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View Full Version : We Don't Get to the Free Throw Line Enough



thegloriousgoateeofKP
01-22-2015, 08:22 AM
The four most important factors for winning basketball games are, basically: field goal percentage, turnover rate, offensive rebounding, and how often you get to the free throw line (regardless of your shooting percentage when you're there). Getting to the line is indicative of aggressive offense and, of course, the shots you take from there are unguarded.

Zags are 3rd, 30th, and 30th in the country in the first three categories respectively. But we rank a pitiful 201st in the country in getting to the line. Don't you guys think that needs to change?

CDC84
01-22-2015, 08:43 AM
It's hard to tell. It's hard to pick apart the Gonzaga offense that much when they are in the top 5 in offensive efficiency, second in the nation in field goal percentage, and are shooting near 40% from the 3 point line.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
01-22-2015, 08:50 AM
Certainly. But we know there are areas where we need to improve...the defensive end is priority #1 obviously. But wouldn't mind seeing our free throw rate improve too.

We know we're in the Tournament. We know we're gonna have a decent seed. So the rest of the season needs to be about improving and perfecting. And getting to the line is one major need

Zagdawg
01-22-2015, 09:03 AM
You can look at it from a few different angles.

So far out of our 19 games played-- only 4 were within 10 point wins--- the opposing team was not trying to foul our players to extend the game/keep the game close at the end of regulation in 15 of those games-- this will make a difference with the overall number of fouls.

Foul a Karno is not really an option for the opposing team as he has been hitting like 68% of his free throws over the last 10 games.

We have been on the road/neutral courts for over half of our games so far this year (10 road/neutral and 9 home) --- we will have 8 of the next 12 games at home-- this should help the overall free throw numbers in the end.

Not really concerned with what has happened so far this year with free throws-- lets just worry about beating St Marys and move forward from there.

Go Zags

rennis
01-22-2015, 09:03 AM
If the refs blew the whistle when Domas, Karno, and Wiltjer were taking contact (but finishing anyway) in the paint, we'd be top 5 in that category too. Those guys get hammered every single game.

sittingon50
01-22-2015, 09:12 AM
I think in most years you would probably be correct goatee, but #'s can be funny.

GU is #6 in the WCC in offensive rebounding. If you were to look at that stat alone you might deduce they are not very good, or need to get way better. But when you put that together with the fact that they are not only #1 in the WCC but in all of college basketball in FG% (passed Notre Dame, CDC) then you realize that there are not as many offensive rebounds to be had.

And what helps in leading the nation? Well, being #10 in the nation in 3PFG % certainly does. So, you got your big's making layups & your guards bombing away & you're #11 in the nation in PPG & you're #6 in the nation in scoring margin, maybe you should stick with the particular makeup of this crew.

In most years, getting to the line is more better (to borrow from WooHoo) than not. This year, I don't think it is as imperative. JMO.

gonzagafan62
01-22-2015, 09:22 AM
I think in most years you would probably be correct goatee, but #'s can be funny.

GU is #6 in the WCC in offensive rebounding. If you were to look at that stat alone you might deduce they are not very good, or need to get way better. But when you put that together with the fact that they are not only #1 in the WCC but in all of college basketball in FG% (passed Notre Dame, CDC) then you realize that there are not as many offensive rebounds to be had.

And what helps in leading the nation? Well, being #10 in the nation in 3PFG % certainly does. So, you got your big's making layups & your guards bombing away & you're #11 in the nation in PPG & you're #6 in the nation in scoring margin, maybe you should stick with the particular makeup of this crew.

In most years, getting to the line is more better (to borrow from WooHoo) than not. This year, I don't think it is as imperative. JMO.

....https://www.facebook.com/GonzagaBulldogs/photos/a.137446154708.108491.74864434708/10153038451584709/?type=1&theater

TheGonzagaFactor
01-22-2015, 09:30 AM
If the refs blew the whistle when Domas, Karno, and Wiltjer were taking contact (but finishing anyway) in the paint, we'd be top 5 in that category too. Those guys get hammered every single game.

That is true. I think we shoot 5-7 less FTs than we should on average in WCC games. Refs tend to have an attitude of: "well if they're so good, they can score with someone pushing/hacking them." We have done well getting to the line in several games. As long as we are scoring consistently from game to game, how we do it in any given game is not so important.

I've heard it both ways in regards to FTs.

"They score a lot, but they aren't very good at getting to the line. That could hurt them if they have an off night from the floor."

