Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

But that didn’t scare little bill, did it?

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Gilbert Arenas needs a new nickname. Let’s help!

Changing numbers is the new big thing in the NBA, especially if you choose to wear 6. Gilbert Arenas(notes) is the latest to file a petition to switch numbers, and he’ll be joining LeBron James(notes) in his tribute to Eddie Jones(notes).

While LeBron is just going to need a new logo, Gilbert is going to need a whole new identity.

———————————

If you know the history of the NBA, then, you know who ”owns” the original number No. 6.

If you’ve seen the film “Unforgiven,” then, you know exactly who the character of “Little Bill” is.

Now, if you also know the details of the specific charge which Gilbert Arenas has agreed to plea bargnain to, and is due to be sentenced on Mar 25, then, you should already know how the name “Little Bill” just might fit, as his new moniker.

“I don’t deserve this. I was building a house.”
- Little Bill

Understanding Raptors’ downward spiral

Friday, March 12th, 2010

These are the 2 most recent articles penned by Dave Feschuk, Toronto Star Sports Columnist, concerning the current plight of the Raptors:

Kings embarrass slumping Raptors 113-90 [Thu Mar 11 2010]

… the Raptors lost their seventh game in eight, 113-90, with a woefully heartless performance against a team they should have defeated.

Outscored by an astounding 43-23 in a listless third quarter that saw Toronto’s five-point halftime lead turn into a deep hole, the Raptors never recovered.

“We got very selfish,” said Jay Triano, the Toronto coach. “We had guys come down, take a shot, and I guess other guys are not happy because they don’t touch the ball. We miss the shot, it gets rebounded, and it’s fast-break points. And it’s a 10-0 run before you know it. And we cave after that.

[#1]“It’s part of the resolve we need to have. When a team goes on a run, we need to be able to come back and snuff it out by scoring points.”

A night after the Toronto locker room spoke of being encouraged by its feat of holding the defending champion Lakers to 45% field-goal shooting, albeit in a 109-107 loss, the Toronto defence laid down to allow the home team to shoot a remarkable 75% in the third frame, and 51% for the game. In those 12 minutes after halftime, a game was turned on its head. [#2] While Toronto had owned the trenches in the first half, outscoring Sacramento 32-22 down low at halftime, the Kings drove the lane and ran the floor without resistance in the third quarter, scoring 24 points in the paint to Toronto’s 4 while out-rebounding Toronto 13-4.

“Our body language at the start of the second half wasn’t very good. They came out and they went on a run … We never were able to get back into a groove after that,” said Antoine Wright, the reserve swingman. [#3] “That’s when the selfish play came in. Guys started holding onto the ball a little bit longer. I’m guilty of it as well as everybody else.”

Indeed, with two of Toronto’s top three point producers, Bosh and Hedo Turkoglu, continuing to struggle in the wake of respective ankle injuries, Toronto’s offence — a stagnant, selfish concoction that managed just 15 assists on Wednesday — couldn’t compensate for the deficiencies. [#4] Bosh was limited to 14 points on 6-for-20 shooting. Turkoglu was even worse, making just 2 of his 8 shots for 6 points.

“I would love to come in and play the ball I was playing before I turned my ankle. But it’s not like that,” said Bosh. “I’m trying to get back into the same mode I was in. It’s hard right now. I’m going to get there soon. We’re just at a tough stretch right now.

“It’s just getting a feel for the game. [#5] I missed a lot of easy shots today, shots I feel I should make, especially 15 feet and in. I can’t say much about that. They just went out. I don’t get too down about it. I know those shots are going to be there. There’s still plenty of basketball left to play. I just have to step up and make sure I play some decent defence and get some rebounds, and I can help this team out a lot more.”

—————————-

Lapses leave Raptors coach to make tough choices [Fri Mar 12 2010]

… there is clearly much more to Toronto’s poor play than a rusty return by Bosh and the comatose Hedo Turkoglu. And certainly, at the very least, there is this: [#6] Triano is employing a flabby rotation that continues to tolerate repeated lapses from unfocused players who would be, under a less sympathetic coach, riding the pine.

“You’ve got to take away some of the freedom around here, what guys have,” said Wright, offering the coaching staff some unsolicited advice. “(The players’) leash is not going to be as loose as it’s been. If you’re not doing what (the team) needs you to do, you’re going to have to come out of the game. That’s the only way to address (the situation) right now at this point in the season.”

[#7] Wright’s agenda has been no secret from the beginning of training camp, when he began lobbying for the spot in the starting lineup still occupied by rookie DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan has long been underperforming on defence, where he is known for a wandering attention to detail. (Go figure that he was the only Raptor to play all 12 minutes of Wednesday’s disastrous third quarter, wherein the Kings shot an astounding 75 per cent from the field and outscored Toronto by a season-high spread 43-23.) [#8] So as shameless as his campaigning has been, inserting Wright into the first five is perhaps the simplest way to jostle the Raptors out of their current slumber.

But long-time NBA observers might also humbly suggest that Triano might think about making some additional hard choices, and soon, specifically by [#9a] paring down the rotation as the regular season’s 19-game home stretch continues Saturday and Sunday at Golden State and Portland. Amir Johnson and Reggie Evans, for instance, have been largely splitting minutes as the off-the-bench energy guy. [#9b] Neither has been particularly effective and Evans has been downright sullen occupying half a role.

