For prominent players, less is more
Terrence Jones and others aren't being used as much ... to their teams' benefit
In college hoops, you can be sure that a person who does extremely well in a particular statistic one year will see his proficiency drop the following year. For instance, the returning leader in 3-point percentage from a season ago was SMU's Robert Nyakundi. He made 49.7 percent of his tries in 2010-11. This season he's down to 42.1 percent from long range.
You'll notice this trend with nearly every stat, but one that is mostly immune to it is a player's involvement in his team's offense. Even players who have ultra-high usage rates one season tend to maintain or increase those rates the following season. This is not true for everyone, however, and there are actually 41 regulars whose usage has decreased at least 5 percent this season. Let's look at five of the more notable names on that list.
Jones has been the target of some criticism this season for a wavering attitude and a lack of aggressiveness, especially after his lackluster play in a December loss to Indiana. Jones used 27.9 percent of Kentucky's possessions while he was on the court as a freshman, a figure that has dropped to 22.3 percent this season. He's an interesting case because it's not as if Kentucky is full of ball hogs this season. No player uses as many possessions as Brandon Knight did last season, and the Wildcats have one of the most balanced offenses in the country -- seven of the eight players in John Calipari's rotation have a usage rate between 18 percent and 23 percent.
The good news for UK fans is that Kentucky's offense is about as effective as it was last season, if not slightly better.
To see why less of Terrence Jones and other key players has had a positive effect on some teams, sign up for ESPN Insider.
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