Weekly Pac-5: Mid-Range Shooters

Posted by Adam Butler on December 16th, 2016

The game is evolving away from the basket and toward the three-point line. That’s what Daryl Morey and James Harden would have you believe. The Golden State Warriors would have you think the same. We don’t need advanced metrics to understand that 3>2. Especially if you can make it, the three-pointer is the most valuable in the sport. This distance trend isn’t reserved for just the pros. The collegiate three-ball is being shot at a higher clip than ever before. A 36 percent share of all shots are from distance. Like we explored last week, teams make an effort to help their best shooters make that shot. But what if that’s not your strongest suit?

Regardless of how they did it, Thomas Welch and UCLA are one step away from the Sweet 16. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Considering his skill set, it’s not a huge surprise Thomas Welsh tops this list. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

What if you’re better off the bounce or closer to the basket? What if, philosophically, your team isn’t a three-point shooting team? This week we want to consider the Pac-12’s best mid-range players. It isn’t a lost art! It’s just a less appreciated and certainly a less sexy shot. It’s neither three points nor a dunk. Like middle management, the mid-range jumper isn’t glamorous, but it is effective. So who’s the most effective at it in the Pac this season? Here are the Pac-12’s five leading mid-range shooters (quantified by total number of makes):

  1. Thomas Welsh, UCLA – 34 mid-range FGM: The Baseline Bruin. Welsh is lethal from this area, connecting on a ridiculous 53 percent of his attempts from this distance. It also must be noted that 85 percent of his attempts come from the mid-range and that 88 percent of those buckets are assisted.
  2. Markelle Fultz, Washington – 25 mid-range FGM: Just four of Fultz’s jumpers have been assisted, suggesting that the fabulous freshman is creating his own shots (and consequently makes) in this range. Considering that Fultz is also shooting 49 percent from three-point range, we should opt Fultz into any “Top 5” list moving forward. Deal?
  3. Josh Hawkinson, Washington State – 24 mid-range FGM: If you have a minute, take the time to dive into Hawkinson’s numbers over his career at Washington State. I’ll kick start your examination: He averaged one point and one rebound per game as a freshman — 15 and 11 since.
  4. Ivan Rabb, California – 22 mid-range FGM: Your resident preseason All-American has made a lot of these shots but hasn’t been particularly efficient with them. He’s shooting just 41 percent (still solid but not spectacular) from mid-range.
  5. Drew Eubanks, Oregon State – 20 mid-range FGM: Perhaps the least marquee name on our mid-range list, Eubanks has also attempted the fewest shots among the group. With Tres Tinkle out of the Beavers’ lineup for extended time, expect to see Eubanks’ usage rise.

In scouring this list, we quickly see that it is dominated by big men. This is both expected but also unfair. Those guys live inside the paint, but we can’t necessarily distinguish a two-point jumper from an extended post move. Both are recorded as a mid-range shot so long as they’re not dunks, layups or three-pointers. So here is a second Pac-5 list, the Pac-12’s five leading mid-range GUARDS:

  1. Markelle Fultz, Washington – 25 mid-range FGM: He’s outrageous, as noted above.
  2. Derrick White, Colorado – 19 mid-range FGM: The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week is a former Division-II All-American.
  3. Isaac Hamilton, UCLA – 18 mid-range FGM: Let’s face it, Hamilton is just a really good shooter from all over the floor.
  4. George King, Colorado – 14 mid-range FGM: With our second Buffalo on the list, let’s peek at where their shots are coming from: 32 percent are mid-range attempts. That’s smack in the middle of the Pac-12 (sixth) and around 90th nationally. They rank ninth, however, in conference mid-range field goal percentage.
  5. Torian Graham, Arizona State – 13 mid-range FGM: Another strong shooter from several spots on the floor.
Adam Butler (47 Posts)

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