If we (the Raptors) should be so lucky, and fortunate, to get there?

March 31st, 2010

Incredulously …

This is just some of what was said, earlier this morning, by the Raptors’ GM, during his interview segment on FAN590 radio:

Click here. [to listen for yourself]

“We’ve got to focus on the 9 games left in the season to, uhh … you know … to try to finish this thing the right way, and … and, finish in the best possible position to have some success in the playoffs, if we should be so lucky, and fortunate, to get there.” - Bryan Colangelo

==========

The remaining schedule for Toronto/#8 and Chicago/#9 looks like this:

Game

TORONTO

36-37

CHICAGO

35-39

74

Vs LA Clippers

W, 37-37

75

At Philadelphia

W, 38-37

At Washington

W1-?

76

Vs Golden State

W, 39-37

Vs Charlotte

W2-?

77

At Cleveland

L, 39-38

Vs Milwaukee

W3-?

78

At Atlanta

L, 39-39

Vs Cleveland

L

79

Vs Boston

L, 39-40

At New Jersey

W-4?

80

Vs Chicago

W, 40-40

At Toronto

L

81

At Detroit

W, 41-40

Vs Boston

W-5?

82

Vs New York

W, 42-40

At Charlotte

W-6?

Even if, by some miraculous turn of fate, the Bulls are capable of beating 3 “>.500″ teams at home [marked with orange and a ?, above] and beating 1 “>.500″ team on the road [also marked with orange and a ?, above] …

How on earth does anyone actually see Chicago being able to collect 8 WINS [i.e. winning out] the rest of the way? …

since the Raptors also have the head-to-head tie-breaker in their favour, and the Bulls are now playing without 2 of their “starters” [i.e. Luol Deng/SF and Kirk Hinrich/OG-PG]

… if Toronto can simply take care of its own business properly, by winning the 6 almost “gimme” games left on its schedule [marked in green, above].

The simple fact is …

“Luck”, per se, will have almost nothing to do with whether, or not, the Raptors are capable of qualifying for the playoffs this season.

It’s when Bryan Colangelo says nonsense stuff like this that he loses a certain measure of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. in the eyes of someone like yours truly, who has actually been around the “basketball” block … at least … once, or twice, in his/her lifetime.

==========

Truth be told …

At the 73 game mark of the season, the Raptors should now be considered the PROHIBITIVE favourite to earn the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs … and if, through some type of Haley’s Cometesque occurrence, Toronto should [somehow?] manage to blow this opportunity, it could only be perceived as an epic collapse, in the annals of the NBA.  

Today’s pseudo basketball analysis, re: the NBA’s authentic GOAT

March 31st, 2010

Here’s what Kelly Dwyer had to say yesterday, regarding an article by Dan Shaughnessy and:

1. How a proper determination of the GOAT should be made;

2. Whether Tim Duncan might actually fit the bill, or not; and,

3. What qualifies as sound basketball analysis in today’s landscape.

==========

Where does Tim Duncan rank? Highly

Never mind defense is half the game, that an all-world defender will always be as important and as destructive as a 25-point scorer. Never mind Tim Duncan, in his prime, was both of those things.

Never mind, in the history of the NBA, there have been, perhaps, four of those guys. Wilt, Jordan, Kareem and Duncan (late add-on: Hakeem, too. What was I thinking forgetting him?). Maybe Shaq in 2000-01, definitely not Russell (didn’t score enough), probably not Malone (a fine defender, but not a game-changer).

Never mind pace or changes in landscape or role or minutes allotment or function or form or context

==========

Here’s the comment which was submitted by yours truly:

==========

 

KD,

 

3 simple points:

 

ITEM I

Basketball has 3 distinct phases [i.e. Defense, Rebounding, and Offense], not just 2 [i.e. Offense and Defense.

 

This means that Defense, properly understood:

 

A. Does not, in fact, comprise 50% of the game; but,

B. In fact, comprises 33.3% of the game.

 

ITEM II

Defense [33.3%] and Rebounding [33.3%], in combination [33.3 + 33.3 = 66.7%], comprise a far greater portion of the whole than Offense [33.3%].

 

ITEM III

When comparing:

 

i. A Great Player [e.g. Michael Jordan] to other Great Players [e.g. Oscar Robertson], on an individual basis,

 

rather than,

 

ii. A Great Player [e.g. Hakeem Olajuwon] to other Non-Great Players [e.g. Robert Horry], on an individual basis,

 

Team Wins, Team Playoff Games Won, Team Playoff Series Won, and Team League Championships Won [i.e. categorized as, "Wins"]

 

must be factored into the evaluation equation, as well … because the game of basketball is, fundamentally, a Team Sport, where winning and losing are important and determined by the final Team scores.

 

The fact that Bill Russell did not happen to “score points” in prodigous numbers, himself, is simply not a valid reason to exclude him from discussion when considering, “Who is the Greatest Player Basketball of All-Time?”

