How To Fix The Raptors (Part 1)

Posted on November 30, 2009 | 33 Comments

Well, as I predicted before the regular season started, the Raptors have finished the month of November struggling out of the gate. I also predicted that Raptor fans would be clamouring to `fix’ the team by this time, and that seems to have come true, as well. It’s been happening on and off all season (not coincidentally, peaking when the Raptors lose), and started to really hit it’s stride with that horrifying, horrifying loss against Charlotte that I didn’t even want to talk about, and has reached a climax after their second three game losing streak.

It’s no secret what the main problem is. My four year old daughter, who is under the mistaken impression (although one I am reluctant to correct) that I play basketball with those NBA teams she sees on TV, can see the Raptors are struggling on defense, to put it mildly. Already, the Raptors have allowed Orlando, San Antonio, Indiana, Charlotte, Miami, Dallas to score more points on them than anyone else in the league so far. Yes, nearly one-third of the teams the Raptors have played have scored more points against the Raptors than anyone else. And the Raptors came out with a win only once (against Indiana).

Another problem is rebounding, especially trying to keep opposing players off the offensive boards at key times. If the recent games showed anything, it’s that boxing out is a term many Raptor players think refers to the day after Christmas. If it wasn’t for Bosh fighting with Dwight Howard for the league lead, Toronto’s rebounding issues would be even a bigger problem than they are.

Of course, it’s one thing to point out problems, it’s another to try and fix them. Since none of us are on the coaching staff (as far as I know), and can’t actually take Bargnani aside and show him how to box out or which man to rotate to on defense, Raptor fans have come up with other ways to fix the Raptors problems. Today, I’ll discuss the ways, other than through trades, that have been brought up on various websites, to improve the Raptors’ fortunes.

CHANGE THE STARTING LINEUP

One of the most common demands fans have made is to alter the starting lineup. It started almost immediately when Jose struggled and comes up whenever they play a bad game (why doesn’t it happen after wins?). The call to trade Calderon quieted when he started putting up his expected numbers, but also because Jarrett Jack wasn’t exactly impressing with his play. That’s also changed fairly recently, of course, and now people are again talking about thrusting Jack into the starting lineup. Big surprise.

There are three fairly common and seemingly well backed up arguments about lineup changes that I’ve heard/read recently.

Bench Calderon

Moving Jack into the starting lineup would improve the defense of the starting lineup. The cost, of course, is on the offensive end, where Calderon is the better passer and shooter. Proponents of this point to the fact that Turkoglu can initiate the offense more, which would increase his value on the court. It’s really hard to argue the facts of this argument, because it’s all true. Jack is a better defender and would improve the defense of the starting lineup and moving Calderon to the bench would improve the offense of the second unit. It isn’t a perfect solution, however, which I’ll get to later.

Bench DeRozan

One of the most common calls is for Triano to bring DeRozan off the bench. That in itself seems like a sound idea, except  there’s a second part to that equation. Who do you start in his place? Well, since defense is the main problem, the most common call is for Antoine Wright to step in and start. He’s got the reputation as the best defender on the team and started for the 50 win Mavericks last year. Of course, there is the small issue of his shooting percentage, which might very well be the worst among any rotation player in the league. He’d need a perfect game from the field against Washington just to get UP TO 30%. That’s really, really bad and what’s even worse is he doesn’t seem to realize he’s shooting badly and continues to take forced shots that are not going to bring his average up. No, Wright needs to play less, not more.

Belinelli is probably playing the best basketball of all the shooting guards, and is actually been half decent, for the most part, on defense, so it would seem that he would be the best player to start at shooting guard. Unfortunately, his two best attributes (shooting and playmaking) are already well supplied by other starters and much more needed coming off the bench. Starting Belinelli might help the starting unit, but hurt the team as a whole, and not make the best use of Belinelli’s skills.

Weems has played sparingly and is second on the team in shots attempted per minute (shooting at a higher rate than Bargnani), so perhaps giving him more minutes might not be the best idea.

The thing is DeRozan is actually not playing too badly and is the best rebounding wing the Raptors have. On a team where your starting center and small forward average a COMBINED 11 rebounds a game, it’s important to have a good rebounder at SG. He’s also shooting a decent percentage, and gets to the line at a pretty good rate. Basically, he’s the best combination of rebounding, scoring and defending that the Raptors have at SG. He doesn’t demand a lot of shots and his athleticism is a great compliment to the rest of the starters.

Bench Bargnani

There have been a few vocal supporters of benching Bargnani on a few websites, and it’s a move that does make a lot of sense. Replacing Bargnani with, say, Amir Johnson would immediately bring improvement to the starting lineup’s two biggest weaknesses. Bosh has shown he’s big enough now that he can guard (and often does) the opposition’s biggest player. The Raptors can spare the scoring in the starting lineup and Bargnani would give the Raptors more scoring off the bench.

The main problem with benching Bargnani is Bargnani himself. He’s never played well off the bench, and there’s a real danger in shattering his confidence. Bargnani’s production seems to be directly tied to his confidence, which he’s never displayed a whole lot of. He’s always been affected by things around him more than other players. Bargnani didn’t start producing consistently until he was thrust into the starting center position, due to Jermaine O’Neal’s injury. He knew, no matter what he did, he’d stay on the floor because there basically wasn’t any choice. Sure, it may seem like a lame reason, but when you give a guy a $10 million a year contract, you need to protect your investment. And Bargnani is way more valuable to the team when he’s producing than when he’s not.

