Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Last season, LSU's offense was like a bag of mixed nuts. They used some high quality pieces to try and cover up the less than quality "nuts" on the offensive end, but with 3 new starters and only 35% of their scoring returning, what changes for LSU? Well the answer to that is almost everything.

Last season every possession flowed through current Milwaukee Buck and two time 1st team All-SEC player Johnny O'Bryant. While LSU doesn't replace the post presence of O'Bryant, they have added some pieces that will move the offense to a quicker, more open style of play. Much of Johnny O'Bryant's worth was his ability to attract double teams in the paint, and kick the ball out forcing opponents defense to scramble to return to form. Now, LSU will use the penetrating ability of Josh Gray and Tim Quarterman to force defenses out of position.

LSU's main objective in possession will be to get opponents out of position, using that chaos to force mismatches and open shooters. It will also help LSU to continue to be dominant on the offensive boards.

Another way LSU will be able to force mismatches will be their interchangeable players. Besides center Elbert Robinson, each of LSU's main contributors could play 3 different positions. Jarell Martin has unbelievable athleticism for a 6'10" player. Each of LSU's guards are considered combo guards who can possess the ball or be a threat off ball shooting. With these skill sets, LSU will try and take advantage of defenders who may struggle against either size, speed, or athleticism and attack their weaknesses.

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Against a man to man defense, LSU will use different motion offenses that use lots of screens to try and force switches. One of LSU's strong points will be their ability to pass big man to big man. Often, LSU will get the ball to Martin or Mickey at the free throw line and look to pass it down low to another big.

Against a zone, LSU will use two separate actions to try and get open shots. One way will be overloading one side of the court to try and get more offenders in an area than defenders. Lots of quick cuts to the basket on an overloaded side will open up passing lanes. Another way LSU will try and break down a zone will be using ball penetration. Gray, Hornsby, and Quarterman all have the size and strength to finish around the rim. They will use their ability to get into the lane to take it at opponents and dish it to a post player, or take the ball themselves to the rim.

The biggest change in this year's offense will be their ability to get guards in the paint, which should help one of LSU's biggest weaknesses from last season. The Tigers were 314th in free throw attempt per field goal attempt. LSU wasn't drawing fouls, and when they were, they weren't shooting fouls. LSU's ability to get to the rim should help force opponents to foul and get the Tigers to the line.

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I'd expect for LSU to have 4 players average over 10 points a game similar to last season. I also think Jarell Martin could end up in the top 5 in SEC scoring. He brings such a dynamic ability to play inside or outside that he will be nearly impossible for any team (outside Kentucky) to match up.

Having the point of attack being a guard, I also think LSU can cut down on their turnovers. In the exhibition game, LSU only turned the ball over 10 times. LSU turned it over less than 10 times in only 3 games last year.

Overall, this should be a team that can average more than the 1.07 points per possession LSU had last season. They should be able to continue to rebound offensively with their athleticism and should get to the free throw line more. The turnover problem of last season should be much improved with the ball being in the hands of our guards more often and the shooting should also be improved. As long as LSU doesn't catch the injury bug and stays out of foul trouble, they should be a much improved offensive team.

Geaux Tigers!

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Filed Under: LSU Basketball


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