The FIBA tourney is over and the Americans have rightfully restored themselves as the best team in the world. It’s not like there was much doubt to begin with, but the formalities of restoring the “honor” have been completed. An overmatched Turkish side provided little resistance and the USA marched on to a gold medal win. In the bronze medal game, Lithuania beat Serbia thanks to a strong helping hand from Linas Kleiza who had a solid overall tournament.
Come to think of it, Kleiza expended more effort in this tournament than what Turkoglu did last summer, and that got him training camp off under the pretense of fatigue. I wonder what the Raptors have in plan for Kleiza. After all, it’s not uncommon for team to give players returning from international duty leeway in training camp. In some cases they sit out games and in others they show up late, so one expects the Raptors to go easy with Kleiza and Calderon once training camp does commence in 16 days time. One thing I’m sure of is that when asked about his fatigue, Kleiza’s not going to lean against a wall and mumble incoherent answers while giving a careless smile, which is the only lasting memory of Turk in training camp.
There’s not much going on so for the rest of this post I’m going to go back to a post from a few days ago where we discussed the generation of FTs. The following are the returning Raptors from last year and their FT to FG ratio (i.e., how many FTs do you take per FG). This can best be interpreted as a player’s ability to put pressure on the defense, thus forcing them to foul.
Stats don’t lie, do they? If you had to pick three Raptors who you would call aggressive in their mindset, they’d be Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson, who happen to lead this category. The more jumper-oriented Raptors are slagging behind in the teens. As much flak as Chris Bosh received for taking too many springers, he did lead the team with a FT rate of 51.2%. I’d like to focus on Jarrett Jack because he’s a fairly impressive figure when it comes to this stat. At 35.9%, he’s comparable to some of the best point guards in the league:
Jack doesn’t possess the quickness and set of moves that the above players do, but he does get in the lane frequently than one expects him to. Anytime he has a head of steam coming up the court, he’ll charge in to the paint looking to score, his court vision isn’t great in these situations but his ability to draw contact and finish is impressive. Whether you want your point guard playing like this for 36 minutes a game is debatable, but what is not is Jack’s capacity to put pressure on the defense. Ideally, this sort of bullish play would me more suited to your power forward or center, but Bargnani doesn’t come close in this area, and Johnson’s aggressiveness is more on the glass than with the ball in his hands.
Finally, a little about this stat and Calderon over the years:
Notice anything? There’s a correlation between Calderon’s effectiveness and his competency in getting to the line. A manifestation of this stat is the old “turn the corner on the high screen” move which Calderon had patented in his first couple seasons, especially as the backup in the division-winning 2006-07 campaign. Since then the injuries he’s suffered have taken a toll and he’s become more predictable and less able to put a defense under pressure.