There are several factors we could point to why the raptors are (4 – 18), this is by no means giving this team any excuses but looking at the facts as to what is the reason behind raptors record.
1. New Assets in the starting line up ( Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas)
2. The Small Forward position
3. The schedule
4. The confidence factor
5. The Bargnani factor
6. The Expectations and Pressure
Kyle Lowry: In the current NBA, Point Guard is one of the hardest positions to play and adapt too. As far as the offense is concerned, point guard is the leader on floor executing coach’s vision. The point guard play affects offensive efficiency of his teammates and essentially winning percentage by making right decisions.
This is by no means judging Kyle Lowry’s play; in fact he is an outstanding asset and very good Basketball player. There is a reason why Detroit struggled before they won the championship; Why New York Nicks struggled for last few years even when they had Carmelo and Amare, Why LeBron did not win his championship in his first year. The bottom line is that team building takes time and it’s not a matter of getting good/great assets and you see results right away.
Jonas Valanciunas: As far as defensive efficiency is concerned, this is made up of perimeter defense and interior defense. Even though Jonas is doing a good job at his position for a rookie, at this point of his career he is still inexperience and unable to compensate for lack of perimeter and interior defense from 4, 3 and 2 spot from the starting lineup. This is by no means a knock on Jonas; however he is not at the level of Tyson Chandler or Joakim Noah. Even though Jonas is playing 23 - 24 min per game, there is a continuous pressure to the center position created by 4, 3 and 2 spot due to lack of perimeter and interior defense.
The Small Forward position: This position has affected the raptors for years, however this year it’s affecting this team in many ways.
1. Injuries – Landry Fields, Alan Anderson ( 2 key assets that could have affected the winning percentage and defensive efficiency)
2. Mickael Pietrus – He has stabilize this position a bit however this team lack confidence, frustration is setting in and that matters when it comes to winning by playing defense for full 48 minutes or being efficient at the offensive end.
The schedule: Unfortunately for the raptors, the schedule is brutal and they have currently played the most road games so far this season while also dealing with injuries to the 3 spot which is considered the strongest when it comes to perimeter defending for this team and essentially affect this team’s defensive efficiency and winning percentage.
The confidence factor:
This team’s confidence was affected by several things.
a. The record (4 – 18)
b. The Injuries
c. The defensive and offensive efficiency
d. The non-calls from refs that led to 2 to 3 games, including the lack of calls even when Demar attack the rim
and get fouls
The Bargnani factor:
We know who Bargnani as an NBA player,
- He is a good offensive player can only be great under the right circumstances
- He is not designed to dominate the game at the defensive end
- He is an avg post defender
- He needs very good defensive presence at the Point Guard, Center and Small Forward position to hide his
There are some talks about trading bargnani, even some fans wants him amnesty. In my opinion, unless we are getting good assets back there is no reason for raptors to trade bargnani. We have seen Bargnani play at a high level last year for 15 games; I believe he is lacking confidence weather its conditioning, Injury or his lack of playing time with Kyle only time will tell. At the offensive end, Bargnani is better than what we have seen this season. Even at the defensive end, he needs to get to where he was at for those 15 games. Even if this organization decides to go a different direction, for the sake of this franchise, I hope Dwane Casey and staff somehow manage to get Bargnani in the same mold as last year for at least 10 – 20 Games before we trade him so we don’t get low balled by other teams.
The Expectations and Pressure
Even though, this team had different set of goals and we are not seeing results, this is not the time to panic and point fingers instead the Fans, management and coaching staff should to do the following:
- Exercise patience
- Get this team motivated and get there confidence back to where it need to be
- Forget about wins and Loses at this point and set different goals, get back to fundamental of basketball,
offensive and defensive efficiency