The other problem with benching Bargnani in favour of Amir is that Amir is currently 4th in the league in fouls per minute. Chances are, it won’t be long, anyway, before Bargnani is brought off the bench since Amir won’t last long before committing his first foul or two. Really, what’s the difference between Bargnani starting and coming off the bench after 5 minutes. He’ll still end up playing the majority of the minutes, and if Amir starts, there’s a better chance he’ll be in foul trouble during the fourth quarter, when he’s most needed.

In Conclusion

The thing about making any starting lineup moves is that it reeks of panic. Consistency is one of the main ingredients of success in the NBA, and on a team with so many new players, maintaining a consistent starting lineup is the best thing that Triano can do. It would be easy for Triano to make a knee jerk reaction and make some moves, but he should be lauded for staying consistent.

Another issue about making lineup changes is they don’t tend do do a whole lot in the long run. No matter who starts, it’s not as if the player’s minutes are going to change much. No matter where Bargnani plays, he’s going to end up playing around 30 mpg because the Raptors need his scoring and don’t have anyone else that can stay on the court that long. Besides, do the Raptors really play that badly at the beginning of games? Is starting Jack really going to help the Raptors late in the third, when they sometimes let the other team go on a run?

No, unfortunately changing the Raptors starting lineup isn’t going to help matters. Not with the roster the Raptors have, which I’ll get to later.

FIRE TRIANO

Some Raptor fans seem to ignore the fact that the Raptors have three below average defenders (yes, I’m admitting that Calderon has been below average this season defensively), and a rookie, in their starting lineup and put the blame on Triano.

Fans of bad teams seem to think that changing coaches is a magical elixir. It’s not. Look at the bottom three teams in the Eastern Conference: New York, Washington and New Jersey. All three (up until the Nets fired Lawrence Frank) had excellent coaches that Raptor fans have either wanted to hire at one time or another, or pointed to as the type of coach the Raptors should hire. Now, neither New York or New Jersey have an overly talented roster, but the Knicks are certainly playing below expectations, and the Nets are two, with two possible All-Stars on their team (if their record were better), in Harris and Lopez.

No matter what Raptor fans may think, changing coaches isn’t going to change what needs to be changed on this team.

SIGN IVERSON

I’m reading this stupid, stupid idea again over at Raptors Republic by Raptor fans who apparently know less about the NBA than my four year old daughter (see above). I wasn’t even going to dignify this suggestion until I read a number of comments about it. Anyone who thinks signing an over-the-hill, undersized ball hog who can’t play defense anymore to a team that needs to improve it’s defense and chemistry should be banned from even watching basketball games because it’s obvious you get about as much out of it as Antoine Walker does from a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting.

TOMORROW

Trades….

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Join the discussion: 33 Comments

Comments

  • Kelsie

    I don’t think firing Triano at this point is the answer but it’s yet to be determined if he’s a good coach and it’s quite arguable at this point that he is not. Yes, there are a ton of new players to assimilate into his style of play but he argued last year that he needed a full training camp to get it right, and he got it.

    Fans criticize Mitchell (mainly cause he wouldn’t play Barg’s consistently, although I don’t blame him) but he integrated as many new players on that division winning team and I can assure you, would have this team with a better record now than Triano does at this point.

    This team is just not showing any desire in stopping anyone and players don’t get fired, coaches do. How does Triano survive three coaching regimes anyways and eventually gets the head job? Was he that great of an assistant that Mitchell, WIlkens, and O’Neil all thought they couldn’t do without him on their bench? lol.

    The ‘MLSE nationalism’ movement is catching up with them at the wrong time.

    I also wouldn’t replace Jack wth Calderon but I would see if there are trade options for Jose. You can’t have your starting 1 and 5 be the worst defenders on your team and I would prefer to keep Barg’s and build this team around the 2 bigs.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    I don’t think it can be argued that Triano is or isn’t a good coach. I think he was given a team that simply has a problem with defense and no defensive schemes are going to make them good. I think they will get better, but Pat Riley isn’t going to get Bargnani to understand how to rotate on defense or box out.

    And while Mitchell may or may not have had a better record with this team, coaches have different strengths and weaknesses. Mitchell was good at getting guys playing together and on the same page, but wasn’t good at x’s and o’s and in game strategy. He also sucked at player development. And the new team he had, three years ago, had better defensive players, especially in the starting lineup, than this team. A younger Nesterovic and Parker, as well as a healthy Garbajosa.

    And if the Raptors play says that Triano isn’t a good coach, what does New Jersey’s play say about Frank? He’s got two potential All Stars at the PG and C positions and didn’t win a game this year. Or New York with D’Antoni? Or Washington about Saunders? Many felt Washington had the talent to get a 4th or 5th seed. Does that mean Saunders isn’t a good coach?

    And the `MLSE nationalism’ comment I hope is a joke. Do you really think MLSE would make Colangelo hire Triano instead of just getting him to grab a Canadian for the 12th or 13th spot? You think Colangelo would quit on the spot if they pressured him on a basketball decision?

    As for trades, I’ll get to that in my next post.

