Last edited by nubreed000; Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 01:45 PM.
That said, there obviously need to be several changes made to change the identity of the team. DeRozan scored 35 points, but did nothing on defense, how valuable was he? I'm still willing to give him some leeway because he has shown defensive progress and is only in his second year, but I only have so much patience when it comes to defense. The team atmosphere needs to change, and it needs to start this summer.
That was the worst. The play where 3 guys were just kind of sauntering around Amare, Billups cross-court passes to the open man for an easy basket. That was one of the most pathetic plays I have ever seen in basketball.
2. Yes, Dero scored alot, but played poor D. Just like last time at MSG, Bargs scored alot, but played poor D. Same issues, diff players.
The system, coaching, mgmt is all messed up.
I watched last night's game, unfortunately. I could care less about the result or even the score, since this year is about player growth, team chemistry building and getting as many ping-pong balls as possible. I watched last night's game trying to determine the WHY and HOW the team is so horrendous defensively.
1) PENETRATION - The 2 most important positions defensively are whoever is guarding the guy with the ball (mostly the PG) and the last-line-of-defense (usually the C). Two of our weakest defenders all season have been Calderon & Bargnani - and I am nearly as big a Bargnani supporter as Multipaul, so I don't feel like a hater pointing this out. My thought was that you could possibly have a below average defender at one of these crucial positions, but not at both. With them both essentially out of the game, I focussed on their replacements. Bayless continues to be mentioned as a good defender, but his defense - either due to talent or effort - is nearly as bad as Calderon's. On the few occassions where he was geared up to play D, the Knicks simply put the ball in the hands of their SG/SF and let them penetrate. As bad as Calderon has been all season at letting his man penetrate, I have come to the realization that our SG/SF players are just as ineffective, though James Johnson has done an ok, if inconistent job (he always seems to be doubling nobody in particular, leaving him in poor position to prevent his guy from penetrating, which negates any defensive skill he may have). Since all of our guards/swingmen seem more willing to allow penetration than a $2 hooker, it puts even more pressure on our bigs, which I think has caused Bargnani's weakest part of his game to be magnified. Amir has bursts of decent help defense, but his foul-prone nature really limits his aggressiveness. Evans is a rebounder, but essentially a pilon on both ends of the court. Davis is the only Raptor big that seems to have both the natural instincts and effort to help defenisvely and has improved as the season has gone on. I think he will develop into an above-average help defender. The Raps have to decide what they can do better out of these 2 options (unless they find a way to do both): first, they can improve the perimiter defense at both guard positions. DeRozan should be able to improve with experience, given his athleticism, but I think we need a new PG with defensive skills; second, they can improve the interior help defense at the C position. I still think Bargnani can improve and better perimeter defense would help this. The decision will be whether better perimeter D and Bargnani's offense are enough to negate his defensive shortcomings or if they can generate enough offensive without him, to justify picking up a more traditional defense-first center. I honestly think both options could work, depending on what other moves are made. For me, getting a better defensive PG is the top priority, along with DeRozan improving his D...
2) DEFENSIVE SHIFTS/ROTATIONS/DOUBLES - So many times last night I watched Raptors players shifting around on defense, even when the Knicks players were more or less standing still. It's almost as though the Raptors expect whoever has the ball to beat his man, so they cheat with the defensive double-teams. The Knicks' PG would dribble two steps to the left or right from the top of the 3pt line and give a little head-and-shoulders dip to fake a drive, and one of the Raptors wings would leave his man to help out our PG, leaving the likes of 'Melo open time and time again for wide open looks. My first observation talked about allowing penetration, but our perimeter defense is so bad (and every team knows it), that they no longer even have to actually penetrate to cause the Raps D to break down.
My observations allow me to draw a couple conclusions, that I think need to be addressed to improve the Raptors' defensive and team overall next season:
1) Better on-ball defense, especially from the PG - this will limit penetration, reduce need to shift/rotate defense and double-team, all of which will put less pressure on the C/PF help defense
2) Fill the roster with players who have better basketball IQ, specifically defensive instincts. Defensive schemes can be learned, but defensive instincts cannot. Too many players just don't know when to double and when not to, or when to help and when not to, etc... In fairness, I think some of this can be offset by players gaining more experience individually (ie: DeRozan), developing more chemistry together as a unit and not relying so much on defensive rotations/doubles or switching so much from man to zone defense (most of which is done to negate the team's horrible permiter and help defense).
For me, a better PG and an improved SG (DeRozan), defensively, are the keys for overall improvement.
If the defense of both guard positions is improved on the perimeter, then I am torn about Bargnani. On one hand there is no denying the need for better help defense and rebounding from the C position. On the other hand, if the perimeter defense can be significantly improved, to the point that his defensive shortcomings can be hidden somewhat, then I really like his offensive game and the way his skills can cause mismatches both for him and other players (ie: guards being able to blow-by slower bigs on rotations).
Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Wed Apr 6th, 2011 at 02:24 PM.
He simply doesn't belong in the starting lineup
Dude can start at the 4 spot next to a true C.
Raps tried to convert CB to a C, and they did the same to Bargs. Again, issues with management, etc.
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