Posts Tagged ‘Marco Belinelli’

10 things on the Raptors from the last 24 hrs

Tuesday, 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.

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

Sunday, 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 remain clueless, when it comes to fixing problems

Friday, 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

 

 

 

-

<

<

>

>

-

-

-

-

<

<

<

-

-

>

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

 

 

 

<

>

-

-

-

>

>

-

<

>

-

<

<

>

>

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

 

 

 

-

>

-

-

>

>

>

>

>

>

-

<

-

<

<

 

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

 

 

 

>

<

<

-

<

-

-

<

 

>

-

>

-

<

<

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.

If the Raptors do these 10 things …

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Now that they have finally managed to end their recent stretch of bad play, with their improbable come-from-behind home court victory, on Wednesday, vs Atlanta

i.e. According to Matt Devlin [the Raptors' television play-by-play announcer], in games where the Hawks had led during the final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter], their W-L record had been 41-4 …

QUESTION
What should the Raptors’ expectations be for their next 3 games?

ANSWER
- Win vs Oklahoma City, Fri Mar 19 [2nd W in a row]
- Win at New Jersey, Sat Mar 20 [3rd W in a row]
- Win at Minnesota, Mon Mar 22 [4th W in a row]

… provided they:

1. Continue to sit out Antoine Wright [as their 5th Wing];
2. Give only limited PT to Reggie Evans [as their 5th Big];
3. Give only limited PT to Marco Belinelli [as their 4th Wing; and, 3rd PG];
4. Increase the PT for Sonny Weems [as their 3rd Wing];
5. Increase the PT for DeMar DeRozan [and, specifically, use him to finish games, as their 2nd Wing ... beside either Hedo Turkoglu/1st Wing or Weems/2nd Wing];
6. Continue to start Jose Calderon [as their main PG];
7. Completely eliminate the Calderon+Jarrett Jack [as their 2nd PG] line-up;
8. Increase the PT for Amir Johnson [as their 3rd Big];
9. Decrease the PT for Andrea Bargnani [as their 2nd Big]; and,
10. Increase the PT for Chris Bosh, at the Center position [as their 1st Big].

At this point in the season, and given the relative position of the other teams in the Eastern Conference Standings … if Toronto continues to use an 8-man rotation which looks like this:

STARTERS
Calderon + DeRozan + Turkoglu + Bosh + Bargnani [or Johnson]

KEY SUBS
Jack, Weems and Johnson [or Bargnani]

RESERVES
Banks, Belinelli, Evans and Nesterovic

EXTRAS/OUTS
Wright and O’Bryant

… there is no legitimate reason, whatsoever, for this Raptors team to fail to make the playoffs.

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.

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.

Houston or Toronto?

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Last night’s game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors served as an interesting benchmark for the on-going development of these two teams.

Toronto Raptors 92
HOUSTON ROCKETS 116

Complete Game Summary 

At the moment:

Toronto is 31-28/.525, 2nd in the Atlantic Division, and 5th in the Eastern Conference; while, Houston is 30-29/.508, 3rd in the Southwest Division, and 9th in the Western Conference.

Both teams played last night’s game without several key players in their respective line-ups, due to a variety of physical ailments/injuries:

Toronto
1. Chris Bosh/PF-C, leg injury [day-to-day] 
2. Jose Calderon/PG, arm injury [day-to-day]
3. Hedo Turkoglu/SF, leg injury [incurred last night]

Houston
1. Yao Ming/C, foot injury [expected to return next season]
2. Kyle Lowry/PG, leg injury [day-to-day]
3. Trevor Ariza/SF, hip injury [day-to-day]

Examining the complete rosters for each team:

Pos

TORONTO

RK

HOUSTON

RK

COACH

 

Triano

2

Adelman

1

SUB-TOTAL

2

 

1

STARTERS

PG

Jack

2

Brooks

1

OG

DeRozan

2

Martin

1

SF

Turkoglu

2

Battier

1

PF

Bosh

1

Scola

2

C

Bargnani

2

Ming

1

SUB-TOTAL

9

 

6

KEY SUBS

PG

Calderon

1

Lowry

2

OG

Weems

2

Budinger

1

SF

Wright

2

Ariza

1

PF

Johnson

1

Hill

2

C

Nesterovic

1

Anderson

2

SUB-TOTAL

7

 

8

RESERVES

G

Belinelli

1

Taylor

2

F/C

Evans

2

Jeffries

1

SUB-TOTAL

3

 

3

TOTAL

21

 

18

EXTRAS/OUT

 

Banks

2

Temple

1

 

O’Bryant

2

Hayes

1

 

 

 

Armstrong

1

LEGEND: Pos – Position; RK – Ranking.

is an interesting exercise when considering:

i. Chris Bosh/PF-C becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer;

ii. Chris Bosh is originally from Dallas, Texas;

iii. The relative “NBA talent” base on these two rosters;

iv. The “playoff prospects” for these two teams:

A. This season, and
B. Beyond the current season. 

———————————————
 

If you were Chris Bosh ... Which team would you choose to sign with this summer?

