One team that had a lot of question marks going into this season was the LSU Tigers but with the return of Javonte Smart, Trendon Watford, and Darius Days, the LSU Tigers ceiling just got a lot higher. The Tigers return now five of their top six scorers with that group returning. Let’s breakdown each of these decisions.
Trendon Watford is probably the one that was most up in the air. Watford averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a freshman while shooting 48.7% from the floor, although he only shot 26.9% from three. Watford will likely return trying to improve upon his shooting abilities while trying to improve defensively. Watford has all the attributes to be an NBA player, he really just needs to polish his game a little bit.
Darius Days is an interesting player. He’s an undersized forward, who has shown an ability to step out and shoot it, although he struggled a season ago. Days averaged 11.1 points, 6.8 rebounds per game on 48.8% shooting from the floor, and 29.5% shooting from three. Days needs to improve a little bit as a shooter in order to have a shot at making the NBA.
Javonte Smart is also back, Smart is probably my favorite Tiger player to watch. He can run the point, play off-ball, and shoot from three, he has a lot of upside going into this year. Smart averaged 12.5 points and 4.2 assists per game, while he shot 29.5% from three and 48.6% from the floor. Smart needs to improve as a shooter and if he can do that, he’s an NBA player. He already has the size, passing and defensive abilities to make the next level but simply put, the NBA doesn’t have room for 6’4″ guards that can’t shoot.
Going into next season, the Tigers lineup looks like this:
PG: Javonte Smart
SG: Cameron Thomas
SF: Darius Days
PF: Trendon Watford
C: Emmitt Williams
Key Reserves: James Bishop, Eric Gaines, Charles Manning Jr, Mwani Wilkinson
The Tigers rotation stays close to the same, insert Cameron Thomas for Skylar Mays and that’s about it. Thomas will not be as polished as Mays but he projects as a better shooter, while he could be a good defender, while he can play on and off the ball.
Emmitt Williams will continue to be a really great undersized center. He has shades of Dennis Rodman, where he is elite at judging angles and grabbing rebounds. Williams isn’t a great offensive player but he is a solid defender and he is scrappy which is what the team needs.
LSU is a team that is probably more exciting off the court more so than when they are on the court. They aren’t a great shooting team, they don’t have an elite dunker, they really kind of are what they are. They are going to show up, play inside-out, defend, rebound, and most of the time they just find a way to win basketball games.