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Thread: The fallacy of the pass first PG as the key to winning and offensive production

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    Default The fallacy of the pass first PG as the key to winning and offensive production

    Of late there is a lot of good discussion on the Raptors PG situation. I am of the opinion years of watching Jose Calderon play has warped Raptor fans sense of reality of what constitutes good point guard play. Do not get me wrong, I am not implying Calderon is not a good point guard - far from it. What I am saying is years of rosters comprised of players needing to be spoon fed to get theirs has created a false sense of what is "good" PG play. I do believe Lowry is a good point guard - not elite but very good.

    Take a look at the following table. It is organized by current number of wins - top 16 teams in the league. All stats came from Basketball-Reference.com.


    Current Playoff Team Assists/FG made Assisted FG% Offensive Rating/rank
    San Antonio 1509/2372 63.6% 109.6/6th
    LA Clippers 1428/2336 61.1% 109.5/7th
    Miami 1267/2188 57.8% 112.9/1st
    OKC 1276/2222 57.4% 112.8/2nd
    Denver 1455/2431 59.8% 109.7/5th
    Memphis 1199/2057 58.3% 104.1/19th
    Indiana 1208/2069 58.4% 103.5/21st
    New York 1064/2005 53.1% 110.7/3rd
    Brooklyn 1075/2066 52% 106.7/10th
    Chicago 1330/2055 64.7% 103.0/22nd
    Golden State 1326/2236 59.3% 106.1/11th
    Atlanta /1387/2129 65.1% 105.0/15th
    Utah 1344/2182 61.6% 106.8/9th
    Houston 1406/2318 60.7% 110.1/4th
    Boston 1338/2145 62,4% 102.4/25th
    Milwaukee 1251/2115 59.1% 102.9/23rd
    Toronto 1255/2124 59.1% 105.9/12th


    First things first, it should be noted Toronto is not a 'bad' offensive team based on the season. However, the offense has certainly struggled since the acquisition of Gay.


    A few things that stand out from the table, in my opinion:

    1) 3 of the top offenses in the league (MIA, OKC, NYK) have an assist rate per made field goal lower than Toronto - with NYK having the least number of assists in the league but the 3rd highest offensive rating.

    2) You can still be very competitive with bad offense (Chicago, Indiana, Memphis all bottom 1/3 offense in the league).

    3) A high assist percent per field goal made does not mean there is great offense being run. Of playoff teams with over 62% assisted field goals, 3 of those teams have below average offense (Atlanta 15th, Chicago 22nd, Boston 25th).

    4) Some of the best offenses in the league are run by "score first" point guards. Parker leads the 6th best offense in San Antonio with 7.6 assists per game but he also leads the team in shots per game at 15.5. Westbrook leads the 2nd best offense with 7.8 assists per game but he also leads the team in shots per game at 18.7. Lawson leads the 5th best offense with 7.1 assists per game but he also leads the team in shots per game at 13.7. Felton leds the 3rd best offense with 6.0 assists per game but he is practically tied for 2nd in shots per game at 14.6 (JR Smith has 14.7). Curry leads the 10th best offense with 6.5 assists per game and leads the team in shots at 17.3.

    5) Some of the best offenses in the league are run by "shitty" point guards. Chalmers starts on the best offensive team in the league with just 3.4 assists per game and his backup is 1.7 assists per game (very special and unique circumstances with Wade and LBJ, I know, and it is easily argued *and agreed* Chalmers does not run the O). Lin is the starting PG on the 4th best offensive team in the league and he is hardly setting the league on fire (6.2 assists per game). Utah is probably the best example; since Mo Williams was injured December 23rd, the Jazz have still managed the 9th best offense and assist per field goal rate of 61.6% with Tinsley, Watson, Hayward, Foye, and Burks all running the offense.

    6) Of the teams listed (all playoff teams) there is only one team with what I would call a true pass first PG and that is Paul with the Clippers but even they are "just" the 7th best offense in the league.


