this shot was just tooken [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
I've been poking around Hoop Math a bit and saw something that jumped out at me: Michigan's late clock offense (ie: shots that go up with 5 or fewer seconds on the clock). There's a lot of it, and it's awful. This is a significant departure from previous seasons and is probably where the various problems with Michigan's offense collect and express themselves. Here's a chart:
|YEAR||% LATE||NT EFG||LATE EFG|
The only Hoop Math Era team with a late EFG anywhere near as bad as this year's team was the frosh Burke team in 2012, and that offense had significantly fewer shots fall into the Bin Of Crap Late Offense. This year's team is humping up a fifth of their shots in a 0.84 PPP bin.
Everything else is fine. (Almost.) Michigan doesn't turn the ball over, they are hitting 56% from two, and their meh team three point shooting is heavily influenced by a bunch of these terrible late shots. They're hitting 28% on 96 late threes, down from 35% last year. Threes in the first 25 seconds of the clock are dropping at a 40% rate. If Michigan was converting late clock opportunities at the rate they have over the past five years, the only thing separating them from their usual lethal offense would be free throw shooting.
Unfortunately, I don't think there's a simple Give The Ball To Player X answer to this. No Michigan player has been at all efficient late except Jordan Poole, who's just taking threes other people set up. MAAR: 46% on 45 FGA. Wagner: 42% on 39 FGA. Matthews: 36% on 39 FGA. The closest player to efficiency has been Zavier Simpson, of all people, who's at 48% and has a huge number of his shots (40%!) in the crappy late clock bin.
if this was late in the clock it was a good shot [Bryan Fuller]
Michigan just isn't as good at creating good shots as they usually are, and unlike last year they don't have a guy like Walton who can rise up for a good-idea contested three, or a guy like Hardaway who can get a decent look at a long two whenever he wants. Even the "have Matthews thunder at the rim because he's a great athlete" approach is seriously compromised by his free throw shooting.
Unfortunately this feels like an "it is what it is" situation. Michigan should be more open to taking decent-but-not-great shots earlier in the shot clock, because chances are that is going to be the best look they get. Other than that, they just have to live with too many offensive possessions that bog down into nothing at all.
The good news is that this should be a blip, not a trend: Jordan Poole is an unassisted 3 point shooter who figures to inherit most of MAAR's minutes next year and the next recruiting class has a couple of unapologetic in-your-face-Charlie-Murphy shooters in David DeJulius and Adrian Nunez. Also you have to figure that continued development of the point guards—and everyone else—should get Michigan better, earlier shots.
For now, Michigan should take anything that comes their way. Pull-up threes against Purdue switches? Yes. A good look at a long two with 15 seconds on the clock? Sure. A semi-contested three? Okay. Whatever it takes to get the ball up before the doom of the world kicks in 25 seconds into the shot clock.