Evaluating Devyn Marble’s Offense: This Season Versus LastPosted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on February 11th, 2014
On Saturday, Iowa did not waste any time in jumping out to an 11-4 lead on its way to a huge win over Michigan. Thanks to Devyn Marble’s scorching start — he nailed three shots from beyond the arc to begin the game — the senior forward ended up with 27 points and has been one of the best scorers in the country this season. Averaging 16.5 PPG is impressive on its own, but we have access to more informative statistics to understand the improvements that Marble has made in his offensive game from last year to this one. The table below shows some key differences between seasons, so let’s use the data to understand how he could turn into of the most explosive players of the postseason.
Let’s start with the easy one: Marble’s offensive rating has increased a tick from his junior season, and one of his most notable improvements is better confidence from distance. Last season, he took way too many shots from beyond the arc — 150 attempts — while only hitting an inefficient 33 percent. This season, his 38 percent shooting is a huge weapon in his arsenal, which has led to an overall increase in his effective field goal percentage as well. Putting aside those statistics, the diversity of his attempts from deep are even more impressive. Against the Wolverines, he shot 6-of-10 from three but those six shots came from all over the floor: he pulled up in transition; he came off of screens; and he was able to pull up off the dribble. His release is significantly quicker and smoother compared with last year, which shows he put in the requisite time and focus on it during the offseason. In February of his junior year, Marble hit a prolonged two-week slump because opposing defenses were able to cut off his dribble-drive ability and force him to beat them from pull-ups in the mid-range. That defensive option will not work this season based on what we have seen, which only makes him more dangerous with the ball in his hands.
More on his game off the bounce: Check out the disparity in his free throw rate from last year, an increase of 7.3%. Attributing that improvement to his better jumper is a tough argument to make, but we can safely assume that there is some correlation between the two because he is keeping defenses honest by bringing an inside-outside game. Coming off of screens as a legitimate shooter forces defense to react because he can also his quickness to penetrate the paint, especially from the top of the key. Even though there aren’t any statistics to evaluate Marble’s post game, we saw some glimpses of it during the Michigan game when he was backed his way in against a smaller defender (Derrick Walton in this case) to pull up for low post shots. When you are more confident about your outside shot and ability to get into the paint, there is no need to force shots either, which is shown by his decrease in turnover rate from last year.
Marble was expected to make this kind of leap last year, but the Hawkeyes stumbled over the last five weeks of the regular season and missed the NCAA Tournament. It could be the exact opposite scenario this year. Right now the Hawkeyes are a great bet to make it to the Sweet Sixteen or even beyond, because Marble is one of those guys who can get you buckets when needed — an option that is absolutely essential for any team that hopes to be successful in March.