[#9c] There’s a glut of reserve twos and threes in Wright, Marco Belinelli, Sonny Weems and, occasionally, Jose Calderon, most of whom can never be sure when and how long he’ll play on any given night.

[#9d] Conventional NBA wisdom says a lack of role definition is bad for morale. And even if that concern is sometimes overblown – these guys should be adaptable – there’s evidence it’s not helping here.

Triano spoke of seeing players pouting Wednesday and he linked the discontent to poor shot selection and a lack of ball movement. Jarrett Jack, the starting point guard, took issue with Triano’s view of the situation – pointing out that what is being construed as selfish play is simply the execution of Triano’s long-stated philosophy that every player should, as his first option, look to score.

“I don’t think guys were selfish. Obviously we encourage people to take shots when they think they have ‘em,” Jack said. “Maybe coach can elaborate on it if that’s what he saw. I didn’t see it that way.”

[#10a] So the hung heads and poor body language, if you read between the lines of the locker-room murmuring, aren’t simply a product of Bosh and Turkoglu forcing the offence. They’re also related to uneven, unpredictable playing time – not to mention the lack of repercussions for the slew of missed defensive assignments racked up by players like DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani on most nights.

Suddenly the conscientious few among the Raptors, calculating that conscientiousness isn’t being rewarded, are taking possessions off. With Toronto one game clear of ninth place, Triano doesn’t have much time to sooth their burn.

[10b] Said Wright: “That’s what our coaching staff is paid for.”

—————————-

Here’s the take from this corner.

#1. When an opponent goes on a run the proper way to snuff it out isn’t by just “scoring points,” in return.

The proper way is by:

I. Getting stops on defense.
II. Getting the Defensive Rebound or creating a Turnover.
III. Scoring with an interior basket [either, in transition or the half-court] or from a free throw.  

Until the Raptors organization clearly/fully understands this distinction they are going nowhere fast.

#2. This reality clearly illustrates the importance of:

I. Trench warfare, as a general concept.
II. Getting/stopping easy baskets [i.e. layups] scored in transition situations.
III. Getting/stopping interior baskets [i.e. scores in the paint] and free throws. 
IV. Generating a high percentage of low percentage scoring opportunities for the opponent.
V. Getting a high percentage of available Defensive Rebounds.

Fail to do these things well and your team will lose.

#3. Selfish play, at any level of basketball, is a TEAM killer.

#4. Their 2 best players were a combined 8 for 28 [28.6%] from the field.

When your 2 best players under-perform, on offense, you are going to lose.

#5. When your 2 best players under-perform, on offense, it is often the case that they have not been placed in the proper individual match-up situations, positionally, in order to allow them to operate at their maximum level of efficiency, in terms of offense, defense and rebounding.

This is when seemingly “easy” scoring opportunities are inexplicably “missed” and seemingly “over-matched” individual checks exceed their customary levels of production.

For prime examples in this game, see [A] Chris Bosh vs Carl Landry [i.e. under-sized and too quick for CB4 to dominate], and [B] Hedo Turkoglu vs Donta Greene or Omri Casspi [i.e. too quick and athletic for Turk to handle].

#6. Play more than 8 [or 9, at the most] players in your regular rotation and your team will lose.

#7. Have individual players in your regular rotation with an “agenda” of their own and your team will lose.

#8. The easiest way to solve the Raptors’ deficiencies in attention to detail, re: consistent defensive/rebounding execution, is to remove Andrea Bargnani from their Starting Unit.

As a general principle …

1st unit players should be primarily defensive oriented, with the possible exception of the Point Guard or Off Guard positions.

2nd unit players, on the other hand, can be primarily offensive oriented.

At this point:

- Bargnani is an offensive oriented player, who fits best with the 2nd unit
- Johnson is a defensive oriented player, who fits best with the 1st unit
- DeRozan is neither an offensive nor a defensive oriented player, who should either [i] be used as a Starter or [ii] be removed from the regular rotation altogether.

#9a. An 8-player regular rotation is what’s needed, at this point.

STARTERS: PG + OG + SF + PF + C
KEY SUBS: PG + OG/SF + PF/C

This would provide the team with the highest possible level of GROUP COHESION.

#9b. Reggie Evans needs to be removed from the regular rotation.

There is no place for a “sullen” personality at this level of competition.

#9c. Sonny Weems needs to be used as the OG-SF off the bench.

He is the best combination wing player, who can provide offense, defense and rebounding, when coming off the bench. 

#10a. Mistakes in the composition of the regular rotation are the primary source of the team’s current list of problems. It is the responsiblity of the coaching staff to manage these matters better than they have to this point.

#10b. A muzzle needs to be put on Antoine Wright, and he needs to be completely removed from the regular rotation … or, at least, until he gets this message loudly and clearly.

Contrary to popular belief, Toronto is an urban hot spot

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Despite the best efforts of this corner to assert otherwise over the course of the last 2+ years, there are still a fair share of individuals who would try to suggest that the image which exists of Toronto, Canada in the hearts and minds of most American-born professional athletes is that of a backwater wasteland.

