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Thread: Calderon or Lowry? - Zach Lowe of Grantland

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    Default Calderon or Lowry? - Zach Lowe of Grantland

    Zach Lowe of Grantland just wrote a fantastic piece analysis the contrast in style of play between Calderon and Lowry (nothing very groundbreaking) and what Toronto should do moving forward.

    Not the most groundbreaking article of all time, but has a couple of good quotes in it that are worth checking out:

    The Toronto Raptors gave up a likely lottery pick, now property of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to make Kyle Lowry their starting point guard of the present and future — the dynamic off-the-bounce creator that boring old Jose Calderon could never be. Lowry had worn out his welcome amid lineup uncertainty in both Memphis and Houston, alienating coaches and rubbing some teammates the wrong way. But he'd also grown into an above-average starting point guard playing on one of the best bang-for-the-buck contracts in the league. He’s Philly tough, and his fast-paced style and defensive intensity figured to mesh nicely with Raptors coach Dwane Casey.

    But like the anointed Calderon Replacers that came before him (T.J. Ford, Jerryd Bayless), Lowry now finds himself backing up the 31-year-old Spaniard — a perfectly suitable veteran who also happens to be playing on an $11 million expiring contract that stands as Toronto’s best trade asset in their on-again, off-again pursuit of building blocks like Rudy Gay.

    It’s clear that Casey prefers Calderon’s pass-first style of play for now, even as he pushes Lowry to embrace his aggression and denies he’s had any of the “coachability” issues that dogged Lowry in other places. “We haven’t had any of that here,” Casey told Grantland before the Raptors’ loss in Brooklyn on Tuesday. “And Kyle’s edge is what makes him a great player.”

    Both Casey and Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo are pleased with how supportive Lowry has been of Calderon — screaming encouragement from the bench and even mock-cooling Calderon with a towel during a hot streak last weekend against Milwaukee. "Kyle has been through something like this in other places, and the outcome wasn't good for anyone," Colangelo says. "He has done it right this time. Almost to a fault, he has done exactly what the coaches have asked him to do."

    But Casey has said repeatedly that Lowry needs to find more balance in his game between passing and shooting, between rushing and pausing to see what openings might emerge for teammates. “That’s the Kyle everyone is looking for,” Casey said after Tuesday’s loss, when Lowry exploded for 21 much-needed points trying to lead a comeback on a badly sprained ankle. “We need him to be aggressive, but still make the right basketball decisions.”

    Casey has repeated the “basketball decisions” line often, and league observers read it as a clear message from Casey that Lowry needs more Calderon in his game. Colangelo seems a bit uncomfortable with that. “When you put the reins on Kyle, you take away some of his best attributes,” Colangelo told Grantland during a pregame courtside chat on Monday. “You can’t take an alley cat and turn him into a house pet.”

    It’s a step too far to suggest there's a bitter divide between the front office and the coaching staff on Lowry. But there is at least a difference of opinion, and how the team handles that is crucial as the Raptors work to assemble a core that might be able to contend in a post-Miami world. Calderon will be a free agent this summer, and though he’ll be 32 by the start of next season, folks around the league expect his competent play will still command something in the $6 million to $9 million range on the open market. Lowry’s contract expires after next season. Giving both market value is a waste of resources. Paying just one market value will take Toronto off the list of teams with max-level cap room in the summer of 2014, though they should get back there the following July. (Note: That could obviously change if Toronto makes some dramatic cost-cutting moves, including the use of the amnesty provision on Andrea Bargnani, but the smart money is on Linas Kleiza as Toronto’s most likely amnesty candidate).

    So who should Toronto choose?
    Check out the rest of the link for more:
    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-tr...-jose-calderon

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Lowry. Next!

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Great read and I concur with The Glove.

    Lowry’s a smart player, but he’s outsmarting himself with this stuff. He can be an impact defender if he finds a better balance to his game; he was among the very best point-guard defenders in the league just two seasons ago.

    He’s already an impact offensive player, especially when he has shooters to whom he can kick the ball, and he’d leap another level if he added just a dash of Calderon-style patience.

