Saturday, November 22, 2008

What's wrong with the Raps

No, I did not forget to put a question mark in the title. I know what's wrong with the Raptors, and I'm going to share it with y'all today.

Some people may look at last night's loss against the Nets (I feel a wave of nausea as I recall the VC "heroics"), and talk about certain key possessions in the 4th and in the overtime period. "Bargnani couldn't inbound the basketball" ... "Bargnani missed the 3" ... "Parker shouldn't have left Vince wide open". But this is basketball, dummies. If you allow a team to be within 2 possessions, they have just as much of a shot at winning as the team with the lead.

No, you can't look at the last 2 minutes to see where the problem lies. You look at the double-digit lead that we gave up, and certain players that are underperforming, and there lie the reasons not only for our horrible loss to NJ, but also for our other losses.

Backup point guard
Will Solomon is absolutely horrible. His deficiencies run longer than the roll of toilet paper that my wife uses whenever she's on the toilet (that's a lot of friggin toilet paper!). He takes too long to start the offensive set. He holds the ball for too long. He takes ill-advised shots. He takes too many chances on defense. He turns the ball over too many times. What the Raps saw when they signed him is beyond my comprehension.

Roko Ukic doesn't the turn the ball over as much on the offensive end, but is a defensive liability when he's on the floor.

The lack of a trustworthy backup point guard allows other teams to erase double-digit leads (see Magic, Celtics, Nets). It also leaves coach Mitchell with no choice but to leave Calderon in the game, tiring him out and rendering him ineffective at clutch-time.

Can't guard the twos and threes
We have one of the most forbidable front courts in the league (as I type this, I have my fingers crossed, waiting for news on JO's injury). We're doing a great job on the defensive end, swatting away garbage and making life difficult for post-up players.


A lot of the league's dangerous scoring options are out at the wings. We've already seen a few of them this season, and they've torched the Raptors defense like Pepsi and Mike. Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Hedo Turkgolu, Rashard Lewis, and Dwayne Wade have put up big offensive numbers against us, and now you can Vince Carter to the list as well.

Who's responsible for guarding these players? Well, there's Anthony Parker, once considered the Raptors' best defender. I felt last season, however, that he was one step slower, and I feel this season that he's two steps slower. He is no longer capable of shutting down or even slowing down the league's best.

There's also Jason Kapono, who can't guard a television from a Mennonite. Enough said.

Finally, we have Jamario Moon, who some consider a good defender (but not me). He's a weak-side shot blocker, who loves to block shots, even when he's defending a player at 24 feet from the bucket. Jamario + shot fake = foul. He only got 9 minutes of playing time against the Nets. Ever think why?

So what needs to be done? Well, let's cut our losses, literally. Cut Will Solomon today. Let's find a veteran point guard that can give us 12-15 solid minutes of low-turnover basketball. Then, we shift our attention to defense. Maybe we need to play zone for most of the game, or maybe we need to package 2 of either Jamario/AP/JK. Until then, we'll continue to see a trend of blown leads, and heartbreaking losses. You'll probably also see me standing in the corner, banging my head against the wall.


Lena! said...

You're absolutely right, with so many valid points. You should e-mail this post to SportsCentre.

Rubex Cube said...

Wow that was deep Al you're like serious and stuff.

...."Bandwagon jumping - closet Raps Fan"