Bosh believes the Raptors defensive failures thus far have little to do with the system itself. It's the players' lack of execution that is to blame.
"We're talking about trying to be a good defensive team but we're not putting in consistent effort," Bosh said after he and his teammates were abused by a San Antonio team that was without it's top two offensive performers in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
"I'm not questioning the scheme," Bosh said. "We could talk about schemes all day — he's supposed to be here and he's supposed to be there. It's just about getting the job done."
Bosh believes the talent assembled is fully capable of "protecting the house" and making the system work. His question is how much that assembled talent is committed to it.
"Anybody — the greatest defensive coach ever — could come in here but unless you execute it with some passion, it's probably not going to work," Bosh said.
But if there were thoughts that coach Jay Triano would re-think the team's defensive philosophy, they should be put immediately out of mind.
"We're not going to change this system, we just have to play it better," Triano said during the just-completed 1-2 road trip through New Orleans, Dallas and San Antonio.
The Raptors have shown at times this year a penchant for playing well one night and wretchedly the next.
They give up far too many points – 265 in their last two games alone – but turned in passable efforts in wins over Cleveland, Detroit and New Orleans.
The trouble is that when they break down, they really break down. A lack of effort on the boards let the short-staffed Spurs dominate the rebounding battle and register a win on Monday. Against Orlando over a week ago, Toronto's inability to close out on shooters allowed the Magic to shoot at will from beyond the three-point arc.
"We should be winning by 10," Calderon said. "That's just how I feel."
With no disrespect intended to Calderon, the obvious response should have been, "Based on what?" No doubt, the sentiment was a reflection of his view on the team's offence, which at the time was hitting 62% of its shots. But that did not tell the whole story. The Raptors
were defending rather pitifully at the time, and they were being manhandled on their own glass.
And that, through seven games, has been the great realized fear for the Raptors: For as good as they can be offensively — and so far, they are third league-wide in points and fourth in field-goal percentage — they can be exactly that bad in the other facets of the game.
They will score, but they will give up even more.
The Raptors have held Cleveland, Detroit, and New Orleans under 100 points in wins but surrendered an average 125 points in their four losses.
Similar to the Pistons, the Bulls are a low scoring team averaging just 88.5 points over their first six games. There highest offensive output was 93 points against Charlotte.
Bur also like the Pistons, the Bulls defense has been stingy. Except for the 118-90 loss in Boston, the Bulls have surrendered just over 87 points per game.
Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani are putting together some impressive stats, but the Raptors are giving up 111.4 points per game. On Monday, Toronto found a way to lose 131-124 to the Spurs, who played without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.
The problem is, neither Bosh nor Bargnani is capable of defending the center position, but one of them usually ends up playing it.
"We just have to do a better job of closing out guys," coach Jay Triano said. "I wasn't too concerned about the 3-point shots. Three-pointers happen because guys blow by. We have to man up and keep the guys in front of us. We are not doing that right now."
Toronto is allowing 111.4 points per game. Only Memphis (112.0) and Golden State (113.2) are allowing more. Offensively, the Raptors are among the highest scoring teams in the NBA, averaging 109.4 points.
Chris Bosh has been a big part of that success, ranking fifth in the NBA in scoring (29.0 ppg). He's tied with Utah's Carlos Boozer for fourth in rebounding (11.6).
"Hedo's been very good," acknowledged Triano. "He needs to get in better shape. That'll come with the minutes we'll play but I think he's done well."
"He's fitting in," added Bosh. "We're still trying to learn each other, really everyone on this team is trying to figure out how we're going to win some games and how we're going to stay consistent. It's been going well, he's a very unselfish player and once he gets his offense going he's going to be a real plus for us."
Hedo's numbers are right about where they were last year when he helped lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals, while Chris Bosh is having a career-year as is Andrea Bargnani. Their success shows that there's no need to do any massive system overhauls; what the Raptors need to do is just execute better defensively.
Here are 3 keys points I feel the Raptors will need focus on to get a much needed win, in order to avoid a 3 game slide:
- Need to play solid perimeter defense to force the Bulls to take contested jumpshots and 3 pointers.
- Take advantage of the opposition's missed jump shots and convert those into points on the fast break.
- Focus on rebounding at both ends of the floor, especially since the Bulls are strong rebounders on the offensive glass.
A two-handed Matt 'Red Rocket' Bonner's slam on the Raptors. Toronto public transit raising the prices. These two things cannot be unconnected.
Bargnani grabbed only 4 rebounds. White men can't jump.
Whatever they gave Manu in this anti-rabies shot, I'll have some, please. He might be aging backwards now for all we know.
I admire the Spurs. They have all I love about NBA – winning, class, good-looking jerseys and Tim Duncan. I adore Tim Duncan.
The Fan590s Zack Cooper had a chance to catch up with the President and General Manager of the Toronto Raptors at the Sports Management Conference in downtown Toronto
‘Protecting the house’, an area just extended beyond the paint, is the core principal of the Raptors defence and while it remains very much a work in progress, Bosh says the onus is on the players to make the system work, not the coaches to change the system to fit the players.
Head coach Jay Triano has made it very clear that the scheme is here to stay. He says too often in the past the organization has had poor stretches like the past two games in which they have given up 131 and 129 points respectively and then reacted by changing their basic approach.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has made a pitch to the NHL for Toronto to hold the annual Winter Classic at BMO Field, a pair of entry drafts, as well as all-star games for both the NHL and Major League Soccer.
The Raptors are a tough team to watch. They make you laugh, cry and shriek in terror. These guy's have made me sweat watching them play. To get an idea of where this team could be at the end of the year is complicated and riddled with What ifs…
Keep an eye on Toronto (3-4) over the next week or so. The Raptors host Chicago on Wednesday and then head west for games at the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. Then Toronto returns home for games against Miami and Orlando. Yikes.