    But he only needs a dash. Lowry still has room to grow, and some of that growth will come just from playing more alongside Toronto’s core pieces. Calderon has peaked, and he’s aging. The Raptors should stay on course for now — continue to peddle Calderon, let him walk in free agency if they can’t trade him and/or re-sign him on the cheap, and work with Lowry in hopes he settles down as a player and a personality. Colangelo wouldn’t bite on which way he’s leaning. “There are a lot of people who want to say what sort of determination we should take,” he says. “The great thing is, we’re the ones who get to make that determination at the right time for us.”
    I agree with the bold but think he has added that patience since coming back and willingness to look for others. The feed to ED last night which Davis finished with the dunk of Lopez and Evans(?) was impressive.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
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    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TRex's Avatar
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    Lowry
    Follow me on Twitter - @11_RRyan

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    It's a good read. And maddening at the same time.

    For me, it just further solidifies my belief that this organization, from the owner, to the GM, on down to the head coach, has no plan and no idea what it is doing. Why bring in a guy like Lowry to add the dynamic perimeter presence you are missing, only to have the coaching staff try and turn him into Calderon? The guy you already have. Why not just stick with Calderon and save the pick? Then, you bring in a guy like Lowry, who needs to be surrounded by shooters, and you line up Fields, Derozan and Bargnani beside him? Come on.

    Whatever. At this point, they just need to resolve this one way or another. I am so sick of PG controversies dogging such an awful team. It's ridiculous that the coach and GM are at odds over the one position on the team that is actually productive and useful when there are massive holes at the SG and SF spots that have gone unaddressed for 6 years.

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    Raptors Republic Starter themasao's Avatar
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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    It's a good read. And maddening at the same time.

    For me, it just further solidifies my belief that this organization, from the owner, to the GM, on down to the head coach, has no plan and no idea what it is doing. Why bring in a guy like Lowry to add the dynamic perimeter presence you are missing, only to have the coaching staff try and turn him into Calderon? The guy you already have. Why not just stick with Calderon and save the pick? Then, you bring in a guy like Lowry, who needs to be surrounded by shooters, and you line up Fields, Derozan and Bargnani beside him? Come on.

    Whatever. At this point, they just need to resolve this one way or another. I am so sick of PG controversies dogging such an awful team. It's ridiculous that the coach and GM are at odds over the one position on the team that is actually productive and useful when there are massive holes at the SG and SF spots that have gone unaddressed for 6 years.
    AMEN brother.

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    It is nice to know that management is letting the coaches play who they want.
    Eh follow my TWITTER!

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    This really isn't a decision. I don't think TO will pull a Houston and trade both their PGs only to sign a worse one. Jose has no future as a starter in Toronto. We need to find someone who can be a starter going forward with our young players and develop with them. I have no problem giving that shot to Lowry until he proves he is, or isn't, the answer.
    I also think if they are investing in Lowry, then any new backup should be another vet, with such qualities as patience and leadership that Jose brings to the table. I understand if some people would rather develop a young player, but in my mind, until the end of Lowry's contract is long enough to figure out if he's a keeper here. If he isn't, then you replace him with a young PG. In the meantime, a stable vet to back him up, who could also potentially be a stopgap if another change comes after Lowry is a must.

    It's kind of funny, and sad, that this position has been pretty strong since the the Ford/Calderon time (minus the breif Will Solomon stint), but that we've still never really lined up someone to move beyond the rebuild the team has been going through for 3-4 years.

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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    It's a good read. And maddening at the same time.

    For me, it just further solidifies my belief that this organization, from the owner, to the GM, on down to the head coach, has no plan and no idea what it is doing. Why bring in a guy like Lowry to add the dynamic perimeter presence you are missing, only to have the coaching staff try and turn him into Calderon? The guy you already have. Why not just stick with Calderon and save the pick? Then, you bring in a guy like Lowry, who needs to be surrounded by shooters, and you line up Fields, Derozan and Bargnani beside him? Come on.

    Whatever. At this point, they just need to resolve this one way or another. I am so sick of PG controversies dogging such an awful team. It's ridiculous that the coach and GM are at odds over the one position on the team that is actually productive and useful when there are massive holes at the SG and SF spots that have gone unaddressed for 6 years.
    This and so much more of this.

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    This should not be a discussion

    Lowry

    Lets move on

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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    It's a good read. And maddening at the same time.

