Title:Analyzing the distribution, quality and variance of the Raptors’ three-point offence to date
Date: November 20, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I dove into what’s causing the Raptors’ early 3-point shooting slump to figure out if expectations should be changed for that skill at the team level.
The Toronto Raptors have never taken so many threes.
On its face, this is true. The Raptors are hoisting 33.4 three-point attempts per game, half a three ahead of last year when the shift in offensive philosophy saw the team obliterate a number of franchise records. Those Raptors surged to fifth in the league in three-point rate, as a percentage of total field-goal attempts and knocked those chances down at roughly a league-average rate of 35.8 per cent. All told, only three teams hit more total threes and only eight have ever hit more. The expectation for this season was that the trend would continue and a Raptors squad fully at the control of Nick Nurse and with even greater raw shooting talent would get them up — and in — at even greater rates.
The former is true but is skewed by a spike in pace and a continued league-wide move to more threes (35.1 per cent of all NBA field-goal attempts have been threes this year, up from 33.7 per cent a year ago). On more accurate terms, the Raptors are actually shooting slightly fewer threes than last year, by about 0.9 per-100 possessions, falling to a still reasonable 13th in the league in volume. The latter has been an unpleasant surprise, with the Raptors ranking 23rd in the league with a 34-per cent mark from long-range.
Entering the year, my evaluation of the Raptors’ true-talent shooting skill was much higher. At the time, I took three-year samples for each player as a baseline for three-point percentage and estimated volume, with the result coming out around 37.1 per cent. It’s been surprising to see them start out cold.