Chris Bosh is playing harder than last year
He’s not playing harder, he’s playing inside. Fans have been begging him to do that for six years now and he’s finally shifted his primary offensive game from 15 feet to 7 feet and that’s made all the difference. Comparing his hotspots to last year (08-09, 09-10, you’ll notice that he’s taking 85% of his shot-attempts from close range which is a 27% increase from last year. Even the jumpers he’s taking are shorter thus having a higher chance of going in. A shorter jumper means a lighter touch which means the rim is more likely to be your friend and how many times this year have we seen his short hooks and jumpers bounce around the rim and in? Many. Those of you who play the game in any capacity know exactly what I’m talking about. Part of his resurgence is definitely the improved strength, but a bigger part of it is the mentality change that he’s supposed to be playing closer to the rim. It’s also been a relief to see him gain his muscle without losing his quickness which would’ve been a questionable trade-off.

Jarrett Jack is a suspect signing
Here is a man who has shown that he’s a very serviceable backup in his time with Indiana and Portland. Right now he’s struggling to find his niche on the team, his mind is split between being a playmaker, being an energizer, being a scorer and is also stuck between two positions. The Jose-Jack lineup has received enough criticism on this site for good reason and last night even ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz wondered aloud why these two were playing together. He even posed the question to Jay Triano who responded by saying that “the more people you have out there to handle the ball, the better”. I’m not sure having two PGs out there only for ball-handling purposes is any advantage if you’re conceding on defense, especially when you can players like Turkoglu and Belinelli who are great ball-handlers and can easily play point-forward for brief, if not longer, stretches.

What the Raptors need most from Jack is energy and leadership for the second unit which is his to command. Of all his abilities, the drive game is what he needs to make a priority because that is what will set up scores for lesser refined talents such as Amir Johnson and Antoine Wright. It will also help his shooting percentage which is at 36%, 8 points below his career average. His mentality should not be that of a scorer and all he needs to do is lead by example through his effort, get into the paint, and find options because there will be open men which he can use his court vision and wrist-strength to find. I’m at a loss to explain his recent lackadaisical cross-court and skip-passes which even TV viewers can anticipate being picked off. That needs fixing and I point to better concentration as the remedy.

Jose Calderon looks off people
He doesn’t. Or at least he’s done a much better job this year of making the riskier pass than last year when Marion was left with his arm up in the air on every other possession. I’ve seen a lot of people in the chat point out that Bargnani isn’t getting the ball in the block despite securing position, that’s just not true and an important part of being a big man is to demand the ball, not politely raise your hand. Jose’s done an equitable job of ball distribution and deferring to other ball-handlers on the team, which is one of the reasons the Raptors aren’t missing many offensive opportunities, as certified by their highly ranked offense.

Even though his assist numbers are down by 2.2 per game, his AST/TO ratio is higher by a full half assist going from 4.23 to 4.78. In fact, after starting the season with back-to-back games of 3 turnovers each against Cleveland and Memphis, he’s never since had more than 2. The bounce in Jose’s step has been more than evident on the roadtrip and he’s gotten stronger with each passing game. The willingness to attack the rim and hunt down the behind-the-screen jumper is returning which will ease the pressure off everyone else.

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