    For me, it just further solidifies my belief that this organization, from the owner, to the GM, on down to the head coach, has no plan and no idea what it is doing. Why bring in a guy like Lowry to add the dynamic perimeter presence you are missing, only to have the coaching staff try and turn him into Calderon? The guy you already have. Why not just stick with Calderon and save the pick? Then, you bring in a guy like Lowry, who needs to be surrounded by shooters, and you line up Fields, Derozan and Bargnani beside him? Come on.

    Whatever. At this point, they just need to resolve this one way or another. I am so sick of PG controversies dogging such an awful team. It's ridiculous that the coach and GM are at odds over the one position on the team that is actually productive and useful when there are massive holes at the SG and SF spots that have gone unaddressed for 6 years.
    Well Said!

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    There's absolutely no question it's Lowry.

    People questioned if Lowry was willing to change his game for the team. Well, he answered pretty well, but it had a negative impact on the team. He was MUCH willing to give up the score-first mentality, to be more passive and looking for teammates. BUT, that's just not his game.

    Aggressiveness, drive-&-kick, bullying way to the basket. That's his game, plus, he is a terrific passer. The guy can really get the ball into small areas. Most turnovers are from being out-of-control going to the basket.

    Time to move on from Calderon. He has had great contributions to this season, and we've won with him more so far, but how much in general have we won with him as the floor general? He's better suited on a team with stars/better talent.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    It's a good read. And maddening at the same time.

    For me, it just further solidifies my belief that this organization, from the owner, to the GM, on down to the head coach, has no plan and no idea what it is doing. Why bring in a guy like Lowry to add the dynamic perimeter presence you are missing, only to have the coaching staff try and turn him into Calderon? The guy you already have. Why not just stick with Calderon and save the pick? Then, you bring in a guy like Lowry, who needs to be surrounded by shooters, and you line up Fields, Derozan and Bargnani beside him? Come on.

    Whatever. At this point, they just need to resolve this one way or another. I am so sick of PG controversies dogging such an awful team. It's ridiculous that the coach and GM are at odds over the one position on the team that is actually productive and useful when there are massive holes at the SG and SF spots that have gone unaddressed for 6 years.
    In all fairness they aren't trying to turn Kyle into Jose, they are asking him to add a bit more of a passing game into his existing game. In other words they want Kyle to be a better passer as well as continue to be the dynamic scorer and defender he already is. Nothing wrong with them wanting him to add to his game and improve as a player. I would think that is what they should ask of all of their players.

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    Quote Mediumcore wrote: View Post
    In all fairness they aren't trying to turn Kyle into Jose, they are asking him to add a bit more of a passing game into his existing game. In other words they want Kyle to be a better passer as well as continue to be the dynamic scorer and defender he already is. Nothing wrong with them wanting him to add to his game and improve as a player. I would think that is what they should ask of all of their players.
    I think this is more of a problem on the Raptors than most teams.

    Do you remember the 81 point game that Kobe dropped on the Raptors? Lost in the discussion of that game were the players who started alongside Kobe: Chris Mihm, Lamar Odom, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown. Other than Odom, none of those guys were even close to league average at offense, much less good. Strange as it is, Kobe taking 46 shots was probably the best offense the Lakers had at the time.

    Lowry is in a similar, though less egregious (he is not as good as Kobe and his teammates are not as bad), situation with Toronto. There are very few Toronto players who are plus offensive players, and most of those who are get there through screens, cutting, and team play that they can't make happen by themselves. It's entirely possible that, to mock Casey for a moment, the best "basketball decision" Lowry can make is to call his own number almost every single time down the floor. Which infuriates a coach and demoralizes a teammate, but how many times do you need to see your bigs over-pass or stall out, or your wings brick easy shots before you stop facilitating for them?

    Hence, the Kobe problem. So is the real issue Lowry? No. It's the lack of talent on the wings, and the lack of scoring punch in the middle (which may be solved by JV and Amir simply getting healthy). It's why Calderon is a better fit for the starting lineup (because it's totally punchless), but why a Calderon-led team is going nowhere, and when it runs into a good defense (much less a great one), the Raptors have close to a zero chance to win.

    So I think Lowe is right, but he doesn't place enough blame on the poor team construction or coaching going on in Toronto.

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    Quote Reinholt wrote: View Post
    I think this is more of a problem on the Raptors than most teams.

