The immense talent of Paige Bueckers is no secret.
The UConn freshman joined the most decorated college basketball program this season as the number one pick in the country. He quickly began to exceed those lofty expectations as he led UConn to a 26-1 record, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and now a spot in the Sweet 16.
It didn’t take long for talks speculating about his eventual place in UConn’s pantheon of great players among names like Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Maya Moore. Obviously, it’s not fair to place it next to those names, yet. He has not won a championship. Those greats, and others at UConn, won multiple titles.
It’s similar to the debates over Patrick Mahomes’ eventual place among the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks. Is it early in the game for those discussions? Of course. Are they unreasonable? Absolutely not.
Bueckers box score is impressive, but …
Bueckers box score stats jump off the page. In 26 games, he averaged 19.9 points, six assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.4 steals. He has shot 53.9% from the field – as guard – 85.7% from the free throw line and 46.7% from 3-point distance.
Those numbers, along with the success of the UConn team, earned him the Associated Press Bueckers First-Team All-America honors and the Big East Player of the Year award.
And she’s done great things before she hasn’t.
With a 31-point effort against South Carolina on February 8, Bueckers became the first UConn player to score three straight 30-point games. She set the UConn single-game record for assists with 14 against Butler on February 27. His 156 assists, and counting, are the most recorded by a UConn freshman.
She is an elite scorer. She could be an even better player.
See advanced stats
But to really appreciate what Bueckers is up to, it’s best to take a look at his Synergy stats. Synergy collects basketball data to provide advanced analytical feedback for coaches, scouts and executives. It breaks down the player’s performance in very specific game situations, such as pick-and-roll ball handling in simple coverage and postless shots around the basket.
It then ranks the players into those categories against their competition. And that’s where the Bueckers numbers really show up.
Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports, who analyzes a lot of basketball data, calls it “the most impressive statistics page I have seen of any college basketball player.”
This is the most impressive statistics page I have ever seen for any college basketball player. UConn freshman Paige Bueckers ranks in the 90th percentile or higher in 10 different offensive categories based on @SynergySST
Once again, she is a freshman. Mad. pic.twitter.com/5awA8WD61V
– Krysten Peek (@krystenpeek) March 7, 2021
While the data is advanced, a column here makes it easy to digest: the sort column. That shows where Bueckers ranks in percentile terms against all other college basketball players in the nation.
The graph in the tweet above shows Bueckers at the 90th percentile or better in 10 of the 16 overall offensive categories. A closer look at 94 categories that also include the aforementioned game-specific situations shows that Bueckers ranks in the 90th percentile or better in 34 categories.
Bueckers is alone
In five categories related to spot plays, Bueckers ranks in the 100th percentile. That means no one in college basketball is statistically as good as Bueckers at point-of-view shots, jump shots without dribbling, and shots to the left in situations. launch.
In short, Bueckers is the best independent player. In about a third of the categories analyzed, Bueckers is elite, at the 90th percentile, including most of the categories that break down overall offense.
In areas where it does not rank in the 90th percentile, it is largely just outstanding, ranking in the 80th percentile or better in 60 categories.
While this kind of in-depth basketball analysis shows just how special Bueckers is, it’s not the best way to appreciate his game. Better to leave it on the tape.
Or better yet, watch her live with the stakes. His next chance is this weekend in a showdown with fellow first-year phenom Caitlin Clark when UConn takes on Iowa at Sweet 16.
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