaliers, there was a lot of concern regarding Waldow's game. How much of his success was dependent on Delly?
It turns out – at least in the early going – not much.
Through four games Waldow has been decidedly high volume (26.7% of the possessions) and his offensive efficiency could only be described as filthy. He's making 70% of his 2s, and is drawing 7.0 fouls per 40, leading to an offensive rating of 144.8. Through those four games he's averaging 19.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3 blocks a game. If he keeps that kind of production up he could be St. Mary's first conference player of the year since, well, Matthew Dellavedova.
Fouls, fouls and more fouls
For better or worse, fouls will be a major story line this season. Personally, I like the new rules, and think they will benefit the game. Refs do appear to be going overboard however, and I've seen dozens of calls where the defender simply got run into by an offensive player only to watch that offensive player parade to the foul line. At some point, contact is going to have to be allowed. If it's unclear who initiated the contact, the default can't be to punish the defense.
Already this season we have 10 players who are averaging 4.67 fouls per game. This is something I'll chart throughout the season, and here is your fist leaderboard.
|t1||4.67||Cole Walton||Fr||3||Sacred Heart|
|t1||4.67||Dauson Womack||So||3||Houston Baptist|
|t1||4.67||Brandon Conley||So||3||Oral Roberts|
|t1||4.67||Michael Craig||Sr||3||Southern Miss|
|t1||4.67||Tate Stensgaard||So||3||Western Illinois|
It's early, but damn, Mountain West
Through the first few games the Mountain West is currently rated as the 10th strongest conference according to Ken Pomeroy. Last year they were 5th. They haven't been weaker than 7th in three years, and haven't been below 9th since Pomeroy began tracking things a dozen years ago.
And it can't be blamed in the new guys, either. Yes, San Jose State is terrible (No. 287 at Pomeroy), but Utah State is one of three top-50 teams in the conference. Here are there Pomeroy rankings from this year and last, ranked by biggest negative margins. I see you, UNLV, hiding behind Air Force.
|San Diego State||35||65||30|
|San Jose St.||315||287||28|