-or-

"They score a lot, but they get a very high percentage of their points on free throws. That could hurt them if they don't get calls."


Really, all that is important is scoring. We've shown we can score in every way... whether it be 3 pointers, mid-range jumpers, driving floaters, bank floaters, baseline drives, post-ups, transition, or free throws.

DixieZag
01-22-2015, 10:08 AM
If the refs blew the whistle when Domas, Karno, and Wiltjer were taking contact (but finishing anyway) in the paint, we'd be top 5 in that category too. Those guys get hammered every single game.

Great post.

It sure seems to me there are a lot of games when the other team is in the bonus but they have only 2 team fouls.

Maybe it just seems that way, but I think its happened several times this year.

mgadfly
01-22-2015, 10:25 AM
The four most important factors for winning basketball games are, basically: field goal percentage, turnover rate, offensive rebounding, and how often you get to the free throw line (regardless of your shooting percentage when you're there). Getting to the line is indicative of aggressive offense and, of course, the shots you take from there are unguarded.

Zags are 3rd, 30th, and 30th in the country in the first three categories respectively. But we rank a pitiful 201st in the country in getting to the line. Don't you guys think that needs to change?

I like your post because I'm a stat nut.

However, I disagree with your premise of the four most important factors for winning basketball (I think). FG% is obviously very important. TO Rate is important because it gives possessions away. Offensive rebounding is important because it adds possession. Free throws are important because it is the most efficient way to score points for almost every team (plus it puts the other team in foul trouble).

By way of a couple quick examples: I don't think you can ignore defensive rebounding (which if done poorly adds HIGH QUALITY possessions for the other team). Steal percentage or turnovers forced is equal to your own TO rate.

Our offense is efficient. Even so, we need to get to the line more often. I'm not sure what needs to be adjusted. We may see improvement without adjusting anything (especially if we have more close games where we are in the lead and the other team is fouling late - it seems like this year we have either been firmly in the lead and there wasn't a bunch of fouling or the game was close and no one needed to play the foul game to put us on the line). I really wish we had a FT rate for the first 35 minutes of games to see what it looks like without late game fouling influencing the numbers.

NumberCruncher
01-22-2015, 11:11 AM
A quick look at all teams sorted by free throw rate doesn't appear to show a high correlation to success.

As a team, the Zags are scoring 1.44 points per shot. This is a superior number and an excellent, simple way to measure offensive efficiency.


During Shem's first two seasons, he took 7.9 free throws per 40 minutes. This season, he's had 3.6 free throws per 40 minutes. I pointed to this trend in some other thread a while back. I still refuse to believe that he is actually being fouled less than half as much as before. Any theories on this out there? Anyhow, he would have 50 more free throws by now if the rate were still 7.9. That alone would move the Zags up to about 85th from 199th.

rennis
01-22-2015, 11:25 AM
That is true. I think we shoot 5-7 less FTs than we should on average in WCC games. Refs tend to have an attitude of: "well if they're so good, they can score with someone pushing/hacking them." We have done well getting to the line in several games. As long as we are scoring consistently from game to game, how we do it in any given game is not so important.

I've heard it both ways in regards to FTs.

"They score a lot, but they aren't very good at getting to the line. That could hurt them if they have an off night from the floor."

-or-

"They score a lot, but they get a very high percentage of their points on free throws. That could hurt them if they don't get calls."


Really, all that is important is scoring. We've shown we can score in every way... whether it be 3 pointers, mid-range jumpers, driving floaters, bank floaters, baseline drives, post-ups, transition, or free throws.

I don't know if it's an attitude from the referees or just preference given to guards getting contact around the rim. You can bet the Stripes blow the whistle if there is questionable contact from Karno when an opposing guard attempts a shot in the paint. The reverse, however, simply is not true. Karno takes more contact without the benefit of a whistle than any player I can think of. I know Mark Few has complained about the lack of fouls with all the contact Karno gets from post and guard defenders alike.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
01-22-2015, 12:00 PM
Several things.

1. Let's remove the blue-and-red colored glasses and stop pretending the refs are biased against us. I understand the sentiment, but it's a little juvenile.

2. These stats are all rate-based. So, sittingon, it doesn't matter if there aren't a lot of offensive rebounds to be had...it's about what percentage of the available O rebounds we get. That's how these rankings are determined.

3. These "four factors" go both ways. I.e. "turnover rate" means A) not turning the ball over ourselves and B) forcing the other team to. "Offensive rebounding" means A) getting o. boards and B) preventing the other team from doing so.

