NC State is six games in and has five big ones in a row beginning with Memphis on Thursday, so let’s have an early look at what’s doin’ at the player level. Below are the season-to-date numbers for everybody who’s been on the floor this season. (Numbers via KenPom.com.)
What’s to like:
— C.J. Bryce has been State’s MVP at the offensive end, and the numbers just serve to underscore what your eyes have already told you. He’s always been a capable scorer inside the arc and in the early going he’s been eating opponents for lunch. Probably he’s not going to shoot 64% on twos all season, but he’s not going to fall off a cliff here.
— Pat Andree was brought in to give NC State another consistent perimeter threat, and he’s done exactly that. There’s no reason to think he won’t shoot better than 40% from deep for the third consecutive season. His two-point accuracy will pick up, too, though that’s not going to be the focus of his game, nor should it be.
— Manny Bates has been a net positive after sitting out a year with injury, and that’s an encouraging sign regardless of the competition. He’ll be an important piece all year because of State’s obvious lack of power forwards. So far he’s just about blocking shots at an incredible clip.
— Jericole Hellems’ turnover rate is down significantly from last year and hopefully that will continue. He’s been good on the offensive glass as well.
What is not so much to like:
— Markell Johnson’s cold shooting start is plain enough, with the caveat of course that it will be an upset if he doesn’t improve dramatically as the year progresses. His current eFG% is lower even that what he posted as a freshman, before he’d developed any perimeter game. This season he’s accounting for more shots than he ever has, but I see no reason to believe he cannot handle the workload.
— This roster lacks a truly great rebounder at either end, and while I don’t worry about offensive boards too much, I do worry about a committee approach to the defensive glass. This is working okay so far—State is 121st in DR%—but I worry how it’ll hold up as the competition improves.
— I had hoped to see better shooting by Devon Daniels from three, but maybe it’s unreasonable to believe he can be much better than a 33% shooter. Threes have been only a small chunk of his attempts, though, so he’s not hurting himself or the team with what he’s done.