Player Development Thread- Tonny Trocha Morelos

mdanyc03
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I think Tonny is one of the biggest variables for next year. I think a lot of people are ready to write him off and bury him but I still think he could become a good player for us.

A few of my observations.

- His freshman year he was one of the least efficient players in the country. His KenPom efficiency rating was historically bad, but you could still see the potential for upside.
- Sophomore year he became a very important role player. He improved pretty significantly in just about every category. Maybe most surprising is that he became a fairly effective situational 3 point shooter (37% on 2.2 attempts per game, up from 0 made his freshman year).
- Junior year looks like regression when you look at the numbers. Turnovers doubled, shot way too many 3 pointers at a way too low rate. But..

- I think Tonny made observable physical improvements last year. There were at least a couple of times last year where he blocked a shot or got a rebound and I had to do a "was that really Tonny?" double take.
- I also think that Tonny is uniquely gifted as a passer for a big man. Now, I know this isn't reflected in the numbers. But there have been at least a couple of passes made by Tonny that I don't think any other big man I have seen at A&M could have made. A couple of alley oops to Caruso late in the 2016 season and a behind half court alley oop to Robert Williams last year stand out. I think he has a pretty unique sense of spacing and timing but just doesn't quite yet have the skills polished to the extent needed to fully take advantage of that.


Now what I think off season priorities should be.
- Kennedy said at one point last year post game that "Tonny needs to either spend a lot more time in the gym shooting threes or stop shooting so many threes." Which I think we would all agree with. Obviously there is room to improve but I think most important think next year is shot selection. I'd prefer to see zero contested or off the dribble threes. If he does that I think he can get back to the 37% or so rate we need to see him at.
- Beyond that, I think we have a divergence in what Tonny needs to do as a player to continue his career and what we need him to do next year. Tonny needs to become a better ball handler, better passer, better low post and high post moves, etc. But I don't think we need him to do any of that next year. I think we just need him to be a good defensive player (which I think he can be as a guy that can defend both in the paint and can guard stretch fours on the perimeter) and a facilitator that can create space and open shots for Tyler and Robert as an effective spot up situational three point shooter and a good passer both from the high post and in the paint. I also think he can be an effective offensive rebounder.
- And he also just needs to be a much better finisher. Stronger and more explosive so he can finish in the paint. He shot under 50% on 2 point attempts last year and that number needs to be way up.

Also worth noting that Logan has mentioned Tonny a couple of times this offseason as a guy who has ramped it up a gear in terms of work ethic and that he has made noticeable physical improvements already since the end of the season.

I still think the long term template for Tonny is something like Frank Kaminskey but he isn't going to get there during his time at A&M. I really do think though that this is a guy that can make a lot of money playing basketball but will probably need another couple of years to develop after A&M before he reaches his potential.

I think ideal stat line for Tonny next year is to keep the scoring at about 8 per game but at 50% overall shooting and 35% plus on threes. Shoot 70% on free throws and get the assist to turnover ratio to 2:1. All of which I think is achievable.

Your thoughts?
GE
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Towards the latter half of the season he showed flashes of being able to drive the ball to the bucket and also drive and pull up and hit the mid-range jumper. If he can do those two things more consistently and gain some weight and toughen up on defense, he can be one of the best first guys off the bench in the SEC.
Ajm1114
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If he could stop being as soft as baby poop around the rim and actually finish, that'd be great! Other than that, just put up a million shots a day and work at the line. He has the vision and the timing to be a great passer, which you could say he already is, just needs to cut back on the dumb passes every now and then, he has the tools, just needs to fine tune it.
txag72
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Although he's got a ways to go to be in the top 5 contributors of this talented team, his progression from the day he played his first game until the end of last year has been better than just about any player I can remember. If he makes another jump this year, he'll be a very important piece.
Pumpkinhead
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If we get production out of Tonny similar to his second season (2015-2016) then I'll be pleased. Similar to that season, he'll be playing with better players overall around him so I think pretty decent chance his numbers will improve accordingly.
RG20
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When he is in, I think a triple post offense would work well with two guards spotting up on the wings. Let the three bigs basically play motion with a ton of high/low, cross screening action, downscreen/backscreen action etc... any pass to a guard is a cross screen/ downscreen screen the screener scenario. Can even let Top big run pick and roll or pick and pop etc...
PatAg
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Develop his game catching it at the free throw line to bust the zone. He needs to shoot the turnaroudn jumper there, a hard dribble and finish, or dribble and pass..or quick rotate pass.

