In part 1 of The Scottie Lindsey Tapes, Ben Goren broke down Lindsey's often spotty defensive game. In part 2, he takes a look at the stronger half of Lindsey's game, his offense.
Scottie Lindsey can shoot the hell out of the ball.
Of players who shot at least 10 threes on the year, Scottie Lindsey's 40.9 percent clip was the best on the team. He exploded for 28 points against New Orleans on the back of a 6-for-7 performance from beyond the arc. When he has it going, he's a legitimate threat that teams need to account for on every single possession. His shot chart is fun.
Scottie Lindsey also had five games in which he went scoreless, including against Indiana, when he played 23 minutes and shot 0-for-5 from the field.
Just as Lindsey had highs and lows on defense, he had highs and lows on offense in 2015-16. As his minutes trend up and his shot numbers go up, what will be his strengths and what are areas of necessary improvement for the rising junior guard?
Time to rev up some more game tape.
Moving to open up the three
Lindsey's best offensive attribute is his three-point shooting. When he's engaged, he works well in the half-court and in transition to open up that shot. He was rarely provided with on-ball screens, but his instincts are pretty good.
This is a textbook job of replacing the penetrator. As Olah dives on a screen, Lindsey rotates over to the spot vacated by the big Romanian, and gets a good look. He takes advantage of a poor Malcolm Hill closeout and gives NU a first-half lead.
Lindsey also seems to be one of the most comfortable players on the roster when Northwestern feels like pushing tempo. He's not usually the one with the ball in his hands, but he drifts to his hot spots well and is ready to catch it and let it fly.
On back-to-back possessions, Lindsey punishes the Illini defense with quick trigger threes from his preferred left side.
Lindsey might not run off of screens and curl like a J.J. Redick, but he still does a good job of creating looks for himself on the three-point line as a secondary or even tertiary scoring option.
On the ball
This is where we get into the more sometimes-good-sometimes-bad Scottie Lindsey.
First the good.
The biggest surprise of the four or five hours of film I watched was that Scottie Lindsey is a very underrated passer. He's very rarely asked to make an incisive pass, but when the opportunity presents itself, he can zip it in there with accuracy.
In terms of passing ability, Scottie Lindsey is not a big step down from Tre Demps, who at times got tunnel vision with the ball in his hands. That doesn't mean that Lindsey is ready to be a secondary playmaker working off of Bryant McIntosh, but it's nonetheless notable.
When Lindsey gets enough breathing room, he can also elevate over defenders and finish. Against Iowa, a lazy double-team let Lindsey march right down the center of the court.
Neither Ahmad Wagner nor Dom Uhl looked ready for Lindsey's explosiveness attacking the rim. Similarly, a nice little handoff from Gavin Skelly allowed Lindsey enough room to get past and over Malcolm Hill:
These bits of plays are nice, but Lindsey requires a lot of breathing room to really get going. He doesn't show the short burst or the ball-handling ability to consistently have success attacking off the dribble.
Lindsey's handles are the weakest part of his offensive game. Against Purdue, he got matched up against Ryan Cline, one of Purdue's worst defenders and by no means a speed demon. This is a matchup that Lindsey needs to win.
So much goes right from a gameplan perspective on this set. With Cline and P.J. Thompson in the game, Purdue has to put the 5-foot-11 Thompson on Jordan Ash, matching up a minus defender in Cline against a plus offensive threat in Lindsey. A.J. Hammons, Purdue's best shot-blocker, is drawn out of the paint by Olah's screen, which Lindsey refuses and drives middle. All Lindsey has to do is beat Cline, who's expecting Lindsey to use the Olah screen, to the cup. He can't do it.
A different play from Illinois exposes a similar lack of burst and shaky ball-handling:
Lindsey catches the ball with 7 seconds on the shot clock. Simply put, he needs to find some kind of shot. The slow-mo left to right crossover and hesitation step against Malcolm Hill gives Lindsey no space. He picks up his dribble, and Northwestern picks up a shot clock violation.
This is where Tre Demps is going to be missed the most next season. Unless Isiah Brown comes in and goes gangbusters as a freshman, which, given his slight build, would be surprising, Northwestern is going to be short on players who can find their shot off the dribble, especially in late-clock situations. McIntosh, with a few exceptions, struggled when he was asked to be a primary scorer. Freshman year Vic Law didn't slash to the basket the way people expected him to. Demps provided a kind of safety valve in the half court that Scottie Lindsey doesn't look ready to carry forward into next year.
With spot-up specialist Aaron Falzon occupying a starting spot, Northwestern needs McIntosh's backcourt partner to be more than just a shooter. Whether or not Scottie Lindsey can become that player will be a huge factor in whatever successes, or failures, Northwestern experiences offensively next season.