Today UCLA is seventh nationally in scoring offense at 88.4 points per game. Getting baskets with this team of multiple proficient offensive players has not yet been a problem and likely won't be unless under extreme circumstances.
This is the Bruins' lineup that has been the most offensively productive.
1. Kyle Anderson
In a scoring lineup Anderson must be on the floor playing a versatile point-forward. He averages close to a triple-double every night, posting per game numbers of 13.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists.
Anderson is also the cliched straw that stirs UCLA's offensive drink—he cannot be replicated or replaced.
2. Jordan Adams
This wing player is UCLA's deadliest all-around player. Averaging 29 minutes per night, he is getting almost 22 points per game to go with five rebounds and three assists.
But Adams' efficency on offense results from his prowess on the defensive end. His intelligence and instincts combined with a nonstop motor make him a disruptive force, especially when it comes to creating turnovers.
Adams averages more than three steals a game and fires the starting gun on the Bruins' fast-break, which is what UCLA does best offensively.
3. Zach LaVine
The freshman star, who is scoring 14.2 points a game straight out of his "Made In Bothell, Washington" box.
His super-athletic and confident shooting presence alone allows to LaVine break down and change an opponents' defensive approach.
No one wants to get slashed and burned on a big dunk or suffer an and-one finish around the rim; but what makes LaVine especially difficult to defend is a tremendous shooting range that's becoming more consistent by the week.
A one-man floor-spreader, LaVine's presence on the court opens up a lot of space for UCLA's offense.
4. Norman Powell
I called him an X-Factor at the beginning of the season, and he has been exactly that.
Powell—one of the most experienced players on the roster—is fitting his role. He scores 12 points a night and can ignite the team with a scintillating slam, long-range shot or spectacular, energizing defensive play.
Powell is a great all-around contributor because, like Anderson and LaVine, he is good for around three rebounds and a steal per night, and his play often jump-starts UCLA's transition offense.
5. David Wear/Travis Wear
This spot has been filled by David Wear most of the season. His twin brother, Travis, sat out the first month recovering from an appendectomy and has not yet looked like his old self.
Last year, Travis was the more reliable, dynamic and polished player. He displayed a more consistent jump shot than David, and he appeared to be the more advanced player.
Neither Wear is ideal. Both seniors still shoot regularly with their heels set against the three-point line—the absolute worst shot in basketball. Both are liabilities on defense and do not pull their weight rebounding at either end (though Travis is slightly better on the offensive glass while David seems to work harder on the defensive side).
This spot is UCLA's weakness, and if there were other more capable post players they would be on the floor. But the Wears are what UCLA will dance with this year. Next year already looks much better.
1. Bryce Alford
He generally comes into the game with LaVine but doesn't remain in as long. He can be substituted for one of the guards but must focus first on distributing the ball and shooting only when he gets an open look within the flow of the offense.
Alford gets trigger happy, as does any player who considers himself a true scorer, but he is also an intelligent guard who understands the concepts of the motion offense.
Alford's role is to discipline himself to the proper execution of it, and if he can do that, he will without doubt boost the team's scoring output.
The Bruins sport a solid assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 2-to-1 this season, which has them ranked sixth nationally. Alford is second on team in assists at three per game.
Alford clearly has the ability to fill up the basket from three-point range, and if he happens to be shooting the ball well he can put up points in a hurry. His long-range daggers also extend the defense, which may open up more pockets inside for UCLA's mostly soft frontline to operate.
2. Tony Parker
Parker can enter the game for a Wear if he shows signs that day of being present. When he has shown up to play, he has demonstrated a soft touch, an ability to rebound forcefully and the occasional smooth scoring move on the low block.
Last year, UCLA coach Ben Howland was skewered for not playing Parker more minutes. Parker's entire development seemed to be done in darkness, and his scant playing time raised a lot of questions about how he was being handled.
"Why isn't Tony Parker playing?" asked everyone following the team.
In the bright light of day we have seen why. Parker was not ready and does not appear to be ready now.
He gets seven points a game in 21 minutes while leading the team in flailing and ineffective hacking. He also leads the squad in on-bench giggling.
Parker seems confused and frustrated when he is pulled from games, but he collects fouls so quickly that coaches do not have a chance to let him settle in.
It may be best just to let him play a few until he fouls himself out. It's tough to say what will make him comprehend as he has only five fouls a game to work with.