The Saturday roundtable is here.
If it’s Saturday it must be the roundtable. Where I ask the staff a question and share their responses. Today’s question focuses on everyone’s favorite area of the offseason, the transfer portal.
We all know what happened in the NCAA Tournament so no need to rehash it here fully. It’s now the off-season for the players and staff. The transfer portal will be big. If Purdue has scholarship room, what type of player do you want to see them go after?
There are a couple different ways to look at this one. Do you take the player that fills in the biggest hole for Purdue? Or do you simply try to grab the best player available? It’s sort of like any draft you see. Do you take the player your team needs or the best player available? It’s a question as old as time. So, for Purdue they need a couple things. They need some consistent perimeter shooting. If Purdue had that they’d still be playing in this tournament right now. But, you’d want to get someone who has been consistent over multiple seasons and in high pressure situations. Purdue failed the moment things got tough and you can’t recruit someone else just to come in and do the same thing. The second thing Purdue needs is someone who can truly create their own shot. With a seven footer crowding the lane that can be tough but it certainly was an element Purdue was missing this year. Braden Smith did this at times but given his height he found himself blocked in some crucial games.
So, with that being said to me you need a shot creator. You need someone who can drive to the hoop and create. Purdue does have Myles Colvin coming in who we are all very excited about, but having two players who can create their own shot is not a bad thing. It’s something Purdue has lacked that could really make a difference. Obviously you aren’t going to pluck Jaden Ivey out of the portal but someone like Jon Octeus would be a great pickup for this Boilermaker squad.
I think it’s obvious we will need some depth at the point guard next season. Smith will still be our guy but I’d love if we could land someone who is more of a shot creator and can handle ball pressure. We struggled having someone for a go to bucket when opposing teams put their entire defense on Edey. I’m hoping with another off season for Loyer and with Colvin coming in it’ll solve some of our perimeter shooting. Add in a more dynamic pg into the rotation who can also hit from deep can help some of the March woes we’ve seen. Even if Edey leaves, we still have a lot of big men who can handle the paint. If we want to start advancing in March, we need elite guards.
The thing is, it’s not about the players. We could pluck Jaden Ivey out of the NBA and still have the same overall issue in March. I don’t think any one player is going to unlock the offense.
If forced to choose, Purdue could use a scorer, not a shooter, but an actual scorer who can get buckets outside the offense at all 3 levels. If possible, I’d like to clone someone like Jaime Jaquez Jr from UCLA. A fearless scorer who gets better as the game gets tougher. I felt like this Purdue team was mentally soft on the perimeter (outside of Jenkins, who was limited to shooting only).
I initially wanted to jump straight to Point Guard, and while Purdue will extend offers to some experienced ball-handlers, it’s important to put what we already have in context. Braden Smith, as a true freshman, was excellent as a primary distributor, while leading the team in 3PT percentage. Potential transfers will recognize the difficulty in supplanting his starting role, which likely means it will be hard to find a huge difference maker at the position.
What Purdue really needs is a scorer. Someone who can take the ball late in the shot clock and create a shot off the dribble. They need someone with that cutting-edge like Carsen Edwards or Jaden Ivey. Someone who is willing to play within the system most of the time, but who is also itching to get his because he knows he can. Someone who, when things aren’t going well in the post, can add a new dimension to the offense that will open up the floor for everyone else. That’s the type of player who can take over a game. That’s the type of player who doesn’t allow his team to lose to Fairleigh Dickinson.
There’s a chance that guy is already on the way in Myles Colvin. A strong chance, I think. But pressure makes diamonds, and bringing in some top-quality veteran competition could speed up his development in the same way it did with Jaden. If you recall, in his freshman season, Ivey didn’t even start until late January, and when he got his chance, he took it and never looked back.
And while I recognize that I may be shooting for the stars here with the Edwards and Ivey comparisons, why shouldn’t I? Purdue has been ranked number one in consecutive seasons and has made the NCAA tournament 7 straight times. Purdue and Matt Painter should start to seek to draw in some top transfer talent, and with decent strides in NIL, they very well might.
Purdue is set at the 4 and 5, even if Edey leaves, so Purdue doesn’t need a front court player. They also appear set at the point guard position as I was incredibly impressed with Braden Smith as a true freshman. Where Purdue is lacking is a second ball handler and playmaker on the wing that has some athleticism.
Purdue has Myles Colvin coming in and Camden Heide coming off redshirt so athletes will be much more available, but I don’t want to be in the same position next year of relying on two freshman to carry Purdue again. I also don’t particularly like the idea of relying on Fletcher Loyer as the second option considering his body of work the last 1/3 of the season. What Purdue needs is a player like Hakim Hart from Maryland or Lazar Stefanovic from Utah.
Purdue needs to either get an athlete who can shoot or provide a matchup problem at the 2/3 and those two players provide that.
My initial thinking would be a ball handler. Purdue has a hard time attacking the lane and rim when it cannot get the ball to Zach Edey in the post. Should Edey leave, there will be some big Nikes to fill (if Nike ever decides to get Edey new shoes) and I think Kaufman-Renn and Furst will need to step up their roles, but I’m not sure that’s a sure need for Purdue. I would really like to see a 3 and D guy for when the switches occur on defense, but I think I just want to see our current guys hit their open shots. We all know they can.
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