Stats & Info: Harrison Barnes

Bobcats must roll with pick on offense

June, 25, 2012

Getty ImagesThe Bobcats could really use a good spot-up shooter to improve their offense.
It’s obvious the Charlotte Bobcats were a bad team, but why were so historically awful? And how can they address their flaws in the NBA Draft?

The two most utilized offensive play types for the Bobcats were spot-up jumpers and transition offense, which made up a third of their offense. They were very inefficient when using those plays, ranking 30th and 29th, respectively, in points per play.

However, they were the 12th-most efficient team in pick-and-roll ball-handler plays. But they only ran the pick-and-roll on 15 percent of their plays, less often than all but six teams.

Their success in the pick-and-roll was largely thanks to guards Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker. Henderson ranked 7th in points per play and (min. 50 plays), and Walker had the 17th-most points in the league as the pick-and-roll ball-handler.

Though the Bobcats’ ball-handlers were efficient in the pick-and-roll, their big men were not. The Bobcats ranked last in points per play by pick-and-roll roll men. Bismack Biyombo ranked dead last in points per play (min. 20 plays), and the team had no players among the top 75 percent in the league.

The Bobcats ranked 29th in the league this season in rebounding percentage, ahead of only the Golden State Warriors. Not a single Bobcat ranked in the top 90 of the league in rebounding percentage. Their best rebounder was Biyombo, who ranked 91st at 14.3 percent.

Twenty percent of the Bobcats’ offense came from spot-up jumpers, but they ranked dead last in points per spot-up play. They shot 34.2 percent on spot-up jumpers and 29.5 percent on 3-point attempts, both of which also ranked last in the NBA.

Based on their statistical weaknesses, the Bobcats should be targeting a big man in the NBA Draft who can be an effective pick-and-roll player and rebounder.

Of course, the ideal player would be Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, who had the seventh-most points in the country as the pick-and-roll roll man this season and averaged more than 10 boards per game.

With Davis likely going No. 1, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson would the best choice for Charlotte. Robinson scored the 14th-most points in the country as the roll man, ranked second in rebounds per game, and led the nation in defensive rebounding percentage.

If the Bobcats opt for a shooter with their first pick, the top choices would likely include Florida’s Bradley Beal and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, both of whom shot about 36 percent on spot-up jumpers.

If they wait to draft a shooter with the No. 31 pick, they could select Kentucky’s Doron Lamb or Vanderbilt’s John Jenkins, both of whom ranked in the top 20 nationally in spot-up points and shot nearly 50 percent on spot-up jumpers this season. Lamb also shot 46.6 percent on 3-pointers (17th nationally) and Jenkins led the nation in 3-pointers made (134).

Statistical support for this story from

Zeller comes up with elite effort

March, 24, 2012
Tyler Zeller’s historic game was barely enough to help the North Carolina Tar Heels reach the Elite Eight.

This win over the Ohio Bobcats kept an impressive streak alive. The Tar Heels have now won each of their last 11 Sweet 16 games and are 5-0 all-time in Sweet 16 games against double-digit seeds.

How the Tar Heels won
Zeller finished with 20 points and 22 rebounds. He’s the fifth player to have a 20-point, 20-rebound game with at least four blocked shots in the Men’s Basketball Championship since 1975, as noted in the chart on the right.

Zeller's eight offensive rebounds were one more than Ohio had for the entire game.

Reggie Bullock supported the effort with a rare statistical combination.

He’s the fourth player in tournament history to have at least 10 rebounds, five assists, and five 3-pointers, joining Mitch Richmond (1987 Kansas State), Hersey Hawkins (1988 Bradley), and Ray Allen (1996 Connecticut).

Stilman White, starting in place of injured guard Kendall Marshall, was the only Tar Heels player who didn't turn the ball over. He's the first North Carolina player to play at least 32 turnover-free minutes, and finish with at least six assists in the Round of 16 or later since Kenny Smith in 1985.

How Ohio hung in
North Carolina won despite committing 24 turnovers, its most in a game since 1989, when it had 26 against Loyola Marymount. Ohio’s defense entered forcing an average of 17 turnovers per game, best among those teams left in the Sweet 16.

The Tar Heels also survived an inefficient game from Harrison Barnes, who took a season-high nine 3-pointers and finished with a career NCAA tournament-low 12 points.

Barnes was 16-for-31 in the paint in the first two games of the tournament, but just 0-for-1 in this contest.

Oh, so close
This was the seventh time that a team seeded 13th or lower played in the Round of 16. None has won, but Ohio was the first of those teams to take the game to overtime.

Ohio's D.J. Cooper, just missed the game-winner in regulation for Ohio. He went 3-for-20 from the field, tied for the second-worst shooting percentage by a player since college basketball went to a shot clock in 1986.

The only one to fare worse in a game with at least 20 shot attempts was Loyola Marymount's Bo Kimble in 1988 -- a 3-for-21 effort that also happened to come in a loss against North Carolina.

Ohio finished the season 1-5 when Cooper took at least 17 shots (Ohio was 28-3 in all other games).

