The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off of an impressive 61-43 blowout of the Auburn Tigers, avenging their loss on the Plains earlier this season. As impressively as Alabama played on Tuesday night in Coleman Coliseum, there was something that stuck out to me.
Bama would continually shoot and miss (sometimes badly) three point shots. I thought to myself, “For a team that doesn’t shoot well, we sure do shoot a bunch of threes.” The Tide went 2-15 from beyond the arc against Auburn (13.3%). I understand that we are not a great shooting team; we are tied for 8th in the SEC in field goal percentage at 43.1%. But when ‘Bama fires from three-point land, it is a much worse 31.8%, which is 9th in the conference, and 265th in the country.
Alabama takes on average 16.6 three point shots in a game, and makes about five a game. We are not nearly good enough shooting the basketball to be taking almost 17 three’s a game. This is a small sample of the epidemic in basketball that involves players thinking they can shoot three pointers when they can’t, and feeling the need to shoot them because they’re open. Alabama certainly does not have egregious offenders who constantly jack up reckless threes pointers, but shot-selection as a team is a subject that is worth discussing.
Trevor Releford can shoot threes. He leads the team in three point percentage (42.5%), and is ranked 5th in the SEC in this category. The beauty of this stat is that Trevor is only third on the team in attempts (87). Trevor has easily been our best scorer and overall player, and should be encouraged to shoot even more.
Trevor Lacey can shoot threes, but needs to be more selective. While he leads the team in three pointers made this year (47), he also has the most attempts (127). Lacey is our second best scorer, so we ask him to do a lot on offense, and many times it involves creating his own shot. While he has the ability to knock down threes, I think he settles for them just a bit too often. His 36.4% from outside, however, is still respectable.
Rodney Cooper is a nice scorer, but isn’t a three point shooter. He is 29.9% on the season from three point range and has the second most attempts on the team (107). There are certain situations when taking a three is a good shot for Rodney, like in transition. Yes, Cooper knocks down the occasional three, and that’s great. But he, like Lacey, needs to be more selective on his three point attempts.
Levi Randolph and Andrew Steele are not great three point shooters; their percentages are 30% and 21%, respectively. Levi’s range is from about 17 feet, and looks much more comfortable shooting in the ball from that distance. Both of these players are much better offensively when they are slashing and attacking the basket off the dribble. I would encourage both of them to remain aggressive offensively, which I think they have done a good job of lately.
Shot selection is important for a team like Alabama because of our scoring difficulties. We cannot afford to waste any possessions. Doing things like rebounding and limiting turnovers is always important, but it is equally important to not throw away a possession by taking an ill-advised three-pointer. The Crimson Tide should start be on the lookout for better scoring opportunities going forward, rather than settling for a low percentage shots.
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