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January 2, 2012

Can’t Anyone Make a 3?

Filed under: Basketball,Numbers — Chas @ 11:59 am

Or hold on to the ball?

Ashton Gibbs has been really bad at 3-point shooting since having to take over point guard duties. That has become glaringly noticeable during this three game slide. He is a dismal 3-16 (18.75%) in the past three games. Sadly enough, no one else is helping. The rest of the team is shooting 5-32 (15.63%). In fact all but one of those 3s came from Lamar Patterson — and he had three of his four last night. Wright, Moore and Johnson have combined to be 1-14 during this losing streak.

Just as maddening as the missed 3s, though, are the turnovers. It isn’t exactly a huge leap of faith to suggest that Pitt would have won two of these past three games — regardless of the piss-poor 3-point shooting — if Pitt could have done somewhere approaching average against pressing defenses of Wagner and Cinci.

Heck, if they could have done either at a tolerable clip, Pitt wins both of those games. Maybe not with ease, but without the drama that accompanies this losing streak.

Honestly, I’m more concerned about the bad, bad 3-point shooting. The turnovers. Frustrating, but given Pitt’s history, not unexpected when they get pressed. Regardless of Tray Woodall’s presence. Remember Long Beach State and Duquesne? But not having Woodall out there seems to have destroyed Pitt’s ability to get good looks from outside the arc.

In Pitt’s first 7 games, the team shot 65-140 — 46.43% — on 3s. Remember when we were worried because Gibbs was only around 40-something percent early in the season? How we would love to get that back.

First 7 games, 3-point shooting

Ashton Gibbs: 24-56 — 42.9%

Rest of Team: 41-84 — 48.8%

Last 8 games (Woodall injured), 3-point shooting

Ashton Gibbs: 15-53 — 28.3%

Rest of Team: 21-86 — 24.4%

Woodall started out in those first 7 games going 16-35 (45.7%). The loss of Woodall has been much more devastating than originally believed. Between the threat of Woodall’s shot and simply better flow on offense, Pitt simply has not been the same team offensively. As I noted before, this team plays offense first, and that feeds the defense.

interesting point about Dixon only having yes mean as ass’t coaches.

when does he have the confidence to bring in somebody who may disagree with the Howland system?

could be someone who isn’t scared to play multiple defenses. or someone who isn’t committed to one offensive scheme run over and over…..

and when does Dixon realize you have to have one guard who can break a defense down and get his shot off when you need a bucket?

where is the speed in the backcourt? anyone seen L-ville play? I think you could tie Siva and Russ Smith together, three-legged style, and they could beat Woodall and Gibbs in a 90 foot race.

Comment by hugh green 01.03.12 @ 12:40 pm

from ESPN re: Birch… clearly Dixon told him one thing, then did another:

“He’s looking for development, a school that will develop him like a big man,” Sparks said. “Khem’s mentality is that he wants to play the sport and if he makes the (NBA) he wants to be good. Khem wants to learn as much as he can. He wants a school that’s going to run him up and down the court. He doesn’t want to play center, he wants to be a four.”

Comment by DeVanzo 01.03.12 @ 3:23 pm

Khem admitted that he didn’t have the skills to play the 4. He didn’t beat out the player in front of him and struggled at the beginning of the year at the 4. He was playing well at the 5 and that is where he could get the most minutes. Birch is immature and entitled. It’s his own fault, but Dixon shouldn’t have recruited him. Waste of everyone’s time.

Birch is going to be sitting out for a long time. He, and his advisors, are not very intelligent. How is he going to develop his skills by not playing for a year? Please explain. A nonsensical, moronic, childish, and ultimately foolish decision by team Birch. His mother should be embarrassed by this circus.

Comment by omar 01.03.12 @ 3:42 pm

Also, if Khem thinks running up and down the court is how they play in the NBA, then he needs to turn on the television. The NBA playoffs are half-court. Period. Running up and down isn’t going to get him ready for the league.

Comment by omar 01.03.12 @ 3:46 pm

Gibbs is killing this team. He’s not shooting well, he’s turning the ball over, he’s not running the offense and he’s dreadful on defense.

Jamie, please, move him back to the two and reduce his minutes.

Has anyone heard when Woodall is coming back? If he is going to be out for any extended period time, Jamie has to move Johnson to the point. They won’t win six games in the big east with the team as they rolled out it there on New Years Day.

Comment by boubacar aw 01.03.12 @ 3:48 pm

Sorry that Steven Adams had to be there to witness that piss poor performance on Sunday.

Man, he is one tall, tall, really tall, skinny dude. He towered over Austin Wallace, who was once GENEROUSLY listed at 6’9″.

I hope we can all temper our expectations for this kid. He is not going to be a one year savior.

Comment by boubacar aw 01.03.12 @ 4:02 pm

Consideration – stop playing a center like many college teams do. Play 2 forwards and 3 guards. Stop bein obessed only worrying about outrebounding the other team but more about limiting our turnovers. Spread the court since we have no true post player on the roster. If we had done this Birch may still be here.

Pitt does need a new assistant coach who knows how to adapt to the strengths of the opposiion and best minimize our weaknesses. Brandon Knight is not that person and never will be. One Jamie fault is his sense of loyalty to players (Gibbs, Fields, Krauser) and coaches even when it is not deserved.

Stop trying to make Talor a 5 he will not play there next year anyway. Take a chance, stop Grahmanizing. We all know its not the system that wins, Graham made that clear, but the ability to adapt and use the stregth of the players on your roster that succeeds.

A three guard offense could limit backcourt turnovers and hopefully reduce the opponents 3 point uncontested shots. After all few college teams have a dominant offensive low post players.

It should also open passing lanes so this offense that is weak outside shotting team can get more inside looks off of picks and cuts to the basket.

Finally it would set the table for next year when Adams arrives by giving Talor the chance to play out of the pivot and rediscover, if he originally had them, or work on his 10 to 15 ft. shotting and ball handling when Adams takes the post next year.

Comment by DRW 01.03.12 @ 8:46 pm

Taylor isn’t a power forward.

Comment by Omar 01.03.12 @ 9:06 pm

At this pt in the season, I’d like to see Tra (JJohnson until he returns)at PG, Gibbs at SG, Lamar, Nas & Gilbert start. Might be your toughest starting lineup. let Dante and Zanna come off the bench. Change that switching man to man to allow Gilbert to stay underneath —and not have our bigs chase outside like keystone cops. This D. is bad and change is needed to salvage this year.

Comment by Bossdaws 01.03.12 @ 9:21 pm

With this personnel, the team is unlikely to improve defensively. As sloppy as they look at times, they are still a top 10 offensive team in terms of adjusted stats. The number that jumps out to me though is tempo: Pitt is so slow they are currently 330 out of 345 D-1 teams. (Some of that stat has to be attributed to how much they’ve struggled against the press — taking 10 secs to cross midcourt, another 8-10 to start running the offense, etc.) I can’t help but think they can as best as possible mask their defensive flaws by increasing their tempo. Play to their strengths. Put the pressure on the other teams to keep up. That also probably means the smaller lineup. Thoughts?

Comment by JW 01.03.12 @ 10:09 pm


No hard feelings. I have read your posts here for a long time, and I respect a great deal of them.

I do agree with you that Taylor is a major disappointment, and has not materialized like Pitt’s “bigs” from the past decade. He is not the sole cause of Pitt’s problems right now, but his lack of contribution probably doesn’t even intimidate other teams; i.e., there are no double-teams on him, there’s no fear around him, and so on.

Comment by Lou 01.03.12 @ 11:08 pm

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