    Some conclusions I have drawn:

    1) Lowry is not the problem with the offense in Toronto. Lowry's problem in relation to the offense is he is not playing the way that has made him successful in the few seasons leading up to his arrival in Toronto. I've said it elsewhere and I'll say it again: he has been neutered. Another way to look at it is he is a square peg trying to be jammed in Calderon's circular hole (that was for you Heinz).

    2) Talent is what matters in the NBA. I think Calderon is a much better floor general than Lowry but I think Lowry is a much more talented player. The Knicks have the least assists in the league but have the 3rd best offense. It is not only the players that need to adjust to suit their team - the coaching staff need to adjust to suit the talent on their team. With years of watching guys need to be spoon fed in Raptor land, there now appears to be players who can create their own offense (Lowry when uninhibited, Gay, and DeRozan in the post plus guys like Amir and JV on the offensive glass after penetration). Also when some of the most ball stagnant offenses in the league (with NYK being the poster child) have the 3rd best rating it tells you talent matters.

    3) The Raptors offensive game plan is predominantly side to side and needs more in and out or vertical movement attacking the hoop.

    4) Jack is full of poop when it comes to his nonstop "look at the assist total and the field goals!" That is not necessarily a sign of good offense.

    5) Player movement/Ball movement VS. Player movement/Ball non-movement.
    This is the biggest issue and I saved it for last. The Raptors coaching staff has implemented an offense whereby if the team can't score in transition off their defense, then the ball stops moving and players start running off screens (or of late Gay/DD take the ball and go ISO). In my opinion that is 100% crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy offense. I was always taught from a young age the ball moves faster than you can - so use that to your advantage. In my opinion the best example of this is San Antonio. Watching how the ball moves with the Spurs is beautiful and it shows why they can sit 4 starters and still compete with the champions (but at a cost of $250K). Also interesting is how San Antonio has evolved from 2007/08 at 28th for OffRtg to being 2nd last year and 6th this season.


    Bottom line: the Raptors offensive problems of late start and end with game plan/strategy resulting in poor usage of players talents and strengths.


    **The threads of the last few days (coaching and Lowry) got me thinking and this is what came of it. I'd be interested to read other perspectives or if there are serious flaws with my thinking here that I am missing.**
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    ....but if the Raptors are ranked 12th in the league in offence, that puts them at above-average on that side of the ball. So can we even say that the Raptors' lack of wins is due to offensive problems? How do they rank in terms of defensive efficiency?
    Last edited by afrocarter; Sat Mar 2nd, 2013 at 10:03 PM. Reason: rephrasing

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    Quote afrocarter wrote: View Post
    ....but if the Raptors are ranked 12th in the league in offence, that puts them at above-average on that side of the ball. So can we even say that the Raptors' lack of wins is due to offensive problems? How do they rank in terms of defensive efficiency?
    there is no question defense is a major issue..... MAJOR.

    this is about raps offense which has struggled mightily since gay was acquired and the argument "we need pass 1st PG."
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    So you're saying teams who have lebron, Carmelo and KD can do offense with limited assists, so why can't we? Seriously?

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    Great, great post Matt. Just another piece of your great work.

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    Another notable instance like Miami and Chalmers is the championship Lakers who had Fisher as their PG and still won championships. Note that Miami and LA have James and Kobe respectively, both admirable ball handlers. That stated I totally agree that it does not take a pass-first PG to be a good team. What it does take though is all-round talent. Some of the teams mentioned like SA, OKC, Knicks may not have pass first PG`s but are loaded with talent. Players who do not depend on PG`s to be productive.

    If you look at Colangelo`s history as GM, he has always built teams that rely heavily on `pass-first` PG`s. Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Jose Calderon are good examples. A notable exception is Stefan Marbury and note that Marbury`s Phoenix team did not do well. My point is that it`s just Colangelo`s style of building teams. His teams consist of players who depend on their PG`s to make them better. Reason for Phoenix`s consistent visit to the play-offs under BC IMO.
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    I agree in theory that a pass first point guard isn't necessary, but looking at this current roster BC has put together I think we can safely say that one would be ideal. DeRozan and Gay aren't really effective pick and roll ball handlers (not terrible, but obviously not great either), and obviously Johnson and Valanciunas are best used as rollers themselves, so there's a distinct lack of creativity using the league's staple (and most undefendable) play. I think a big part of why the offense gets so bogged down is that the team lacks the ability to effectively generate switches through or penetrate after screens, leading to a lot of iso play. So yeah, if you build your team around a shoot-first point guard then obviously you can have success, but in an ideal world the Raps would employ a pass first PG to best take advantage of the players they employ at the other 4 positions.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post

