Quincy Guerrier will likely slide into the starting lineup with Elijah Hughes leaving for the NBA. The sixth man showed promise under the rim last season, and often gave Jim Boeheim’s squad a much needed spark off the bench. However, there are a few hurdles the Quebec native needs to leap in order to become a viable ACC starter.
1. Three point shot
When Guerrier committed to Syracuse, fans immediately began comparing him to Oshae Brissett. After all, both are 6’7” forwards from Canada. But Guerrier insisted that he is a better shooter than his predecessor. The freshman never lived up to the hype, shooting just 13% from range. Between Joe Girard, Buddy Boeheim and Elijah Hughes, there was no need for Guerrier to be a true perimeter threat. Now that Hughes is gone, Guerrier will need to give defenses a reason to play him honestly in order to take pressure off of Buddy Boeheim and Joe Girard outside.
2. Shot creation
Quincy Guerrier got a lot of points from the offensive glass by averaging nearly four offensive rebounds per 40 minutes. However, at times, it seemed like that’s where he was getting most of his points from. In addition to expanding his game to the arc, Guerrier also needs to create his shot off the dribble, and drive past defenders. The three pointer will help bring the defense a few steps up. From there, Guerrier can use his NBA-frame to get to the cup.
3. Stay out of foul trouble
Viable ACC starters are reliable. In order for Guerrier to become a reliable starter, he needs to remain in the game. The canadien committed four or more fouls in 11 of his 32 games played. That’s why he only played about 20 minutes per game. But foul trouble costed him even more time than fans think. Against Georgetown, Guerrier was called for two fouls in his first four minutes. He only returned with less than a minute left in the game. Guerrier’s development will not matter if he can’t stay on the floor long enough to show it.
All of these improvements will come with time, and Guerrier is well on his way. Fans should realize that this list is pretty short. Guerrier is already mature enough for the starting lineup because he knows his place on the team.
Many fans might also have doubts because of the consensus that Guerrier was tiring out at the end of games. After SU’s loss to NC State in February, Boeheim said, “He’s got to be better. He ran out of gas the last 10 minutes. He disappeared. He hasn’t played that much. I think he got tired. He was really good for the first 30 minutes of the game.”
The increased workload from high school to college might have been tough on Guerrier in his freshman season. But the majority of his points came in the second half of games. With one year of college ball in the rearview mirror, and another offseason of conditioning in front of him, Guerrier will be ready to run with the starters.