Most effective Raptors’ line-up, in Chris Bosh’s absence

Chris Black … for whom this corner has a considerable degree of respect …  suggested yesterday that the Raptors would be doing the “right thing”, if they were to insert Reggie Evans/PF into their Starting Unit, given the recent injury sustained by Chris Bosh/PF:

Ball v.1.33

[excerpt #1]

… I think most people would suggest you should just move Johnson into the starting lineup and go from there, however, the more Evans plays, the more the numbers are starting to say something fairly startling. That’s why I think he should start alongside Bargnani. And it’s why I think he should start alongside Bosh when/if the time comes.

Let me build my case:

First off, and in simplest terms: With Evans on the floor, the Raptors outscore their opponents by 2.15 points per 100 possessions (best mark on the team).

Why is that possible? Why does it happen?

[excerpt #2]

… here are Toronto’s big men, listed by their Opponent’s PER:


Evans 11.1
Bosh 18.1
Bargnani 19.1
Johnson 19.8
Nesterovic 21.6

Reggie gets after it defensively. And that’s why I think he should start for the remainder of this season and the playoffs.

One more reason Reggie is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, and it’s my Stat of the Day

Nick Collison 1.45
Reggie Evans 1.36
Jose Juan Barea 1.26
Kyle Lowry 1.25
Jared Jeffries 1.20


Q1. Could it, possibly, be that Chris is right about this?

A1. No, unfortunately, in this instance, he is not correct.

Here’s the take from yours truly:


[from the comment section at T.Jose Caldeford]


If you check the actual play-by-play data for Reggie Evans’ minutes played so far this season, you should be able to see that he has seen quite a bit of floor time playing Power Forward with Chris Bosh at the Center position.

To expect Reggie Evans’ +/- numbers to remain constant when he’s used in combination with [Andrea] Bargnani or [Amir] Johnson, instead of Chris Bosh, is to fail to understand how the NBA game actually works, based on individual match-ups, mismatches and who exactly is on the floor, both, with and against you.

As difficult [counter-intuitive?] as it might seem …

The Raptors best chance for success in Chris Bosh’s absence would be to:

PG – Play Calderon more minutes over Jack
OG + SF – Use a 3-player rotation of Weems, Turkoglu and DeRozan
PF + C – Use a 3-player rotation of Nesterovic, Bargnani and Johnson

in a tight 8-man rotation

… with support from Antoine Wright/OG-SF, Marco Belinelli/OG-PG and Reggie Evans/PF.

Starting and giving copious amounts of PT to Reggie Evans is NOT the correct answer to the Raptors’ current dilema, when Chris Bosh is the one who is missing from their everyday line-up.


Reggie Evans is a low end PF who:

1. Has a great deal of difficulty finishing around the rim;

2. Is a poor mid-range shooter;

3. Is a non-shot blocker [i.e. similar to other very limited back-up players like Collison-N/PF, Barea/PG, Lowry/PG, Jeffries/PF];

4. Fouls excessively;

5. Is slow-footed in both defensive and offensive transition;

6. Is a poor individual defender, when facing Top Tier opposition;

7. Is a poor individual defender in Pick & Roll/Pop + Hedge situations;

8. Is a poor team defender in Help situations;

9. Is a good “hustle/energy” player that can use his body, physically, to rebound;


10. Gives his “best effort” at all times [i.e. which is highly valued by a hockey-crazed fanbase]. 

Nothing more, and nothing less, than THAT.


It can sometimes be amazing to see just how many NBA observers actually watch the games that take place each night without paying closer attention to who exactly is on the floor, matched-up against what individual check, and with what specific set of teammates beside him, working at what specific positions … despite the increased level of statistical sophistication which exists in today’s on-line hoops community.

Despite what you might have been told by countless others …

including, for example, Dean Oliver, Kevin Pelton, David Berri, Wayne Winston, Dan Rosenbaum, John Hollinger, Justin Kubatko, Neil Paine, and even Daryl Morey, etc.

… when it comes to being able to win the league championship,

Basketball is simply not a game of “macro data analysis”, pertaining to “average” performance levels in a host of existing game-stat categories, by a set of “generic” players, represented through their rotisserie league “production numbers”.

Basketball is a game which is based on a seemingly endless series of individual and inter-connected match-ups and mismatches … that can best be understood through a combination of highly specific “micro data analysis”, relevant “macro data analysis,” and highly developed “basketball acumen”, derived from countless hours of practiced learning, playing, and actually teaching/coaching others how the game is really played [properly?] by the very best players in the world, both, in isolation AND when working in conjunction with teammates, coaches and opponents. 


Hopefully, Jay Triano & Co. will heed the specific suggestions provided here and, in the process, be able to secure enough wins from their 4 remaining regular season games to qualify for the Eastern Conference playoffs.

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2 Responses to “Most effective Raptors’ line-up, in Chris Bosh’s absence”

  1. Sports news » Blog Archive » The 10-man rotation, starring ‘The Big Nowitzki’ Says:

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  2. The 10-man rotation, starring ‘The Big Nowitzki’ | Says:

    [...] who he is.6th: The Sporting Blog. Michael Jordan is teaching the Bobcats about the playoffs.7th: KSB. Some suggestions for Raptor lineups without Chris Bosh(notes).8th: High Socks Legend. Even the [...]

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