[Editor’s note: defintions for these metrics can be found here.]
The Wright Move
“…intensity becomes infectious…You’ve got to play at both ends of the floor if you’re going to be successful” – Jay Triano
Our wings have potential to score in bunches, but consistency has been an issue. Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza broke out in a serious way against Denver, but have been quite inconsistent so far this year. I pitched for Julian Wright seeing more (any!) floor time in the Statophile posts over the last two weeks. Jay Triano finally gave him some reasonable minutes against Denver (he was +6, led the team) and Detroit (+17, led the team) and in return Wright gave the team the hustle and defensive intensity it sorely needed. Yes, I realize raw +/- stats over a couple games doesn’t mean a lot, but have a look at (Bargnani fans, please shield your eyes now):
Have a look at Julian Wright’s adjusted +/- numbers over TWO years – its near the best of our current squad. And this year (yes, the sample size is small, but its what we have) he has the best on/off court defensive rating by far the best (and yes, a decent bit of which was against second units). His Steal percentage is the best on the team (yes, Dorsey is a snick better, but his Turnover percentage is also very high). Wright is not has active on offense, but does have a better PER rating than both DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems.
How can you not like a player who’s Twitter handle is “take1_4theteam“?!
Start him. DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems are somewhat similar players. They can both still get their minutes, but have Sonny come off the bench. It may also be a motivational tool – send the signal that a strong commitment to defense will be rewarded. Wright also has the extra height (6’8″), wingspan (7′2.25″) and weight (225lbs) to take on bigger wings. Wright may be inconsistent early on as he adjusts to a new role and more minutes, but I still believe its the right move. This is about balancing our the lineups and it will be effective.
Sir, my name is Julian Wright and I can play defense. – Arsenalist’s fictitious Wright quote
Calderon should continue to start. Full stop.
Jose Caleron is a veteran. A pass first, protect the ball PG. He’s third in the NBA with respect to assist/turnover ratio. Many of our starts have been terrible. However, with Calderon as a starter, we’ve won 4 games and lost 5. With Jack/Bayless as a starter we’re 4-9.
I’ll note that his starter’s minutes (~27 avg) versus backup (~22 min avg) skews the results a bit, but there appears to be a correlation between his confidence (in the starter’s role) and efficiency. I have really liked what Bayless has shown so far. He’s gritty at getting to the hoop and drawing fouls. Yet his assist percentage (see below) is still quite good. We know his D needs some work, but that applies to the majority of the team. I still like to see him get significant minutes and given Calderon’s age and injuries it would be helpful for the latter to get the extra rest anyway. But I like Calderon starting the 1st and 3rd quarters – traditionally a weak spot for this squad. Bayless will also benefit from largely playing against second units and will continue to be able to break down the opposing PG to get to the hoop.
Lineups of the Week
Best lineup? In support of my support for Wright, I’ll cherry pick this lineup: Barbosa, Wright, Kleiza, Johnson, and Bargnani who went +10 in seven minutes to start the fourth against Detroit. This keyed the comeback. Worst lineup? Bayless, DeRozan, Weems, Johnson/Kleiza, and Bargnani gave up the big run to Denver. They were -9 in 8 minutes. You’re just not going to see any ball movement in this lineup and defensively its weak.
Sources: basketball-reference.com, espn.comFollow @raptorsrepublic