Ole Miss bigs showing improvement on offense around basket

I have been critical last year and this year of the offensive production of the Ole Miss bigs near the basket. That has been for different reasons.

Last year it was an inconsistency in finishing plays at the rim that hurt the Rebels in some close losses.

This year it’s been more about missed opportunities by not handling the ball cleanly, though I think that, like the shooting percentages, is getting better.

One big play that stands out was M.J. Rhett’s three-point play in the second half against Texas A&M. It was a hard, fast pass that Jarvis Summers zipped into a small window, a pass that has often been mishandled.

Rhett made a nice catch, dunked, and drew a foul.

It was a big play and maybe a signal that these guys are turning the corner. On the whole I thought fewer balls were bobbled against the Aggies.

Currently, the field goal percentage leaders in the SEC are mostly the bigs, which is not uncommon. They shoot near the rim more often than the guards, and their percentages should be higher.

For the purposes of this blog post, I’m defining “bigs” as guys 6-foot-8 or better who play mostly on the low block on offense.

They make up four of the top five percentage shooters in the SEC right now.

Arkansas’ Bobby Portis, the league leader, is at .563, LSU’s Jordan Mickey at .524 is No. 3.

No. 4 is Georgia’s Marcus Thornton at .505. Vanderbilt center Damian Jones is No. 2 at .529. Five makes per game are required to be counted in the SEC player rankings.

Here are the top three Ole Miss bigs right now. Aaron Jones was in the mix last year but has fallen out of the group.

Saiz 68-112 .607

Rhett 61-117 .521

Coleby 51-85 .600

Accuracy is clearly up among the Ole Miss bigs.

Here are Ole Miss’ three primary bigs from last year:

Coleby 24-51 .471

Saiz 64-137 .467

Jones 83-193 .430 44-114 .386*

* – SEC play

Here are the field goal percentages from some of the better bigs in the SEC last year:

Florida’s Patric Young .541

LSU’s Jordan Mickey .533

Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes .531

Kentucky’s Julius Randle .500

LSU’s Johnny O’Bryant .496

Though the shooting percentages are up for the Ole Miss bigs, the numbers do not reflect ball-handling. If a pass was dropped there was no shot to figure into field goal percentage.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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