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Analyzing the shot charts of Michigan’s incoming transfers

Michigan picked up three talented players from the portal

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Second Round - North Carolina vs Boston College Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 60-day window that opened in mid-March to enter the transfer portal has officially closed.

Michigan lost three players via the portal, including their leading scorer and rebounder Hunter Dickinson. They did pick up three players in the transfer portal: guards Caleb Love and Nimari Burnett, and forward Tray Jackson.

All three guys are expected to be key contributors this season, with Love being a shoo-in to start and be one of the leaders in scoring.

With all the guys Michigan lost the season — including four of their six leading scorers in Dickinson, Kobe Bufkin, Jett Howard and Joey Baker — they’ll need all the offensive contributions they can get to be competitive in the Big Ten and get back to the NCAA tournament.

Let’s take a look at last year’s shot charts for all three transfers, to get a better idea of where they are most efficient on the floor.

(all stats are courtesy of @CBBAnalytics on Twitter)

Caleb Love

Man, that’s a whole lot of blue. As proficient of a scorer as Caleb Love can be — we saw North Carolina make the National Championship game as an 8-seed largely because of Love — he takes a lot of shots and isn’t the most efficient player in the world.

Love’s 497 shots last season were the 27th-most in all of college basketball; he took more shots than any player in the Big Ten last season. He took a lot of shots, and as you can see from the chart, he wasn’t very efficient last season.

The one place from three where he made more than one out of every three threes was the right wing, where he was alright at 34.7%. It would be wise for Michigan to have a big man like Tarris Reed Jr. screen to Love’s right to free him up from that wing spot.

It’s a small sample size, but he was pretty good at making shots on the right baseline, an area where we saw Bufkin thrive this past season.

Hopefully, Love can return to his 2021-22 self & shoot 36% from three again, or better. He’s a ball-dominant guard, and I’m excited to see what actions Michigan calls around him to get him the best shots possible.

Nimari Burnett

Playing less than 15 minutes a game last season, Burnett didn’t take a whole lot of shots; and when he did, 84 of his 125 field goal attempts (or 67.2 percent) of his shots were from beyond the arc.

He wasn’t super efficient at the top of the key and from the wing, but he was really good from the right corner; it’s a small sample size, but he did make nine of his 10 attempts from there.

From watching him play, you can see he seems really comfortable taking catch-and-shoot threes from that corner. Perhaps Michigan can have him spot-up there as a secondary option off a drive from Love or Dug McDaniel.

Coaches often teach wings to flare out to the corners if they aren’t the first one down the floor in transition; Michigan would be wise to give Burnett that advice.

Tray Jackson

40 three’s is not a big sample size, but it’s encouraging that Michigan found a guy who can play the four & made 37.5 percent of his threes from last season.

Compared to the rest of college basketball, Jackson was pretty dang good from the left side of the floor. He made 42.9 percent of his seven threes from the left wing, and 41.2 percent of his threes from the top of the key.

If Jackson keeps shooting this well, Michigan is going to want to utilize some of the sets they used with Dickinson in the 2022 Round of 32 win over Tennessee, where the big man drifted to the top of the key after setting a screen before a quick pass and a quick three.

Jackson took slightly less threes per game than Dickinson did this past season, so hopefully he’s comfortable letting it fly from beyond the arc off of screens. With Tarris Reed Jr. being the only true center on the roster, I’d love to see Michigan utilize Jackson as a small-ball five, giving him space to make those threes after drives from guards.

Jackson is decent around the rim, but you’d like to see those mid-range percentages improve next season. If he can make more than, say, 35 percent of his mid-range shots this upcoming season, he’ll earn even more minutes at the 4 and possibly some minutes as a five in small lineups or as a three in super-sized lineups.