 

When the proper categories for evaluation are considered for the small collection of great players in the history of the game, along the following lines:

 

1. Defense [33.3% of 50%]

2. Rebounding [33.3% of 50%]

3. Offense [33.3% of 50%]

——————————-

4. Wins [50%]

 

then, there should be no doubt, whatsoever, who THE SINGLE GREATEST PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF BASKETBALL actually is … according to the facts.

 

==========

published, initially, and then subsequently removed from the applicable thread at Ball Don’t Lie.

10 things on the Raptors from the last 24 hrs

March 30th, 2010

1. Since last summer, the prognostication from this corner of the blogosphere has been that the Raptors would likely finish the 2009-2010 campaign with somewhere between 38-to-44 wins. 

2. What yours truly wrote on Michael Grange’s blog [i.e. From Deep] yesterday afternoon:

——————————————–
“I’m not a gambling man, but I’d place this bet, with confidence: The Raptors aren’t going to make the playoffs and in fact, will flame out in their final 10 games quite spectacularly. This team is 4-13 in their past 17, and deservedly so. Jay Triano will soon become the first Canadian ex-head coach in the NBA, and Chris Bosh will soon after be a former Raptor.

The question is will Bryan Colangelo have a chance to try and make sense of the shards that remain, and should he?”Michael Grange

[khandor's comment]
3/29/2010 2:14:17 PM
Michael,
At this point of the season, I would be prepared to make you a friendly wager based upon whether, or not, the Raptors make the playoffs this season.

I’ll say that they will.

You say that they won’t.

Deal, or no deal?
——————————————–

3. With last night’s victory …

Toronto Raptors 103
CHARLOTTE BOBCATS 101
Complete Game Info

the Raptors have now played 3 ”final possession” games in a row, against solid opponents … i.e. Denver [Home Loss, 96-96], Miami [Away Loss, 94-97] and Charlotte [Away Win, 103-101].

4. The first 2 of these games were played without the services of Hedo Turkoglu/SF, altogether; while the 3rd game saw the their $53.0 Million Dollar Man used only as a Key Sub off the bench.

5. For all 3 of these games, the Raptors have used a Starting 5 comprised of:

PG, Jose Calderon [replacing Jarrett Jack]
OG, Sonny Weems [replacing DeMar DeRozan]
SF, Antoine Wright [replacing Hedo Turkoglu]
PF, Chris Bosh
C, Andrea Bargnani

6. Using Sonny Weems/OG-SF for more minutes per game, in general, while still giving solid PT to rookie DeMar DeRozan/OG-SF, in a Key Sub role off the bench, has effected this team’s recent performance in a highly positive way … by [i] increasing the overall level of athleticism in their starting unit, and [ii] placing more of an emphasis on the [A] Defensive and [B] Rebounding aspects of the game, in contrast with [C] Offensive Points Production.

7. Using Antoine Wright - who is defensively focused - in the Starting 5 is a sound strategic move, when it is also balanced out properly by:

i. Shifting either Hedo Turkoglu/SF or Andrea Bargnani/C – who is offensively focused – to the 2nd Unit;

and,

ii. Re-establishing Jose Calderon – who is offensively focused - as the team’s No. 1 Point Guard. 

8. Building on these consecutive solid efforts, it is likely that the Raptors will now be able to put together a 4 game winning streak …

Game 73, at CHARLOTTE [W, 36-37] 
Game 74, vs LA Clippers [W, 37-37]
Game 75, at PHILADELPHIA [W, 38-37]
Game 76, vs Golden State [W, 39-37]

before heading towards …

End Of Season – Phase 1
Game 77, at CLEVELAND
Game 78, vs Boston
Game 79, at ATLANTA

———————————

End Of Season – Phase 2
Game 80, vs Chicago
Game 81, at DETROIT
Game 82, vs New York

during which this team … will have its mettle tested, once again, and … should eventually be able to secure the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs … and a 1st Round match-up with the #1/Cleveland Cavaliers.

9. Whether, or not, Chris Bosh eventually decides to re-sign with the Raptors this summer, as an UFA, was never ever going to be dependant on where exactly the Raptors finish up this season, insofar as making the playoffs is concerned, or advancing to the 2nd Round, etc..

Chris Bosh will eventually decide to re-sign with the Raptors this summer … or not … based upon the confidence level he has developed in Bryan Colangelo, over the course of the last 4+ years, concerning the GM’s actual ability to construct a championship calibre team in Toronto.  

10. Those who think that Chris Bosh has simply been “mailing it in,” since returning from the All-Star Break, because he has already decided to ply his trade for a different team next season …

 

do not have the ability to recognize accurately which players in the NBA are actually playing hard and which ones are not.