Well … for the  benefit of those people:

Why Pro Athletes Love Toronto

Today, however, Toronto is a road trip just about every pro athlete looks forward to. Some say the city has a cool, international vibe that increasingly stands out. Some like the plentitude of cheap concert tickets—a boon for athletes with big posses—or the convenience of the must-be-19 drinking law. (Rookie guard DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors, who is 20, was ordering chocolate milk at dinner before his teammates told him the good news).

Athletes get a warm welcome at the city’s relatively libertine gentlemen’s clubs which, according to a spokeswoman for the Toronto Convention and Visitors Bureau, tend to “clear out the champagne room” for visiting athletes. And it helps that the tentacles of the tabloids and gossip Web sites rarely extend this far into the frozen north. “People like to come here to party,” says Raptors power forward Chris Bosh.

Basketball stars like LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jamaal Magloire of the Miami Heat (a Toronto native) have come to Toronto for fun—even during the NBA offseason. Since the Buffalo Bills began playing annual games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) in 2008, an increasing number of NFL players have started passing through “the 416,” which is the city’s area code. Baseball players, who’ve been coming here since 1977 to play the Blue Jays, have good memories.

———————

From a reputable source like the Wall Street Journal, no less.

Nuff said.

Understanding where the Raptors are headed

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

As was indicated yesterday, in this space, just might be the case today, if the Raptors were to make a series of mistakes in judgment against a much-improved group of Sacramento Kings [22-43] last night …

This is what the current standings look like in the Eastern Conference:

2009-2010 Regular Season Standings

Eastern Conference

Team

W

L

PCT

GB

CONF

DIV

HOME

ROAD

L 10

STREAK

Cleveland1x

50

15

0.769

0.0

29-9

7-2

28-4

22-11

7-3

W 1

Orlando2

45

20

0.692

5.0

30-11

7-4

26-6

19-14

8-2

W 6

Boston3

40

23

0.635

9.0

27-14

11-2

18-12

22-11

5-5

L 2

Atlanta4

40

23

0.635

9.0

21-14

4-7

25-7

15-16

6-4

L 2

Milwaukee5

34

29

0.540

15.0

25-15

8-5

21-9

13-20

9-1

W 4

Toronto6

32

31

0.508

17.0

23-18

8-4

22-10

10-21

3-7

L 3

Charlotte7

32

31

0.508

17.0

19-19

6-4

23-8

9-23

5-5

W 4

Miami8

33

32

0.508

17.0

19-18

8-6

18-14

15-18

5-5

W 1

Chicago

31

32

0.492

18.0

19-18

8-4

19-13

12-19

4-6

L 5

Philadelphia

23

41

0.359

26.5

11-25

6-6

10-20

13-21

2-8

L 2

Washington

21

40

0.344

27.0

15-24

3-7

12-20

9-20

3-7

L 4

New York

22

42

0.344

27.5

16-27

3-8

14-21

8-21

3-7

L 1

Detroit

22

42

0.344

27.5

14-22

2-9

15-18

7-24

3-7

L 1

Indiana

21

43

0.328

28.5

16-22

3-8

14-16

7-27

3-7

W 1

New Jerseyo

7

57

0.109

42.5

6-34

3-11

3-28

4-29

2-8

L 2

following Toronto’s loss and the wins by Charlotte [at Philadelphia] and Miami [vs the LA Clippers].

If the rest of the regular season schedule should, in fact, play out in a way that approximates the following results for each of these 5 contending teams:

