One more day till Gameday

Iverson to Detroit for Billups and McDyess. I just don’t see what it adds for Denver except maybe instead of getting knocked out of the first round as the 8th seed they’ll get knocked out of the first round as the 6th seed. The impact on Detroit is two-fold. It improves their scoring and in some circles they might be considered a stronger threat to contend this year. More importantly, they clear 20M in cap space this summer as Iverson’s contract is expiring. This summer is also when Rasheed Wallace’s 13M salary expires and next summer is when Richard Hamilton’s 11M are freed. Naturally everybody including our very own Michael Grange is saying that this is all positioning to take a swipe at Chris Bosh.

I don’t care nor do I want to even talk about it. My feeling is that if we keep our own house clean and build a positive winning atmosphere we won’t have to worry about our players bolting off to other seemingly greener pastures. That’s exactly what Colangelo’s thoughts are about the situation:

“You’ve got to be aware of what’s out there. But if we take care of our own business, build a competitive team and treat people right, players should want to stay here.”

There you have it. Let’s stop looking over our shoulders at who’s about to grab our superstar and focus on not giving them a reason to leave. If you want more there’s Chad Ford who is calling Bosh Detroit’s most realistic target. All I got out of that article is that Joe Dumars has really let himself go. That’s all I got to say about the trade but you can have at it.

Chris Bosh was named NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 26/10/3.7 and leading us to our oh so perfect record. The Pistons also happen to have a 3-0 record after beating Charlotte last night with some extremely balanced scoring. Now if you thought that we were going to catch a break with Iverson not playing you’re wrong, the Raptors will be his first opponent in a Detroit uniform and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Last year’s Raptors team beat the bad to average teams but consistently lost to the good ones. On Wednesday night we’ll face our biggest test of the season and should we pass it then all the enthusiasm around the club might be warranted. If we lose in the same way we lost to Detroit last year it means the team’s not there yet.

This will be a tough game to win simply because it’ll be the best defense we’ve faced so far and relying on Bosh heroics alone to pull us through against Pistons’ team defense isn’t going to work. It never has. Ever. Look it up. We’ll have more on the game tomorrow but it suffices to say that the preparation that has to go into a game against Detroit is significant because they do so many things well. Unlike the Warriors, we can’t just worry about transition defense or unlike the Sixers we can’t just focus on shutting down their wings. Whenever any team plays Detroit they have to shut down Detroit as a unit by troubling their well-oiled offense and cracking their disciplined defense with patience and perseverance. We just can’t focus on one area of the game, to beat a true team like Detroit we’ll have to play as a team and not just clear out for a player or two. It’ll be tough.

Tim Chisholm’s seeing all kinds of technical things that are right with out defense so far including traps, man-to-man schemes and matchup-zones. He’s right but the underlying theme in all that he’s pointing out is strong interior defense. You can’t play aggressive man-to-man defense without being assured that there’s a safety net in case your man blows by you for playing him too tight nor can you trap players without accounting for what would happen if they split the trap and get into the lane. Yes, I’m working towards giving Jermaine O’Neal’s presence some credit here but that’s not to take anything away from Moon and Parker’s hard work on the perimeter. So far we haven’t felt the slightest effects of having one of the worst SF rotations in the league and that’s just amazing. Eric Smith’s also talking about team defense in his latest blog and says Jermaine O’Neal’s asking people in the organization to tell him what the franchise records are so he can break them. Nice.

The rebounding numbers this year just don’t jive with out record and that’s mainly because we’ve been able to hit our threes, get clutch fourth quarter scores and manage to get key defensive stops. Getting outrebounded by an average of 12 rebounds is not a sustainable way to go and Sam Mitchell realizes that:

“We got some work done today. We still have a lot to clean up. Our rebounding is something we continue to talk about. Something we have to get better at. The weird thing about it is we get them when we have to go get them. In the second half we have rebounded when we had to rebound. You look at the Milwaukee game, we got every big rebound we needed to get. That last rebound Jamario got, you look at that on tape, that was a tough rebound to get. He came over the top of a couple of people.”

He’s also talking about inflated numbers like I pointed out after the Philly game – you know, Samuel Dalembert doing his Moses Malone impression by getting 6 rebounds on one play.

I’m happy to report that Joel Bosh is a member of the Raptors Republic group on Facebook. See, we’re on our way to something big. Surprisingly he’s got more friends than Chris Bosh.

One more day to gameday. I’m happy to tell you that aside from the All-Star break there’s only two other occasions (once in December and once in March) that we get starved for three days straight this season.

We’ll have a special guest tomorrow morning to preview the Raptors and Pistons. We might make a post a little later in the afternoon introducing a new feature but that’s dependent on whether I actually have any work to do at work. Damn job.

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