Where and how the Raptors lost their game against the Heat

March 29th, 2010

Yes, the Raptors chose not to play Hedo Turkoglu/SF, at all, against the Heat.

Yes, the Raptors led by 6 points [87-81] with 4:59 remaining in the 4th quarter, with the ball in their possession, coming out of their own called time-out … before having an Antoine Wright jump-shot blocked [by Carlos Arroyo], committing a 24 second shot clock violation and, then, in general, wilting down the stretch.

Yes, the Raptors lost yesterday, in part, because their final 13 possessions ended with the following results:

#1. 4:46 … Wright, Missed 3FG [Blocked shot/Arroyo] … 04:45 … Shot clock violation … Tor 87, MIA 81
#2. 4:09 … Bosh, Missed 2FG … Tor 87, MIA 81
#3. 3:31 … Weems, Made 2FG [Assist/Wright] … Tor 89, MIA 83
#4. 2:56 … Calderon, Missed Layup [Blocked by Arroyo] … Tor 89, MIA 85
#5. 2:45 … Bosh, Missed 3FG [end of shot clock ] … Tor 89, MIA 85
#6. 2:13 … Bosh, Missed 2FG … Tor 89, MIA 87
#7. 1:23 … Jack, Missed 3FG … Tor 89, MIA 89
#8. 39.9 … Wright, Missed 3FG … Tor 89, MIA 91
#9. 26.9 … Bargnani, Missed 2FG … Tor 89, MIA 91
#10. 12.3 … Bargnani, Missed 3FG [Off Reb/Bosh] … Tor 89, MIA 93
#11. 7.8 … Jack, Made 2FT’s … Tor 91, MIA 93
#12. 1.9 … Jack, Made 3FG [Assist/Calderon] … Tor 94, MIA 95
#13. 1.4 … Wright, Turnover [bad pass/Steal Wade] … Tor 94, MIA 97

However …

If you take a close look at the Boxscore, the Full Play-By-Play, and the Game in Six Minutes …

———————————————

Toronto Raptors [35-37, 8th] 94
MIAMI HEAT [40-34, 6th] 97
Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play, Recap, Game in Six Minutes 

———————————————

what you should be able to see is that this game was fundamentally changed, when:

1. At the 7:01 mark of the 3rd quarter, with Miami trailing 50-64, Erik Spoelstra made the decision to permanently remove Michael Beasley from Miami’s line-up, after being lit up by Andrea Bargnani [i.e. 9 points; 3FGM-3FGA/3-3];

2. At the 4:46 mark of the 3rd quarter, with Miami trailing 57-72, Erik Spoelstra made the decision to abandon their 2-3 match-up zone defense, in favour of their customary man-2-man defense.

3. At the 2:54 mark of the 3rd quarter, with Toronto ahead 74-59, and:

i. Jay Triano called time-out for Toronto;
ii. Erik Spoelstra replaced Carlos Arroyo with Mario Chalmers;
iii. Jay Triano Replaced Bosh/PF and Weems/OG with Johnson/PF and DeRozan/OG;
iv. Toronto attempted to run a set play for Bargnani/C, got nothing from the look;
v. Toronto adjusted to a Wing Pick & Roll for Bargnani, got nothing from the look; and,
vi. Toronto was forced into a missed 3PT shot from Antoine Wright/SF, off the dribble, which resulted in a shot clock violation;

4. During the remainder of the 3rd quarter, Toronto was out-scored 8-3 by Dwyane Wade [FGM-FGA/2-2; 3FGM-3FGA/1-2; FTM-FTA/3-3];

5. During the initial 3:01 of the 4th quarter, Toronto used the tandem of Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans against Udonis Haslem and Jamaal Magloire and saw its lead shrink to only 6 points [i.e. 81-75].

Although Toronto eventually lost this game by only 3 points, it should be clearly understood by their faithful fandom that the primary reason the Raptors were in the contest in the first place was because Michael Beasley/PF had played so poorly for the Heat for the first 2.5 quarters … i.e. MP/18:52; FGM-FGA/1-10; FTM-FTA/0-0; plus-minus/-15 … matched-up for the most part vs Andrea Bargnani, and that as soon as Erik Spoelstra made the above changes, mid-way through the 3rd quarter, the Heat proceeded to out-score the Raptors 47-30/+17, with

Dwyane Wade
FGM-FGA/11-18; FTM-FTA/9-10; PTS/32; plus-minus/+12,

and,

Udonis Haslem
FGM-FGA/10-11; FTM-FTA/3-4; PTS/23; plus-minus/+15

leading the charge.

———-

Related:

Individual Stats for Eastern Conference Power Forwards, Rankings and Basketball Acumen  [Aug 29 2009]

 

Further adjusted “Starting 5″ for the Raptors can overcome the Heat

March 28th, 2010

Toronto used a “new” Starting 5, on Friday night, against Denver:

Jose Calderon, PG [same as before]
Sonny Weems, OG [new]
Antoine Wright, SF [new]
Chris Bosh, PF [same as before]
Andrea Bargnani, C [same as before]

The same day, Jermaine O’Neal/C hyperextended his right knee in Miami’s road win at Milwaukee and is not expected to play in this evening’s home game against the Raptors.

