Now that Trevor Lacey has announced his intention to enter the NBA Draft and Kyle Washington has confirmed that he's transferring, NC State's outlook for 2015-16 changes just a wee bit. A wee tiny smidge of a skosh of a tad. Let's have a look at what the Pack has on hand today, and how the lineup may shake out next season:
PG: Cat Daddy / Terry Henderson (?)
SG: Terry Henderson / Caleb Martin
SF: Caleb Martin / Cody Martin
PF: Abdul-Malik Abu / Lennard Freeman
C: Lennard Freeman / BeeJay Anya
Lacey's absence creates some immediate concerns about NC State's backcourt depth. Cat Barber and Terry Henderson are the only true guards in the rotation at this point, though the Pack can and likely will use some lineups with Caleb Martin at the two and Cody at the three.
That should work fine for spurts, but it doesn't solve the ballhandling situation beyond Barber. Lacey added value to the team by operating as the point man at times--he wasn't great in that spot, but he was capable enough that State's offense didn't go falling off a cliff with him at the wheel. Is Terry Henderson good enough to fill a similar role? I suspect he probably is, but it remains to be seen, obviously.
If there are no additions to the backcourt between now and next season, there's added pressure on the Martin twins but also a bigger opportunity for them. Caleb's got to become a more efficient shooter to help pick up the scoring slack, while Cody needs to cut into his turnover rate. The good news is that their versatility helps the Pack maintain some lineup flexibility, which will be more important if Mark Gottfried can't pull a guard out of a hat during this offseason.
Up front, State will be counting more heavily on the development of Malik Abu's offensive game. Washington actually was a slightly more efficient scorer and that was with a considerably higher workload. Washington was also better than Abu at blocking shots, grabbing defensive boards, and hitting free throws. The defensive contributions can be accounted for collectively, but at the offensive end, Abu really needs to realize the potential he showed toward the end of the year. If he does that, the Pack shouldn't feel the burn too much; if he starts slow, State may look like a perimeter-oriented mess for a while. Just like last season, but with no Trevor Lacey for bailouts.