11-19-2013, 11:31 PM
In the Paint
Join Date: Dec 2007
Koreen with some solutions for the offense
How the Raptors
can improve their scoring, but likely will not | National Post
Put the ball in Kyle Lowry’s hands more often
In terms of point guards, Lowry actually has the ball in his hands an average amount. He is nowhere near the level of Chris Paul, Kemba Walker or John Wall, but his 83.4 touches per game rank him 12th among lead guards, according to NBA.com.
As one can imagine, “touches” does not get into what a player does with those opportunities. Lowry is often initiating the offence, getting the ball to Gay or DeRozan in their preferred spots, and doing little else.
A freed-up Lowry would use pick-and-roll sets more aggressively, which would help Johnson and Valanciunas get more looks around the rim. Both Johnson and Valanciunas are excellent rolling big men, with Johnson a wonderful finisher in those situations. Valanciunas projects to be the same as he gains more experience.
Alas, there are issues there. First off, Casey’s comfort level with the herky-jerky, attack-first Lowry in those scenarios cannot match that which he had with Jose Calderon. Lowry is not as precise of a passer, and certainly not the same spot-up shooter. Second, the Raptors’ spacing is lacking, with the team just 23rd in the league in three-point percentage. Expect them to try to use Steve Novak more in upcoming games, which will help with spacing while hurting the defence. Such is life with a flawed roster.
Pick up the pace
The Raptors play at the third-slowest pace in the league, creating just 93.9 possessions per game.
“I don’t know if we have natural runners,” Casey said. “Our guys are running at a gait that should put pressure on the defence. It’s a pace that’s comfortable for them. A lot of people get caught up in pace of play; I don’t.”
Casey’s first claim does not hold much water. Lowry played on fast-paced teams in Houston, Johnson is one of the quickest runners among big men in the league, and Gay, DeRozan and Terrence Ross could run for days. (Whether they can make adequate decisions in transition is up for debate, though.)
However, Casey was grilled last year for his team’s defensive slippage. That was the same year the Raptors spent some of training camp working on becoming a faster-paced team. To expect Casey to ignore a very recent lesson is to deny a basic tenet of human nature. So, until the roster is overhauled or the Raptors make a coaching change, do not expect to see a significantly altered offence.
It's mentioned in the piece that the Raps are the 15th ranked offense. Considering they are last in assists and 23rd in 3-point shooting, that's a pretty nice ranking.