Quick look at Kyle Lowry’s 3-PA … try shooting on the far left?

Often times I find myself watching basketball, specifically the Raptors being my home team, and ask, “How is our point guard, Kyle Lowry, doing from shooting downtown?”.  Many basketball fans are probably well aware of the increase in 3-point shot attempts over the years, made popular by teams such as the Golden State Warriors.  The strategy being, try more 3-pointers!

So how is Kyle Lowry doing?

Using Python we can extract his FGA attempts and plot his successful and missed attempts for the current 2016-2017 season below:

So what do we see?

First off, not bad.  We can see that as per most point guards, he scores and misses plenty directly underneath the basket.  However, if we just focus our attention on 3-point attempts, there are two points that immediately stick out to me:

  1.  Lowry is making many 3-point shots when he is directly facing the basket.
  2.  It appears that he is missing many 3-point attempts on the right side of the arc.

Let us take a quick examination of where Lowry is running into trouble when taking 3-pointers.  We focus on a subset of data whereby only 3-point attempts are examined.  We also collapse across the height of the court, and focus our analyses only on the width.  If we examine the frequency of shots taken along the width of the court, we see:


From this count of 3-point shot attempts, we can see that either Lowry tends to shoot directly facing the basket, or from a short distance away from the center of the arc, but not directly adjacent to center.  Let us take a closer look by breaking down these counts into whether Lowry successfully got the basket or not:

This is the same figure as above, but breaks each bar down into shots missed versus completed.  This figure suggests several things:

  1. Most 3-point attempts are missed.  This is displayed by the red colour occupying a larger area across most bars.
  2. Lowry is pretty darn good at getting 3-pointers from dead-on, and also at sinking them from the far left-hand side of the court.
  3. Lowry is bad at sinking 3-pointers from the right-hand side of the court.

Take-home message:  This was a really quick view at Lowry’s 3P FGA, so take this suggestion with a grain of salt, or seven.  Kyle Lowry, please start making more 3-point attempts from the far left side of the arc, or at least make less attempts from the right side of the arc!