Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What's wrong with the Raptors?

Ummm.... a lot? But I think there are probably three big things that jump out at me.
  • They can't play defence. They start three bad defenders: Calderon, who can't keep a point gaurd in front of him to save his life; Moon, who looks a lot better than he is because he gets one huge-looking weak side block a game; and Chris "I haven't blocked a shot in 3 years" Bosh; and two mediocre defenders: Anthony Parker, who is reasonably athletic, but definitely not a lock-down guy; and Bargnani, while still inconsistent, is improving and is much more fundamentally sound than he was even at the beginning of the year (remember the game he shut down D-Howard at the beginning of the year?), but let's be honest Blarney is never going to be DPOTY.
  • Chris Bosh doesn't "own" the team. Chris Bosh is a good guy, a great face for the franchise, and a good basketball player... but he isn't a winner. Since he was in high school he's played on two "winning" teams: the 16-15 GT Yellow Jackets, and the 2006-2007 Raptors that won 47 games. CB4 can score, but as the 'franchise' he's not going to win games for the team where he takes over the game with his scoring, or his defence, or by inspiring his teammates. Basically, Bosh is incapable of recognizing what the team needs on a given night and doing it to win, which is basically what every good player in the league can do. When Parker and Ginobli were out at the beginning of the year TD filled the void to keep the Spurs a float, LBJ has been doing it virtually every night with the Cavs this year, and this is where guys like James Posey, Robert Horry, Scottie Pippen help teams win championships. Chris Bosh isn't that guy, and none of the Raps are those guys.
  • Jay Triano is over thinking things. In the book that many people, including and especially me, refer to as the tennis bible (Winning Ugly) Brad Gilbert describes the most basic sports strategy is to match up your strength against an opponents weakness. It seems like, the Raptors haven't developed a way that they're going to beat you. Two seasons ago, when they won the (admittedly terrible) Atlantic Division they were going to beat you with their bench. The starters would hold the line, and then Calderon, Delfino, Garbo/Bargnani, would run the other team's bench into the ground. Now, the Raptors just kind of ... play...
My solution
With the team as it is now:
They ought to be running some type of version of the Orlando bang the ball inside and shoot some threes offense. They don't quite have the personnel to do this since they are playing Jamario Moon, Roko Ukic, and Joey Graham a fair bit which means that opposing defenses don't, or shouldn't have to, guard those guys on the perimeter. Or, alternatively, just exploiting mismatches with their big men who, at least offensively, are probably the best three in the league. Seriously, I'd be curious to hear if anyone though there were a collection of three better offensive big men in the league.

Blow Up the Team:
In an ideal world they get rid of O'Neal for Marion/Banks, and, brace yourself, Bosh for LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw (and maybe if they throw in Anthony Parker and hopefully Moon) Jared Bayless. Then the starting line-up looks like:
Bargnani - C
Aldridge - PF
Marion - SF
Kapono - SG
Calderon - PG

w/ Outlaw, Bayless, Graham and Jake Voshkul (who I really like just because he plays hard, is a great cheerleader on the bench, and you should note was a +11 last night) coming off the bench.

Is this a playoff team? Borderline, probably, but they're certainly more athletic and better equipped to play some exciting basketball and with a pick (say, Steph Curry) they might be a solid playoff team next year. All that said, there's approx. a zero percent chance that the Raps build a contender since they're going to be competeing against LBJ, Brandon Roy, and Dwayne Wade for the next 6-7 years...


Jesse said...

I don't think there's much wrong with what you're saying, except that I don't think Kapono's a legitimate starter (I think he's a great bench player, and certainly could start if you're going to play a system where it's built around kicking it out to him to shoot threes, but he's not a rounded player, and so I question whether he can be part of a "team system" versus, say, a "Dwayne Wade" system), and I'm very, very cautiously optimistic that Joey Graham is finally busting out.

Allan said...

I'm one to believe that it isn't the worst thing if Bosh is either traded or leaves us during free agency.

Here are some facts, Il Mago isn't a great player at the 5 or the 3. His natural position is the 4 where he isn't overpowered or out run.

The only reason why they have him out there is because, Bosh can't play the 5 either. However, Bosh is much more highly regarded then Bargnani, where Il Mago might end up being the better player due to a slight edge in versatility and less stress on the cap.

Bosh just isn't worth the 20 million he's likely going to get.