The Chris Warren Conundrum

ED: Frontpag'd and rec'd. This is how good fanposts are done.

Chris Warren is one of the most explosive players in Ole Miss basketball history. The numbers he has put up, particularly form behind the arc, are going to leave his name scattered all over the Ole Miss and SEC record books. If not for the torn ACL as a sophomore, he'd have a real shot at 400+ 3-pointers.

So how the hell are we -23 over the last two games when he's on the floor?

Granted the +/- numbers don't tell the whole story of a player's value to the team. And it's easy to excuse a poor showing when you're down 30 at half on the road like the Rebels were at Miami (FL). But Chris's -12 against Miami was only one point better than the -11 he put up Saturday night against USM. Surprisingly, Terrance Henry (-3) and Reggie Buckner (-1) also registered negative numbers against the Golden Eagles, but none as robust as Warren. With the last 2 games, Chris has dropped to 8th on the team in total +/-, ahead of only Will Bogan and Demarco Cox.

Graham 40
Buckner 35
N Williams 22
Short 15
Henry 11
Gaskins 7
Nelson 6
Warren 4
Bogan -7
Cox -23


For the season, the Rebels are +4 when Chris is on the floor. When you consider that he's played 200 out 245 possible minutes, that equates to a whopping .8 points over a 40-minute game. Zach Graham tops the Rebels with a cumulative +40 in 173 minutes, which equates to nearly 10 ppg. Buckner's +35 over just 125 minutes equates to a team-leading 11.2 ppg.

When you look deeper into the numbers, it becomes even more confusing. While Chris has the highest points per minute average on the team at .55 ppm, the team scores 1.86 ppm when he's on the floor. Nick Williams and Buckner are tops with a team average of 1.98 ppm. Graham's 1.91 ppm, Dundrecous Nelson's 1.89 ppm, and Terrance Henry's 1.87 ppm all rank ahead of Warren's total. Some of that is the sheer number of shots Chris takes, sure, but there's also still a deference to Chris at times when he's on the floor. When he's off the floor, the other guys seem to be more aggressive to the basket.

It's hardly a surprise that Chris' best +/- effort was his +13 against Penn State. In that game, Trevor Gaskins buried 6 3s and was willing to shoot even when Chris was on the floor. That opened up the defense and allowed Warren to get into the lane and get fouled or dish the ball off. We've got to have that second scorer on a nightly basis to allow Chris to play in his comfort zone.

So what does it all mean? I know it doesn't mean bench Chris Warren. It does mean we are a significantly better team when Buckner stays on the floor. It does mean that we are significantly better team when guys other than Chris step up in games. There's a real chicken/egg situation when it comes to Chris' shot selection and the timidity that teammates show at times when Chris is out there.

Undoubtedly, Chris Warren's performance as a senior will go a long, long way in determining if we make the 3-letter or 4-letter tournament season. Here's hoping for big help for the little guy.

This post is a Red Cup Rebellion FanPost. Please don't sue us.

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