Small forwards: Strengths and Weaknesses

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Arizona's small forwards should be one of its overall strengths. Read on to see what each brings to the table and needs to improve on.

We continue to look at the strengths and weaknesses of every position in order to get a closer look at what every player needs to improve on before next season starts. The following is for players that are likely to get minutes at small forward:

Stanley Johnson:

Strengths: Johnson is a bully and we mean that in a good way. He is one of the strongest wings in the country and should be able to carry that over to college. Should he play the two as expected, there likely won't be many players that can guard him individually because of that strength. He is able to wear down the opposition and is in good enough shape to the point where he does not get worn down himself.

Johnson is a much better passer and ball handler than he is given credit for. He has strong vision and is able to make the correct basketball play more often than not. Johnson is not a point guard by any means, but he is able to have a variety of success with the ball in his hands.

The most impressive aspect of Johnson is that he is able to improve at a rapid rate. This is not the same player that we watched only a few years ago, as he has improved in basically every area that he can. Johnson is a better shooter, passer, smarter, and just simply better than he was even months ago.

Lastly, Johnson basically does not lose. His competitive spirit makes him nearly impossible to keep down and he knows how to win. Whether it is high school or AAU, Johnson has shown that he knows what it takes to be a major player. We don't see that changing at the next level.

Weaknesses: Well, there really aren't any. Johnson sometimes has trouble creating in the half court, but of lot of that probably has to do with the fact that the five opposing players on the court are focusing on him.

When looking at Johnson's game, there isn't anything we would call a weakness as much as he might have room to improve on a few things. He is a pretty good shooter, but can likely expand his range. Johnson can make threes, but more consistency from behind the arc would go a long way.

In truth, we're nit-picking here. Johnson is just fine and if he comes in and continues to improve, he will have plenty of success right away.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson:

Strengths: In a lot of ways, Hollis-Jefferson is similar to Johnson in the way that he approaches the game. Often times, he was stronger than the man guarding him and while it means nothing if you don't use it, Hollis-Jefferson recognized this strength and was able to use it to the best of his ability.

There may not have been a player on Arizona that was better at getting into the lane. When Hollis-Jefferson chose to be aggressive, he often found himself in the paint either looking to score or find a cutting teammate. In addition, Hollis-Jefferson made an impact with his passing and surprised many with his ability to improve those around him.

Defensively, Aaron Gordon was probably the only Wildcat that was better than Hollis-Jefferson was last season. He was able to guard three positions and was success more at each. His defensive presence allowed Arizona to be more versatile with the lineups that it presented and that flexibility often gave the opposition fits.

Weaknesses: There are worse shooters than Hollis-Jefferson, but that doesn't make him a good one. The further he got from the basket, the worse he got. He only took ten three-point attempts, but he also only made two of them.

It was obvious that his strength offensively was getting to the basket, which was a big reason why teams chose to play off Arizona and tried to force it to take jumpers instead of being aggressive to the hoop.

Hollis-Jefferson needs a consistent, respectable jump shot that teams will respect and if he is able to get that, his whole offensive game will open up and it will do wonders for him.

Beyond that, there are not a ton of weaknesses. Hollis-Jefferson can improve on getting his own shot and there were numerous instances where he put his head down and decided he was going to get into the lane and put it up even if it wasn't the best shot.

Believe it or not, he can also improve defensively. Like we said, Hollis-Jefferson was one of the better defenders on Arizona. However, there were times throughout the season when Sean Miller chose to look in a different direction near the end of games because he lost his man. It did not happen often, but it did happen.

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