Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Delfino’

Opportunity Lost … for the Toronto Raptors

November 27, 2008

The Raptors’ team that beat the Bobcats last night … Box Score … was indicative of the roster Toronto SHOULD have been playing with from the opening tip this season … minus, of course:

* Rasho Nesterovic
* Rodney Carney
* Royal Ivey
* Jorge Garbajosa
* Carlos Delfino [depending on his interest in returning]
* the 2008 No. 17 [overall] Draft Pick [e.g. Roy Hibbert, CDR, Joey Dorsey, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute]

That line-up … right there … is a top 6 contender in the Eastern Conference, with a legit shot at winning a 1st Round Playoff series this spring and enough flexibility moving forward to become a perennial contender for a spot in the NBA’s FINAL FOUR annually for the balance of Chris Bosh’s career.

That’s the type of line-up a TOP NOTCH President/General Manager would/could/should have been able to put together heading into this season on behalf of the Toronto Raptors given the list of assets which this organization had at its disposal the day before the 2008 NBA Draft.

When this speaker talks of Opportunities Lost, on behalf of this organization, over the years … i.e. since the transfer of ownership from Mr. Steve Stavro to MLSE and the subsequent dismissal of Lenny Wilkens & then Glen Grunwald … this is the type of situation that is being referenced.

* THE problem with the current Raptors
* Of scorpions, frogs, GMs & coaches
* Staying the course in Raptorville
* More Smoke & Mirrors
* 20/20 Vision of the Toronto Raptors
* The next step for the Toronto Raptors
* Understanding Bryan Colangelo’s method of operation [good & bad]
* Toronto Raptors Player Roster 2008-2009


It’s enough to make a knowledgeable NBA observer sick to his/her stomuch.

Cold, harsh dose of reality for Raptors fans

October 20, 2008

In general, David Aldridge’s review is an unbiased evaluation of the transactions made by all 30 teams in the NBA, since the end of the 2007-2008 season, when the Boston Celtics were crowned League Champions.


Ranking the off season moves
PROJECTION: If you think the oft-injured O’Neal has a lot left, the Raptors made a great trade. Pairing O’Neal and Chris Bosh down low gives Sam Mitchell a lethal inside presence, one that will pay off with open looks for the likes of Jason Kopono and Anthony Parker and Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, and make Toronto a force in the Eastern Conference.

If you don’t think O’Neal has much left, the Raptors aren’t going to do much better next season than they have the previous two-going out early in the playoffs-even though Calderon is ready to take over the point full-time and Toronto has shooters that many other teams would love to have.

The guess here is that O’Neal isn’t the player he once was, but may not have to be playing alongside Olympian Bosh. And if Bargnani, the former first pick who took a noticeable and decided step backward in his second pro season, doesn’t get back on track, whatever O’Neal has to give won’t matter much anyway.


Although this corner does not agree with a number of Mr. Aldridge’s specific assessments … this ↑↑↑ entry is a ruthless slap in the face for mis-guided Raptors faithful who may think their team’s acquisition of Jermaine O’Neal, in isolation, was amongst the most substantial moves made this off season across the NBA.

Unlike the Boston Celtics [28] , San Antonio Spurs [27], Cleveland Cavaliers [23], Phoenix Suns [22] and LA Lakers [21] … generally considered to be included in the top tier of teams in the NBA … the Toronto Raptors finished last season with a .500 record and have been eliminated swiftly from the playoffs each of the past two years.

Given the quality of moves made by other outfits in the Eastern Conference this summer, in relation to the Raptors, it is simply not a given that the Dinos are going to make the playoffs this season, and be able to maintain their present status as one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA.

To those in Raptorville who might be more inclined to listen now

October 13, 2008

Since the Jermaine O’Neal trade was first announced, this corner has said repeatedly that this move alone was NOT going to solve the Raptors’ REBOUNDING problem … which occurs when they play against a high calibre opponent with as much or more ‘athleticism’ at the 5 positions on the floor, in comparison with Toronto’s line-up.

