2. De’Aaron Fox’s halfcourt scoring woes continue
I wrote a bit about this on Saturday after Kentucky’s 103-100 win over North Carolina, but it’s worth diving a bit deeper into the halfcourt scoring woes of De’Aaron Fox. The 6-foot-3 point guard has an effective field goal percentage of just 40.4 percent in non-transition offense this season, according to Hoop-Math.
The biggest problem is rather noticeable. Of Fox’s 78 field goal attempts in the halfcourt, 32 of them (41.0 percent) have been 2-point jumpers. Not only are those shots the least desirable field goal attempts in basketball, but Fox struggles to make them. He’s converted a meager 28.1 percent of his 2-point jumpers in the halfcourt this season, per Hoop-Math.
The issue for John Calipari and his coaching staff is to figure out how to make Fox productive in these halfcourt situations when team’s encourage the point guard to shoot those jump shots. Take a look at how North Carolina defended Fox’s three misses on Saturday:
On every one of them, the Tarheels’ pick-and-roll coverage is designed to force Fox to the elbow, giving him an open, but low percentage field goal attempt. On the third shot, though, Fox does something slightly different by opting to take on the big man defending him with a little bit a shimmy. The move opens up a look at a floater for the point guard, a shot that Fox will need to improve on to make the attack more threatening.
As I wrote on Saturday, this isn’t a make or break situation for the Wildcats, but when games are single-elimination in March, even the smallest moments can make a difference. For Kentucky, that may be Fox’s decision-making from the elbow.