any number of things, he could help us break zones big time
Hop
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Ideally, next year's team won't need Trocha dribbling and shooting outside the paint. What they need is him to get stronger....especially his hands and grip. If he can improve his strength, then keep him in the paint as a classic post player. He has a very impressive wing span and reach that can be utilized best around the paint, not on the perimeter.
bobinator
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There's a lot right OP, but there's some stuff I disagree with also.

For one thing, Trocha is going to be 23 next season (for comparison, he's a couple of months older than Julius Randle and Randle was drafted three years ago,) So I'm not sure there's a lot more physical development to be had unless he's been really lazy the last three years.

So that said, Trocha is probably the best example though of what I criticize our coaching staff for most. He does some really difficult things really well, but he's simply not good at some of the very basics of basketball.

He's below where he should be at setting screens and picks, positional rebounding and defensive positioning (especially in zones, he's an absolute liability in zones.) If he were good at these very basic things that I think everyone should be able to learn, then he would be a consistently good player. Because he isn't, he's a streaky and unreliable player. There are times that he's one of our better players, and there are times that we can't even put him on the court.

So that's where he needs to improve. He needs to be able to bring something to the floor when his shot isn't falling or when he's being guarded by someone more athletic than he is which takes away some of his moves and ball-handling ability.

Succinctly, he has to find a way to still be able to make a difference even when the guy he's guarding (or is guarding him) is better than he is.

Quote:

Tonny needs to become a better ball handler, better passer, better low post and high post moves, etc. But I don't think we need him to do any of that next year. I think we just need him to be a good defensive player (which I think he can be as a guy that can defend both in the paint and can guard stretch fours on the perimeter) and a facilitator that can create space and open shots for Tyler and Robert as an effective spot up situational three point shooter and a good passer both from the high post and in the paint. I also think he can be an effective offensive rebounder.

I absolutely think we need Tonny to get better at handling, passing, and post moves because those are things he's already pretty good at. So him getting a little bit better at them (along with those fundamentals I said earlier) would make a big difference for us as a team, without Tonny himself really doing anything that crazy this offseason. I think expecting him to be a little bit better at those things is realistic.

I think him being a good defensive player is unrealistic at this point. He's pretty good at being tall so he can guard shorter players fairly well if they aren't very fast, and he's good at taking charges, but if he becomes a really good defensive player over the summer that would be pretty shocking right? I also disagree that he'll be a particularly good offensive rebounder because he's not normally in a position to get an offensive rebound.
Pumpkinhead
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Quote:

he's a streaky and unreliable player. There are times that he's one of our better players, and there are times that we can't even put him on the court.

You just described a large percentage of college and professional basketball players, to varying degrees.
bobinator
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I don't think so. Everyone is streaky to some degree, but not to the point where they're a flat out liability to have on the court.

I'd say Trocha is our only guy that fits that mold when you're talking about his all around game. Hogg maybe, but his streakiness is entirely in his shooting, he's pretty much the same player otherwise all the time. Trocha's streakiness isn't just his shooting, there are times when he can't defend anyone and seems to just get in the way on offense.

Maybe I worded that wrong?
AggieBaller98
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I think we're maybe putting too much stock into a player that isn't going to see 1st team minutes.

