How does the number two point guard in the country, a five star recruit, go to his hometown school and in his junior year, remain the most disparaged player on the team?
That’s the case with Abdul Gaddy, and it all started when the expectations for him as a 17 year old freshman were through the roof.
He was looked at as someone who would take over games and be a dominant point guard, there were talks about how lucky the Huskies were that he was so young; he’d have to stay at least two years before going to the NBA.
So where did it all go wrong? How did such a talented prospect become such a ‘bust’ in so many fans’ eyes?
For starters, Gaddy is far from a bust, his ability to control the tempo of the game is unmatched by anyone else on the roster. His over 2:1 assist to turnover ratio is incredible for the style of game the Huskies play.
He’s given very little credit for his defense, but in reality, he is fundamentally sound. He’s not the quickest, but he’s able to keep in front of his man and that’s been important for the Huskies who’ve at many times struggled with their fundamental defense.
Still, the biggest knock on Gaddy is his lack of explosiveness, or that wow factor that Isaiah Thomas and Tony Wroten both have brought to the table.
Gaddy isn’t a scorer, so he’s only seen as someone who can bring the ball up the court and pass off letting others do the work to score.
That’s where the gap has occurred from Gaddy’s talent and his production at Washington. No matter what stat is brought up, he hasn’t produced at the level the number two point guard should produce at.
The reason for this? The Huskies have no set offense, they play rat ball as many call it; letting the talented athletes get open and score with no called plays and no real game plan.
This works great for players like Wroten or Terrence Ross who are phenomenal athletes, but Gaddy doesn’t have the athletic ability that they have; he is a mental player.
Gaddy would thrive in a system that he knows where players are supposed to be and when they’re supposed to get a pass, that’s his game.
In a game earlier this season, he ran a simple pick and roll to Aziz N’Diaye, he placed what should have been a perfect pass to N’Diaye cutting; only problem is that he didn’t cut. The pass went out of bounds and Gaddy could be heard yelling to N’Diaye that he needed to roll; if he had, it would’ve been an easy two points for Washington.
Watching the Husky offense, it consists of standing around the top of the key and waiting for one player to make his move; there’s not a huge need for a true point guard in that game plan.
Gaddy is not a player who is going to drive to the hoop to score; if he does it will be with more of a running floater than an acrobatic highlight lay-in anyways.
In the Huskies system Gaddy doesn’t know what to expect, he doesn’t know where the shooters will be if he attempts to penetrate and kick out. Everyone is doing what they want to and he’s stuck trying to improvise as best he can.
Put Gaddy onto a team like Duke that has set plays and an offensive system and I believe he would flourish; he wouldn’t be an Austin Rivers or a John Wall, but he wouldn’t be getting torn down for not scoring 17 points per game.
In no way is he a perfect point guard, he lacks confidence and an outside shot, but calling Gaddy awful or a bust is far from the truth. I’d hate to see what would happen if the Huskies didn’t have him; their turnovers would sky-rocket and they’d be even more out of control than they already are.
I simply refuse to believe that every scout in the country, not to mention the handful of coaches of great programs that offered him scholarships flat out missed. It happens yes, but not with the number two player at a position, he doesn’t just become a bad player stepping to the next level, it’s just not a good situation for his skill-set.
He could very easily have an NBA career ahead of him; the situation at Washington isn’t right for him; it happens. Maybe the blame shouldn’t go squarely on him, maybe there should be more emphasis on X’s and O’s for the Huskies.
If that were the case Gaddy would improve and the Huskies would benefit as well, he is a good player, he’s just stuck in a system that doesn’t fit his game.
Follow Lawrence on Twitter @AMitchellReport