"We as coaches have almost double our work because our personnel changes," Triano said. "And when our personnel changes, our strengths change.
"If we don’t know who is going to be there any night, it doubles or triples our work because we have to double and triple our preparation."
While coaches have to adjust, players who are hurt have to adapt and there are those on the team who know they’ll only play when someone’s down with an injury. That has an impact on their preparation.
It’s all-encompassing problem for a team.
Take, for instance, Marcus Banks, who only plays when one of Calderon or Jack goes down. He can’t sit there and hope someone gets hurt, nor can he predict when his number will be called, but he knows sometime it will.
"Of course, you don’t want a guy to go down and be hurt, but I have to stay ready just in case something does happen," Banks said. "It’s a long season. I have to be here for the team.
"I actually do the same thing every single game day, no matter if I play or not. I’m going to condition for 45 minutes, I’m going to get a lift in, basically do a hot tub and things like that. I prepare exactly the same way."
Who’s hot Golden State’s high-octane offence must be salivating at the thought of seeing Toronto’s dismal defence.
Who’s not The Warriors are actually worse than the Raptors at stopping the other team. At 17-47, their offensive output is cold when they allow opponents more than 111 points per game.
“She’s notorious, she’s the king, the king,” says Raptors forward-guard Antoine Wright. He says even when he played with the New Jersey Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, the word would be to “get up with Mona when we get to Toronto.”
“She got us about 15 wins this year,” says Wright. “Throwing those Saturday night parties works great. She needs a raise.” In a Wall Street Journal article earlier this week, the New York Knicks’ Toney Douglas and Tracy McGrady also bigged up Halem’s bashes.
While many diehard Raptors fans will hate to see the "franchise" Chris Bosh moved, I would argue that comparing Bosh and Lee is like comparing apples to apples. I think all NBA analysts would agree that while Bosh might have a better offensive game, Lee has a greater "motor" for the game. Both players rebound and play average "D". I do however believe Lee would fit in very well with the starting lineup of the Raptors as he demands less touches than Bosh, allowing for the continued improvement of players such as DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani. Turkoglu has also been quoted that he doesn’t mind seeing more "Ball". On the other side of the border in New York, this deal would have them batting 0.500 for their 2010 free agent shopping spree. While New York’s dream of landing LBJ should never come true, Joe Johnson is rumoured as another piece of the puzzle.
To quote my man Devs, "The Raptors got tendencies." And right now the tendencies are reverting back to the ones that were present at the start of the season putting head coach Jay Triano is in a bit of a quandary. It’s that time of the season when the line-up should be solidified for the stretch run to try and make the playoffs, but you have to wonder if he is contemplating line-up changes.
"We haven’t made any decisions right now," Triano said. "I don’t think anybody played themselves into a spot or out of a spot (the other night in Sacramento)."
"Maybe too many guys played themselves out of spots, and not enough guys played themselves into spots," laughed Triano. "Now that would be a change if we played with three guys."
Maybe the boos that will rain on Hedo Turkoglu will knock some sense into the underachieving Raptors small forward, whose every step forward has been followed by three steps backward in Toronto.
On Sunday, Turkoglu makes his first trip to Portland, where the basketball faithful is among the most rabid and educated in the NBA.
The team’s fan base has long memories. And not so long ago, Turkoglu spurned the Trail Blazers to sign with the Raptors, an off-season move that was hailed in Hogtown.
As the Raptors prepare to play the host Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, the team continues to wait for Turkoglu to be that consistent presence they thought they had acquired at considerable cost.
It may yet happen, but as of today, no off-season move has resulted in so little return and so much disappointment than Turkoglu. If there’s been a bigger bust, it’s hard to find one.
The Raptors backed their way out of fifth in the East during Chris Bosh’s injury and now sit in a virtual tie with Charlotte and Miami. And the Raptors still have to face the Bobcats, Heat, and Bulls one more time.
With 19 games remaining, the Raptors have nine home dates and face 11 teams in playoff contention. They play a top four conference contender six times.
The NBA championship is the hardest to win of all the major sports leagues. Plug the numbers in, look at the list of champions, and 99 times out of a 100, the Raps won’t stand a chance. With the exception of the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons, you basically need either the best player in the league, or two of the 20 best players in the league. And a supporting cast of players that would be one of the best players on any middling team. And really good defense.
Reading the tea leaves, Toronto will not have this formula. Not in the direction that Bryan Colangelo has the team pointed in. Not this year, and not in the next five. I hate saying this because I have been happy with the moves he’s made at the time he made them. And the truth is, I don’t know if he could have done any better at the time. If MLSE hadn’t re-upped this year, another organization would have snatched him up immediately. Executives of his pedigree are not easy to find. If you let go of him, who do you replace him with? Bill Simmons?
Look, when things were going well like they were from late December to the end of February, this team was a lot of fun to watch. The offensive juggernaut needed barely passable defense to win games. Different guys were stepping up on different nights, and it seemed that depth was one of their strengths. Now the peanut gallery is chiming in about the rotation not being tight enough and how guys are being given too much rope and not having to face any real repercussions for missed defensive assignments and poor shot selection.
Here’s the contribution from yours truly, regarding how the Raptors lost their game earlier this week against the LA Lakers, on yet another clutch jump shot by Black Mamba:
The Raptors western road trip continues on Saturday night, when the boys from Toronto make a stop in Golden State to take on the consistently battered and bruised Warriors. For the Raptors the game marks the 3rd of the trip, with both of the first two contributing to the team’s loss column.
As we hit the stretch-run of the regular season the Raptors are in desperate need of a win. Most chances are that by the end of the night, the Raptors will find themselves in the 8th seed of the Eastern Conference -with only the 9th place Bulls playing equally as poor as our boys.
It’s not going to be easy for the Raptors to get back on track in the next couple of games. Tonight they face a Warriors team that is much better at home than on the road and then in the second half of the back to back face a dangerous Portland team that has battled through its fair share of adversity this season.
I don’t give the Raps much of a chance to win the second game, so unless they intend on laying a goose egg on this road trip they must win tonight.
Frankly I don’t have high hopes. For a team that is once again searching for a defensive identity, facing the Warriors in their building is not exactly what the doctor ordered. The Warriors are the second highest scoring team in the league at 107.2 points per game and are likely eager to face a team that both provides little resistance and seems to have a plethora of off the court issues to deal with.