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Thread: The Casey Impact - how good can this defence be?

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Axel's Avatar
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    Default The Casey Impact - how good can this defence be?

    Simply put Coach Casey worked wonders last year. Taking a team from the cellar to a respectable middle-of-the-league defensive rating without a training camp or a regular practice schedule was an amazing feat.

    I think that Coach Casey is the reason to many Raptors fan are optimistic for this year. A full training camp, a regular practice schedule, and an infusion of "Casey" talent to the roster could produce big things defensively. How high is the ceiling this year defensively? Top 10? Top 5?

    Here's how I see each member of the roster responding to Casey's coaching this year. (In order of Defensive Improvement)

    Big Leapers
    Kyle Lowry
    Jonas Valanciunas
    Andrea Bargnani

    Lowry was already a bull at the point, now he's going to be a beast. He is exactly the physical point guard that fits the Casey mold. He should slow down opposing PGs from driving down the middle and make the defence more balanced. Less help defence covering-up, means fewer holes. It all starts here this season.

    JV's defensive accumen is well-documented and his impending impact has been widely discussed. I feel that while there will be nights that he struggles and ends up on the bench in foul trouble, overall his impact will be big. He can protect the hoop and is a better help defender than any of the current bigs. His combination of size and speed will allow him to cover a large area and a variety of match-ups. His youth will still get him in trouble against the craftier veterans, but on a nightly basis and, equally important, in practice he will set the tone. "Protect our hoop!!"

    Now for the biggest talking point (likely), calling Andrea Bargnani a big leaper in terms of defensive improvement. My caveat!!! Bargnani will seem better without actually being better. Bargnani is already a decent 1v1 man defender in most situations. The majority of his issues continue to stem from his poor help defence. Will Bargnani suddenly become a better help defender? Not significantly. Will he be expected to play that role as much this year? Hopefully not. JV is now the primary hoop protector. After JV it is going to be Amir, Gray, and some ED that protect the hoop, not the 7' smooth-shooting Italian. Take Bargnani out of his weak area and let him focus on his man more, and he will be less of a defensive issue. I do believe that Bargnani will continue to improve a bit under Casey. He looked better last year than any other year and seemed to really take to Casey's pushing. I'm hopeful (optimistic? Dillusional?) that Bargnani will continue to put forth that effort, and be a better player this year. I personally expect him to be at the All-Star game this year.

    Solid Contributers
    Terrence Ross
    Amir Johnson
    Ed Davis
    Quincy Acy
    Landry Fields
    Linas Kleiza

    All of these guys already have some decent defensive game and will benefit a lot from Coach Casey. Kleiza is a crafty player who should excell in the zones. Fields is quality defender and should fit in very well to the system. Acy will go balls out to do whatever Coach asks him to do, making up for whatever physical limitations he has. ED and Amir both have the skills and talent to be good defenders, they simply need coaching to understand defence better. Coach Casey should be able to teach Amir enough to limit his fouls and ED could be poised for a breakout year if Amir doesn't. Ross looks like all the players we've had come and go over the years in that he has the tools to be a good defender, but unlike the previous guys, he is stepping into a situation where the Coach has created a defensive environment and Ross should thrive in it.

    Status Quo
    Jose Calderon
    Demar Derozan
    John Lucas 3
    Aaron Gray

    The status quo is fine for Gray. He is what he is. A big burly 7 footer. And that is perfectly fine. Not so much for Demar Derozan. I'm not sure he is ever going to get it, but I really do hope I am wrong. He has all the skills necessary (like Ross) but came in a developed bad defensive habits that went unchecked for too long. If he was a rookie this year, he'd have a much better chance of getting it, but it's always harder to unlearn and relearn than to learn anew. Jose will be Jose but thankfully will be matched up against 2nd unit guys, so it wont be as bad. JL3 is the 3rd PG for now and until that changes, his game isn't likely to either.

