Toronto Raptors will hone 3-point shooting for regular season

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 1: Kyle Lowry
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 1: Kyle Lowry /

It was mandated early in the off-season, a direct order from Masai Ujiri himself – the time had come for the Toronto Raptors to go through a culture change.

We weren’t sure what this culture change would look like at first. But, it quickly became known that the Toronto Raptors would be aiming to improve three-point shooting. As the league adopts a more ranged approach, it only made sense for the team to adapt with that; or so it seemed.

Acquiring Serge Ibaka before last season’s trade deadline, and then doubling-down by retaining him with a three-year, $65-million contract, helped prove the Raptors meant business. Being a big that has a great shot from deep, Ibaka is the type of PF/C the Raptors sorely missed.

Seeing Kyle Lowry reach career-highs in 3-point percentage, along with the addition of C.J. Miles, set the stage. Finally, an offensive revamp is on the horizon, cried Raptors fans.

Fast-forward to the pre-season, and things haven’t changed for the better. The Toronto Raptors have shot a woeful 27.6 percent from deep as a team so far, and that’s been at a much higher volume than last season. Of course, that doesn’t look very good at a quick glance.

Dwane Casey may simply be in early pre-season mode. For this reason alone, he could be letting guys chuck up more threes than usual. Blake Murphy reports things will be slowing down.

Digging Deeper

Reading that, one can assume it was always in the works to limit exactly who is shooting.

Keeping with the thought process of it’s just the pre-season, the picture becomes a little clearer. Taking into account who exactly is shooting, one will realize it isn’t just core players dragging the percentage down.

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Indeed, Ibaka had a rough night shooting in his first exhibition game, along with Miles. They’ll even out as the season progresses. Additionally, Norman Powell has looked more-or-less like what we’d expect.

What lies outside of the norm would be the role-players and bench help shooting more than their fair share. In their most recent game, against Portland, the Raptors had both Delon Wright and Andy Rautins go 0-for-5 from downtown.

While Wright projects to be Lowry’s main backup at PG, Rautins is a stretch to get anything beyond garbage minutes. In any case, it would be surprising to see Wright average five 3-point attempts a night.

Basically, the main point is for everyone to calm down. These are pre-season things, hopefully anomalies. Approaching the regular season, shot selection and who is taking shots should normalize.

Next: Raptors' young bench has disaster potential

The Toronto Raptors will not be hitting threes like Golden State or Houston. It may have seemed like they were being asked to, but the message may have been misconstrued. With the shooters the team has, they will not be going cold like what we’re seeing now.