There’s no getting around he fact that the Raptors let one get away on Tuesday night. Playing a Brooklyn Nets team that was down two starters, two of its key reserves and was lugging around a five-game losing streak like an anvil around their collective necks, the Nets were ripe for the picking. The critics can jump all over that last chance with 11 seconds remaining that came up short, but it never should have come down to that. The Raptors just reverted to an all-too-common approach — playing down to the level of its competition.
But what seems to be lost in all of this is that as a proven scorer in this league – never a tremendously efficient one, but never this inefficient either – and a player still very much in his prime, what other course of action would anyone realistically expect from Gay? He’s not going to stop shooting. Gay is in the league and paid the way he is because he is that fearless scorer. That guy who, when others don’t want to take that game-on-the-line shot, gladly accepts the challenge. Gay is the player he is because he has that inner confidence that when he lets go of the basketball, it will find its destination at the bottom of the net whether it’s the third minute of the first quarter of the final minute of the fourth. Obviously, that doesn’t happen every time. That would be the definition of perfect, and nobody is perfect.
his wasn’t the first time that Casey has used 5 substitutes at the same time for an extended period and it wasn’t the first time the move had hurt the Raptors chances. Toronto has overtly been trying out various players and different combinations of players at different times during games as President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri wants to see what he has. The result hasn’t always been pretty. Unlike what Casey’s good friend and fellow head coach Terry Stotts has been doing in Portland, a 9 man rotation has been the exception rather than the rule in Toronto.
Today marks 6 years of doing the Dino Nation Blog. It has been an interesting and great experience in my life. It has also been a period in which the Raptors have been hard to love and not really had any kind of real success. Last night was a night like many others over the last 6 years. The Raptors had an opportunity facing a team that was plagued with injuries and failed to take advantage. So many times the Raptors have disappointed over these 6 years it can make it hard to stay motivated to be completely honest.
In today’s NBA there are almost ZERO guards who cannot shoot or defend, Sacramento was glad to let Evans go because it’s hard to be successful when you’re guards give up a lot of points and then can’t shoot 3’s and space the floor. If derozan continues to shoot better and defend at an average rate he’ll earn that money. I think he’s a second or third option at this point, but I don’t like it when guys in that role struggle playing off the ball. I am impressed by his defense and athleticism, his ideal situation would be an off-ball PG like curry or lillard and a fast paced offense that allows him to get out in the open floor, and that’s probably better for him defensively. Interesting: there were 17 guards last year who averaged over 25 minutes a game and made below the average number of 3 point shots (using fantasy stats, can’t find league average 3 point percentage). They break down into 3 categories Passers (Parker, Rondo, Wall, Rubio, Miller, Wade, Collison), Elite Defenders (Stpehenson, Bradley, Butler, Allen) and the rest: Ridnour, Sessions, Stuckey, Evans, Henderson and DeRozan.
Moreover, the ways in which players reach their box score statistics are important for predicting their performance going forward. Fortunately for Gay, advanced statistics are starting to become available to measure even those nebulous contributions that “don’t show up on the stat sheet.” Oftentimes these metrics bolster, modify or even contradict the conclusions of box score-based conventional wisdom. Here are three players on whom advanced metrics shed particular light.
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