Raptors Playbook – 1st edition

In this running segment, I will be attempting to break-down offensive and defensive plays of the Raptors. The purpose of this segment is double edged,. First, it is an attempt to provide a different dimension while watching the game and secondly it will provide insight into the development/digression of Raptors players.

Ex 1)

In the first play Sonny Weems fronts Gerald Wallace without having any help behind or without Amir Johnson pressuring the ball-handler: Boris Diaw. Ultimately, Bargnani provides help after it is too late. The fault here falls squarely on Weems, who does not fight with Wallace at the beginning and gets seal out and he cannot expect Amir to pressure Diaw at the 3-point line either.

Ex 2)

This play is a good example of how Andrea hedges out hard against the pick to prevent DJ Augustin from driving to the hole. Amir picks up the roll guy (Brown) and DJ passes the ball the Diaw. This makes DeMar hedges towards Diaw before getting back to Jackson, which gives Bargnani a chance to get back to Diaw and help disrupt the shot and evidently lead to a fast-break.


Compare the previous Bargnani hedge to the Ed Davis hedge. Davis is worried about his player diving to the hole which allows DJ to drive to the hole, luckily he misses. Eventually, Davis will learn that his help will be there and he can hedge out harder against DJ.


The last play is about DeMar DeRozan. We all know the improvement he has made (https://raptorsmatchup.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/demar-derozan-why-hes-playing-better/). The next step in his player development is his ability as a creator. In this play he tries to make a play in the middle. Generally in this situation, you see most PGs driving baseline and kicking it baseline 3-pointer. DeMar should have went up and hit Sonny cutting baseline towards the basket


Scrap That: RE: Proposal: Thabeet + Mayo for Bargnani

Original Link: https://raptorsmatchup.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/proposal-thabeet-mayo-for-bargnani/

So today, Cy made the worst proposal ever. Thabeet & Mayo for Bargnani. It seems that he inevitably wants the Raptors to be bottom feeders for the foreseeable future and I am here to argue the various reasons this trade would never work and should never see the light of day.

Let’s talk about the pros before:

1) Mayo is a really good player – During his rookie year, he tried out for the US Olympic team and many of the starters of team (including Kobe) considered Mayo to be future of US Olympic Basketball. His offensive ability and his play-making skills are quite simply amazing. It’s a shame that he hasn’t been able to spread his wings in Memphis.

2) Thabeet is tall … and that is it.

Now the cons:

1) This trade would never work in real life. I tried it out on the ESPN trade machin. Guess what Cy? It did not go through.

2) Mayo still has a lot of potential but needs to go to a team like Minnesota in order to develop. He needs the opportunity at being either the focal point or at least the second option on a team. There just aren’t enough shots in Memphis and I don’t think Toronto can give him that freedom either when we are developing DeMar Derozan. I don’t think DeMar is cut out to be SF and neither is Mayo. However, I do believe at this point, Mayo is more talented than DeMar but I am not sure about Mayo’s work ethic, exemplified by his declining stats over the last 3 seasons. It seems like he hit is prime when was 22 and now he is playing like a 34 year old player at the tail end of his career.

3) Thabeet can’t even get off the bench before Darell Arthur to backup the center position. D. Arthur is 6’9. Even more concerning, you have to ask yourself, why is Memphis is trying to trade him before his rookie contract is even up? They must know that he is impossible to develop. He is slow, no offensive game, haven’t seen much of his defense either (even though he was drafted for his defensive prowess). The Raptors already have a center project and that is Alabi and we recently added Ajinca (who I like a lot) but our trainers can’t take on Thabeet as well. Sometimes people have to realize that there are a lot of Robert Swifts in the NBA and not everyone is a Hakeem.


So Cy what you are telling me is, we trade a 7-footer with Dirk Diggler like skills for a slow-footed, sushi raw center and an underachieving SG, who would jeopardize the growth of the young players of this team.

Listen, we are still fresh off losing Bosh and Andrea hasn’t had the chance for a team to be developed around him like a Bosh or Carter. To expect results from Bargs, without this important aspect is a premature decision.


Haters Gon Hate – The Andrea Bargnani argument

Listen, we could talk all day long about Andrea and where he should be and what he should but I don’t think it’s fair to the guy and so I looked at the place where I always look for answers, the stats book. Still, lets look at a few issues and arguments beforehand.

1) We have to realize, Chris Bosh just left – that’s a huge talent vacuum that cannot be made up with just a trade-exception.

2) What we are fielding now are a whole bunch of players that no one else wanted, who are trying to prove themselves. THIS MEANS that there is less incentive for players to come together to play the team game but rather take this opportunity to showcase themselves for a bigger contract or better team down the line: a-la Mike James.

3) He wasn’t drafted to be a franchise piece, we had Chris Bosh at that point. He might need time to get accustomed to this role as the sole go-to-guy. Not everyone can handle that.

4) Let us look at some stats

Exhbit a) (www.hoopdata.com)

His inside shooting (at the rim,) is actually worse than the last 2 years. I think this makes sense because really the defenders guarding Reggie Evans, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson have easy decision to make about double teaming or even paying more attention to just Andrea. Even if the defenders come from the wing, do we really have lock-down 3-point shooters. I don’t think so.

It’s really the 10-15 footer thats giving him much of the trouble, that’s that free-throw line shot. I think he will get it soon, that’s just him being in a funk. He is too good a shooter to not hit that consistently.

Exhibit b) http://www.mysynergy.com

His post-up game is not bad. He ranks 25th in the NBA. All this chatter about his post-game are unwarranted. I wish he incorporated a spin move when he was in the post, it would help him a lot. Where he is really struggling is his spot-up and PnR. Nearly 50% of his spot-up shots are coming from the 3-point lin.

What is interesting, is that for him cutting to the basket is his best bet. I suggest setting more screens and curls for Bargs and seeing how he does.