What is it with this city and glorifying blue collar players? The fascination with these types reached a new level on Wednesday night as Aaron Gray heard MVP chants a couple of times when bricking free throws. It’s great to see him get decent burn. He just makes life hard for bigs on the other team with his big body and constant motor. The defensive glass stays clean and he does a good job of challenging players in the paint.
You know those point guards who actually got better with time in the NBA? Jose Calderon is one of those guys. The last few games he’s been urged to create his own offense, and it’s almost unbelievable how he was able to just turn up that part of his game on the drop of a hat. No doubt, teams are starting to pick up on this like the Pistons did last night, and Calderon responded with 15 assists. What I think is happening here folks, is that Calderon’s offensive prowess is starting to and will continue to open up the floor for him. It’s what separated a Steve Nash from a Brevin Knight. The hope is that Jose continues to maintain that offensive edge, and not revert back to that passive point guard play that has infuriated many a fan over the years.
What we’re seeing now is an elite point guard, not just some guy you trade away because his value is high right now. He’s one of the best in the league when he’s playing like this, and as mentioned before, point guards are a different breed. Some of them are like a fine wine, they age well. The decision-making improves, the shooting tends to get better, and that’s a lot of what being a 1 is all about. If he does end up getting traded, it had better be for a significant price.
DeMar DeRozan and James Johnson had decent games. The seven rebounds for DeMar were nice to see. He was actually a decent rebounder in previous levels. Johnson continues to add a little bit every game. It’s actually exciting to see, because plays like facial on Jason Maxiell show how much raw talent the man has.
I’m glad to see the first half end on a good note. It really was a summation of everything good that’s being poured into this organization, from better direction to better defensive effort and scheming, to the maturation of Andrea Bargnani as a complete player. While we may not end up drafting first overall because of these improvements, it’s clear now that there actually may be some value in these intangibles like accountability and “culture”. The Raptor faithful saw these elements on full display last night and Aaron f***ing Gray was the unlikely target of their appreciation.
On to All-Star Weekend. Get the props ready. Ugh.