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2015 NBA Draft: Shot charts analyze returning stars

Mar 28, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisville Cardinals guard Russ Smith (2) celebrates with forward Montrezl Harrell (24) in the first half in the semifinals of the midwest regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament against the Kentucky Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the unveiling of some excellent new shot charts from Austin Clemens, Upside & Motor — in conjunction with Nylon Calculus — is now home to the most extensive and dynamic NCAA shot charts on the internet. While not every chart has complete information quite yet, we now have more information at our fingertips than we did even 24 hours ago.

We now have a new way to scout the 2015 NBA draft statistically.

So with that in mind, how do some of the biggest returning NCAA stars fare with their shot charts? Let’s take a look.

Montrezl Harrell: 6’7 PF, Louisville

Harrell Shot ChartHarrell’s shot chart is pretty much what you would expect for the high-flying, athletic power forward out of Tarboro, North Carolina. Seventy percent of his shots come at the rim, where he was the recipient of many alley oops and cutting dunks. I think it’s pretty fair to say that Harrell has figured out how to finish in close against NCAA competition. Plus, with an elite passer like Russ Smith in the backcourt for Louisville last season, Harrell didn’t have to worry much about creating his own shot. Be it as the roll-man in the pick-and-roll, cutting backdoor, or getting out in transition, Harrell often received the ball at the rim.

However, it’s the rest of the shots I’m most interested in on this chart. Harrell showed the semblances of a midrange game in the pick-and-pop as the 2013-14 season went on, and that will be absolutely essential to his chances in the NBA. Last summer when he suited up for the U19 USA basketball team, he measured at 6’6.5, albeit with a long 7’3 wingspan. At that size, it will be much more difficult for him to finish in the NBA, meaning extending his range out to about 18 feet will make him a much more versatile weapon in the pick-and-roll.

I have Harrell at 13th on my big board right now, and he will probably continue to stay near the bottom of the lottery until we get his final measurements.

Wayne Selden, 6’5 SG, Kansas

Wayne Selden

Playing next to Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, Selden was often an afterthought in the Kansas offense. Mostly used as a wing spacing weapon, he ended up taking many more three pointers than he was expected to in his maiden collegiate season based on his high school skill set. Selden was known best for his slashing ability and NBA-ready frame coming into college.

As Embiid and Wiggins depart — and Selden gets another year of strength training — I would expect him to up take more than 31% of his shots at the rim next season. The efficiency wasn’t the problem for Selden, as he finished at an above-average rate, especially for a shooting guard. It was simply opportunity.

I have Selden at 10th on my big board right now. Look for Selden to be the number one perimeter option in Lawrence this year, and get back to his slashing ways in the half-court.

 

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 6’6 SF, Arizona

RondaeHollis-Jefferson’s shot chart underscores how under-developed his offensive versatility is. But let’s start with the good. Undoubtedly, there are few small-forwards in the country that can match Hollis-Jefferson near the rim. His tenacity on the boards is better than nearly any other small-forward in the country, with a 10.6 offensive rebounding rate to show for his work. He also finishes those boards at an impressive rate, as his percentage around the rim shows.

Near the bucket isn’t a problem for Hollis-Jefferson, it’s the rest of the offensive zone. Only taking about seven percent of his shots outside of 15 feet, it is imperative that the Arizona small forward improves his range this season. While he’s known more for his energy and defense than his offense at this point in time, he’s also not on the level of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Kidd-Gilchrist has struggled offensively, but has actually made up for it on the defensive end because of his incredible strength and lateral quickness. Hollis-Jefferson is a plus player on that end, but I’m not positive he’ll ever be an elite NBA defender either. In order to make up for that, shooting more and with better efficiency from outside of 15 feet needs to happen.

Hollis-Jefferson is 11th on my big board right now, but that’s probably a bit too high for how far along he is right now.

Frank Kaminsky, 7’0 C, Wisconsin

Kaminsky

This is such an incredible shot chart for a seven-footer. Efficient from both blocks, at the rim, and from three-point range, Kaminsky shows off all of the skills needed to become a good offensive NBA center. If he can iron out that three-point stroke further and make a leap into the 40 percent range, his draft stock would jump from mid-late first round to lottery pick in this draft.

There are questions as to whether or not his athleticism will translate to the defensive end, but he already has excellent instincts on that end and protects the rim reasonably well. Right now, Kaminsky is among my top five favorite to be the Wooden Award winner at the end of the year.

Kaminsky is 17th on my board, and I think there’s a solid chance he rises throughout the season.

Marcus Paige, 6’3 PG, North Carolina

Marcus Paige

Another one of my preseason Wooden Award favorites, Paige had an incredibly efficient season for North Carolina last year. With a 59 percent true-shooting rate and a 22 percent assist rate, Paige was the engine that made North Carolina go. This efficiency extended to basically all parts of his shooting game. Shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc, Paige was especially solid from straight on and from the right wing.

However, the most impressive part of this chart is undoubtedly Paige’s in-between game. Possessing an excellent array of moves from the midrange, including the floater, push shot, and quick pull-up, Paige was one of the most efficient players in the country in the 8-12 foot range. He still needs to improve a bit defensively and athletically, but Paige has potential to become and excellent point guard offensively in the NBA.

Paige is currently 23rd on my board.

Caris LeVert, 6’6 SG, Michigan

Caris

LeVert is a player that I will be moving into the top 30 on my next big board. His three point efficiency (especially from the left wing) is excellent, and should carry over to the NBA. However, that’s not why I’m sliding him up my board.

This is the reason. LeVert has significantly improved his strength in an attempt to become more efficient around the rim, where he was at his worst last season. Simply put, LeVert got knocked off the ball a lot more than one should as a 6’6 shooting guard. It’s not a surprise either, considering LeVert came to college at 165 pounds. If his inside game improves, LeVert will become the prototypical shooting guard prospect that can shoot from range and get to the rim with smooth athleticism and above-average ball-handling.

While LeVert is off my board right now, you should look for him to move in to the 20-25 range on the next iteration.

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We’ll be using these shot charts to come up with ways to scout NBA prospects throughout the year. Go play around with the tool here, and see how your favorite player looked last season.

Sam Vecenie

Sam Vecenie is the editor-in-chief of Upside & Motor, as well as an editor at Hardwood Paroxysm. He likes to spend endless hours watching random NCAA game film, and scouring the internet for international basketball. You can find his other work at SBNation's college basketball platform.