I like the Raptors' frontcourt; let's see what the backcourt contingent of Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Antoine Wright and Jarrett Jack can do during this stretch.
However, there is one interesting quirk that has begun to crop up that is worth some extra attention, and that is the three-headed shooting guard position. As nice as it is to be able to get rookie DeMar DeRozan meaningful minutes with his best teammates, one has to wonder what he is actually learning being totally ignored while out on the court. He is one of the few Raptors who has committed to running the floor in transition, he makes hard backdoor cuts, he is athletic enough to get himself to the free throw line and yet he NEVER sees the ball. While the Raptors have a lot of hands to feed in that starting five, no unit is as effective with four offensive options as it is with five. Young players like DeRozan tend to perk up when they are afforded some role in the scoring, and his athleticism and quickness on defence have shown an uptick in those scenarios. this is simply stage one of a larger, full-season plan, but the early returns on any plan are hard to decipher at this stage.
Unfortunately, there seem to be too many of those defensive benchmarks being reached by the opposition’s offence over the Raptors first seven games.
In the event you are not keeping score at home, Orlando’s 17 three-point field goals in its win was a new water mark for opponents from behind the arc and Dallas’ 62.4 per cent from the floor was the fourth-highest shooting percentage by an opponent in franchise history. It’s not good when every other game an opponent is rewriting the defensive section of your franchise’s record book.
It will take some time for the defence to come together but what is disturbing is the apparent lack of commitment to the effort needed to kick start the system. It was the third time in this young season that defense was devoid of intensity.
Does the system work?
It’s hard to tell.
But outside of the potential second year player Derrick Rose brings to the team, the Chicago Bulls suffer from a lack of true star power. However opposing teams will find little to no drop off in talent or ability when the Bulls bench enters the game. Chicago can beat any team that doesn’t play at their best.
As expected, the Toronto Raptors have gotten off to an inconsistent start to the season. The integration of nine new players and head coach Jay Triano’s new offensive and defensive schemes have produced wild variances in the team’s play. The only real positive is the 3-4 record after seven games against six playoff teams.
As expected Toronto’s strength has been the ability to score as they’ve averaged over 109 points per contest. However, the Raptors have been surrendering an average of 111 points and questions about their ability to defend on a night-to-night basis abound.
Last week we thought we’d have a little poke at our cross-sport rivals in the city. It’s all in good fun of course. I guess that’s what you get when you mix advertising creatives and hard core Raptor fans.
Jay Triano's stated goal going into this season was to have the Raptors "protect the house" — meaning he wanted them to defend the lane and not allow easy buckets inside. The house is most certainly not being protected. It would seem the house is guarded by a drugged poodle because the house has been looted, vandalized and then burned beyond recognition. Even a Pistons fan wouldn't live there.
Only three Raptors have made the all-star team in team history — Vince Carter (five times), Antonio Davis (once) and Bosh (four times). Carter was named as a starter in each of his five Raptors appearances, while Bosh has started twice. Davis also started in 2001, due to injuries.
A total of four Raptors (Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and Hedo Turkoglu) are representing Toronto on this year's ballot. NBA All-Star Balloting presented by TMobile begins this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. (ET). The 2010 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live on TSN in Canada and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, will be held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, before an expected crowd of more than 80,000 — the largest group ever to witness a live basketball game, on Sunday, February 14, 2010.
Triano went with an 11-man rotation against the Spurs. If Reggie Evans was able to play, I don’t doubt that he would have fingered 12 guys for playing time. The problem is that he needs a solid 8 that are willing to play defense every minute they are out on the court. Please Jay – find those 8 guys. It’s time to use the bench with a purpose. Yes – it takes time for the defensive principles to become second-nature. Yes – it takes time for all the new guys to gel. But it seems like decisions are being avoided in the hopes of lucking into some chemistry. Even then – when the team is rolling a little bit against Detroit, Triano was ready to throw the developing chemistry to the wind so that everyone could get their minutes in. It was his player, Antoine Wright, that made the decision for him – to stick with what was working.
There’s no disguising the fact that last night’s loss in San Antonio was ugly. Shooting 59% as a team … but losing … is inexcusable. Offensive rebounding and second chance points hammered the Raptors.But as Toronto sits at 3-4 now … getting set to host the Bulls tomorrow … I caught up with 4-time All Star and franchise leader, Chris Bosh, about the back to back defeats against the Mavericks and Spurs.
“I forget about every loss,” he said. “Anytime we lose a basketball game, I might be mad at the moment, but I leave it where it is and move on. That’s all you can really do. I don’t really dwell too much on the losses. You can learn from them but as far as emotion and feeling ‘that feeling’ … I just let it go. I just focus on winning (the next) basketball game. You can’t get too caught up in the losing ’cause you’ll lose more.”
Look, I know the Raptors are not a gifted defensive team, but clearly Triano's new schemes are not working. This team is simply the worst defensive team in the NBA. Triano has done nothing to try to hide or compensate for their deficiencies. In 4 of 7 games, the Raptors have surrendered 115 points or more. It’s absurd.
You need to coach to the talent level of your players. The Raps are a gifted offensive squad, but limited on defense. Why not simplify the defence and throw in an occassional zone to mask their deficiencies?
Chuck and his catch phrases would become known by all Raptor fans across the country. I found out after this interview that the Raps will be honouring Chuck in some way on Wednesday as part of the Bulls Raps game. Chuck never made a mention of that at all in this interview. I am sure he was aware of it because he references the Raps honouring Vince Carter on the 22nd. Chuck is just not that type of guy. Despite having his own bobble-head and being known more than some of the players, he always was a humble nice man.