4. Therefore, "free throw rate" is a combination of how often we get to the line and how frequently we send other teams to the line. So I guess I should've titled the thread differently. But still, anecdotally, it seems like we do ok in terms of not fouling the other team. But we don't seem to shoot many free throws. Just something I'd like to see improved.

VinnyZag
01-22-2015, 12:05 PM
Several things.

1. Let's remove the blue-and-red colored glasses and stop pretending the refs are biased against us. I understand the sentiment, but it's a little juvenile.


I agree with everything you just typed, but particularly this.

mgadfly
01-22-2015, 01:11 PM
3. These "four factors" go both ways. I.e. "turnover rate" means A) not turning the ball over ourselves and B) forcing the other team to. "Offensive rebounding" means A) getting o. boards and B) preventing the other team from doing so.


Zags are 3rd, 30th, and 30th in the country in the first three categories respectively. But we rank a pitiful 201st in the country in getting to the line.


My mistake, I guess. Because by putting those four rankings rather than all eight rankings you are now saying you were referencing, you mislead me on what you were saying.

We are NOT 201st in the country in getting to the free throw line minus putting the other team on the free throw line. We were/are 201st (kenpom now says we are 199th) in getting tot he free-throw line. Period.

We are 135th in keeping other teams from getting to the free throw line. Your original reference was clearly not a combined rating.

Same for offensive rebounding. We are 30th in offensive rebounding percentage (us getting our misses). We 60th in opponents offensive rebounding (us preventing our opponents from getting their misses). I'm not sure what our ranking is when you combine these two stats but it is absolutely not a combined ranking taking into account BOTH elements of rebounding.

Zagger
01-22-2015, 01:20 PM
If the refs blew the whistle when Domas, Karno, and Wiltjer were taking contact (but finishing anyway) in the paint, we'd be top 5 in that category too. Those guys get hammered every single game.

Of these three I feel Mt. K takes the lion's share. A side benefit .... I also feel that this situation is contributing to how well Shem has been playing (more aggressively, with more purpose, playing through contact and not letting the anticipation of a foul being called to slow down or change his attack). So, I think it cuts both ways and the same situation is paying off for Domas and Wiltjer (although I feel Shem has shown the most benefits). Another aspect to this is ...... how, if any, difference in foul calls may benefit the Zags in the NCAA Tournament (we may get to the line more often later in March). If that's the case (lots of ifs) then we'd better not show up to the FT line in March like we did against Pepperdine (42.4%)

zagfan24
01-22-2015, 01:27 PM
The Zag guards don't truly "attack" the rim often enough to draw a lot of fouls. This is in part due to having Karnowski/Sabonis both playing as true low block players who get a lot of attention and thus clog up the paint. When Pangos does drive, he is more likely to put up floaters, Bell simply doesn't go at the basket that much, which leaves Wesley who usually has the body control to avoid contact. My completely biased, homerist belief is that Zag guards don't flop as often as some teams, but that's probably not a realistic assessment ;)

I do think Karnowski gets a bit of the Shaq treatment where his size and strength limit the number of fouls called that should be; but he seems to be adapting to this well.

Like CDC noted, the stats suggest the Zags are doing just fine offensively.

gonzagafan62
01-22-2015, 01:29 PM
The Zag guards don't truly "attack" the rim often enough to draw a lot of fouls. This is in part due to having Karnowski/Sabonis both playing as true low block players who get a lot of attention and thus clog up the paint. When Pangos does drive, he is more likely to put up floaters, Bell simply doesn't go at the basket that much, which leaves Wesley who usually has the body control to avoid contact. My completely biased, homerist belief is that Zag guards don't flop as often as some teams, but that's probably not a realistic assessment ;)

I do think Karnowski gets a bit of the Shaq treatment where his size and strength limit the number of fouls called that should be; but he seems to be adapting to this well.

Like CDC noted, the stats suggest the Zags are doing just fine offensively.

100% agree

mgadfly
01-22-2015, 02:06 PM
The Zag guards don't truly "attack" the rim often enough to draw a lot of fouls. This is in part due to having Karnowski/Sabonis both playing as true low block players who get a lot of attention and thus clog up the paint. When Pangos does drive, he is more likely to put up floaters, Bell simply doesn't go at the basket that much, which leaves Wesley who usually has the body control to avoid contact. My completely biased, homerist belief is that Zag guards don't flop as often as some teams, but that's probably not a realistic assessment ;)

I do think Karnowski gets a bit of the Shaq treatment where his size and strength limit the number of fouls called that should be; but he seems to be adapting to this well.

