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Analyzing the Rotations from the Kentucky Wesleyan Exhibition

Anyone who has ever stepped foot to watch a game inside of Rupp Arena, or even watched the game on TV with a volume of at least "4", has heard Coach Cal yell one of his famous exclamations towards our players: "GOOOOOOOOOO!!!!", "TWO HANDS!!!!!", "REBOUND!!!!!!!!". These exclamations are quite frequently followed with Cal pointing to his bench to put a different player in for the one who just messed up. As we know, Cal is never shy to quickly pull a player out of the game.

However, we saw a completely different level to this extreme substitution behavior in our first exhibition game against Kentucky Wesleyan. Coach Calipari changed the 5 players who were on the court, of anywhere between 1 to 3 players at a time, a total of 25 TIMES over the course of the 40 minute game. This means, on average, a lineup got to play roughly 1 minute and 32 seconds before Cal changed some combination of players. Of these 26 lineups used, 22 of them were unique. Only 3 lineups were used more than once, and only one was used 3 times. Given the large variety of lineups on display for us, some observations were made.

The biggest observation came at how our team played when different players were running the point. When Sahvir Wheeler was at the point guard, our team had a score of 61-33, a 28 point advantage. He also was out there for our best lineup of the day that went on a 9-0 run, consisting of Wheeler along with Kellan Grady, Dontaie Allen, Keion Brooks, and Oscar Tshiebwe.

NOTE: Other point guards might have been on the floor during this time, such as TyTy Washington or Davion Mintz. However, they were not playing the point guard at that time. I am only counting the score from the minutes where each player was specifically playing the point guard position.

When TyTy Washington was running the point guard, our team had a score of 23-35, a 12 point disadvantage. He was also out there for our worst run of the game, which witnessed a 7-0 run for Kentucky Wesleyan. Davion Mintz also ran some point guard, seeing a positive score of 11-4 in the late minutes of the game. While the team struggled when Washington was at the point, they played extremely well when he played the off guard to Wheeler. He saw his team score 24 points, while only giving up only 14, a 10 point advantage.

There is a lot more that goes into plus-minus than just the point guard production. However, in this sample, it is clear that our team played better on both sides of the ball when Wheeler was running the show. And this is not a knock on TyTy Washington at all. We have seen a ton of great combo guards succeed in Calipari's offense at the off guard, and then also succeed in the NBA playing point. Some of these players include Jamal Murray, Tyrese Maxey, Eric Bledsoe, and Immanuel Quickley. TyTy Washington can without a doubt be the next great player on this list.


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