Another perspective on Oladipo's shooting

To recap, the main argument in favor of Victor Oladipo as an NBA-ready outside shooter is his 44.1% three-point shooting as a junior in college. To which the counter-arguments thus far have been the small sample size that number represents (30-68, less than one 3-pointer made per game) and his miserable three-point shooting the previous two years (30.8% as a freshman, 20.8% as a sophomore).

To those, I'm going to attach an additional one: Indiana's offense as a whole, and the performance of Oladipo's teammates from behind the three-point line...

Of course, there's a name missing here, and that's Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers' center was their leading scorer, and it's not hard to imagine that a fair percentage of the open threes his teammates got were due to his presence. Every other player who averaged 10+ minutes per game for the Hoosiers shot a substantial number of threes (Abell attempted his 33 in only 12.5 minutes a game). Clearly, Indiana's offense was a 1 in/4 out type scenario.

Moreover, the presence of so MANY three-point shooters (note that Oladipo was somewhere between the third and fifth option from beyond the arc) must have made it easier for all of them, to the point where both Hulls and Watford (both are seniors, and neither is projected as an NBA draft pick) were able to knock down twice as many (or more) perimeter shots, at an even higher percentage than Oladipo's.

But how about the 2011-12 Hoosiers, for whom Oladipo struggled so mightily beyond the arc? Let's look at their outside shooting. Their starting lineup last year was the same, with the exception of Verdell Jones III playing starting PG (Ferrell was a freshman in 2012-13).

  • Hulls: 72-146 for 49.3%
  • Watford: 52-119 for 43.7%
  • Matt Roth*: 42-77 for 54.5%
  • Sheehey: 18-47 for 38.3%
  • Derek Elston*: 16-29 for 55.2%
  • Verdell Jones III: 10-33 for 30.3%
  • Oladipo: 10-48 for 20.8%

A bit of a note on the players not mentioned above:

Matt Roth, a redshirt junior in '11-12, shot those 42 threes in only 11.8 minutes a game. (His total shooting that season? 44-82. Yes, he was 2-5 from inside the three-point line.)

Jones, a senior in '11-12, averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 assists and 2.4 turnovers a game as the Hoosiers' starting PG. (To Ferrell's 7.6 points, 4.1 assists and 2.1 turnovers -- all signs suggest that Ferrell, a freshman, represented an upgrade at the position.)

Elston, a junior in '11-12, averaged 12.3 minutes a game that year. In 2012-13, he found himself out of the Hoosiers' rotation, averaging 6.3 minutes and playing in only 19 games. (He shot 2-9 for three, in case you were wondering.)

So, to sum up: Oladipo has experience playing in a Dwight Howard-esque 1 in/4 out system, but has never been one of the leading 3-4 outside shooting options in that system. He was an effective if low-volume three-point shooter as a junior, and a wildly ineffective one as a sophomore. The players who have benefited from Indiana's offensive system, allowing them to out-shoot Oladipo from beyond the arc over the span of the last two years, include three upperclassmen with no realistic NBA hopes (Hulls and Watford by wide margins, Sheehey by a narrower one), as well as Roth, a backup who played 12 minutes a game, had no duties beyond three-point shooting, and had his scholarship pulled before his last season of NCAA eligibility, and arguably Abell and Elston, two other backups with higher percentages but even smaller sample sizes.

So... yeah. 44.1%, but that's the whole context.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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