If the Raptors decide to use a slightly different version of their ”new” Starting 5 and insert a healthy Hedo Turkoglu into the SF position, in place of Antoine Wright, it will create the following set of individual match-ups:

Option 1 – Currently Expected Rotations

HEAT

ADV

RAPTORS

Head Coach

Spoelstra

 

Triano

0

 

0

Starters

Arroyo

=

Calderon

Wade

ß

Weems

Richardson

à

Turkoglu

Beasley

=

Bargnani

Anthony

à

Bosh

+1

 

+2

Key Subs

Chalmers

=

Jack

Wright

ß

DeRozan

Haslem

=

Johnson

Magloire

=

Nesterovic

+1

 

0

Reserves

Cook

=

Belinelli

Jones

=

Wright

Diawara

=

Evans

Individual Match-ups Assessment

0, +1, +1

 

0, +2, 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and, in all likelihood mean that Toronto will lose their 3rd game in a row.

On the other hand, if the Raptors decide to go with Option 2:

Option 2 – Should Be Rotations, from Toronto’s POV

HEAT

ADV

RAPTORS

Head Coach

Spoestra

 

Triano

0

 

0

Starters

Arroyo

=

Calderon

Wade

ß

Weems

Richardson

à

Turkoglu

Beasley

=

Johnson

Anthony

à

Bosh

+1

 

+2

Key Subs

Chalmers

=

Jack

Wright

ß

DeRozan

Haslem

à

Bargnani

Magloire

=

Nesterovic

+1

 

+1

Reserves

Cook

=

Belinelli

Jones

=

Wright

Diawara

=

Evans

Individual Match-ups Assessment

0, +1, +1

 

0, +2, +1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… there’s a fairly good chance they will be able to put a stop to their 2-game losing streak and stay 1.5 games ahead of the 9th place Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings.

——————————————–

Contrary to popular belief …

Andrea Bargnani is a long ways away from being a useless NBA player, provided that he is actually used properly, i.e. as a Back-up Center, who becomes THE focal point of the Raptors’ offense each time Chris Bosh is taken off the floor.

Raptors’ line-up that would have likely stopped the Nuggets’ late comeback

March 28th, 2010

If you take a look at these 2 sets of video highlights from Friday night’s Toronto loss against Denver, what you should be able to see is that:

1. The Raptors used a specific 5-Man Unit for the defensive possession when Chauncey Billups made his step-back 3PT shot, in the Left Corner, to tie the score, 95-95, with 33.9 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter:

Jack [6-3, 200] vs Billups [6-3, 202], PG
DeRozan [6-7, 220] vs Carter [6-2, 195], PG
Weems [6-6, 205] vs Smith [6-6, 220], OG
Wright [6-7, 215] vs Anthony [6-8, 230], PF
Bosh [6-10, 245] vs Nene [6-11, 250], C

and,

2. The Raptors used the same 5-Man Unit when Carmelo Anthony missed his initial attempt at a game-winning jump shot … which came after Denver’s final time-out, trailing by 1 point … and was followed by the Nuggets’ offensive rebound, pass back to Anthony and his 2PT dagger that ultimately killed the home team:

Jack vs Carter [inbounds passer; 2nd screener for Smith]
DeRozan vs Smith [shooter cutting below the strong side staggered screens]
Weems vs Billups [receiver/passer positioned at the top of the key]
Wright vs Anthony [shooter isolated at the right elbow]
Bosh vs Nene [1st screener for Smith].

——————————————–

QUESTION

What specific line-up SHOULD the Raptors have used instead of this one?

ANSWER

Weems [6-6, 205] vs Billups [6-3, 202]
DeRozan [6-7, 220] vs Carter [6-2, 195]
Wright [6-7, 215] vs Smith [6-6, 220]
Johnson [6-9, 210] vs Anthony [6-8, 230]
Bosh [6-10, 245] vs Nene [6-11, 250]

If the Raptors had played these last 2 defensive possessions with this different 5-Man Unit, in all likelihood:

Possession #1

Billups would not have been able to get his step-back 3PT jump shot off vs an equally quick but taller defender like Sonny Weems [shot No. 1]; 

and,

Possession #2

Carmelo Anthony would not have been able to get his stand-still 2PT jump shot off vs an equally quick but taller defender like Amir Johnson [i.e. shot No. 2]; and, if he was, then, Toronto would have been in much better position to retrieve the defensive rebound and prevent Anthony from getting off his 1 dribble going left 2PT jump shot … against a smaller defender like Jarrett Jack, or Antoine Wright [shot No. 3].