    Overall this team should be even better defensively. I personally hope the team goal is a top 10 defence this year, and I think it is attainable. Go Raps Go!!!

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Let's put it this way....If Triano was still coaching this team, I wouldn't feel nearly as optimistic going into the season.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Starter theycallmeZZ's Avatar
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    I think Acy was picked because he stands for something Casey wants Jonas to be. And I'm not thinking second round pick level.

    Acy has amazing length for his size, and rebounder who never backs down, just keeps jumping for the ball, exactly like Jonas. He also dunks whenever he has a chance, something Jonas should do with some more strength.

    He also has what looks to be a limitless amount of confidence. If I'm thinking right, one of the best ways to help Jonas transition to the NBA is to instill some in him, and everybody.

    Acy is a true leader. If Jonas is going to be a star in the league (holy crap, I just imagined Casey saying that), he should follow Acy's lead.

    I'm excited to see what Acy and Lowry can do for the team, and for Jonas.
    TORONTOOOOOO RAPTORSSSSSS

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    ...I personally hope the team goal is a top 10 defence this year, and I think it is attainable. Go Raps Go!!!
    I think this is actually attainable. Upgrades in the starting 5 mean upgrades in the bench. I don't think Jose will be challenged as much if he is not playing against premier guards all the time. JV coming off the bench, or Grey, will boost defensive effectiveness of the second unit. Davis having a whole pre-season, after working during the off-season, and a healthy Kleiza, along with Ross should mean a big upgrade for the bench in terms of defence. No need to say anything about Fields or Lowry.

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    Quote Puffer wrote: View Post
    I think this is actually attainable. Upgrades in the starting 5 mean upgrades in the bench. I don't think Jose will be challenged as much if he is not playing against premier guards all the time. JV coming off the bench, or Grey, will boost defensive effectiveness of the second unit. Davis having a whole pre-season, after working during the off-season, and a healthy Kleiza, along with Ross should mean a big upgrade for the bench in terms of defence. No need to say anything about Fields or Lowry.
    Of course its attainable...it's all about effort for us and if we play as hard as we did last year we will be fine. our problem was offense. Sometimes, if your offense suffers, your defense will wilt under the pressure of having to play with no margin for error.

    What I am saying is, our defensive rank will improve this year, ironically, because we will be getting some easier baskets over the course of the game

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    Quote theycallmeZZ wrote: View Post
    I think Acy was picked because he stands for something Casey wants Jonas to be. And I'm not thinking second round pick level.

    Acy has amazing length for his size, and rebounder who never backs down, just keeps jumping for the ball, exactly like Jonas. He also dunks whenever he has a chance, something Jonas should do with some more strength.

    He also has what looks to be a limitless amount of confidence. If I'm thinking right, one of the best ways to help Jonas transition to the NBA is to instill some in him, and everybody.

    Acy is a true leader. If Jonas is going to be a star in the league (holy crap, I just imagined Casey saying that), he should follow Acy's lead.

    I'm excited to see what Acy and Lowry can do for the team, and for Jonas.
    Im worried acy won't get his shot...

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    Super Moderator thead's Avatar
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    Quote BallaBalla wrote: View Post
    Im worried acy won't get his shot...
    i had two thoughts on that

    1.) his shot may come next year.

    2.) This year is for answering the Amir/Ed question for good

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    Raptors Republic Rookie AlienOverlord's Avatar
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    We lost James Johnson, our defensive stopper. I hope he was cancer in the locker room and that this actually is a benefit not a detraction.

    Both JV and Kleiza are too handsy on defense and will be in foul trouble until this is fixed.

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    Raptors Republic Starter Sam17's Avatar
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    Quote AlienOverlord wrote: View Post
    We lost James Johnson, our defensive stopper. I hope he was cancer in the locker room and that this actually is a benefit not a detraction.

    Both JV and Kleiza are too handsy on defense and will be in foul trouble until this is fixed.
    Well at least now we won't have to see James Johnson brick mid range jumpers 5 times a game. I guess that could be seen as a positive

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Defensively speaking...

