The Raptors and the NBA’s Shooting Revolution – the Nylon Calculus Shot Charts

9 mins read
Ed’s Note: This article is written by Greg Mason, who is a regular guest on The Doctor Is In podcast, and while the pod is on hiatus till the new season, Greg takes a look at how the Raptors fare in the brand new Nylon Calculus shot charts.  Follow Greg on Twitter at @VotaryOfHoops.

Thanks in large part to the analytics movement, shooting is at a premium in the league now more than ever. Look no further than the Channing Frye signing for evidence as to how much teams value guys who can space the floor and create lanes to the rim. Successful teams make a lot of shots at the basket and they make a lot of threes. San Antonio and Miami led the league in shots made within 5 feet, 382 and 311, respectively (the Raptors made 109 shots, good for 12th), and both teams finished in the top 5 in 3 point field goals made. Teams who couldn’t space the floor, see Detroit and Utah, were a train wreck. The Raptors were slightly better than middle of the pack as shooters last season. They finished 13th in the league in 3FGM and 15th in 3FG%.

This week Austin Clemens (@AustinClemens2) of Nylon Calculus (part of the Hardwood Paroxysm network) compiled VERY cool and HIGHLY addictive shot charts of every player from the 1996-1997 season forward.

Kyle Lowry:

  • Good shooter despite impediment of carrying around onions larger than Oliver Miller’s plate at the country buffet, (46 % of FGA were 3s)
  • Career highs last season in 3P% (38), FGA, FGM and PER (20.1)
  • Excels from the deep wings, loves that fake drive, step back three
  • Poor from mid-range and right corner, almost never shoots from mid-range on right side
  • Finishes well in the paint, struggles a bit right at the rim

Kyle Lowry Nylon Calculus Shot Chart

DeMar DeRozan:

  • The narrative about DeRozan’s game is generally confirmed by the shot chart
  • Very good in the paint, good from right corner (small sample size)
  • Shoots A LOT of long mid-range jumpers, 36.2 % of FGA were between 16 feet and 3 point arc
  • Career best 30.5 3P% , still well below league average
  • Favors left side of the floor

DeMar DeRozan

Terrence Ross:

  • Likes the 3 ball: 39.5 3P%, 54.3 % of his FGA last season from beyond the arc
  • Really likes the left corner and deep right wing
  • Not nearly as effective from deep left wing and right corner
  • Explosive athlete but lanky and doesn’t love contact. Better finisher in the paint than expected

Terrence Ross

Amir Johnson:

  • Mr. Efficiency
  • Very good in the paint, 73 % of his shots within 10 feet or less
  • Impressive mid-range shooter, 58.6 % from 10-16 feet
  • Worked the 3 ball into his game this season. Though he was above league average in certain spots shot only 30.3 3P% for the season

Amir Johnson

Jonas Valanciunas:

  • Big J, that left side baseline jumper isn’t working out so hot for you, brother! 37 % shooter from 10-16 feet.
  • Generally pretty good in the paint. The little running hook in front of the basketball was the one major trick in his arsenal and the shot chart shows that it was pretty darn effective.
  • Jonas is working with Hakeem the Dream this summer and I, for one, am freaking excited. (Man crush alert)

Jonas Valanciunas

Greivis Vasquez:

  • His shot chart is EXACTLY what you would expect.
  • Gravy V is money when he shoots those runners in front of the rim and somewhat of a disaster on his wild drives to the right side of the basket
  • I expect his percentages to improve this season with some additional scorers on the second unit. Won’t be forced to carry such a heavy offensive burden.
  • He’s a good 3 point shooter (38%) but surprisingly weak from the corners

Greivis Vasquez

Patrick Patterson:

  • Patterson has found a home. Fills much needed role of ‘stretch-4’ on the team. 31% of FGA were from beyond the arc.
  • 41 3P% as a Raptor, excels from left corner and deep right wing
  • Mixed bag from mid-range. Much better from left baseline. 46% from 10-16 feet

Patrick Patterson

Lou Williams:

  • Not exactly a model of efficiency, but will provide a much needed scoring option off the bench
  • Not a terrible 3-point shooter (34% career) but he should probably stop shooting from the left side of the court altogether
  • Can drill the right corner 3, most of team prefers left corner
  • Good shooter from straight on. Likes the runner.

Lou Williams

James Johnson:

  • Thank God he can play defense
  • Sweet neck tattoos, skilled martial artist, big wing defender, terrible 3-point shooter
  • 26.6 % career shooter from beyond the arc
  • Shot scorching 78 % (3% of total FGA) from 10-16 feet, but most of his mid-range game consisted of long 2s (7.5% of FGA), where he shot a meager 26%

James Johnson

Tyler Hansbrough:

  • Great job, Tyler.

Tyler Hansbrough

Landry Fields:

  • Injuries have derailed Fields’ shot and his confidence, perhaps irrevocably
  • Just look at the drop off in his shooting from his rookie to sophomore years. He was a guy who shot 39% from beyond the arc his rookie season (2.7 attempts per game) to 26 % his second year.
  • The Raptors then decided to give him $20 million dollars. He’s shot 19 threes in his two seasons in Toronto; down slightly from the 340 that he shot his first two seasons in New York.
Landry Fields
Landry Fields

Chuck Hayes:

  • 6’5 center who can’t jump is predictably horrid in the paint
  • We’ll always have that gorgeous 22-foot runner though

Chuck Hayes

Final thoughts:

I’m skeptical that DeRozan will ever become a league average 3-point shooter, but he’s proved me wrong before. One thing that he can certainly work on this season is cutting down on mid-range jumpers. The Raptors are essentially a slightly above average shooting team in the league. There are several guys on the team who can stroke the three at a respectable clip (Lowry, Vasquez, Ross, Patterson) but they lost their one elite shooter when they sent Novak to Utah for salary relief purposes. They’ve added two below average shooters in Williams and Johnson and lost Salmons who was wretched inside the arc but among the best three point shooters on the team. Bruno has a nice shot and his go-to move so far in summer league has been the step back three (lessons from Lowry already?) but I don’t expect him to be a rotation guy at this juncture in his career. Simply put, on paper the Raps are a worse shooting team than they were last season but probably not in a particularly meaningful way. If they shoot well and create the requisite space for driving lanes to the basket, the personnel by-and-large does a good job of finishing in the paint.

Data for this article was provided by


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