Looking ahead
What’s next for North Carolina?

The last time a No. 1 seed played an overtime game in the Sweet 16 was 2006, when Villanova and Connecticut did it.

Both of them won those Sweet 16 games and lost in the Elite Eight.
Player of the Night – Faisal Aden
Faisal Aden scored a career-high 33 points off the bench to lead Washington State to an 81-69 win over Stanford. It’s the most points off the bench by a Pac-12 player since Cal’s Amit Tamir scored 39 against Oregon in 2002. Aden was a perfect 13-for-13 from the line. That’s the second-best free throw performance off the bench this season behind Duke’s Ryan Kelly (14-14).

Breakout Performance – Robert Thurman
California picked up a tough road win over Washington thanks to the unlikeliest of players. Robert Thurman had only played in 15 of 19 games this season, averaging 7.2 minutes and 2.4 points when he did appear. But with Richard Solomon ruled academically ineligible, the Bears called on the 6’10” walk-on. He responded with 16 points on 7-11 shooting from the field.

Second-Half Star – Harrison Barnes
North Carolina trailed Virginia Tech by five at halftime. But the Tar Heels quieted the Blacksburg crowd pretty quickly in the second half with a 19-0 run to take a 55-44 lead. Harrison Barnes had nine of those 19 points as part of a huge second half. The sophomore went 6-for-6 from the field on his way to 21 points after the break. Barnes finished with a season-high 27.

Woeful Performance – Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech had its worst scoring output in 30 years in a 70-38 loss to Virginia. It’s the fewest points by Georgia Tech since a 58-36 loss at Wake Forest in February 1982. What made Thursday even worse? The Yellow Jackets were at home. It’s their fewest points at home since 1980. Georgia Tech shot just 29.2 percent from the field and hit 1-of-15 from three-point range.

Ugly Stat Line of the Night – Tony Mitchell
It’s tough to win when your leading scorer doesn’t score a point, and that’s exactly what happened to Alabama on Thursday. Tony Mitchell went scoreless on 0-for-8 shooting from the field, as the Crimson Tide lost at home to Vanderbilt, 69-59. It’s the only time in 85 career games that he’s failed to score.
For the second time this season, USC was held to 40 points or fewer.
Two weeks after scoring 36 points in a loss to Cal Poly, the Trojans fell to Minnesota 55-40. At 55.1 ppg, USC is on track for its lowest scoring season since averaging 52.8 in 1948-49. That’s also the last season in which the Trojans were twice held to 40 points or fewer.

Wildcats can’t score in first loss
Both Northwestern and Baylor entered Sunday’s contest undefeated, but you wouldn’t know it from the result. Baylor won 69-41, holding Northwestern to 24.1 percent from the field. It was the worst shooting performance by the Wildcats in nearly 10 years. The 41 points are the fewest Northwestern has scored in its home court since a 40-39 win over North Florida in 2006. Meanwhile, Baylor was 25-for-30 from two-point range, an 83.3 two-point field-goal percentage that is their highest over the past 15 years.

Freshmen shine off the bench
A pair of freshmen starred off the bench on Saturday in Connecticut’s 75-62 win over Arkansas. Playing in just his second game, Ryan Boatright led the Huskies with 23 points, adding five rebounds and six assists. He’s the first UConn freshman with a 20-5-5 game off the bench since Kemba Walker against Missouri in the 2009 Elite Eight. Meanwhile, B.J. Young led all scorers with a career-high 28 points in the losing effort. It was the third most points by a freshman off the bench this season. The rest of the Razorbacks combined to shoot 24.6 percent from the field.

16 points and no field goals
Despite not connecting on a field goal, Durand Scott was Miami's top scorer in Saturday's 83-75 win over Massachusetts. Scott missed all six of his field goal attempts, and his 16 points came courtesy of a 16-for-18 performance at the line. It's the most points scored by a Division I player without a field goal since Binghamton's Sebastian Hermenier's 17 against Vermont in 2006. Scott's total is the most by a major conference player without a field goal since Indiana's Michael Lewis also scored 16 against Minnesota in 1998.

Top scoring performance of season
Weber State's Damian Lillard had the nation's top scoring game of the season, finishing with 41 points in a 91-89 double-overtime win over San Jose State. Lillard only had 24 points at the end of regulation, but scored 17 of the Wildcats' 24 points in the two overtimes. The 41 points are the second most in school history behind Stan Mayhew's 45 points in 1977. He's the first Division I player to crack the 40-point mark since Harrison Barnes in the 2011 ACC Tournament. Lillard is the top scorer in the nation, averaging 28.2 ppg.
Kentucky Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels had met four previous times when both schools were ranked in the top-five of the AP poll at the time of the game. In each of the previous four instances, the Tar Heels won and never had the margin been closer than seven points.

Both trends came to an abrupt end on on a single play Saturday in the 73-72 win, as the Wildcats improved to 8-0 on the season thanks to some standout defensive play.

Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis blocked a jump shot from John Henson to secure the one-point win. The game-ending block was just the fifth of his 36 blocked shots this season to come on a mid-range shot. And in a game that ended with a pointed defensive stop, it's not surprising that defense was also the story for much of the contest.