Place

No. 5

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8

No. 9

Team

MIL

TOR

CHA

MIA

CHI

W-L

34-29

32-31

32-31

33-32

31-32

%

.540

.508

.508

.508

.492

G 63

-

-

-

-

-

G 64

vs UTA,W

@ GSW,W

vs LAC,W

-

@ ORL,L

G 65

vs IND,W

@ POR,L

@ ORL,L

-

@ MIA,L

G 66

@ LAC,L

vs ATL,W

@ IND,W

Vs CHI,W

@ MEM,L

G 67

@ SAC,L

Vs OKC,W

vs OKC,W

Vs PHI,W

@ DAL,L

G 68

@ DEN,L

@ NJN,W

@ ATL,L

Vs SAS,W

vs CLE,L

G 69

Vs ATL,W

@ MIN,W

@ MIA,L

Vs ORL,L

@ PHI,L

G 70

Vs PHI,W

Vs UTA,L

@ WAS,W

Vs CHA,W

vs HOU,W

G 71

Vs MIA,W

Vs DEN,L

vs MIN,W

@ NJN,W

vs MIA,W

G 72

Vs MEM,W

@ MIA,L

vs WAS,W

@ CHI,L

vs NJN,W

G 73

Vs LAC,W

@ CHA,L

vs TOR,W

@ MIL,L

@ DET,W

G 74

@ CLE,L

Vs LAC,W

vs PHI,W

Vs TOR,W

vs PHO,L

G 75

@ CHA,L

@ PHI,L

vs MIL,W

@ DET,W

@ WAS,W

G 76

Vs PHO,W

Vs GSW,W

@ CHI,L

@ IND,W

vs CHA,W

G 77

@ CHI,L

@ CLE,L

vs ATL,W

@ MIN,W

vs MIL,W

G 78

Vs NJN,W

Vs BOS,L

@ NOH,W

Vs PHI,W

vs CLE,L

G 79

@ PHI,W

@ ATL,L

@ HOU,W

Vs DET,W

@ NJN,W

G 80

Vs BOS,L

Vs CHI,W

vs DET,W

@ NYK,W

@ TOR,L

G 81

Vs ATL,W

@ DET,W

@ NJN,W

@ PHI,W

vs BOS,L

G 82

@ BOS,L

Vs NYK,W

vs CHI,W

Vs NJN,W

@ CHA,L

Streak

11-8

10-9

15-4

14-3

8-11

W-L

45-37

42-40

47-35

47-35

39-43

%

.415

.488

.561

.524

.500

Place

7th

8th

5th

6th

9th

there is now a fairly good possibility that the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will only be determined by the outcomes of the last 3 games for the Raptors and the Bulls.

Given the complete overhaul of their roster which the Raptors made last summer:

- Trading for Reggie Evans [#1]
- Selecting DeMar DeRozan [#2], No. 9 [overall] in the 2009 NBA Draft
- Signing Jarrett Jack [#3], as a restricted free agent
- Trading for Amir Johnson [#4] and Sonny Weems [#5]
- Trading for Marco Belinelli [#6]
- Trading for Hedo Turkoglu [#7] and Antoine Wright [#8]

in hopes of significantly upgrading the talent level of the players around Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, it is difficult to believe that this is the type of final result which Toronto’s basketball braintrust was expecting from this season.

Must-win road game for the Raptors

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

With last night’s loss to the LA Lakers, the Raptors [32-30] have now come up short in 6 of their last 7 games, and occupy the No. 6 position in the Eastern Conference standings, just 1.5 games ahead of the 9th place Chicago Bulls [31-32]. 

As they take the court for this evening’s tilt, in Sacramento [21-43], Toronto knows full well that another loss could see them drop into a virtual 3-way tie with Charlotte [31-31] and Miami [32-32] for 8th place in the East, if the Bobcats can overcome the 76ers [23-40], on the road, and the Heat can win, at home, against the hapless LA Clippers [25-39].

This is the line-up which Sacramento used last night, at Portland:

 Starters

 

Min

FG

3Pt

FT

+/-

Off

Reb

Ast

TO

Stl

BS

BA

PF

Pts 

  T. Evans

G

43:11

8-19

0-1

2-3

-12

1

6

6

1

1

0

2

2

18 

  B. Udrih

G

28:44

6-10

1-3

0-0

+1

0

3

3

1

2

0

1

4

13 

  S. Hawes

C

34:01

3-8

0-1

1-2

-8

3

9

4

3

0

2

0

2

  C. Landry

F

39:21

7-12

0-0

3-4

-14

4

8

0

1

0

0

0

1

17 

  D. Greene

F

17:48

1-8

0-2

1-2

+13

2

6

3

1

2

2

0

0

 Bench

 

Min

FG

3Pt

FT

+/-

Off

Reb

Ast

TO

Stl

BS

BA

PF

Pts 

  F. Garcia

 

28:06

3-6

1-2

0-0

-6

0

2

2

0

0

1

1

2

  A. Nocioni

 

14:41

1-5

1-3

0-0

-3

0

3

1

1

1

0

1

2

  J. Thompson

 

12:56

2-4

0-0

0-1

+2

0

2

0

3

0

0

1

3

  S. May

 

7:01

2-2

0-0

1-2

+8

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

  G. Temple

 

6:35

1-3

0-1

2-2

-9

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

  O. Casspi

 

4:27

0-1

0-0

0-0

-2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

  D. McGuire

 

3:09

0-1

0-0

0-0

-5

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

1

  J. Brockman

 

DNP – Coach’s Decision

  J. Dorsey

 

DNP – Coach’s Decision

  I. Udoka

 

DNP – Coach’s Decision

which, in turn, might generate the following individual match-ups this evening:

 

Pos

RAPTORS

[32-30]

 

ADV

KINGS

[21-43]

 

Pos

HEAD COACH

 

Triano

à

Westphal

 

STARTERS

PG

Jack

=

Udrih

PG

OG

DeRozan

à

Evans

OG

SF

Turkoglu

ß

Greene

SF

PF

Bosh

ß

Landry

PF

C

Bargnani

=

Hawes

C

KEY SUBS

PG

Calderon

ß

Garcia

OG

OG-SF

Wright

à

Nocioni

SF

PF

Johnson

=

Thompson

PF-C

RESERVES

OG

Belinelli

ß

Temple

PG

OG

Weems

=

Casspi

SF

PF

Evans

=

McGuire

SF-PF

C

Nesterovic

=

May

PF

 

+4

 

+3

 

EXTRAS/OUTS

PG

Banks

 

Udoka

OG-SF

C

O’Bryant

 

Brockman

PF

 

 

 

Dorsey

PF

If the Raptors are going to stem the downward tide which has engulfed their team over the last 2 weeks, it will be up to:

A. Their 3 best players [overall] to dominate their respective checks;

B. Their head coach to match wits successfully with his counterpart;

and,

C. Their main wing players to contain the offensive fireworks that can sometimes erupt from the Kings’ pair of outstanding rookies, Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi.

