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When Tanks Collide

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Cavaliers 104, Raptors 96 – Box

I don’t know if you can take any more away from this game than the realization how uninspiring Baron Davis’ career has turned out despite being prodigiously talented. While you can take any outburst against the Raptors with an Alexis Ajinca-sized grain of salt, the man’s undeniable talents were on display.

He started off the game dishing lobs to baseline cutters after strolling into the middle of the lane, on more than one occasion, a play that we’ve see on numerous Blake Griffin highlights. I wouldn’t have minded if it was Griffin doing that to our Raptors, at least it would have been wondrous. Ryan Hollins is not wondrous. Neither is JJ Hickson.

Hickson is as painful to watch as Chris Bosh was, but like Bosh he gets it done and tonight was no exception. With no Amir Johnson and a foul-ridden Ed Davis, it was left to Reggie Evans and at times James Johnson to man the post. Predictably, Hickson had no trouble finishing at the rim.

After a couple of eye-opening performances, Ed Davis looked like…well, a rookie. He got a couple of quick calls and even when he did return, was not able to get his usual assortment of garbage buckets due to lack of ball movement offensively. But when the kid does score, it’s how he does that gives you hope. He has the ability to rise over players for clean looks around the bucket.

About the consensus opinion that Easy Ed needs to bulk up: Don’t like it. We still need a true banger down low, so hope and pray the GM, be it Colangelo or his potential replacement, pulls through. But don’t put extra weight that his knees may not be able to handle. He’s already had some meniscus removed from one of them. Let’s stop trying to turn players into something they aren’t, especially if it means playing with their natural body types.

Really disappointed by DeMar DeRozan tonight. Can’t help but wonder if the guy would be putting up 17 points/game for a team a playoff-caliber team. Tonight, whenever he tried to make something happen, it did not end well. His greatest asset right now? Ironically, his spot-up jumper. A quality NBA guard not only creates his own offense, but makes players around him better. DeMar doesn’t get nearly enough assists, because a) His court vision is lacking and b) Frankly, he doesn’t draw enough defensive attention where guys are wide open as a result. His game has plateaued somewhat due to this. The court vision you can develop to an extent, but drawing in defenders like a Vince Carter used to? Not sure if he possesses that kind of ability.

So yes, you can conclude that Ed Davis has more potential in my eyes than DeMar for what it’s worth. Where does that leave Jerryd Bayless and James Johnson? Bayless has impressed. He’s shown a consistent ability to get by his defender, but then develops tunnel vision and usually goes for a strong take at the rim, and the rest of the team become spectators. I’d like to see guys cut baseline like Cleveland did so effectively last night to take advantage of that penetration.

James Johnson was underwhelming last night. For some reason he thinks he can be effective one-on-one. He does not have the handle or the shot to be able to do that. He won over some hearts with his defensive intensity, but once again a guaranteed starting spot has prompted him to focus less on that and more on his offense. He will get his opportunities and minutes because he’s a de-facto Colangelo pick, but I mean come on people. We’re so starved for a quality SF that some think a guy like James Johnson may be the answer? Julian Wright right now is more valuable as a player. At least James could have laid the smacketh down on Bad Joey, but decided against it.

The Raptors pulled to within 5 at one point in the 4th, and when Byron Scott decided to bring back Baron Davis into the game after the kids got to run around for a bit, the game was essentially over. He did make some tough shots that few players in this league can, so all credit goes to him. We’ll console ourselves with a top 3 pick.

For people who want Triano gone because of this teams defensive ineptitude: You’re looking at the wrong guy. It’s pretty clear, and I’m not alone in believing that Colangelo is very hands-on as a GM, which is why Jay is not going anywhere as long as Colangelo is in charge. He can’t fire him, because a lot of the minute allocation is definitely dictated by Colangelo and you’ve heard Paul Jones/Eric Smith repeatedly mention that the staff goes over everything defensively. Colangelo knows that Jay is dong everything he can while giving minutes to the players he wants.

So it’s the players that aren’t doing the job, obviously, and that falls on Colangelo. His major flaw is that he thinks players are developed through nurture and not nature. Players do need experience, but the right kind of experience, with the right kind of discipline.

Discipline.

If you can use one word to describe what has been lacking in Colangelo’s tenure in Toronto, it would be that.

33 Comments

    • Just imagine if some team(s) leap frog the Rap’s in the Lottery selection process and the Rap’s end up with the 3rd worst record but the 4th, 5th or even the 6th draft selction?

      Will all the losing, tanking propaganda still be worth it?

      Btw- tanknig is for suckas play to win and let the chips (ping pong balls) fall where thay may.

      • Winning 28-38 games a year is for suckas. Tanking is a smart business move though it’s rarely done overtly or even with clear intent. Playing the youth, holding out a good player here or there, refraining from making trades that are shortsighted, can all lead to more losses which can lead to, though it doesn’t guarantee, a better pick. We all know that there are only a few ways a team can get significantly better, the draft being one, if not the best. This team needs an infusion of talent – and whatever increases the chances of this, is worth doing.

  1. ed davis is going to bulk up, regardless. he’s still a kid (just look at his face), and he’s going to fill into his body. i agree he should try to stay close to his natural weight, but his natural weight is still going to be at least 20 lbs more than it is right now.

  2. I thought JJohnson laid a pretty good ‘smack down’ on Joey … the good old-fashioned way. What? You wanted to see a roundhouse to his head?

    • That was a flagrant (and I am a JJ supporter). Seemed like it was payback for other events…but not a nice way to play. One can be physical without that kind of foul.

      • It was payback because Joey had just blocked JJ shots and let him know about it so JJ delivered a cheap shot to Joey and got a flagrant 1 for it as well.