When this current collection of Raptors matches-up with a team like this current group of 76ers … what you’re going to get, more often than not, is a ‘Board Deficit’ like you saw in yesterday’s encounter:

Box Score: Philadelphia 85, Toronto 79

There are specific ways to effectively address a team’s REBOUNDING problem … when it’s the type of problem the Raptors have had for the last two years … but, one of them is NOT:

* To trade your team’s 2nd best Rebounder [who is also your best Low Post Defender, i.e. Nesterovic]
* To include a flip-flop of 1st & 2nd Round Draft Picks [which turns out to be … THEY get Roy Hibbert; YOU get Nathan Jawai!!!]
* To include your back-up PG in the deal [Ford]
* To include a throw-away Big from the end of the bench [Baston]
* Plus, decide to let another throw-away Big from the end of the bench to walk for nothing [Brezec]
* Plus, decide to let a useful player like Carlos Delfino walk away for nothing
* Plus, decide to let a VERY useful player like Jorge Garbajosa do the same

… in exchange for adding:

* Either inexperienced and/or marginal players like Jawai, Roko Ukic, Hassan Adams, and Will Solomon
* Plus, a veteran player like Jermaine O’Neal, who is returning from a series of leg injuries.

That ^^^, right there, is like making a 7 for 4 deal, where …

Toronto Loses: Nesterovic + Ford + Hibbert + Baston + Brezec + Delfino + Garbajosa


Toronto Adds: O’Neal + Jawai + Adams + Solomon

[strictly speaking Ukic cannot be included amongst the additions since his rights already belonged to the Raptors]

in which 5 of the 6 players who you know already can play effectively in the NBA, in some capacity, are going the other way … while you are getting ‘the best player’, overall … but, who you can only HOPE is going to regain his effectiveness coming off his most recent injury.

THAT ^^^, right there, is a BAD TRADE.


By trying to make a ‘blockbuster’ trade this summer … instead of simply moving TJ Ford for a back-up, serviceable, Wing player like Rodney Carney … and promoting Calderon to the starter’s position … and, THEN, holding onto Nesterovic, Delfino & Garbajosa, until further notice … what the Raptors have done now is, in fact, ROLL THE DICE big time that they do not pick up any sort of serious injury to Bosh, O’Neal or Calderon, and can survive these next two years with their current line-up intact, while not dropping down into the #9-12 spots in the EC, where they would be a DEFINITE ‘treadmill’ team … i.e not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough to get a high NBA DRAFT Lottery Pick anytime soon … waiting for the 2010-2011 season when they will once again have some wiggle room under the Salary Cap/Luxury Tax Threshold to add/subtract players to/from their roster.


Which, in turn … given the Raptors’ current player roster … is part of the reason they SHOULD think long and hard, right now, about:

* Removing Anthony Parker from their starting line-up
* Shifting Jamario Moon to the #2-spot
* Inserting Joey Graham into the starting line-up
* Using AP as the primary back-up PG/OG, coming off the bench
* Removing Jermaine O’Neal from the starting line-up
* Inserting Kris Humphries into the starting line-up, as the partner for CB4
* Using O’Neal [PF] and Bargnani [C] together, as the Bigs with their 2nd Unit
* Using Jason Kapono for instant offense off the bench, as a spot player on the Wing with either the 1st or 2nd Units, at a later point in the game when the situation dictates
* Using a system of higly structured set plays which would allow limited offensive players like Graham, Moon, Humphries, and Bargnani to function at their maximum level of efficiency by only shooting ‘designated’ shots …

and, thereby, create a better balanced rotation for this Raptors’ team, which accounts for and integrates the areas of Rebounding, Defense and Team Offense.


Then, again … this corner could always be proven wrong about this … over the course of time. 😉

You make the call … on the Raptors’ roster

October 6, 2008

Which one of these two player rosters would you prefer to have, going forward from this point, if you were Jerry West and you were the GM for the Toronto Raptors?

