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Diving Into The Numbers: A Look At Those End of Quarter Iso Lou Williams Shots

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A familiar theme this season: Lou Williams dribbles a lot, then shoots a three to end the quarter.

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It's become a staple of Raptors games this season: Lou Williams gets the ball at the end of the quarter, (if it's a home game), the fans chant his name, he dribbles, and dribbles, and then he launches a three-pointer. It's exciting when it goes in, no so much when it's a miss, and either way, it seems like a waste of a possession in a game, which, over a season, adds up to a lot of squandered possessions.

On the season, Lou is averaging 14.9 points and shooting 40.5 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from downtown.

Prior to Tuesday's game against Indiana, the Raptors had played in 44 games so far this season. I decided to take a look at Lou's shot log at NBA.com, filtered by time left on the game clock on his attempts. To narrow down the data further, I extracted the shot attempts that were taken with less than 30 seconds on the game clock and from a shot distance of 20 feet or further. This would be my criteria of late-quarter possessions in which Lou attempted a long-range shot.

Here's the full data. In 44 games, based on my criteria, there's been 45 of these attempts:

Game Period Game
Clock
Dribbles Touch
Time
Shot Dist PTS
Type
Shot
Result
DEC 02, 2014 - TOR @ SAC 1 0:02 28 24.1 25.8 3 missed
DEC 03, 2014 - TOR @ UTA 3 0:03 23 23.5 25.4 3 missed
NOV 21, 2014 - TOR vs. MIL 2 0:01 26 23.2 28.2 3 made
DEC 28, 2014 - TOR @ DEN 3 0:16 25 22.9 25.8 3 made
NOV 21, 2014 - TOR vs. MIL 1 0:01 23 22.8 26 3 made
NOV 26, 2014 - TOR @ ATL 3 0:08 24 22.6 27.4 3 made
NOV 30, 2014 - TOR @ LAL 1 0:04 23 22.1 25.6 3 missed
DEC 27, 2014 - TOR @ LAC 1 0:08 25 21.8 26.6 3 missed
NOV 24, 2014 - TOR vs. PHX 1 0:10 27 21.6 21.5 2 missed
JAN 10, 2015 - TOR vs. BOS 1 0:01 21 21.5 20 2 missed
JAN 21, 2015 - TOR @ MEM 1 0:01 24 21.3 28.2 3 missed
DEC 03, 2014 - TOR @ UTA 1 0:08 16 20.2 24.8 3 made
JAN 02, 2015 - TOR @ GSW 3 0:05 20 19.7 27.2 3 missed
NOV 28, 2014 - TOR vs. DAL 1 0:11 21 19.6 26 3 missed
JAN 16, 2015 - TOR vs. ATL 1 0:02 21 18.9 25.9 3 missed
NOV 28, 2014 - TOR vs. DAL 3 0:00 15 15.5 25.8 3 missed
DEC 15, 2014 - TOR vs. ORL 3 0:05 7 15.4 25 3 missed
DEC 08, 2014 - TOR vs. DEN 3 0:05 17 15 24.4 3 missed
DEC 14, 2014 - TOR @ NYK 4 0:06 14 14.3 25.3 3 missed
NOV 09, 2014 - TOR vs. PHI 3 0:01 14 13 21.1 2 made
NOV 22, 2014 - TOR @ CLE 2 0:01 15 12.5 26.4 3 made
DEC 19, 2014 - TOR @ DET 3 0:03 13 11.2 25.2 3 missed
DEC 08, 2014 - TOR vs. DEN 5 0:15 9 11.2 27.3 3 missed
JAN 02, 2015 - TOR @ GSW 2 0:01 12 10.8 27.2 3 missed
DEC 03, 2014 - TOR @ UTA 2 0:00 11 9.6 25 2 missed
DEC 30, 2014 - TOR @ POR 2 0:06 6 7.8 26 3 missed
JAN 14, 2015 - TOR vs. PHI 1 0:01 7 6.8 25.2 3 made
DEC 14, 2014 - TOR @ NYK 2 0:04 5 6.7 27.1 3 made
OCT 29, 2014 - TOR vs. ATL 1 0:02 7 5.6 31.1 3 missed
JAN 18, 2015 - TOR vs. NOP 3 0:06 4 5.4 27.6 3 missed
DEC 09, 2014 - TOR @ CLE 3 0:03 8 5.3 27.3 3 missed
DEC 02, 2014 - TOR @ SAC 2 0:01 5 4.7 24.5 3 missed
NOV 13, 2014 - TOR vs. CHI 3 0:02 5 3.8 27.5 3 missed
NOV 13, 2014 - TOR vs. CHI 3 0:25 1 3.4 24.6 3 missed
JAN 19, 2015 - TOR @ MIL 1 0:02 4 3.2 26 3 missed
DEC 21, 2014 - TOR vs. NYK 1 0:00 4 2.6 24.9 3 missed
NOV 11, 2014 - TOR vs. ORL 3 0:00 2 2.4 30 3 missed
DEC 09, 2014 - TOR @ CLE 4 0:02 1 1.9 31.9 3 missed
NOV 02, 2014 - TOR @ MIA 4 0:14 2 1.8 27.5 3 missed
JAN 08, 2015 - TOR vs. CHA 2 0:01 1 1.6 27.1 3 missed
DEC 21, 2014 - TOR vs. NYK 1 0:26 0 1.2 26.3 3 made
JAN 10, 2015 - TOR vs. BOS 3 0:02 0 1 22.8 3 missed
DEC 08, 2014 - TOR vs. DEN 2 0:29 0 0.8 25.5 3 missed
DEC 28, 2014 - TOR @ DEN 4 0:23 0 0.7 24.9 3 made
NOV 22, 2014 - TOR @ CLE 3 0:01 0 0 31.8 3 missed

A few things to consider: Lou is 11-for-45 in these attempts, or, 24.4 percent, which is not ideal. On average, these attempts are from 26.9 feet from the basket. You can see by the dribbles and touch time that most of these possessions are what we're seeing: Lou holding onto the ball and launching a prayer.

With most of these attempts coming from the top of the key, it would be worthwhile to share Lou's shot chart so far this season. Note the red zones, which is where most of these end of quarter attempts are coming from.

Of course, the Raptors have shown that they're capable -- and more importantly, willing -- to run some semblance of an actual play at the end of quarters.

This is the final possession of the third quarter in Sunday's win over the Detroit Pistons. It starts with Greivis Vasquez at the top of the key:

The ball is handed off to Lou, and Patrick Patterson comes to set a pick:

At this point, Patterson's defender overplays the pick-and-roll, and Patterson slips towards the free throw line:

From there, Patterson has a clean look from mid-range if he wants it:

Instead, the defenders collapse on Patterson, who makes the read and passes it to Terrence Ross for an open corner three attempt:

Ross missed that shot, but it's a good example of how the Raptors can generate better looks at the end of quarters, rather than relying on hero ball Lou at the top of the key. In fact, these clean looks might come from the fact that teams have scouted and come to expect Lou to just toss up a shot.

It might just be a possession a game where this happens, but in a playoff series, where the sample size shrinks to seven games or less, maximizing possessions will be at a premium, and could decide a game, or a series. It'd be nice to see Toronto's offense not dissolve into iso ball so much at the end of quarters.