        I like JJ’s game and think that he can be a solid rotation player off of the bench for the Rap’s but he is not a starting NBA SF currently- another BC gift of a starting position.

        The Raptors, where starting positions are handed out- not earned under BC via Jay.

  3. DeMar needs to work on his back-to-the-basket game. Once he starts posting up defenders regularly, the double-teams will also come regularly.

    Post up game has become synonymous with big men, but it shouldn’t be restricted to them. Every player on the court should be able to post up their defender when needed (with a smaller, weaker player guarding them). Along with his defense and 3 point shooting, this is where I want to see improvements in DeMar’s game.

    Remember the days of Mark Jackson? For a PG, he had great post up game.

    • I totally agree. All of the elite SG in the league have a go to post move that commands attention.
      If he can get that to work, along with the turn-around jump shot, things will open up for the team offensively. Kick outs and cuts through the lane will become passing options, while his yet-to-be perfected spin move will take him baseline for ramma-jamma’s.

      If only…

  4. Its such a waste, when you start No Offense, Raw players like James Johnson and Julian Wright but at the same time refuse to play the likes of Soloman Alabi. I mean c’mon let’s just see what the kid has to prove. JEEEZ!!!

    • I know. How bad can he be? I know hes raw .. but look at the scrubs we are throwing out there. Lets at least give him a chance. Ajinca can hit the odd open 15 footer (and shoots it enough to make you think hes Larry Bird) .. great .. but he has not future with this team.
      Just throw me a bone .. theres very little reason to tune into these games lately .. to at least see what he can do would wet my appetite somewhat.

    • I have a feeling that Alabi is probably so out of his element on the court right now that they don’t put him out there in fear of the criticism for drafting him and giving him a 2 year deal.

      • The Rap’s traded with Dallas to acquire Solomon they didn’t draft him but BC did sign him to a 2 year deal that’s guaranteed-I believe.

        So he’s here next year as well taking up a roster spot along with an injured Kleiza (due back around Feb/Mar 2012).

        I say play the kid as you have paid the kid.

  5. DeMar is a great kid — talented, hardworking, and clearly an elite athlete, but I agree with this assessment. After watching him get better all year I’m still not sure that he’ll have the handle, range, body control and first step to be an All-Star 2.

    However, I wonder if his lack of assists might be a product of our offense (and his role in it). After our predictable and poorly-executed pick and roll (seriously, we’re like the missionary offense) we’re pretty much four guys standing around on the perimeter, and so DD gets his touches late in possessions, which forces him to drive or shoot.

    Anyone got numbers that back this up?

  6. Players are to be held accountable, but the blame for this teams defensive woe’s have to start with the head coach. Back to back years as the the worst defensive team in the leage is proof of that.

    • I disagree 100000000%. Is that what it has come to? You blaming the head coach for the team having bad defense? The coaches aren’t the ones out there playing defense, the players are. Now, I’m not a Triano lover (I think he is definitely in the bottom 10 of coaches, but he hasn’t really had much to work with), but you can’t have a good defensive team with shitty defensive players. Those “back to back years as the worst defensive team in the league” is proof that we have have had back to back years of guys that can’t play defense. and considering we brought in Iavaroni and PJ carlisimo to implement defensive systems, I think Triano is definitely NOT the one to blame? does he get some of the blame? sure, but so do each of the players, GM, assistant coaches. Last year was Calderon/Jack, derozan, turkoglu, bosh and bargnani. all awful defenders. this year it is calderon/bayless, derozan, johnson, johnson and Bargnani, again, all awful defenders apart from the Johnsons. I refuse to believe the notion that bayless is a good defender.

      • My post didn’t say that the players are not to blame, but it said that the blame starts with the head coach. Triano comes up with the defensive schemes, Triano is the one that should be preaching defense to the players beginning with the training camp, he choses not to play Wright, he choses not to bench players that repeatedly miss defensive assignments. Sure the players don’t put the effort into it, but defense begins with the system implemented by the head coach.

  7. I have slagged the team as much as anyone but c’mon people that was the 4th game in 5 nights with a couple away and a host of dnps. It’s time not to take these games too seriously anymore.

  8. Jose looks like he’s 50, too much pill catching up with him

    comparing Demar to Carter is bunk too

  9. I’m sure the question last night was: Could the Cleveland Cavaliers beat a D-League team? The answer was yes.

  10. Stop talking ADUB… Ed Davis don’t put on weight because of his knees–U a doctor, now?! Strength training is eXactly what he needs… So DeRozan and Johnson aren’t allowed to struggle at the end of a season when there’s very little to play for? Get over the high expectations, save ’em for November………………

    • I agree, that line about Ed Davis not needing to bulk up is complete bs. Obviously he should do an assortment workouts, upper body AND lower body, if he adds lower strength as well the muscles take the strain off the knee cartilage. To be honest, Ed looks much bigger than Bosh did when he came out of college, hell he looks bigger than Bosh right now, like he actually has meat on him. You can also see the difference when they dunk, Bosh barely rattles the rim, while Ed shakes the hell out of it. Bosh was just a lanky soft PF, Ed is not. Stop hating on DeMar too, hes in his second year and just 21, he’s going to work hard this summer, I fully except him to greatly improve his 3 point shot and quickness. If he didn’t start slow out of the gate this season, he’d be in the 20 ppg range, next season (if there is a next season) he’ll surpass that and take a huge step in his career. Believe that!

  11. There is some major speculation in this article that is casually rolled off as fact. Did Pierre McGuire write this article?

    I love RR, but you should probably at least have official media access to the team before you can “inform” us about the inner workings of the Raptors front office.

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