Friar Basketball

The Numbers: Friar Offense Over the Past Five Years

Holt vs URI

The offensive struggles of the 2019-20 Friars are apparent to anyone paying attention this season. Providence is shooting 31.7% from 3-point range, 68.7% at the free throw line, and 40.5% from the field. Its leading scorer is shooting below 40% from the field, 60% from the free throw line, and hovers around 25% from deep.

None of this is news, but I wanted to take a look back at the Providence offense in a way it has not been examined before. The data below shows PC’s points per possession on all shots, and in a variety of offensive plays.

I have broken it out into points per possession/national percentile over the past five years, as well as a variety of categories by points per possession, national percentile, and usage rate over the past five years per Synergy Sports.

Overall Offensive Rating (Points Per Possession, National Percentile)

2019-20: .837 points per possession, 16th percentile nationally

2018-19: .875 points per possession, 25th percentile nationally

2017-18: .901 points per possession, 39th percentile nationally

2016-17: .917 points per possession, 55th percentile nationally

2015-16: .900 points per possession, 45th percentile nationally

* The best year under Ed Cooley came in 2013-14: .924 points per possession, 63rd percentile nationally

Summary: The 2014 team benefitted from the terrific play of Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton. Cotton was ranked in the 83rd percentile nationally, while Henton was 81st. The 2016-17 group got huge contributions from Emmitt Holt and Jalen Lindsey. Lindsey’s 90+ percentile national ranking was inflated some by his 3-point accuracy and total makes from deep (47%, over 70 threes made) on low usage, while Emmitt Holt made a huge impact. Holt’s 88th percentile was the highest rating of any Friar with a usage rate over 15% over the past five years — matched only by Ben Bentil’s 88th percentile rating the year prior.

Spot Up (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .807, 10th, 25.3%

2018-19: .893, 31st, 24.4%

2017-18: .899, 29th, 21.5%

2016-17: .980, 71st, 23.1%

2015-16: .846, 14th, 25.7%

Summary: This is an indicator of how Providence has struggled from long range in recent seasons. It’s important to note that this rating does not only include spot up jumpers, but times when players spot up, draw the defense, and then make a move as well. Providence is in the 10th percentile this season in this category, which isn’t a surprise. The 71st percentile rating was aided greatly by Lindsey’s terrific shooting season.

Transition (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .949, 22nd, 14.7%

2018-19: .982, 28th, 17.8%

2017-18: 1.037, 45th, 18.3%

2016-17: 1.108, 80th, 18.8%

2015-16: 1.00, 31st, 19.2%

Summary: Providence has been pretty consistent here, with 2016-17 again being the outlier. I would have guessed Kris Dunn’s final season (2015-16) or Kyron Cartwright’s senior year (2017-18) would have been higher.

Post-up (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .771, 38th, 9.4%

2018-19: .897, 78th, 10.5%

2017-18: .868, 63rd, 9.2%

2016-17: .872, 74th, 7.2%

2015-16: .845, 61st, 7.7%

Summary: Post offense has long been a strength of this program under Cooley, but the Friars have taken a significant step back this year. It hasn’t helped that Nate Watson took a large portion of the season to get back to full strength. He was in the 92nd percentile in points per possession last year. For a program that hadn’t finished below the 61st percentile in the past five years, 38th this season is a disappointing step back.

Cuts (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .978, 9th, 9.3%

2018-19: 1.165, 63rd, 9%

2017-18: 1.099, 37th, 10.8%

2016-17: 1.072, 32nd, 9.1%

2015-16: 1.158, 68nd, 11.1%

Summary: This is another area in which Providence has taken a step back, rating in the 9th percentile in the country to date.

Off Screens (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .973, 73rd, 9.2%

2018-19: .827, 35th, 6.9%

2017-18: .810, 27th, 6.4%

2016-17: 1.072, 32nd, 9.1%

2015-16: .935, 65th, 3.2%

Summary: A strength of this year’s group, Providence has its highest national percentile and usage rate over the past five years.