    Lowry > Calderon = +1
    Demar/T. Ross> DeMar/Bayless = +1
    L. Fields < J. Johnson = -1
    Bargnani (playing full season) < Davis/Amir = -1
    JV > Gray/Magloire/Amir = +1
    -------------------------------------------------
    = +1

    Having a healthy Bargnani may actually hurt us defensively considering Ed and Amir are better defenders, and James Johnson is a better defender than L. Fields, but not by much.

    The addition of Lowry improves our defence and the addition of JV "should" improve our D, but who knows if he will struggle early or not.

    Given the additional year of experience for DeMar, and full training camp under Casey (for the whole team) I think Toronto is set to improve defensively, but not yet at an elite level (top 5), but maybe fighting to get into the top 10

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    James Johnson was not a defensive stopper, he only looked like one because I got a nice block here and there - but that doesn't mean he was actually a good one on one defender. I feel he was too slow to guard athletic 3's and was beat a lot and had to recover and his surprising jumping ability (because he is fat as hell) caught people off guard however the league would scout that fact after a while and his game would become more of a liability

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    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    I think with the addition of Lowry and Fields the D should be even better. The wing defense was ok at best last year and with these two guys it'll be exponentially more effective. Ross is going to have his growing pains, but i don't see him being a difference maker on D as a rookie. He'll probably be more useful than Demar though.

    I don't think flying V is going to have that much of a impact on the defensive side as a rookie outside of hustle, just a gut feeling.
    @jerboat

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Defensively

    Lowry >> Calderon
    DeRozan = DeRozan
    Fields > JJ
    Bargnani = Bargnani
    Valanciunas > Gray

    The significantly improved point-of-attack defense (Lowry & Fields acquisitions), coupled with the addition of a defensive anchor (Valanciunas to provide responsible help-defense and shot blocking/altering), will result in a vastly improved team defense.

    Hopefully both Bargnani and DeRozan can continue to improve as well, since they're definitely the weak links on D. The much reduced dribble-penetration and the presence of a defensive anchor will also serve to mask Bargnani's biggest weakness, his help-defense. I think the spotlight this year will shine even more brightly on DeRozan, especially if teams decide to attack him on D, instead of trying to get past Lowry or Fields. DeRozan's defense last season was as bad as Calderon's, with regards to allowing his man to get by him, so that will be the one area I expect him to make big improvements in. If he doesn't, his starting spot and possibly place on this team going forward, could very well be in jeopardy.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote MyTEAM4Life wrote: View Post
    James Johnson was not a defensive stopper, he only looked like one because I got a nice block here and there - but that doesn't mean he was actually a good one on one defender. I feel he was too slow to guard athletic 3's and was beat a lot and had to recover and his surprising jumping ability (because he is fat as hell) caught people off guard however the league would scout that fact after a while and his game would become more of a liability
    Not saying JJ was a defensive stopper, but from the stats I have seen he was better across the board than was Fields last season. Perhaps being a more prominent fixture in in the Raptors roster vs what he was on the Knicks' roster will help Landry's cause.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    Defensively

    Lowry >> Calderon
    DeRozan = DeRozan
    Fields > JJ
    Bargnani = Bargnani
    Valanciunas > Gray

    The significantly improved point-of-attack defense (Lowry & Fields acquisitions), coupled with the addition of a defensive anchor (Valanciunas to provide responsible help-defense and shot blocking/altering), will result in a vastly improved team defense.

    Hopefully both Bargnani and DeRozan can continue to improve as well, since they're definitely the weak links on D. The much reduced dribble-penetration and the presence of a defensive anchor will also serve to mask Bargnani's biggest weakness, his help-defense. I think the spotlight this year will shine even more brightly on DeRozan, especially if teams decide to attack him on D, instead of trying to get past Lowry or Fields. DeRozan's defense last season was as bad as Calderon's, with regards to allowing his man to get by him, so that will be the one area I expect him to make big improvements in. If he doesn't, his starting spot and possibly place on this team going forward, could very well be in jeopardy.
    "Fields > JJ" Any stats to back that up? From what I have seen of last seasons numbers JJ > Fields (both defesively and offensively.

