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Mizzou Hoops Player Review: Javon Pickett

Javon Pickett’s offense jumped to another level in his junior season. Did the rest of his game follow suit?

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We’re nearing the finish line, folks.

After several weeks of reviewing transfers (and wow, have there been quite a few of those!) and seniors (we had more than our fair share of those too), we’re finally making our way to the returning members of the roster.

Spoiler Alert: There aren’t that many.

As of right now, Missouri only has three scholarship players returning from this past year’s team. There’s Javon Pickett (who we’re covering today), Kobe Brown (we’ll get to him on Monday) and Jordan Wilmore (who we won’t be covering given his extremely limited floor time). Our “In Summary,” section will finally transition to something forward-looking before we make the hard transition into the offseason.

So if you’re into reading about next year already, stick around. And if you’re wanting to catch up with the previous posts in this series, you can visit any of the links below.

Javon Pickett By the Numbers

Season Minutes % Offensive Rating Usage Rate Points % Effective FG % True Shooting % Off. Rebounding % Def. Rebounding % Assist Rate Turnover %
Season Minutes % Offensive Rating Usage Rate Points % Effective FG % True Shooting % Off. Rebounding % Def. Rebounding % Assist Rate Turnover %
2020-2021 43.7 104.2 17.7 8.4 53.6 55.5 4.3 10.7 9.9 17.5
2019-2020 66.8 91.6 16.7 9.9 42.5 44.6 5.8 11.2 11.1 18.4
2018-2019 62.6 90.6 20.1 11.2 43 43.8 4.9 10.6 12.1 17.9

What went well?

In a move similar to what he did with Mitchell Smith, Cuonzo Martin rolled back the number of minutes Pickett played in 2020-2021. The move paid off on the offensive end, with Pickett posting the most efficient shooting number of his career. The junior’s free throw, two-point and three-point percentages all sharply increased to career highs. After two years of offensive ratings in the low 90s, Pickett’s ORtg shot up to 104.2. And while his minutes were largely reduced, Pickett’s usage rate and shots percentage stayed about the same — they even slightly increased from his sophomore season. Perhaps it was the fact that defenses weren’t keying on him in his limited minutes, or maybe it was the extra rest keeping him fresh. Whatever it was, the newfound role revitalized Pickett’s effect on the offensive end of the court.

What didn’t go well?

Pickett found a new offensive vitality in his new role, but the increase in production didn’t translate to other parts of his game. Pickett’s rebounding rates, assist percentage and fouls drawn all fell off in his junior campaign while his defensive rating rocketed to the worst number of his career. To be honest, this can be diagnosed from a simple switch in Pickett’s role. With the three-man lead guard rotation of Pinson-Smith-Buggs, and with Mark Smith eating up the remaining combo guard minutes, Pickett was relegated to spot wing minutes and even some time as a small-ball four. It makes sense that Pickett’s raw numbers would drop as a result, especially on the defensive end. It’s a tradeoff Martin was probably OK with given Missouri’s jump in offensive efficiency.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Mississippi
Javon Pickett found a new gear on offense in 2020-2021 turning into an important bench piece for an NCAA Tournament team.
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

What’s next?

It’s hard to believe we’re going into Javon Pickett’s senior year, but here we are.

Pickett could probably be considered Cuonzo Martin’s first non-Porter related commitment, and it’s been an interesting three seasons for Pickett. From starter, to reserve, to injured, to basically forgotten about as Missouri and Martin remakes the roster. Pickett has been the lost man. As Kobe Brown stepped up later in the season and the hole in the middle gets filled by Jordan Wilmore’s massive frame, we all seem to forget that Pickett has played more minutes than anyone coming back, and started more games. But the reality is Pickett was a starter on bad teams, and a role player on a good one. So what does Missouri want to be next year?

It’s impossible to ignore the good things Pickett does on the floor. He’s low usage, and doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. That might come in handy next year even with a newly made roster. At worst he’s the seasoned veteran who can be around to show the new kids the ropes. At best he’s able to be healthy, continue making strides shooting the ball, and finding new and different ways to impact the game in helping a remade roster find it’s way back to the NCAA tournament. Either way, Javon Pickett is a valuable player for the program moving forward. It’s just up to him how much of the programs success he has a hold of.

Sam Snelling