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Right move for the Raptors, right now

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Toronto is currently in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division, and in 5th place [overall] in the Eastern Conference standings, with a 26-23/.531 W-L record.

After starting out 7-13/.350, with a difficult road-heavy schedule, the Raptors have since played 19-10/.655 basketball, with an easier predominently home-based schedule, that has effectively balanced out their season to-date.

If the Raptors can now manage to play .531 basketball for the remainder of the campaign they will finish with an overall mark of 43-39, or 44-38, which should then be good enough to qualify for the Eastern Conference playoffs and earn a mid-level seed [i.e. #5 or #6].

In a 1st Round playoff series of this type the Raptors would then be most likely to face one of:

1. The Atlanta Hawks/#4, who were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers [i.e. 2006-2007 NBA Finalists] last season [in the 2nd Round] and the Boston Celtics 2 seasons ago [in Game 7 of the 1st Round];

2. The Boston Celtics/#3, who were 2007-2008 NBA Champions; or,

3. The Orlando Magic/#2, who were 2008-2009 NBA Finalists;

each of which is a team with more experience than Toronto, having qualified for the post-season elimination tournament for the last two seasons.

If the Raptors are indeed able to compete successfully in this type of series … by winning at least 2 [or, possibly, 3] games … the challenge they would then face, in the off season, is trying to re-sign their best player, Chris Bosh, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer [July 1, 2010].

The NBA’s in-season trade deadline is now two weeks away [Feb 19], and the most important question on the minds of Raptors fans is:

QUESTION

Should Toronto make a trade, in advance of the deadline, in an effort to further improve their team right now, in hopes of being able to win their 1st Round playoff series this spring and, in the process, demonstrate to Chris Bosh that he will have a legitimate chance to compete for a league championship, in the immediate future, if he decides to renew his contract with the Raptors this off season, as a maximum salaried player? 

ANSWER

No, the Raptors should not make a trade of this sort, in advance of the deadline, in an effort to win their 1st Round playoff series this spring.

RATIONALE

Young teams like the Raptors need to be able to grow together, gradually, over an extended period of years, which involves taking 5 DISTINCT STEPS:

STEP 1. Learning how to make the playoffs, and then losing a 1st Round series;

STEP 2. Learning how to make the playoffs and, then, after making minor player acquisitions, advancing to the 2nd Round;

STEP 3. Learning how to make the playoffs and, then, after making a key player acquisition, advancing to the Conference Finals;

STEP 4. Learning how to make the playoffs and, then, after making another key player acquisition, advancing to the NBA Finals; and,

STEP 5. Learning how to make the playoffs and, then, after making minor player acquisitions, winning the NBA Championship. 

The Raptors’ current roster looks like this:

ROLE

PG

OG

SF

PF

C

Starter

Jack

DeRozan

Turkoglu

Bosh

Bargnani

Key Subs

Calderon

Belinelli

Wright

Johnson

Nesterovic

Reserves

 

Weems

Evans

 

Extras/Out

Banks

 

 

 

O’Bryant

and is ”good enough”, as is, to compete successfully in a 1st Round playoff series this spring, if their GM and head coach can [i] create the proper atmosphere around their team, and [ii] use their resources effectively.