The most important thing for Trocha is to be have consistency with bringing energy to the floor. There's no reason why he should worry about fouling out nor go all out every minute that he's out there. With this being his senior year, the expectation should be that he thinks, acts and plays like a player who's been in the system the longest.
bobinator
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This is going to sound insane, so I'm admitting that from the beginning. But I wonder if, rotation wise, we wouldn't be better off starting Trocha at the four and then bringing Williams off the bench.

Williams would still play a lot more than Trocha, but if you work under the assumption that we're going to start each game by trying to establish Davis in the low post, then it seems like an easy way to buy some rest for Williams would be to start Trocha. Also, we can still be really effective if Williams or Davis is the only big man on the floor, but that's not the case for Trocha, so you'd more ensuring that his minutes come with Davis on the floor instead of potentially later getting into a foul situation.

Again, I know that's not exactly the traditional way you go about the game and that you should probably not overthink it and just start your best five players, but it's just something I've pondered based on next year's roster.
mdanyc03
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Quote:

For one thing, Trocha is going to be 23 next season (for comparison, he's a couple of months older than Julius Randle and Randle was drafted three years ago,) So I'm not sure there's a lot more physical development to be had unless he's been really lazy the last three years.
So I was mostly referring to development of his skill set. Guys continue to make massive improvements into their late 20's and even 30's. Lebron, Jason Kidd, etc, etc where massively more skilled in their early 30's than in mid 20's even after several years in the NBA. I am saying that I think that Tonny won't really reach his potential until 27 or so, long after he is done at A&M. He is simultaneously both skilled and very raw. Certain players are clearly never, ever going to be able to develop certain skills. I think Tonny could become a guy as skilled as Frank Kaminskey, he is just a couple of years behind at least where Kaminskey was at the same age.


Quote:

I absolutely think we need Tonny to get better at handling, passing, and post moves because those are things he's already pretty good at.
I guess we see a totally different player when we watch Tonny apparently. While I do think he is a naturally gifted passer, I don't think he is a good ball handler or has good post moves at all. What I am saying is that he needs to improve those skill sets but there is no way he will be good enough at those things to really add value next year. I don't want Tonny posting people up much because I would rather Tyler and Robert do that. I don't want Tonny shooting mid range jump shots or shooting off the dribble or handling the ball because I think there are other guys that will do that better. I want Tonny to do his comparative advantage. Get offensive rebounds, be tall, make nifty passes, play defense, convert put backs, hit open three pointers from the top of the key. I don't really want him doing something else that other guys can better.

Quote:

I think him being a good defensive player is unrealistic at this point. He's pretty good at being tall so he can guard shorter players fairly well if they aren't very fast, and he's good at taking charges, but if he becomes a really good defensive player over the summer that would be pretty shocking right?
Again, this is a case where we see a totally different player. I think Tyler is much more of a defensive liability than Tonny unless we are playing a Kennedy Meeks type player. But really Tonny is never going to play the five so how many teams on the schedule have a four that is going to bully him in the paint? Tonny can play at the top of the press or trap half court, he has longer arms, he has relatively quick feet for a 6'10 guy. He is a better shot blocker than Tyler, especially as a weak side defender and much better defensively in transition. Honestly, your assessment that he is a poor defender is kinda strange to me personally. There is a reason why Tonny played the last five minutes and overtime against UNI for example and Tyler didn't and it had nothing to do with offense. Honestly I expect we will see some offense/ defense subbing with Tyler and Tonny this year and we did see that some last year too.

I agree that Tonny is maybe exposed more on defense because he is asked to do more. Like guard a three on the perimeter. That is a pretty big ask for a 6'10 guy.


Hop
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Yeah, I think Tonny has excellent footwork on defense for a big man. He basically played the wing the last half of conference play and I thought he held his own on defense better than I anticipated. I agree with the other poster who said we are critiquing him as if he's a No. 1 post player when he's a guy coming off the bench. In that context, I think he's a very nice asset and would take him over just about any SEC post coming off the bench not in a UK uniform.