    Do you remember the 81 point game that Kobe dropped on the Raptors? Lost in the discussion of that game were the players who started alongside Kobe: Chris Mihm, Lamar Odom, Smush Parker, and Kwame Brown. Other than Odom, none of those guys were even close to league average at offense, much less good. Strange as it is, Kobe taking 46 shots was probably the best offense the Lakers had at the time.

    Lowry is in a similar, though less egregious (he is not as good as Kobe and his teammates are not as bad), situation with Toronto. There are very few Toronto players who are plus offensive players, and most of those who are get there through screens, cutting, and team play that they can't make happen by themselves. It's entirely possible that, to mock Casey for a moment, the best "basketball decision" Lowry can make is to call his own number almost every single time down the floor. Which infuriates a coach and demoralizes a teammate, but how many times do you need to see your bigs over-pass or stall out, or your wings brick easy shots before you stop facilitating for them?

    Hence, the Kobe problem. So is the real issue Lowry? No. It's the lack of talent on the wings, and the lack of scoring punch in the middle (which may be solved by JV and Amir simply getting healthy). It's why Calderon is a better fit for the starting lineup (because it's totally punchless), but why a Calderon-led team is going nowhere, and when it runs into a good defense (much less a great one), the Raptors have close to a zero chance to win.

    So I think Lowe is right, but he doesn't place enough blame on the poor team construction or coaching going on in Toronto.
    But those are two totally seperate ideas. The level of talent aside from the PGs has nothing to do with Jose or Lowry.

    Lowry would be a better player or fit better etc if the team had more talent. I get that. And what exactly would Jose be capable of if the team had more talent? If he can make 'mediocre' good enough or make bad into 'mediocre', what happens if there are good players around him? Does he become worse? Does he become even better? Does he stay the same? Does he make those good players superstars?

    I just don't get this argument.

    I completely agree the team's construction is poor - and Jose didn't construct it. And Lowry won't construct it going forward.

    This was a Bargnani led club, not a Jose led club. Just like Lowry shouldn't be blamed for the teams poor start, foolish team building by Colangelo and ridiculous assumption Bargnani was a superstar and not a dud. Jose shouldn't be blamed for Colangelo historically doing the same.

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    A few things...

    1 - I don't blame either Jose or Lowry. I blame Colangelo and Casey, in that order. The players don't make the decisions about how to construct the team or who gets playing time (insert Miami joke here).

    2 - I do believe Jose would make a good team that already had a functioning offense and players/schemes that create high-quality shots worse. If you had more capable facilitators and individual scorers, and you put Jose into that lineup, his passing becomes a luxury rather than a need, and his defense limitations become more relevant to his value.

    Thus, it's not a question of "blame", it's "how would I construct a winning team going forward?". I believe there are more paths to a winning team with Lowry than Jose; the latter has a ceiling of "average" before he becomes a player that should definitely be coming off the bench. The former has already led a team in a tougher conference to an above .500 record, and as Lowe was talking about, has a much larger toolbox to utilize. The fact that the Toronto team around him is a poor fit isn't a reason to give up on Lowry. It's a reason to give up on a number of the other players around him (especially the non-shooting wings).

    Certainly the Raptors don't need both given their other needs.

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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    But those are two totally seperate ideas. The level of talent aside from the PGs has nothing to do with Jose or Lowry.

    Lowry would be a better player or fit better etc if the team had more talent. I get that. And what exactly would Jose be capable of if the team had more talent? If he can make 'mediocre' good enough or make bad into 'mediocre', what happens if there are good players around him? Does he become worse? Does he become even better? Does he stay the same? Does he make those good players superstars?

    I just don't get this argument.

    I completely agree the team's construction is poor - and Jose didn't construct it. And Lowry won't construct it going forward.

    This was a Bargnani led club, not a Jose led club. Just like Lowry shouldn't be blamed for the teams poor start, foolish team building by Colangelo and ridiculous assumption Bargnani was a superstar and not a dud. Jose shouldn't be blamed for Colangelo historically doing the same.
    I think he is just saying that our team is not talented enough to be successful with Calderon leading it. Some teams have enough talent in some positions to compensate for a lack of talent in other places. Miami today is a good example, orlando when they made the finals was a good example...there are countless more

    We do not have enough talent to allow Calderon to run the team and be successful against good defensive teams, because he differs to other players naturally. That's his style.