  • http://nbaroundtable.wordpress.com/ Dave

    I rate Jarrett Jack as a better defender than Calderon but only by a small margin. Both below average defenders, Calderon being slightly worse. I don’t think that small difference makes a substantial impact to the Raptors defense overall.

    So I wouldn’t be in favour of benching Jose for Jack due to defensive concerns … but I have to say I’m intrigued by the Hedo Turkoglu part of the equation.

    I think that (Jack starting, added playmaking responsibilities for Hedo) would help bring a lot more out of Hedo. Plus Jose plays very well off the bench so if Triano kept Jose’s minutes in the 28-30 range that could be an interesting situation.

    I wouldn’t be willing to try that at this point in the season though. I’d rather give Jose and Hedo more time together and see if they can find a better balance between their skills/responsibilities. However, I’d look at it again in January or February if things haven’t improved.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor
  • Al

    Hi Tim,

    Have read your 3 articles on this issue and while I can understand your points I think there are some wrong things, others you are right on though …

    … Jack is a better defender than Calderon.

    WRONG, I’ve always thought that, yeah, I’m from Spain, you can call me homer … but you sure cannot call homers 82games.com people:

    Link -> http://www.82games.com/0910/0910TOR1.HTM

    Player
    Calderon/Jack
    Min
    68%/51%
    +/-
    -44/-44
    Off
    1.13/1.13
    Def
    1.17/1.18
    Net48
    -3.8/-5
    W
    7/6
    L
    9/11
    Win% 43.8/35.3

    Now, I can understand that you wanna try Jack as the starter with Turkoglue as the point forward, your going to get a better bench for sure, but your not upgrading our starting unit defense

    And now some juicy 5 men stats to show some wrong ideas that I’ve watched at some sites: http://www.82games.com/0910/0910TOR2.HTM

    Our starting team:
    #
    1
    Unit
    Calderon-DeRozan-Turkoglu-Bargnani-Bosh
    Min
    189.8
    Off
    1.16
    Def
    1.13
    +/-
    +7
    W
    8
    L
    8
    Win% 50

    Surprise, they aren’t so bad at the defensive end, although they aren’t so good at the offensive end

    Best defensive unit:

    #
    5
    Unit
    Jack-Belinelli-Wright-Johnson-Bargnani
    Min
    24
    Off
    1.06
    Def
    0.94
    +/-
    +8
    W
    2
    L
    2
    Win% 50

    Sure, Bosh is our best defender on the paint …

    Best +/- team:

    #
    4
    Unit
    Calderon-Belinelli-Turkoglu-Bargnani-Bosh
    Min
    25.7
    Off
    1.33
    Def
    1.13
    +/-
    +16
    W
    5
    L
    1
    Win% 83.3

    I’ll talk on Demar later.

    Worst +/- unit:

    #
    10
    Unit
    Calderon-Jack-Wright-Turkoglu-Bosh
    Min
    16.7
    Off
    0.83
    Def
    1.22
    +/-
    -12
    W
    1
    L
    3
    Win% 25

    One thing for sure you can learn is that all the units with Calde and Jack together are bad (all with negative values at the +/- field).

    That’s on the coach, use both of them as PGs and let the game tell you who is the better for every game.

    … bench the rookie

    On Demar, well, it’s hard to develope young players while your trying to compete, but there isn’t other way to do it.

    … our (Italian) center cannot defend

    On Bosh and Bargnani … well, Bosh is our center and Barg the PF, Bosh uses to defend the other teams centers while Barg the PFs, period.

    So I don’t understand why people is so surprised when Barg isn’t as successful defending one on one as last year … isn’t the same defending Smith than Halford.

    Why that change … Barg is faster at the perimeter than Bosh and Bosh got this year more muscle pounds, Bosh is a better help defender (what is needed for a center) but still worse big men defender one on one than Barg (size still matters on the paint)

    So how I would do better our team with the actual roster … only one of our PGs on the floor can be the only solution because putting Belli at the starter unit would take out all the offense from the bench.

    And maybe more PT for Rasho didn’t hurt either.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    Hey, I never felt that Calderon was as bad a defender as people made him out to be. Last year, he was obviously hurt. I do think Jack is a better defender, though, despite what some numbers may tell you. And I think you would find it difficult to find someone who disagrees with that. Besides, I am not suggesting starting Jack over Calderon (other than for a game or two to shake things up).

    As for using Calderon and Jack together, Triano gets a lot of criticism for this, but I completely understand why he’s doing it. He knows that, if Jack and Calderon can start clicking, the Raptors will be a much more dangerous team. Has it worked well so far? Only once in a while, but people are WAAAAAY to quick to judge what Triano does. A lot of it we won’t see the benefit of until later in the season. I’m going to post something about this later.

    To me, the biggest problem is Bargnani. Fans see the big shots he hits, but don’t notice how many times he misses, or is late on rotations and how many times he lets his man get an offensive rebound.

  • Al

    Didn’t want to say you were the guy ripping Calderon’s defense, my bad, just wanted to say that our problems on defense don’t start with Calderon.
    I mean, all the good defender teams had big men that close the lane, baseline or help at the pick&roll defense.

    I agree with you that Barg is late on rotations, but the guy wasn’t playing as a PF the last year,my point there is why our biggest man in the starting unit(height and frame wise) is defending PFs, and IMO isn’t due to his fault defending centers but Bosh’s fault defending quick PFs.

