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[2008-2009] Toronto Raptors


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A long but great statistical analysis of the Raps by Raps blogger, Chris Black:

I've explained this before: I sometimes work in the control room for Sportscentre broadcasts, and one of my responsibilities during that shift is building the scoreboards to be shown on Sportscentre, and also providing notes that the anchor can use while the scoreboard is on air.

With that in mind, here are a variety of those notes that I considered using during yesterday's show:

- The Raptors were outrebounded for a 12th straight game

- Anthony Parker came off the bench for the first time in 176 career games as a Raptor. How did the experiment turn out? He missed all but one of his seven shot attempts.

- Parker wasn't the only bench player to struggle. Toronto's reserves made just 5 of 21 shot attempts.

- (This one's wacky) Since the beginning of the 07-08 season, James Posey has just two double-doubles... both of which have come against the Raptors

- Is Triano failing to get his star player easy looks? After shooting 54% in the month of November, Chris Bosh is connecting on just 46% of his attempts in December.

- And Andrea Bargnani has completely lost his ability to shoot the basketball. He's shooting 27% from the field (16% from 3pt) in the month of December.


- Opposing point guard penetrates into the lane
- Raptor wing player doesn't stay on his man, but doesn't fully come over to help / double... we'll say he's in defensive "no man's land"
- Opposing point guard elevates, skips a pass over Raptor wing player's head and to the corner... where opposing point guard's teammate casually hits a three-pointer from the corner

I shall call this play: The Anthony Parker Special

Listen, I understand the Raptors have a new-found interest in eliminating points in the paint, and if you were paying attention to how I described that sequence, you'll realize I don't really have a problem with the wing player collapsing. I do have a problem when that wing player doesn't fully commit to help out, and then he's just totally useless ("no man's land"). I'm willing to accept the possibility that in some instances, the wing player may be simply "faking" the help defence and then trying to return back to his defender, but it happens way too often to be a fake every time.


So it looks as if the "three-headed monster" didn't turn out to be such a... monstrosity.

The five-man unit of Calderon-Parker-Bargnani-Bosh-O'Neal has probably seen its last days, and coming from a guy who looks at numbers more than anyone: Thank God.

That unit played 103 minutes together (nearly 9 full quarters). They turned the ball over 8% more than their opponents. They allowed their opponents to shoot a higher percentage. They got outrebounded.

What does this add up to? On a per-48 minute basis (one whole game) this lineup got outscored by their opposition by about 18 points.

The absolute worst stat: About 23% of their shot attempts were "inside shots," while 36% of their opponents' shot attempts were "inside shots."...

(Note: I really want to break my "no swears" rule here)

Are you fothermucking kidding me???? This is a lineup with three seven-footers in it, and they're playing soft????

Good riddance, three-headed monster.
Posted by c_r_black at 8:24 AM 1 comments
Friday, December 12, 2008
A blowout win? I didn't know those existed...
I'm very happy with the reaction my recent post got (you know, where I called Jose Calderon an overrated passer). I found it interesting that someone asked if I had ever played basketball before. Interesting mostly because when I played, I--literally--was Jose Calderon (well, except for the accuracy behind the arc).

I'm even more happy about my post, because during tonight's pregame show on TSN, I heard Leo Rautins use my arguments--saying Jose needs to be more aggressive, take more chances, etc... and then, after he had finished making his point, what came up on the screen? The breakdown of Calderon's assist totals (inside vs outside).

That was pretty cool.

Essentially, the director of the broadcast read the blog, and asked if he could use it in the pre-game. I told him the numbers weren't mine, they were the property of 82games, so just credit them.

Regardless, it was a cool moment.


Initial reactions?

- Finally, an easy win!

- I've seen some Vince Carter mail-ins before, but that ranks right up there

- Call me pessimistic, but wins over Indiana and New Jersey still don't have me "un-worried" about this team

Digging a bit deeper...