Anything less than this will put Toronto squarely behind the 8-ball heading towards their final 2 games of this road trip, back-to-back encounters with Golden State [Sat] and Portland [Sun].

Although the Kings have also lost 4 of their last 5 games, each was against a very tough opponent and decided in the final minute of regulation time:

L, at Oklahoma City [35-23], 107-113
W, at Houston [30-29], 84-81
L, at Dallas [41-21], 100-108
L, vs Oklahoma City [35-23], 102-108
L, at Portland, 81-88 [37-28]

In fact, Sacramento is beginning to turn around what had deteriorated last season into a significant mess … especially, for a once-proud franchise, led by a very solid GM [Geoff Petrie].

If the Raptors under-estimate their foes this evening, in any respect, whatsoever, the Kings are more than good enough to hang another L on the visitors, in what is gradually turning out to be another season of overall mediocrity for the Dinos. 

What the Raptors’ rotation SHOULD look like for the stretch run

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Heading towards their 61st game of the regular season … this evening against the Los Angeles Lakers, at the Staples Center … the most productive players for the Toronto Raptors have been:

Pos

PLAYER

KPER/MP

PF-C

Chris Bosh

0.698

SF

Hedo Turkoglu

0.466

C

Rasho Nesterovic

0.448

PG

Jose Calderon

0.412

PF-C

Andrea Bargnani

0.390

PG

Jarrett Jack

0.389

PF

Amir Johnson

0.342

PG

Marcus Banks

0.326

PG-OG

Marco Belinelli

0.291

PF

Reggie Evans

0.288

OG-SF

Sonny Weems

0.276

OG

DeMar DeRozan

0.258

C

Patrick O’Bryant

0.227

OG-SF

Antoine Wright

0.201

 

Pos

PLAYER

KPER/MP

BIGS

PF-C

Chris Bosh

0.698

C

Rasho Nesterovic

0.448

PF-C

Andrea Bargnani

0.390

PF

Amir Johnson

0.342

PF

Reggie Evans

0.288

C

Patrick O’Bryant

0.227

WINGS

SF

Hedo Turkoglu

0.466

OG-SF

Sonny Weems

0.276

OG

DeMar DeRozan

0.258

OG-SF

Antoine Wright

0.201

POINT GUARDS

PG

Jose Calderon

0.412

PG

Jarrett Jack

0.389

PG

Marcus Banks

0.326

PG-OG

Marco Belinelli

0.291

——————————-
LEGEND:

KPER = khandor’s Player Effeciency Rating [PTS - (FGA-FGM) - (FTA-FTM) + TReb + Ast + St + BS - TO - PF]

KPER/MP – khandor’s Player Efficiency Rating Per Minute Played 
———————————–

If the Raptors were to use their players in an 8-Man rotation which looks like this:

Pos

PLAYER

KPER/MP

STARTERS

PG

Jose Calderon

0.412

OG

DeMar DeRozan

0.258

SF

Hedo Turkoglu

0.466

PF

Amir Johnson

0.342

PF-C

Chris Bosh

0.698

KEY SUBS

PG

Jarrett Jack

0.389

OG-SF

Sonny Weems

0.276

PF-C

Andrea Bargnani

0.390

RESERVES

PG-OG

Marco Belinelli

0.291

OG-SF

Antoine Wright

0.201

PF

Reggie Evans

0.288

C

Rasho Nesterovic

0.448

EXTRAS/OUTS

PG

Marcus Banks

0.326

C

Patrick O’Bryant

0.227

they would qualify for the Eastern Conference playoffs without a great deal of difficulty.

The chief reason the Raptors have not used their players in the proper way … at least, thus far … this season is connected with the flawed Basketball Philosophy of their GM, Bryan Colangelo, who has consistently prioritized “offensively” skilled players, when constructing his teams in Phoenix and Toronto, rather than players with an abundance of “defensive and rebounding” skills.

More Wright fails to equal less Wrong for Raptors

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Since the Raptors have now lost 5 of their last 6 games, and dropped into 6th place in the Eastern Conference, discussion [i.e. A and B] has been rekindled regarding the proper use of DeMar DeRozan/OG, Antoine Wright/OG-SF and Sonny Weems/OG-SF.

When making an initial evaluation of these 3 wing players for the Raptors, this season, it can be helpful to consider a simple stat, like KPER, which is derived from readily available boxscore information.

[i.e. khandor's Player Efficiency Rating = PTS - (FGA-FGM) - (FTA-FTM) + TREB + AST + ST + BS - TO - PF]

This basic measure generates the following raw scores for these 3 players:

DeMar DeRozan, +304
Sonny Weems, +227
Antoine Wright, +204

When Minutes Played are factored into the equation, it becomes even more obvious which of these 3 players has generated the most on-court production for the Raptors this season:

PLAYER

MINUTES PLAYED

KPER/MP

Weems

820

0.276

DeRozan

1178

0.258

Wright

1015

0.201

Over the course of their remaining 22 games … at least, if the Raptors hope to secure a playoff position above the No. 8 seed … Toronto would do well to ensure that Antoine Wright actually has his MP reduced; while, both, DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems have their MP increased.  