RESOURCE

SERVICEABILITY

Bosh

- One of the best young All-around Big Men in the NBA

- Multi-faceted: Strong Rebounder; Strong Team Defender; and, Efficient Scorer … with Good character

Bargnani

- One of the best young Scoring Big Men in the NBA

- Scorer’s mentality … fearless

DeRozan

- Young, athletic Wing player

- Scorer’s mentality … needs added strength and crunch time PT

- Significant “upside”

Johnson

- Young, athletic Big Man

- High energy Rebounder/Defender’s mentality

- Significant “upside”

Calderon

- Ultra efficient Point Guard: High % perimeter shooter; Outstanding Ast:TO

- Emotionally Stabile and Unselfish

Turkoglu

- Veteran All-around Wing player

- Clutch scorer/shooter … fearless

Jack

- Still youngish, All-around Point Guard

Belinelli

- Still youngish, scorer/perimeter shooter

Weems

- Young, athletic rebounder/defender/slasher/mid-range scorer

Nesterovic

- Veteran Big Men; strong interior defender

Wright

- Veteran Wing player; adequate perimeter defender

Evans

- Veteran Big Man; strong rebounder with good toughness

Banks

- Veteran back-up Point Guard

O’Bryant

- Still youngish back-up Center

Stability is what the Raptors need most right now … and, to be able to find out exactly what they’ve got from their current group of players, when it comes to being battle-tested in a 1st Round playoff series against a veteran team like the Hawks, or the Celtics, or the Magic. 

What the Raptors do not need right now is increased Instability … in hopes of blithely skipping over Step 1 with this specific collection of players.

If Chris Bosh is actually the Right Person to lead the Raptors team into the future, then, he will decide on his own that Toronto is the best fit for him, and his long term goals/objectives, both, as a marquee player in the NBA, and as a person.

If Chris Bosh eventually makes the decision to resign with Toronto, the Raptors will then be in a “good” position to attempt to take Step 2 next year, after making minor player acquisitions during this coming off season. 

3. If Chris Bosh is not actually the Right Person to lead the Raptors team into the future, then, he will decide on his own that Toronto is not the best fit for him, and his long term goals/objectives, both, as a marquee player in the NBA, and as a person.

If Chris Bosh eventually makes the decision to sign with another team, then, the Raptors will still be in an “okay” position … i.e. with his vacant salary slot … to once again try to accomplish Step 1, in the gradual process of building a legitimate contending team in this league, over a number of years.

The major problem with this specific scenario is that this is precisely where the team has been before, on more than one occasion, during the Raptors’ first 15 years of existence:

A. With Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady;

B. With Vince Carter and Chris Bosh;

C. With Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani;

and, subsequently,

D. With Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan; etc., etc., etc.

Each time the Raptors have gotten to this same point before …

they have somehow managed to !@#$%^&* it up, royally, by trying to ”Swing for the fences”, prematurely, and in hopes of skipping Steps along the way.

Hopefully they [i.e. MLSE, Bryan Colangelo, and Jay Triano] have finally learned their lesson and, this time, are finally able to exercise the type of sound basketball judgment it takes to eventually build a legitimate NBA championship contending team in Toronto.

——————————

For the Raptors …

It is time to batten down the hatches.

Let the current season play out.

Allow Chris Bosh to make his own call.

And, sail the ship forward, regardless, on a straight [and well-charted] course. 

In this world, it takes time, to build something truly worthwhile.

RAPTORS vs Heat, Game Preview

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

For the benefit of both Raptors and Heat fans:

 

RAPTORS

Adv

HEAT

RATIONALE

STARTERS

Jack, PG

=

Alston, PG

Both are solid veterans who should be able to use their savvy to keep the other in-check in a match-up like this.

Belinelli, OG

à

Wade, OG

Wade is an All-League superstar. The Heat will win tonight, if he performs like one.

Turkoglu, SF

ß

Richardson, SF

Turkoglu will need to be the better player, if the Raptors are going to win. Q-Rich just needs to play solid D, to give the Heat a fighting chance.

Bosh, SF

ß

O’Neal, C

Bosh is the better player, at this stage of their respective careers.

Bargnani, C

=

Beasley, PF

In all likelihood, whoever wins this specific match-up will determine the outcome of this game. Beasley can effectively check Bargnani. Can Bargnani check Beasley, in return?

 

 

 

 

 

KEY SUBS

Calderon, PG

ß

Chalmers, PG

El Matador SHOULD be the better player. If he is not, the Raptors will be at a major disadvantage and will probably lose this game.

Weems, OG

=

Wright, G-F

Both are now better players than many casual fans realize. Belinelli’s game is all offense; Wright is better at defense and rebounding.

Wright, SF

=

Jones, F

The more PT Wright gets, the more likely TOR is to lose. Don’t expect Jones to play at all.

Johnson, PF

=

Haslem, PF

Johnson’s overall “energy” vs Haslem’s defense, rebounding, grit & savvy. A good individual match-up. Haslem needs to win this match-up to ease the load on Wade.