- I've never seen an NBA player miss shots left or right more often than Andrea Bargnani... the old coach always told me, you can miss long or short, but there's no excuse for missing left or right... and my old coach was Italian! The scary part about his misses? I watched him take shots on his own during warmup of the Blazers game and he was missing like that. In warmup? Seriously?

- This team does look more athletic without Anthony Parker doesn't it? I understand there's things he can bring to the team that others can't, but still.. it's nice not to see a soft Parker lay up get swatted away

- Talk about much-needed wins... Now if Toronto can find a way to win 2 of 3 on this mini-homestand (not an easy task considering the three opponents are the Hornets, Nets and Mavericks), then they can go into their 2nd west coast road trip of the month with a reasonable 12-13 record.

- My favourite part of the game? Watching J-Moon help out on the glass by skying for defensive rebounds. I have no idea what motivates this guy, but when he wants, he can be an effective NBA player.


Three Toronto bench players got to the line at least 6 times (Graham, Bargnani, Ukic). They helped the Raptors convert 29 of 31 opportunities at the charity stripe
Posted by c_r_black at 8:21 PM 7 comments
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Hollinger, and why Jose Calderon is overrated as a passer
Got an idea for a new feature: Don't want to sift through all of Hollinger's stuff at ESPN? Only want the highlights? Turn to me, who reads nearly everything the guy writes. So without further ado:


Who's got the best shot at 70 wins? He doesn't think it's Boston or L.A., he thinks it's the Cavs. The most interesting (and valid) point he makes: Boston & Cleveland each have a better shot than L.A. because they'll be pushing each other for home court through the playoffs the whole season. Another reason: Over their last 10 games, Cleveland is outscoring their opposition... by 20 points per game.

Cleveland's the best offensive team in the league right now, who do you think is 2nd? I'd probably give you 10 guesses and still be confident you wouldn't get it. It's the Portland Trail Blazers. I saw this team play on Sunday and was amazed by their depth, and their balance of scoring both inside and on the perimeter. Numerically speaking, they're a top 10 team in every offensive category (turnover rate, assist rate, effective field goal %, etc...) and they're the best offensive rebounding team in the league (which shouldn't come as a surprise when Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Pryzbilla, Travis Outlaw, Nicolas Batum and everyone else is flying around.

How likely do you think it is that the Raps make the playoffs this season? 75 percent? 50 percent? Hollinger's playoff odds say Toronto has only a 23.7% chance of making the post-season. Ouch!

It was a battle of two hard-luck teams last night: For instance, you probably heard Indy was struggling heading into last night's game, but did you know who their last five opponents were? Orlando, Boston, Lakers, Boston again, and Cleveland? Personally, I'd take a 1-4 record from that sked any day of the week. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Indy & Toronto have had the two toughest schedules in the league so far this season. Combine that with the fact that Indy hasn't had Mike Dunleavy all year (who should be returning soon), and I'll stick to my pre-season assertion that they'll be a playoff team


Many of you Raptorites have been claiming that Jermaine O'Neal's game has been improving. Maybe he has, maybe he hasn't. Here's what the overall numbers say:

* Ranks 31st among NBA centres in productivity (right behind Tyson Chandler, and slightly ahead of the great Kosta Koufos)
* Ranks 42nd in FG% (behind Roy Hibbert / ahead Johan Petro)
* 33rd in Turnover Rate - And this one bugs me.. he ranks slightly behind Joel Anthony, and slightly ahead of Brook Lopez... Should a veteran like O'Neal really be lumped in with a couple of rookies and sophomores when it comes to taking care of the basketball? Shouldn't he be learning by now how to make the right pass; realize a double-team is coming, etc...?
* And he ranks 38th in offensive rebounding (behind Haslem, ahead of Battie)


As you can tell by my creative header, that last point brings me to.... MY NEXT POINT! The common held belief around these parts is that the problem with Toronto's rebounding stems from a lack of help from the wings. That if Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Jason Kapono et al... all chipped in a little bit more, things would be better. But as you just read, Jermaine O'Neal hasn't set the world ablaze with his rebounding. And here's my next nugget for you:

Chris Bosh ranks 25th among NBA power forwards in rebounding rate.

