We still have a few slots left for our 3-on-3 Tournament. The event will be on Sunday November 28 at Mattamy Athletic Centre (Yonge/College) at 1 PM. Registration is now open with limited spots available.
What: Survivor Series – The 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
When: November 28, 2021, at 1:00 PM
Cost: The cost per team is $150
How to Sign Your Team Up
3. Send money using $RAPS coin here
While part of the appeal for Gleeson is to grow into a more well-rounded coach — Gleeson said he will take turns throughout the season focusing on all areas of coaching — it is his history as an offensive coach that is most interesting. The Raptors have relied heavily on the “flow” offence over the past few seasons, which operates mostly as a “five-out” scheme that relies on a diet of pick-and-rolls, dribble handoffs and plenty of outside shooting. Gleeson is one of the foremost proponents of the “flex” offence, which is a four-out, one-in system. Both schemes are egalitarian in nature, not necessarily funnelling the ball to one specific player. However, since the Raptors have a few suspect shooters on the roster, from Khem Birch to Precious Achiuwa on the inside to Scottie Barnes as a more perimeter-based player, something that allows for more creativity and playmaking from inside the arc could play to the Raptors’ strengths.
“The good part about preseason is that everything is on the table,” Gleeson said. “We can experiment with what works for us, what doesn’t work for us. It’s really getting guys on the court to have that chemistry, to pass up a good shot to get a great shot. Once you get a team in that frame of mind, it’s fun to play out on the court. We’re really working to get the guys on the spots and spacing and reads.”
A long way of saying that if Nurse likes how elements of the flex offence look in the preseason, expect him to lean on it — and Gleeson — once the games start to count. It’s clear the Raptors’ attack needs some modification. Last year, the Raptors ranked 18th in the league in half-court offence, per Synergy Sports. The year before they were 17th, which dragged down their 10th-overall placement in offence. And that was with Kyle Lowry, the best pick-and-roll creator the Raptors had.
“Just being in this environment, it’s so open,” Gleason said. “It is not close-minded like a lot of environments are. (Nurse isn’t saying) ‘This is the way things are done, and you’ve gotta do it.’ He wants to find the best idea, and he doesn’t care whose idea it is as long as it’s the best way to help the team. You’re creative and you find things.”
As Fred VanVleet put it after the scrimmage when I asked him if it was fun for an old head like him: “It’s fun-ny. I don’t know if it’s fun but it’s funny at times.”
Pretty well put, as was this one:
“A lot of running around and yelling and chaos. It’s a little bit different this year around but we’ve got a lot of guys with energy and length, lot of people trying to figure it out all at once. It’s been interesting to say the least.”
I don’t think anyone can or should read much into what happens tonight but it is important that the Raptors get out and see how they stack up against other NBAers. It’s one thing to play and practice against your teammates for a week but finding out whether anything you do works against guys who don’t know what’s coming is huge.
And if there’s one thing that was kind of apparent in one scrimmage we’ve seen: No one will know what’s coming.
I think basically every player on the team who can dribble with his head up brought the ball up the court at some point Saturday, there was all kinds of motion in the offence and I can’t think of one time when they simply dumped the ball into the post and went work from there.
It wasn’t completely unorthodox – it’s a variation of offensive systems that are in vogue throughout the league these days – but they did look quick, if a tad disorganized at times.
That’s to be expected but it’s also fun to see. Guys running to and fro and hoisting up shots all of a sudden; I don’t think it works too well without refinement and a bit more structure but it is fast and there are new faces and that’s not a bad thing at all at this time of year.
The big thing, though, is that they’re back. There was a palpable energy in London that we’ve missed, I’d presume with close to 10,000 people in the building tonight it’ll be even more so.
It’s going to be much the same for us. Same seats, same post-game set up except limited capacity in the interview room and masks. No locker room access but if we need to get a guy one on one we likely can, masked and socially distanced, of course, but after 18 months or so of covering games off TV and through Zoom calls, this is going to be a ton of fun.
On paper, tonight’s game is not exactly shaping up to be a great look at what both of these teams will be this season. Both teams are missing their best players (Siakam and Embiid), and of course, the 76ers are also missing Ben Simmons (remember him?).
But the preseason, of course, is all about evaluating the new arrivals and the young guys, right?
For the Raptors, that likely means getting longer looks at players without guaranteed contracts. Can Yuta Watanabe and Freddie Gillespie build on what they accomplished last season? Can Isaac Bonga or Sam Dekker impress the Raptors’ braintrust?
For Philly, we’ll likely get to see new Sixers backup centre, and frequent Raptors punching bag, Andre Drummond in his first action in his new uniform (too bad Khem Birch won’t be around to make him look silly). We’ll also get to see Jaden Springer, Philly’s first-round pick from this past summer’s draft.