This Week In Shot Charts: Naz the Gunner

AllCylcones is keeping track of each player's shot chart this season. Excerpt: "Naz Long has attempted three two-point shots, settling into his role as long-range gunner ... he is 6-for-8 (75) percent from the left corner, his sweet spot. He's quite good from everywhere, though. He has yet to attempt a shot in the right corner"

Sunday's win over Michigan had the feel of a postseason game. Seven guys played while the four role players still jockeying for minutes — Daniel Edozie and Percy Gibson in the front court, Sherron Dorsey-Walker and K.J. Bluford in the back court — remained on the bench.

Given the circumstances for Wednesday's game at BYU, 4,549 feet above sea level, one or two of those will get minutes as the altitude will take its toll.

"Two years ago and playing at Colorado, it was tough playing up there," senior Melvin Ejim said. "You've got to get used to that and be prepared for that, mentally. You can get winded quick but you've got to be able to get your second wind back."

For now, though, let's take a look at the shot charts of the seven players firmly entrenched in Fred Hoiberg's rotation. For the aforementioned four, nothing has changed with them, and you can find their charts after two games right here.

  • The star of the season has been Naz Long, who can't possibly continue shooting 65 percent from three but will keep trying, anyway. In kenpom's offensive rating, a measure of personal efficiency, Long is 10th nationally with a mark of 171.3.

    Long has attempted three two-point shots, and he's clearly settling into his role as long-range gunner (although he's not nearly the bomber K.J. Bluford is; when he's on the floor, Bluford takes 35.7 percent of the Cyclones' shots).

    Long is 6-for-8 (75) percent from the left corner, his sweet spot. He's quite good from everywhere, though. He has yet to attempt a shot in the right corner.

  • In his first game back, Melvin Ejim took 33.9 percent of the team's shots while he was on the court and grabbed 17.5 percent of available offensive rebounds.

    Ejim remains an interior beast and if he can hit the three-point shot at a level he did last season (34.8), he'll at least make defenses respect him at the top of the key, opening up room inside for Georges Niang and whoever's cutting toward the rim.

    The long two-point isn't a good shot, but it's one Ejim has to take if he's open.

  • What constitutes a shooting slump? Do we say Matt Thomas is in a slump because he's hitting just 31 percent of his three-pointers this season, and because he went 0-for-3 from downtown against Michigan?

    I say it's still too early, but this is clearly not who Thomas is — I've seen him take plenty of practice shots and he routinely draws his streak of consecutive makes into the double-digits.

    Thomas is all over the place, as the shot chart will indicate. The Cyclones are trying to get him open looks wherever they can. Right now the shots just aren't falling.

    Actually, Thomas looked hesitant against the Wolverines. See that red dot inside the three-point line on the right wing? Thomas passed up an open three to take (and make) that. That's not what Hoiberg wants — it carries the same two-point value as a layup and is considerably harder, all the while being a foot away from a better three-point reward.

  • Like Ejim, Georges Niang has the last say on at least 28 percent of Iowa State's possessions (either via shot or turnover).

    Niang has six turnovers thus far, a higher mark than he had last season. His shot has also been inconsistent — 25 percent from the three-point line and lots of green down low. One of the things I love about keeping tabs on the shot chart is the affirmation it gives to the eye test.

    For instance, you'll watch a game and say, 'Wow, Niang takes a lot of threes from the top of the key.' Then you look at the shot chart, and that backs it up. Fifty percent of his attempts have come there.

  • There are some guys who don't shoot well, and whose value can't be measured by a shot chart, and I'll warn you now, DeAndre Kane is one of those guys. There's a good amount of green below, but Kane is actually shooting 56 percent from the field and 33 from three, better than his career mark.

    By the way, Kane's assist rate is 33.2, No. 97 nationally.

  • The jury is still out, and not even close, on Dustin Hogue and Monté Morris, especially as shooting goes. Hogue is shooting 42.9 percent from three-point land, but does it change anything to know all three of those makes came in one game, while he went 0-for-4 in the one that followed?

    I don't know, and that's why I'm excited to see where this goes.

  • Similar for Morris, who's 100 percent from the free throw line (6-for-6), by the way, and 50 percent from three.

    As two-point shots are concerned, Morris is hitting 28.6 percent. A vexing problem: The Cyclones want Morris going hard to the hoop, because he'll make his free throws, but he hasn't yet proven to be an apt finisher.

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