The Floyd Street Tribune: Player-by-player evaluations as summer workouts start
Inside: Parsing Louisville's roster to find strengths and weaknesses. Plus, uh, are the Cards going to get a guard or ...? And some other shenanigans.
One Big Thought: A player-by-player look at Louisville’s current roster
While we all wonder if Louisville’s roster is set with nine scholarship players, let’s evaluate what the current group brings to the table.
El Ellis, guard
There’s no question Ellis prefers to play point guard, and he has made no bones this offseason about letting us all know. The question now is how much time with the new coaching staff — especially Nolan Smith — can help Ellis blossom into an ACC-level point. We know he can score, thanks to the Michigan State and North Carolina performances, among others. And we know he can be an effective distributor after averaging 3.1 assists per 40 minutes last season while primarily playing 2-guard on a bad team that couldn’t score.
What I find myself wondering is how they use Ellis on offense. He’ll obviously have the ball in his hands a lot — at this rate, the North Carolina native might end up averaging 38 minutes a game at point guard. He’ll do well to get out in transition. But he really struggled as a scorer and creator when he was the pick-and-roll ballhandler last season, averaging just 0.6 points per possession in that role. Will Louisville eschew heavy PnR actions and try to get Ellis in more isolations, where he thrived? Or maybe there are ways to have the ball find its way back to him — Ellis was Louisville’s second-best spot-up shooter.
You have to think the Louisville staff will spend a lot of time with Ellis on decision-making at speed, working with him to become a more valuable distributor of the ball while also cutting down on his turnover rate. Louisville has a number of non-guards who like to try to make plays with the ball in their hands. That tends to lead to higher turnover rates as a team. That means Ellis has to keep those numbers down and be his team’s assists man, even as he also likely needs to be one of his team’s top scorers.