Jared Bynum had a healthy list of suitors once he decided to transfer following a strong freshman season at St. Joseph’s. After averaging over 11 points, four assists and three rebounds, Bynum narrowed his list of potential destinations to Providence, Seton Hall, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Butler, Clemson, and Notre Dame.
The Friars eventually won out, and had a redshirt season to groom Bynum while he sat out during the 2019-20 campaign.
Expectations had been high for Bynum prior to him taking to the floor this past season. When the 2019-20 season started to go sideways we began hearing rumblings (both on telecasts and from national writers) about how the Friars were missing a true floor general like Bynum.
St. John’s forces Providence into 24 turnovers at Carnesecca Arena.
You know who the Friars desperately need?
Red Storm roll at home.#SJUBB
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 13, 2020
Heading into the 2020-21 campaign Bynum was to provide a steady hand to offset the departure of six seniors, and to make life easier for David Duke and AJ Reeves. As Ed Cooley told Jon Rothstein last summer, “I’m hoping to free those guys up… I thought David was one of the most improved players in the country last year — not just offensively, but defensively. I hope that Jared can loosen those guys up a lot more.”
Instead, Bynum’s shooting woes allowed teams to cheat off of him and make life more difficult for the likes of Duke and Reeves. Bynum missed his first 17 three point attempts in a Friar uniform, something no one was expecting from a guard who shot 34% from deep two years earlier in the Atlantic 10. He made just 12% of his shots from 3-point range this past season, a year that included Bynum missing a month and a half from early January to mid-February with an injury.
Surely, Bynum is better than a 12% shooter from three, right? His 34% shooting at St. Joe’s came on a much higher number of attempts (102 as a freshman versus 42 this past season). That’s the good news.
A deep dive on Jared Bynum is coming later today. For now, here are his shot charts comparing last year to his freshman season at St. Joe’s. pic.twitter.com/y980wg1a3c
— Kevin Farrahar (@Kevin_Farrahar) April 25, 2021
The more troubling? Bynum shot 15-30 from deep in his first ten games at St. Joe’s, but then went on to make just 20-72 the rest of the way (27%). Bynum is a sub-70% shooter from the free throw line for his career. The stripe can often indicate when a good shooter is simply struggling from the field (for instance, Luwane Pipkins couldn’t buy a shot from deep for months, but shot at a 90% clip at the line).
This isn’t to say Bynum didn’t have his moments. His late-game layup kept PC from an upset against Davidson in November, and he broke down the defenses of both Seton Hall and TCU and dished out 16 assists in those two road wins. He is, by far, Providence’s best ball handler.
Still, we never saw the Bynum who had 19 points, seven assists, and went 3-4 from three against URI two years ago. Or the player who went for 23 against Temple, 9/9/4 at Nova, or 20/6/5 versus St. Louis.
It isn’t time to write Bynum off, not after he played just 10 games before going down against Creighton on Jan. 2. Who knows to what extent the injury hampered him over the final three weeks of the season?
Was he being used differently at St. Joe’s than at PC? Let’s take a look, remembering that Bynum played in 17 games last season, versus 33 as a freshman.
On the Attack
Bynum drew 98 fouls (2.97 per game) at St. Joseph’s versus 29 this past season (1.70). He finished eight and-1s his freshman year, and two in 2020-21. Bynum got to the free throw line for 126 free throws in those 33 games at St. Joe’s as opposed to 34 at PC (3.81 vs. 2 per game).
He was a decent shooter off the dribble as a freshman (35%), but saw that number dip to 27% last year.
— FʀɪᴀʀTV (@FriarTV) April 25, 2019
More on the Jumper
Bynum was far better in spot up opportunities as a freshman. In 89 spot up opportunities, Bynum averaged .933 points per possession, good for the 56th percentile nationally. He scored on 41.6% of those chances.
During his first year at PC, Bynum had 41 spot up possessions, with his numbers falling to .659 points per possession (17th percentile), while scoring on 26.8% of those opportunities.
Bynum finished in the 61st percentile nationally in points per possession on all jump shots as a freshman (.975 PPP), versus the 17th percentile last year (.667 PPP).
He was a decent catch and shoot shooter at St. Joe’s — making 5-14 on guarded catch and shoot jumpers and 7-16 when unguarded. He was 3-8 when guarded and 2-7 while unguarded during year one at Providence.
As a Creator
Bynum was billed as more creator than shooter, and the numbers bear that out. His points per possession in both isolation and in the pick and roll game are very good when including the results of both his shot attempts and passes:
- Isolation at St. Joe’s: 120 possessions, .833 points per possession, 52nd percentile
- Isolation at PC: 24 possessions, 1.083 points per possession, 88th percentile
- P&R at St. Joe’s: 335 possessions, .881 points per possession, 58th percentile
- P&R at PC: 115 possessions, .983 points per possession, 81st percentile
Ideally, Bynum will return to a mid-30% three point shooter and pair that with this type of production.
He will likely to have to further develop his floater to become more effective in the paint. He made just 38.3% of his attempts near the rim last year and 45.5% as a freshman. As a sub-six footer playing in the Big East a developed floater is a must.
— The Morning Hangover (@TheMorningHang) December 20, 2020
While Cooley preaches the value of length, he has had success with a number of point guards that stood below six feet. He coached Derrick Needham at Fairfield, and he went on to become the school’s third all-time leading scorer. Of course, he had great success with Kyron Cartwright and saw Luwane Pipkins turned into perhaps the team’s best scorer down the stretch in 2020.
Next year’s point guard position still feels very much up for grabs. Cooley has called freshman Alyn Breed more of a combo guard, Indiana transfer Al Durham should have more of an opportunity to play with the ball in his hands at PC, and there is still a chance that the talented Jayden Epps will reclassify to the class of 2021 and begin his Providence career in the fall.
The departure of Duke means Providence loses much of its continuity, so the Friars would desperately love to see Bynum provide stability at the lead guard. In an ideal world, Bynum forms a dangerous pick and pop connection with Noah Horchler, makes life easier for Reeves, Durham and Nate Watson, and makes enough jump shots to keep defenses honest.