It this even a question? Isn’t the fact that Trey McGowens is only shooting 29.7% (27-91) on three-pointers this season pretty much answer that for us? Well, like many of the other aspects of McGowens’ game there’s a lot of “sorta” to it.
For his entire sophomore campaign, this is the Trey McGowens we’ve seen on attempts from beyond the arc.
On the catch his footwork is pretty good, and his posture and hand positioning is set to receive in the pocket. His footwork is a little more consistent when catching on his right as he goes into a deliberate left foot into right foot routine. When catching on his left he appears to slide both feet into position simultaneously. Regardless, his good footwork and posture have allowed him to almost always make a balanced attempt.
His form is compact with little wasted motion. His release time is a little above average in part to a very strong follow through that puts a ton of rotation on the ball; this does cause a fair amount of his misses to go long as he lacks a natural touch.
There are some inconsistencies in the amount of pressure applied by his guide hand as well as its positioning. Depending on the kind of triple he’s hoisting, this can cause the ball to come out with a different rotation. Those shots usually die on the back of the rim or careen off the rim at what seems like an impossible angle.
The conclusion: McGowens ceiling right now is probably the mid-30’s in terms of a conversion rate.
And I have proof!
Over his last 10 games against ACC opponents, McGowens is 9-24 (37.5%) on catch-and-shoot three-pointers. That passes the eye test as it seems like he makes quite a bit of these kind of attempts from beyond the arc, and well, he does.
Here are all the catch-and-shoot misses over that same span.
Again, the misses are mostly long here, but there isn’t a ton of inconsistency between the makes and misses in terms of footwork or mechanics. He basically shoots the same shot every time, which is good for the most part. Shooting off the bounce is a different story.
McGowens is only 4-25 (16%) on his attempts off the dribble over that same 10 game span. Three of these are step-in triples, two in transition. He’s very comfortable taking a few dribbles with his left in a straight line and then rising. The same can’t be said about the amount of three-pointers made in ball screen situations, of which he’s only made one.
Now that we’ve seen all the off-the-bounce misses, here’s the difference. Unlike the catch-and-shoot situations where he glimpses the rim, catches and then shoots towards a rim he just saw, his perception of where the rim is at changes as he moves and because he usually has his eyes down focusing on the dribble, especially the first dribble out of a ball screen on his left-to-right crossover, he basically figures out where the rim is while he’s rising.
The misses in transition or from step-ins come off the rim in a predictable fashion. A good portion of his misses after a crossover, some kind of move, and/or out of a ball screen come off the rim unpredictably, and are the ones that are usually to the left or right.
Reviewing the misses we can break his off-the-bounce three-pointers down even further.
He’s 3-7 (42.9%) on transition or step-in attempts from beyond the arc. That’s pretty good.
He’s 1-18 (5.6%) on triples in which he dribbles east or west in some fashion and/or uses some sort of move. That’s not good.
McGowens would be 12-31 (38.7%) if he only attempted three-pointers in catch-and-shoot situations or in transition. So he’s “sorta” good from beyond the arc, and certainly in a few scenarios. But as the clips from the game against the Northern Illinois Huskies showed, this has been the case for a bulk, if not all, of the season.
If McGowens ever wants to be considered a consistent three-pointer shooter he needs to refine his approach with triples coming out of a crossover and ball screen before his overall improvements are noticeable.