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Five Things I Dig and Don’t Dig About the Toronto Raptors

This week in Five Things, we talk rips for O.G., picks for Gary, contempt for jerseys, gratitude for Otto, and Yuta!

1. ON THE GO O.G.

I distressed about O.G.'s offensive health in the preseason (#2). He struggled to get by guys in straight isolation. It's proven true thus far; he's at 0.73 points per possession on 1 iso a game (21st percentile).

I suggested pre-emptive manoeuvres, like dribble-hand-offs, off-ball screens, set plays, and the like, to get him going downhill. An adjustment I didn't consider - and one that old slow-feet [me] also likes to use in game - is the single-motion rip-and-go.

It's not all that complex. The rip-and-go is simply ripping the ball from one side of your body to the other (fundamentals demand hip-to-knee) and going. There are more minute details - where the ball goes, where your lead foot goes, how your hips align, where the defender's positioned etc. - but that's the basics.

What O.G. does, and what I absolutely adore, is use the momentum of a pass and the natural inertia of a defender in helpside to, essentially, rip-and-go before the pass hits him. Think of getting a receiver on a slant route where they're already at high-speed and the ball leads them forward versus a curl where they're at a standstill upon reception.

Allow me [O.G.] to demonstrate:

You see as Pascal penetrates how far over Dorian Finney-Smith helping. O.G. does too. As Pascal draws Finney-Smith, O.G. lowers like a prowler in the grass. He's spring loading his attack. Hip pass woulda been better, but Pascal bounces it over to O.G., who rips deep into the open lane.

The next two are more classic rip-and-gos, but note how wide O.G.'s stance is and how low he gets readying to ignite his explosiveness.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2022/11/04/0022200127/298/e0a98e64-365b-6fac-e78b-7f55dc212a54_1280x720.mp4

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2022/11/09/0022200165/222/dd4895eb-dc68-f8cb-859a-338c75405528_1280x720.mp4

Juxtapose that with an O.G. standing straight up letting his momentum congeal like schmaltz. Onyeka Okongwu easily closes out and forces the turnover.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2022/10/31/0022200099/138/9daf4712-00e8-149c-066f-c79adff13311_1280x720.mp4

Until O.G. gets more comfortable facing-up defenders, he should always be in his triple-threat position prior to the pass. [NOTE TO READER: All basketball players should be in a triple threat position prior to a pass, but it's the NBA we're talkin' about here].

With the rip-and-go established, defenders will either slow their closeouts - boom, 3-pointer - or attempt to beat O.G. to the spot he wants to go. Ripening for a perfect counter.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2022/11/04/0022200127/311/f98c9b8f-e4a0-0146-5528-4d7b812da9b8_1280x720.mp4

Great wing pass by Gary! (Yay, Gary!). Recall in a previous clip, O.G. ripped past Dwight Powell. This clip is 2 minutes later and, basically, the exact same situation. This time, O.G. pump fakes the rip baseline, knowing Powell just saw this happen minutes before, and then crosses his lead foot around Powell's left side. O.G. fails to find either Precious, Scottie, or Pascal on the play and bungles the hook shot(!?), but that's for another analysis.

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