    Lowry on the other hand is a more talented offensive player, and he believes (rightly so) that he should try to beat his man off the dribble and make something happen, rather than passing to Amir Johnson or Aaron Gray for an isolation in the post.

    not sure what the construction of the team has to do with anything...

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Quote slaw wrote: View Post
    It's a good read. And maddening at the same time.

    For me, it just further solidifies my belief that this organization, from the owner, to the GM, on down to the head coach, has no plan and no idea what it is doing. Why bring in a guy like Lowry to add the dynamic perimeter presence you are missing, only to have the coaching staff try and turn him into Calderon? The guy you already have. Why not just stick with Calderon and save the pick? Then, you bring in a guy like Lowry, who needs to be surrounded by shooters, and you line up Fields, Derozan and Bargnani beside him? Come on.

    Whatever. At this point, they just need to resolve this one way or another. I am so sick of PG controversies dogging such an awful team. It's ridiculous that the coach and GM are at odds over the one position on the team that is actually productive and useful when there are massive holes at the SG and SF spots that have gone unaddressed for 6 years.
    Agree. Although i dont think theyre trying to turn Lowry into Calderon, but rather taking positives from Calderon's game and trying to integrate it into Lowry's game. I dont mean to brag but this is what ive been saying about Calderon since T.J. Ford upto Lowry, you can coach how to pass and when to take shots, but the drive, willingness to attack and close games is innate. Things that Calderon does not have, and cannot be taught.

    This is all on management. First, they shouldnt have rushed Lowry back. IMO, they did. Clearly Lowry wasnt 100% and wasnt in full attack mode when he came back against the hornets. Second, Lowry was the clear cut starter when the season started, why would you force him to come off the bench after an injury? It wasnt his fault he got injured. Given Jose was playing great (actually, not really since they were against sub par teams), roles have to be clearly defined. You wont see CP3 coming of the bench if he got injured and EB was playing great. You wont see Curry coming off the bench even if Jack was averaging 15/5/10. I know Casey is trying to preach the "earn your minutes" mantra but you cant define roles then blur them just because of a gliche.

    Slaw is right. Clearly there is no plan. Casey is picking players he feels earned to play minutes. And you cant do that. Roles have to be clearly defined otherwise, things happen that he is vocal about avoiding - controversies.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote BallaBalla wrote: View Post
    I think he is just saying that our team is not talented enough to be successful with Calderon leading it. Some teams have enough talent in some positions to compensate for a lack of talent in other places. Miami today is a good example, orlando when they made the finals was a good example...there are countless more

    We do not have enough talent to allow Calderon to run the team and be successful against good defensive teams, because he differs to other players naturally. That's his style.

    Lowry on the other hand is a more talented offensive player, and he believes (rightly so) that he should try to beat his man off the dribble and make something happen, rather than passing to Amir Johnson or Aaron Gray for an isolation in the post.

    not sure what the construction of the team has to do with anything...
    I completely agree. But I also don't think its talented enough with Lowry leading it either. Its 6 of one or a half dozen of another. Considering this team doesn't have a franchise player yet, doesn't know what type of player that would be (building a team with a Dwight is much different than with a Lebron and both are different than with a Chris Paul) lacks talent across the board, needs assets and time to accumulate all of that, has both PGs contracts ending well before there is a legitimate chance of any of that happening, and both likely netting different returns and different future contracts (ie. Lowry more valuable but also more expensive). I see no logic in 'going with Lowry' just because he's 'better' player.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    Quote TheGloveinRapsUniform wrote: View Post
    I know Casey is trying to preach the "earn your minutes" mantra but you cant define roles then blur them just because of a gliche.
    Add to this the fact that Lowry has played fantastic. Looking at point guards playing 25+ mins and he is top ten in PER, APER, WS, EFF, TS% and he doesn't turn the ball over much at all. His AST% is a little low but other than that, he's been one of the better PGs in the entire NBA when he's played.

    I'm not slagging Calderon, he has put up excellent numbers as well and, even with strength of schedule, you can't entirely discount the wins they had with him playing big minutes. Still, as much as I like Jose, this team has gone nowhere with him at the helm. It isn't going anywhere with Lowry in the short-term either but maybe they should try and find out if long term Lowry is the answer.

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