RAPTORS vs 76ers: 15 Key Possessions in the 4th quarter

Monday, March 8th, 2010

When crunch time happens in a NBA game, it’s the team which can respond with the best Offensive/Defensive/Rebounding execution that usually triumphs.

Philadelphia 76ers 114
TORONTO RAPTORS 101
Complete Game Info

In yesterday’s contest:

After Toronto cut Philly’s lead to 7 points, mid-way in the 4th quarter…

[Full Play-By-Play]

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

 

TORONTO RAPTORS

 

06:26
[TOR 87-94]

Calderon 3pt Shot: Made (3 PTS) Assist: Jack (7 AST) 

Team Timeout : Regular 

06:26

 

TEAM

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

Start

End

Diff

Dur

PHI

Holiday

Green

Iguodala

Young

Brand

94

100

-1

2:22

TOR

Calderon

Jack

Wright

Bosh

Bargnani

87

94

+1

 

#1. Iguodala Fade Away Jumper Shot: Made (16 PTS) 

Vs Wright [tough contested shot]

06:02
[PHI 96-87]

 

 

05:45
[TOR 89-96]

#1. Calderon Pullup Jump shot: Made (5 PTS) 

#2. Brand Fade Away Jumper Shot: Made (12 PTS) 

Vs Bosh [tough contested shot]

05:20
[PHI 98-89]

 

 

05:03

#2. Bargnani 3pt Shot: Missed 

 

05:02

Bosh Rebound (Off:4 Def:8) 

Brand Foul : Personal (5 PF) 

05:01

 

 

04:49
[TOR 91-98]

#3. Wright Layup Shot: Made (5 PTS) Assist: Jack (8 AST) 

#3. Holiday Layup Shot: Made (16 PTS) 

Vs Jack [+ Bargnani, tough contested shot]

04:29
[PHI 100-91]

 

 

04:12
[TOR 94-100]

#4. Calderon 3pt Shot: Made (8 PTS) Assist: Jack (9 AST) 

 

04:04

Jack Foul : Personal (2 PF) 

Brand Substitution replaced by Dalembert 

04:04

 

Green Substitution replaced by Williams 

04:04

 

TEAM

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

Start

End

Diff

Dur

PHI

Holiday

Williams

Iguodala

Young

Dalembert

100

109

+7

2:42

TOR

Calderon

Jack

Wright

Bosh

Bargnani

94

96

-7

 

#4. Williams Driving Layup Shot: Made (12 PTS) 

03:51
[PHI 102-94]

 

Holiday Foul : Personal (1 PF) 

03:35

 

 

03:32

#5. Calderon Foul : Offensive (3 PF) 

 

03:32

Calderon Turnover : Foul (3 TO) 

#5. Holiday 3pt Shot: Made (19 PTS) Assist: Iguodala (9 AST)

Vs Bosh [+ Calderon, Switching Man-Zone Defense] 

03:13
[PHI 105-94]

 

 

02:55

#6. Bosh Driving Layup Shot: Missed 

Dalembert Rebound (Off:0 Def:1) 

02:53

 

#6. Holiday Driving Layup Shot: Made (21 PTS) 

Vs Jack [+ Bargnani, tough contested shot]

02:34
[PHI 107-94]

 

 

02:33

Team Timeout : Regular 

 

02:27

#7. Calderon 3pt Shot: Missed 

Dalembert Rebound (Off:0 Def:2) 

02:26

 

#7. Iguodala Jump Shot: Missed 

02:06

 

Dalembert Rebound (Off:1 Def:2) 

02:05

 

#8. Dalembert Fade Away Jumper Shot: Made (6 PTS) 

Vs Bosh

02:03
[PHI 109-94]

 

the Raptors responded by scoring on only 3 of their 7 ensuing possessions …

i.e. J2; J3; O-Reb-LU; J3; OFF PF/TO; DLU; J3 [Conversion = 42.9%] 

while the 76ers responded by scoring on 7 on their next 8 possessions …

i.e. FA-J2; FA-J2; LU; LU; J3; DLU; J2; O-Reb-J2 [Conversion = 87.5%].

Specifically, what happened during these 15 possessions to cement the victory for the 76ers? 

FOR PHILADELPHIA

- Andre Iguodala hit a tough fade-away jump shot vs Antoine Wright … primarily because Iguodala is a better basketball player than Wright, with a higher skill level, overall and superior athleticism

- Elton Brand made a tough [i.e. highly contested], fade-away jump shot in a right block post-up situation vs Chris Bosh

- Jrue Holiday made 2 terrific drives to the basket vs Jarrett Jack [Primary Defender] and Andrea Bargnani [Secondary Defender/Made unsuccessful shot block attempt]

- Holiday made a big 3PT shot when the Raptors were scrambled on defense, switching between Man-2-Man and Zone coverage

- Samuel Dalembert [Primary defender] and Iguodala [Secondary defender] did a good job contesting Chris Bosh’s driving layup attempt without fouling

- Dalembert secured a big offensive rebound and made a solid jump shot vs Chris Bosh

