I am in favor of him starting the season and have no doubt that Coach Casey plans to do just that. But his position should not be seen as guaranteed for more than six weeks.
Here's my line-up:
Lowry and DeRozan were our backcourt last year. We now have a back-up plan in GV and Lou, which I'm happy with.
I don't like Ross as our starting SF. In fact, I feel he's a decent starting SF at best. I'd rather trade him anyday for a good SF instead of a adequate tweener. Johnson provides us with a better option, and hopefully Casey gives him the job. If not, lets hope Landry has discovered his shooter.
Patterson will take Amir's job due to injury concerns. Nuff said.
JV is our main focus this year. He needs to play as many minutes as possible. With Stiesma hopefully getting the back-up job (And TH also getting minutes here) we'll be fine at C this year.
Anyways, Just my 2 cents. I know some won't agree with me, but this team is more of a team that can use many guys in starting roles than people think. If injuries do happen, we'll be better than people think.
LETS GO RAPTORS!
Patterson struggles to keep healthy for whole seasons too. He played 65 games last year (vs. 77 for Amir), and 71 (vs. 81 for Amir) the year before.
I can't imagine the reason the starting job would be given to Pat is he's more likely to stay healthy (also since their minutes will probably be pretty close, moving Amir to the bench wouldn't really reduce his load). If it happens, it would likely be purely a basketball decision.
Although unpopular and unlikely, I could see a starting lineup that is more balanced and not necessarily the 'best' lineup; the 'best' lineup would be used in crunch-time (like a power-play unit in hockey). Not only would it help the starting unit (better balance and set the tone at the start of the game), but it would also improve the 2nd unit's balance - especially the scoring.
- Lowry & DeRozan are the primary scorers
- Valanciunas becomes the 3rd scorer, working down-low and off P&R's
- Johnson provides perimeter and help defense, to set the tone
- Patterson provides the spacing as a stretch-4 (taking a big out of the paint will help Lowry, DeRozan and Valanciunas)
- Ross would have less pressure and more opportunity, by becoming the primary scorer in the 2nd unit (with way more touches than he'd get as the 3rd/4th option with the starters), as well as an effective floor spacer with his 3pt shooting
- I think Vasquez and Amir could learn to work the P&R effectively, as Amir used to with Calderon
- Williams provides the dribble-penetration and sparkplug scoring
- depending on matchups, all options for 5th player will provide rebounding, defense, pick-setting and off-ball play
- I think Lowry, DeRozan, Valanciunas, Ross and Amir/Patterson (depending on matchups and hot hand) will still lead the team in minutes played (with Vasquez rounding out the primary 7-man rotation), likely seeing lots of minutes together in crunch-time
Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 12:59 PM.
First, would Ross get more opportunity on the bench? Lou and Greivis both need the ball in their hands. Ross will still get shots, but I still don't see him as having that much different a role on the bench. And his ballhandling responsibilities should still be limited this year. Less so than last year, but he's still quite unproven there, so I like keeping him in primarily a finishing position. He can still drive more catching the ball on the perimeter in his normal spots, as long as he's finishing or passing better than he was in those instances last year.
Second, Pat is already an effective spacer on the 2nd unit, and one who doesn't need the ball in his hands as much. So while he and Ross provide shooting, Pat's presence on the 2nd unit is a better complement to GV and Lou as he can finish on jumpers, cuts/rolls, duck-ins, etc. off their passes. (And again, if Ross is going to be playing off the ball, why not keep him in the starting unit?)
Third, I don't like the balance in terms of size between these units. Considering I think we'll see a predominantly 3-man big rotation (meaning Amir and Pat will play together most of the time JV is off the floor). I prefer having JJ on the floor when JV is off the floor (in general, obviously won't strictly stagger their minutes that way), with his size and shotblocking added to the Amir-2Pat frontcourt, and also to help against what is not likely to be the best defensive backcourt when one/both of GV and Lou are on the floor together.
Fourth, and kind of an offshoot of the last one, JJ doesn't really improve the perimeter D in the starting unit. He's not as much of a lockdown guy or as quick as Ross. Ross' presence means he can guard the other team's best perimeter player to start every game regardless of position (unless it's a hulking SF)...and that means Lowry is on the floor with someone who can spell him some minutes defensively at PG if there's a Wall or Westbrook there. JJ won't excel in that type of role as much, and given that I see Amir as the starter, our interior D should be fine with Amir and JV.
I don't see your starting unit as more balanced....
And I don't see your bench as improved...Do you really get more scoring balance? Instead of having 2 backcourt and a frontcourt scorer, you have all your scorers in the backcourt, and worse floor-spacing from your bigs (meaning opposing D can clog the lane more preventing drives) if Pat doesn't get minutes there....I like having JJ and Pat. Pat provides the complementary scoring role to Lou and GV, and his presence in the frontcourt opens things up for others.
There are positive to starting Pat in general, but it makes little sense to put him there with Ross there. Not enough shots for all those guys. But I think the Ross-Amir and Pat-JJ pairings for starters and bench respectively actually give the best balance not only on both ends, but in terms of positional balance of responsibilities, and good mixing of size.
