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Christmas wish list: What does Baylor need and want?


Mike Miller

For the next five days, Beyond the Arc will detail what some teams need. Hey, we’re in a giving mood.

The Bears have been dominating at times this season, but as they demonstrated in their three point win at BYU over the weekend, there are still some things this group needs to work on.

We at managed to get our hands exclusively on Scott Drew’s wish list. Here is what Drew was looking to get out of Santa:

Must have: A new box-out drill

Baylor’s length on the defensive end of the floor is a nightmare for opponents. How can we tell? The Bears are fifth in the country in effective FG% defense. They are 20th in the country in defensive turnover rate. They are sixth in blocked shots and 25th in steal rate. They have the second-lowest FG% allowed on two point FG’s. When your small forward is 6'9" Quincy Miller, you know you have a lot of length on your front line.

To get a better feel for how good Baylor’s defense is, consider this: they are 13th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency despite being terrible on the defensive glass. The Bears are 242nd in defensive rebounding percentage, a number that is magnified given the weak schedule the Bears have played. The problem? Baylor rebounds on the defensive end of the floor like the offensive end of the floor -- they simply try to out jump their opponents. The Bears need to learn how to box out, which, admittedly, is a more difficult thing to do given the 2-3 zone they play. But until they get better on the defensive glass, Baylor is going to be vulnerable to upset.

Stocking stuffer: A ball protector

As of today, Baylor turns the ball over twice every nine possessions they have. That, if you can’t tell, is far too high for any team. The biggest culprits are Pierre Jackson and AJ Walton, the two players that have seen the most significant number of minutes at the point guard spot. combined, Jackson and Walton averaged nearly six t/o’s per game. It is noteworthy to mention that both of these players are very good creators. They average 8.8 apg combined and have collected 33 steals in just 10 games, so its not as if they spend 20 minutes a game simply passing the ball to the other team. Its their risk-taking and decision-making that needs to improve.

Ironically, the Bears may have already gotten this gift. Gary Franklin, a sophomore transfer from Cal, got eligible for the BYU game. In two games, he has four assists and just a single turnover. Franklin struggled to find his niche at Cal, transferring despite leading the team in FGA as a freshman. Can he become a full-fledged distributor in Waco?

Planning to re-gift: Wingspan

Baylor has so many players with length on their front line its ridiculous. Its gotten to the point that their 6'10" shooter Anthony Jones, a guy that is a perfect fit in Scott Drew’s system, has been relegated deep onto the bench. With Perry Jones back from his suspension, Anthony Jones has seen his minutes go from 28.6 mpg to 16.6 mpg, and that’s largely due to the emergence of Miller on the wing. Why play the athletic 6'10" guy that can shoot but can’t dribble when you can play two athletic 6'10" guys that can shoot and dribble?

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.