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Stats Don’t Lie: Tuffin’s Taranaki performance, a sign of things to come for FEU

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Tiebreaker Times Stats Don't Lie: Tuffin's Taranaki performance, a sign of things to come for FEU Bandwagon Wire Basketball FEU UAAP  UAAP Season 83 Men's Basketball UAAP Season 83 Taranaki Mountainairs Ken Tuffin FEU Men's Basketball 2020 NZ NBL Season

While we’re still waiting for games to restart here, some players were lucky enough to keep playing overseas.

One such name was Ken Tuffin, who played for Taranaki in the New Zealand NBL.

Fortunately, I was able to download some of his NZ NBL games. Let’s take a look at KT’s progress and what he can still improve on before going pro.

After watching a bunch of FEU games a few weeks ago, it was no surprise that the majority of Tuffin’s offense came from spot-up three-point shots. Overall, KT shot 25-of-58 from three, 43.1-percent — good for a top 10 spot in the entire league.

Just like FEU, Taranaki’s offense is mostly centered around a great scoring guard in Derone Raukawa in addition to do-it-all scorer Marcel Jones. Pretty much all KT had to do was do what he does in FEU – spread the floor and shoot catch-and-shoot threes.

If there’s one thing that Tuffin still needs to improve on its his ball-handling. He doesn’t create many advantages using his dribble and that limits what he can do offensively.

Part of it is also that Tuffin isn’t that explosive as an athlete. This isn’t to say he isn’t athletic – it’s just that he doesn’t have burst in terms of going north-south or vertically. He is however, very physical and has long arms, which will serve him well on both ends of the floor.

That said, we have to understand that Tuffin is, for the most part, a system player and there’s nothing wrong with that. His game fits well in the modern game, which is very pick and roll heavy. He might not be the creator in a dribble drive or flow offense type of system, but that’s fine as he will fulfill his role as a floor spacer to a T.

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Speaking of roles, what makes Ken an intriguing prospect as a pro is his potential to be an elite 3-and-D player. He’s at least 6-foot-4 with long arms, decent footwork, and the effort is always there.

He has the tools to switch one to four, which is an important skill to have in today’s game. He’s also very physical, which fits in nicely whether he ends up playing in the PBA or NZ NBL.

Off-the-ball, he’s a little inconsistent, as there are times when he’s quick to rotate and help on penetration.

But there are also times when he’s totally consumed with his own man that he doesn’t even know where the ball is.

To be fair, I don’t know if this is part of the team’s scheme or not – perhaps he was told to stick to his man no matter what.

Another area for improvement for Ken is staying out of foul trouble. Both with FEU and with Taranaki, Ken was one of the team leaders in fouls-per-minute. Some of them are avoidable, such as fouling 50-feet from the basket or allowing a player to reject a ball screen.

Again, these fouls are coming from effort and not laziness. I think coaches would much rather live with the aggressiveness than someone who doesn’t care about that end of the floor.

I always loved the saying:

“Not everyone can be the superstar, but you can be a superstar in your role”

I think this applies perfectly to Tuffin.

I don’t think he will ever be asked to be the main scorer or creator on any team he will play on, but he can be an integral part of a good team. He’s one of the best spot-up shooters in the collegiate level, has the physical tools to be a solid defender and by all accounts, is a hard worker.

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Looking ahead, he may not end up being a high draft pick but that might actually work out in his favor. He may end up on contenders where all he’d be asked to do is what he’s already good at.

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