    5) Player movement/Ball movement VS. Player movement/Ball non-movement.
    This is the biggest issue and I saved it for last. The Raptors coaching staff has implemented an offense whereby if the team can't score in transition off their defense, then the ball stops moving and players start running off screens (or of late Gay/DD take the ball and go ISO). In my opinion that is 100% crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy offense. I was always taught from a young age the ball moves faster than you can - so use that to your advantage. In my opinion the best example of this is San Antonio. Watching how the ball moves with the Spurs is beautiful and it shows why they can sit 4 starters and still compete with the champions (but at a cost of $250K). Also interesting is how San Antonio has evolved from 2007/08 at 28th for OffRtg to being 2nd last year and 6th this season.

    For me this is the biggest issue on the raps, and I've posted in a number of other threads to that effect.

    I may be misunderstanding you, but it seems to me that your implying that the lack of ball movement is more an issue of the offensive system (coaching staff) than the skill set of the players?

    That's interesting, and I'll agree with a few of your main points

    1) assists/fg's not necessarily a be all and end all for a good offense

    2) Lowry isn't (necessarily) the problem

    That said, it seems to me that Lowry, DeRozan, and Gay, have not demonstrated a great passing ability, and my concern is that we don't have the right personnel to get the ball moving.

    That said, it doesn't have to be Lowry, but I think one of Lowry, Demar, Gay, needs to be moved for a player who can ideally shoot 3's PASS and play good defense. I don't care which position it is (could even be the PF) but imo the PLAYERS we've got have naturally styles that inhibit ball movement (too much drive, not enough kick).

    IMO, Lowry, and Gay are the newest acquistions and we did just draft Ross, so if I were a betting man I'd say demar is the odd man out.

    However, do you see an issue with the personnel of the starting line up, or do you think this is something that can be corrected by the coaches?
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    BUT to make my position clear we do not NEED a pass first PG. Also I would say that since Coangelo traded for Lowry, and traded away Calderon, he may be looking at changing his style.

    Regardless of how our defense is doing, I do think our offense does have some serious issues that need to be addressed either by change of coaching strategy or change of players.

    I'd even be willing to have Derozan come in off the bench if we thought that Fields could guard opposing 2's (and hopefully he gets his 3 point shot fixed). Not this year, since we're already cooked for the playoffs but next year. Demar would probably be pissed about though.
    "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

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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    For me this is the biggest issue on the raps, and I've posted in a number of other threads to that effect.

    I may be misunderstanding you, but it seems to me that your implying that the lack of ball movement is more an issue of the offensive system (coaching staff) than the skill set of the players?

    That's interesting, and I'll agree with a few of your main points

    1) assists/fg's not necessarily a be all and end all for a good offense

    2) Lowry isn't (necessarily) the problem

    That said, it seems to me that Lowry, DeRozan, and Gay, have not demonstrated a great passing ability, and my concern is that we don't have the right personnel to get the ball moving.

    That said, it doesn't have to be Lowry, but I think one of Lowry, Demar, Gay, needs to be moved for a player who can ideally shoot 3's PASS and play good defense. I don't care which position it is (could even be the PF) but imo the PLAYERS we've got have naturally styles that inhibit ball movement (too much drive, not enough kick).

    IMO, Lowry, and Gay are the newest acquistions and we did just draft Ross, so if I were a betting man I'd say demar is the odd man out.

    However, do you see an issue with the personnel of the starting line up, or do you think this is something that can be corrected by the coaches?
    When running more of a motion offense I don't think you need a pin point passer. The movement of the players opens the passing lanes. Last night in the first quarter was a perfect example of Milwaukee up in the passing lanes and the Raptors forcing passes because that is where the offense dictates it to go. There is no thinking by the players on O, everything is individualistic and robotic in nature.