So no matter the wings do, if you have two post players who are both below-average rebounders and play roughly 80-85% of the time, well, you're going to be a very poor rebounding team.


His play hasn't been as good as we thought it would be. But it hasn't been that bad either. He still ranks as the 8th most productive point guard in the league, and he leads the East in assists per game. But believe me, Jose Calderon has no shot at being an all-star this year. For one simple reason: Devin Harris has turned himself into a Top 10 player (not point guard, player) in the NBA. It's actually amazing to see, and makes that Dallas/New Jersey trade look worse every day. Here's a question: Harris must be considered for future dream teams right? Here's another question: Who do you take as your starting PG if you're starting a team right now, Harris or Deron Williams?

But back to Calderon, I've got a theory about Jay Triano's insistence on upping the tempo, and not calling plays. He'll tell you that it's about increasing the pace of play and all that (which is fine), but I think what he'd never tell you (but secretly is thinking) is that he wants his point guard to be less robotic, and take more chances.

Why do I think that? Well, because what I've found is that Jose Calderon isn't the "best" passer in the league. He's the "most conservative" passer in the NBA.

People frequently cite the fact that Jose's league-leading assist-to-turnover ratio is evidence that he's perhaps the best passer in the league. But how misleading is that ratio? Consider the following:

1. Paul 131-84-215
2. Duhon 114-75-189
3. Calderon 128-52-180
4. Kidd 109-63-172
5. Rondo 92-76-168
6. Nash 89-78-167
7. B. Davis 72-90-162

The first two numbers add up to the third number (which is total assists). The first number represents assists on outside jumpers (two or three-pointers). The second number represents assists on inside shots.

So first off, Calderon's assist totals stem from easy passes to shooters moreso than any other player on that list.

Wait! You might be saying, what about the value of finding an open three-point shooter? Wouldn't that be more valuable than finding someone for a dunk? Possibly (though the likelihood of a dunk going in is obviously much, much higher than even the most wide open three point attempt). But let's look at those numbers anyway:

1. Paul 131-84-215 (66)
2. Duhon 114-75-189 (78)
3. Calderon 128-52-180 (40)
4. Kidd 109-63-172 (40)
5. Rondo 92-76-168 (37)
6. Nash 89-78-167 (42)
7. B. Davis 72-90-162 (24)

The number of three-pointers they earned assists on is in brackets. Those numbers tell us that Calderon assists on more two-point jumpers than anyone else in the NBA.

Add in the fact that only Nash actually shoots less from in close than Calderon (among the players on that list) and you start to get a clear picture:

Calderon is a nice player who almost always makes the right decision from the perimeter. He knows how to play the pick & roll game, and can make defenders pay who go under screens. But he's a player who doesn't find teammates for high-percentage looks, and someone who doesn't drive for easy finishes either. To me, based on "how" he plays, Calderon should have the highest assist-to-turnover ratio in the league.

But that doesn't make him the "best" passer.
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


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Excellent post. Never read him before, but I pretty much agree with everything he says. Actually, how can anyone disagree?

I just want to say officially, Bargs is a bust.

Plus Calderon needs to learn how to make those pick-and-roll passes where the big rotates to the hoop and the PG is supposed to get the ball to him in the paint. You know, those ones that Nash is famous for. I'm not expecting Calderon to pass like Nash, but I can't tell you the number of times I've yelled at my TV as Calderon decides to regroup and go for the post-up rather than the p-n-r pass.