*PS: Holy crap am I bored....
JJ can defend more positions well, but Ross can defend the perimeter positions better than he can...As you note yourself, JJ was usually used on the high quality forwards and occasionally a SG...Well, Amir can defend most PFs quite well (the ones he can't Jonas is usually the one to get the job because they're the bullies like Griffin and Randolph), and so then I'd rather have the guy who can lock down any perimeter spot, and do it with less gambling.
It might be worth considering using JJ in the starting lineup occasionally, but just for rare matchups.
*You also have to remind yourself the differences in the roster. We had far fewer good defensive players.
Last edited by white men can't jump; Tue Sep 23rd, 2014 at 08:41 PM.
They way I see it is JJ is good a defending big SF's and Small ball PF'S aka Melo, LeBron etc while Tross is better at defending quick PG's and SG's aka John Wall, Monta Ellis etc
There is no use in changing the starting lineups for random match-ups. This whole off season has been about continuity and progression...suggesting to change the starting lineup on a game to game basis completely goes against the grain on what the team has been trying to build
I have a few things in general I'd like to contribute (some of these have been brought up by other posters), and this is a good place to start...
Spurs are a great example of this, and give a bunch of minutes to weird line ups. In the Western Conference Finals, tied 2-2 with OKC, Pop decided that now was the time to give Matt Bonner his first start of the playoffs. According to Bonner, it wasn't until Pop had told him three times that he realized that pop wasn't joking. Bonner started again in game 6. Spurs won both games. The first 3 games of the series Bonner averaged <5 minutes/game, the last three he average >15 minutes/game. One of Pop's take-aways from the loss in 2013 was he needed to be more creative with his lineups.
For the first time in a looooooooooong time the Raps a virtual lock for the playoffs. If we want to battle with the big boys and go deep in the playoffs 2+ rounds in the playoffs, we need to treat the season like the big boys do: practice for the playoffs. We have the advantage of continuity of personnel, so it should actually be easier to show some creativity with your lineups as players are already familiar with each other. I would also add that I believe that Ujiri and Casey have (as far as you can tell from the fans perspective) the trust of the players, which means that they should be able to experiment with line ups/rotations without it having a lot of negative consequences. The roster seems to have bought in to what the Raps are doing. Although most of the rotation experiments should come within the game, I wouldn't be against some experimentation in the starting line ups (injuries - hopefully minor- always provide some opportunity for this).
The Spurs have also showed some creative starting injury replacements. Two years ago, in order to keep continuity in their 2nd unit, when Tony Parker went down with a medium term injury, instead of "promoting" their back-up to starter, and their 3rd stringer to back up, they made their 3rd stringer (Corey Joseph) the starting PG. Although in once sense it kept the continuity of their rotations, it went against the normal way teams behave with injuries.
It's virtually impossible to draw up new plays or defenses in between games in the post season, and I'd argue is equally difficult to get guys to take on new roles. By trying out things in the regular season you are giving yourself greater flexibility in the post-season, which very well could be the difference between winning a playoff series and losing one.
2) Most players do view the bench vs. starter as a hierarchy of "promotion" and "demotion", but that isn't always and doesn't always have to be the case, overall minutes is probably just about equal. In fact I'd wager that if you gave every player in the NBA the option of starting but NEVER playing more than 20 minutes/game, or coming off the bench and playing 25-35 minutes a game most would chose the latter. However, the Raps appear to be in a great situation where most/all of their players seem to have bought into the team mentality, and I'm confident that as long as strategy was communicated and explained to players, there would be little-to-no grumbling.
2) It matters less who starts the game and more who finishes it.
3) When talking about Amir/PP it shouldn't be about whose the starter and whose the bench player. While I personally would start Amir (better to set the tone defensively), I don't see it as starter/bench. I see it more off a three man rotation at the PF/C position by PP/Amir/JV. I wouldn't give the trio all 96 minutes available, as 32 minutes per player per game is too much for Amir or PP, however I could easily see that being the complete rotation for the playoffs (as long as all three guys are healthy). In season limit Amir and PP to 24-28 minutes/game each, with Amir getting 10-12 of those minutes at center.
Upon reflection, I'm not sure that those are 3 separate points...
All that said, of the 82 games available, and assuming no major injuries. I'd probably start the following line up 60-75 games. Leaving 7-22 games where you can mix things up due to injuries/to prevent injury (healthy scratch/D-Wade treatment)/creativity.
"They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee
"We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon
This was a serious detriment to Casey last season. It became especially evident in the playoffs when he didn't trust/couldn't use any of his bench players (namely Nando as we needed a spark plug) because he never gave them the PT during the regular season.
Casey learning as a head coach could very well be a massive boost for us this season. Last season we saw quite a bit of growth with the new coaching staff around him, if he could make another leap and learn to grow his players confidence, he could be an internal source of team growth not unlike Ross and JV.
I have been really outspoken about not re-upping Casey...but, we shall see where we are after the first month of Casey...
I think it would be more interesting to discuss who the finishing 5 will be. That was the source of countless heart attacks, head scratchers and much angst last year for me.
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