It really is astounding just how many times different NBA teams actually have the wrong individual match-ups on the floor during specific crunch-time possessions, and how often it can end up costing them a victory, in the process.

Raptors remain clueless, when it comes to fixing problems

March 26th, 2010

At some point, the days eventually begin to run together, in Raptorville.

The same problems occur from one season to the next and, seemingly, never ever get fixed properly.

——————————————–

Feschuk: Listless Raptors puzzle GM Colangelo

“I’ve got a lot of suspicions, I guess, of what’s gone wrong. It hasn’t been the same since the all-star break,” Colangelo said. “Too many guys came back from the break with a different approach. And that’s the part that’s troubling. … It’s not a talent issue. And it’s clear that the right message is being delivered (by the coaching staff). But the students have to carry out the agenda. And it’s got to be a team agenda. It can’t be an individual agenda.”

——————————————–

Is removing Jose Calderon from the starting line-up, once again, really going to solve their on-going problems at the defensive end of the floor?

Chisholm: Triano sending the wrong message

Is removing DeMar DeRozan from the starting line-up, for the first time this season, really going to be the catalyst for a substantive change in the way that this team approaches the business of rebounding and being able to fight back when things don’t quite go according to plan, in a given quarter, half, or game? … as other legitimate contending teams have always done in the history of the NBA.

Is asking Chris Bosh [i.e. the team's best player, by a wide margin] … the same question, again, and again:

“What’s wrong with you guys?”

 

really going to illicit a pearl of wisdom that, if said out loud to the reporters in a post practice/game media scrum, is going to miraculously change the culture which exists within their locker-room?

———————————–

The reality of the Raptors’ current situation is this:

1. Once the trade deadline has passed, there is very little that can be done to fundamentally alter the personnel on a team’s roster.

2. Firing their head coach makes little sense, given that he was hand-picked by the GM to run the day-to-day operation only 9 months ago, and the organization is still paying the salary of its former head coach [i.e. Sam Mitchell], who was fired in December of last season.

3. The team’s defensive woes have NOT been rooted in the mediocre-to-poor play of Jose Calderon, who is comparable … as a less-than stellar individual defender with a solid offensive game … to 6 of the other starting Point Guards for the Top 15 teams in the league [i.e. see the chart below].

STARTING 5 COMPOSITION FOR TOP 15 TEAMS

COMPARED WITH TORONTO RAPTORS

[as of Thu Mar 25 2010]

Rank

Team

Record

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

 

 

 

TS%

DEF

TReb

TS%

DEF

TReb

TS%

DEF

TReb

TS%

DEF

TReb

TS%

DEF

TReb

1

CLE

57-15

Williams

Parker

James

Jamison

Hickson

 

 

 

57.2

1.37

3.1

57.5

1.38

2.7

60.6

2.80

7.3

51.6

2.20

7.8

58.0

0.91

4.5

 

 

 

>

-

-

>

-

<

>

>

>

<

>

-

-

<

<

2

LAL

53-18

Fisher

Bryant

Artest

Gasol

Bynum

 

 

 

49.8

1.91

1.9

54.8

2.15

5.3

54.2

1.88

4.3

58.5

2.43

11.1

61.0

2.05

8.4

 

 

 

<

>

<

>

>

>

-

>

-

>

>

>

>

-

-

3

ORL

50-22

Nelson

Carter

Barnes

Lewis

Howard

 

 

 

53.0

1.07

2.7

53.9

1.13

4.1

57.5

1.29

5.6

57.0

1.51

4.6

63.3

3.69

13.1

 

 

 

-

<

-

-

<

>

 

-

-

>

<

<

>

>

>

T-4

DEN

47-25

Billups

Afflalo

Anthony

Martin

Nene

 

 

 

61.8

1.41

3.0

57.7

1.10

2.8

55.5

1.84

6.7

48.4

2.31

9.6

63.4

2.71

7.8

 

 

 

>

-

-

>

<

<

>

>

>

<

>

>

>

-

-

T-4

DAL

47-25

Kidd

Butler

Marion

Nowitzki

Haywood

 

 

 

57.6

2.54

5.4

50.5

2.25

4.4

53.5

1.82

6.7

57.1

2.17

7.7

58.7

2.44

8.1

 

 

 

>

>

>

-

>

>

<

>

>

>

>

-

-

-

-

T-4

UTA

47-25

Williams

Matthews

Kirilenko

Boozer

Okur

 

 

 

57.2

1.75

4.0

58.8

1.15

2.1

59.1

2.86

4.6

59.4

1.68

11.1

55.0

2.05

6.9

 

 

 

>

>

>

>

<

<

>

>

-

>

-

>

-

-

<

T-7

BOS

46-25

Rondo

Allen

Pierce

Garnet

Perkins

 

 

 

