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2014-2015 SEASON IN REVIEW: PETER JOK

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After an agonizingly slow start, Peter Jok took some positive steps forward as the season went on. It was your basic inconsistent sophomore campaign, but he looks to be more than capable of being a major contributor next year.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Jok is a talented basketball player, but he is far from a finished product. I see a lot of things I like about him, but then he does some things that drive me absolutely crazy at times. On one possession he will knock down an open three, but on the next he will settle for a contested mid-range jumper. On one possession he will make a nice pass to a cutter for a layup, but on the next possession he will have a head-scratchingly bad turnover. And, on the other end of the court, he will play great man-to-man defense on one possession and then let his man blow right by him on the next. It can be maddening watching him play basketball at times.

But as was the case with Adam Woodbury this year, there were times Jok looked like one of the better players on the court. And there were also times in which he seemed to go missing. Moving forward, Iowa can't afford to have Jok go missing for long stretches of time. He's a scorer and with the departure of Aaron White, the second scorer role is now there for the taking. That means we are going to need to see a little more consistency from Peter over the next couple of years. I thought he made some big strides this season, as he saw his minutes go up and he continued to show the potential to be a big-time scorer. It really just depended on the game, whether we saw good Peter or bad Peter.

Essentially, he had a pretty standard sophomore season. There was clearly some growth in his game, but there is still a lot more development to go.

Season in Review

With Aaron White, Jarrod Uthoff, and Gabe Olaseni on the roster, Iowa didn't need Peter Jok to be a monster scorer quite yet this year. McCaffery simply needed Jok to provide a few threes per game with the occasional threat to go off on offense, and the ability to not be a gigantic liability on defense. And Jok was able to do all of that, for the most part. Of course, some parts of the season were better than others for the young Hawkeye.

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As you can see, the middle portion of the season was kinder to Peter than the beginning and the end were. His worst streak came at the end of November and ran into early December, where he provided negative value for the Hawkeyes in four of five straight games. Unfortunately, he wasn't far off of that at the end of the year when he finished March with a negative adjusted game score per minute in three of his last four games of the season.

So what was the culprit for his struggles this year?

Well, as there usually is, there were multiple reasons for his differing levels of play. But what Peter provides to this Iowa team, and what tracks with his overall production pretty well, is his three-point shooting.

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In the months in which he was playing at his best, he was also shooting the ball well from long range. But in the months in which he was really struggling, that shot wasn't falling particularly well for him. Additionally, though, there was also something that corresponded with those good and bad months for Jok besides just how well he was shooting the three ball. His scoring ability had a largely inverse relationship to the number of long twos he was taking.

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The chart above shows Peter Jok's points scored per minute for every month, while also plotting the percentage of two-point jump shots he took. In the two months that he averaged more than 0.40 points per possession, well below 40% of his attempts were long jumpers. And if we do a similar exercise to what we did with Jarrod Uthoff, we see that there was a bit of a negative relationship with the number of long twos he took and the number of points he scored. Because in the games in which less than 40% of Jok's attempts were long twos, he averaged about 9 points per game compared to 7 in games where that percentage was 40% or greater. That's only a difference of 2 points, but 2 points in those 18 games where 40% of his shots or more were long twos comes out to 36 extra points on the year. Instead of averaging 7 points per game this year, he would have averaged about 8 with those 36 extra points. And that would have also put him at 0.41 points per minute instead of the 0.35 he actually had.

But, per usual, just because I'm pointing out a negative in a player's game doesn't mean they had a terrible season. Instead, Jok actually made strides from last year. For one thing, his minutes increased from last year and actually went up from non-conference play to Big Ten play.

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He also won the starting shooting guard spot as the season went on. And even with the number of long two-point jumpers he took, he was still one of the best shooters on the team.

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He struggled near the rim because he didn't always look comfortable when he was driving, but he was actually a good shooter from distance.

Oddly enough, though, according to win shares, he was actually more valuable on defense than he was on offense this season.

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I don't know if I necessarily buy that, considering what I saw with my eyes this season and the fact that defensive metrics still leave a lot to be desired. However, that brings me to my final point on Jok's season, which was how awful Peter looked when the season started.

Seriously, that stretch from November into part of December was horrific, particularly on offense. And if you can remember how depressed we were about Iowa's guard play at that point in the season, Mr. Jok was a big reason why. But even with the tendency to shoot a few too many long two-point jump shots at times, he played his best offensive basketball against Big Ten teams this season.

Peter Jok Points/Game eFG% Turnovers/40 Off. Win Shares Def. Win Shares Win Shares
Non-Conference 5.1 39.3% 2.98 0.1 0.7 0.8
Big Ten 7.7 46.1% 2.40 0.5 0.3 0.8

If you look at his splits, he scored more points per game, shot the ball better from the field, had slightly fewer turnovers, and was just an overall better offensive player against Big Ten teams this year. It's not all that surprising that his defense was worse against Big Ten teams than it was against non-conference opponents, but the fact that he only tallied 0.1 of his 0.6 offensive win shares against non-conference opponents should tell you just how bad he was to start the season. Consequently, that 0.5 offensive win shares in Big Ten play should show you just how valuable he was to Iowa during their late season run.