    On Jack&Calde together … I think that Triano/BC should understand that his/their bet on Jack playing as a SG isn’t a good thing. BC gave him too much money and IMO that’s the reason they are still trying it.

    I don’t think duplicating talent on the same unit is a good thing (same with Turko and Calde at the same time).

  • Al

    To finish, just to say that Barg isn’t the whole problem, IMO it’s more like the end of the iceberg.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    Al,

    I completely agree about the defense, but the reason Bargnani is playing PF defensively more this season, is because Bosh is more suited to guard bigger players this season. It has nothing to do with Bargnani being quicker or Bosh having trouble guarding quicker PFs (Bargnani is MUCH worse at defender quicker players than Bosh), but the fact that Bosh is simply a better defender on stronger players.

    And I dont necessarily think that Calderon and Jack duplicate each other’s talent. Jack and Calderon have very different talents, and both have the ability to play off the ball, as well. In fact, Jack played more at SG last year in Indiana than PG. You just have to look at the Washington game to see how having two PG’s on the floor can be dangerous.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    And while I don’t think Bargnani is the whole problem, he’s certainly the main one and trading him is necessary for the Raptors to become a better team. This team will never, ever be an above average team defensively with Bargnani as the center (unless you trade the rest of the roster).

  • Al

    Just watched the last quarter of the game and the OT, and well, although I agree Jack is more a SG (didn’t watch him so much in Indiana but in Portland) I think that one of the best things of Calderon is his few turnovers, so if Jack brings the ball to the offensive end and starts the play you are just wasting Calderon’s talent (and turnovers bring fast breaks, and we cannot afford that), usually Jack is who plays more as the PG with Calde at the corner, although tonight he has got more the ball at the 4th and OT.

    Just curious, why Calde has only played 22 minutes tonight, didn’t look ashe was doing bad (stats wise).

    Tonight wasn’t a good game to judge this matter with Wizards playing 2 small guards/PGs.

    About Andrea, last year made some progress defending centers (after going to the big men campus in summer), so why don’t let him follow that groove.

    Although we disagree in some things, I think it’s clear that Bosh hasn’t the frame to defend physical centers (Holford took him under the rim when he has the chance, and Holford isn’t one of the biggest centers) while Bargnani has the size. I hope they switch with bigger centers.

    Maybe you has the point and the best thing that can be done is to trade Bargnani, I know there isn’t many options, but I really don’t like it.

    It has been a pleasure to talk about it with you, I will be looking for your opinion and articles, you write things with more sense than the most people on the net IMO.

    Al.

    PD: Raptors win Raptors win Raptors win!!!!!! Let’s enjoy it (at least till the next game)

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    You must have seen wrong stats for Calderon. He ended up playing 36 minutes. And I thought Calderon did a fantastic job tonight. He didn’t get a lot of points, but went 6 for 8 and dished out 9 assists with only one turnover. He also played great defense tonight and really hustled around the the vast amount of screens set for Arenas. I was actually amazed at the number of screens set for him. Arenas has been playing way more shooting guard than PG lately, especially with Boykins on board.

    And Bosh has had a lot more success guarding the bigger centers this season- Howard, Kaman, Perkins, etc. Bargnani has been giving up position way too close to the basket. I don’t remember him doing it as much last season, but maybe I just didn’t notice as much. I actually missed the game against Atlanta (thank goodness), but overall this season, Bosh has defended the bigger guys a lot better.

    As for trading Bargnani, I really don’t see it happening this season. Not with the future so up in the air and the need for more consistency. MAYBE this summer, if Bosh re-signs with the team.

    It’s been good to talk to you. Thanks for the compliment. I think I’m probably just a lot more even keeled than a lot of people on the net. Probably comes from having watched far too many games of far too many teams over far too many years.

    Let’s see if the Raptors can finally win a back-to-back. They have had Chicago’s number, in the past.

  • Al

    Dunno, maybe I didn’t refresh the stats page (at Yahoo).

    Yeah, watching diffenrent teams (even diffenrent leagues as me, watching NBA and ACB, the Spanish league) opens your mind and makes you think and watch how different teams can achieve same targets (defensive ones are common for all the teams … without Don Budweiser Nelson)

    Bargnani did “well” last year, correct defense with arms up and very close to his opponent and no jumping on him, although he didn’t fight them very often for the position as you pointed.

    Thing with him is that he is not going to improve a lot day by day, but he has been improving slowly, he’s already trying with the offensive rebounds and hope he continues with the rotations.

    BTW, interesting article in the Star about chemistry issues, maybe it could be a new start with all of them at the same page.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    ON DEFENSE

    Bargnani can only defend the center position in the NBA … because, in general, he does not have the lateral mobility required to defend effectively vs a PF, SF, OG or PG.

    Thus, Bargnani has a low level of Switchability, from a defensive standpoint.

    Bosh, when healthy, has the lateral mobility to defend effectively vs every position on the court. Yes, he struggles more vs PGs, then OGs, then SFs, then PFs … but, the simple fact is that, when evaluated against other elite level players, as a Big, he has the ability to defend each of these OTHER positions effectively, in an isolation Switch situation, the majority of the time … IN ADDITION TO being able to defend vs centers, based on his lateral mobility and his relative strength, which is continuing to improve as he gets older.

    Bosh’s best position defensively is center, in the NBA … because of what I just wrote in the above paragraph and the incredible flexibility he provides for his team in this way.

