Player Development Thread- DJ Hogg

mdanyc03
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First off, I think many of us forget that Hogg is generally considered by outside observers to be the second most talented player in the program. Look at a 2018 draft projection and you will typically see two Aggies; Robert Williams in the top ten and DJ Hogg as a second rounder.

Second, I personally think that DJ doesn't need to be good at everything to be a very good player and it is best to view him in that context. He has some very obvious and sometimes frustrating holes in his game. My argument is that some of those things don't really matter because we don't need him to do those things. If he were to become a franchise player, primary option he would need to develop maybe a low post game, a better high post game, a perimeter drop step/ spin move a la Khris Middleton, etc. It would be great if he developed all of those things but I don't think that is going to happen in the next year and I think that is just fine, because he can fill a very valuable specific role.

Third, I think that a lot of people mainly remember the last five games that DJ played with a broken toe and that clouds their view of the season he had. He had his ups and downs for sure but at times he was spectacular and overall he was pretty good prior to the injury.

So, the following would be my priorities for off season development.

1. 3 point shooting. DJ will always be primarily a 3 point shooter. Last year he shot 37% on threes but was at 40% before he broke his toe. Also, if you take away the three game slump he had late November/ early December he was 36/78 (46%) over a 14 game span. Sure, I am cherry picking stats a bit but I think that is still indicative of how good he can be. In my perfect scenario, DJ will shoot 45% or so for the year. Imagine him being like Buddy Hield his senior year (as a shooter), where you have to guard him tight the minute he crosses half court all year. That will open all kinds of space all over the floor for everybody.

2. Cut down on turnovers. 2.7 per game last year which is too high. That is partly because of being asked to do too much and partly because of general carelessness with the ball. But we shouldn't forget the other side of the ratio which is the 3.4 assists per game, second on the team behind Admon. He makes a far higher percentage of quality shot creating passes than any of our other guards. Good vision, good creativity but just careless and poor judgement at time. The goal here should be 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio.

3. Finishing better at the rim. Some I am very specifically not asking DJ to develop any post up game or really any intermediate game. Would be great but I don't expect it to happen next year and I don't think we need it. For taller perimeter players that are uncomfortable playing with their back to the basket, there are other ways to take advantage of height mismatches. For example, we can run DJ off screens and he can pop out if the guy goes under or curl if he goes under. This is what we used to do with House (who also had no post up game) and he was pretty effective at finishing. Hogg just needs to finish stronger in these situations.

And of course shoot better from the free throw line.

I think the tricky thing about DJ is that he brings an unusual mix of skills. We tend to think that guys who shoot threes well should be able to handle the ball well and guys that are tall should be able to post up. But with DJ you get this strange package of a shooter who isn't a good ball handler but is a nifty passer and a tall guy who can't play close to the basket but is still a pretty good rebounder. It isn't the standard package but it is (potentially) still a very good package.

Your thoughts?

mallen
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Off season Priorities: Ball Handling/Turnovers, Off Ball Movement, Rebounding, Free Throws
jml2621
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We need outside shooters. Hogg doesn't have to try to pass the ball inside or handle the rock a lot. Because Caldwell is not a great outside shooter we need perimeter threats - Gilder, Hogg.


Gilder and Hampton figured out their roles late last season, but without Hogg's threat a few games slipped away. Hogg was asked to do too much. The hate on this board towards a hobbled player doing their best was reprehensible.
jml2621
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mallen said:

Off season Priorities: Ball Handling/Turnovers, Off Ball Movement, Rebounding, Free Throws


shooting, shooting, shooting, catch and shoot, involvement in the semi-break.
bobinator
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mdanyc03 said:

1. In my perfect scenario, DJ will shoot 45% or so for the year. Imagine him being like Buddy Hield his senior year (as a shooter), where you have to guard him tight the minute he crosses half court all year. That will open all kinds of space all over the floor for everybody.
If Hogg shoots 45% from beyond the arc and plays significant minutes every game all season, we'll be a top two seed. That would be incredible.

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2. Cut down on turnovers. 2.7 per game last year which is too high. That is partly because of being asked to do too much and partly because of general carelessness with the ball. But we shouldn't forget the other side of the ratio which is the 3.4 assists per game, second on the team behind Admon. He makes a far higher percentage of quality shot creating passes than any of our other guards. Good vision, good creativity but just careless and poor judgement at time. The goal here should be 2 to 1 assist to turnover ratio.
I use the "asked to do too much" thing as a good excuse for a lot of different people's shortcomings last season, and to be sure, it is part of Hogg's problem. But having said that, if he really is the second most talented player on this team, he has to be able to play both inside and outside and be on the ball. Last year at times he was just plain bad with the ball in his hands.

To me, that's the big question of DJ Hogg. Is he a multi-skilled threat, or is he just a spot up shooter? If it's the latter, that's fine, there's a role for that, but I'd be a little disappointed if that's all he is.

And that takes me to why I think he needs a basic post game both on the low block and in the high post. You say you don't expect it to happen next year, but developing some basic low post moves that you can use with a smaller defender on your is an extremely easy thing to learn. It's light years easier than expecting Tyler Davis to start making three pointers.

