Sparty surrendered its top three scorers to the NBA draft. Branden Dawson erupted late in the season, but much of his production stemmed from the work of his teammates. He made a living by camping around the baseline and finishing assists, as well as running the floor to clean up missed shots.
Dawson is the least of Tom Izzo’s worries. Yet the rising senior still needs to develop more of a well-rounded offensive skill set in order to maximize his boundless potential.
Denzel Valentine was probably the last scoring option out of last year’s starters, though he showed in spurts what he is capable of.
First, he needs to take better shots. His 40 percent field-goal percentage is far too low, especially considering he shot a respectable 37 percent from behind the arc. He will have the scoring onus, alongside Dawson, so Valentine must develop a consistent shot and prioritize his shot selection with more intelligence.
Alongside those two is Trice, a prolific three-point shooter. He poses a great threat from the perimeter, but that is where his production comes and goes. He must develop into more of a threat inside the arc, where he can look to score or create for teammates.
Out of Matt Costello, Alvin Ellis and Kenny Kaminski, two of those players will start. Costello’s offensive game is restricted to layups and jump hooks, which he still needs to improve on. Conversely, Kaminski dazzled with his accurate three-point shooting (49 percent) last season, but he hasn’t developed an inside game just yet.
Also, Ellis will need to progress in all phases. He only shot nine three-pointers, though he made four of them, so he will need to gain more confidence. All three of these players’ skill sets are fairly limited, which hurts the Spartans.
Izzo’s players will need to work on their games in all areas in order to become a good offensive team. Right now, nearly every player has a glaring weakness in his repertoire.