    From a defensive perspective, Bargnani provides zero flexibility for his team.

    The only reason Bosh has to slide over to defend the PF spot … where he is not as good defensively … in the first place, is because of Bargnani’s defensive limitations [i.e. the fact that AB can't guard any other position effectively other than center].

    ON OFFENSE

    Bargnani plays a perimeter PF position and has very limited skills in the post … any time he is matched-up vs an opponent that is his same size or only slightly smaller. Only when he finds himself in a mismatch vs a much smaller player is AB capble of scoring with his back to the basket.

    Bosh, on the other hand, is an effective center … because he:

    i. Has a major quickness over the vast majority of the other centers in the NBA;
    ii. Is a better post-up player than Bargnani, even though posting-up is not one of CB’s individual strengths to begin with; and,
    iii. Has the ability to take a bigger defensive player that’s assigned to check him out to the mid-range area an exploit his quickness advantage to the max, in order to get fouled and get to the free throw line, where he is very efficient.

    THE PROBLEM with Bosh doing number iii., however, whenever he is on the court with Bargnani, is that … BECAUSE OF BARGNANI’S INABILITY TO REBOUND EFFECTIVELY … this then leaves the Raptors without a player working in the interior of the defense and/or in position to effectively rebound the weak side of the floor on missed FGA’s. This, then, becomes a significant weakness and mitigates against Bosh’s ability to succeed in this aspect of his game … which is a big part of the Raptors overall strategy vs the elite level teams in the league.

    Unfortunately, stats-based web sites that lock specific players into specific positions in the case of Bosh and Bargnani are mostly a waste of time … unless you have the Basketball Acumen it takes to be able to parse out bits and pieces of legitimate information and can then apply that to a proper understanding of the game, from a possession-by-possession perspective based on how these players perform in terms of each main phase of the game [i.e. Offense, Defense and Rebounding].

    It is simply painful to have to read SOOOO MANY people try to categorize these two players in any other way other than what I just described above.

    Cheers :-)

  • Al

    “iii. Has the ability to take a bigger defensive player that’s assigned to check him out to the mid-range area an exploit his quickness advantage to the max, in order to get fouled and get to the free throw line, where he is very efficient.

    THE PROBLEM with Bosh doing number iii., however, whenever he is on the court with Bargnani, is that … BECAUSE OF BARGNANI’S INABILITY TO REBOUND EFFECTIVELY … this then leaves the Raptors without a player working in the interior of the defense and/or in position to effectively rebound the weak side of the floor on missed FGA’s.”

    Your missing a big point right there:

    If Bosh is defended for bigger players (centers) is because Bargnani is at the perimeter and the other team defends him with their PFs.

    If Bosh has the space to go to the basket is because Bargnani streches the defense being at the perimeter.

    And one of the reasons Andrea is that bad rebounder from the weak side is because he is at the perimeter, yeah, but if he were at the weak side, Bosh would be defended for PFs and your point wouldn’t have sense.

    Now, if Bosh used to pass the ball to the perimeter guys more often when he’s double teamed it would be really nice.

    BTW, that’s the reason I don’t like to trade Bargnani, there isn’t many big men (bigger than Bosh) that can do that. Maybe instead of improving a lot our defense we might get worse our offense a lot more.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Al,

    “Your missing a big point right there:

    If Bosh is defended for bigger players (centers) is because Bargnani is at the perimeter and the other team defends him with their PFs.

    If Bosh has the space to go to the basket is because Bargnani streches the defense being at the perimeter.”

    These are NOT the reason why Bosh would be defended by the opposition.

    The reason Bosh WOULD be defended by the opposition center is … because the Raptors have NO other player on the floor who the opponent’s Big {Center] can check more effectively than he can possibly check Chris Bosh.

    [i.e. It has nothing to do with Bargnani, specifically, at all ... as long as the other 4 players on the court with Bosh can each punish the opponent's Big/Center off the bounce from the perimeter should their coach be silly enough to have their center try to check one of Bosh's smaller teammates and not Bosh, when he steps outside.]

  • Al

    Nice, now you should reread your first post:

    “ON OFFENSE

    Bargnani plays a perimeter PF position and has very limited skills in the post … any time he is matched-up vs an opponent that is his same size or only slightly smaller. Only when he finds himself in a mismatch vs a much smaller player is AB capble of scoring with his back to the basket.”

    So your telling me that if Andrea would be at the paint the other team would be nice enough to give him that missmatch and they would defend him with a PF (usually smaller than him) while Bosh standing at 15-20 feet would be defended by their center so Bosh could abuse him anytime he went to the rim.

    ““Your missing a big point right there:

    If Bosh is defended for bigger players (centers) is because Bargnani is at the perimeter and the other team defends him with their PFs.

    If Bosh has the space to go to the basket is because Bargnani streches the defense being at the perimeter.”

    These are NOT the reason why Bosh would be defended by the opposition.

    The reason Bosh WOULD be defended by the opposition center is … because the Raptors have NO other player on the floor who the opponent’s Big {Center] can check more effectively than he can possibly check Chris Bosh.”

    :) , sounds the same that I wrote above but just saying that our coaches, GM and Andrea are the worst of the world. Sure BC has no clue on that kind of missmatches.