FOR TORONTO

- Jarrett Jack was repeatedly beaten off the dribble by Jrue Holiday

- Andrea Bargnani missed a 3PT shot

- After keeping the Raptors in the game with 2 big made jump shots, Jose Calderon made an uncharacteristic Turnover [Offensive PF] and missed a 3PT shot 

- Chris Bosh was ineffective … after re-injuring his ankle during the early stages of the 4th quarter [10:19], leaving to have it re-tapped, and then re-entering the game at the 7:54 mark … and surrendered a difficult fade-away jump shot to Elton Brand and an uncontested jump shot to Samuel Dalembert [after giving up an offensive rebound]

IN GENERAL

- Philadelphia’s two 5-man units of …

a. Holiday + Williams + Iguodala + Young + Brand
b. Holiday + Williams + Iguodala + Young + Dalembert

were too athletic and dynamic for the Raptors’ quintet of …

Calderon + Jack [?]+ Wright [?] + Bosh [re-injured?] + Bargnani [?].

LOOKING AHEAD

If the Raptors are going to maintain their current 6th place standing in the Eastern Conference, working through their upcoming 4-game west coast road trip, they will need to:

1. Have the services of a healthy Chris Bosh;

and,

2. Use a different combination of players to finish games.

If the Raptors do not have these 2 things occur, however, their fans will need to brace themselves for the rocky road ahead …

which just might see this team:

i. Lose, at least, 3 of their next 4 games;

ii. A. Have to battle the Chicago Bulls for the 8th and final playoff position, coming down the stretch, and the right to be eliminated from the post-season by the Cleveland Cavaliers/#1;

or,

ii. B. Perhaps miss the playoffs entirely;

and, then,

iii. Have a very difficult time retaining the future services of Chris Bosh, as he heads towards unrestricted free agency this coming summer.

—————————-

Related:

Raptor alarmed by lack of team focus

RAPTORS vs Knicks: Game Review, plus look ahead

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Last night’s game was a must-win situation for Toronto [5th; 28 L's], looking ahead to the 4-game west coast road trip which begins next week:

Game 62, at LAL [46-17, L?]
Game 63, at SAC [21-41, L?]
Game 64, at GSW [17-44, W?]
Game 65, at POR [37-27, L?]

and in the rear-view mirror, as Milwaukee [6th; 29 L's], Chicago [7th; 30 L's], Miami [8th; 31 L's] and Charlotte [9th; 31 L's] each continue their pursuit of a playoff position [i.e. #5-8] in the Eastern Conference.

New York Knicks 96
TORONTO RAPTORS 102
Complete Game Info

Operating without the services of Chris Bosh for the 7th consecutive game, the Raptors were able to post a solid victory, led by the stellar offensive performance of Sonny Weems and Jose Calderon:

 PLAYER

pos

min

fgm-a

3pm-a

ftm-a

+/-

REB
off

REB
def

REB
tot

ast

pf

st

to

bs

ba

pts

KPER

Turkoglu

F

25:13

3-6

2-3

4-6

-10

1

8

9

4

2

0

2

1

1

12

+9

Johnson

F

30:35

7-13

0-0

0-0

+12

5

3

8

0

3

1

0

0

0

14

+14

Bargnani

C

37:05

4-15

1-3

0-2

+9

1

3

4

2

1

0

1

1

1

9

+1

DeRozan

G

24:44

5-8

0-0

0-0

+2

0

2

2

2

4

1

0

0

0

10

+8

Jack

G

28:19

7-11

0-1

0-0

-5

1

3

4

2

3

3

3

0

1

14

+13

Calderon

 

27:52

8-13

0-1

0-0

+14

0

3

3

6

1

0

1

0

0

16

+18

Wright

 

32:37

3-8

1-4

0-0

+6

1

1

2

0

1

1

1

1

0

7

+4

Weems

 

28:28

9-16

0-0

2-2

+4

2

7

9

2

0

1

0

1

0

20

+26

Evans

 

05:05

0-1

0-0

0-1

-2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

-2

Nesterovic

 

00:02

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

who were simply too quick, strong, and athletic for their counterparts on the Knicks to contain off the dribble.

If the Raptors can secure another W tomorrow afternoon, at home against the still struggling 76ers, it would ensure that Toronto [32-28] will be able to return to the cozy confines of the ACC [22-9] for Games 66 and 67 on their schedule, against Atlanta [40-21; Away/15-14] and Oklahoma [37-24; Away/17-13], respectively, no worse than 1 game above the .500 mark [i.e. if they somehow manage to go O-for on their road trip].

With the favourable upcoming schedules held by Charlotte and Miami, and with Milwaukee playing much improved basketball of late … following their acquisitions of John Salmons/G-F and Jerry Stackhouse/G-F … it looks like the battle for the 8th seed in the East might come down to the final 3 games of the regular season for, either, Toronto or Chicago:

TORONTO
Game 80, vs Chicago [W?]
Game 81, at Detroit [L?]
Game 82, vs New York [W?]  

CHICAGO
Game 80, at Toronto [L?]
Game 81, vs Boston [L?]
Game 82, at Charlotte [L?]

where the Raptors should have a decided edge.

