Shabazz Napier was entrusted with the same responsibility Kemba Walker had before him- lead the UConn Huskies to a National Championship while doing, well, basically everything. By now, we know what it will take emotionally for Ryan Boatright to return us to the promised land, we witnessed it with Walker and Napier. Instead, let's examine what it takes statistically.
Taking into consideration unpredictable variables such as team chemistry, opponent and injury/suspension, the three situations are eerily similar. Don't believe me? Below are game logs from Kemba's 2011, Napier's 2014 and Boatright's 2015. Try to guess which season belongs to which player (answer at bottom of page):
While all three guards undoubtedly possess their own unique strengths, they are one of the same mold- inspiring defensively, unrelenting offensively with a knack for hitting the big shot. What separated both Napier and Walker was their ability to balance top play-maker with primary scoring option. Boatright will need to strike a similar balance. Throughout the year I will compare Boatright's numbers, to those of Napier and Walker at similar points in their championship winning season, in hopes the statistics give an early indication on what Boatright needs to do in order to bring another National Championship to Storrs. Eventually, once more data is collected, we can learn from the adjustments of past winners to fill the spot next to Napier's banner.
Averages through 5 games:
Here is how Boatright, Napier and Walker shape up head-to-head-to-head on a number of different statistics through 5 games:
|Boatright 36.4||Walker 52%||Napier 73%||Walker 8.8||Walker 88%||Napier 8.4||Napier 6.6||Boatright 2.8||Walker 2.2||Walker 30|
|Walker 34||Napier 51%||Walker 41%||Boatright 7.8||Boatright 86%||Boatright 6.2||Boatright 4||Napier 2||Boatright-1.6||Boatright 20.8|
|Napier 33.6||Boatright 44%||Boatright 19%||Napier 5.8||Napier 83%||Walker 4.2||Walker 3.6||Walker 2||Napier 1.4||Napier 14.8|
Breakdown of categories led:
- Boatright: Minutes, Turnovers
- Napier: 3P%, Rebounds, Assists
- Walker: FG%, FTA, FT%, Steals, Points
- Kemba's numbers are more impressive (if possible) when you consider they came against #2 Michigan State (Kalin Lucas/Korie Lucious) and #7 Kentucky (Brandon Knight).
- To no surprise Shabazz is by far the best three point shooter
- Though it felt Napier and Walker never rested, Boatright leads in minutes
- All three are shooting over 80% from the foul line
- Napier easily led in rebounds and assists