Nesterovic, C

=

Anthony, PF-C

Nesterovic is a solid vet; but, Anthony can be an effective rebounder/defender/shot-blocker, in his own right.

 

 

 

 

 

RESERVES

Banks, PG

à

Arroyo, PG

Neither is going to have a major impact on the outcome.

O’Bryant, C

à

Magloire, C

Although Magloire is the better player, neither should have much effect on the outcome.

COACH

Jay Traino

à

Erik Spoelstra

Although Triano is beginning to find his way better recently, Spoelstra is already one of the better young coaches in the NBA today, having apprenticed under a mastercraftsman. If Spoelstra slips up, Triano is good enough to get the W.

QIR/QR

#25/69

à

#11/38

TOR = 18th/PDR, 26th/PAR, 25rd/RDR; Mia = 14th/PDR, 9th/PAR; 15th/RDR.

Home

Yes

ß

No

TOR Home = 15-6; Mia Away = 10-10

EXPECTED RESULT
This could go either way and should only be decided in the final minute.  Covering the final number [-3/-105, which is shrinking, btw] might be a difficult proposition for the Raptors.

Legend: QIR – Quality Index Ranking [No. 1-30]; QR – Quality Rating [PDR + PAR + RDR]; PDR – Points Differential Ranking; PAR – Points Allowed Ranking; RDR – Rebounding Differential Ranking.

Enjoy! … what should prove to be a highly entertaining game.

PS. Is there any doubt, however, that the Heat have the “coolest” [baby, baby, babyroster web page in the NBA today?

RAPTORS vs Bucks, Preview

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

For the benefit of both Raptors and Bucks fans:

 

RAPTORS

Adv

BUCKS

RATIONALE

STARTERS

Jack, PG

=

Jennings, PG

Both are solid on Off and Def. Although Jennings more explosive offensively, Jack is a veteran who should be able to use his savvy to keep the rook in check.

DeRozan, OG

=

Delfino, OG

DeRozan is more explosive on Off; although, Delfino is the better all-around player at this stage [i.e. vet vs rook].

Turkoglu, SF

ß

Mbah A Moute, SF

Turkoglu SHOULD be the better player. If he is not, the Raptors will be at a major disadvantage going with any other wing player in this spot.

Bosh, SF

ß

Ilyasova, PF

Bosh is the superior player. Period.

Bargnani, C

=

Bogut, C

Bargnani is much better on the perimeter. Bogut is solid in the post. Bargnani is a more explosive scorer; while Bogut is a superior Rebounder and Team Defender. Conflicting Styles make for a good fight.

 

 

 

 

 

KEY SUBS

Calderon, PG

ß

Ridnour, PG

El Matador SHOULD be the better player. If he is not, the Raptors will be at a major disadvantage and will probably lose this game.

Belinelli, OG

=

Bell, PG-OG

Belinelli’s better offense is cancelled out by Bell’s better defense and rebounding.

Wright, SF

=

Stackhouse, SF

Stack was once a vastly superior player to Wright; but, Stack has played very little over the last 2 years.

Johnson, PF

=

Warrick, PF

Johnson is the better defender/rebounder. Warrick is better offensively.

Nesterovic, C

=

Elson, PF-C

Nesterovic has more veteran savvy; but, Elson is a moderately effective, lively [i.e. relatively athletic], still-youngish player.

 

 

 

 

 

RESERVES

Banks, PG

=

Meeks, OG

Neither is going to have an impact on the outcome.

Weems, OG-SF

à

Thomas, PF-C

Weems is a better player than Wright but is not being used properly at-present. Thomas is a solid vet with a great deal of tenacity and savvy.

COACH

Jay Traino

à

Scott Skiles

Skiles is an experienced NBA head coach, who was a tough-minded, former NBA player; Triano is neither of these 2 things.

QIR/QR

#23/66

à

#19/55

TOR = 17th/PDR, 26th/PAR, 23rd/RDR; Mil = 18th/PDR, 15th/PAR; 22nd/RDR.

Home

Yes

ß

No

TOR Home = 13-6; Mil Away = 5-16

EXPECTED RESULT
TORONTO should win outright.  Covering the final number [-7.5/-105], however, might not be a sure proposition.

Legend: QIR – Quality Index Ranking [No. 1-30]; QR – Quality Rating [PDR + PAR + RDR]; PDR – Points Differential Ranking; PAR – Points Allowed Ranking; RDR – Rebounding Differential Ranking.

Enjoy! … what should prove to be a very entertaining and close game.