Toronto's defensive struggles emanate from more simple considerations: The Raptors don't have good defensive players, and the coaching staff isn't getting much out of the players it has.
Consider Turkoglu, a lightning rod for Raptors fans this season because of his indifference. He's not a good defender, but he was still part of the league's top-ranked defense in Orlando last season. That's partly because Dwight Howard had his back, but it's also because Stan Van Gundy put in a scheme that works and held his players accountable when they didn't follow it.
In Toronto, there's no evidence that happens. Head coach Jay Triano was called out by his own players after a particularly egregious early-season effort in Atlanta and briefly seemed to get things under control. But his charges have regressed to old bad habits of late, and there's no indication that he's willing or able to squeeze anything better out of them.
The league's only Canadian coach, Triano has been a protected species in Hogtown since his hiring as an assistant in 2002. (Quick: Name me one other assistant who has survived three head-coaching changes with the same team.) He probably also seems delightfully reasonable after a series of, shall we say, entertaining head coaches from north of the border. No, Butch Carter he ain't. But maybe he should be, because his current method isn't getting it done.
Lots of questions jump out when watching Triano operate. Can he create defensive schemes? Can he get his players to execute them? Can he hold them accountable when they don't? Does he know Rasho Nesterovic is on the team? I'm not in the Raptors' huddle, but from afar those answers appear to be: not likely, no, no and no.
All those 12-step programs say admitting the problem is the first step, but I'm not sure the Raptors have reached that point yet. After the Sacramento debacle, Triano talked at length about his team's poor shot selection. That's known around these parts as ignoring the elephant in the room. Orlando takes bad shots too, but the Magic still try when the other team has the ball.