Ready to break out: Kris Joseph, Syracuse
Kris Joseph is a player I see who is a Wesley Johnson clone. He stands 6’7″, 207 with long arms and a load of athleticism. With Johnson and Arinze Onuaku both vacating the frontcourt of the Orange, Jim Boeheim will be looking to Joseph for points and rebounds.
I believe that Joseph is poised for a breakout year. Draft Express currently has him #24 in the 2011 draft but I see him being a lottery pick next year as well as vying for a place on the first team all Big East team. Let’s break it down.
Joseph scored 10.8 points per game last season while shooting 49% from the field (22% from 3 and 74.8% from the line). He pulled down 5.5 rebounds and averaged 1.7 assists while turning the ball over 1.8 times per game. Johnson and Onuaku represent 27 points and 19 rebounds to replace but Johnson has the skills and potential to help. Let’s go to some video and stills to see why I think Joseph is going to break out.
In the first part of the clip, watch Joseph as he works off the ball. He did not stop moving the entire possession, which ended in a nice move that led to a jump shot. He looked extremely comfortable taking the power dribble to his left and pulling up for a jumper (and even though it missed, his form was excellent).
This pull up jump shot gives him a variety of options on the offensive end. If the defense plays off of him, he can knock down the shot (I have no doubt he has been in the gym working on this all summer) or he can drive to the basket if the defense is in his face.
In the latter part, watch Joseph working on the left hand side of the zone. He is active and closes out excellently. His long arms hinder the offensive player which in the end, leads to a tough shot. This is the first defensive set, so let’s see how he in the second half (see below).
As you see, Joseph has nice form on his jumper. His shot is above his head making it tough to block and he has great elevation on his jump shot. His 3 point percentage was very low last season but his form is strong enough that enough repetitions in the gym should help him up to a 35% average or so on 3’s this season.
In the below clip, you can see video of Joseph’s shot. His form is similar to the one above but it just goes a bit long. His shot is right on line and he may just have needed to adjust to the new background (it was his first 3 of the game).
Joseph shows off his strength and athleticism in this clip. He fights for the ball as he uses his butt to knock Shelvin Mack out of position. He then snatches the ball, collects himself and finish. Joseph grabbed 1.7 offensive rebounds per game last season and could see a slight increase this season if he works at it. There will be a bigger opportunity to rebound and I saw him move toward the basket to get into rebounding position when a shot when up from his teammates. This can lead to easy baskets, as he is strong enough to finish in traffic.
Running the Floor
Joseph shows off his athleticism in this clip as he glides down the court for an open dunk. Syracuse has a loaded backcourt this season with several great passers. If Joseph continues to run the floor like this, he will get plenty of open dunks. I think Joseph is the most athletic big man on Syracuse this year, so if he works hard to run the floor, he will be rewarded.
I have to say I am a bit concerned about the defensive urgency I saw from Joseph in the Butler game. As we saw in the first clip above, Joseph was active on the first possession but later in the game, he showed less of a desire to work. In the still below, notice how he is bent over at the waist (horrible stance) and does not have a view on Hayward (the best offensive player on Butler).
Luckily for Joseph, he can be easily hidden in the zone defense of Boeheim. This deficiency should not limit his minutes or his draft stock (see Wesley Johnson this year). While it may be a cause for concern for the team as a whole this year, it should not hurt Joseph’s minutes or productivity.
Here is the clip that features the above screenshot:
Joseph does not make a defensive mistake on this possession that leads to a Butler basket but he does not show good habits. His hands are now down by his sides instead of up and active. Like I said above, however, if he still has these poor habits this season, he should not be affected that much. He is athletic enough and strong enough to be able to rebound well even if he does not get himself in good position.
I believe Joseph will be in the running for first team All-Big East team this season. His upside is very high as he has tons of athleticism, nice form on his jump shot and a desire to rebound. He will be called upon to replace the production of Wesley Johnson and I believe he is very similar in style to Johnson. If he improves his 3 point percentage (and I believe he easily can since he already has good form) he will have a wide array of moves that will make him a great offensive player.
I will likely post an update on him during the season so keep an eye on Joseph this season.