It is early into the season and so far the Gonzaga basketball team is 2-0. Thus far the bulldogs have been shooting lights out from the three point line, but is this trend for the season or just a two game blip?
In 2 games, Gonzaga has jacked up 50 three pointers as a team in comparison to just 26 three pointers as a team through two games last season.
This team is built differently than last year’s team. Last season’s team had possibly the best frontcourt in the nation with Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris. The offense ran through these stars, not the guards. This year’s Bulldog team has 5 guards capable of shooting the three ball well: Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr., Kyle Dranginis, Drew Barham and David Stockton. They also have two big men capable of shooting the three in Angel Nunez and Sam Dower Jr.
Will this trend keep up, or will this team take a more conservative approach?
Gonzaga is currently 38th in the nation in three pointers attempted, and 21st in threes made. The two main guards for Gonzaga, Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos, understandably have taken the majority of the threes thus far.
Gary Bell Jr. is leading the team with an unbelievable 64.7 three-point percentage on 11 of 17 shooting. He made the majority of his three pointers in the blowout win over Colorado State in which Bell made 8 of 13 threes. While this percentage certainly will go down throughout the season, Bell is off to a hot start.
Kevin Pangos, arguably the best shooter on the team, has attempted a 15 threes on the season only making 4. In Gonzaga’s last game against Colorado State, Pangos was just 3 of 8 from downtown. Last season Pangos shot close to 42 % from the outside making 78 of his 187 attempts. Just as I expect Bell’s numbers to go down, Pangos is too good of a shooter to only be shooting 26 percent and his numbers will go up.
After Bell and Pangos’ 32 three point attempts on the season, the rest of the team has shot 18 threes. Kyle Dranginis is 2 of 7 from behind the arc, Drew Barham is 2 of 6 on the year and David Stockton has made 2 of 5 thus far.
It is not like this team shot poorly from three last season, but is this the way the team is going to play all season? As a team, Gonzaga was 37 percent from deep in the 2012-2013 season. That is a pretty good number, good enough for 48th in the country. With this year’s team clearly more guard oriented I believe this will be a trend, and a good trend.
Playing inside gets you higher percentage of shots, but with a team lacking the scoring inside they had a year ago; the three-point route should be a main threat for this team, especially with the shooters they have.
I would expect Gonzaga to attempt over 725 threes this season, up from the 609 three’s shot last year. Pangos and Bell will lead the way, but with a more aggressive Kyle Dranginis, and sharp shooter Drew Barham, Gonzaga will have several shooters to spread the floor.
Sam Dower Jr. and Przemek Karnowski will put up numbers inside, but Gonzaga lacks the depth inside to take over the game, they will have to rely on the outside game, which should be their main threat of scoring this season.
While it is only 2 games into the season, the three point shot for the Zags will definitely be a trend this season. I expect this Gonzaga team to make it rain from the outside and have several shooters light up the scoreboard. How many three’s do you think the Zags will average per game this season? Vote in the poll!
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