    It’s not because the Raptors want to create that missmatch, how I dared to think that, and of course has nothing to do that at the defensive end you always want your center near the paint, thing that I really believe Triano has no clue about … it’s because all the people working for our franchise are the worst of the world.

    Am I missing something?

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    I’m having a little trouble figuring out where you guys are differing on your argument.

    Here’s my two cents, though:

    Having Bargnani on the floor stretches the defense for Bosh, and makes the opposition put their biggest player on Bosh because it’s better for him to guard Bosh in the paint than Bargnani on the perimeter.

    Of course, this would have mattered a lot more last year than this year, because Bosh is now strong enough to overpower a lot of the PF’s out there. Previously, Bosh had a lot more success against bigger players he could use his quickness on, but this year, I don’t think there’s a difference. Remember the Net’s series when Mikki Moore gave Bosh fits because of his length and quickness? This season, I don’t think that happens.

    Besides, Bosh still scores well when he’s playing with Amir, so it’s not as if Bargnani being on the floor helps him that much.

    The tradeoff to having Bargnani pull a big man out is that you also have to have him play n the defensive end, where’s he’s a liability most of the time.

    And the reason Bargnani doesn’t post up more has nothing to do with Bosh and everything to do with the type of player Bargnani is. He’s simply not nearly as comfortable there as on the perimeter. He doesn’t hold position all that well, doesn’t catch the ball in the post well, and isn’t very good at creating contact in the post, which is important to scoring consistently down there.

  • Al

    We are differing on Barg: I’m saying he helps Bosh attack (and also others) while he says that it has nothing to do with Bargs and our offense system.

    Bosh is stronger … but he don’t use that force to back the other guy, just to resist the contact and to fight for rebounds(I’m talking on the offensive end). He still uses his quickness and his shot better than his force and for this team is the best he can do.

    If I’m not wrong, at the Nets series our center was Nesterovic and Moore was the Nets’ PF. Your right, that wouldn’t happen now (if the Nets still had the same players) because noway Jason Collins would be defending Andrea at the perimeter.

    If you watched this last game against the Bulls, when Rasho was on the court playing with Bosh, Rasho was the guy playing more at the perimeter (those 16 foot jumpers are nice when they are going), opening the lane for Bosh and others as Andrea do (there you go DeMar), dunno with Amir on the court, I’m just not remembering how his offense goes with both of them out there.

    “And the reason Bargnani doesn’t post up more has nothing to do with Bosh and everything to do with the type of player Bargnani is. He’s simply not nearly as comfortable there as on the perimeter. He doesn’t hold position all that well, doesn’t catch the ball in the post well, and isn’t very good at creating contact in the post, which is important to scoring consistently down there.”

    Last year Bargnani posted sometimes with an ok success, he really isn’t bad doing it. Just because he is better at the perimeter (shooting or driving) doesn’t mind that hes bad doing other things.

    And Bargnani is good catching interior passes, doing cuts and also passing, he’s better than Bosh doing that anyday of the week.

    You really think that Triano just let our guys do what they want, that BC didn’t know what he was doing when he drafted a big man that can shoot 3 pointers, that Jerry Sloan has played with Okur shooting 3 pointers because the guy cannot post and no because they get more space for Williams&Boozer pick and roll.

    Aren’t the Suns playing well with Frye at the perimeter getting more space for the Nash&Amare game? Were they better with O’Neal?

    Maybe it’s a casuality that Orlando paid that much for a undersized PF that could shoot the three and then it worked so good.

    Colangelo isn’t stupid and he has built a very good offensive team (and that’s his trademark) with the guys he could get, now it’s just a matter of getting some defense from those players too.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    I agree with both, so I guess I’m in the middle of the argument. Bargnani does help Bosh by opening things up, but he hurts him a little because of his lack of defense and below average rebounding.

    And Bosh does use his strength on the offensive end to score now. He’s overpowered a lot of guys this season who would have given him fits last year. Plus, he’s drawing fouls so well, that Bosh usually sends his defender into foul trouble fairly quickly. He’s not posting up a whole lot still, but on his drives and offensive rebounds, he muscles the ball through guys. I don’t know the stats, but I’d guess he’s got more three-point-plays this year because his extra strength.

    Rasho definitely is a perimeter shooter, but he’s only played in 14 games, and Bosh is often out on the court with Johnson and hasn’t had a problem scoring. The thing about Johnson, though, is that en though he’s not a threat from the perimeter, he can’t be left alone because he’s so active and is a good offensive rebounder. That’s why guys like Joakim Noah, Anderson Varejao and Paul Millsap would work much better playing beside Bosh than Bargnani, because they can do the dirty work on defense, but are active enough on the offensive boards that defenders won’t be able to ignore them to double Bosh or else pay for it.

  • Al

    Amir is a guy that I like a lot, not the best player but has 2 springs as legs and is always ready to use them in the lane (hello Moon).

    I agree with your statment on Andrea, and totally agree with Bosh game description. Never had a problem with him, guy has done all what he physically has been able. Only if he passed the ball more to the perimeter when he is double teamed it’d be perfect for a team with so many shooters.

    If Andrea keeps improving his defense, and the team plays like a true team on the same page (that players/coaches/GM meeting looks like worked) and keeps improving as a whole, think that this season can be a really good one.

