Caleb Love, North Carolina
Once again, Caleb Love struggled to finish in the paint, although there were some modest improvements. After shooting 34.8 percent on 2-point attempts as a freshman, Love shot 38.0 percent from inside the arc this past season.
Love did, however, create cleaner pathways to the rim — at times — when he was able to leverage the threat of his 3-point jumper.
Plus, by playing off of RJ Davis, Love could attack closeouts and defenses that were already tilted in his favor. Love scored 1.09 points per spot-up possession, according to Synergy Sports.
Now, it certainly helped that Hubert Davis did a wonderful job scheming actions and sets for Love this past season. The presence of Brady Manek allowed UNC to open the floor with far better spacing, too. However, it’s the presence of Love’s off-dribble 3-point shooting that offers some intrigue for the next level.
All things considered, the ability to shoot from great distances off the dribble is arguably the most important or impactful skill in basketball. Love shot 36.0 percent from deep this year — off big-time volume (93-of-258 3PA). According to Synergy, Love scored 0.91 points per isolation possession (46.1 eFG%).
The concerns for Love go beyond just his battles with inefficiency on offense — both as a 1-on-1 scorer and in terms of decision-making with the basketball. It’s fair to question Love’s overall scalability as a prospect: if the jumper isn’t flowing, what else does he bring to the table?
Moreover, Love is a poor perimeter defender, both on and off the ball. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t have some useful tools; Love is a long, rangy guard. At times, he applies his length and manages to stay in front of ball-handlers along the perimeter.
Far too often, though, Love gets cooked in space and ball-screen scenarios. He offers very little resistance at the point of attack.
Love has all kinds of issues navigating ball screens. He routinely gets stuck on those picks, taking himself out of the play and providing easy advantage for the offense.
In general, Love plays with heavy feet and a lack of lateral quickness, which can be seen on offense, too, with his struggles to separate from defenders.
North Carolina is a no-middle defense, but this is bad process within the scheme.
It’s all too easy for opposing creators to blow by Love and get in the paint, especially on ball-screen rejections. Love struggles mightily at keeping guys out of the paint off of those quick changes of direction.