    I don't see an issue with players at this time. Gay has shown an ability to pass the ball and does seem to look for others (he is one of the few who pass or attempt to pass to JV regularly). When it comes to Lowry, he has shown an ability to play in a movement based offense and do well. In 2010/11 in Houston he started 71 of the 75 games he played under Rick Adelman and that team was 3rd in PPG, 4th of OffRtg, and 8th in pace. Last year under McHale (issues and injuries aside) the Rockets were 9th in PPG, 12th in OffRtg, and 11th in pace.

    I definitely think this is something that has to be addressed in the coaching ranks. I don't think the personnel matches what they are trying to do. The offense is also geared towards long 2 point shots which is hardly the model of efficiency.
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    A lot I agree with here and some I disagree. So I'll try and keep it simple.

    1) thats rather explainable because of Durant, Melo and Lebron. These are some of the best scorers (and FT takers) in the league, and as such they also use up a large number of their respective teams total possessions.

    2) absolutely. A team can be just successful from the defensive end as the offensive.

    3) absolutely. From a pure numebrs perspective an assist is only a portion of a made bucket, and a made bucket is only a portion (although a large portion) of an efficient offense. I'm pretty sure, although don't quote me on it, an assist is the 'least valuable' statistical contributor to offensive efficiency (directly anyways). However, I imagine we'd also see a trend over time where higher assist % teams also tend to have higher fg% and as such generally higher offensive efficiencies.

    4/5/6) one of the changes that has occured in the NBA over the last decade+ is a move towards 'scoring PGs' and 'point forwards'. In fact I'd argue there are only a handful of pass first PGs left in the NBA. So its difficult to judge the success of one style of player that is currently endangered breed - let alone shifting from a positions historic responsibilities. But if we look at successful NBA teams what they do usually have is (atleast) an adequate passer as a primary ball handler and another player who is a good passers for their position. With some of the names you brought up

    Houston - Lin/Harden
    Miami - Lebron/Wade
    Memphis - Conley/Gasol
    Atlanta - Teague/Smith
    OKC - Westbrook/Durant
    SA - Parker/Manu/Duncan
    Denver - Lawson/Iggy (+Miller off the bench)
    GS - Curry/Lee (+ Jack off the bench)
    Nets - Williams/Johnson
    Boston - Rondo/Pierce

    (this is also something we see historically for contending teams - eg. Chicago: Rose/Noah, LA: Kobe/Gasol/Odom, Detroit: Billups/Hamilton, Orlando: Nelso/Hedo etc).

    The exceptions to the above are defensive stalwarts [Indiana and Chicago (although Noah is a great passer for his position)] So its easy to argue here that they win through defense rather than offense. The complete exceptions from all the above (ie. good team with a good offense, and doesn't have good passers) are Utah and NY .

    As it applies to the Raptors. I completely agree that Lowry is not the issue, and he shouldn't be expected to be Jose. He's at the very least an adequate passer. One of the problems though is that the team needs him to be closer to 'a Jose' given how this team is built. To go along with what Lark mentioned, and some of what I've brought up above, one of the problems on offense is there is no additional passer to go along with Lowry. When the team had Jose it was less important because he was exceptionally good at what he did (similar to Paul on LAC, or Nash when in Phoenix - and I'm not comparing Jose to them, just what he was good at and his role). Worse, given the back up PGs/players this team has, there is no 'passer' anywhere, including off the bench. (should give credit where credit is due as Demar has been a willing passer since the Gay trade. I'm just not convinced thats sustainable)

    What this is, is a Colangelo issue. His building process has included plugging holes in a leaking dam by taking away sticks from the other side of the dam. The dam needs to be replaced/repaired/changed not plugged up. He builds incomplete teams, chasing names and scoring (I don't think its coincidental that those are two things fans like and pay to see), rather than finding the league wide efficiencies that lead to more success. Its a lack of patience combined with an improper evaluation of value/whats valuable.

    The Raps have none of what the above successful teams tend to have. No elite defense, and no elite 'scorer' or secondary/additional passers that could help lead to an elite offense. They have alot of inefficient scorers, iso. players, alot of questionable defenders and no elite talent period. Thats not Lowry's fault or Casey's fault or any individual players fault. Thats Colangelo's.

