Obviously Z's inability to shoot, whether it's 3s or FTs, is a concern and one of the few glaring weaknesses on our team right now. Unfortunately based on the numbers it seems like he's regressed from this year compared to last. Last year he shot 28.6% from 3 and 51.6% from the line, compared to 21.7% and 41.2% this year.
- Z is 5-23 (21.7%) from 3 this year. 4 of those made 3's were against GW, the other one was in the opener against Norfolk St.
- Z is currently in the middle of an 0-10 streak from 3, spanning 4 games back to the UNC games. In those games he's had 1, 3, 5 and 1 attempts from 3.
- Last year in a 6 game span starting with first NW home game and ending with the home game against OSU, Zavier went 1-17 from 3 (he went 1-2 against OSU but missed his first 3 which was the 17th miss). Within that stretch he had a 2 game stretch where he went 1-12 from 3.
- The only make was when he went 1-8 in an OT win at home against Minnesota. He made his only 3 of OT, making him 0-16 from three in regulation during this stretch.
- The two games prior to the UNC game Z didn't attempt a 3. This equals the amount of games he didn't attempt a 3 all of last year, despite not starting all year last year and playing 41 games last year compared to 10 so far this year.
- Z went 0-5 from 3 in our game against NW this year. Last year Z went 0-4 from 3 @ NW and 0-2 from 3 at home vs NW. His freshman year he went 0-2 from 3 @ NW, making him 0-13 from 3 career against NW and 0-11 @ NW.
- Last year Z shot 84 3's in 1085 minutes, or 1 attempt every ~13 minutes on the floor. This year he has 23 attempts in 309 minutes, or 1 every ~13.5 minutes. Excluding the NW game where he was being dared to shoot, this drops to 1 every ~15.5 minutes.
- Z shot 71% on 31 attempts from the line his freshman year. That's small sample size but based on what we've seen I didn't think Z was capable of shooting 71% from the line over any sample size.
So there's a lot of numbers and notes here. I'm not sure how relevant any of this is or if you can take anything from it, but to me there are a couple key takeaways.
- Obviously sample size caveats apply but it seems like we're seeing a significant drop in 3 point attempt rate from Z. Without the NW game we've seen a drop from 1 every 13 minutes to 1 every 15.5 minutes, and even with that NW game there's a drop to 1 every 13.5 minutes. He's also gone 2 games without attempting a 3, which is the same amount of times he did so last year. In my opinion this is a positive. Obviously you'd like to see him get better as a shooter but that doesn't seem too likely, so until that happens limiting his attempts is the best option. The worry here is that teams start adopting the NW strategy of never guarding Z at the 3 point line and daring him to shoot.
- Z's biggest shooting slumps seem to correlate with games against NW. Last year his 1-17 streak included 0-6 in 2 games against NW, and this year half of his misses in his current 0-10 streak are against NW. NW hasn't been great either year at preventing 3 point attempts or makes, so this could be randomness or an effect of going against Billy Donlon.
Once again I don't know how much you can take from this but it leaves me slightly encouraged about Z being a 30%ish 3 point shooter, which is probably where he needs to be to prevent the NW strategy from being repeatable.
The fact that he's reduced his 3 point attempt rate is the big thing to me. If you're not a good shooter the best way to help your percentages is by only taking good shots. Despite his poor percentages I don't think Z's taken any bad 3's this year. Most of his attempts have been wide open, and most of those late in the shot clock (minus one or two against NW where Beilein even said he has to take those shots). I also don't think he's really looked terribly off where we're seeing shots completely air ball, hit the side of the rim or something along those lines. His shots look like they're mostly online but not falling. He obviously doesn't have a great shooter's touch so that's a big part of it, but I also think part of it is just luck. Beilein has said that he wants Z to continue taking the shots he has been from 3, that he's happy with his shot selection and how his shot his looked, and eventually his shot will start to fall. With Z it's all relative, but I do think he's gotten unlucky and we should see some significant improvements for him the rest of the way.