[please read the question carefully]





A) Raptors’ Current Roster

B) khandor’s Raptors’ Roster



1 PG – Jose Calderon *

1 PG – Jose Calderon *

2 OG – Anthony Parker

2 OG/SF – Jamario Moon *

3 SF – Jamarion Moon

3 SF – Joey Graham *

4 PF – Chris Bosh *

4 PF – Kris Humphries *

5 C – Jermaine O’Neal **

5 C – Chris Bosh *



6 PG – Will Solomon **

6 PG/OG – Anthony Parker *

7 OG – Jason Kapono

7 OG/SF – Jason Kapono

8 SF – Joey Graham

8 PF – Andrea Bargnani

9 PF – Kris Humphries

9 C – Rasho Nesterovic

10 C – Andrea Bargnani




11 PG/OG – Roko Ukic **

10 OG/SF – Rodney Carney **

12 OG/SF – Hassan Adams **

11 PG – Roko Ukic **


12 PF/C – Austin Croshere **



13 PF/C – Nathan Jawai **

13 SF/OG/PG – Carlos Delfino

14 ? PF – Jamal Sampson **

14 PG/OG/SF – Julius Hodge **

15 ?

15 PF – Joey Dorsey or SF – CDR **


* New Role this season; ** New Player Added


1. Make a choice between A or B.
2. Provide your rationale, if possible.

Key early season games for the Raptors

October 3, 2008

This is the first two months of the schedule for the Dinos:




Expected Outcome

Wed 29

 @ Philadelphia  

L [1]

 Fri 31

 vs Golden State

W [1]




 Sat 01

 @ Milwaukee  


 Wed 05

 vs Detroit

L [2]

 Fri 07

 @ Atlanta  


 Sun 09

 @ Charlotte  


 Mon 10

 @ Boston  

L [3]

 Wed 12

 vs Philadelphia

W [2]

 Sun 16

 vs Miami

W [3]

 Tue 18

 @ Orlando  

L [4]

 Wed 19

 @ Miami  


 Fri 21

 vs New Jersey

W [4]

 Sun 23

 vs Boston

L [5]

 Wed 26

 vs Charlotte

W [5]

 Fri 28

 vs Atlanta

W [6]

 Sun 30

 @ LA Lakers  

L [6]




 Tue 02

 @ Denver  

L [7]

 Fri 05

 @ Utah  

L [8]

 Sun 07

 vs Portland

L [9]

 Tue 09

 @ Cleveland  

L [10]

 Wed 10

 vs Indiana

L [11]

 Fri 12

 @ New Jersey  

L [12]

 Sun 14

 vs New Orleans

L [13]

 Mon 15

 vs New Jersey

W [7]

 Wed 17

 vs Dallas

L [14]

 Fri 19

 @ Oklahoma City  

L [15]

 Sat 20

 @ San Antonio  

L [16]

 Mon 22

 @ LA Clippers  

L [17]

 Fri 26

 @ Sacramento  

L [18]

 Sat 27

 @ Portland  

L [19]

 Mon 29

 @ Golden State  

W [8]

W – Expected Win; L – Expected Loss; ? – Undetermined; [#] – W/L Number


With possible expected outcomes of …

8 W’s,
19 L’s, and
4 Undetermined’s

which would generate five possible W-L records for this team by January 1, 2009:

i) 0-4 on Undetermined’s = 8 W, 23 L;
ii) 1-3 on Undetermined’s = 9 W, 22 L;
iii) 2-2 on Undetermined’s = 10 W, 21 L;
iv) 3-1 on Undetermined’s = 11 W, 20 L; and, 
v) 4-0 on Undetermined’s = 12 W, 19 L.

None of which is very good.


Q1. Is it possible that a team could trade for a 6-time NBA All-Star; line him up beside two other solid NBA players, like Chris Bosh & Jose Calderon … and, then, somehow still finish the 2008 portion of its schedule with a W-L record like one of those five options above?

A1. You bet it is.


Each of the L‘s listed above is a very losable game for this Raptors team, this season, given (I) the losses of Rasho Nesterovic, Carlos Delfino and TJ Ford from last year’s squad, and (II) the expected improvement from other teams in the League that have re-tooled their rosters heading into this campaign … BY INCREASING their Quality Depth, e.g Philadelphia, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma City, LA Clippers & Sacramento.