    To compund that, Toronto has very few assets in order to fill those holes without forming new ones (no pick, no cap space, no players with value who aren't needed). Atleast not if they want to keep Ross and Val.

    (turned alot less simple than I was expecting)
    Last edited by Craiger; Sun Mar 3rd, 2013 at 09:34 AM.

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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post

    Some conclusions I have drawn:

    1) Lowry is not the problem with the offense in Toronto. Lowry's problem in relation to the offense is he is not playing the way that has made him successful in the few seasons leading up to his arrival in Toronto. I've said it elsewhere and I'll say it again: he has been neutered. Another way to look at it is he is a square peg trying to be jammed in Calderon's circular hole (that was for you Heinz).

    2) Talent is what matters in the NBA. I think Calderon is a much better floor general than Lowry but I think Lowry is a much more talented player. The Knicks have the least assists in the league but have the 3rd best offense. It is not only the players that need to adjust to suit their team - the coaching staff need to adjust to suit the talent on their team. With years of watching guys need to be spoon fed in Raptor land, there now appears to be players who can create their own offense (Lowry when uninhibited, Gay, and DeRozan in the post plus guys like Amir and JV on the offensive glass after penetration). Also when some of the most ball stagnant offenses in the league (with NYK being the poster child) have the 3rd best rating it tells you talent matters.

    3) The Raptors offensive game plan is predominantly side to side and needs more in and out or vertical movement attacking the hoop.

    4) Jack is full of poop when it comes to his nonstop "look at the assist total and the field goals!" That is not necessarily a sign of good offense.

    5) Player movement/Ball movement VS. Player movement/Ball non-movement.
    This is the biggest issue and I saved it for last. The Raptors coaching staff has implemented an offense whereby if the team can't score in transition off their defense, then the ball stops moving and players start running off screens (or of late Gay/DD take the ball and go ISO). In my opinion that is 100% crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy offense. I was always taught from a young age the ball moves faster than you can - so use that to your advantage. In my opinion the best example of this is San Antonio. Watching how the ball moves with the Spurs is beautiful and it shows why they can sit 4 starters and still compete with the champions (but at a cost of $250K). Also interesting is how San Antonio has evolved from 2007/08 at 28th for OffRtg to being 2nd last year and 6th this season.


    Bottom line: the Raptors offensive problems of late start and end with game plan/strategy resulting in poor usage of players talents and strengths.


    **The threads of the last few days (coaching and Lowry) got me thinking and this is what came of it. I'd be interested to read other perspectives or if there are serious flaws with my thinking here that I am missing.**
    I'm really glad you wrote this because this is the correct analysis.

    But I will say that your core point about player usage existed before the gay trade. It goes much deeper.

    Even before the trade, casey ran plays for guys like demar and bargs who will not succeed if they are the first scoring option on the team. He gives the green light to guys like Anderson and Lucas to do pretty much whatever they want with little consequence. Lowry was not being encouraged to take the lead offensively even though he is one of the best shooters and playmakers on the team.

    What the gay trade did temporarily was restore some sort of offensive heriarchy, where guys were deferring to someone who they thought was better. It wasn't that gay is a much better shooter, but it was that it wasn't THEM taking the shots In a seemingly random unstrategic sense.

    This has worn off now, and it is because, again, the coaching staff have allowed gay to do whatever he wants without consequence.

    At the end of the day, and this is the key point, it's not that Calderon was more talented, but he made casey look like He had everything with respect to offense under control.

    The reality is, we have been a poor offensive seem since last year, and casey, like a slow computer, is still downloading the fact that this team is different and needs a totally different offensive identity.

    IMO I think casey should be force feeding Ross and JV at this point in the season to create development. I think he should stop running isolation plays for demar. And I think that he should keep the rotation to a top-9. I think this will create more of a routine in the offense and more ball movement.

    But yeah...this definitely is a deep problem tht makes me nervous

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    One more thing

    Anyone who points to the fact that we are 12th offensively and worse defensively is (obviously) right.

