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Missouri Hoops Player Review: Reed Nikko

Big Sota was steady as ever down low, providing valuable minutes in the post.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearing the end of our postseason player reviews at Rock M Nation, and it’s just now occurring to me how young this year’s team was. Seventy percent of the roster was made up of underclassmen! You can read all of our thoughts on them below.

  • Xavier Pinson
  • Javon Pickett
  • Torrence Watson
  • Mitchell Smith
  • Mark Smith
  • K.J. Santos
  • Jeremiah Tilmon

Today, we’re breaking into the upperclassmen by covering the man they call, “Big Sota,” — Reed Nikko.

Reed Nikko - Regular Stats

32 11.2 3.0 2.1 0.2 60.6 0.0 57.9
33 8.1 2.3 2.0 0.2 52.1 0.0 52.8
28 10.5 2.5 2.3 0.4 50.9 0.0 52.0

Reed Nikko - Advanced Stats*

%MIN ORTG Adj GMSC POSS% Lineup O +/- Lineup D +/- eFG% TS%
%MIN ORTG Adj GMSC POSS% Lineup O +/- Lineup D +/- eFG% TS%
27.7 102.7 3.4 15.7 0.99 (-0.03) 0.98 (+0.02) 60.6 60.6
20.0 98.4 16.8 1.01 (-0.08) 0.91 (+0.11) 52.1 53.0
22.8 101.8 13.9 0.95 (-0.03) 1.03 (-0.01) 50.9 51.6

Nikko remained a steady presence on the inside and off the bench. What value did he bring to this team?

Sam Snelling, Site Manager: I love Reed Nikko. Every team needs a Nikko or two on their roster, and while Reed is certainly limited his ability to step and and provide a consistent level of effort on the glass and in the middle of the paint is a vital part of the roster.

Maybe he’s a bit over-stressed because of Tilmon’s foul trouble but there’s comfort in knowing he can come and and bang and throw down an occasional fierce dunk right on somebody’s head. Nikko is kind of what he is at this point, he’s a solid secondary defense plus rebounding big man you bring off the bench.

Matt Harris, Basketball Editor: Add me to the group of Nikko acolytes. Often, we try to project what a player will become instead of admiring who they already are, and Big ‘Sota is worthy of appreciation. Think about it? When he committed, he was panned as another reach by Kim Anderson’s staff, an outlook that wasn’t helped when Nikko needed double-hip surgery. So it was easy to see him as miscast for a high-major program that was running outmoded version of the high-low.

Now? He’s carved out valuable niche in MU’s rotation. When Tilmon plods to the bench incredulous he’s in foul trouble, coach Cuonzo Martin summons Nikko as a stopgap, and it’s a role he excels at carrying out.

In his 10 to 15 minutes of action, he does yeoman’s work: dislodging bigs on the block, hand-fighting, pulling down tough rebounds, subsisting on putbacks and, every so often, mashing a one-handed dunk on a dome. None of those tasks require him to be a focal point on either end, but they’re crucial to keeping the wings level while Tilmon cools his heels.

Spiffy numbers back up the notion that Nikko could serve as a safety valve, whether it was catching a dumpoff, slipping to the rim after a pick-and-role or capitalizing on second possessions.

Reed Nikko | Offensive Profile

Play Type Poss PPP eFG% TO% FT Rate
Play Type Poss PPP eFG% TO% FT Rate
Post-Up 28 0.786 47.6 17.9 7.1
Pick-and-Roll Roll Man 20 0.9 50 20 10
Putbacks 20 1.3 72.2 5 10
Cut 17 1.176 69.2 17.6 11.8
Transition 6 1.5 75 33.3 16.7
Spot Up 1 0 0 100 0
Synergy Sports

He shot 58.7 percent during SEC play while posting healthy rebounding percentages, and his foul rate is tolerable given his minutes and usage. If you’re going to put forward a critique, it’s that Nikko coughs the ball up a tad too often (26.0 TO%) and is susceptible to hard double-teams when posting up.

So long as the 10 minutes of action he profile remains the same, I’ll chalk it up as a win.

Josh Matejka, Editor: Other than his cool nickname? Nikko is the type of guy that should be celebrated on every good team. He’s not a world-beater, but he’s going to hold the fort for you when things start falling apart. He’s the big Dutch [editor’s note: Nikko is not actually Dutch] boy with his finger in the dam when Jeremiah Tilmon gets his second foul early in the first half.

But in all seriousness, Nikko creates value simply by the fact that he doesn’t create a lot of value. He’s good teammate and a solid role player who gives the coaching staff a security blanket. He’s not going to win you any games, but he’s also not going to lose you any. He’ll grab a few boards, grab a few put backs and set some hard screens. Rinse, repeat.

What would you like to see Nikko work on during the offseason?

Sam Snelling: I want Nikko to stay the beautiful representation of his role as much as humanly possible. Are there things he can improve upon? Sure, his free throw shooting would be nice. A few of those dunks would turn into 3-point plays instead of just dunking on someone. I’d like to see him pass out of the post a little better. But sometimes guys just are who they are at this point, and I’d like to think we can appreciate Reed for the contributions he’s been able to make despite a tough medical history, and being on the roster with two different head coaches. He’s also on track to be the first four-year senior from out of state to make it to the end since Laurence Bowers.

Matt Harris: These are relatively minor requests. First, be a little more sure-handed trying to snare passes after rolling. Second, keep a level head against double teams on the block. There’s no overhaul on the horizon, but those kinds of marginal improvements are feasible and would juice the rising senior’s efficiency. Similar to Mitchell Smith, Nikko’s imprint can impactful on the culture Martin wants to establish in Columbia. Grinding in practice, being engaged in film and devouring scouts set a standard for young guys can emulate. Seeing a veteran put in the legwork and max out the minutes afforded to him can help create a sense of cohesion. I don’t have any doubts Nikko’s brawny game still leaves room for those soft skills.

Josh Matejka: It may be the fact that he was overexposed at times with the lack of front court depth, but Nikko’s total rebounding rate ticked down and his turnover rate ticked up slightly. Nikko has never had the surest hands, so if he can work on steadying that ship (and if the staff can bring in some more depth to cover him), I’ll have no issues with his offseason.

*Advanced Stats explainer:

%MIN — The number of minutes played in comparison to the total number of minutes available to be played. E.g. 30 minutes played in a 40 minute game would be 75%

ORtg — Individual offensive rating or points scored based upon a player accounting for the ending of 100 possessions (through shot attempts not offensive rebounded, assists, turnovers). This number comes from KenPom and it weighted to adjust for pace and opponent.

Adj GmSc — Adjusted GameScore, from Study Hall the accumulation of the players game score throughout the season

Poss% — Also referred to as Usage, it’s the number of possessions a player ends (via shot attempts not offensive rebounded, assists, turnovers) while on the court.

Lineup O/D +/- — This is the offensive and defensive points per possession when the player is on the court, the parenthesis reflects if lineups were better or worse with them on the floor (+ is if lineups were better with them on the floor, - is if lineups were worse)

eFG% — Effective Field Goal Percentage Adjusts shooting percentage for three point attempts. The formula is FGM + (.5 x 3PM) / FGA

TS% — True Shooting Percentage adjusts for both shooting percentage divided by total points scored. Traditionally the formula is (Points / 2 x (FGA + (0.44 x FTA)) x 100. We used KenPomeroy’s FT modifier of 0.475 instead of the NBA modifier of 0.44.