    "Bargnani = Bargnani" He played 20 games last season so you could argue that filling in for Bargnani with Ed, Amir or whomever should take the credit for our defensive improvements andt having Bargnani return to the starting line for a full season will hurt us defensively.

    "coupled with the addition of a defensive anchor" Tisk, tisk, just irresponsible from a moderator I love the enthusiasm, but lets let him play in the NBA prior to handing out such credit. If the Olympics are any indication he will struggle with "deer in headlights" syndrome.

    Agree that much of how the team does defensively will rely on the improvement of DD and Bargs.

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    Raptors Republic Starter c_bcm's Avatar
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    I am liking the change in tune from many of you these days regarding Bargnani. Does this mean that we are all agreed that he is the best player on this team? Maybe as a fan base we can all agree to stop throwing him under the bus.

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote Mediumcore wrote: View Post
    "Fields > JJ" Any stats to back that up? From what I have seen of last seasons numbers JJ > Fields (both defesively and offensively.

    "Bargnani = Bargnani" He played 20 games last season so you could argue that filling in for Bargnani with Ed, Amir or whomever should take the credit for our defensive improvements andt having Bargnani return to the starting line for a full season will hurt us defensively.

    "coupled with the addition of a defensive anchor" Tisk, tisk, just irresponsible from a moderator I love the enthusiasm, but lets let him play in the NBA prior to handing out such credit. If the Olympics are any indication he will struggle with "deer in headlights" syndrome.

    Agree that much of how the team does defensively will rely on the improvement of DD and Bargs.
    JJ - based on several past threads, RR posters are split on JJ. Some view his work last year as being the team's "defensive stopper", while other think he was greatly overrated due to his highlight reel blocks getting too much attention. I'm obviously in the latter group. His man defense was average and he gambled way too often to try and go for a steal or block, leaving his man wide open or causing a teammate to try and rotate late. I personally think stats get too much credit, as I prefer to go with my impressions from watching the games. Based on that, I think Fields is at least equal to JJ defensively, if not better. My main rationale is that Fields tends to play better man defense and more controlled within the system, as opposed to JJ trying to go for the personal highlights/stat stuffing (at both ends). I'd be fine considering the starting SF to be a wash defensively, heading into the season though.

    Bargnani was the starting PF and started 1/3 of the games. He only missed the others due to injury, but the team was a visibly/statistically better defensive team even during the games he played. If you try getting cute by considering Bargnani VS Ed/Amir, then you'd have to get into the stats and film to disect all the various starting lineups, since Calderon & DeRozan were the only consistent starters all season long.

