With a long break until IU basketball returns to the floor, it seems like a good time to check in on each player on the roster and examine how they are performing against preseason expectations.
Miller Kopp’s traditional numbers through 13 games:
- MPG: 26.3
- PPG: 9.6
- RPG: 2.2
- APG: 1.1
- BPG: 0.2
- SPG: 0.5
- TPG: 0.6
- FG%: 49.4
- 3FG%: 44.6
The preseason chatter: Everyone knew Kopp was on the floor to make threes, so the questions were, could Indiana get him a high volume of shots via their offense, and could he knock them down? His sophomore season at Northwestern was the model — 40 percent on more than five shots per game.
What is going well: The bottom line is, Kopp is getting done what he’s been put on the floor to accomplish. He’s averaging five 3-point attempts per game, and making a career-high 44.6 percent. Kopp’s 65.7 percent effective field goal percentage is the 27th best in the country. His previous best effective field goal percentage for a season was 50.7. While he is five percentage points above his previous career-high for a season from three, what’s really different about Kopp’s numbers this season is his efficiency from 2-point range, where’s he’s made 62.5 percent to this point on the season, including 11-of-16 from outside the paint. Kopp’s previous career best season from 2-point range was 45.2 percent in 2020-21.
Kopp hasn’t miraculously turned into Kobe, but he has improved on the margin when it comes to driving the basketball. And Kopp’s turnover rate is an impressive and team-best 10 percent, although it comes with the caveat that he isn’t asked to do much with the ball beyond catch-and-shoot.
What needs to improve: Is the 24 year old Kopp too old to be expecting new tricks at this point? Perhaps. His rebounding rates have been in decline since his freshman season, and this year’s 7.2 percent defensive rebounding rate is a career low. Teams continue to try to isolate Kopp into one-on-one matchups for dribble drive opportunities. He still isn’t a great lateral defender, and that isn’t likely to change.
While Kopp’s offensive efficiency numbers are off the charts, his useage rate is second lowest on the team. The reason why seems to be due to how much IU plays through its big men and point guards, and because the scout is to stick to Kopp on the perimeter and make him beat you in other ways.
Final thoughts: Just how important is Kopp’s 3-point shooting to this team? That’s still an interesting question to ponder.
In Indiana’s two biggest wins, North Carolina and Xavier, he took a total of four threes and made just one. He only scored nine points total in those two games. He was also just 1-of-5 from three in IU’s other high major win over Nebraska. In IU’s three losses, Kopp averaged 13.7 points and made 11-of-23 (47.8 percent) from long range.
It seems other factors, like playing on the road, point guard health, and whether and how teams double team Trayce Jackson-Davis, play a bigger role in IU’s success so far.
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