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Stanford Basketball Player Profile: Dorian Pickens

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Can Jerod Haase find ways to maximize Pickens on offense while hiding him on defense?

NCAA Basketball: Stanford at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Stanford basketball, Dorian Pickens, Cardinal hoops
Stanford junior Dorian Pickens
Stanford Athletics
Season Games Played Minutes Played FG-FGA FG% 3FG-3FGA 3FG% FT% eFG% Rebounds per game Assists per game Steals per game Points per game PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
2014-15 31 267 17-48 35.4 9-25 36 69.2 44.8 1 0.5 0.2 2 10.6
2015-16 30 880 117-280 41.8 52-144 36.1 73.7 51.1 3.6 1.9 1.0 12.3 18.6
Career 61 1147 134-328 40.9 61-169 36.1 72.9 50.2 2.3 1.2 0.6 7.1 16.7

The biggest question about Dorian Pickens is always what shoe is he going to wear. This dude is a good offensive player. But instead of getting into that right away. First, take a look at Dorian Pickens shoe collection.

For a guy that loves his kicks that much, one of his teammates has to challenge him to horse with the stakes being that Pickens has to wear the White “Chef” Curry Two Lows for a month if he loses. Also, Stanford should begin Facebook Live-ing these horse games where the outcome results in a form of personal trauma for the losing shooter.

The good news for Dorian? It could be pretty tough to win a game of horse against him.

The kid can shoot in every situation.

Spotting up? 36-for-99 (36.4%) when weighted to account for the added value of the 3-point shot, he had an effective field goal percentage of 47%. Good for just a smidgen above 1 point per possession.

Coming off a screen? 24-for-57 (42.1%). An eFG% of 53.5% and 1.1 point per possession.

In transition? 16-for-34 (47.1%). An eFG% of 58.8% and 1.2 points per possession.

Cutting to the hoop? An eFG% of 55.6% with a 1.3 points per possession.

Pickens was very good last season when his teammates delivered him a pass within his motion in the offense. That is where he is most equipped to hurt his opponent. As such, fans should keep an eye on which teammates seem to connect and compliment Pickens as he works to create an opening for himself to score within the offense.

Pickens is pretty good as creating his own shot as well. He could find ways to score with the ball in his hands. However, Dorian was excellent when operating within the offense.

The piece of Pickens offensive game where he could help Stanford the most would be increasing his accuracy on his 3-point shot. For two seasons now, Pickens has shot right at 36%. If he could push his percentage up to 40% or better, he would be a lethal weapon for the Cardinal.

Defensively, Pickens had weaknesses.

First of all, Pickens really struggled in playing zone defense. In particular, a zone defense calls on players to have to close out on 3-point shots. This was a problem for Pickens. His spot within a zone defense is typically responsible to handle the corner 3-point shots. In the end, opponents averaged 1.015 points per possession when attacking Pickens’ zone defense.

Secondly, stopping opponents from scoring behind the arc was a struggle for Pickens. Opponents shot a blinding 34-for-79 (43%) from distance when the 6-foot-5 wing was assigned to them. That’s too easy.

Lastly, Pickens’ man was frequently too comfortable when challenged by Phoenix native’s efforts. Pickens’ assignments were able to score with quite a bit of success. When guarding the catch and shoot, something Pickens had to do on 55.1% of all defended possessions, his opponents had an effective field goal percentage of 66.7% for an average of 1.333 points per possession. Yikes.

In the end it seems to be the all too cliché case of a scorer that appears to be only interested in playing on one end of the floor. Pickens is Stanford best option on offense. He is also their worst option on defense.

All of this leads to an important question for Jerod Haase. How can Stanford hide Dorian Pickens on the defensive side of the ball?

There are easy ideas and solutions. Simply have Pickens assigned to the worst perimeter player. But that probably isn’t enough of a solution.

Lots of times coaches will simply play a zone defense to try to hide a weaker defender. But the issue here is that Pickens was a worse defender in the zone looks than he was in the man-to-man sets.

What Haase will have to do is discover ways to adequately provide help defense schemes and personnel pairings that limit the defensive costs of Pickens.

As Pickens and his teammates improve in executing Haase’s strategy, assuming Haase’s game plan is effective, the quicker they can get to winning big time basketball games.

Pickens can play. He will play a ton of minutes this season. The amount of value Stanford gets out of Pickens is dependent upon his teammates ability to maximize his offensive talents while minimizing his defensive liabilities.