A couple weeks back, Jeff Nusser at CougCenter made a compelling argument that Faisal Aden, despite being the team’s second leading scorer, was actively hurting Washington State’s chances. Why? Because despite the fact that Aden is one of the least efficient offensive players on the Cougars, he was taking at that time 37.5% of his team’s shots when he was on the floor. That number has since fallen to 37.2% (fourth in the nation), but the fact remains that Aden is taking too many shots and using too many possessions while other more efficient offensive threats go relatively unused. And to be clear, his position was not so much that Aden was to blame for his role in the offense, but that head coach Ken Bone was putting his team and Aden into a bad position by using him as the focal point of the offense.
WSU is now four games into Pac-12 play and Nusser’s theory looks pretty spot on. In the Cougars’ three conference losses, Aden’s trigger finger has actually gotten itchier. He has put up 33 field goal attempts in 65 minutes of action, good for 38.8% of his team’s shots. He’s also turned the ball over five times while handing out just two assists, but that’s another issue. In the sole WSU Pac-12 win over Oregon State, Aden only played nine minutes and attempted just one field goal. He did somehow turn the ball over three times in that stretch though. Couple that little bit of information with the fact that the Cougars played arguably their best stretch of the season this year when Aden was on the bench for three games recovering from a concussion (for those keeping track at home, Aden had 0.0% of his team’s shots in those games) and it seems pretty clear that he would be more suited to a more limited role in the WSU offense.