54.5

2.67

4.4

59.5

1.29

3.3

61.5

2.10

4.3

58.2

1.95

7.4

61.8

2.16

7.7

 

 

 

-

>

>

>

<

-

>

>

-

>

-

-

>

-

-

T-7

ATL

46-25

Bibby

Johnson

Williams

Smith

Horford

 

 

 

53.7

1.16

2.2

53.5

1.35

4.7

54.2

1.45

5.3

53.8

4.09

8.8

60.2

1.94

9.7

 

 

 

-

<

<

-

-

>

-

-

-

-

>

-

>

-

>

9

PHO

45-26

Nash

Richardson

Hill

Stoudemire

Lopez

 

 

 

61.4

1.14

3.3

57.3

1.49

5.4

56.3

1.56

5.5

61.5

1.90

8.8

57.2

2.60

8.8

 

 

 

>

<

-

>

-

>

>

-

-

>

-

-

-

-

-

10

OKC

43-27

Westbrook

Sefolosha

Durant

Green

Krstic

 

 

 

49.4

1.87

5.0

49.0

1.91

4.9

60.2

2.33

7.5

53.5

2.23

6.1

51.6

1.30

5.0

 

 

 

<

>

>

<

>

>

>

>

>

-

>

<

<

<

<

11

POR

43-29

Miller

Roy

Batum

Aldridge

Camby

 

 

 

52.8

1.59

3.3

56.7

1.44

4.5

67.9

1.69

3.7

53.1

1.54

8.1

38.2

4.08

9.8

 

 

 

-

-

-

>

-

>

>

-

<

-

-

-

<

>

>

12

SAS

42-28

Parker

Ginobili

Jefferson

McDyess

Duncan

 

 

 

54.7

0.84

2.4

58.0

2.30

3.7

54.7

1.22

4.3

49.1

1.02

5.8

55.6

2.20

10.3

 

 

 

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<

<

>

>

-

-

-

-

<

<

<

-

-

>

13

MIL

39-31

Jennings

Delfino

Salmons

LRMAM

Bogut

 

 

 

47.5

1.64

3.5

52.9

1.49

5.4

58.4

1.59

3.2

54.6

1.58

5.5

53.9

3.79

10.3

 

 

 

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>

-

-

-

>

>

-

<

>

-

<

<

>

>

14

MEM

38-34

Conley

Mayo

Gay

Randolph

Gasol

 

 

 

52.2

1.61

2.3

55.2

1.69

3.8

53.8

2.42

5.9

54.9

1.46

11.9

61.9

3.18

9.5

 

 

 

-

>

<

>

-

-

-

>

>

>

<

>

>

>

>

T-15

MIA

38-34

Arroyo

Wade

Richardson

Beasley

O’Neal

 

 

 

51.1

0.69

1.7

55.3

3.01

4.7

56.6

1.49

4.9

51.1

1.69

6.5

56.2

2.25

7.2

 

 

 

-

<

<

>

>

>

>

-

-

<

-

<

-

-

-

T-15

CHA

37-34

Felton

Jackson

Wallace

Diaw

Chandler

 

 

 

51.6

1.97

3.7

51.9

2.63

5.1

59.0

3.30

10.5

55.2

1.54

5.1

59.5

1.58

6.3

 

 

 

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>

-

-

>

>

>

>

>

>

-

<

-

<

<

 

18

TOR

35-35

Calderon

DeRozan

Turkoglu

Bosh

Bargnani

 

 

 

57.5

1.11

2.2

53.9

1.05

3.0

54.2

1.16

4.5

59.1

1.71

11.1

55.7

1.84

6.0

 

 

 

>

<

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-

<

-

-

<

 

>

-

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-

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LEGEND: Red – 1 dimensional, Offensive focus; Yellow – 1 dimensional, Defensive focus; Blue – 1 dimensional, Rebounding focus; Orange – 2 dimensional, Offensive + Defensive focus; Purple – 2 dimensional, Offensive + Rebounding focus; Green – 2 dimensional, Defense + Rebounding focus; Brown – 3 dimensional, Offensive + Defensive + Rebounding focus; TS% – True shooting percentage; DEF – Defensive plays made per game; TReb – Total rebounds per game; > – Superior rating; – Average rating; < Inferior rating.

 

4.  The team’s defensive woes have NOT been rooted in the mediocre-to-poor play of DeMar DeRozan, who is the most effective Off Guard on their roster, given the individual short-comings of Antoine Wright, Sonny Weems and Marco Belinelli, none of whom are comparable to the starting players for the Top 15 teams in the league [i.e. see the chart below].

TS%

DEF

TReb

DeRozan

53.9

1.05

3.0

-

<

-

Wright

49.9

0.75

2.6

<

<

<

Weems

51.9

0.80

2.4

-

<

<

Belinelli

54.5

0.98

1.5

-

<

<

5. The most significant difference between Toronto’s starting line-up and the Top 15 teams in the league is at the Center position.

