Purdue's offense has been stale to say the least. While the defense has been relatively solid (besides the last week), Purdue's lack of scoring has cost them far too many games. There are a wide variety of questions as to why, but the teams lack of shooting outside is a key catalyst. Besides the fatal flaw of not having an outside scoring game, the inability to hit shots allows defenders to play off and stop any penetration to the bucket and kill the ability for any of the guards to drive to the rim. The offense has basically deteriorated to either give it to Hammons for a shot or throw up an off balanced lay-up or an atrocious jumper. So far it's not been efficient in the least.
That leads us to DJ Byrd. Byrd was a spark off the bench as a sixth man last season. He was able to come in and do his thing and contribute to the team. The problem now? He IS the offense and IS the guy expected to make plays. Byrd is a one dimensional player and is only strong from beyond the arc. He’s about as streaky of a shooter as you’re going to get and when he’s not feeling it he still chucks up off balanced three pointers five feet behind the line with 25 seconds on the shot clock. Unlike last season Painter doesn't have someone he can put in over Byrd when he's not playing well and has to stick with Byrd the entire game, this essentially puts out a guy who is nothing but a liability on offense.
Byrd can be a game changer but he’s just as big of a liability out there as well considering his lack of consistency. 4 of 13 in a 5 point loss to Bucknell, 4 of 14 versus Oregon State, 0-9 from 3 versus Xavier and 0-5 versus 3 versus EMU (in a three game streak where he scored 4 points on 1 of 15 shooting versus three teams with a combined record of 24-37).
My issue with Byrd is he’s not truly a “good” shooter. He can be, but not always. The team needs an outside shooting presence, but Byrd is about as streaky as you can get and will burn the team with horrendously awful shot selection more often then not. His shooting was key in the Clemson and Nebraska wins, with his hustle being a big deciding factor versus Illinois. But he’s also been non-existent in many losses, especially when he went 0-15 from the beyond the arc versus Xavier and Eastern Michigan in games we lost by a combined 9 points.
Byrd’s inconsistency makes me believe he’s better fitted as a sixth man who can come off the bench and light a spark. Problem is the team doesn’t have the depth to use him as such. Even though outside shooting is a necessity, Byrd isn’t making this team any better when you weigh in how much he costs it at times.
Also, more importantly. When Byrd isn’t feeling it his a complete non-factor. Sometimes he goes into hiding and you don’t even realize he’s out there, sometime he shoots up some horrible bricks. Regardless, when he’s not hot teams don’t have to really worry much about him. Take away the 3 pointer and what does Byrd have? He doesn’t really have a mid range jumper, he doesn’t drive and he doesn’t create many (if any to be honest) shots for himself inside the arc. He’s one dimensional and the second he’s having an off night he’s a non-factor entirely in the offense. Due to the current roster we don’t have anyone to throw in there to replace him so it makes scoring even more problematic.
Smith got into that kind of funk from time to time in the past but they were able to put someone in over him to counter it. There is no counter measure for Byrd this year, we’re all in with him every game and he simply doesn’t produce anywhere near what he needs too
If this read awkwardly it's because i was lazy and wrote a fourth of it, then slightly reworded a few comments on Byrd I posted elsewhere the past few days. Don't blame me, blame my work writing on the schedule last second without contacting me and me having to work early morning before a full day of class.