Using the principles discussed in the previous post, it may be possible to uncover some trends in player performance for the 2007 season.

First, using the methods shown previously, there are five players that show up as bad 3-point shooters and good free throw shooters based on their 2006 stats. One thing to note is that free throw shooting was better correlated to 3-point shooting (among the top 100 shooters by volume) than the season before, as demonstrated by our oddball groups having fewer members. In the case of this group, there are five qualifiers versus the eight found in 2005. Here are the players in this group:

James Life, rising senior, UMass: 82.3 FT%, 30.2 3P% in 2006. Travis Ford plucked Life from the Juco ranks to give the Minutemen perimeter game some, er, life. James disappointed big time in his inaugural D-I season. His FT% came on only 62 attempts. And he was a 75.7% FT shooter in 374 Juco attempts, so he may not be particularly special in that area. Still, there’s no reason to think that a guy given the license to shoot 3’s as often as he did (202 attempts in ‘06) should be such a poor shooter. Life may not be a budding Thomas Gardner, but significant improvement in his shooting is possible.

Adam Haluska, Sr., Iowa: 84.8 FT%, 34.6 3P%. Haluska figures to see his quantitative numbers improve as he will likely be the go-to-guy for the Hawkeyes next season after being the 3rd option in ‘06. Whether his efficiency improves is debatable. Haluska has played three years of major college ball, and his 3-point accuracy has progressed like this: 33.6, 38.9, 34.6.  His shooting rate has slightly increased each season, and it figures to do so again in ‘07. Given the long track record, you wouldn’t expect a big improvement in his accuracy, but an over/under around 37% seems reasonable.

For completeness, the other three players in this group are Jim Goffredo, Sr., Harvard; Calvin Cannon, Sr., Delaware; Brian Hodges, Jr., UMBC.

There were also five players in the poor free throw shooting/good 3-point shooting group, where members figure to see their 3-point accuracy decline in 2007. The three notables among the group:

Lee Humphrey, Sr., Florida. 60.0 FT%, 45.9 3P%. His FT% came on only 30 attempts. For his career he’s 37 for 60 (61.6%), so I think it’s safe to say he’s not too reliable from the line. However, once again in ‘07 Humphrey will be the defense’s fifth priority for many of his minutes, and thus will continue to have the luxury of getting more good looks than just about anyone in the nation. Still, unless Humphrey gets more discriminating with his shot selection, you’d be foolish to think he’ll improve on his 3-point accuracy, simply because he set such a torrid pace last season.

Antoine Agudio, Jr., Hofstra. 71.3 FT%, 42.1 3P%. Exceptions make statistical analysis fun. At least that’s the story I’m going with here, because Agudio had sophomore slump written all over him after posting 65.8/42.3 in 2005. I would have bet the mortgage that his 3-point numbers would have dipped in ‘06. And I would have been right, but only by a single made 3-pointer. His numbers should drop again in ‘07, but I wouldn’t bet the mortgage on it. Agudio appears to be the rare player that is almost as efficient shooting 20 foot jumpers over the defense than unguarded 15 foot set shots. He wouldn’t be the first. Duke’s Jason/Jay Williams comes to mind. For his career, he was an ugly 69% from the line, but a solid 39% from beyond the arc.

De’Angelo Alexander, Sr., Charlotte. 73.1 FT%, 42.9 3P%. In there a more consistent free throw shooter than Alexander? His three seasons have produced percentages of 72.8, 72.6, and 73.1. His 3-point shooting has not been so consistent:

Year    3P%   3PA/40 Min
2006   42.9    8.1
2004   36.3    5.7
2003   35.0    5.9

Alexander shot about 40% more often in 2006 and saw his accuracy go up dramatically. Even if he is truly a changed shooter, he doesn’t have Curtis Withers to attract attention away from him this season, thus the volume of open shots should decrease. And if he reverts to his Oklahoma form, Alexander could be the Dee Brown of 2007.

The others in this group: Jose Olivero, Sr., Lehigh; Torrell Martin, Sr., Winthrop.

There are other cases for the upcoming season worth mentioning.

Arron Afflalo, Jr. UCLA. 80.6 FT%, 36.6% 3P%. Afflalo narrowly missed being in the good FT/bad 3P list. Last season he was both great and poor from long range.

               3PM-3PA   3P%
Thru 1/5/06     38- 84  45.2
After 1/5/06    45-143  31.5

The loss of Jordan Farmar shouldn’t hurt UCLA’s offense that much, although there will be a slight drop with Darren Collison at the point. Don’t be surprised if Afflalo becomes one of the Pac-10’s best 3-point shooters this season and makes up the difference. He may not sustain his pre-conference level of last season, but 40% or so is possible.

Jamaal Tatum, Sr., Southern Illinois. 78.1 FT%, 29.2 3P%. If I had to pick one guy to improve his 3-point accuracy this season, it would be Tatum. He was a 40% (102 for 255) shooter in his first two seasons. And his free throw shooting would not indicate he is fundamentally a bricklayer. Chris Lowery’s first season as coach was characterized by an offensive collapse across the board. With some adjustments in the system, we could see Tatum make a substantial improvement.

Cliff Hammonds, Jr., Clemson. 56.9 FT%, 26.3 3P%. In 2005, Hammonds posted 64.6/36.1 as a freshman. His acceptable 3-point shooting in ‘05 apparently cemented his status as a viable outside shooter in ‘06, when he promptly tested the theoretical limits of inaccuracy while his shooting rate increased slightly. With the expected emergence of James Mays in the post this season, Hammonds will still get opportunities to shoot. Hopefully for Clemson’s sake, he passes up most of them.

Derek Raivio, Jr., Gonzaga. 91.2 FT%, 35.8 3P%. Raivio produced 90.5/45.3 as a freshman. His puzzling drop in 3-point shooting can probably be chalked up to injuries he fought most of the season. Given the large decrease in the talent of his supporting cast this season, it’s going to be hard for him to get back over 40%, but opposing coaches would be wise to view him as that kind of shooter when they game plan the Zags.

Now some guys that tested the NBA waters…

Nick Fazekas, Sr., Nevada. 84.6 FT%, 29.0 3P%. Fazekas opted to come back to Reno for one more season, and it was probably a good decision, as there would seem a jump shot waiting to get out. Look for a surge in his 3P% this season.

Rajon Rondo, Kentucky. 57.1 FT%, 27.3 3P%. Rondo’s shooting woes are well-documented. He has the hands of a 7-footer and shoots like it. Rondo can make an impact defensively and perhaps as a distributor, but anyone expecting him to develop a shot will probably end up being disappointed.

Daniel Gibson, Texas. 72.6 FT%, 38.0 3P%. Strictly from a shooting perspective, Gibson made the right choice. With a whole new team around him in ‘07, the quality of his shots figured to fall off and his 3-point numbers may have taken a turn that would damage his stock somewhat. It’s a good idea to get out now with a relatively weak draft and stats that might convince a GM or two that you could be an above average NBA shooter.