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Backwards Shooting Percentages In The ACC

When it’s easier to score when you’re guarded

Justin Robinson at the free throw line

Players who have it backwards provide one of our favorite statistical oddities. Last year, of 144 ACC players who saw at least 100 minutes of action, just eight managed to shoot better from the floor than from the line.

Think about that. Not an optimal trait.

Obviously you should be more accurate from the free throw line, standing still and shooting while facing minimal proximate disruption by a defender, as opposed to trying a far wider range of shots, sometimes while in motion, against players set to stop you. Then, too, launching a foul shot is simple, at least in theory. Attempts come from a set distance with a consciously balanced stance, reflecting practiced and preferably immutable form.

As in past years, those hitting more efficiently from the floor than the line in 2020 were mostly big men. This isn’t surprising since they’re normally positioned closer to the basket than other players, their shots often dunks, layups, or short jumpers with a downward trajectory. Many of their field goal tries are generated by offensive rebounds.

Four of seven ‘20 players with higher field goal than free throw percentages made at least 60 percent of their tries from the floor. An eighth, NC State’s Danny Dixon, a little-used, 6-10 grad transfer, made exactly 60 percent in either circumstance.

The shortest of the five returnees whose shooting is reversely effective is 6-10 Bourama Sidibe of Syracuse (also a profilic generator of disqualifications as noted in a previous chart).

Three of the eight whose field goal efficiency exceeded their touch at the foul line are no longer in the league. Three of the remaining five started a majority of their team’s games.

None of the eight were double-figure scorers.

2020 ACC Players Equal Or More Accurate Converting Field Goals Than Free Throws
(Minimum 100 Minutes Played, Asterisk Indicates Returnee)
Player, School FG-FGA FG% FT-FTA FT% Mins.
Trey Jemison, C 24-49 .490 8-11 .364 250
Justin Robinson, D 16-31 .516 1-2 .500 100
Balsa Koprivica, FS* 51-73 .699 25-38 .658 278
Manny Bates, NS* 65-99 .657 18-37 .486 536
Danny Dixon, NS 12-20 .600 3-5 .600 108
Bourama Sidibe, SU* 81-117 .692 31-56 .554 767
Jesse Edwards, SU* 19-24 .792 12-19 .632 144
Jay Huff, V* 105-184 .571 27-50 .540 750