More lineups with both Marcus Garrett and Dajuan Harris in them coming for KU?
In search of ways to lighten the load for senior point guard Marcus Garrett, in hopes of getting him fully going again, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self hinted at something on Thursday that might have provided a clue about Self’s plans.
“I do think he needs to look for his perimeter shot more,” Self said at the tail end of an answer about whether he might try to change the way Garrett attacks.
On the surface, that might sound a tad strange. Especially to die-hard KU fans who have spent the past few seasons emphatically stating that Garrett can’t shoot.
Problem is, he can. For his career, Garrett has shot it at a 48.6% clip from the floor and 28.7% behind the 3-point line.
Mario Chalmers or Svi Mykhailiuk he is not. But that 3-point percentage is dragged down quite a bit by sub-27% marks during his first two seasons as a Jayhawk.
If you take into account just his junior year and the games he’s played so far as a senior, Garrett’s actually a 32.5% 3-point shooter. That mark, for a single season, would put him among the top 100 3-point shooters in Division I this season.
So he can shoot. And if Self thinks he should be shooting more, there has to be a reason why.
In actuality, there are probably two.
The first has to do with the overall flow of the Kansas offense. If Garrett is a threat to shoot from the outside and actually does let it fly more than the two times a game he’s currently pacing at, opposing defenses would have to consider extending out to guard him tighter more often and that would open up more driving lanes for Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji.
Basic stuff there. But important stuff, too.
The other reason Self might want Garrett to shoot the ball more addresses an idea that might speak to Kansas fans a little more directly.
Perhaps Self’s desire to have Garrett shoot the ball more from the outside is a tonic of sorts to the concerns about playing Garrett and redshirt freshman point guard Dajuan Harris together.
Harris has shown the impact he can have on the Kansas offense. But he’s not exactly a shooter. He can shoot. And he likely will become more comfortable doing so as his career progresses. But it’s not a strength of his today, it’s not the first thing he thinks with the ball in his hands and it’s not exactly what the Kansas offense needs.
Self has talked in the not-too-distant past about the desire, in today’s game, to have three shooters on the floor at all times.
Even with Garrett and Harris out there together, which would boost KU’s defense and ball handling, KU could have that if Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson are the other three on the floor.
What’s that give you? Five guards. And although we’ve seen that from Kansas at times this season, that approach has not been used nearly as much of late.
The reason? KU big man David McCormack has become a more reliable option down low and Self has had a hard time taking him off the floor. Even though McCormack’s range reliably extends out to 15 feet, he does not provide any real outside shooting.
So if the Jayhawks want to have McCormack (or surging sub Mitch Lightfoot) out there the majority of the time and also want to play Garrett and Harris together during certain stretches, they’re going to need one of the two point guards to be that third shooter.
Garrett’s the choice.
And it’s time for him to let it fly more often to see what that — and, in turn, more minutes for Harris — can do for this Kansas offense, which averaged 82 points per game in nonconference play and is down to 70 points per game since opening competition in the Big 12.