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Syracuse basketball: Looking at potential three-guard lineups

How much will we see of a three-guard lineup this season?

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NCAA Basketball: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Back when Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim was on the hunt to land Jalen Carey (he did), the famer spoke openly to Adam Zagoria about potentially playing three guards at the same time this season.

“We could play three guards, we probably will at times,” Boeheim told Zagoria. “The key for us is our point guard play, which I think will be better and our centers defensively. If they play good, we’ll surprise some people. If they struggle, we’ll struggle.”

Interesting preseason nugget there from Jim. Naturally that begs the question, who can he run at the same time and what’s the most efficient three-guard look?

First, it’s important to know the guards. This way you can inform your coworker that knows all about running the 2-3 zone that Paschal Chukwu won’t be playing point this year.

Syracuse only has four eligible guards on the roster. They are: Franklin Howard, Tyus Battle, Geno Thorpe and Howard Washington. Thus far we’ve heard Frank is taking on a leadership role in practice, Tyus is Tyus and that Howard Washington is a damn stud.

Offense

With that in mind, I think if Syracuse does go three-guard at times the point will be run by one of the duo that is of Frank Howard Washington. We know that Geno is a combo guard but I see him playing off ball more and hunting offense. That said, I could also see Jim wanting a steady veteran to bring the ball up but my instinct tells me Howard Washington is more of a true point. If he’s as cool and collected as Tyler Ennis (who he’s been compared to) that shouldn’t be a problem. That leaves Tyus to play the forward spot in stretches.

Defense

A three guard look doesn’t present as much of a problem on the offensive end as it does the defensive end. If anyone of the four guards were built to play the forward spot in the zone it would have to be Tyus. He has the length, athleticism, height and body to where it wouldn’t be as much of a disadvantage in the zone. Geno and Howard Washington are best suited up top and while Frank is tall and long enough to play the forward spot I think he’d be better off playing up top as well. Obviously only two play the top of the zone, so Jim would have to leave one of Frank, Washington and Geno out while Tyus plays forward.

I don’t think Syracuse will go three guard for long stretches of time but it could be a nice way to steal a few minutes here and there. One would think Syracuse would be sacrificing a bit defensively in favor of offense.

Best bet: Frank Howard Washington at point, Geno at off guard and Tyus at forward in the zone.

What are your thoughts? Be sure to share in the comment section below.