We're about a quarter through the basketball season, and one thing that's been persistently worrisome about NC State is its inability to efficiently shoot the ball. The difficult part at this stage of the season is we are still dealing with small samples, and it's hard to parse true talent level from meaninglessly random cold starts by the players.
But while there are several players who can and should shoot the ball better over the long term, the deep trouble is in the fundamental operation of the offense. Which is to say that there doesn't appear to be any sort of offense at this point. No plan, but rather some theoretical form of order in useless screens, feints into the lane, and contested jump shots. It's not working, and without a philosophical change, the Wolfpack's offense is not going to be good enough to make anything of this season.
Here's where the NC State offense stands, through the Michigan game:
|NC State Offense -- Four Factors||eFG% (National Rank)||TO%||OR%||FT Rate|
|2015-16||46.1 (254)||14.4 (20)||33.6 (99)||46.4 (53)|
|2014-15||49.3 (157)||16.0 (25)||33.9 (82)||35.4 (222)|
As bad as that effective field goal percentage is, I'm not sure it gets at the real problem, which is State's tactical incompetency. The Wolfpack is for whatever reason attempting to mimic what it did with Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner last season, which is an awful idea. This is a jump shooting team with zero proven jump shooters--though much credit is due Caleb Martin for a good start.
The problem is not so much three-point attempts, but rather the jumpers that come two or three steps within the arc. These are horrible shots, and NC State routinely takes a bunch of them every night. State did this last year, but at least Lacey could mask some of those inadvisable decisions with his tremendous talent. There's nobody who can do that on this team. They have not adjusted.
I don't know what Mark Gottfried is doing during his practices. I get that you want to let Cat Barber loose, let Cat do his thing. Seventeen-footers are not his thing; they should not be anybody's thing. Barber is shooting 39.1% inside the arc this season. He's the leader of the offense. This simply cannot work.
Maverick Rowan will get better, and we'll get Terry Henderson back, and Cat will start hitting threes. That's all going to help, but until the Wolfpack addresses these idiotic long twos, it's hard to feel optimistic about the rest of the season. The key is getting the right shot, and we are not doing that. Nobody seems to have any idea what constitutes a good shot.