X has been a huge part of the success the last two years, 63 wins, 7 tourney wins, 28 Big Ten wins, 6 BTT wins, including a title, and the motor of Michigan’s best defenses in a long time. He spearheaded an offense that this year was top 25 or top 20 depending on the site.
But he also has serious deficiencies as a scorer, really at all three levels. His 9pts/game (or even 11 in conference) were well below that of other ball dominant Beilein players. And in losses and against good defenses, X’s deficiencies as a scorer impacted the team.
@Wiscy - 11 pts on 13 shot equivalents (1-3pt) 3 TOs
@Iowa - 10 pts on 10 shot equivalents (0-5 3pt) 3 TOs
Wiscy - 5 pts on 9 shot equivalents (0-1 3pt) 1 TO
@PSU - 8 pts on 10 shot equivalents (2-6 3pt) 6 TOs
MSU - 19 pts on 17 shot equivalents (2-7 3pt) 1 TO
@MSU - 6 pts on 13 shot equivalents (0-3 3pt) 2 TOs
vs MSU - 6 pts on 9 shot equivalents (0-3 3pt) 1 TO
vsTTU - 0 pts on 5 shot equivalents (0-0 3pt) 4 TOs
In 8 games (7 losses plus the home game against Wiscy), that’s 65 pts on 86 shot equivalents, or .75 pts/shot (8.1 pts/game).
Overall, in the NCAA tourney, he had 13 pts on 18 shot equivalents with 11 TOs.
In 37 games he made 38 FTs and 32 3s, so 1 FT a game and less than one 3 a game. He had 21 games where he didn’t make a 3.
Of course, he had many high assist games in there. And by no means were the offensive woes, such as they were, solely his fault. But for such a ball-dominant player, his weaknesses show up.
The question is what to do. The obvious options include:
-3pt shooting - he has improved each year, but he has to continue to get better. If he can shoot 35% on catch and shoot opportunities toeing the line, that would open up a lot for other players.
-Get to the line more - as nice a story as the hook shot was, it got scouted by the end and also never yields FTs. Try drawing contact when going inside.
-As a team, get better feeding the post. This is obviously not just him but he plays a role.
-Surround him with 3 pts shooters. Switching out Matthews for Livers and improvement by Teske would already help, or maybe going small at the 5 depending on the defensive scheme.
You can talk about schemes all day, but it’s very hard to scheme around a ball dominant player being a limited scorer at all three levels. It’s a credit to X, the coaches, and the other players to have had the seasons they did and the offenses they did despite that. X has been a huge part of 3 great seasons, particularly the last two, but improving his offense will be crucial to raising the ceiling for next year’s offense.