With only three practices and a shootaround left, the crew at the RR home office in Athabasca, Alberta are desperately trying to figure out how to prepare the Raptors for opening night and they’ve come up with ten recommendations. Without further ado I present the Top Ten things to do before opening night.
- Have Marco Belinelli come off a screen and take an off-balance three within a second of catching the ball. Do this 500 times a day. It’s not a good shot but maybe if he practices, it could turn into one.
- DeMar DeRozan can spot-up but can’t pull-up? No problem, put Wright on him and force him to pull-up and shoot a 20-footer. Do this 500 times a day.
- Clear the gym except for Bosh, Johnson and Bargnani. Play 2-on-1 with Bosh playing offense for four hours, have a restriction that he can’t take a shot from outside 7 feet.
- Have a scrimmage where every time you miss a defensive assignment, the game is stopped and the culprit does 20 dribbling suicides while everybody else does chinups.
- Intra-squad game with Calderon-Bosh on one side and Turkoglu-Bargnani on the other. Every offensive play on either team should start with a pick ‘n roll. That’ll get them used to it.
- Have Johnson and Bargnani view a 20-minute instructional video on the concept of staying between your man and the rim when rebounding. Test them individually as Belinelli’s hoisting his jumpers and Reggie Evans is trying to get the offensive rebound.
- Scrimmage where every play on Jose’s team starts with a high screen and ends with him either taking a jumper if his man goes under, or driving if he tries to fight through or switch.
- 4 on 3 fastbreak drills, Jose, Bosh and DeRozan vs. Jack, Bargnani and Wright with Belinelli as the designated offense guy. Simulate the rebound and run – no jumpers allowed, if you can’t get a layup, you have to pass. Let’s see if we’re really serious about run ‘n gun.
- Practice the hard close-out. When your defense is all about help and recovery, a strong close-out is everything.
…and the #1 thing to do before opening night…drum roll….
- Have Triano read about the triangle, then have him look at Bargnani, then have him check out the European composition of this team. Then have him wonder why he isn’t even using at least portions of that system.