In the modern game of basketball, being able to hit three point shots is more important than ever before. Studies have been done that show that adding a shooter to any basketball lineup will increase the offensive output of that lineup, and as long as the shooter isn’t a terrible defender, the net rating will increase as well. The studies also show that shooting isn’t a thing a team can have too much of. Too many lob threats can get in each others way. Too many ball handlers has a chance to ruin the rhythm of the team as they each pound the air out of the ball. Shooters though, when they have the ball they’re a threat, and when they don’t have the ball you can’t help off of them, because if you do they will get the ball and become a threat.
Coach Dutcher has done a great job throughout his tenure as head coach at making sure his team has multiple shooters. Guys like Devin Watson, Malachi Flynn, Matt Mitchell, and of course Jordan Schakel, could all score from behind the three point line. For the upcoming ’22 season, there is a serious lack of shooting. The average shooter shoots around 33.3% from behind the arc. To be a real threat, a player needs to shoot 35% or better.
The most established shooter the Aztecs have returning is Adam Seiko. Seiko is a career 36.1% shooter. More importantly, Seiko isn’t just a spot up shooter. He can shoot coming off of screens as well, which is a dangerous weapon to have. No one will mistake him for Jordan Schakel, but he is a versatile piece.
The best shooter will likely be Keith Dinwiddie. Dinwiddie only played 44 minutes as a freshman, so he isn’t established yet. That being said, he’s been a shooter his whole life. In his limited time last season he connected on 10 of 22 shots from deep (45.5%). That number isn’t sustainable, but it says something that he could lose 10 percentage points and still be an above average shooter. The question for Dinwiddie will be how much time does he see on the floor next season. He will be a part of the rotation, but to what extent remains to be seen. It’s hard to stretch defenses and have an impact form the bench. Dinwiddie’s development into becoming more than a shooter will help him see the floor more in his sophomore season.
The last intriguing player is Keshad Johnson. Johnson connected on 33.3% of his three point shots last season. It was a very small sample (21 attempts), but there is hope there. if he continues to hit even at that average rate, he becomes a viable option as a stretch 4. Power forwards that can shoot are so valuable because they pull out opposing big men and help open up lanes to attack the rim. Similar to Dinwiddie, Johnson’s development over the offseason will be key in determining his playing time and role.
As for incoming players, the Aztecs are connected with a couple players who have shown thay can shoot the ball. Noah Gurley (Furman) could fill a stretch 4 type of role, Jaelen House (Arizona State) could be a 3&D guard similar to Seiko. There are other guys they can contact (and probably have contacted.) Tanner Groves (Eastern Washington, Big Sky POY) would be a great player to play next to Mensah, and can pull defenses out to the perimeter when needed. Kellan Grady (Davidson) is another player who can really stretch defenses. He connected on 38.2% of his three point attempts last season and would play a similar role to the one Schakel played the last few seasons.
With the game becoming more focused on perimeter play, more and more players are becoming shooters. Finding a player who can shoot shouldn’t be a problem. The Aztecs will likely try and find 2 or 3 players to bring in who can shoot the ball, but even just one would be a big boost.