    But in basketball you can't separate the two like football. There are ebbs and flows and they work off each other. If we become more efficient offensively then we will be better defensively.

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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    A lot I agree with here and some I disagree. So I'll try and keep it simple.

    1) thats rather explainable because of Durant, Melo and Lebron. These are some of the best scorers (and FT takers) in the league, and as such they also use up a large number of their respective teams total possessions.

    2) absolutely. A team can be just successful from the defensive end as the offensive.

    3) absolutely. From a pure numebrs perspective an assist is only a portion of a made bucket, and a made bucket is only a portion (although a large portion) of an efficient offense. I'm pretty sure, although don't quote me on it, an assist is the 'least valuable' statistical contributor to offensive efficiency (directly anyways). However, I imagine we'd also see a trend over time where higher assist % teams also tend to have higher fg% and as such generally higher offensive efficiencies.

    4/5/6) one of the changes that has occured in the NBA over the last decade+ is a move towards 'scoring PGs' and 'point forwards'. In fact I'd argue there are only a handful of pass first PGs left in the NBA. So its difficult to judge the success of one style of player that is currently endangered breed - let alone shifting from a positions historic responsibilities. But if we look at successful NBA teams what they do usually have is (atleast) an adequate passer as a primary ball handler and another player who is a good passers for their position. With some of the names you brought up

    Houston - Lin/Harden
    Miami - Lebron/Wade
    Memphis - Conley/Gasol
    Atlanta - Teague/Smith
    OKC - Westbrook/Durant
    SA - Parker/Manu/Duncan
    Denver - Lawson/Iggy (+Miller off the bench)
    GS - Curry/Lee (+ Jack off the bench)
    Nets - Williams/Johnson
    Boston - Rondo/Pierce

    (this is also something we see historically for contending teams - eg. Chicago: Rose/Noah, LA: Kobe/Gasol/Odom, Detroit: Billups/Hamilton, Orlando: Nelso/Hedo etc).

    The exceptions to the above are defensive stalwarts [Indiana and Chicago (although Noah is a great passer for his position)] So its easy to argue here that they win through defense rather than offense. The complete exceptions from all the above (ie. good team with a good offense, and doesn't have good passers) are Utah and NY .

    As it applies to the Raptors. I completely agree that Lowry is not the issue, and he shouldn't be expected to be Jose. He's at the very least an adequate passer. One of the problems though is that the team needs him to be closer to 'a Jose' given how this team is built. To go along with what Lark mentioned, and some of what I've brought up above, one of the problems on offense is there is no additional passer to go along with Lowry. When the team had Jose it was less important because he was exceptionally good at what he did (similar to Paul on LAC, or Nash when in Phoenix - and I'm not comparing Jose to them, just what he was good at and his role). Worse, given the back up PGs/players this team has, there is no 'passer' anywhere, including off the bench. (should give credit where credit is due as Demar has been a willing passer since the Gay trade. I'm just not convinced thats sustainable)

    What this is, is a Colangelo issue. His building process has included plugging holes in a leaking dam by taking away sticks from the other side of the dam. The dam needs to be replaced/repaired/changed not plugged up. He builds incomplete teams, chasing names and scoring (I don't think its coincidental that those are two things fans like and pay to see), rather than finding the league wide efficiencies that lead to more success. Its a lack of patience combined with an improper evaluation of value/whats valuable.

    The Raps have none of what the above successful teams tend to have. No elite defense, and no elite 'scorer' or secondary/additional passers that could help lead to an elite offense. They have alot of inefficient scorers, iso. players, alot of questionable defenders and no elite talent period. Thats not Lowry's fault or Casey's fault or any individual players fault. Thats Colangelo's.


    To compund that, Toronto has very few assets in order to fill those holes without forming new ones (no pick, no cap space, no players with value who aren't needed). Atleast not if they want to keep Ross and Val.

    (turned alot less simple than I was expecting)
    I tend to agree with a lot of what is in here.

    First bold:
    They are definitely talented - no question the most talented in the league (well, Melo is a black hole taking 23 shots per game but whatever). The key thing is their talent is being maximized. I don't think Toronto's talent is being maximized in the type of offense they are running.