If the Raptors are going to avoid this type of backwards step this season … keep a close watch on how they do in their first 6 games AND the 15 games from Nov 30 to Dec 27.

Struggle early, like they did two years ago, and the temperature is going to rise significantly in Raptorville.

Successfully navigate these two stretches … with, say, a .400 mark [or better] … then it should be clear sailing from there, as one of the 8 teams in the East to eventually qualify for the Playoffs this season.

Toronto Raptors Player Roster 2008-2009

July 29, 2008

According to Bryan Colangelo (GM), the player roster is now set for the start of next season.

Raptors add Will Solomon (G)

2008-2009 Toronto Raptors

STARTERS: Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker, Jemario Moon/Jason Kapono, Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Bosh
BENCH: Roko Ukic, Jason Kapono/Jemario Moon, Andrea Bargnani
RESERVES: Will Solomon, Hassan Adams, Joey Graham, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai

When you compare the ‘content & quality’ with the team that began the 2007-2008 campaign … i.e.

2007-2008 Toronto Raptors

STARTERS: Ford, Parker, Kapono, Bosh, Nesterovic
BENCH: Calderon, Delfino, Bargnani, Humphries, Garbajosa
RESERVES: Martin, Dixon, Graham, Moon, Baston

… it’s apparent that this year’s squad (as constructed) will not be taking a step up the ladder in the Eastern Conference anytime soon.

Jose Calderon is a significant upgrade at the Starting PG position over TJ Ford but other than that lone improvement the ‘quality depth’ on this roster is far below where it needs to be (and once was, at the height of the Glen Grunwald regime) in order to be considered a LEGITIMATE CONTENDER in the NBA.

Needing to upgrade their 2007-2008 roster with improved REBOUNDING & Defense the Raptors addressed neither of those primary concerns with the acquisitions they made this off-season …

* Adding O’Neal while discarding Nesterovic + Garbajosa is a zero-sum gain
* Adding Adams, Jawai, Ukic & Solomon while discarding Delfino + Baston + Martin + Dixon is a zero-sum gain
* Elevating Calderon while discarding Ford … and not getting a significant Wing player or an established back-up PG in return is a zero-sum gain

Looking back to what was written in this space on July 2 …

Understanding Bryan Colangelo’s method of operation (good & bad)

very little has changed over the years in the way that their GM conducts the business of basketball … i.e.

* Field a competitive team which wins its fair share of regular season games
* Concentrate efforts on finding ‘solid’ players at a ‘reasonable’ cost
* Include a sporadic ‘high end’ player acquisitions which comes with considerable ‘risk’
* Construct a player roster which falls short of what’s actually required to be considered a Legitimate Contender for an NBA championship
* Always come in under the Salary Cap
* Make a lot of money for the team’s ownership

Despite the fact that this year’s team will have 5 (of 13) new faces on the player roster … the more things (seem to) change the more they (actually) stay the same in Raptorland.

Understanding Bryan Colangelo’s method of operation (good & bad)

July 2, 2008

The Other Side of the Indiana-Toronto Trade, by David Berri, should be mandatory reading for those who still don’t understand the strengths AND PARTICULARLY the weaknesses of the Raptors’ current GM, who has (i) de-constructed one solid franchise (Phoenix I), (ii) built one regular season but not playoff great good franchise (Phoenix II), and is in the process of (iii) re-building a second one of a similar ilk today (Toronto I).


Let’s summarize all of this by considering the recent big moves in Toronto. 

  • This year we have the O’Neal trade. When we consider O’Neal’s lack of productivity in 2007-08, the loss of T.J. Ford, and the loss of Toronto’s first round pick, it’s hard to see how this trade helps the Raptors.  
  • Last year the Raptors signed Jason Kapono, who produced -2.0 wins this past season.  Not Bargnani bad, but still not a level of productivity that helps.   
  • And then in 2006 the Raptors drafted Bargnani with the first pick overall.  Clearly this move hasn’t quite worked out either.