Like CDC noted, the stats suggest the Zags are doing just fine offensively.

I think the big difference this season vs some of the past seasons (at least so far) is in the interior. Karno and Wiltjer have hardly drawn fouls at all this season (for whatever reason). Sacre practically lived at the free throw line. Two of his four seasons we were 7th in FT Rate as a team and he shot just shy of 200 free throws.

I think you are right that Karno doesn't get the benefit of the contact sometimes because of his size (I don't think this is a silly conspiracy theory with GU glasses as I think a lot of officials let contact against big guys - regardless of team affiliation - go that they would otherwise call because they don't see the contact as gaining an advantage for the smaller defender). I personally think a foul is a foul and some of the more frustrating games are when a hand check is a foul outside (big slow guys can't gain an advantage by grabbing speedy little guys), but a karate chop on the block is good defense (little guys shouldn't be punished because, jeesh, that guy is huge).

I'm not sure why Wiltjer isn't getting more fouls called for him. He has done a much better job of getting the ball inside, but he really hasn't benefited by more opportunities to shoot free throws.

NumberCruncher
01-22-2015, 03:53 PM
Here's the correlations between the four factors' ranks and the overall KenPom rank.

This is just a single sampling, so I have no idea how consistent this is over time. Very interesting, though. It argues that the categories that the Zags lag behind in are the least important.


http://i.imgur.com/2JhGq4Q.jpg

maynard g krebs
01-22-2015, 03:57 PM
Getting to the foul line requires two things

1)Being fouled by the other team
2)Referees calling fouls when the other team fouls you

Agree with Rennis. It's interesting to note that Karno is getting to the line about half as often as last year. I don't think it's because he's going to the rim less aggressively; more to do with refs figuring he's big enough to take it.

The team goes inside with the bigs as the primary option, Wesley mostly scores inside as well. The 3-4-5 spots account for almost 50 ppg, at a very high fg % (#1?) due to getting so many shots close to the basket.

Also, teams that rely on ultra quick slashers getting in the lane tend to get more foul calls too. Zags rely on post entry almost every time, and if the post is doubled kick it out to shooters. Not necessarily a formula for a ton of fouls, but effective in scoring efficiency nonetheless as noted by others above.

Just the fact that someone has shown a correlation between ft rate and winning doesn't mean that it's an absolute must to have. It ain't broke imo and there's nothing to fix here.

Zagceo
01-22-2015, 05:01 PM
I could swear that Perkins was attacking the rim when he got his jaw shattered.

I'd rather shoot 40% from 3 and let the big boys play threw contact down low.

zagamatic
01-22-2015, 06:31 PM
I'm inclined to agree that I'd like to see the guys get to the line more. However, this particular version of the Zags is predicated on extremely good ball movement to get an open shot because we have so many darn good shooters and not based on athletic guys who go 1 on 1 which tends to result in more fouls being called. In short, it's difficult for a team to get fouled on wide open shots because the defense gets caught in rotation. The catch is that if the guys have an "off night" from the floor it's generally difficult to change your offensive philosophy to being a driving team that draws fouls. This team could be an exception to that instance because we have enough upperclassmen who have the IQ to make that change. Regardless, the free throw percentages need to come up across the board with the possible exception of Sabonis. Imo, everyone else needs to step up at the line, even Pangos (mainly because I think he's capable of it).

Mantua
01-22-2015, 09:52 PM
If the refs blew the whistle when Domas, Karno, and Wiltjer were taking contact (but finishing anyway) in the paint, we'd be top 5 in that category too. Those guys get hammered every single game.

Hear hear!

SMC short guys were fouling like crazy hidden by the trees.

Zag 77
01-22-2015, 10:33 PM
Maybe it is best we don't shoot more free throws. Considering how we shot against Pepperdine and starting 2 for 7 against SMC, our free throw shooting is schizophrenic.

maynard g krebs
01-22-2015, 10:45 PM
1. Let's remove the blue-and-red colored glasses and stop pretending the refs are biased against us. I understand the sentiment, but it's a little juvenile.



Calling other people's observations juvenile is, ironically enough, juvenile imo. When a team is up 20, which is the Zags' average margin, the refs aren't gonna call as much on the other team. Just a rational observation, nothing more.