Not only will the ACC have to replace a record-setting 10 first round NBA draft picks. The league is also out some of its most prolific three-point shooters. Terry Henderson, Luke Kennard, Maverick Rowan, London Perrantes are all gone; so, too, is Andrew White. That’s a lot of firepower.
Now, some folks aren’t the biggest fans of modern basketball’s proclivity to shoot more and more three-pointers. That list includes the legendary Bob Ryan — one of the great basketball writers ever. They would prefer the game to be all gangly elbows and post touches.
Don’t get me wrong — I love great interior offense, too. However, the ability to connect from deep is what opens up the post. There’s nothing better than a well-spaced floor with the ball whizzing around. Pass, cut, pass, cut shoot; that’s basketball utopia.
So, which players will be the top perimeter marksmen in the ACC in 2017-18? Let’s dive in.
Kyle Guy, Virginia
In the NBA, no one can touch Warriors guard Klay Thompson when it comes to having a quick release; the 6-foot-7 Thompson needs less than a second to bomb on you from 26 feet away. Kyle Guy doesn’t stack up with Klay — another Tony Bennett product — but he may have the fastest shot in the ACC. More importantly, it goes in a lot, too.
As a freshman, Kyle Guy became the first ACC player since Archie Miller in 2000-01 to attempt at least three three-pointers per game, and make at least 49 percent. Guy shot 49.5 percent from downtown, which ranked No. 7 nationally, per KenPom.
He knows that’s what he does best, too; over 50 percent of Guy’s attempts from the field came from beyond the arc. Guy, along with teammate Ty Jerome, were two of the best spot-up players in the ACC last season.
|Spot-up FG%||Spot-up points per possession||Catch-and-shoot FG%||Catch-and-shoot points per possession|
Guy is especially dangerous off the catch, though. This makes him a great fit for Bennett’s screen-heavy mover-blocker offense. According to Synergy Sports, Guy posted an effective field goal rate of 63.1 percent (1.26 points per possession) on catch-and-shoots. This ranked fifth in the ACC amongst players with at least 100 attempts.
Cameron Johnson, North Carolina
I covered most of this with Cameron Johnson’s inclusion to the ACCSports.com All-Analytics team. Let’s rehash some of that, though, shall we?
Almost 77 percent of Johnson’s field goal attempts in the half-court were jump shots in 2016-17. And over 66 percent of his shots a season ago came from beyond the arc while playing at Pitt. However, if you isolate specifically for jump shots, 91.2 percent of his jump shot attempts were three-pointers, according to Synergy.
His effective field goal rate of 56.3 percent was a top-12 number in the ACC (minimum 100 attempts). The Houston Rockets would probably like to sign this guy immediately.
Replacing a former ACC Player of the Year may not be an enviable task, but Johnson has the long-range accuracy to fill the shoes of Justin Jackson. He will certainly have plenty of opportunities, too. Don’t be bashful, Cam.
PJ Savoy, Florida State
This is my kind of player; PJ Savoy is about that action, boss. Savoy is a bit of a one-dimensional player, but something should be said about know how to play to your strengths.
According to Sports Reference: going back to the 1992-93 season, only two ACC players — Savoy and Keith Friel of Virginia (in 1999-2000 and 2000-01) — have shot at least 40 percent on three-pointers (at least three attempts per game) while also averaging less than one rebound and one assist per game. When you can shoot threes like this, though, it’s all good.
Almost 93 percent of Savoy’s attempts from the field last season were jump shots, per Synergy. Nearly 88 percent of his field goal attempts were three-pointers, too. And according to Synergy, 66 of Savoy’s 114 field goal attempts (57.9 percent) were of the catch-and-shoot variety.
Savoy connected on 42.4 percent of his catch-and-shoots — which translated to an effective field goal rate of 63.6 percent. Bombs away, PJ.
Keyshawn Woods, Wake Forest
Bigs things should be expected of Keyshawn Woods this season in Winston-Salem; the redshirt junior will be needed to help lift an offense that lost John Collins to the NBA. On some nights, Woods may have to function as the team’s top option — next to junior point guard Bryant Crawford.
If Woods shoots like he did last season, then he’s more than ready for an increased role.
Offense won’t come as easy for Wake Forest without Collins’ rim-running gravity sucking defender into the lane; however, Woods has a terrific slash-and-kick counterpart in Crawford.
Woods, per Sports Reference, was one of just nine ACC players last season to launch at least three three-pointers per game, make 40 percent or more of his triples and post a true shooting rate of at least 60 percent. Some great names join him on this list: Kennard, White and Allen.
In 2016-17, Woods posted an effective field goal rate of 59.6 percent on catch-and-shoot possessions, per Synergy. The Demon Deacons will need him to light up the weak side of defenses while Crawford operates out of pick-and-roll.
As I wrote back in July, Woods was one of only seven ACC players to score better than 12 points per game on fewer than 10 field goal attempts — while also shooting better than 40 percent on three-pointers, per Sports Reference.
Justin Bibbs, Virginia Tech
Say hello to the lone lefty one this list; somewhere, Michael Redd is smiling (probably). Bibbs, who is the elder statesman of this group, was a part of one of the best spot-up offenses in the nation last season.
Dating back to the 2014-15 season, only eight ACC players have played 100 or fewer games and attempted at least 400 three-pointers. Only one of those players — Justin Bibbs — has also made better than 43 percent of his career three-pointers.
As a team, the Hokies shot 42.3 percent and scored 1.12 points per possession on spot-ups, according to Synergy. That was No. 8 overall in Division I basketball, and tops in the ACC.
Bibbs slapped up an effective field goal rate of 66.5 percent (1.37 points per possession) on catch-and-shoots. This ranked third in the ACC amongst players with at least 100 attempts, per Synergy.
- Grayson Allen, Duke
- Joel Berry, North Carolina
- Al Freeman, NC State
- Matt Farrell, Notre Dame
- Ky Bowman, Boston College
- Ty Outlaw, Virginia Tech (Get better soon, Outlaw)