Early advantage to DeRozan

You know how sometimes people say “as far as I know” at the end of a ridiculous statement to distance themselves from what they’re stating while actually promoting the thought they just spewed out? For example, I could make a statement like, John Smith’s mother is not a whore as far as I know. I’m…

You know how sometimes people say “as far as I know” at the end of a ridiculous statement to distance themselves from what they’re stating while actually promoting the thought they just spewed out? For example, I could make a statement like, John Smith’s mother is not a whore as far as I know. I’m invalidating the claim that Smith’s mother is what she’s accused of being while at the same time planting some seeds in your mind that she could very well what she’s being referred to as. Well, Steve Buffery tried to pull that trick today but instead of using “as far as I know” he used “if there’s any substance at all to the rumour”. He basically said:

In the rumour department, John Smith’s mother is being mentioned as a whore and probably a lot more. This is of course if there’s any substance at all to the rumour.

The kind of reporting that regurgitates old rumours a year later is suited for blogs and websites that don’t have to be accountable to anyone (ahem) but even we try to shy away from this bush-league stuff.

I’ve been a critic of Colangelo’s moves for quite some time now – and it’s hard not to be one – but if I do trust him to do one thing it’s not to get fleeced in a deal. As hard as the T.J Ford trade was to swallow (because of the pick), he’s pulled off relatively good trades. Humphries for Hoffa, Jones for Dixon, Evans for Kapono and most recently, Delfino/Roko for Johnson/Weems. So if the time does come to trade Bosh, I’m confident Colangelo will have weighed his options well in advance.

The theory that as we inch closer to the trade deadline, the return in a Bosh trade decreases carries merit because the number of teams looking to rebuild in the summer is always greater than those who are willing to give up at the deadline. There’s also the risk of teams being hesitant to give up too much and acquire someone who could turn out to be a rent-a-player. However, that fear is usually offset by the acquisition of Bird rights which allows the team to offer more money than anyone else. In all likelihood, you could trade Bosh to the Bulls, Knicks, Heat or Mavericks any time and get anyone other than their star players (Rose, Wade, Dirk) in return. Nobody will give up an established top-tier player in a Bosh trade and we’ll always be looking at the likes of Ellis, Biedrins, Lee and picks in return for Bosh.

At the start of the summer I thought he was gone, but Colangelo might’ve done enough for him to at least consider that he’s serious about success. We’ll see, it doesn’t really interest me because there are far more interesting things about the Raptors than mulling about what Chris Bosh will do. I happen to sleep safe in the knowledge that Colangelo will do us right this time around.

Belinelli, DeRozan, Wright and Weems. Parker, Kapono, Moon and Graham. The improvement in athleticism is very noticeable and the scoring rate should also be better. The issue, like last year, will be consistency. Here’s a quick breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses displayed by our three wing options thus far:

Belinelli: Strengths: His passing has been superb and he wasn’t joking around when he said he could create for his teammates, hell, he’s done it better than any of his competition by averaging 2.3 assists. The point-forward is an option with him as he’s the most dangerous wing with the ball in his hands. He looks to drive ‘n kick and is aggressive in transition looking for easy baskets. He’s shown a quick release and his shooting percentage with his feet set has been excellent. Weaknesses: The tendency to hijack the offense is there. In the four games we’ve played he’s reduced the number of off-balance shots he’s taken with each game. Shot-selection is a big issue for him (shooting 40%) and it’s up to Triano to help him find his nice within the offense. He’s averaging 1.8 rebounds which isn’t helping his case to start. I was hoping to see an ability to create his own shot through post-ups or one-one-one at the elbows but so far it hasn’t happened. Overall, he’s done better than what Delfino would’ve.

DeRozan: Strengths: Very much in control of his game and plays to his strengths whether that be a hop-step drive into the middle or knocking down a clean look from 22 feet. The composure is the same as summer league and he’s slowly adapting to the bigger and longer defenders. He’s having less of his passes deflected and is taking much better care of the ball. He’s not dribbling unnecessarily anymore which means he’s less likely to turn it over. He gets out on the break and finishes not just with sheer force, but with sound technical ability. The left-to-right finish he applied against Washington on the break was beautiful. Weaknesses: A man of his talents on a team thin at the wing should be getting a lot more touches so he’ll need to be more aggressive in finding his offense. If he’s more involved in the offense he’s also likely to shoot higher than 40%, a rate this is not acceptable. The ball-handling isn’t great and as we saw against Philly, his defensive footwork needs tweaking. Those aren’t easy fixes and something that needs to be evaluated every month or so. Onus on Triano to keep the rookie busy in the offensive sets. He’s an athletic player but not very active or demanding, we got to feed him in order for him to develop his game.

Weems: Strengths: Extremely active and athletic. He’s seen how thin we are at the wing and is making the most of his chance at minutes. He’s showing Triano the hustle, the competitiveness, the athleticism and to top it off, a mid-range game that could be his trump card over Wright. He’s been the most aggressive in running the lanes and is forcing a pass out of the PGs because of his speed when leaking out. He’s shooting 52% (highest of any G/F) because he tends to drive whenever possible and looks for his jump shot last. Weaknesses: When you have a guy who surprises you like he has, there are no weaknesses, only bonuses.

Overall, their defense has been acceptable. There haven’t been any clear exploitations nor have any of them shown anything spectacular. The regular season will tell us more to that. The wing situation has definitely improved but none of these players can be considered reliable scorers. Other than occasional drives here and there from DeRozan and Belinelli, they depend on a well functioning offense to get theirs. With Hedo playing taking a big chunk of minutes at the three and Triano increasingly playing Jack and Calderon together, nobody knows exactly what the minute distribution will be like, you’d have to think that it’s between Belinelli and DeRozan for starting duties.

I think the minute distribution at SG will come down to who can help with the rebounding while not being a total write-off on offense. DeRozan’s got the edge on Belinelli because of his athleticism, self-control and tendency to hit the glass.