Bama Hoops Hype

Grading Tide’s offense from 2016-17 season

Alabama guard/forward Riley Norris (No. 1) attempts three-pointer versus Mississippi State in 2017 SEC Tournament: Joseph Habshey - Bama Hoops Hype

Alabama made strides toward improving its offense last season, but it remains a working progress under head coach Avery Johnson. During the final year with coach Anthony Grant (2014-15) and Johnson’s first season, the Crimson Tide averaged 66.5 points in 67 games.

It turned in an increase of 2.5 points a year ago, posting 69 a game for a 19-15 record.

Despite having a slightly better field goal percentage in 2014-15 – 44.1 percent – Alabama had nearly three players to average double figures. Freshmen Braxton Key and Dazon Ingram led the team in scoring, amassing 12 and 10 points respectively. Rising senior Riley Norris fell third with nine points a contest through 34 games. While Norris anchored the Tide in three-pointers made (47), junior forward Donta Hall boasted the highest shooting mark at 65.8 percent.

In the rebounding department, Alabama tied Ole Miss for second in the Southeastern Conference with 418 offensive boards. Graduate transfer Bola Olaniyan led the team on the glass with 89 rebounds, to assist in second chance opportunities. Next to his scoring prowess, Ingram anchored the Tide in assists (30, 3.3 apg) and three-point percentage (42.9 %).

Alabama registered at 70 points in 13 games last season, surpassing its 2015-16 mark of nine games with at least 70. It dropped 90 in victories over South Carolina and Louisiana State University, with its win over the Gamecocks (90-86) occurring after four overtime periods.

Regardless of the good, turnovers and missed free throws kept the Tide from being great.

Avery Johnson witnessed his team miss 259 free throws. If it had developed some consistency at the foul line, Alabama would have been a 20-win team or better yet – an NCAA Tournament group. Instead, shortcomings at the charity strike and 474 turnovers doomed it to a second National Invitation Tournament appearance. Careless mistakes reared its head in the Tide’s 71-64 loss to Richmond in the first round of the NIT, as the team turned the ball over 16 times.

Contrary to the naysayers, there is a hope for basketball and football to coexist at the University of Alabama. With a star-studded recruiting class coming in and experience returning, the Tide’s offense can make some things happen and strike fear in the hearts of SEC opponents.

2016-17 Final Grade: C-

Stephen M. Smith covers Alabama men’s basketball for Bama Hoops Hype. You can like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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