If we consider each of these major moves, it looks like the tenure of Bryan Colangelo has not been successful.  But then we consider the following names: Calderon, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker, and Carlos Delfino.  Each of these players are above average talents who were acquired very cheaply by Colangelo. 

In sum – as I noted last January – Colangelo seems to have a knack for finding productive players who are also quite cheap.   It’s just the big decisions – trades, free agents signings, and the draft – that seem to cause problems.


Do yourself a favour and read the entire article; it’s filled with pertinent information, if you’re a keen observer of the Raptors.

As with many people in Life, a strength is (simultaneously) also a point of weakness.


Option 1: If the Raptors would have been able to acquire Jermaine O’Neal in exchange for Andrea Bargnani, straight-up, while keeping Rasho Nesterovic, then that would have been a solid trade for Toronto (if they wanted to try and win now and down-the-road), according to these eyes. Part II might have then involved trading TJ Ford (to Philadelphia) for a young, athletic and serviceable G/F, like Rodney Carney, and. keeping their #17 (Overall) Ist Round Draft Pick (i.e. Part III).

Option 2: If the Raptors would have been able to acquire Jermaine O’Neal in exchange for Andrea Bargnani plus TJ Ford, while keeping Rasho Nesterovic, then this, too, might have been a solid trade for Toronto (if they wanted to try and win now, plus down-the-road). Then, Part II would definitely have involved keeping their #17 Draft (Overall) 1st Round Draft Pick.

Option 3: What the Raptors actually did, though, is the one which presents the most risk (comparatively speaking) to the short & long term prospects for success of their team … when coupled with other cost-minimization decisions like (a) signing a low-end Free Agent for roster spot #12 (i.e. Hassan Adams) and early talk of signing only 1 more low-end Free Agent player, prior to the start of training camp, and going into the 2008-2009 season with a tighter playing rotation and a 13-man (NBA minimum-allowed) roster.


In general, ‘activity‘ should not be confused with (actual) ‘accomplishment‘.

Staying the course in Raptorville

May 1, 2008

Moving on up in the East side


What do the Raptors need to do this off-season in order to advance to the 2nd Round (or further) of the NBA Playoffs next year?




TJ Ford (Point Guard) must be traded to solidify the team’s identity and create PG stability.


Anthony Parker (Off Guard) must be shifted to a Back-up role.


Jamario Moon (Small Forward) must improve his perimeter Jump Shot.


Chris Bosh (Power Forward) must be installed as the permanent Center, continue to get stronger physically and add a consistent “Turn-around Jump Shot in the Low Post” to his game.


Andrea Bargnani (Center) must be shifted to a back-up role.




Jose Calderon (Point Guard) must be installed as the permanent PG.


Jason Kapono (Small Forward/Off Guard) must be installed as the permanent Designated Shooter (OG).


Carlos Delfino (Off Guard/Small Forward) must remain in a back-up role.


Kris Humphries (Power Forward) must be installed as the permanent PF (or become Jorge Garbajosa’s back-up).


Rasho Nesterovic (Center) must remain in a back-up role.




Joey Graham (Power Forward/Small Forward) must be developed as a Defender/Rebounder/Spot-up Jump Shooter who can either start or come off the bench if need be as a “Mismatch Creator/Combator”.

Maceo Baston (Power Forward/Center) must be shifted to an Extra role or be released.



Darrick Martin (Point Guard) must remain in an Extra role or be released.


Jorge Garbajosa (Power Forward/Small Forward) must be re-installed as the permanent PF (or be able to back-up Kris Humphries).


Primo Brezec (Center) must remain in an Extra role or be released.