6. Opposite to what Bryan Colangelo might actually think:

* TENACITY is, in fact, a most valuable TALENT in the NBA … since every player does not have it in the same quantity;

and,

* The wrong message is, in fact, being sent whenever a NBA team uses an offensively focused player as its starting Center … while it does not also have a DOMINANT, multi-dimensional, Small Forward in its best Group of 5.

7. If Chris Bosh is, in fact, the best player on your team, by a wide margin, and Jose Calderon is, in fact, the best offensively focused Point Guard, and Hedo Turkoglu is, in fact, the best offensively focused Small Forward, then you simply CANNOT HAVE have another offensively focused player as your starting Center … if you want your team to exhibit the type of TENACITY that’s required to fight back from adverse situations which occur in NBA games. 

8. Andrea Bargnani is the player who NEEDS to be removed from the team’s starting line-up, if Toronto is going to turn around its lost season.

———-

PS. FYI, the stats shown here for TS%, DEF and TReb are from hoopdata.com.

Assigning proper responsibility for the Magic’s inability to box out Josh Smith

March 25th, 2010

In general, Kevin Arnovitz does a solid job breaking down the different “actions” involved in a NBA game.

In this instance, however, he has incorrectly pointed an accusing finger in the direction of Rashard Lewis for Orlando’s apparent failure to box out Josh Smith on the last second follow-up dunk which was the difference in last night’s victory for Atlanta.

———————————————-

The Incredible Finish in Atlanta

Just over a minute later, Vince Carter deadens the crowd when he nails an off-balanced, contested bomb from beyond the arc.

Game tied.

The Hawks must race the ball up the length of the court with no timeouts and 9.9 seconds left on the clock: 

 

Watch the play again. How does Josh Smith get free for the follow?

Ask Rashard Lewis.

———————————————-

If you take a closer look at what transpired during this sequence, you should be able to see is that: 

ORLANDO PLAYER
LOCATION

ACTION
ATLANTA PLAYER
LOCATION

ACTION
1. INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS IN DEFENSIVE TRANSITION
Carter Left Back Court Defend dribble Johnson Left Back Court Dribble-up
Redick Left Wing Defend in passing lane Horford Left Wing Fill lane
Nelson Middle of Floor Sag into middle Williams Right Side Trail Spot up for 3
Lewis Right Wing Sag into middle Smith Right FTLX Spot up for 3
Howard Middle of Floor Protest basket West Right Elbow Spot up for 2
2. INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS IN DEFENSIVE TRANSITION AS THE BALL CROSSES CENTER 
Carter Left Front Court Defend dribble Johnson Left Back Court Dribble-up
Redick Left Corner Defend in passing lane Horford Left Wing Spot up for 3
Nelson In Middle of Lane Step toward Williams Williams Right Side Trail Spot up for 3
Lewis Right Wing Sag into middle Smith Right FTLX Spot up for 3
Howard Middle of Floor Protect basket West Right Elbow Spot up for 2
3. INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS IN HALF-COURT D AS THE BALL IS DRIVEN TO THE BASKET 
Carter Left Wing Defend dribble Johnson Left Front Court Drive to Left Short Corner
Redick Left Corner Defend in passing lane Horford Left Corner Spot up for 3
Nelson In Middle of Lane Sag into middle Williams Middle Trail Spot up for 3
Lewis Upper Right Block Sag into middle Smith Right Wing Prepare to Off Reb
Howard Left Block Slide over to help vs drive West Right Elbow Prepare to Off Reb
4. INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS IN HALF-COURT D AS THE SHOT GOES UP 
Carter Left Short Corner Prepare to Def Rebound Johnson Left Short Corner Rises for pull-up jump-shot
Redick Left Corner Prepare to box out Horford Horford Left Corner Prepare to Off Rebound
Nelson In Middle of Lane Prepare to box out Williams Williams Middle Trail Spot up for 3
Lewis Upper Right Block Step over to box out West Smith Right Corner Off Reb below Right Block
Howard Left Block Stop and watch flight of ball West Right Elbow Off Reb above Right Block
5. INDIVIDUAL MATCH-UPS IN HALF-COURT D AS THE BALL CAROOMS OFF THE RIM AND IS DUNKED BY JOSH SMITH
Carter Left Short Corner Def Reb Johnson Left Short Corner Fall out of bounds
Redick Left Corner Box out Horford Horford Left Corner Move to Off Reb
Nelson In Middle of Lane ?, Watch flight of ball Williams Middle Trail Spot up for 3
Lewis Upper Right Block Box out West Smith Right Baseline Off Reb below Right Block
Howard Left Block ?, Watch flight of ball West Right Block Off Reb above Right Block

the Orlando player who was most responsible for allowing Josh Smith to go unchecked during the rebounding phase of this defensive possession was actually Dwight Howard.

i.e. When Joe Johnson stopped his drive towards the basket and, instead, pulled up for his running jump-shot, from the Left Short Corner, it was Dwight Howard’s responsibility to:

I. Recover back to the weak side of the floor [i.e. where the majority of rebounds are directed];

and,

II. Box out, either:

A. Josh Smith [which would have alllowed Rashard Lewis to concentrate on boxing out Mario West, exclusively];

or,

B. Mario West [which would have allowed Rashard Lewis to concentrate on boxing out Josh Smith, exclusively];

… instead of trying, in vein, to box out both Josh Smith and Mario West.