But, overall, 2014-2015 was a step forward for the sophomore guard. There are clearly things to improve on, but in his first season playing actual meaningful minutes, Peter Jok was a valuable player.

Career Development

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Playing more minutes this season, Jok unsurprisingly saw his points per game go up. His points per minute dropped quite a bit, but his freshman number is based on a small sample size that was compiled largely against questionable competition, and should be taken with a large helping of salt. And putting up 0.35 points per minute as a sophomore is still a very solid number that would have likely been higher if he didn't shoot so many long two-pointers on occasion.

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Not to beat the shot selection drum again, but he upped his two point jump shot attempts by 8 percentage points this season from last at the expense of more efficient shots near the rim and three-point attempts, so it's not all that surprising his points per minute and his shooting numbers dropped from his freshman season.

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And with the change in his shot attempts, we saw a difference in the type of scorer that he was this year. With fewer shots near the rim, it's not surprising that Jok's percentage of points near the rim and from free throws dropped. Pete was mainly a jump shooter this year, and it's hard to draw fouls when you are mainly a jump shooter.

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However, shooting under 40% near the rim, it's not like Peter Jok was an all-world shooter when he attacked the basket this year, either. It's hard to be that bad consistently, and we saw Mike Gesell bounce back after some struggles with this issue last year, so that shouldn't deter Jok from being more aggressive in his final two years on campus.

And if we look at his field goal percentage on long twos, we can see that there isn't much difference between how well he shoots those and how well he shoots threes. So with the opportunity to get his team an extra point, he would be wiser to turn some of those long twos into threes.

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And if we look at his Kenpom profile, you will notice that there are not a lot of yellow and red rankings. There are two reasons for that. Last year it was because he didn't play enough minutes to qualify for any rankings, and this year it was because his numbers were worse. That last reason also has two explanations: 1) He had a terrible start to the season; and 2) He shot terribly at the rim and took more overall long twos as a sophomore. Both of those issues played a big part in why Jok's numbers don't look particularly impressive, but, thankfully, both of those issues are also fixable when we look at next season.

Next Year

If you look at the roster that Iowa has coming back next year, after Jarrod Uthoff, there is a clear gap in the scoring column. Which begs the question: Who is going to be the other big contributor next season? Guys like Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury are going to need to give the Hawkeyes increased offensive production next season, but all signs point to Peter Jok being Iowa's second leading scorer in 2015-2016. And Fran McCaffery thinks so too:

I think Pete's got to take another jump. He took one last year. I'd like to see him take another jump and be an all-league-caliber player, a 15-, 16-point scorer. I think that's well within his capability.

15-16 points is something that I will hopefully feel is realistic for Peter come his senior season, but I think the expectations are going to be for Peter to score at least 10 points per game next season. With the graduation of Josh Oglesby, Jok should likely see his minutes per game go up from the 20 he saw this season to probably somewhere around 25 next year. If he again puts up 0.35 points per minute, then he would score almost 9 points per game next year just by playing more minutes alone. But if he can make his shooting tendencies more efficient and if he gets some better luck near the rim, scoring more than 10 points per game should be simple for a guy who consistently takes about a quarter of Iowa's field goal attempts when he's on the court.

Pete's not shy. And he shouldn't be. He is one of the best shooters on the team and he's got the ability to be one of the better scorers in the league if he can put everything together. There is a reason I called him the heir apparent to Devyn Marble in last year's review. My only concern there is the fact that Marble made his shot selection more efficient every year that he was on campus, and Pete wasn't able to do that between his freshman and sophomore year. To be fair, Marble and Jok have different offensive styles, as Marble didn't really develop a three-point shot until later in his career at Iowa. And, as a sophomore, Marble became more aggressive and attacked the basket on a more consistent basis than Jok did this season. Jok came out of high school more known for his shooting abilities than Marble did, but he does have the athleticism to attack the basket more often than he does. He's shown that ability off before, but more consistency is needed.

And it's not just attacking the basket more, but turning more of those long twos into three-pointers would be a welcome sight for next year. He has been a consistent 34% shooter from deep in his first two years as a Hawkeye, while only making about 33% of his two-point jumpers. So that extra point would be very valuable. Not only for his personal stats, for his team's chances at a victory.

If Jok can take that next step toward making his offensive game more efficient next year (that also means cutting down on the turnovers) and can continue to improve defensively, I don't see why he couldn't be something like a Third-Team All-Big Ten player next season and really start to get his name on the NBA radar. His inconsistency can be maddening at times, but he is still young and the talent is definitely in there. It's just up to him and the coaching staff to reach in and pull it out.

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