Put backs (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: 1.147, 74th, 8.2%

2018-19: 1.032, 28th, 7.9%

2017-18: 1.163, 75th, 7%

2016-17: 1.163, 81st, 5.6%

2015-16: 1.005, 23rd, 7.2%

Summary: After a down year, Providence is back to doing major damage on the offensive glass.

P&R Ball Handler (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .642, 11th, 7.6%

2018-19: .620, 3rd, 7%

2017-18: .583, 1st, 7.3%

2016-17: .702, 23rd, 7%

2015-16: .76, 50th, 7.3%

Summary: PC hasn’t had many guards who create for themselves well in the screen and roll game recently. They have been particularly bad the past three years, ranking in the 11th, 3rd, and 1st percentiles. David Duke has taken a big step forward in this regard as a sophomore, but this was an area that PC had to have hoped Luwane Pipkins was going to help.

Isolation (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .618, 15th, 3.8%

2018-19: .681, 14th, 4.1%

2017-18: .765, 34th, 5.3%

2016-17: .708, 20th, 5%

2015-16: .699, 24th, 5.1%

Summary: The Friars really haven’t had a bail out option on offense of late, with the past two years being even more of a struggle to get any type of isolation offense. Sometimes coaching comes down to getting the ball in the hands of a playmaker and letting him go to work, but Ed Cooley hasn’t had that option of late.

P&R Man (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .932, 40th, 2.2%

2018-19: .940, 34th, 2.4%

2017-18: .913, 30th, 3.3%

2016-17: 1.007, 57th, 52%

2015-16: 1.043, 67th, 4.9%

Summary: In 2016, PC had Bentil and Rodney Bullock rolling to the basket off of drives by Dunn and Cartwright. The next year brought Holt and Bullock doing so effectively. PC has dropped to under 1.00 points per possession on these opportunities the last three years. It doesn’t help that defenses can sag off of PC’s ball handlers, or play under screens and tempt the Friars to beat them from deep.

Hand Offs (Points Per Possession, National Percentile, Usage Rate):

2019-20: .841, 62nd, 2.2%

2018-19: .267, 0, 1.1%

2017-18: .782, 39th, 2%

2016-17: .921, 70th, 2.4%

2015-16: .771, 38th, 1.2%

Summary: PC is making a little more use of hand offs this year, and doing so more effectively than a year ago.

Current Big East Rankings:

  1. Creighton: .993 points per possession, 98th percentile nationally
  2. Villanova: .959, 90th
  3. Marquette: .941, 82nd
  4. Butler: .938, 81st
  5. Seton Hall: .911, 65th
  6. Georgetown: .907, 63rd
  7. DePaul: .858, 29th
  8. Xavier: .855, 27th
  9. St. John’s: .854, 26th
  10. Providence, .837, 16th


  1. Vin

    February 10, 2020 at 8:19 am

    This is very good info. I have questioned PC offensive effectiveness for many years. I have been a season ticket holder for almost 30 years and this has been one of the toughest years in a long time. He needs to stop recruiting the same type of players for each position. I have many more opinions about his effectiveness

  2. Thomas Dubuque

    February 10, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    I think Coach Cooley is a great asset to the PC program. He is a good recruiter and his strength is his defense. However, I think it is time to hire a full-time offensive coordinator. Our offense is stagnant much of the time. We begin with a weave that uses up clock time until we are forced to rush a shot with 5 or less seconds on the clock. We rarely attack on the fast break. Our worst plays are at the end of the half and the end of the game when we stand around and rush a last second shot that usually fails.

  3. rayi

    February 10, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Is it too late to trade for fats russell?

  4. Ty

    February 11, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Only a matter of time for the locals turn on their own… Unprecedented success and we’re ready to move on. Apparently no one watch NCAA basketball anymore and realizes, 90% of the teams struggle to score at times.

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