Hoosiers In The NBA: Shooting Struggles

NOTE: Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Hoosiers In The NBA on its new site! Please try to spread the word by liking it on Facebook or retweeting this on Twitter if you enjoyed it. Of course this is completely optional but it is greatly appreciated. Otherwise I hope you enjoy this latest edition and for more coverage follow me on twitter at @QTipsForSports or just look for the hashtag #HoosiersInTheNBA:

The main reason I love statistics is because stats are an easy way to measure a player’s impact on a game. Among all the different types of basketball statistics, I firmly believe that traditional shooting percentages are the most important. I know that traditional shooting statistics have been deemed outdated thanks to the rise of “true shooting percentage” and “effective field goal percentage” (which measures a player’s shot selection and gives the player more credit for more difficult shots), and while they are useful those aren’t the reasons I favor traditional shooting stats. I favor them because they answer this simple question: if this player takes this kind of shot, what are the chances they make it? Unfortunately many former Hoosiers are struggling with their shot so this week I’m going in-depth on which shots are causing which players more trouble than they should:

Eric Gordon: Guard, New Orleans Pelicans:

Vs Denver (L 115-98): 19 points (7-17 FG)(3-3 FT), rebound, 6 assists, steal, block, turnover, personal foul, 38 minutes.

@ Oklahoma City (L 110-103): 18 points (6-20 FG)(5-5 FT), 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, turnover, 3 personal fouls, 37 minutes.

Vs San Antonio (W 104-90): 11 points (3-9 FG)(4-4 FT), rebound, 2 assists, 2 steals, turnover, 35 minutes.

Vs Phoenix (W 122-116): 20 points (6-16 FG)(3-4 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 39 minutes.

Of all four Hoosiers in the NBA, Eric Gordon is playing the best and it isn’t even close. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t improve on some things. While his three-point shooting (35.1%) and free throw shooting (86.7%) are pretty good, Gordon’s overall shooting (40.2%) is pretty low in comparison. Part of the reason for his low overall shooting percentage is that Gordon has hit less than 40% of his shots each of the last three games, which includes games where he took 20 and 16 shots. With his three-point field goal percentage decently high, it’s Gordon’s two-point attempts (45.5%) that are hurting his overall shooting.  If he can either raise his two-point shooting to 50% or just focus more of his shooting on three-pointers, he should improve his overall efficiency.

Victor Oladipo: Guard, Orlando Magic:

Vs Minnesota (W 104-101 OT): 1 point (0-6 FG)(1-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, steal, block, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 20 minutes.

Vs Sacramento (L 97-91): 11 points (4-11 FG)(1-2 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists, turnover, 2 personal fouls, 26 minutes.

While Victor Oladipo may be having his best season defensively, he’s also having his worst shooting season. I’ve written quite a bit on his three-point shooting (which is currently at a season-high 28%) but his overall shooting percentage is a disaster, with Oladipo only making 36.6% of his field goal attempts. It would be one thing if Oladipo rarely shot, but he’s taking 13.9 shot attempts per game. In comparison, last season Oladipo was taking 15.1 shot attempts per game but was making 43.6% of those shots. It should be noted that the numbers are a little down due to Oladipo’s recent performances following his return from a concussion, but with how strict the NBA concussion protocol can be I don’t think that can be used as an excuse. Oladipo still has plenty of time to turn his shooting around but maybe until he finds his stroke it would be best if he shot it a little less often.

Noah Vonleh: Forward, Portland Trail Blazers:

@ San Antonio (L 93-80): 3 points (1-2 FG), 6 rebounds, assist, 3 personal fouls, 22 minutes.

@ Houston (L 108-103): 4 points (2-4 FG), 6 rebounds, turnover, 4 personal fouls, 13 minutes.

Vs Los Angeles Clippers (W 102-91): 4 points (1-2 FG)(2-2 FT), 3 rebounds, steal, 2 turnovers, 2 personal fouls, 18 minutes.

@ Los Angeles Lakers (W 107-93): 0 points (0-3 FG), 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, turnover, 17 minutes.

The good news is that Noah Vonleh made his first three of the season this week. The bad news is that he is 1 for 9 (11.1%) shooting from deep this season. For a player who ‘s NBA future is partially tied to his ability to hit from long-range, this has been a frustrating start to the season. Last season Vonleh at least showed some promise when he hit 5 of 13 (38.5%) from three-point range, but Vonleh has almost matched his previous season total for minutes and has shot fewer threes for a lower percentage. I understand that sometimes it is all about where you get the ball in the flow of the offense, but the fact that he’s not being put in positions to attempt more threes makes me believe that the coaches aren’t comfortable yet putting him in those positions. Whether’s its through practice or taking advantage of what few deep shots he already has, Vonleh needs to make more progress so that the coaching staff can feel more confident in letting him take more threes.

Cody Zeller: Forward, Charlotte Hornets:

@ New York (L 102-94): 6 points (3-5 FG)(0-1 FT), 5 rebounds, assist, block, 2 turnovers, 3 personal fouls, 18 minutes.

Vs Brooklyn (W 116-111): 0 points (0-1 FG), 5 rebounds, block, 3 personal fouls, 14 minutes.

I can excuse Cody Zeller’s low shooting numbers (42.6%) because he is learning to shoot from a different area of the court, but there should be no excuse for Zeller’s terrible shooting (61.5%) from the free throw line. While the majority of Zeller’s free throw attempts came from one game (the November 11 game against the New York Knicks), even if you remove that 8 for 15 performance, Zeller would still only be shooting 66.7% from the charity stripe. What makes this trend so weird is that Zeller has never really had a problem with his foul shooting before, hitting 75.6% at IU and 75.0% over his first two NBA seasons. Whether it’s just a bad stretch or a confidence issue, it is worth monitoring as Zeller’s free throw shooting was once a strength when compared to other centers.

Season averages:

Eric Gordon: 18.5ppg, 2.6rpg, 3.2apg, 1.21spg, 0.21bpg, 1.6tpg, 2.4fpg, 40.2% FG, 35.1% 3FG, 86.7% FT, 36.1mpg.

Victor Oladipo: 13.1ppg, 6.5rpg, 3.7apg, 1.36spg, 0.73bpg, 1.5tpg, 2.1fpg, 36.6% FG, 28.0% 3FG, 75.0% FT, 32.9mpg.

Noah Vonleh: 2.5ppg, 3.1rpg, 0.3apg, 0.07spg, 0.33bpg, 0.9tpg, 1.9fpg, 33.3% FG, 11.1% 3FG, 75.0% FT, 14.3mpg.

Cody Zeller: 6.4ppg, 5.3rpg, 0.8apg, 0.82spg, 0.64bpg, 0.7tpg, 2.0fpg, 42.6% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 61.5% FT, 21.0mpg.

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