Passing It Around

Posted on November 3, 2009 | No Comments

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A Rare Defensive Play By BargnaniI hate to keep banging on Bargnani, but he’s been absolutely horrendous on defense the last two games. He’s making Zach Randolph look like Tim Duncan, in comparison. After doing a decent job against Cleveland, Bargnani has sent out engraved invitations to opposing players to score and rebound on him the last two games. While that’s very Canadian of him, it’s not going to help his team win very many games. Go back and look at the last couple of games and watch how many times an Orlando player either scores on the inside or grabs an offensive rebound and see how many times it was Bargnani’s responsibility to stop it. I’m not quite sure if Bosh has really improved on defense, or if he simply looks good next to Bargnani. Bosh did play Howard very well last night, keeping him out of the paint and limiting his rebounds, but I remember more than a couple of times Bosh watching as a Magic player scored in front of him.  Still for the most part, Bosh has been pretty solid, believe it or not.

As for rebounding, apart from pointing opposing players in the direction of rebounds, Bargnani’s actually rebounding at a worse rate than last season. Yes, I know it’s only three games, but it’s a troubling statistic when you realize he can’t use any excuses like taking the summer off from basketball or being tired from playing too much. What exactly did Moses Malone teach him this summer?

Bosh Being BoshThankfully, Bosh seems to have discovered that he can be a great rebounder if he puts his mind to it. I don’t think I’ve seen him go after rebounds like he has so far this year. The starting five for the Raptors is, in three games, averaging just .6 rebounds less than the Orlando Magic starting five did last season. Now if Bosh can continue to average 14.7 rpg the rest of the season, the Raptors might be alright. That’s going to happen, right?

Of course, DeRozan is doing more than his share on the boards, grabbing 4.3 per game in 20 mpg. Maybe DeRozan can tutor Bargnani. I don’t really understand the call for DeRozan to be moved to the bench. For the most part, he’s done everything that’s been asked of him. Considering that Bargnani has scored a total of four points in the first halves against Orlando and Memphis, maybe he should be sitting out the first half of every game.

Now, I will admit that Calderon has not looked good so far this year. He’s only slightly better on defense than last season, and he’s shooting from the field, the 3 point line and the free throw line like Dick Cheaney shoots a shotgun (too dated?). Of course, since he’s missed more free throws in 3 games this year than he did ALL of last season, I think it’s safe to say that Calderon is not quite himself. Any bets on whether he regrets taking the entire summer off from basketball? Anyone think he’s not going to do the same thing next summer? Still, while it’s disturbing to watch, it’s also reassuring, because you know he’s going to come around sooner or later. He’s too good a player to continue playing the way he has.

Detroit Defense?Detroit is coming up on Wedensday, so I’ll make my predictions right now. Considering that Rodney Stuckey maybe the Pistons best inside scorer, if the Raptors don’t guard the perimeter against Detroit, they’re going to lose again. When I say that Detroit is a perimeter oriented team, you better believe it. No inside player takes more than 2 field goals a game (Villanueva does not count as an inside player because he is not one). The Detroit guards don’t even drive much. Richard Hamilton and Ben Gordon are their top two scorers (25 and 24.3 ppg) and they take mostly jumpshots. I’m predicting Antoine Wright to play at least 30 minutes on Wednesday. I’m also predicting that if Bargnani doesn’t step out to hedge hard on the ball handler on the pick and rolls, we’re going to see A LOT of open shots.

In theory, Bargnani could have a big game, since Detroit doesn’t have anyone that can guard him. Ben Wallace or Kwame Brown can’t defend him on the perimeter and Villanueva can’t defend. Then again, you never know, with Bargnani.

Look for Bosh to score 30 again. No Detroit big man is quick enough to guard him and he’s certainly been on a roll.

AROUND THE NBA

No One WatchingIs Monday where they put the games no one wants to see? New Jersey vs Charlotte? Minnesota vs The Clippers? Was there anyone to actually watch the overtime thriller between Memphis and Sacramento? Speaking of Memphis, Iverson finally made his debut as a Grizzlie and scored 11 points  on 9 shot attempts in 16 minutes. He’s certainly trying to fit in with his teammates.

Also on Memphis, Hasheem Thabeet played 1 minute and got one foul. Sounds about right. Against Denver he got 6 fouls in 12 minutes. He also got 4 rebounds. If he played 36 minutes, he’d have gotten 12 rebounds and 18 fouls. Can anyone say Rafael Araujo?

Also playing Monday was New Orleans, who won 56 games and went to the second round two years ago. Then last year they won 49 games and lost in the first round. This year they’re playing as if they may miss the playoffs. That brilliant trade that sent their offensively limited center who rebounds and defends well, for a offensively limited center who rebounds and defends well, but isn’t as athletic and has a longer contract, doesn’t seem to be paying off. Strange. I’m going out on a limb here and stating that Byron Scott is going to be the first coach fired this season. I know, I know. Very bold.

The Hornets lost, yet again, giving New York their second win and moving them ahead of Toronto in the standings. New York is giving up, get this, 119 points per game so far, but held New Orleans to a miserly 111 points. They’re also letting their opponent shoot 51%. Is this what the Raptors are patterning themselves after?

Bloggers Note: If you enjoy reading my posts, please subscribe to the RSS Feed on the right column or just below. It seems that I’m posting about 2 to 3 times a week, which seems about right for me. I’ll try and make predictions for some of the games, and analyze games I feel I want to discuss.

Update: Apparently I can’t read standings well, because New York actually won their first game against New Orleans, not their second. So basically, both teams look even worse.

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