    Second bold:
    I agree with everything on Colangelo. However, there is more talent on this roster than there has been in years. It definitely is not perfect - far from it - but I think there is more ability than the regimented offensive sets and stagnating iso's (**cough**AA**cough**) that have been run of late. I do think Casey is to blame for this.


    Movement is the #1 issue for me - not enough of it. Not enough player movement off the ball, not enough ball movement.
    "You donít know the Bruno Caboclo......"
    Bruno Caboclo

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

  15. #15
    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Are people saying that a pass-first PG is a must?

    I think as a backup it would be good with the current bench we have, because they're all ball-stoppers, so at least if a PG was setting them up in better spots instead of lots of crappy broken plays and isos.

    In general though, I agree wholeheartedly that it really doesn't matter what kind of PG you have. System and roster balance are all that matter. This is why Casey's substition patterns frustrate the hell out of me. I really believe that Fields' presence on the court has a positive effect on ball movement. Not only does he keep the ball moving, but he keeps himself moving, so that not only does he keep it moving around the perimeter, but gets caught for inside passes, where he's also good at looking if he should kick it back out or look down low for a cutter at the basket.

    On the point about "Jack is full of poop when it comes to his nonstop "look at the assist total and the field goals!" That is not necessarily a sign of good offense." It is not necessarily a good sign, but it is a pretty telling sign as a team. Good teams keep the ball moving to always look for a more open, higher % shot....It doesn't always mean an assisted basket is a better one, but I think more often than not it's a safe bet. But again, it doesn't matter if one player carries that total. On SAS and CHI, two of the better teams in the assist ratio above, they do it by committee. So the key isn't about getting lots of assists as much as it is everyone's first instinct to be a combination of "is this the best shot? is somebody else open?".

    I don't know how to address the issue with the starters. It's gonna have to come from the players. Maybe they need (and I think they should) to initiate more of Gay's offense from the mid-post area, so that he can kick it out of doubles to start ball movement. Maybe also try to actually utilize the bigs. I get not throwing it down to Amir in the low-post, that's not really his strength. But the plays always seem to be pin-downs or screen and rolll...and if the big doesn't get the pass on the roll he's almost sure not to get it at all. Once the screen action is done they only look for perimeter plays (including when they make drives from there). Just giving the ball to JV (who is excellent at establishing low position even now) to shift the D a little would help, even if most of the time it's with the plan to expect him to pass it back out rather than looking to score...
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Sun Mar 3rd, 2013 at 03:23 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I tend to agree with a lot of what is in here.

    First bold:
    They are definitely talented - no question the most talented in the league (well, Melo is a black hole taking 23 shots per game but whatever). The key thing is their talent is being maximized. I don't think Toronto's talent is being maximized in the type of offense they are running.

    Second bold:
    I agree with everything on Colangelo. However, there is more talent on this roster than there has been in years. It definitely is not perfect - far from it - but I think there is more ability than the regimented offensive sets and stagnating iso's (**cough**AA**cough**) that have been run of late. I do think Casey is to blame for this.


    Movement is the #1 issue for me - not enough of it. Not enough player movement off the ball, not enough ball movement.
    That's the point (2nd bold).

    Irrespective of colangelo We have more talent on the team now and we should be better offensively with the team we have now.

    The coach can always make a difference in the performance of a team, however slight

  17. #17
    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I tend to agree with a lot of what is in here.

    First bold:
    They are definitely talented - no question the most talented in the league (well, Melo is a black hole taking 23 shots per game but whatever). The key thing is their talent is being maximized. I don't think Toronto's talent is being maximized in the type of offense they are running.

    Second bold:
    I agree with everything on Colangelo. However, there is more talent on this roster than there has been in years. It definitely is not perfect - far from it - but I think there is more ability than the regimented offensive sets and stagnating iso's (**cough**AA**cough**) that have been run of late. I do think Casey is to blame for this.


    Movement is the #1 issue for me - not enough of it. Not enough player movement off the ball, not enough ball movement.
    There is BUT, I don't think its enough talent and I don't think its well distributed talent (ie. well built team). The real problem right now is Colangelo has exhausted almost all of this teams best assets to get the talent it has. Which leaves the team needing more, but with little to give up.

