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Cam Wright Needs to Put the "Shooting" in Shooting Guard

It's no secret that Cam Wright isn't a three-point shooter, but how bad is he really from beyond the arc?

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Junior guard Cameron Wright is really struggling from three-point distance this season. Of course, he's never been a very good shooter from beyond the arc. The good news is Wright has made more triples this season than he did his first two years combined for the Pittsburgh Panthers. The bad news is that he only made seven combined three-pointers in his first two seasons, and has only made eight this year in 26 games.

So how bad has Wright really been from beyond the arc this season? For starters, his eight made triples is lower than any other starting shooting guard in the ACC. I decided to take a look at the combined three-point totals between the shooting guard and point guard tandems in the conference[1]. Here are the numbers (as of 2/18).

Duke: Rodney Hood (55-121) & Quinn Cook (44-129) = 99/250 (39.6%)

Syracuse: Trevor Cooney (76-177) & Tyler Ennis (19-52) = 95/229 (41.5%)

UNC: Leslie McDonald (26-91) & Marcus Paige (59-153) = 85/244 (34.8%)

BC: Olivier Hanlan (46-138) & Joe Rahon (38-104) = 84/242 (34.7%)

FSU: Aaron Thomas (27-65) & Ian Miller (48-119) = 75/184 (40.8%)

Miami: Rion Brown (49-149) & Garrius Adams (22-93) = 71/242 (29.3%)

ND: Steve Vasturia (19-57) & Eric Atkins (51-136) = 70/193 (36.3%)

Virginia: Joe Harris (52-121) & London Perrantes (17-54) = 69/175 (39.4%)

VT: Jarell Eddie (60-153) & Devin Wilson (9-25) = 69/178 (38.8%)

WF: Codi Miller-McIntyre (13-61) & Coron Williams (52-142) = 65/203 (32.0%)

NCST: Ralston Turner (53-158) & Anthony Barber (11-44) = 64/182 (35.2%)

GT: Trae Golden (31-99) & Chris Bolden (26-86) = 57/185 (30.8%)

Maryland: Dez Wells (15-45) & Seth Allen (33-90) = 48/135 (35.6%)

Clemson: Damarcus Harrison (19-58) & Rod Hall (14-43) = 33/101 (32.7%)

Pitt: Cameron Wright (8-35) & James Robinson (17-50) = 25/85 (29.4%)

The Pitt tandem of Wright and Robinson ranks dead last in total makes from beyond the arc, and are the second worst in three-point percentage. They're the only duo that has taken less than 100 triples, but given their lack of accuracy, that's probably a good thing.

In truth, Robinson isn't completely dreadful, and their combined defensive efforts are far superior to most of the other pairings listed above. With that said, their inability to connect from deep has allowed teams to pack the paint against the Panthers, which has really taken away senior forward Lamar Patterson's ability to make plays off dribble penetration.

Pitt doesn't have the ability to stretch opposing defenses on a consistent basis. Their floor spacing suffers at times, and ACC teams have gotten better and better at defending Patterson in screen-and-roll situations. I don't mind when Robinson takes wide-open triples, but when Wright hoists a three-pointer, it's basically a turnover at this point.

His game reminds me of Richard Hamilton's in the mid-2000's. Except, Wright is obviously not as adept using off-ball screens the way Hamilton did for the Detroit Pistons. Despite Wright's success on mid-range jumpers, it isn't a secret that contested two-pointers are an inefficient shot. Because he is a decent mid-range shooter, teams give Wright more respect than he deserves when he catches the ball behind the three-point line.

The only way the Panthers are going to have any chance of making noise in March is if someone other than Patterson raises their level of play. Wright has as much talent as anyone on the roster, but he'll have to start putting the "shooting" in shooting guard in order for him to maximize his potential and the potential of this Pitt team.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author @Stephen_Gertz

[1] I looked at every roster and used a combination of minutes played, assists per game (for PG determination), and recent games played to determine who was the starting shooting guard and point guard. Players who no longer play like Jerian Grant (ND) weren't included, and players who missed games but now play like Leslie McDonald were included. Teams that play three-guard lineups create some noise in the numbers.