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This is the worst time of the summer. All the signings and trades have been made and everything that could be said about them has been said. I suppose we could ponder whether Amir Johnson will get any minutes behind Bargnani, Bosh, Rasho and Evans but we all know those kinds of things will be decided in training camp and pre-season. I do believe that Amir Johnson was a guy a few Raptors fans over at you know where drooled over two years ago. His lanky athletic figure combined with our nostalgia for Keon Clark made him an attractive prospect for us, but now that we’ve gotten him the excitement isn’t close to what it would’ve been at the time. Still, just like Belinelli he’s another freebie Colangelo picked up for nothing and if anyone’s complaining about the trade they need to have their head examined. Is the small forward a more crucial need? No doubt, but Delfino wasn’t coming to the Raptors so we took some action that can’t hurt.

The other rumoured trade is the Matt Carroll for Marcus Banks swap. Carroll has a declining contract which is two years longer than Banks’ costing 3.9M and 3.5M (player option). Basketball wise, this is a good move because Marcus Banks is utterly useless and the only way he’s going to see the floor is if the mop girl calls in sick and Triano commands him to wipe the floor. The question is whether 7.4M is a valuable investment over two years in someone of Carroll’s skill. I haven’t seen him play much but so I’m not going to comment on his defensive abilities and what-not, all I’ll say is that he shoots 40% from the three-point line and doesn’t play out of his skill-set. He knows his role and sticks to it but as we found out last year, it’s very hard to determine whether a pure three-point shooter will be of any use to us since his production depends on what else is going on around the floor.

I would imagine that having an extra shooting option would be a nice-to-have when Turkoglu and Bosh run their two-man game, much like the role Bogans and Evans played for the Magic the last two years. There’s also a redundancy factor since Belinelli is an equally good shooter who brings more to the game offensively than Carroll. You also wonder at who’s expense Carroll’s minutes might come. Belinelli, DeRozan and Wright seem to be the logical choices and frankly, I’d rather give those three the playing time with the reason being personal preference, development and defense, respectively.

Many have already spoken about the impact of a trade like this when looked at in the context of the declining cap and tax level so there’s no need for me to reiterate that. I will say that until Chris Bosh is either traded or signed to an extension we will have no idea whether signings like this are feasible or not. We first have to spend what we need to spend before dealing with players like Carroll because the last thing we want is an acquisition like him preventing us from making a bigger, more significant deal with Bosh or whoever. With all but one of our core locked up (Turkoglu, Bargnani, Calderon, Jack, DeRozan) it becomes a question of doing what’s necessary first and Carroll isn’t necessary. Also, the current roster hasn’t actually proven that it works and instead of allocating this money in Carroll right now, it can be better used to tweak the roster later on.

This next segment falls in the Look Ma, no hands! category and is motivated by Tom Liston’s post a few weeks ago. I’ve always thought of points in the paint to be a very important stat so I put it to the test with the Raptors in mind. With the help of this site (actually, the site did all the work) I correlated PINP with point differential and the verdict was a correlation coefficient of 0.396633 with 0 meaning there’s no correlation, 1 meaning there’s a perfect correlation and -1 meaning that there is a reverse correlation (i.e.: More PINPs mean less wins). This graph also looks like it says something:

To look at things in a more black and white perspective (pardon the double entendre – haha – see because the above chart is also black and white) in terms of wins and losses. We only had a PINP edge in 22 games last year and here’s how we fared in them:

Edge Record %age
1-5 2-2 .500
6-10 7-1 .875
11-15 2-3 .400
16-20 2-3 .400
Total 13-9 .591

In the 55 games where we didn’t have the advantage, we went something like this

Deficit Record %age
1-5 6-8 .429
6-10 6-9 .400
11-15 1-4 .200
16-20 4-7 .364
21-25 0-4 .000
26-30 1-3 .250
More than 30 0-2 .000
Total 18-37 .327

In case you’re wondering those two games where we got absolutely and positively owned in the paint were at home Charlotte where we were -40 and in Phoenix where they Suns got 90 PINP and were +54. That was the game after which Shaq made the RuPaul comments. In games where there was no PINP differential we went 2-3.

So what does all this tell us? There’s definitely a correlation although it’s nothing close to a causality. If you extrapolate our record when we win the PINP battle the record comes to 48-34 which is very respectable, whether analysis of stats such as fast-break points or points off turnovers will yield similar results remains to be seen (perhaps for another day) but there’s no doubt that winning the PINP battle is a tremendous starting point in getting yourself a respectable record. 82Games did a study on this a couple years ago which is worth a look. Have we improved in this area this summer? Your thoughts are welcome.

That’s it for this Monday morning.

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