Players who need the ball more

Dawson among individuals deserving additional shots in 2014-15

Updated: April 23, 2014, 12:36 PM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider

Michigan StateRobert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsMichigan State guard/forward Branden Dawson had a 123.3 offensive rating last season.

Earlier this week I wondered aloud why a particular group of nine major-conference players is taking so many shots. Now I want to flip that question around and look at players who arguably should be carrying a heavier load for their teams.

As with the previous installment in this series, I'm interested only in major-conference players who (I trust) will be returning next season.

Now, why aren't these players touching the basketball more often?


Branden Dawson, Michigan State Spartans

With the departures of Adreian Payne and Keith Appling (both of whom completed their eligibility) as well as Gary Harris (who has declared for the draft), it's safe to assume that Tom Izzo will look to Dawson to take on a much larger role in next season's offense. In fact, we may have already been treated to a sneak preview of this new-look Spartan attack in the NCAA tournament.

In wins over Delaware, Harvard and Virginia, Dawson averaged 20 points a game. Unfortunately for MSU fans the junior then disappeared more or less entirely against Connecticut, but the precedent that had been set prior to that game is still instructive. In theory he's an undersized power forward, however Dawson actually posted a (far) better 2-point percentage last season than Payne's. Give him the rock, Coach.