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that guys blog was pretty on point but one thing for me with Calderone is that imagine what his numbers would look like if we actually had some players who could score consistently besides Bosh

is Calderone the best obviously thats a big NO but is he good enough for the raps?

for me that answer is yes! because a this little knit picking at Jose wouldn't even be a point if we had a team

we need a 2 or 3 or both stat and unless J.O decides to start looking like the player he once was we'll need 5 too

I dont want to give up on Bargs yet but I can understand why most do, I really dont think there will be much of a return for him, so i can take watching him for one more year

hahahahaha Parker lives in nomansland!
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QUOTE=StarvinMarvin]that guys blog was pretty on point but one thing for me with Calderone is that imagine what his numbers would look like if we actually had some players who could score consistently besides Bosh

is Calderone the best obviously thats a big NO but is he good enough for the raps?

for me that answer is yes! because a this little knit picking at Jose wouldn't even be a point if we had a team

we need a 2 or 3 or both stat and unless J.O decides to start looking like the player he once was we'll need 5 too

I dont want to give up on Bargs yet but I can understand why most do, I really dont think there will be much of a return for him, so i can take watching him for one more year

hahahahaha Parker lives in nomansland![/QUOTE]


Other than it's......CALDERON.........

The guy from the blog is comparing Calderon to Nash, that is his first mistake, Nash is a two time MVP (should have been 3 too!)

Second mistake is mistaking Bosh for Amare. Bosh is nothing like Amare, Bosh is soft, offense and defense.....end of story. I would even hazard to say to trade Bosh for a good wing and a serviceable centre and we would be better off, and give Hump some PT. He takes crazy shots, but perhaps it is because he always gets quick hooks, maybe if he got some time out there he wouldn't be so rushed. He's only 23 (or 24), give this guy some burn!


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I wouldn't put it pass BC to make a blockbuster move. Forget trading Calderon - he's locked in for 5 years, and realistically who would you get back that would make a huge impact that makes $7.4 million?

Think if BC makes a move, Bosh is the one that gets traded. Impact player for impact player. BC's not afraid to trade a superstar (Kidd, Nash, Marbury)




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Sounds like Bosh was really bothered by the boos during the Dallas game. I actually got a chance to watch the game and the boos were well deserved, but maybe not to the degree it got to. Most of the team, including Bosh played like shit. As fans we have expectations of this team after all the talk by players, management, the media, so I don't think these boos are out of line. Hopefully it's a wake up call.
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I kinda like that these games are on TSN2. I can just forget the Raps exist for the time being.

The Lakers/Miami game was awesome.


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KickIT said:
I kinda like that these games are on TSN2. I can just forget the Raps exist for the time being.

The Lakers/Miami game was awesome.

HA HA I'm of the same thought.

Allegedly Rogers will carry TSN2 in January.
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My new swing man jersey.

I must say, every interview Jawai gives, he makes me want to cheer for him more and more.


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Finally we win yeeesh. Good end to our SECOND 5-game losing streak of the season.

Scary to think Camby, Kaman, and Z-bo were all out though. They even closed the gap to 7-8 in the fourth before Bosh actually managed to take over a game and close it out.

Nice to see Vosh laying the beatdown in the paint.

Think there's any substance to these Salmons rumours?
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From ESPN's Daily Dime...

LOS ANGELES -- If, as Chris Bosh says, his free-agent decision in 2010 will be based on how he feels then, maybe he can just do us all a favor and keep an updated MySpace page. At 6:15 p.m. Monday evening the "current mood" would have read "cautiously optimistic."

"It's been tough," Bosh said of a team that is the league's biggest disappointment, with an 11-17 record even after beating the Clippers Monday night. "I'm not even going to lie to you. It's been tough. Keep in mind, there's a lot of basketball to play. You know how it is. You have one good run, everybody forgets about all the bad times and everything. I've just got to keep that in mind. I know that we're going to be successful later on."

It's a leap of faith on Bosh's part, given the first third of the season has been about losing, the firing of Sam Mitchell, then more losing as the team adjusts to new coach Jay Triano's faster-paced system. Maybe Bosh is optimistic because of the results he finds when he checks his own stat line and sees 23 points and 10 rebounds on the regular, the by-products of another stellar season.

