Weekly Pac-5: Spot Up Shooters

Posted by Adam Butler on December 9th, 2016

An open three-pointer is a simpler three-pointer. There are a few ways someone can get open for basketball’s highest value shot: dribbling by yourself; letting someone else attract the defense; or running off of screens set by teammates. These options (and I’ve indubitably missed some) are listed in order of increasing participation. Which is to say, scenario one takes just one player; scenario two requires a pair; and scenario three needs — at a minimum — three. As we learned in kindergarten, sharing is caring and there is no “I” in team. Greater involvement often lends itself to greater success. These elementary insights may not be the core reason you visit RTC’s Pac-12 microsite, but if the objective of the sport is to optimize shot-making or shot-stopping, then perhaps it’s a worthwhile exploration. Because we’d like to know who is best suited to make this team-built open shot? In this week’s segment of the Weekly Pac-5, we’ll discover and list the best spot-up shooters in the Pac-12.

Isaac Hamilton is the best long-range shooter in the Pac-12. (photo by Don Liebig)

Isaac Hamilton is the best long-range shooter in the Pac-12. (photo by Don Liebig)

These are the players, loosely defined, whose teams are going to make an effort to get them open. Through planning and screening, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to get these dudes open from distance. We’ll quantify it by the number of assisted threes made, as this suggests an open, quality shot in which one player has recognized the other’s advantageous, shot-making position. If assisted, the assumption is that our shooter has set his feet and evaded the defense with some assistance of his teammates. He is not running amok, wildly crossing over, stepping back or doing all of the moves you loathe as a fan (and cherish as a fan of Steph Curry). Consider that Klay Thompson scored 60 points on 20 assisted baskets (he made 21 field goals in total) earlier this week. For your further consideration and long-term focus, Pac-12 point guards have been outstanding thus far. Lonzo Ball’s success is well-documented, as is Markelle Fultz’s, but there are five other players averaging more than four assists per game. Nice distribution!

The Pac-12’s Five Best Spot-up Shooters

  1. Isaac Hamilton, UCLA: 29 assisted 3FG (45%): Perhaps the most underrated player in the Pac-12, Hamilton is shooting an outrageous 45.3 percent from beyond the arc and every single one of them has been assisted. I’ll say this again — and again, and then over again — Lonzo Ball has completely transformed a 15-17 team into something completely different — that means he’s dishing on these threes (50 percent of his nation-leading 9+ APG result in threes).
  2. Bryce Alford, UCLA – 22 assisted 3FG (42%): All of Alford’s made threes have been assisted. Un-coincidentally, he’s shooting a career high from beyond the arc (42%) with a career low usage (17%) and a career high Offensive Rating (127.0). Lonzo Ball has transformed a 15-17 team.
  3. Torian Graham, Arizona State – 20 assisted 3FG (42%): In his first season in the Pac-12, Graham has been on the receiving end of another P-12 newbie, Shannon Evans’ dimes. Evans has a stellar 25 percent assist rate (4.6 APG) and Graham — whose teammate Tra Holder’s threes are only assisted at a 36 percent rate despite making 37 percent of them, which is outrageous — is making 42 percent of his threes.
  4. David Crisp, Washington – 17 assisted 3FG (46%): Someone has to be open if Markelle Fultz is going to be doing whatever he wants on the floor. To date, from distance at least, that’s been Crisp. He’s shooting an outstanding 46 percent from behind the three-point line (a jump from his very pedestrian 30 percent mark last season), suggesting he’s getting VERY open. Thanks, Markelle!
  5. Elijah Stewart, USC – 17 assisted 3FG (38%): The undefeated Trojans are certainly benefiting from Stewart’s breakout season. Unique to this list, he is actually shooting less accurately this season than he did a year ago (of course we don’t have data for Graham, however). But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s shooting poorly. Stewart is making 38 percent of his threes, down from 42 percent, but has also seen a huge jump in his usage (16% to 23%).
Adam Butler (47 Posts)

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