Right now, a smaller player can guard D.J. Hogg pretty easily and effectively take him entirely out of the game unless he's open coming off of a screen. Teams can go small when Hogg is on the floor because he doesn't make them pay offensively and then we struggle to guard them defensively and end up having to go smaller ourselves.

Nobody is saying that Hogg needs to become Jalen Jones (who had a really underrated post game and was significantly shorter than Hogg), but when he's got someone 6-5 or under guarding him, he needs to be able to make them pay with some very basic post game. (You brought up House, but House was a WAY better athlete than Hogg.)

Another reason this is true is to take advantage of his passing ability in the paint. He's a pretty good passer in tight spaces. If you work some high-low-mid-range with Hogg/Davis/Williams then I don't know how the other team is going to stop it, but Hogg and Williams have to get better on the block and Davis has to get better in the high post.
PatAg
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I feel like Hogg's driving style is in the same vein as Paul Pierce (though obviously less talented). He's not a pure speed, cross you over and blow by you guy. He has that similar herky jerky movement, but it can work for him because he has the height and length advantage in most matchups.

Just that in addition to what the OP posted which I generally agree with all of it. The FT shooting I just dont really understand at all.
bobinator
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I think his FT shooting is mostly just lack of attempts so he doesn't get in any sort of rhythm. Thats another reason why he needs some post game, he might actually get fouled sometimes.
EKG1996
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His best game was on the road against SC which had probably the best defense in the conference. So we know he has it in him. Just has to be healthy and be more consistent on both ends of the floor.
LouisvilleAg
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I don't think he needs to develop a low post game. I just don't think we will ever need it. When RW and TD are in the game, DJ will be set up at the corner three. He needs to nail this shot and probably be at 45-50% from this spot.

When one of RW/TD is not in the game, DJ will be playing the stretch 4 position. I think a good spot for him to concentrate on is the high post at the elbow. He will most likely either be a zone buster in the middle or be feeding RW/TD down in the post at the high-low position. He needs to nail the elbow shot and be lethal at that spot to avoid the zone defense.

Lets throw in the free throw practice and these other two things to be concentrations for him in the off-season will get him and the team to be playing at a high rate. All other things on the court will take care of itself, at least on offense. His defense will always be a bit suspect, but if he is producing on the offensive end, he will always be plus player.
jml2621
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The way to play Jalen was to play off of him and make him beat you with the 3. He could power through defense, partly because we had limited post presence...and Jalen was playing the 4 much of the time, not the 3 anyway. We have muchos post presence this year, and therefore defenders in the middle with RW and Davis.

Hogg needs to work on strength and ball handling, although he won't be burdened with controlling the rock. A 6 ft 8 in wing can be dangerous. Catch and shoot, coming off a screen helps. Flagg can drive, but not sure he can shoot yet. The ideal 3/wing is a hybrid of the two.


On defense, I want to see Hogg focusing on team D and obstructing passing lanes with his length. You don't have to be a good one on one defender to be a great TEAM defender.



"Nobody is saying that Hogg needs to become Jalen Jones (who had a really underrated post game and was significantly shorter than Hogg), but when he's got someone 6-5 or under guarding him, he needs to be able to make them pay with some very basic post game. (You brought up House, but House was a WAY better athlete than Hogg.)"
bobinator
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I guess the post thing depends on what you think Hogg's potential is.

I think if he added that wrinkle to this game, he could be one of the cornerstones of next year's team. And it's not like anyone is saying he needs to be able to score 15 points a game from the low block. It's having one or two basic post moves, and also having a game in the high post.

It would give him some flexibility to play multiple positions throughout the year. There's no reason that he can't be an effective four against shorter teams given his height and the skill set he already has if he'd just add some basic moves into his game.

I don't think it's something he'd use a lot when Tyler Davis and Robert Williams are both in the game, but it's definitely something he could use if only one of them is in the game and Trocha is in the game.

Again, it's not something we need per se. We have other guys who can do it. But it's something that would make Hogg a much better player.

To me though, you can't think he doesn't need a post game AND think he should spend a lot of time shooting free throws. His free throw shooting is basically statistically insignificant. If he would have been a 100% free throw shooter last year it would have added less than a point per game to his total.
mdanyc03
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Lots of good thoughts here, just a few things I would disagree with.

Quote:

To me, that's the big question of DJ Hogg. Is he a multi-skilled threat, or is he just a spot up shooter? If it's the latter, that's fine, there's a role for that, but I'd be a little disappointed if that's all he is.
So I guess first thing I would say is you shouldn't underestimate the value of a spot up shooter. We all watched Klay Thompson score 50 points with 2 total combined dribbles this year. You can make a lot of money as a spot up shooter if you are actually good at it (which again, is the key with DJ). But also, I would say that I think you are underestimating some of the things he is good at. Hogg is a good rebounder and passer which is more important than being a good ball handler (given his role) and or having a good post up game. The strengths (like rebounding) are very important but taken for granted because "well of course he is a decent rebounder, he is 6'9" while the shortcomings are glaring but not really important.

