Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Graham’

Pacers and Raptors … moving forward from here

October 7, 2008

There’s an interesting interview with Larry Bird on NBA.com today which gives his interpretation of the Pacers’ situation looking forward to this season and their future in the next few years ahead.

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NBA.com: What do you see as the No. 1 area of improvement for the Pacers this season?
Larry Bird: Obviously we have to get better on the defensive end. Last year we committed too many fouls and we didn’t defend the three-point shot. So overall our defense has to get better to win games. Offensively, we’ll score a lot of points. Defense was the problem last year. As far as the team goes, I think we did something in the draft to help us overall, and I think we solidified our point guard position with
Travis [Diener],T.J., and Jarrett Jack so we’re very strong in that area right now.

NBA.com: How big of an impact will rookie Roy Hibbert have on the defensive end in the role of shot blocker, overall defensive presence?
Larry Bird: It’s always good to have a big guy in there. Without Jermaine last year we didn’t have that potential to block shots. With Roy in there he takes up a lot of space and even if we don’t block a lot of shots, you can get guys to shoot up over him and maybe distract them a little bit. I think it’s going to be a major plus for us. Obviously he’s a rookie and he’s got a lot of learning to do, but in the long run he’ll be fine.

NBA.com: Who is the team leader?
Larry Bird: I think it can be a couple guys. We’ve had some players around here just waiting for the opportunity to step in and I think now they’ll look at the training camp and go through and you’ll sort of see after a while who the players gravitate to.

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What’s of most interest to this corner is:

(1) The possible location of two former Raptors on Indiana’s current depth chart, i.e. TJ Ford and Rasho Nesterovic; and,

(2) The overall level of optimism Larry Legend has for the likes of Mike Dunleavy, Danny Granger, Troy Murphy, Roy Hibbert, et al., as a core group of players which the Pacers can build around over the next few seasons …

specifically, in comparison with the current roster of the Pacers’ trading partner in the deal they made this summer for Jermaine O’Neal.

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2008-2009

 

 

A) Raptors’ Current Roster

B) Pacers’ Current Roster

 

 

1 PG – Jose Calderon *

1 PG – Travis Diener *

2 OG – Anthony Parker

2 OG/SF – Mike Dunleavy 

3 SF – Jamarion Moon

3 SF – Danny Granger 

4 PF – Chris Bosh *

4 PF – Troy Murphy *

5 C – Jermaine O’Neal **

5 C – Rasho Nesterovic **

 

 

6 PG – Will Solomon **

6 PG – TJ Ford **

7 OG – Jason Kapono

7 OG – Brandon Rush **

8 SF – Joey Graham

8 SF – Marquis Daniels

9 PF – Kris Humphries

9 PF – Austin Croshere **

10 C – Andrea Bargnani

10 C – Jeff Foster 

 

 

11 PG/OG – Roko Ukic **

11 PG/OG – Jarrett Jack **

12 OG/SF – Hassan Adams **

12 PG – Roy Hibbert **

 

 

 

 

13 PF/C – Nathan Jawai **

13 SF – Stephen Graham

14 ? PF – Jamal Sampson **

14 SF/PF – Shawne Williams 

15 ?

15 PF – Josh McRoberts **


LEGEND:
* New Role this season; ** New Player Added

While most of the ‘2008-2009 NBA Season Forecasts’ these eyes have read, thus far, see the Pacers finishing toward the bottom of the Eastern Conference; and, the Raptors with a solid chance to finish in the top third of the EC … looking strictly at the rosters of these two teams, paints a very different picture in the mind of this NBA connoisseur.

Is it possible that the Raptors manage to navigate the entire NBA season without a significant injury to one [or more] of their key players [i.e. Bosh, O’Neal or Calderon]?

Yes it is.

If so … then, it is certainly possible to see how the Raptors might finish this campaign higher in the EC standings than the Pacers.

However, on the flip side … even if Toronto goes injury-free this year …

Is it also possible to see how this Pacers’ roster … with the Quality Depth it has … might, in fact, be able to generate just as many W’s this season as the Toronto Raptors?

Yes it is … if Larry legend is correct and the players he’s mentioned are indeed capable of stepping up their games to assume Leadership Roles with their team this season.

