ESPN Writer: Dre Hollins & Up Tempo Offense is Laughable

August 10, 2013
ESPN Writer: Dre Hollins & Up Tempo Offense is Laughable

On August 9, 2013, ESPN writer Eamonn Brennan said, “The problem (both [sic] for Hollins and the Gophers was turnovers, and until Hollins reigns those in, the thought of him leading an up-tempo secondary break is more laughable than exciting.”

Brennan was referring to Minnesota’s junior point guard Andre Hollins. No Big Ten player returning this season had a higher Offensive Value Add than Dre in 2012-13.

Last year the Gophers’ 21.3% turnover rate in regular season Big Ten games was the conference’s worst. The second worst team was Indiana, who also happened to have the fastest offensive pace in the entire Big Ten. Does this make the Hoosiers more laughable than exciting?

Let’s be fair. Brennan’s poor choice of words was aimed squarely at Andre Hollins as an individual player who allegedly has such a turnover problem that the thought of him pushing the pace on offense elicits laughter.

That said, we’ll compare Andre’s “turnover problem” with the turnover rates of point guards for each the top four offensive tempo teams in the Big Ten last year (defined as the teams with the shortest average offensive possession length per Kenpom’s new feature) .

Team Player TO Rate
Minnesota Andre Hollins 19.7
Iowa Mike Gesell 20.5
Penn St. DJ Newbill 21.3
Illinois Tracy Abrams 22.3
Indiana Yogi Ferrell 24.5
Iowa Anthony Clemmons 29.8

As illustrated above, Andre’s turnover rate was lower than the point guards for the Big Ten’s fastest offensive tempo squads.

We’re not overly concerned about Minnesota’s turnover rate in 2013-14. It can’t get much worse and could improve considerably. Coach Richard Pitino’s style of play could open things up to a few more mistakes, but personnel changes (players and coaches) and experience cause us to believe that Minnesota can more than offset the additional risk of pushing the pace.

Andre Hollins used more possessions than any other Gopher last season and his turnover rate wasn’t awful. So how did the team’s turnover rate get to be so bad? The problem was pervasive throughout much the roster.

Austin Hollins and Rodney Williams had relatively low turnover rates due in large part to their style of play. Besides those two and Andre Hollins, everyone else struggled. That includes bigs like Trevor Mbakwe and Elliott Eliason, starting wing Joe Coleman and all bench players.

Andre Hollins significantly improved his turnover rate as a sophomore, but still has room to be better as a junior. Nonetheless, Hollins is a great point guard who had a respectable turnover rate in 2012-13 and he’s a player who excels when seeking out points.

Is giving more freedom to an experienced point guard who scored at least 20 points in 10 games last season better described as exciting or concerning? We wouldn’t criticize anyone for having concerns about how Minnesota’s offense will perform this year. However, suggesting that the ability of Andre Hollins to lead an up-tempo offense is laughable is, well… laughable.

Below is a look at turnover rates by player (Minnesota 2012-13):

Player TO Rate
Austin Hollins 15.0
Rodney Williams 17.5
Andre Hollins 19.7
Julian Welch 22.4
Trevor Mbakwe 22.7
Oto Osenieks 23.1
Andre Ingram 23.9
Joe Coleman 24.1
Maurice Walker 25.6
Maverick Ahanmisi 27.6
Elliott Eliason 27.7

@LateNightHoops is on Twitter.

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