It seems a little premature to be talking about how effective the Syracuse offense will be on the hardwood in 2021-2022. But Head Coach Jim Boeheim recently said that even after losing three of their top four scorers, the Orange will be a “really, really good” scoring team.
A lot of Syracuse fans are likely wondering how that could be. How could the mass exodus from the program not hurt the offensive end? How could Boeheim tell so early?
The truth is, there’s no reason to doubt him. SU improved their scoring output last season even without Elijah Hughes, an elite three level scorer. They did so because the perimeter shooting was a lot better. The numbers don’t pop. In 2019, the Hughes-led Orange hit 33% of their outside shots. Last year without Hughes, 33.9%. But that’s with all of the statistical bumps along the road. Even the countless quarantines that disrupted the offensive flow and the shooters’ touches could not stop the improved offense.
So now with an unhindered season (hopefully) the shooting-heavy squad should take another step up this season. Depending on the way Boeheim manages the rotation, Syracuse should have at least four, maybe even five shooters on the floor at all times.
As was the case in the NCAA Tournament, as Buddy Boeheim goes so do the Orange. But every other ACC team was glued to the TV when Buddy erupted in the Big Dance. Expect extra attention, and even some double teams on the senior. That might be a blessing in disguise. It means that the other shooters like Cole Swider and Joe Girard won’t have to work as hard to get their open shots.
The magic question is how good will Benny Williams be. Coming in as a four-star, he is expected to be a reliable shooter as well. But that might not be his primary role as a freshman. Syracuse lost pretty much all of their post scoring in Marek Dolezaj, Quincy Guerrier, and some in Alan Griffin. So if Williams can make ACC defenses respect his post-game at 6-foot-8, 215 lbs, then the shooters will have an even easier time finding their shots.
Again, it is way too early to even think about how the offense projects. But Orange fans can only be relieved to hear the praise from Boeheim during a rocky offseason.