is the baby faced assassin
Join Date: May 2008
Location: YO MAMMA
Alex Rucker talks Raptors analytics
Q: Given that Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani are the foundation of your offence, what type of role players would analytics suggest the Raptors need?
“I think that Andrea’s greatest strength is unquestionably his ability to be an efficient, high-volume scorer. The Dirk [Nowitzki] comparisons get overblown. They are different players. But the commonality is that their primary value to a team is efficient, high-value scoring. To me, that’s a fairly easy thing to build around. … If you have this high-usage scorer and combine that with a point guard who can really do a lot of different things very well — Kyle is a very easy piece to build around just because he brings a lot to the table in a lot of different areas — you’ve got two players that both can shoot, both can get their own shot. You do have flexibility with the [other positions] at the offensive end. It’s clear you want to pair Andrea with a post player who can crash the offensive glass, because his perimeter shooting strengths position him further from the basket than a traditional four might usually play. We’re fortunate enough to have Ed [Davis], Amir [Johnson], Jonas [Valanciunas], Aaron [Gray] and Jamaal [Magloire], all of who are very strong offensive rebounders, and that’s by design. On the offensive end, if you give me those two, the one thing I’d say you need to have is a [centre] who can secure the offensive glass and play a little more down low. On the defensive end, it was said for a few years that we’ve really needed a strong, traditional centre that can defend the rim. We believe that Jonas is the answer. Probably not today, but in the very near future, that’s where we envision him going.”
Q: There was a lot of angst over the three-year, US$19-million contract given to Landry Fields. What supports being so aggressive with him?
“I understand the controversy or criticism of him, and I think a huge amount of that was due to his sophomore season in the pros. Somebody mentioned to me the other day that if you swapped his first and second years, there would be no criticism at all. If you rewind 12 months and give him that deal after his rookie season, there is no criticism at all, and there probably would have been a lot of praise. However, that second year happened. I think we identified that the wing position was a need, and that there were specific things we wanted to upgrade. The two big ones were wing defence and perimeter shooting. Again, I know that Landry had this massive disparity between his exceptional first year of 39% three-point shooting to the significant decline last year to 26%. One of those numbers is great. One of those numbers is very poor. What do we get? Obviously we went after him and targeted him because we think we’re getting something closer to the rookie year in the mid-low 30s, which would give us a very valuable weapon on offence. And he is a very, very strong complementary player. You mentioned Andrea or Lowry as guys who are very effective with the ball. At a certain point, you do want to have guys like [Morris Peterson] or James Posey or Aaron Afflalo who are more effective in an off-ball, complementary role in offence. If you look at Landry’s rookie year in that role, he was exceptional. Last year, there was a decline across the board. You can look at why and how and when that happened and draw your own conclusions. …”
Q: What type of player do college statistics suggest Terrence Ross will become, and are college analytics worth a damn?
“College data is difficult to work with. I’m spoiled with pro data because I have such detailed, in-depth data across a spectrum of analysis. Any aspect of a player that I’m curious about, I have the data to investigate. The college game is much more inconsistent across conferences, level of play and teammates — all of these things that have a massive impact on guys’ stats. Are they worth a damn? Yes. Are they worth as much as pro data? Not even close. GMs should look at college data and analysis of college data, but I think that’s a much smaller slice of the pie than it is at the pro level. Looking at Terrence, I’ll caveat this by saying the window of uncertainty is much larger projecting from college data to pro production, but his college data suggests very strongly that he’ll be a strong wing rebounder, he’ll be a strong wing defender and he’ll be able to hit the NBA three-point shot. … From my perspective, he is very advanced intellectually as far as understanding the game from a defensive perspective at the pro level.”
Q: What should the Raptors’ fans expect this year?
“ … In this league, quick fixes basically don’t occur. It’s extraordinarily rare that a Tim Duncan falls to you and you go into next season with a franchise post player playing at an all-star level. That doesn’t happen. It’s critical if you want to be a franchise that wants to be a perennial contender that you lay building blocks and build from that foundation. I know that the last [two years] have been difficult for this organization because we are historically a little more proactive. For us to take the more patient, methodical building approach has been difficult. I think that the last four months has been extraordinarily exciting for me to see, OK, we’ve done this building thing, and now, like Bryan says, we’re accelerating that. Unlike the last two years, there is clearly an expectation that we’re going to be competitive. Every game we play, we’re playing to win. What’s the final result? There is no question that teams like Miami are exceptionally talented and deep. There are several other teams in our division that have improved significantly. To me, that’s not an excuse. We are a good, competitive team, and I’ll be extremely disappointed if we’re not in playoff contention in the last few months of the year.”
Last edited by jeffb; 09-22-2012 at 11:16 AM.