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The season-ending injury to Jose Alvarado should mean more minutes for rookie Evan Cole

To say it’s been a bit of a slug on offense for Georgia Tech this season may be a bit of an understatement. The Yellow Jackets are improved on that side of the ball this season; according to KenPom, Georgia Tech ranks 192nd in adjusted offensive efficiency — 104.4 points per 100 possessions. That’s up from 100 points per 100 possessions in 2016-17, when Tech ranked No. 259 in the nation.

ACC play has been cruel to the Yellow Jackets, too. Georgia Tech is just 4-8 league play — with an offensive rating of just 95.2 points per 100 possessions. This team fields a solid defense; however, in the rough and tumble ACC, you better be elite defensively if it’s this much of an issue to score the ball.

The return of of Josh Okogie helped some when he returned in mid-December, although it moved the needle only slightly. Well, things just got a lot tougher: freshman point guard Jose Alvarado will miss the rest of the season with a fractured left elbow. Alvarado injured his elbow in Sunday’s loss to Duke.

 

Out of Range

Only 27.5 percent of Georgia Tech’s field goal attempts are three-pointers, which ranks No. 337 in the nation. As a team, the Yellow Jackets shoot just 32.7 percent from downtown — No. 278 — and only a paltry 22.5 percent of Georgia Tech’s points come from three-pointers.

Those are pretty middling numbers, especially for a team that will now have to play the remainder of the season down Alvarado — its best three-point shooter.

Nearly 49 percent of Alvarado’s field goal attempts have come from beyond the arc (7.5 per 100 possessions); for the season, the Brooklyn native is 40-of-108 (37 percent) on three-pointers.

According to Synergy Sports, Alvarado shot 48.3 percent (65.5 percent effective shooting) and scored 1.3 points per possession on spot-up attempts. That ranks third in the ACC amongst players with at least 50 spot-up possessions.

Georgia Tech has connected on just 32 percent of its three-point attempts in ACC play, and it just lost one of the best spot-up players in America. Things are about to get even more cramped in the paint for center Ben Lammers — who has seen his two-point field goal accuracy drop from 51.4 percent in 2016-17 to 45.4 percent this season.

 

Who can pitch in?

Once again, Georgia Tech will need to rely on Okogie — one of the ACC’s top wings. Okogie isn’t afraid to let it fly from deep; he gets up 6.8 three-point attempts per 100 possessions. The sophomore is also a solid spot-up player: 0.97 points per possession, according to Synergy.

However, with Alvarado out, Okogie may have to soak up more ball handling responsibilities, too. Over the last five games, Alvardo played 89 percent of Georgia Tech’s point guard minutes, per KenPom.

This could cause his 41.2 percent clip on three-pointers to dip, although it may allow him to get to the line more, which is a good thing. According to KenPom, Okogie draws 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes; he’s an 81.7 percent shooter from the line, too.

 

Cole World

This could also mean more opportunities for freshman Evan Cole, who scored a career-high 10 points against Duke. Cole, who was initially committed to UNC Wilmington before Kevin Keatts took the NC State job, has played just 8.4 percent of Georgia Tech’s ACC minutes. However, in the Duke game, Cole played 21 minutes — just one fewer than he played in his previous seven appearances combined.

Cole is just 2-of-12 on spot-up attempts this season, per Synergy. But as Georgia Tech looks further down the road, perhaps it’s wise to get him more reps — as opposed to Tadric Jackson, a senior, or Brandon Alston.

 

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