When the Knicks are shooting well from beyond the arc, they can be a difficult opponent to play against.

However, when they shoot like they did yesterday [3-16/.188], they become easy pickings for a high-scoring, offensively oriented, team like the Raptors.

Curing what ails the 2009-2010 Detroit Pistons

Friday, March 5th, 2010

After losing their last 2 games against the Boston Celtics and the New York Kincks, it will be very interesting to see how the Detroit Pistons respond this evening, when they journey to Cleveland to take on the team with the top W-L record in the NBA.

While many Pistons fans are lamenting the atrocious state of their squad which was sitting at the top end of the Eastern Conference just 2 seasons ago … this corner of the blogosphere does not share a similar level of doom and gloom concerning the goings-on in the Motor City over the last 12 months.

If the Pistons’ everyday rotation/line-up was to look like this:

STARTERS
1. PG, Stuckey [32 MPG, best multi-dimensional PG with good size]
2. OG, Hamilton [32 MPG, best offensive Wing scorer with good size]
3. SF, Prince [30 MPG, best defensive/rebounding Wing player]
4. PF, Maxiell [26 MPG, best rebounding front-court player]
5. C, Brown [22 MPG, best interior defensive/rebounding player]

KEY SUBS
6. PG-OG, Gordon [32 MPG, best combination Guard with solid perimeter J]
7. SF, Jerebko [18 MPG, best defensive/rebounding back-up Wing]
8. PF, Villanueva [22 MPG, best perimeter-oriented scoring Big]
9. C, Wallace [28 MPG, best interior defensive/rebounding Big]

RESERVES
10. OG-SF, Daye [injury replacement minutes which would be a lot this yr]
11. SF-PF, Summers [injury replacement minutes which would be a lot this yr]

EXTRAS
12. PG, Atkins [DNP-CD]

OUTS [who should be package with another asset in exchange for an inside scoring Big]
13. PG, Bynum [amongst the very best back-up PG's in the NBA]
14. PF-C, Wilcox

what Detroit would find is that:

- the rhythm for their 3 principal Guards [i.e. Hamilton, Stuckey and Gordon] would be much improved
- the quality of their PG play overall would be more consistent [i.e. with Stuckey and Gordon, exclusively, running this team]
- their overall level of “Team Cohesion” would improve significantly
- their interior defense would be improved
- their Guard oriented Team Scoring output would be much improved

ROSTER COMPARISON FOR DETROIT AND CLEVELAND

Pos

PISTONS

RATING

Pos

CAVALIERS

RATING

COACH

 

Kuester

1

 

Brown

3

SUB-TOTAL

1

SUB-TOTAL

3

STARTERS

PG

Stuckey

3

PG

Williams-M

3

OG

Hamilton

4

OG

Parker

3

SF

Prince

4

SF

James

5

PF

Maxiell

3

PF

Jamison

4

C

Brown

3

PF-C

Hickson

3

SUB-TOTAL

17

SUB-TOTAL

18

KEY SUBS

PG-OG

Gordon

4

PG-OG

West

4

SF

Jerebko

3

OG-SF

Moon

3

PF

Villanueva

3

PF

Powe *

3

C

Wilcox *

3

PF-C

Varejao

4

SUB-TOTAL

13

SUB-TOTAL

14

RESERVES

PG

Atkins

2

PG

Gibson

3

OG-SF

Daye

3

SF

Williams-J

3

SF-PF

Summers

2

PF

Jackson

2

SUB-TOTAL

7

SUB-TOTAL

8

TOTAL

38

TOTAL

43

EXTRAS/OUTS

PG

Bynum #

4

OG-SF

Green

3

PF-C

Wallace

Injured

C

O’Neal

Injured

LEGEND: RATING – From 5 [highest] to 1 [lowest]; Pos – Position; * – Replacement for injured player; # – Valuable player who should be traded in a package with another asset, in exchange for an interior scoring Big.  

Contrary to popular belief, this year’s Pistons team actually has a good deal of solid NBA talent that is simply not being used properly by their head coach.

———————————–

PS. Just because Daye [i.e. talented OG-SF scorer] and Summers [i.e. talented PF-SF defender/rebounder] haven’t been given the opportunity to play a whole lot of minutes yet this season, Pistons fans should not make the mistake of thinking that either player has a lower long term ceiling than Jonas Jerebko, who has shown great promise thus far in the limited [but increasing] minutes he has received. Pistons fans were told in the summer that the player they were getting in Jerebko has REAL ability to become a solid contributor to a high end team in the NBA, as his career continues to develop. Few chose to believe what they were told at the time. Time has proven, once again, that they were wrong, and that what was said by yours truly was highly accurate. Well, the exact same thing also applies to Daye and Summers. As the next 2 years continue to unfold, what astute Pistons fans should begin to see more and more is that both of these young men have the capacity to develop into frontline contributors for Detroit, down-the-road a piece … provided that each one is eventually used properly by the team’s head coach who, unfortunately, should be someone other than John Kuester. Until Joe Dumars fixes his problem, in this regard, and identifies a proven high end NBA head coach [e.g. Jeff Van Gundy] who can lead his team properly, the abundant talent on this team is merely going to waste.