I’m finally picking back up on our series on Michigan State’s statistical trends over the last 12 years. I’m going to try to make these a little simpler going forward, so that the prospects of doing each post aren’t so daunting (and hence procrastination-inducing).
Today we’ll look at MSU’s field goal shooting percentages. (The last entry in the series looked at 3-point FG attempts as a % of total FG attempts). All data are courtesy of statsheet.com. I did my own graphs in order to break out 2-point shooting.
- Two-point shooting has generally been a team strength for MSU. We only have six years of national ranking data for this stat; they’ve ranked in the top 100 all six years, including the top 20 in 2004 and 2005.
- The 2005 team hit the high water mark of 55.2%, led by Paul Davis (55.3%), Alan Anderson (61.1%), and Kelvin Torbert (61.5%).
- The 2004 team was almost as good (53.4%), but Anderson’s percentage wasn’t nearly as good (43.9%) as he had to play point guard quite a bit.
- The other peak was in 2001 at 53.9%. The leaders that year were Jason Richardson (55.4%), Andre Hutson (62.2%), and Zach Randolph (59.0%).
- So having multiple athletic players with size is good for 2-point shooting. Not a big surprise. Could Morgan, Roe, and Suton put up similar numbers?
- While we found that MSU has historically ranked low in the percentage of their shots taken from 3-point range, they’ve generally shot a pretty good percentage. They’ve been in the top 100 nationally in 8 of the last 12 seasons.
- Peak years in terms of absolute percentage were 2002 (39.3%) and 2004 (40.4%). In 2002, MSU didn’t shoot a lot of 3-pointers. Chris Hill led the way at 44.6%. In 2004, they took more 3-pointers, but Hill was still the man (45.4%).
- The national championship season was also a good year (37.8%). Morris Peterson (42.5%) and A.J. Granger (45.0%) led the way.
- The last three years have been decent, with Neitzel of course leading the way.
- Under Izzo, MSU has generally had one pure 3-point shooter in the playing rotation (Klein, Peterson as a senior, Hill, Neitzel) with a few other respectable options available.
Putting it all together:
- Effective field goal percentage combines 2-point and 3-point shooting percentages by weighting 3-pointers at 1.5 times a 2-pointer.
- 2004 was actually the peak year (55.5%). MSU shot a lot of three pointers and made their highest 3-point percentage over the 12-year span, combined with a solid 2-point percentage. They might have matched that figure in 2005 (54.6%) if not for Chris Hill’s extended shooting slump.
- The percentage has been on a slow decline since then, as the percentage of shots taken from 3-point range has declined and MSU has been good, but not great, shooting the ball from both 2-point and 3-point range the last few years.
- Not surpisingly, 2000 was the previous peak year.
Given that (1) rebounding has almost always been a team strength for MSU and (2) turnovers have often been a problem, we’d expect field goal shooting (along with free throw rate, which we’ll look at later) to be a key determinant in MSU’s success on offense. And, indeed, effective field goal percentage peaked in 2000 and then again in 2004/2005 (two Final Four trips out of those three years).
There was a marked shift upwards in effective field goal percentage from 2003 to 2004. The teams of the last five years have generally been better shooters than the teams of the previous seven years. I think this reflects, to some extent, that Izzo has been able to recruit more polished offensive players as his career has progressed.
I’ll let you digest this data (and digest it more fully myself) for now. I think I may do a follow-up post on this topic.