Unfortunately for Orlando, Dwight Howard did neither of these 2 things.

Holding specific basketball players accountable for their individual failures at the defensive end of the floor, or in terms of executing their defensive rebounding assignments properly, can be tricky business, even for the very best of bloggers.

You never leave your teammates hanging out to dry like that, no matter what

March 24th, 2010

What’s the game of basketball really all about?

Here’s a web site with a simple message that Mr. Andray Blatche … and, no doubt, countless others, as well … would be well-served to visit:

The Desease of Me

When it becomes all about YOU, then, you’ve lost your way in life.

———-

“That’s one of the greatest things about this sport … you know … you look to the right, you look to the left … it’s, it’s being in the trenches with those players … and, what happens is, as players, you know what you have … right now, those teammates, he’s lost their credibility. You know … what’s going to happen, being in the trench, what’s going to happen when things go bad? I mean, you can’t do those things … you can’t do those things.” 
- Flip Saunders [Head Coach, Washington Wizards]

Kudos to Flip … for simply cutting to the chase.

Have the T-wolves found their long term Center?

March 24th, 2010

While it might be true that Darko Milicic is properly described as being a great many different things … including, possibly, the biggest bust in the last 10 years of the NBA Draft … it should also be duly noted that he is clearly not one of these, as well:

————

For lack of a few crucial stops, Wolves lose 13th straight

Though the Wolves have won only one game since the 7-foot Serbian arrived in mid-February, Rambis said he has seen flashes of a player so promising seven years ago, when he was drafted ahead of [Chris] Bosh, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.

“And I think he can be a lot better,” Rambis said. “As he gets in better shape and gets more comfortable and more confident, you’ll see him stretch his game.”

In fact, he’s already done that offensively. Milicic scored a season-high 16 points against the Lakers last Friday, and appeared to be more confident about taking good shots.

“The guys are learning how to use him,” Rambis said. “I’ve told him, whenever he’s comfortable, I’m OK with him shooting inside, outside, [from the] elbow, long distance. But he has to have the confidence to do that.”

For Milicic, who is still only 24 years old despite being a seven-year NBA veteran, it’s a matter of playing the way he was taught back in Serbia.

“I’m just trying to relax. I got used to playing this American way of running crazy, playing too fast. I’ve got to slow it down,” Milicic said. “When I came [to the U.S.], I stopped playing basketball the way I know how to play. Playing too fast, running like chickens without heads.”

———-

If he can successfully return to the roots of his “multi-headed” individual game … by learning how to slow down and play within the confines of the Triangle Offense, let’s say, with Ricky Rubio/PG, at the helm, beside Al Jefferson/PF, Kevin Love/PF, Corey Brewer/OG-SF and the T-wolves upcoming 2010 Lottery Selection …

Is there really any good reason to believe that Darko Milicic, at the still relatively tender age of 24, 

is somehow incapable of putting up “15 and 8″, on a game-to-game basis …

against the other “25 and under” starting calibre Centers, in the NBA today

EASTERN CONFERENCE

WESTERN CONFERENCE

ATLANTIC

NORTHWEST

Boston

Perkins, K [25]

Denver

Petro, J [24]

Toronto

Bargnani, A [24]

Utah

Fesenko, K [23]

New York

Oklahoma City

Ibaka, S [20]

Philadelphia

Speights, M [22]

Portland

Oden, G [21]

New Jersey

Lopez, B [21]

Minnesota

Milicic, D [24]

CENTRAL

PACIFIC

Cleveland

LA Lakers

Bynum, A [22]

Milwaukee

Bogut, A [25]

Phoenix

Lopez, R [21]

Chicago

Noah, J [25]

LA Clippers

Jordan, D [21]

Indiana

Hibbert, R [23]

Sacramento

Hawes, S [21]

Detroit

Golden State

Biedrins, A [23]

SOUTHEAST

SOUTHWEST

Orlando

Howard, D [24]

Dallas

Atlanta

Horford, A [24]

San Antonio

Miami

Memphis

Gasol, M [25]

Charlotte

Houston

Washington

Blatche, A [25]

New Orleans

… over the course of the next several seasons?

—————————–

In what group would you place Darko Milicic amongst the other "25 and under" starting calibre Centers in the NBA today?

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