One of the things that really bugs me about the Raptors league-worst defense is where the help is coming from. Generally speaking, we tend to send a lot of help in order to compensate for our defense at the wings. Triano himself admitted to this and cited that a large part of their defense is to help on beaten guards. I’ve picked a play from the Minnesota game where Jonny Flynn has gotten past his man and help needs to be provided. The options are Bosh, Weems and Bargnani, and the help ended up coming from Weems which left Ryan Gomes wide open for a three. Question is, is Weems really in the best position to provide help?
The corner action here sees Al Jefferson set a screen for Jonny Flynn on Jarrett Jack. The options are 1) Jack fights through and negates the screen, 2) Bosh hedges hard and fast, giving Jack time to recover leaving Bosh to go back to guarding Jefferson and 3) switch conceding a Flynn/Bosh mismatch and 4) Jack going under and testing Flynn’s flaky jumper (35% from 15-23 feet). None of the four things happen.
Jack doesn’t fight through at all and is trailing the play from the first instant. Bosh does not hedge the slightest leaving Flynn with a clear path to the heart of the defense. Weems has already seen the danger and is starting to leave his man. Bargnani is sticking with Love and has his back turned to the play, and as you’ll see soon he has no intention of helping on the play, whether this is coaching or an individual decision, I do not know. Generally speaking, help in these situations comes from the interior and not the perimeter, especially in this case where the pass to the perimeter is extremely simple.
An instant later, Weems is committed, Jack is a total non-factor because of his reluctance to fight through the earlier screen, and Bosh is half worried about Jefferson and half worried about Flynn. He’s in no-man’s land as his help on Flynn is very weak, and he’s also not defending Jefferson properly since Flynn can easily make a bounce pass to him for a layup. The lack of a lane-presence for the Raptors is apparent here and if we had a real shot-blocker in there, we would simply funnel Flynn towards him and rely on short, easier interior rotations. Bargnani is still committed to Love.
Flynn has managed to suck-in three Raptors and given Gomes a clean look at three which he makes. Nobody is looking to rotate out to Gomes, not even Jack who’s ben out of the play for some time now.
You can debate all night whether Bargnani should’ve been the one to help instead of Gomes (36% 3FG) but what’s lost in this play is the initial defense by Jack and Bosh. It is terrible, it should never have come to Weems or Bargnani helping on this play and the threat should’ve been dealt with early by Jack and Bosh.
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