One way to Harm the opposition

 

As of this moment, the Cougs are closing in on their lowest three-point percentage of the decade. They're only 0.23% ahead of Paul Graham's 2001-02 squad. That's the same Paul Graham that went 9-63 in the Pac-10. The percentage is also sitting dangerously close to Dick Bennett's 3-year rebuilding project.

Now, the question of the night becomes: it is us, or is it the defenses we've played? Sadly, I don't think it's the other guys. We've played several 2-3 zones, most of which aren't nearly as good as Gonzaga's has been (or should I say had been?). Those teams sacrificed the perimeter in favor of keeping Baynes in check. Even the man-to-man teams have gone out of their way to double Aron instead of closing out on our perimeter shooters. There have been some exceptions, but for the most part our opponents have been focusing on Baynes, and to a lesser extent Thompson. Rarely anyone else.

Meanwhile, shots have just been clanking off the rim. I've been on the Abe Lodwick bandwagon for quite some time, but he's been 1 for 16 this year after draining all 3 threes he took in the preseason game. That won't last. Taylor Rochestie's shooting a career low 31.1%. That might last, unless the rest of the offense starts giving him the confidence to pass it as opposed to shooting it. When you look at the Cougs' eight man rotation, only four guys should even be attempting threes - Rochestie, Thompson, Koprivica and Harmeling.

Which brings me to my recommendation: get Daven Harmeling more attempts. He's shooting a 43.5% clip from the arc, and probably won't regress to the mean like Koprivica has (35.3%). Furthermore - and this is more important - his eFG% of 61.5% is second among Cougar regulars, only trailing Aron Baynes at 63.5%. That's almost entirely a result of his excellent three-point percentage.

Daven is a team player and will pass up the open three for a dish to a teammate. That's unselfish play, but he needs to tone it down a little. Harmeling attempted zero shots against LSU. That's due in part to Koprivica coming off the bench and getting more playing time; but it's also due to the fact we haven't been agressive enough in finding Daven open shots.

Daven Harmeling should be this year's Derrick Low. The perimeter version of Derrick, anyway. Find him off screens, have him catch and shoot, and find ways for him to get open when the defense collapses on Baynes. And if Daven connects and other teams start focusing on trying to shut him down, great. Other guys will start to be open.

As for Daven - shoot the ball. Good things will happen.

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