As an architect, if you choose to build a structure, what is the one thing you need to make certain of? It does not take a genius to know that every building needs a sturdy foundation. In fact, you can have Art Vandelay type knowledge of architecture and still know that simple detail. Everything needs a base, a cornerstone from which to build up from. For the Minnesota Golden Gophers, that foundation is Reggie Lynch.
When we look at Lynch’s statistics, we are by no means wowed like we are with a Jordan Murphy. Seeing that Lynch only averages nearly 11 points and eight rebounds creates a misconception of sorts. This misconception is that he is not necessarily a vital asset to the Gophers, especially offensively. Yet, if we peel back that veil of illusion and look deeper, we will see that Lynch is paramount to this Minnesota team.
A misnomer that does not exist in the common college basketball discourse is Lynch’s defensive ability. His 4.3 blocks per game is second in the nation and his 51 total rejections are also second in the country. On top of these gaudy paint protection numbers, Lynch is dominant on the advanced statistics end of the spectrum. He currently shares the team lead in defensive win shares (wins contributed by a sole player’s defense) with Jordan Murphy.
He is also running away with the team lead in defensive box plus/minus (+9.4) and overall defensive rating (91.7). These impressive advanced metrics showcase Lynch’s unparalleled defensive abilities besides his shot blocking numbers. However, this should come as no surprise. Fans know Lynch is a good defender, so the stats should reflect that. What fans may not know if how efficient he is on the offensive end of the floor.
While not known for being a total offensive weapon, Lynch has been nothing if not effective for Minnesota this season. His 61 percent true shooting clip hints at the fact that he converts from inside on a consistent basis. Yet, he only has 17.2 percent usage rate, which is sixth on the team. Thus, leading this observer (me) to believe that he capitalizes on the chances he does receive, making him the most efficient Gopher this season.
Despite being relatively underutilized on offense, Lynch still features some of the team’s best advanced numbers. His offensive rating is an outrageous 124.2, good for third on the team. Along with that, he is currently tied with Amir Coffey for third on the roster in offensive win shares. Think about that for a second, Coffey, a player known for his stellar offensive ability has contributed the same amount of wins offensively as Lynch. That is not to discredit Coffey in any regard, but it makes one wonder, does it not?
Lynch also leads the team by two percentage points in total box plus/minus rating (+12.3). That statistic measures the points produced per 100 possessions on both ends compared to an average player. Meaning, Lynch is nearly 13 points ahead of an average player.
Lastly, in an effort to drive home how efficient and important Lynch is, he features the second highest player efficiency rating (26.3) on the Gopher roster. The only player he looks up to in that category is Jordan Murphy, the team’s best player. So, to say that Lynch is not consistently productive on both ends is a myopic judgement.
Just as a building cannot stand without its immovable starting point, the Minnesota Gophers cannot move in an upward trend without Reggie Lynch. His prowess defensively is publicly praised, but it is his overall efficiency that makes him the most rock solid piece to this Gophers team.