    Al.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    When Bosh steps off/away from the right low-post position into a mid-range area of the floor he does not need a perimeter Big to “stretch the defense for him, by being positioned on the weak side of the floor above the 3PT line.” The defensive check of this type of big would positioned in a spot that can effectively act as a deterrent to any type of middle drive which might wish to make into the lane.

    What Bosh needs, instead, is “an under-sized big partner who is capable of rebounding and finishing inside when positioned on the weak side of the floor, just off of the opposite low block, in the weak side screening location”. The defensive check of this type of big would NOT be positioned in a spot that can effectively deter Bosh from driving into in the lane vs the opponent’s center who is trying to defend him on that position.

    Q1. Canot the opposition simply counter this by having their center check the under-sized big who is located in the weak side screening position, rather than checking Bosh in the first place?

    A1. No, they cannot:

    i.If this under-sized big is someone who can also take their center to the basket off the bounce;

    ii. If this under-sized big is someone who can also take/make mid-range jump-shots; or,

    iii. If their PF is someone who Bosh can take advantage of when posting up on the right block.

    I’m sorry if you cannot see that what you have said in this exchange is different than what I have said.

  • Al

    “What Bosh needs, instead, is “an under-sized big partner who is capable of rebounding and finishing inside when positioned on the weak side of the floor, just off of the opposite low block, in the weak side screening location”. The defensive check of this type of big would NOT be positioned in a spot that can effectively deter Bosh from driving into in the lane vs the opponent’s center who is trying to defend him on that position.”

    C’mon, the undersized one is Bosh (he’s really fighting for the offensive rebounds) while Bargs instead of being at 16 feet is at 23 feet, with both of them are openning the lane one for each other and for the rest of the team (Calderon and DeMar use to get some easy points doing it).

    But if you don’t think so, there are more reasons:

    “Q1. Canot the opposition simply counter this by having their center check the under-sized big who is located in the weak side screening position, rather than checking Bosh in the first place?

    A1. No, they cannot:

    i.If this under-sized big is someone who can also take their center to the basket off the bounce;

    ii. If this under-sized big is someone who can also take/make mid-range jump-shots; or,”

    You still would be crowding the lane and there would be another defender to help at the paint, taking the drives away from our arsenal so we’d have to shoot more jumpers and wait and see if shots are falling and if our undersized PF can fight for the rebounds.

    And if the guy is far enough to take his defender away from helping at the paint, he is not going to be able to rebound so much. Again, that sounds as what Barg is doing.

    In your points I) and II), you mean a guy like Bosh but smaller and better/quicker than him? Because if he’s worse no way the other team puts his PF defending him and his center on Bosh.

    While your system depends on the matches and the looks that defending team wanna give you, having 4 perimeter players and just one inside presence writes on the stone who is going to defend that inside presence.

    “[i.e. It has nothing to do with Bargnani, specifically, at all ... as long as the other 4 players on the court with Bosh can each punish the opponent's Big/Center off the bounce from the perimeter should their coach be silly enough to have their center try to check one of Bosh's smaller teammates and not Bosh, when he steps outside.]”

    False, center wouldn’t be defending Bosh because his size but his position, centers use to be the slower players on the court what makes them useless at the perimeter while his size makes them very good inside where you have to pull and push for the space at the paint and to avoid that opponents can use that space for going to the rim and/or to get offensive rebounds.

    Andrea has the whole set to be a threat from the perimeter: he can pass, shot or go to the basket … Ok, these abbilities has nothing to do with his size, yup … thing is there aren’t many smaller players that can do it, so Andrea is truely important for us and cannot be replaced with any smaller guy, only a few.

    Plus his size really makes him better than most of those smaller guys:

    He can shoot over smaller defenders and can post them if he is at the paint. Plus, if they defend him too close to take away his height advantage while shooting, his first step is quick enough to get a better position or just go to the rim.

    BTW, how many defenders have you watched trying to get a charge when Andrea goes to the rim at full speed? You cannot get that with a smaller guy.

    “I’m sorry if you cannot see that what you have said in this exchange is different than what I have said.

    I don’t see any differences between what you wanna run from what Andrea already does, while your trying to downplay the advantages that Andrea gives us at the offensive end and makes him an important piece for us.

    And if teams are using undersized players is because there aren’t so many big men with those skills, not because the smaller is the best. This is basketball and size matters.

    Of course there are guys who would be better defenders than him right now, but there isn’t too many that would be better at the offensive end.

  • Al

    ^WHILE both of them are openning the lane one for each other and for the rest of the team (Calderon and DeMar use to get some easy points doing it).

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Dear Al,

    1. Someone like Paul Millsap [PF] would be an excellent fit with a player like Bosh [C].

    2. Have you ever heard of the concept referred to as, “Circling in the Post”?

    Something tells me that you have not.

    I am talking about highly specific basketball terminology and the execution of exact movement patterns that elite level teams, coaches and players employ on a regular basis. With all due respect, you just don’t seem to be aware of them, or what I’m talking about when I’m speaking to the use of players in this fashion.

    i.e. there’s no effective help in the paint from the weak side screener/rebounder’s defender, on a middle drive by Bosh from right the mid-range area of the floor ["clockwise" action, in this case] if/when his post-partner executes a “circle move” in the opposite direction [moving "clockwise", as well, underneath the basket].

