On Wednesday night Arizona shooting guard Nick Johnson dished out seven assists and had just a single turnover, while the team’s point guard scored 18 points but dished out just a pair of assists. It is only natural to wonder if maybe the two players should switch roles.
Photo: Rick Faust/Tucson West Publishing
In fact this season Nick Johnson has a 5-to-1 assist to turnover ratio, while Lyons, who averaged two less assists a game, is barely over 1-to-1. That being said, Sean Miller has his guards right where he wants them.
“Right now I want to keep Nick locked in on it,” Miller said. “Because the one thing he does do is make the game easier for the point guard he is playing with.”
In some ways, Miller feels the lack of playing the point guard is exactly what has made it so easy for him to put up big assist numbers.
“There’s a big difference playing like a point guard when there is another guy out there who is in charge of running your team than it is when you are running the team,” Miller explained.
Miller said keeping Johnson confident is key. Last year Johnson had to play both positions, especially late in the year and struggled. As his confidence waned, his numbers dropped dramatically.
“He has a lot of confidence playing the game the way he is playing,” Miller said. “The burden of what play do you want in the offense and handling pressure or traps, are they in the man or zone? That adds to your plate and it can certainly take away from what we are doing.”
The team is also using Johnson as their defensive stopper and want him to put a huge focus on guarding the other team’s best perimeter player. By not having to worry about the intricacies in the offense, Johnson can concentrate on locking up his man.
In the end, regardless of what position the sophomore is playing, Miller likes what he sees.
“He’s fun to watch for me coaching him right now because he’s playing well,” Miller said.