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Every so often you come across a player who on paper is the perfect fit for the team he is playing on. All the things that he is expected to do well are exactly what the team needs. And then the games start. And it doesn't quite come off. The player will have his moments, make some big plays in big spots, but the whole winds up being less than the advertised parts. In many respects that was the story of Ge`Lawn Guyn's freshman season.
The primary appeal of Guyn was always on the defensive end. And after one season that is still where he is best. He is 6'1" 175 pounds with a wingspan that seems to be closer to 6'6". The guy is built to defend, and is probably the best on ball defender on the roster. But he didn't seem to impact games defensively.
The theory that I have been kicking around in my head is that as the best on ball defender he is sometimes out of place with the players he played with. Despite the numbers, which remained excellent, the 2011-12 defense wasn't the kind of D that stopped opposing offenses in their tracks with one on one defense, which it was at times last year with Rashad Bishop. The reason is that most of the guys in the rotation are ill equipped to play in that manner. To compensate they took a lot of risks going for turnovers. By and large the risk payed off for the team, but it served to minimize Guyn's impact. Afterall the thing that he does best, on ball one on one defense, wasn't exactly required with a defense predicated on attacking ball handlers at weird angles and times with double teams.
What will be interesting going forward will be finding ways for Guyn to be an impact guy on the defensive end while keeping the defensive mentality and style of this team more or less the same. That will be one of his biggest challenges next year. The other will be defining a role on the offensive end.
Guyn was never expected to be a main cog of the offense, and he wasn't, but his lack of offensive role was curious . I think Mick's best case scenario was for Ge`Lawn to be a steady pair of hands to keep things ticking over when Cashmere Wright needed to give his knee a blow. That didn't work. The offense tended to bog down and the ball would stop too often. That's why Mick went back to Dion Dixon being the back up PG at the end of the season.
I am not entirely sure what Guyn's best role will be going forward. But I don't think it will be as a point guard.* The math would suggest that Guyn is a good catch and shoot guy. All 9 of his three point makes this year were assisted, and half of his mid range makes on jumpers were also assisted. So that might be where he is best, as a perimeter jump shooter.
*It won't be Jeremiah Davis either, in case you were wondering
What Ge`Lawn needs to do is work to get that jumper to automatic status. He has the potential to be a great defender for this team, and that will where his value will always be higher. But if he can develop a role and a phase in his game that allows him to function at a high level on offense, even if it is just shooting 15 to 20 foot jumpers he would be indispensable to this team going forward. That is his challenge for next year.