Friday, January 25, 2013
Can Lyons handle point?
By Matt Giles
When Mark Lyons decided to transfer from Xavier to Arizona, it was obvious the senior might have some trouble leading the Wildcats' offense. While in the Atlantic 10, Lyons was always the off guard, a player capable of offensively carrying the team ... but he also needed help in the backcourt. At the time, Tu Holloway was given free rein to both look for his own offense and set up fellow Musketeers, a system that greatly benefitted the squad. However, now that Lyons had to set up his Wildcat teammates and create for himself, some wondered about Arizona's efficiency.
Lyons, while not a pure point, is a type of guard who can score for himself, and in the midst of creating, can find the open man whose defender shaded over to try and help defend on Lyons. During Zona's non-conference slate, that arraignment worked; Sean Miller's squad was scoring well over one point per possession and Lyons' assist rate was a respectable 22.3 percent. Again, he's not a typical 1, but the Arizona offense functioned reasonably well with Lyons handling the bulk of shots.
In Pac-12 play, though, this set-up has sputtered. Lyons has used roughly 122 possessions through six conference games, and his assist rate has dropped to just over 14 percent. In a loss to UCLA, Lyons scored 16 points (on 17 shots from the field) and failed to hand out an assist. UCLA scored just .96 PPP -- only the second time in Pac-12 play this season that Arizona failed to score over one PPP. The other occasion? A loss to Oregon (70 possessions, .94 PPP).