clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Do you think Cal basketball will be better or worse this season?

Go Bears!

NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at California Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Reef: I have no idea. As someone who likes to have an idea, this is a little disturbing, but it's where I'm at. I have no idea because Grant Mullins and Charlie Moore and possibly Roman Davis are going to get significant run and I don't have good data points on how they'll perform (just some wild ass guesses). I have no idea because Stephen Domingo minutes are almost mandatory, and his ability vs his performance are so far apart that I keep thinking something has to give, but I don't even know what that looks like at this point. And mostly I have no idea because the offense MUST look a lot different this year. You take away two of the most ball dominant players in Cal history, and that's simply a lot of seconds where the ball is somewhere else. It changes the offensive dynamic completely. It maybe does some crazy things for Ivan Rabb's ceiling. But I have to see it in order to judge it, and right now I haven't seen anything.

This team could and maybe should be better than the sum of its parts. If I had to guess, I'd start at 25-30 nationally. But I could see as high as 10 and as low as 60. I have no idea.

Andy Johnston: BETTER. Honestly I am stealing Rob's take so I will let him get all of the glory. I am excited to see what we can do with a more traditional point guard and feeding Rabb the ball down low.

Ruey Yen: While last year's team included two future NBA lottery pick (Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb) while this year only has one (Ivan Rabb), the potential growth of Rabb into a more complete and dominant player in year 2 is a rather realistic expectation. If Rabb does indeed becomes one of the best player in the country, then this is clearly a better team. Besides, the bar for besting the 2015-16 results - mainly making it out of the 1st round of the NCAA tournament, is fairly easy to clear.

boomtho: I think the team will be less frustrating to watch (probably more consistent given we won’t be heavily relying on two five-star freshmen and Tyrone Wallace) but has a lower ceiling, given the loss of J-Mat, Ty, and Jaylen.

This team will probably be even more in Cuonzo’s desired image – disciplined defense, slow tempo, heavy motion offense with the wings initiating a lot of the action.

LeonPowe: I think the offense will be more smooth - with Singer/Moore instead of two ball-dominant wings as our primary ball handlers, we can install a little bit more offense. I'm hoping for a few more Rabb mid-post/face ups to get him one on one and maybe some more single/doubles for J. Bird off curls and baselines. If we continue with the 1-4/Flex/horns, there's a million ways to get the ball in the hands of Rabb and Bird, but it won't necessarily be sticky like it was last year with Ty and Jaylen. (I love Ty and Jaylen, but the ball did stick to them a little bit more than I would've liked)

Nik Jam: I really don't know. I think losing Jaylen Brown, Jordan Mathews and Tyrone Wallace is a huge deal but we still have Ivan Rabb and Jabari Bird. I expect Grant Mullins and Charlie Moore to step in right away and be good for the Bears.

The rest of the conference shouldn't be a whole lot better from last year, except maybe Arizona and Oregon. I expect Utah and Oregon State to fall a little bit.

I would be disappointed if Cal does not get a first round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament in Vegas.

Kevin Wu: Cal basketball has proven to me that they will ALWAYS underperform compared to preseason hype, top recruits, anything really. Last year was a complete dud to me - given the talents we had in Brown and Rabb. So, even with Rabb getting all this preseason love right now, I have to believe - based solely on history - that he won't perform up to the hype. I want him to, I really do. But, as a responsible Cal fan, I must protect myself now even before the season begins, and just assume that Cal basketball will be eh this year. We might match last year's success, but that's about it, I think.

Nick Kranz: Part of the challenge with this question is that Cal fans don't even agree on how good Cal was or wasn't last season, so there's certain amount of subjectivism built into the initial question. Let's just take the efficiency numbers. Kenpom had Cal's final season ranking as 28th in the country, with the 52nd ranked offense at the 19th ranked defense.

I think that Cal can improve on defense. The biggest reasons Cal was a good defensive team last year were Ivan Rabb and the 7 foot duo of Kam and King. Those players are all back, and can all reasonably be expected to improve. Simply playing the same level of defense but fouling less frequently would be a step in the right direction.

Will Cal's rebuilt back court play as good or better defense? Harder to say, and it may well depend on Cuonzo's rotation decisions - will he give more minutes to more defensively minded players like Sam Singer and Stephen Domingo, or more offensive minded players like Grant Mullins and Charlie Moore?

Offensively, the question is whether or not Cal can replace the slashing, one-on-one scoring ability of Ty and Jaylen with a more team oriented offensive approach. Moore and Mullins seem like the type of players who can make that happen, but new players means a higher degree of uncertainty.

I think it's entirely possible that Cal can be better on either end of the floor (and if we still had Jordan Mathews, I would say it's more likely than not) but we have to deal in probabilities, and I think the most likely outcome is that Cal is similarly efficient on the whole, even if they get to that point with a stylistically different offense.