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Syracuse men’s basketball: Offensive tendencies are among the country’s most extreme

There’s at least one positive sign on the offensive end

Florida State v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

While Syracuse Orange fans complain about the offensive approach (and deservedly so) there is an interesting theme for the season.

A poor shooting team taking a lot of guarded 3’s is less than ideal, but getting open layups at a higher rate than everyone is some optimism that Autry’s plan can find some success. For the season, Syracuse is attempting 31.4% of their shots at the rim and shooting 66.9% on those attempts. Both of those numbers are higher than the D1 average.

When we dig a bit deeper into the numbers on CBB Analytics, we start to see the areas where improvement is needed and we don’t need to get beyond the arc just yet. The Orange are taking 20% of their shots inside the paint, but only shooting 36%, which is in the bottom 15% in the country. If Syracuse players can’t get to the rim, they aren’t making these short shots at a high enough clip to force the perimeter defense to collapse.

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The other telling statistics we see are looking at those 3-point numbers. Overall the Orange are shooting 31.7% from beyond the arc, but the 3-point assisted percentage is 89.2%. This means the shots the Orange are making are coming from ball movement finding open players. The numbers also tell us that Syracuse is only attempting corner 3s on 5% of their shots. It’s the shot regarded as the easiest to hit, and Syracuse is in the bottom 3% of the country in those attempts.

So why are players taking so many guarded 3s? We’ve all seen plenty of examples of four guys watching one player dribble the ball and when that happens you can’t create any separation for shots. Adrian Autry and staff need to get better player and ball movement and they need to design some sets where the ball can get to shooters in those corner spots.

Even though we’ve focused on the short-comings of the offense, we shouldn’t overlook how well this team has done around the rim. If there’s a better outside threat from next year’s squad, those opportunities may be open more often.