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Let's Argue About NC State Basketball, Part 1: Trevor Lacey's departure won't matter

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a new and briefly-lived feature on the site, where I will argue with myself. Our first topic: Trevor Lacey. He left NC State, but just how much will that affect the upcoming basketball season? The following take has been offered up by myself. I will have a rebuttal to myself pretty soon.

I love Trevor Lacey, I love Trevor Lacey a whole lot. If he doesn't make that miracle shot at Georgia Tech, it's entirely possible NC State's late-season run never happens. He was, undeniably, the isolation king. That's good, and it's also bad, and when we think of Lacey we can't forget that he had long stretches of inefficient play because he held so much responsibility.

Lacey actually shot under 40% inside the arc against teams in the KenPom top-100 last season. That's the sort of ugly number you expect from a guy who is 5-10, not a veteran capable of out-muscling guys at his position. That performance was not an aberration.

Lacey's offensive production 2FG% vs. KenPom top 50 (FGM-FGA) 2FG% vs. KenPom top 100
2015 (NCSU) 40.7 (44-108) 39.6 (55-139)
2013 (Bama) 31.9 (15-47) 33.3 (26-78)


Lacey countered this with solid-to-great three-point shooting against every variety of opponent, but the majority of his shots in every case came from inside the arc. Truth is Lacey padded his stats a lot against the bad teams on the schedule, and he wasn't particularly effective taking the ball to the basket against good teams and/or conference foes.

Lacey was crucial to NC State for so many reasons, and he hit a bunch of clutch shots. But he wasn't consistently an efficient producer as the leader of the offense--we tend to forget about those games where he missed 10 shots--which is why the Wolfpack won't miss him at that end of the floor nearly as much as people fear. The offense won't miss a beat, actually, and what are we really worried about at the other end?

Please stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, Are You Crazy, You Idiot?