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- Seeing Through Colangelo's Reality Distortion Field (Part 1)
- Can The Raptors Contend Without Tanking?
- The Case Against Signing Steve Nash
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Posted on March 29, 2012 | 11 Comments
So after watching the Raptors beat a Nuggets team that looked nothing like the playoff team they apparently are (more on that later), I had a few thoughts.
At this point of a season with only 17 wins and only 15 games to go, is anyone outside of the Raptor players happy about a win like this? And if you are one that is happy about it, is it really worth it if it means the Raptors end up with the 5th worst record instead of 4th worst, giving them 31 FEWER chances to win the lottery and possibly not getting the top pick in the draft?
For those who care more about the long term prospects of the team, New Jersey won tonight, which would have moved the Raptors into the 4th spot if they had lost. Instead, the standings remained the same.
It’s taken me a while to figure out what the real problem is with DeMar DeRozan. Okay, his jumper needs work, as does his ball handling, and his defense is inconsistent, but his biggest problem is that he doesn’t seem to like physical contact. He doesn’t play well with physical play. Case in point, the play when he drove to the hoop, missed the bucket, grabbed the offensive rebound, missed and then got called for a technical because he thought a foul should have been called.
I saw the play several times in slow motion. I didn’t see a foul. What I saw was normal physical play that most other scorers would not think twice about, let alone get a technical about. And for a guy who should make his living in the lane, that’s a big problem. That’s why he doesn’t take it as hard to the hoop as he should.
When they were talking about Charles Barkley’s comment about how Kentucky could beat Toronto, it got me thinking. Would you take Kentucky’s current starting five over the Raptors’?
Obviously you take Anthony Davis over any of the Raptor big men.
And I’d be tempted by Terrence Jones over James Johnson.
I don’t take Teague over Calderon or probably even Bayless (neither Bayless nor Teagues are pure PGs, but Bayless has more potential)
Then you’ve got Doron Lamb, who is an excellent outside shooter, Darius Miller, who’s a good shooter, but a better defender than Lamb, and even Kyle Wiltjer, who many thought would make a bigger impact than he did on a stacked Kentucky team, and Barkley might not be all that far off.
Of course when you take into account that the Raptors have much more experienced players on their team, despite the apparent closeness in talent, Kentucky would be no real match for the Raptors, I’m guessing.
Still, would you trade the Raptor’s three best current players for Kentucky’s? I would.
While I’ve been pretty quiet about Andrea Bargnani, I have to say I’m sick of the excuses I’m hearing from the Raptor commentators who are bending over backwards to defend him. First of all, Jack Armstrong saying that you can’t compare Zach Randolph and Bargnani because they play two different styles. Yes, Randolph actually rebounds and Bargnani doesn’t. And it’s hard to say that Randolph is a “5 feet and in” scorer when 66% of his points come off jumpers.
Between him and Leo Rautins, who goes out of his way to defend ANY of the big men (80% of offensive fouls in the pick and roll are the fault of the guard?? Maybe the big man should learn to stop quicker when he sees the ball handler going!), I can’t help but feel that the Raptors head office has asked the commentators to lay off Bargnani this year.
Yes, Bargnani played well for 13 games this season, but even in this game, which was apparently his best since before he was injured, he got his points, but his rebounding and defense were poor, as usual (hint to Andrea, stop turning your back to the ball on defense).
Did anyone else notice the big weakness with having Bargnani camped in his favourite spot at the top of the key? What happens when there’s a fast break the other way and Bargnani is supposed to be the first man back on defense? Just to be clear, every time this happened, Bargnani was beat up the floor by the Nuggets.
That’s the problem with him loving that spot at the top of the key. Yes, he stretches out the defense, but it also makes the Raptors susceptible to fast breaks.
Was anyone else amazed at how small Denver “PF”, Kenneth Faried looked compared to Bargnani? Yes, Bargnani is a 7 footer, but Faried looked like a guard beside him. He measured 6’6 without shoes at the NBA combine, and that’s not hard to believe at all, after watching him.
As for Denver, while I thought trading away an overpaid 29 year old center, who isn’t a great rebounder and is only average defensively, was probably a good thing, I question the intelligence of Denver NUggets GM Masai Ujiri for getting back a center with possibly the lowest basketball IQ in the entire NBA. Okay, maybe an exaggeration, but I can’t believe they could do better than him. He’s a horrible defender, and that’s probably the best part of his game.
If I were the Nuggets, I’d get a veteran to basically shadow JaVale McGee and hit him upside the head every time he does something stupid on the court (like his attempted stare-down of Linus Kleiza after swatting the ball out of bounds rather than trying to keep it in play, or his boneheaded decision to salute the crowd after dunking on a guy a foot shorter than him).
And however great a deal Masai Ujiri got from New York for Carmelo Anthony, I don’t see Denver doing anything in the next decade, other than stay in great shape running on the mediocrity treadmill. They will end up being the perfect example of why you can’t try and stay competitive and rebuild at the same time. Unless they are able to miraculously trade for a franchise player, they always have a decent team with some decent talent, but nothing more.
Let’s hope the Raptors future is brighter.
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