Then, if the Raptors re-shuffle their everyday line-up, for example, like this:




Calderon (PG); Kapono (OG); Moon (DF); Garbajosa/Humphries (PF); Bosh (C)




Parker (PG/OG); Delfino (OG/SF); Garbajosa/Humphries (PF); Bargnani (C/PF); Nesterovic (C)




Graham (SF/PF); Brezec (C)




* An open roster spot for a Point Guard (replacing Darrick Martin)

* An open roster spot for a Off Guard/Small (obtained in a trade for TJ Ford, which could bring a Starter or a Back-up)

* An open roster spot for a Power Forward/Center (replacing Maceo Baston)


These moves will allow the Raptors to accomplish several goals simultaneously:


  1. Increase their 3Pt Shooting Efficiency with Calderon & Kapono receiving more MPG;
  2. Improve their Team Defense & Rebounding by becoming bigger & more physical at the PG & OG positions, replacing Ford & Parker with Calderon & Kapono – which allows for more ‘Switching’ but without being caught in a cross-matched situation and having a too small-sized player at either of those two spots – as well as at the PF & C positions, replacing Bosh & Bargnani with a combination of Garbajosa/Humphries & Bosh.
  3. Improve their Offensive Efficiency by increase their 3Pt Shooting Percentage with Calderon & Kapono (their best 3Pt Shooters) receiving more MPG;
  4. Create & Combat an assortment of mismatch player personnel combinations.
  5. Keep their group of Core Players together for another season.
  6. Firmly establish their Team Identity with Chris Bosh at Center & Jose Calderon at Point Guard.


By staying the course for one more year, essentially with this same group intact, adjusting only slightly – by removing TJ Ford from their roster and replacing him with a solid young Wing player – and focusing their attention on Team Rebounding & Defense, the Raptors are actually not that far away from establishing themselves as a perennial ‘Top 4 Team’ in the Eastern Conference.





Raptors @ Magic … post mortem

April 23, 2008

Orlando vs Toronto (Tue Apr 22) – Game Summary

When the Raptors play this well, on the road, in the playoffs …

* Shooting a higher Field Goal % than their Opponent (45.7 to 42.7)
* With a higher 3pt Field Goal % than their Opponent (37.9 to 29.0)
* With more Made 3pt Shots than their Opponent (11 to 9) 
* With a higher Free Throw % than their Opponent (90.0 to 82.6)
* With more Assists than their Opponent (21 to 19)

and finish only 1 point shy on the Scoreboard …

Tor 103, ORL 104

after being down by as many as 18 pts, at one stage, and with a clean look on their final possession to win the game outright …

it can seem as though Toronto put forth a tremedous effort, battled hard and was just unfortunate to lose a game that could have very easily gone either way.

Yes, indeed, that can sometimes be exactly how it seems.

But … seeming isn’t the same thing as BEING the case when trying to understand the reason(s) one team lost and one team won a specific game in the NBA playoffs.

With 3:00 remaining in the 4th Quarter of yesterday’s Game 2, with these line-ups for each team:

PG – Jose Calderon v Jameer Nelson
OG – Anthony Parker v Keith Bogans
SF – Jason Kapono v Rashard Lewis
PF – Carlos Delfino v Hedo Turkoglu
C – Chris Bosh v Dwight Howard

the following sequence of possessions occurred:

3:00 … Tor/Calderon Made 3Pt Shot (over Bogans) … ORL 98, Tor 97
2:41 … ORL/Nelson Driving Layup Attempt Blocked by Bosh
2:30 … Tor/Kapono Missed Leaning Jump Shot; Kapono Turnover (stepped out-of-bounds)
2:13 … ORL/Howard Fouled by Delfino
2:03 … ORL/Turkoglu Missed Jump Shot; Offensive Rebound by Lewis (vs Delfino)
2:01 … ORL/Lewis Made Layup (vs Delfino) … ORL 100, Tor 97
1:47 … Tor/Calderon Made 3Pt Shot … ORL 100, Tor 100
1:26 … ORL/Lewis Missed 3Pt Shot; Defensive Reound by Parker
1:04 … Tor/Delfino Driving Layup Attempt, Fouled by Turkoglu; Delfino Missed 1st Free Throw Attempt, Made 2nd FT … Tor 101, ORL 100
1:02 … ORL/Turkoglu Missed 3Pt Shot, Tap-out by Lewis/Delfino; Offensive Rebound by Nelson (vs Calderon)
0:51.6 … ORL/Lewis Missed 3Pt Shot; Defensive Rebound by Bosh
0:47.0 … Tor/Turnover by Bosh (bad pass); Steal by Bogans
0:35.1 … ORL/Howard Fouled by Bosh
0:30.3 … ORL/Turkoglu Made tough Driving Layup … ORL 102, Tor 101
0:26.5 … Tor/Bosh Missed Driving Layup Attempt (Blocked Shot by Howard, no foul called)
0:18.7 … ORL/Turkoglu Fouled by Kapono; Turkoglu Made 2 Free Throws … ORL 104, Tor 101
0:09.6 … Tor/Delfino Made Driving Layup … ORL 104, Tor 103
20 Second Time-out (Orlando), Dooling replaced Bogans
0:09.3 … ORL/Offensive Foul by Dooling
0:03.0 … Tor/Bosh Missed 18′ Jump Shot