    For instance I think Pau makes alot of sense on this team right now and the Raps could potentially be a Memphis-east team (no superstar but lots of talent across the board - with similar style players and build at positions - and coincidentally 3 players who came through Memphis). With a healthy starting line up of Lowry, Ross, Gay, Pau and Val with Amir the third big off the bench, I think the team could compete in the east. (Miami and a healthy Chicago would still be tough to beat, but that applies to every team). But it leads to some serious questions:

    1) can the Raps even get Pau from LA with what amounts to some combination of whats left? ie. Bargnani, Demar, Kleiza, AA etc
    2) Even if they can would MLSE spend rather deep into the cap?
    3) Can that roster (specifically Pau - although Lowry aswell with his style of play) stay healthy?
    4) Will the rather small window work? ie. Pau's age vs Val/Ross developing quickly enough?
    5) Would Colangelo willingly give up two players he previously identified as 'core' guys? (Demar and/or Bargnani)

    We can replace Pau with a bunch of different names (Milsap or Smith or whoever), but the questions end up remaining the same or atleast similar. This team, with the players it has, could use an offensively efficient big man who rebounds and is a good passer, while Ross and Val improve rather quickly (ie. become reliable players), obtained within some means thats fits the salary cap rules (ie. almost definetely needs to be a trade) and at a total cost MLSE (Rogers/Bell) would willing spend for a couple years of competing. Thats no small or easy feat.

    I just don't see it happening. I think there is too much that needs to come together, with very little available on this team to give up (without causing other problems), to make it all work.

    Now if Bagnani or Demar, by some miracle, become valuable, this is all a different story. Ofcourse if they were valuable players we wouldn't need to fill any holes either.......
    Last edited by Craiger; Sun Mar 3rd, 2013 at 11:25 AM.

  18. #18
    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    There is BUT, I don't think its enough talent and I don't think its well distributed talent (ie. well built team). The real problem right now is Colangelo has exhausted almost all of this teams best assets to get the talent it has. Which leaves the team needing more, but with little to give up.

    For instance I think Pau makes alot of sense on this team right now and the Raps could potentially be a Memphis-east team (no superstar but lots of talent across the board - with similar style players and build at positions - and coincidentally 3 players who came through Memphis). With a healthy starting line up of Lowry, Ross, Gay, Pau and Val with Amir the third big off the bench, I think the team could compete in the east. (Miami and a healthy Chicago would still be tough to beat, but that applies to every team). But it leads to some serious questions:

    1) can the Raps even get Pau from LA with what amounts to some combination of whats left? ie. Bargnani, Demar, Kleiza, AA etc
    2) Even if they can would MLSE spend rather deep into the cap?
    3) Can that roster (specifically Pau - although Lowry aswell with his style of play) stay healthy?
    4) Will the rather small window work? ie. Pau's age vs Val/Ross developing quickly enough?
    5) Would Colangelo willingly give up two players he previously identified as 'core' guys? (Demar and/or Bargnani)

    We can replace Pau with a bunch of different names (Milsap or Smith or whoever), but the questions end up remaining the same or atleast similar. This team, with the players it has, could use an offensively efficient big man who rebounds and is a good passer, while Ross and Val improve rather quickly (ie. become reliable players), obtained within some means thats fits the salary cap rules (ie. almost definetely needs to be a trade) and at a total cost MLSE (Rogers/Bell) would willing spend for a couple years of competing. Thats no small or easy feat.

    I just don't see it happening. I think there is too much that needs to come together, with very little available on this team to give up (without causing other problems), to make it all work.

    Now if Bagnani or Demar, by some miracle, become valuable, this is all a different story. Ofcourse if they were valuable players we wouldn't need to fill any holes either.......

    Content is crucial for Rogers/Bell. The cost of the luxury tax could likely easily be covered and then some with a competitive team drawing television viewers and playoff revenues.

    I think Boozer ends up here, not Gasol.
    "You donít know the Bruno Caboclo......"
    Bruno Caboclo

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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