Kyle Lowry’s fast break 3-pointer


It’s a 2 vs 1 fast break. Kyle Lowry gets the ball with DeMarre Carroll running past the only defender. Lowry decides to stop just short of the corner and let it fly. Nails it.

Years ago this would drive coaches crazy. Now a common tactic in order to maximize on the teams potential to score points. If you have a knock-down three point shooter, why not? Stephen Curry is the master from down town, and does this quite often, awing the audience first at the cojones to take the shot, then to make it, consistently.

Nov 27, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry reacts as he follows through on a shot in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Warriors defeated the Suns 135-116. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Much about the NBA decades ago was about the isolation big man. Feed him and let him go to work. Now the spacing game is taking over, with effective field goal percentages in order to compensate for the likeable yet more difficult three-pointer. Also with spacing comes the defence’s reaction. Curry with the ball on a 2v1, the defender must address his shooting prowess, and essentially opting to give up a two than a three. Times have changed, indeed.

Much talk about Kyle Lowry’s quick trigger threes leave fans on the fence. Yes, he takes them and able to make them, or he will miss like all the other ordinary three point shooting players and leaving his team with zilch as they run back on the defence.

Lowry is shooting a sterling 41.2% from three this season, mostly assisted (72.2% of made 3FGs). He actually shoots 89% of his threes from the top of the key, only taking 14 from the statistically preferred corners.  These top of the break threes are generally where he takes his transition three pointers. When the shot clock is between 18-24 seconds, Lowry shoots 50% per game at just more than one attempt per game. Does he qualify to take this kind of shot?

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Using math and effective field goal percentage, 33% from three point territory is the same as 50% from a two point shot. So yes, he is knocking it out the park in that regard. In his 71 fast break possessions (which is 7th in the league) his FG% is 62.5% and eFG% is 72.9%, more than Curry’s 68.8%.

The fast break is not designed to take a three every time, but better to take each individual sequence as an independent circumstance. For Lowry this season, it is paying off and keeping the defence honest. Although the Raptors rank near the bottom of the league in transition points her game, you would hope they would maximize their efforts with every trip.

Does that mean to take a three or an easier two on the break? As long as he is stroking it this well, I would keep on launching them in the right moments, over a long season we will see how my opinion wavers. How do you feel about this trend, and in particular, Kyle Lowry having it in his arsenal?

Next: Do the Raptors have a high baksetball IQ?

All statistics were taken from the official website (with exception to the linked article), retroactive from December 3rd, 2015.