Quote:

And that takes me to why I think he needs a basic post game both on the low block and in the high post. You say you don't expect it to happen next year, but developing some basic low post moves that you can use with a smaller defender on your is an extremely easy thing to learn. It's light years easier than expecting Tyler Davis to start making three pointers.
So I would disagree with this. Learning to play with your back to the basket if you haven't done it your entire life isn't easy. There is a lot more to being effective in the post than just having a drop step. Position, angles, footwork, etc.

Quote:

Right now, a smaller player can guard D.J. Hogg pretty easily and effectively take him entirely out of the game unless he's open coming off of a screen. Teams can go small when Hogg is on the floor because he doesn't make them pay offensively and then we struggle to guard them defensively and end up having to go smaller ourselves.
There are lots of benefits to DJ's height even if he isn't posting up. One is rebounding. One is that he is really hard to close out on simply because he is tall. When he is red hot shooting, there are not many people on planet Earth that could take him entirely out of a game. By all means, let people go small on us next year. This year our problem was our small guys (excluding Admon) were so slow they couldn't guard on the perimeter and that is what presented the biggest problems against the Vandy's of the world. Next year if we just have a couple of guys that can guard on the perimeter (and I know Admon and Duane Wilson can and I think JJ can), we will be able to guard well enough and if anybody goes small we will absolutely destroy small line ups on the offensive boards with Tyler, Robert and DJ.

The other thing about posting up DJ is that unless Robert and Tyler are out of the game or can shoot a three it would be pretty easy to double on him. Three big guys near the paint doesn't make for great offensive sets usually. Probably a better option than posting DJ against smaller guys is to run him off a screen at the top of the lane and let him curl to the basket with an empty paint against a smaller guy or pop out for the three if the guy cuts underneath. This type of thing takes much more advantage of his skills (and height) than him posting up because you get the height mismatch but you are also chasing around a screen. This works if DJ is a 40%+ 3 point shooter that you can't ever let shoot an open three and hence you always have to chase over the screen. This worked pretty well with Danuel House (Iowa State and N Iowa both come to mind of teams that tried to go small on us and we hurt them this way). Much better than asking a guy to post up if he isn't comfortable doing so.
mdanyc03
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Or put another way...

If a small guy gets stuck on DJ by chance after an offensive rebound or secondary transition type of situation, then yeah, he should be able to post him and do a quick drop stop or mini hook or whatever.

But if we are talking about a team intentionally putting, say, a 6'3 guard on him as part of their game plan, that is a different situation. In that case, they would have their double teams and rotations already worked out. So even if DJ were 100% perfectly comfortable posting (which he won't be) they would still be prepared to double unless we could really threaten them by stretching out one of the posts to create some space.

So if somebody does put a 6'3 guard on him, we need to be able to take advantage, but posting DJ won't be the best way.
bobinator
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I think you're really over-estimating how much the "he needs a post game" people like me think he needs to post up, and how good that post game needs to be. He's not all of a sudden going to be a guy that's playing power forward for big stretches of the game or anything.

He doesn't even have to be very good at it, that's why I said it should be easy for him to learn. He just needs to be good enough at it that if he gets caught with a smaller guy on him and he's near the basket or he's in the high post he can take advantage. And it's not all about having his back to the basket, it's one dribble moves from the high post and that sort of thing also. Again, it's not like he's got to become Olajuwon over the offseason.

If he's going to be a player who takes his game to another level this season, he's either going to have to add something to it, or become like a 45% three point shooter.

And also, these are player development threads, I didn't feel the need to break down things the players do well. That doesn't mean they aren't appreciated. Though I'd disagree that Hogg is a particularly good rebounder. I'd say he's about average.
AggieBaller98
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The trouble with evaluating DJ is that you have to separate the last few games from the rest of the season and that's hard to do when your lasting impression of his sophomore season are those last few games.

Honestly, I think the main thing we need from DJ is to get 100% healthy. We don't really know the extent of his injury but we do know that it affected his game and that's why he shut it down at the end of the season.

What I do remember from DJ is I was impressed with his ability to rebound the basketball. It's really hard to call a player soft when he can rise up and go grab the ball in a crowd and I say that because shooters tend to be labeled "soft".

He has unlimited range beyond the 3 point line and we need him to increase his accuracy with Davis and Williams in the paint. We need him to hit those quick hitters off a pick but also take the ball to the hole when his shorts aren't falling. He has a decent driving game so now it's time to beat his man, stop and pop from mid-range.

I think DJ was the most affected by the lack of point guard so I don't necessarily think he needs to add anything to his game, but continue to develop as a confident shooter. If he can get to the line more, I think that will open up his game and he can be more of a threat. We're going to need him to be a zone buster knowing that teams are going to zone us due to our front court size. I got the feeling that he hesitated a lot because he wasn't sure what to do being forced to play creator.

But in the end, we really do need for him to come back healthy and a bit stronger.
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