Down five points at halftime, Kentucky ratcheted up its half-court defense by limiting North Carolina to just 3-16 shooting on two-pointers in the second half. It was a continuation of a trend for the Wildcats, as they've been the nation's best defense this season, leading the country in adjusted defensive efficiency entering Saturday, according to Specifically, the team's interior defense - a season-long strength - was on display yet again.

The Wildcats entered the game on Saturday leading the nation in blocked shots per game with 11.4 and added seven against North Carolina - their fewest in a game this season. But while the team might have fallen off its pace in terms of blocked shots, the defense as a whole cemented the team's win.

From North Carolina's end, Harrison Barnes scored 14 points in the loss and saw his streak of consecutive games with at least 15 points stop at 18. The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that it was the longest active streak among all Division I players and the longest such streak for North Carolina since Tyler Hansbrough did so 22 consecutive games from January to April of 2008.

Tar Heels, Spartans ready to take flight

November, 10, 2011

Ed Jones/Getty ImagesMichigan State and North Carolina meet in the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier

The North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans are two of the most storied basketball programs in the nation. Friday they will etch their names in the history books yet again, playing in the first-ever college basketball game aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

Michigan State W2W4
The Spartans return just one player this season who averaged over seven points per game and face a possible rebuilding year.

A staple of the Michigan State program under coach Tom Izzo has been offensive rebounding and frontcourt scoring. Last year, however, the team struggled in both of areas.

They grabbed 35.3 percent of their missed shots, their worst offensive rebounding rate since 2004. They shot 46.9 percent inside the arc, their worst two-point shooting percentage in the last 15 seasons.

Draymond Green is expected to shoulder much of the scoring and rebounding load this season. Green was strong on the defensive glass last year (6.2 per game, third in Big Ten), but needs to improve his offensive game in the post. He averaged 0.73 points per post-up play, third-worst among Big Ten players (min. 30 plays).

However, Green was effective passing out of the post and finding the open man. His 28 passes from the post resulted in 38 points (1.36 points per play) and he turned the ball over just four of the 32 times the defense committed to him in the post.

North Carolina W2W4
North Carolina relied heavily on its transition game to score last year. Only two teams attempted more field goals on the break than the Tar Heels and only three teams scored more in transition.

While the Tar Heels were comfortable playing at the fastest pace in the league, they were inefficient in transition, ranking ninth in the ACC in transition points per play.

Preseason All-American Harrison Barnes averaged 15.7 points per game last season, but initially had trouble adjusting to the college game. But once Kendall Marshall took over as the starting point guard on January 18, Barnes found his groove and averaged more than 19 points the rest of the way.

Barnes’ chemistry with Marshall was highlighted by his much-improved shooting in both spot-up situations and coming off screens. Barnes shot 27 percent and averaged 0.75 points per spot-up play in the 17 games with Larry Drew II as the primary point guard. With Marshall, those numbers jumped to 40.4 percent and 1.08.

Previewing the season's top teams: UNC

November, 7, 2011

Lance King/Icon SMIJohn Henson (left) and Harrison Barnes (right) look to lead the Tar Heels to a national championship this season.
There is a familiar name atop the national rankings this year. The North Carolina Tar Heels are ranked number one in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll for the third time in the history of the preseason poll (since 1997-98). That’s tied for second-most among all teams, behind only Duke (4).

The Tar Heels return 90 percent of their scoring and rebounding from last year’s team that advanced to the Elite Eight, including the top six scorers and top three rebounders.

The most notable player returning to Chapel Hill is Harrison Barnes, the 2011 ACC Rookie of the Year. Barnes averaged 15.7 PPG last season, tied for the fourth-highest average by a freshman in Division I.

And Barnes really didn't get going until the final stretch of the season.

In the final two months of the season, Barnes shot over 45 percent from the field and averaged 19 points per game, including a 40-point effort against Clemson in the ACC Tournament, as the Tar Heels won 17 of their final 20 games.

Key to the Season: Run, Run, Run
North Carolina played at the fastest pace in the ACC last year, averaging 72.8 possessions per 40 minutes. The Tar Heels executed the fastbreak more than nearly every team, attempting 436 field goals in transition, third-most in Division I. Their 611 points in transition were fourth-most in the country.

However, while the offense excelled in transition, their fastbreak defense was not up to par. They allowed opponents to shoot 52.6 percent from the field in transition, which ranked 187th out of 342 teams with at least 100 transition plays and ninth in the ACC.

The Tar Heels most successful play type in 2010-11 was the Pick and Roll Man offense, which refers to a play in which the player that sets the screen when running a pick and roll gets the ball. North Carolina made two-thirds of its shots in this offense, the seventh-highest mark in Division I and best in the league.

John Henson was the main beneficiary of these plays, scoring 34 points while making 16 of his 22 shot attempts in the Pick and Roll Man offense. His average of 1.42 points per possession was third-best in the ACC and his shooting percentage of 72.7 was fourth-highest in the league (min. 10 plays) in these situations.