Improve his strength even more, and that will do more for his game next season than all the other skills combined.
AggieBaller98
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bobinator said:

This is going to sound insane, so I'm admitting that from the beginning. But I wonder if, rotation wise, we wouldn't be better off starting Trocha at the four and then bringing Williams off the bench.

Williams would still play a lot more than Trocha, but if you work under the assumption that we're going to start each game by trying to establish Davis in the low post, then it seems like an easy way to buy some rest for Williams would be to start Trocha. Also, we can still be really effective if Williams or Davis is the only big man on the floor, but that's not the case for Trocha, so you'd more ensuring that his minutes come with Davis on the floor instead of potentially later getting into a foul situation.

Again, I know that's not exactly the traditional way you go about the game and that you should probably not overthink it and just start your best five players, but it's just something I've pondered based on next year's roster.
That kind of makes sense with last year's personnel but with an actual point guard in place you need to have Williams athleticism there whenever Caldwell gets into the paint. I'd prefer to have an above average rebounder who plays above the rim in place rather than a guy who is there to spread the floor.

Plus, would you rather have Tonny setting a pick for Caldwell/Gilder or Williams setting a pick for Caldwell/Gilder??
GE
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bobinator said:

This is going to sound insane, so I'm admitting that from the beginning. But I wonder if, rotation wise, we wouldn't be better off starting Trocha at the four and then bringing Williams off the bench.

Williams would still play a lot more than Trocha, but if you work under the assumption that we're going to start each game by trying to establish Davis in the low post, then it seems like an easy way to buy some rest for Williams would be to start Trocha. Also, we can still be really effective if Williams or Davis is the only big man on the floor, but that's not the case for Trocha, so you'd more ensuring that his minutes come with Davis on the floor instead of potentially later getting into a foul situation.

Again, I know that's not exactly the traditional way you go about the game and that you should probably not overthink it and just start your best five players, but it's just something I've pondered based on next year's roster.
You were right about at least one thing in that statement - the first six words.
bobinator
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To be clear, I didn't say he was a poor defender. I said him "being a good defensive player" is unrealistic. I didn't say he was particularly bad at overall defense, I just think he's mediocre. (He is particularly bad at zone defenses though.)

There's a middle area of "meh" between someone being good at something and someone being bad at something. Plus it's relative. He might be a good defender if he played for Vanderbilt or something, but not compared to Williams or Davis. Like I said, he does pick up charges so he has some decent footwork at times, especially from the help side like you said, but if you're a team scheming against us and looking for a weak link on defense, it's definitely either him or Hogg right? (Without knowing what our freshmen are bringing to the table.)

But I completely disagree with your assessment of Tyler Davis' defense. Tyler is a way better defender than Tonny overall. The UNI thing was all about matchups because they were a team of midgets and Tonny is significantly faster than Tyler. The only time Tyler is a defensive liability is when he's hedging way too far out on the perimeter or gets caught on a guard because of a switch, but that had more to do with our personnel and him trying to do something he shouldn't be doing. Tonny is probably better as a help side defender but that's mostly because Davis is usually guarding their best post player so it's usually better for him to stay where he is and block out for a rebound instead of trying to get a block or take a charge or something.
bobinator
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AggieBaller98 said:


That kind of makes sense with last year's personnel but with an actual point guard in place you need to have Williams athleticism there whenever Caldwell gets into the paint. I'd prefer to have an above average rebounder who plays above the rim in place rather than a guy who is there to spread the floor.

Plus, would you rather have Tonny setting a pick for Caldwell/Gilder or Williams setting a pick for Caldwell/Gilder??
So that's part of it though I think. Obviously, you'd rather have Williams in than Trocha. That's a given. But over the course of a whole game, it isn't always about having your best five on the floor, it's about putting the best 40 minutes possible on the floor.

