Thanks to everyone who participated in our Banners on the Parkway postseason player report cards. We'll be breaking down each player's grades for the rest of this week and on into next week, where we'll reveal the top finisher according to the community. We'll also be assigning and explaining our own grades of each player. We'll start with the player who got the lowest community ranking and work our way up to the MVP.
|% of votes
|Community GPA: 2.2
11 people gave Kaiser Gates an A, six gave him an F. That seems a fair summation for a guy who had an up and down season after being forecast by many, including me, to break out. By season’s end, Gates was averaging 5.8/4.0/0.7, a respectable line for a reserve to be sure, but a somewhat underwhelming one from a player who so obviously has the physical tools to occasionally dominate a game and to always be a presence. Instead, Gates flitted in and out of games, dropping 17 sometimes and sometimes prompting his coach to suggest he was playing as if his leg had been amputated, not just operated on.
Gates was only three tenths of a point less efficient than Trevon Bluiett this year. His 111.8 offensive rating certainly wasn’t bad and it outpaced both Malcolm Bernard and Edmond Sumner. Gates efficiency came because he shot passingly well (34%) from behind the arc and 72% from the line. The frustration with Kaiser came that he made little attempt to get to the rim, only 22% of his shots came there, and he didn’t finish well (53%) once he got there. That a 6-8, 228 forward was content to stand behind the arc and take almost three times as many threes as he did twos was a season long source of frustration. Gates right now is a mediocre spot up shooter with the skills to be a whole lot more.
Defense was something of the same story for Kaiser. In the games after the Crosstown Shootout he grabbed nine, eight, nine, 10, and seven rebounds. Six, six, eight, eight, and two of those came on the defensive end. That burst lasted until the Feb 22nd game when Gates grabbed another six defensive boards against Seton Hall. Kaiser wouldn’t grab more than two in a game again until Florida St. in the NCAA tournament and three times in that stretch failed to grab even one. On the offensive glass, Kaiser rebounded at a 6.2% rate, roughly the same as Malcolm Bernard. Again, the obvious talent is there, but sometimes the execution is lacking. (Despite taking three goose eggs and posting two games with only one defensive rebound, Kaiser’s season rate was still an excellent 16.3%)
Last season Gates came off the bench to energize the defense. This season, and this could be attributable to the knee operation and the mental recovery from it, Kaiser was too often a swinging gate in the man-to-man. In zone he took awhile to find his feet, but he eventually became vital, again, to the 1-3-1 and the 1-1-3 looks that Coach Mack used in the tournament run.
There is so very much talent obviously on display with Kaiser Gates. He can shoot the ball, he can rebound, and he can play defense. Unfortunately, he seems to struggle to do all of those at the same time. When he does, such as when he went for 17/5/2 against St. John’s, it only casts into sharp relief the games like the 12 minute trillion against Butler when he doesn’t. Big East Jeff Robinson? Maybe not yet, but Kaiser needs to make the jump next year.