Monday night, Bosh at his best was enough to end the Raptors' five-game losing streak, as he dropped 31 points on the undermanned Clippers. Bosh scored 16 points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, blowing by a defender for a dunk, spinning and using an up-and-under to draw an and-one, and popping out to hit a 3-pointer among other highlights as Toronto turned a nine-point lead into a 97-75 victory.

Against a Clippers lineup that was missing big men Marcus Camby (death in the family) and Chris Kaman (strained left arch), Triano sent Bosh out with Jake Voskuhl, Anthony Parker, Joey Graham and Will Solomon to start the fourth.

"We didn't have a lot of points on the floor," Triano said. "But I said, 'It doesn't matter -- we're giving the ball to Chris and they can't stop him.'"

It started with a driving layup, and from there, Bosh said, "Anytime you get confidence, you just want to keep going."

And those could be the words that determine if Bosh will have a long-term future in Toronto. He likes it there, the "or-gone-eye-zation" (as the Canadian-born Triano pronounces it) does its best to accommodate him, and the Raptors can clear cap space to bring in a sidekick from the talent-rich free-agent class of 2010 if Bosh decides to stay. The Raptors will have the home-court advantage to guarantee him more money than any other team, but Bosh said feelings will outweigh finances.

"I think happiness is key," Bosh said. "Being comfortable. That has a lot to do with happiness."

In the meantime, I would suggest that Raptors fans just chill. Don't freak out about the slow start to the season and its potential impact on Bosh's decision down the road. Don't press Bosh to do something, anything to make it. He gets it.

"As much as the media or fans think it affects them, we're the ones trying," Bosh said. "They have to keep that in mind. It hurts to try your hardest and still come up short sometimes. People have to keep that in mind. Some people ask me, 'Does it hurt you as much as it hurts me to lose?' It's like, 'Yeah, I'm out there playing. What do you think?' I give my effort. I give 100 percent."

He's also doing his best to give this personality-driven league a star in Toronto. It started with his car-dealer pitch for an All-Star spot last season and now includes his karate-style challenge to Baron Davis on Davis' Ibeatyou.com.

"That was kind of my chance to just put something out there that people wouldn't expect," Bosh said. "It's worked out pretty well. I think people still don't really get the whole feeling of who I am. That's cool. I just wanted to show that I can have fun."

So maybe that's the key: whether or not he has fun. Bosh isn't your conventional big man, nor is he your typical NBA player. As the Raptors prepared for a brief Christmas break before reconvening in Sacramento at the end of the week, Bosh walked down a Staples Center hallway, his brother by his side. Current mood: playful.


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Chris Bosh is definitely not to blame for the loosing streaks. Neither is Jermaine O'Neal. It's the supporting cast. Andrea Bargnani is done as far a I'm concerned. He doesn't have the mental game for the NBA. Jamario Moon got a few hundred grand to feed his family and he seems fine with that and doesn't want to get better. Jose Calderon just got a long term contract so he's in no panic. And Jason Kapono is too one dimensional.

One or two guys can't carry a team for very long and be successful. The whole team needs to realize their role and be the best at it.


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Bargs is far form done IMO

I just cant say a 23yr old Big Man is already done in this league, even thought what your saying about getting rid of him isn't totally retarded I just think its a bad idea right now, and anything in return for him wont be worth it in the long run


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You wont get anything for Bargs, he doesn't have any trade value and I'm not talking talent wise I mean contract wise he won't get anything back of value - unless you want somebody else's work in progess.


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Raps better not extend Bargs this year. I'd say let him play next year and see how his value plays out in the FA market as a RFA. If he's good enough to resign, we'll probably get him a lower rate since 09-10' is that crazy ass FA year and he'll probably get actual market value instead of $10M+ a year that a 7 footer with potential usually gets.
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