    I completely disagree wtih you about Valanciunas. In the Olympics, he was yanked and basically benched after each foul - that won't happen in Toronto. Will he have to deal with foul trouble? Absolutely. Will Casey limit him to 8-12 minutes if he gets 1 or 2 fouls during the game? Highly doubtful. I'm assuming that Valanciunas will be unleashed, allowing him to play aggressive defense, even if he does get into foul trouble. Continually benching him does nothing to correct the fouling problem and will hurt his confidence, as well as likely prompting him to play far less aggressively/effectively (see Amir last year vs Amir in 2010-11). The best way for him to develop is to play the game his way and learn on the court how to be equally effective, without committing the foul. I think he just played scared in the Olympics, knowing he was being counted on to be a difference maker defensively, while also knowing that he'd get benched if he committed a foul. He'll likely rack up the fouls this season, but I think you'll see him play assertive help defense, which will lead to lots of shot altering/blocking - ie: a defensive anchor, albeit a foul-proned one.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote Mediumcore wrote: View Post
    ..."Fields > JJ" Any stats to back that up? From what I have seen of last seasons numbers JJ > Fields (both defesively and offensively....
    Fields comes in at #223 defensively at Hoopdata http://hoopdata.com while James Johnson comes in at #205. Not what I would call a stunning difference. Fields rebounding dropped 50% last season compared to his rookie year. A lot depends on what happens this year.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    JJ - based on several past threads, RR posters are split on JJ. Some view his work last year as being the team's "defensive stopper", while other think he was greatly overrated due to his highlight reel blocks getting too much attention. I'm obviously in the latter group. His man defense was average and he gambled way too often to try and go for a steal or block, leaving his man wide open or causing a teammate to try and rotate late. I personally think stats get too much credit, as I prefer to go with my impressions from watching the games. Based on that, I think Fields is at least equal to JJ defensively, if not better. My main rationale is that Fields tends to play better man defense and more controlled within the system, as opposed to JJ trying to go for the personal highlights/stat stuffing (at both ends). I'd be fine considering the starting SF to be a wash defensively, heading into the season though.

    Bargnani was the starting PF and started 1/3 of the games. He only missed the others due to injury, but the team was a visibly/statistically better defensive team even during the games he played. If you try getting cute by considering Bargnani VS Ed/Amir, then you'd have to get into the stats and film to disect all the various starting lineups, since Calderon & DeRozan were the only consistent starters all season long.

    I completely disagree wtih you about Valanciunas. In the Olympics, he was yanked and basically benched after each foul - that won't happen in Toronto. Will he have to deal with foul trouble? Absolutely. Will Casey limit him to 8-12 minutes if he gets 1 or 2 fouls during the game? Highly doubtful. I'm assuming that Valanciunas will be unleashed, allowing him to play aggressive defense, even if he does get into foul trouble. Continually benching him does nothing to correct the fouling problem and will hurt his confidence, as well as likely prompting him to play far less aggressively/effectively (see Amir last year vs Amir in 2010-11). The best way for him to develop is to play the game his way and learn on the court how to be equally effective, without committing the foul. I think he just played scared in the Olympics, knowing he was being counted on to be a difference maker defensively, while also knowing that he'd get benched if he committed a foul. He'll likely rack up the fouls this season, but I think you'll see him play assertive help defense, which will lead to lots of shot altering/blocking - ie: a defensive anchor, albeit a foul-proned one.
    "I'd be fine considering the starting SF to be a wash defensively, heading into the season though." I would to, as I mentioned in my earlier post that though JJ had better numbers Fields' numbers were close behind.

    "Bargnani was the starting PF and started 1/3 of the games" which means 2/3 of the season someone other that Bargnani was our starting power forward and thus contributed 2/3 as much to our defensive ranking this past season. Being that the conversation revolves around whether the team will improve defensively this next season or not it comes to whether you think Bargnani is a better defender than either of Amir or Ed whom would have made up for most of that 2/3 of time Bargnani was out. That would be an interesting thread should you wish to start one.

    "I completely disagree wtih you about Valanciunas" - You skipped my initial and more direct comment that perhaps JV should play an NBA minute prior to tagging him as an "defensive anchor". The comment I made regarding his play in the Olympics was only intended to accent my initial comment. Don't get me wrong though I'm hoping that he's as dominant as what everyone thinks he's going to be. I just don't think saying it in statement form like it's already come to pass is right though.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote Puffer wrote: View Post
    Fields comes in at #223 defensively at Hoopdata http://hoopdata.com while James Johnson comes in at #205. Not what I would call a stunning difference. Fields rebounding dropped 50% last season compared to his rookie year. A lot depends on what happens this year.
    LOL, so what you're saying is JJ > Fields? I realize they are a pretty closely matched. I mentioned in my earlier comment that I'm hoping being a more prominent part of the team than he was in New York may change the stats in Fields' favor.

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