I suppose some people here will make a fuss about Shawn Marion making a return to Phoenix as a Raptor, but he has already been back as a member of the Heat, so it’s really a dead issue. I guess the only thing that could really bring the moment together is that since Marion’s arrival, the Raptors have clearly been pushing the ball up the floor and only since Terry Porter’s dismissal have the Suns been doing the same.
Let’s not get all carried away with each of these teams and their running ways, because honestly, they haven’t been playing against the strongest opposition lately, so the effect of running and gunning may have been a bit…um…amplified. While I do like the look of the Raptors running the court (especially when you have a 7 footer who not only can run the court, but DOES run the court) and think that they are a little better suited to play this way, I’m not ready to say that they have found the solution to their losing ways.
But let’s focus in on Bargs for a bit. As I mentioned, it’s not often that you get a 7-footer who can effectively run the court. It just doesn’t happen that often. But not only is he able to do it, he actually does it continuously and seems to enjoy the opportunities it brings him each time down the floor. It looks like the conditioning he worked on over the summer is paying off as he doesn’t seem to be showing any ill-effects from the running (unlike Chris Bosh, although he has been out for a while).
The great thing about Andrea being able to run the floor is that is adds another element to his game. If you have a 7-footer who has long-range ability, is starting to get more effective putting the ball on the floor and can get out on a break, then you are starting to look at something special. If he is able to stay in good enough shape and is lucky enough to remain healthy, this setup could be the perfect thing for him. The Raptors just have to make sure that he gets some breaks in between because whether he likes to run or not, that’s still a big frame to get up and down the court.
So this is where the test starts for the Raptors. Heading out west to see what they are made of. Get ready for what should be an entertaining game.
3 in the Key
1. While the focus on both sides will be to run, the Raptors are going to have to focus on running back down the floor on D or else Nash will expose them.
2. The Raptors will need the Killer B’s (so overused, but if you grew up in the 80s, it brings back memories) to be effective on both ends of the court.
3. Set plays. With all of the running that will be going on, somtimes it just comes down to being able to draw up a play off an inbounds pass that seals the game.