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From the perspective of this corner, these are just two of many teams in the EC that could realistically finish anywhere from #6-14 this season should the breaks go their way or not.

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Tracking the Raptors’ Key Stretch of 19 Games (#19)

March 1, 2008

The Anatomy of Wins and Losses in the NBA:
Breaking Down Key Possessions

Game 19 – TOR 111 vs Ind (22-36) 122, L 12-7 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 18 – TOR 107 vs Min (11-43) 85, W 12-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 17 – Tor 102 @ IND (22-34) 98, W 11-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 16 – TOR 115 vs Nyk (17-38) 92, W 10-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 15 – Tor 99 @ NYK (16-38) 103, L 9-6 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 14 – TOR 127 vs Orl (34-21) 110, W 9-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 13 – TOR 109 vs Njn (22-30) 91, W 8-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 12 – TOR 88 vs Sas (33-17) 93, L 7-5 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 11 – Tor 105 @ MIN (10-38) 82, W 7-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 10 – TOR 98 v Lac (15-31) 102, L 6-4 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 9 – Tor 114 @ MIA (9-36) 82, W 6-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 8 – TOR 101 vs LAL (28-16) 121, L 5-3 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 7 – TOR 122 vs Was (24-19) 85, W 5-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 6 – Tor 104 @ WAS (23-19) 108, OT, L 4-2 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 5 – TOR 106 vs Mil (17-26) 75, W 4-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 4 – Tor 114 @ BOS (33-6) 112, W 3-1 … Boxscore 
Game 3 – Tor 95 @ PHI (15-25) 99, L 2-1 … Full Play-By-Play
Game 2 – TOR 89 vs Atl (17-18) 78, W 2-0 … Boxscore, Full Play-By-Play
Game 1 – TOR 116 vs Sac (15-21) 91, W 1-0

Record vs >.500 Opp: 3-3 (.500)
Record vs .500 Opp: 9-4 (.692)

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Key Possessions which determined the W-L result:

Some NBA games are decided during a specific ’sub-set’ of possessions during the 3rd Quarter … like this one, when

(with Indiana’s 16-pt lead reduced to a single digit … TOR 73, Ind 74 … following Toronto’s 15-0 run)

03:37 … Ind/subbed Travis Diener (PG/Starter) back into the game for Kareem Rush (G), after a rest of only 01:12
03:24 … Ind/Diener, Fade Away Jump Shot: Made/8 PTS, Ast: Foster/3 (Ind 76, TOR 73)
03:09 … TOR/Bargnani, 3pt Shot: Missed
03:08 … Ind/Dunleavy, Rebound
02:50 … Ind/Graham, Jump Shot: Missed
02:49 … Ind/Daniels, Rebound (Off:2 Def:2)|TOR/Delfino, Foul:Personal (2PF)
02:40 … Ind/Dunleavy, 3pt Shot: Made/20 PTS, Ast: Graham/2 (Ind 79, TOR 73)

after which the Pacers were never seriously headed, again; maintaining at least a 4-pt margin for the rest of the game.

Key Raptors: Andrea Bargnani (0-1, FGA/00.0%; 0-1, 3FGA/00.0%; 2 Defensive Miscues: i. failed to ‘Step out’ quickly and ‘Switch’ vs Diener, who used the dribble hand-off 2nd screen in the staggerred sequence; ii. failed to rotate properly vs Mike Dunleavy, coming out of an ‘Elbow Pick & Roll’ with a ‘Trap/Sag & Rotate’ sequence); Carlos Delfino (2 Defensive Miscues: i. failed to ‘Box-out’ vs Marquis Daniels/O-Rb; ii. Foul/Marquis Daniels)

Vital Components:
– 4 Defensive Miscues by Andrea Bargnani & Carlos Delfino during this specific ‘sub-set’ of possessions, plus 1 crucial Missed 3-pt Shot by Bargnani (in reply to Indiana’s successful ‘set play’) … gave the Pacers an extra Offensive possession & allowed Indiana to score 5 consecutive points during this sequence, creating a 6-pt deficit from which the Raptors never recovered against an inferior opponent. 

Next Game:
The key stretch of 19 games for the Raptors is finished.