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A best guess at the Oregon basketball rotation

Why not?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional Press Conference Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s the deal: it’s Monday, I’m sick, and I’m tired of hearing about Oregon’s football jerseys. So I figured it’s time for some good news. With basketball season steadily approaching I wanted to take my best shot at looking at Dana Altman’s rotation for this upcoming season.

Okay, so let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The Ducks will be without Pac-12 player of the year candidate Dillon Brooks to start the season. What’s yet to be seen is exactly how long Brooks will be out. Earlier reports had him missing a timeframe similar to Jordan Bell, while others have him ready in time for December basketball. Brooks is a phenominal player who will take over as the heart and soul of the Ducks for the departed Elgin Cook and Dwayne “Snoop Dogg” Benjamin. But, I truly believe that the Ducks will be very good in the absence of Dillon, they will just look like a much different squad.

To open the year, I see the Ducks going with three guards and looking to play small ball as they open the season. My best guess at the depth chart, only including those I expect to be in Altman’s rotation.

F: Jordan Bell, Kavell Bigby-Williams

F: Chris Boucher, M.J. Cage

G: Tyler Dorsey, Keith Smith

G: Dylan Ennis, Payton Pritchard

G: Casey Benson, Dylan Ennis

If Ennis is 100% healthy this year, I expect him to play a large role in the early going as they look to replace the scoring output from Brooks. He opens up the game with his shooting and will be able to help backup Casey Benson as the primary ball handler once freshman Payton Pritchard comes into the game. Speaking of freshmen, I have three freshmen (and one transfer) who I all think have a legitimate shot at contributing this year.

The first freshman is of course Pritchard, who saw a boost in his stock thanks to the transfer of Kendall Small who I was a big fan of. With Ennis back, the Ducks have two point guards on the roster so instead of forcing Pritchard to have the ball he will be able to run off the ball and put up points, a-la Tyler Dorsey. M.J. Cage is another freshman who seems like he has some playing time in front of him this season. The Ducks will need another big body when their shot blockers get into foul trouble and Cage has to be that guy.

The wildcard of the freshmen group is Keith Smith. Altman had good things to say about him after the Spain trip but he will still have some growing up to do. What makes me think that he will play is simply the fact that the Ducks will need some wing players, especially in the absence of Brooks. After losing Cook and Benjamin the Ducks are lacking long bodies on the wing and Smith might have some growing up to do quickly.

All that being said, I think this group without Brooks can still be great. There’s tons of scoring, defense, and playmaking to go around. But with Dillon back in the lineup, this team has the chance to be special. Here’s how I would break up the depth chart once he returns.

F: Jordan Bell, Kavell Bigby-Williams

F: Chris Boucher, Dillon Brooks

G: Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey

G: Tyler Dorsey, Payton Pritchard

G: Casey Benson, Dylan Ennis

Even with Brooks back, I still think the Ducks will play a lot of three guard lineups with Brooks as the power forward. To me, Ennis will be a phenomenal option to bring off the bench, with his ability to score. Some have mentioned that he will surpass Benson as the point guard but I don’t see that one happening.

Cheers to speculation, the season is just over a month from now.