So if we hold Williams at the beginning, then we play him more or less the rest of the way starting at the under 16 media (maybe a 1-2 minute break in the middle) then he's out there as a safety net when we're rotating Gilder and Caldwell out of the game instead of potentially having Trocha out there.

Put another way: I don't think Kennedy is very good at managing personnel and I already have nightmares of us trying to play four-five minutes stretches from around the under 12 to the under 8 with both Davis and Williams out of the game or something.
txag72
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Quote:

Everyone is streaky to some degree, but not to the point where they're a flat out liability to have on the court.
Thought you were talking about Caruso there for a second.
mdanyc03
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Quote:

But I completely disagree with your assessment of Tyler Davis' defense. Tyler is a way better defender than Tonny overall.
I guess we are probably having an apples to oranges comparison here since they do different things on defense. What I definitely do think is that Tonny can bring some unique things to the table defensively. He can be the front of the full court press. He can be the top of a half court trap. He probably doesn't do either of these as well as Robert Williams but the fact is that you can't really trap or press with Tyler in the game besides him being the guy just sitting back under the basket (which makes pretty much any trap largely ineffective if you are actually looking for turnovers rather than just applying pressure and slowing them getting into their offense).

Going back to my main theme though is that Tonny can be a very good role player because he isn't just another guy who is not as good as the starters. Rather he is not as good overall but has specific things that he does very well. And that is what you ideally want from your role players.
bobinator
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mdanyc03 said:

Quote:

Going back to my main theme though is that Tonny can be a very good role player because he isn't just another guy who is not as good as the starters. Rather he is not as good overall but has specific things that he does very well. And that is what you ideally want from your role players.

I mean that's more or less what I said as well. He does some things really well, but it's his inconsistency with some of the basics that makes him a frustrating player to me. It's not like a Tavario Miller who has an obvious ceiling. There are times you watch Tonny and think this guy could make good money playing basketball somewhere.

If someone could teach him, or he could learn (I'm not at practice so I don't know if it's a teaching problem or a learning problem) to play consistently fundamentally sound basketball, he'd be a really good player.

As it is, he's an okay player that sometimes has really good games and sometimes has horrible games. And that's not exactly what you'd want from a junior.

Again, everyone is streaky to some degree, but I'd say that Trocha has the widest variance on the team.
Ajm1114
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I actually played at the Rec with Trocha yesterday, very unimpressive to say the least, but hey being 6'10 gets you somewhere I guess. Lol
mdanyc03
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Ajm1114 said:

I actually played at the Rec with Trocha yesterday, very unimpressive to say the least, but hey being 6'10 gets you somewhere I guess. Lol
Anonymous and unspecific "I played with so and so and he sucks" comments are neither interesting, insightful or cool.
GE
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Ajm1114 said:

I actually played at the Rec with Trocha yesterday, very unimpressive to say the least, but hey being 6'10 gets you somewhere I guess. Lol
I'm sure he was trying his hardest.
Ajm1114
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PYou don't have to try hard to hit at least some shots, he was pretty bad. For a proclaimed shooter it was sad.
Method Man
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Sad!
Ajm1114
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You don't have to read it?
mdanyc03
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Ajm1114 said:

You don't have to read it?
That is true. I also have the option of reading it and telling you it was a dumb comment. I opted for the latter.
mdanyc03
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Shouldn't you be in the library studying?
Ajm1114
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Finals are over.
mdanyc03
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Ajm1114 said:

Finals are over.
Congrats! Hope it went well. Now hopefully you can coach up Tonny a little during the break.
Ajm1114
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Hopefully!
mdanyc03
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If you do, he might put in a good word for you so you get pulled to do the Chick fil a 3 point contest.
Ajm1114
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I've always thought if I were to ever get picked for that I'd have free chick fila for years, some of the shmucks picked look and shoot like they've never picked up a basketball before.
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