There was a transformation that occurred in Josh Perkins last season, and it all started when the Zags hit conference play. After a rocky opener to his redshirt freshman campaign, Perkins settled down and uncorked a magnum of champagne from beyond the arc on WCC opponents.
Although he finished the season shooting 37.8 percent from long range last season, he shot 46.3 percent from three-point range against WCC opponents. Now, the WCC gets pretty routinely dumped on as a league, and the question is always whether success against the WCC translates to overall success.
In the case of Perkins, his three point shooting success was just a measure of things to come. So far this season, Perkins is shooting 51 percent from long range. Jordan Mathews was supposed to be the premier outside threat for the Zags. Instead, we are getting Perkins, and there is nothing wrong with that (since we still have at least two more years of his play).
Much of that improvement can be attributed to the dual point guard threat between Perkins and Nigel Williams-Goss. Perkins has a quick release and has been able to really open up his game when he is able to move freely off of the ball instead of having to create his shot. His range is rather deep—just take a look at where he pulled up for his only three of the night against South Dakota.
Perkins is well behind the line, and his ability to catch and release makes it difficult for opposing teams to double up on anyone inside. The man stuck defending Perkins has to stay on him at all times, and even then, Perkins has shown he isn’t too afraid to try and shoot over his opponent.
Through this development, Perkins has turned into one of the premier shooting threats in the entire nation. Out of players that have attempted as many threes as Perkins (49), only 12 players are shooting at a higher clip (51 percent) then him.
Three Point Shooters
|3||Zach Kocur||Air Force||12||29||53||0.57||0.547|
|4||Kavon Waller||Delaware State||13||35||64||0.521||0.547|
|5||Joe Sherburne||Maryland-Baltimore County||11||32||59||0.554||0.542|
|6||Erik Durham||Jacksonville State||14||42||78||0.532||0.538|
|8||Jahmel Taylor||Fresno State||12||35||66||0.517||0.53|
|12||Kyle Toth||Cal Poly||12||37||72||0.48||0.514|
The evolution of Perkins’ game has been a much needed boost for the Zags this season. Although Williams-Goss is shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc, he is a career 32.7 percent long range shooter. In other words, regression is a possibility. And even if NWG doesn’t regress and is really an improved long distance shooter, he averages just a shade over one three per game. The ability for NWG to explode from long range is there, but he hasn’t consistently shown that is his forte. Perkins has hit a three in all 11 games he has played in this season.
The Zags have an incredible post presence, but as we saw last season, that post presence works at its peak when the threat of the outside shot is there. Perkins hitting threes is important to keeping defenses honest, especially considering it means opponents have to smother both him and Mathews. Balance is the key attribute for this squad, and Perkins is more than doing his part to keep the team moving forward in that direction.