Tuesday, November 26, 2019

UConn True Shooting Through Six Games

After looking at some of the shot location trends as the game goes along for the UConn basketball team, I decided to look at each players shooting efficiency through six games. Shooting efficiency can be summed up nicely in one number, true shooting percentage. True shooting percentage is the ratio of points scored to true shooting attempts, where a single free throw is 0.44 true shooting attempts (this figure was derived from considering all free throws, i.e. those yielded after two point fouls, three point fouls, and free throws after a made basket). All field goal attempts represent one true shooting attempt. The benefit of looking at shooting through the lens of true shooting percentage is it adjusts for the fact that a three pointer is more valuable then a normal two point field goal and it rewards players who get to the free throw line.

The following table represents the shot profiles of all the relevant players in the UConn rotation:

Vital has put up the most true shooting attempts through six games followed by Carlton and Gilbert. Given Gaffney's lack of playing time and lack of aggressiveness with regards to looking for his shot, it is no surprise that he has shot less than half as many true shooting attempts as the next closest player in the rotation. Below is a plot that compares efficiency, in the form of true shooting percentage, and volume, in the form of true shooting attempts:

The horizontal and vertical lines represent the averages in efficiency and volume respectively. You can see that with his high volume, Gilbert has not been efficient shooting the ball thus far. Now, this will regress some, a 36.5% true shooting is not sustainable for a player of his capability. This also neglects to account for the shots he has created after drives to the rim, where he has the ability to blow by defenders with his elite quickness. Polley has maintained very good efficiency with his proficiency from three point range. James Bouknight has only played in three games (hence the low volume) but has shot the lights out thus far. The same can be said for Brendan Adams after a poor freshman year. Vital has maintained solid efficiency despite the degree of difficulty of his shooting attempts. Carlton's similar efficiency to Vital is disappointing when you take into account the proximity to the basket with which he takes his shots and the fact that many of his attempts are assisted. Sid Wilson's lack of offensive production has to be considered a let down given his recruiting pedigree. If he can at least become a passable shooter with his athleticism, he could be a really important piece for this UConn team. Finally, here is the same plot but for just the last 10 minutes of games:

This information should be taken with an extremely sizable grain of salt, given the lack of game time in this split. Bouknight and Adams have shot extremely well at the end of games. Given they are both perimeter based players, this will regress some. Vital has taken his game to another level during this time. Carlton and Gilbert lead the team in volume at the end of games, yet they have been two of the least efficient players in this spot. I would imagine the two of them will have a little more luck finding the bottom of the basket as the season goes on.

Thank you to Luke Benz and his ncaahoopR package for making it easy to scrape the play-by-play data

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