meaning that Chris Bosh, Carlos Delfino, Jason Kapono and Jose Calderon each committed the types of serious miscues which can derail an inexperienced team playing on the road in the post-season … e.g. Giving up an Important Offensive Rebound, Missing a Critical Free Throw, Committing a Turnover & Missing a Crucial Jump Shot. 

Until Toronto’s best players are put into these specific types of End-of-Game situations more times during their NBA careers, it is likely that they will continue to come up on the short end of intensely played playoff games that are usually decided by individual player execution during the final three minutes of the game.

Looking ahead to Games 3 & 4, in Toronto, it will be interesting to see:

(A) How Orlando’s best players … in most cases, equally inexperienced as Toronto’s … are able to handle the intensity of playoff competition during this specific phase of the game, where Winners & Losers are frequently determined in the NBA’s post-season; and,

(B) If Toronto decides to give increased playing time to the specific Small-Ball Unit (i.e. Calderon, Parker, Kapono, Delfino & Bosh) that finished Game 2 … with its strength (3Pt Shooting) and weakness (Offensive Rebounds Allowed).

A winning line-up for the Raptors vs the Magic

April 22, 2008

During Sunday’s Lakers v Nuggets Game 1, Jeff Van Gundy (NBA Analyst) made an insightful comment – one of many he makes, per game – about the value of a coach’s ‘words’ alone toward the performance of his team, vs what their habits are, on a daily basis …

“(as a coach) You cannot influence a team with your words, at halftime or in the pre-game talk … they are going to do what they do.” – JVG

… which is exactly what I thought of while evaluating the Boxscore from Toronto/Orlando Game 1 … where the the Rebounding numbers were, as follows:

Toronto 35 (Individual) + 11 (Team) = 46
Orlando 42 (Individual) + 6 (Team) = 48

meaning that the Raptors and the Magic both performed pretty much as expected when these two teams are matched-up against one another, since during the Regular Season …

Orlando (+0.31) finished 16th in ‘Rebounding Differential’; while,
Toronto (-1.54) finished 22nd.

For Toronto to effect some type of fundamental change to the ‘Rebounding Differential’ numbers in Game 2 … they will need to address their Individual Player match-ups vs the key ‘board men’ for Orlando, who are D12 (22), Turkoglu (6), Bogans (5), Lewis (4), Evans (2) & Nelson (2) … for example, by going to a player rotation that I suggested on different web sites several weeks ago …

1/Calderon v Nelson
2/Moon v Bogans
3/Graham v Lewis
4/Humphries v Howard/Turk
5/Bosh v Turkoglu/D12

G/Parker v Dooling/Evans
F/Kapono/Delfino v Evans/Dooling
C/Nesterovic v Foyle

which is what a ‘Top Notch’ GM & Head Coach combination, like RC Buford & Gregg Popovich, would have done with the Raptors’ player personnel … several months ago … e.g. when TJ Ford was pulling his ’sulking’ I’ll-only-play-as-a-Starter-for-this-team B.S.

Unless you can ‘think the Individual Player match-up game’ like a ‘Top Notch’ NBA head coach, it’s very difficult to truly understand what THE DIFFERENCE is between ‘the Winners’ & ‘the Losers’ in this League, in the games that have a lot of meaning … i.e. versus Plus .500 Teams.

Enjoy Game 2 this evening! … which Orlando will probably win to go up 2-0 in this 1st Round series.