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10/06/2022
Indiana forward Miller Kopp holds his shooting motion during Indiana's loss to St. Mary's in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. (HN photo/Max Wood)
Indiana forward Miller Kopp holds his shooting motion during Indiana's loss to St. Mary's in the 2022 NCAA Tournament. (HN photo/Max Wood)

Indiana Basketball Player Analysis: What is Miller Kopp's role on the Hoosiers this year?

It is unsure where the fifth-year senior lies in the rotation this season.

Northwestern transfer Miller Kopp started in all 35 games for Indiana. He is the most trustworthy shooter returning to the Hoosiers this season.

Last season, Kopp averaged 6.0 points per game on 49.4% true shooting. So what does Kopp bring to the team?

WHAT KOPP DOES WELL

Stretching the floor

Kopp is the best returning shooter Indiana has from the 2021-22 season. He drilled 36.1% of his 3s last year, a mark that was in line with his three seasons at Northwestern.

What stands out the most about Kopp’s shooting is the quickness of his release. Closeouts seldom bother Kopp’s shot because he is prepared to let it fly off the catch.

Kopp’s shooting can still progress in the volume and consistency of his 3s. He only attempted 5.5 field goals per game while averaging 25.1 minutes of action. It was the fewest field goals Kopp attempted per 40 minutes in his career.

Part of this was to be expected, with Kopp playing on under-.500 rosters in all three of his seasons at Northwestern. But it’s not like his overall playing time sank that much, and his best trait is putting the ball in the hoop. If Kopp sees similar playing time this season, more plays need to be crafted for him to score.

Kopp went through peaks and pitfalls from beyond the arc last season. In the first 10 games of the year, Kopp shot 41.9% from deep. In the next 19 games, he only made 30.9% of his 3s. Kopp shot 40.9% on 3s in the final six games of the year.

It goes without saying that Kopp’s rockiness from the outside isn’t ideal. He ended up with an above-average 3-point percentage, but he went through quite the slump in some of the Hoosiers’ most crucial matchups. Shooting is undoubtedly what Kopp does best, but he could do it at a sturdier level going forward.

Post defense

This may come as a surprise, but Kopp was a strong defender in the high and mid-post a year ago. He used his 6-foot-7 frame to hold his own whenever other forwards tried to back him down.

When guarding post-ups, Kopp is able to utilize the same strong base that aids his jumpers. He always embraced the challenge when opponents tried to lull him to sleep down low. This skill can also come in handy if he ends up guarding a center in transition or on a switch. A post-up against Kopp does not equal easy points.

Overall, it’s questionable how valuable this skill is for a forward. Kopp’s post defense isn’t strong enough to purposely place him on a big man, and most forwards today don’t perform through the post. Because of this, Kopp’s post defense is more of a niche skill than a glaring trait that adds constant value to Indiana’s defense.

WHAT KOPP CAN IMPROVE

Guarding in space

This was a notable negative in Kopp’s game a season ago. He was regularly caught flatfooted when guarding the ball, and he conceded a lot of drives because of it.

Once ball handlers got past Kopp, he usually was unable to get back in the play.

Some of Kopp’s weaknesses were left off this list because heading into year five, there are some areas where he will probably never improve. But I don’t think Kopp is a lost cause against quick ball handlers.

Kopp won’t make the All-Defensive Team in the Big Ten, but he is capable of slowing down ball handlers more than he has. On most rosters, these slight improvements wouldn’t make much of a difference. But because IU has Trayce Jackson-Davis, who’s an elite paint protector, a bit more deterrence from Kopp can give Jackson-Davis the chance to alter and block shots.

A slight increase in foot speed and hip movement could lead to better defensive outcomes when Kopp is on the court for the Hoosiers. This could be the swing skill that decides Kopp’s role on this year’s Indiana team.

Scoring inside the arc

Kopp will never be a high rim-pressure player — nor will he be a true self-creator off the bounce — but shooting just 34.9% on 2-pointers as he did a season ago is unacceptable.

Most of Kopp’s 2s were mid-range shots. Per basketball statistician Bart Torvik, Kopp was only 24-for-75 (32%) on these 2-point jumpers. Kopp liked to attack closeouts by pump-faking 3s and taking one dribble inside the arc for 2s. The process wasn’t poor, but the results varied.

These are decent shots that didn’t always drop for Kopp. He may be slightly uncomfortable with shooting off the dribble compared to what he does off the catch.

This past year was the worst Kopp had shot on 2s in his career. The Hoosiers are probably hoping that it was an outlier year and not a trend. Kopp could easily recover for a better year inside the arc.

Help defense

When watching the film, the disparities in Kopp’s off-ball defensive reps were more confusing than the shooting. This could’ve easily been seen as something Kopp does well, but it wasn’t consistent enough to put in that category.

Since Kopp isn’t quick enough to guard primary ball handlers, he usually defended opponents’ worst scorer. In this role, Kopp was tasked with helping off those players and sometimes he struggled. Kopp’s late rotations led to buckets at the rim for the other team.

Because Kopp isn’t an absurd leaper, he was never able to make up for any late rotations. He has to be attentive off the ball so this isn’t an issue.

Once again, there were positive reps for Kopp in this role last year. He did a decent job when he made timely rotations.

I’d say Kopp is a neutral help defender, but he isn’t far off from being a slight positive. This is something that he can improve through activity heading into this year.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM KOPP IN 2022-23

No one is quite sure what Kopp’s role will be with the Hoosiers this season. He will still hold value for the team as an outside shooter and floor spacer.

Kopp’s playing time could depend more on the forwards around him than what he does himself. We’ll see if Kopp can make the necessary marginal improvements to see similar action this season.


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