    PS. Anyone else who would like to have a technical question about the game answered in a detailed way, please feel free to submit that question directly to my blog. :-)

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    Al,

    Your premise would be stronger if Bosh still weren’t just as productive with Johnson on the floor as he is with Bargnani. What Johnson brings, that Bargnani doesn’t, is better defense and the ability to grab offensive boards. khandor’s right about the type of player who would be better to play with Bosh. What Bosh needs is a player like Noah, Okafor, Millsap, or even Varejao. SOmeone who can play defense (so Bosh won’t be the best defender on the front line) and rebound the basketball. It’s not that Bargnani’s outside shooting is inhibiting Bosh’s scoring, but Bargnani’s lack of defense and rebounding hurts the Raptors on the other end of the floor, whereas a guy like Millsap wouldn’t.

  • Al

    Tim,

    I’m talking from what I remember from yesterday game, Amir crowded the paint twice early at the second half, and it ended with a Bosh’s jumper from the baseline and a foul drawn by Bosh while was trying to got from the baseline to the crowded paint (if Bosh’s defender hadn’t fouled Bosh had got nothing).

    IMO Bosh plays better with Rasho and Andrea with Amir, makes more sense skills wise and that’s what I’ve watched lately.

  • Al

    Khandor,

    running circles or squares (maybe it’d be different while running triangles? I mean, you know, size still matters and if your going to crowd the paint be sure you get the advantages … for more explanations watch the Lakers games), if your other big man is around the paint his defender is going to be there too, helping more times that if your man is at the perimeter, period.

    About Andrea defense, well, with a sore ankle guy didn’t do bad, got a couple of great tips, defended well his man and he was able to stop their PG (Flynn) one on one at the perimeter when they switched. Some failure too, but good things were more that bad ones.

    He was outstanding at defense the most of the times when his guy had the ball.

    I tell you that the guy is going to be better at defense and since the team meeting things are getting better for him and the whole team, yesterday they couldn’t shoot the ball into the ocean and still they won because their defense was good.

    Seriously, why Paul Missap, why not Jermaine O’Neal, didn’t you watched how both him and Bosh were too similar at the offensive end so if one did well the other did bad?

    And BTW, why Utah wanted to trade Boozer? Isn’t because they had Missap? why they didn’t want both of them playing what your saying?

    Why instead of Paul Missap don’t you say Bosh? He is doing right now all you want from that undersized PF in some plays.

  • Al

    To finish:

    1-I still don’t know why going smaller is gonna be good, seriously, size still matters in both ends. I could understand that with that change it could be better for some time for the team, but at the end we will a worse team than letting our guys (not only Andrea) learn.

    2-Bosh&the whole team has more room when he’s the only guy inside, allowing the drives we usually ask from our perimeter guys and from Bosh.

    3-You wanna a one trick team? You cannot do a lot of the stuff Andrea can do with a smaller guy (bigs switching his men at defense is one they can do now because they are both strong enough).

    4-Andrea is learning, and he’s really trying hard this season to get more offensive rebounds (maybe he doesn’t get so much but still this is helping to his team, buying some time for his mates who are running at the defensive end), he’s a good one on one defender that can switch to smaller guys, good for pick and roll defense.

    OFFTOPIC:

    I’m going to put some quotes and links because I want to give some deserved credit to our coach Triano and his staff on this:

    http://www.silverscreenandroll.com/2009/12/7/1189705/lakers-dominate-suns-look-better

    “Some subjective observations: Ron Artest was awesome as ever on D. Five steals, very disruptive overall, and never gave up on a single play. I was also very pleased with our bigs’ defense. Taking a page from Toronto’s playbook (I can’t believe I just typed that; Toronto is ranked dead last in defense), LA switched on screen-rolls with Nash, sending Gasol or Bynum out to challenge the floppy-haired Canadian …”

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/sports/articles/2009/12/06/20091206spt-sunslakersgamer.html

    “The Suns saw more of the switching defense that has recently plagued them.

    “They bottle up everything you try to do,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. “They switch, and they knock off. We could never really get anything going. We’re not so much a fast-break team but a rhythm team and they just take you out of your rhythm.”

    PD: So our guys are on the same page, they are showing desire and our coaches have some good ideas … think that they deserve some patience from the fans.

  • Al

    To finish:

    1-I still don’t know why going smaller is gonna be good, seriously, size still matters in both ends. I could understand that with that change it could be better for some time for the team, but at the end we will a worse team than letting our guys (not only Andrea) learn.

    2-Bosh&the whole team has more room when he’s the only guy inside, allowing the drives we usually ask from our perimeter guys and from Bosh.

    3-You wanna a one trick team? You cannot do a lot of the stuff Andrea can do with a smaller guy (bigs switching his men at defense is one they can do now because they are both strong enough).

    4-Andrea is learning, and he’s really trying hard this season to get more offensive rebounds (maybe he doesn’t get so much but still this is helping to his team, buying some time for his mates who are running at the defensive end), he’s a good one on one defender that can switch to smaller guys, good for pick and roll defense.

  • Al

    My bad, posted twice because the posts didn’t appear.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Circle movement patterns in the post area are not the same as either “squares” or “traingles”. :-)

    As such, I’ve now said all that I’m going to say in this thread.

    Cheers

  • Al

    LOL, my English isn’t very good, but you should have understood what I said about running around the paint with your defender always between you and the basket and always near or on the paint because your near the paint.

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