Pitt has a new coach and the season hasn’t yet started. But Kevin Stallings says his starting lineup appears set for now.
Stallings will go with Jamel Artis and Chris Jones at guard (with Artis playing the point, as has been discussed before). Cam Johnson will start at small forward while Sheldon Jeter starts at power forward with Michael Young at center.
There’s not much of a surprise there. Sure, Pitt could have tried to play Rozelle Nix at center and let Young play power forward, but a combination of Young/Jeter is just better than Young/Nix. And while Stallings could have gone with a more traditional point guard in freshman Justice Kithcart, the Artis point guard experiment is something Stallings is interested in trying.
Ryan Luther as the sixth man is fine. Identifying a sixth man is just sort of dumb anyway, since it’s all based on position. After all, if Pitt needs to spell Artis at point guard as their first substitute, it wouldn’t be Luther coming in. But in terms of a guy in the frontcourt that gets in there first, Luther would be the guy.
Overall, I’m perfectly fine with this lineup if we’re conceding that Artis at point guard makes sense. As I said before, I’m fine with trying it but do still have concerns just because Pitt relies on him so much as a scorer. Stallings has been adamant about him not being simply a guy that is out there to only run the offense, so I don’t expect Artis to lose his scoring. But it’s still something to watch, of course.
In terms of experience, Pitt’s starters have a lot of it. All five of those guys have made starts at some point and while the bench is less of a sure thing, at least the starting lineup has a lot of experience. Johnson has the least but he played quite a bit last year and should be ready for a bigger role.
About that bench, I’m very interested in seeing who steps up there. Luther is really the only known commodity at this point and there’s a wealth of inexperience behind him. It will be fun to see who steps up along with him and provides some depth off the bench because Pitt will have four new starters to go along with Johnson next season. Presumably Luther will be one of those guys but the others who will be behind him aren’t real clear.
But that’s looking ahead. For now, Pitt’s starters appear to be set.