Koreen with some solutions for the offense
Old 11-19-2013, 11:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How the Raptors can improve their scoring, but likely will not | National Post

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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.
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've said this before, but anyone blaming Lowry for this slow, non ball moving offense isn't watching the games very closely. The ball stops with the wings and rarely gets back to Lowry.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Lowry is not really a problem, I agree. The ball movement stops with DeRozan and Gay.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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we need Lowry to be more ball dominant.... If he can be the guy from the first three games last year, this team is a playoff team. Unfortunately, he's never healthy enough to be that guy regularly.... he's injury-prone.

Without him being that guy, this team is doomed to trying to be a rec-league version of the Miami Heat but where bigs don't get touches because every wing man thinks he's the next Michael Jordan.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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we need Lowry to be more ball dominant.... If he can be the guy from the first three games last year, this team is a playoff team. Unfortunately, he's never healthy enough to be that guy regularly.... he's injury-prone.

Without him being that guy, this team is doomed to trying to be a rec-league version of the Miami Heat but where bigs don't get touches because every wing man thinks he's the next Michael Jordan.
That guy from the first three games was LeBron level. As much as I hope, I don't think he has anything near that in him. We would be a much better team if that Lowry showed up.
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That guy from the first three games was LeBron level. As much as I hope, I don't think he has anything near that in him. We would be a much better team if that Lowry showed up.
yeah, so let's just deal him for a first rounder and sign B-diddy... the only way to take shots away from chuckers is to add more chuckers!

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Old 11-20-2013, 12:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I do think Lowry could be slightly more assertive on the court though in demanding the ball back. I think that's one way to get the ball back in his hands. Right now I think he's in that friend mode where he's just happy to defer to his buddy.
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I do think Lowry could be slightly more assertive on the court though in demanding the ball back. I think that's one way to get the ball back in his hands. Right now I think he's in that friend mode where he's just happy to defer to his buddy.
It really is remarkable how often both DD and Gay just put their heads down as soon as the ball hits their fingertips..... there is never any expectation that they'd have to give it up. Our bigs could be so much better utilized with some P&R and Lowry needs to be holding the ball much longer and constantly buzzing around. Surprised he didn't learn that from watching Jose operate offensively.....
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It really is remarkable how often both DD and Gay just put their heads down as soon as the ball hits their fingertips..... there is never any expectation that they'd have to give it up. Our bigs could be so much better utilized with some P&R and Lowry needs to be holding the ball much longer and constantly buzzing around. Surprised he didn't learn that from watching Jose operate offensively.....
Maybe not remarkable, but consistent ,yes
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It really is remarkable how often both DD and Gay just put their heads down as soon as the ball hits their fingertips..... there is never any expectation that they'd have to give it up. Our bigs could be so much better utilized with some P&R and Lowry needs to be holding the ball much longer and constantly buzzing around. Surprised he didn't learn that from watching Jose operate offensively.....
A part of me wonders if it's being deferred by some sort of hierarchical setting in the locker room where there's a belief that we go as far as Rudy and DeMar take us. Heck, I can see where Gay might think that (I recall some quotes made by the previous regime when they acquired him).

The coach can do a lot of things, but I'd love for the players to begin saying on the court, "enough of this". It's gotta be grating on the nerves of some of the players.

Again, I think Lowry really could take a bigger leadership role here as the overall floor general. Being a PG isn't just about passing the ball to the right target.
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The lack of ball movement on this team disgusts me....

Watching this season thus far has show how little Casey knows about offense. Lets recap a typical game. 90% of the possessions Lowery brings the ball up to just outside the three point line, then hands the ball off to Derozen or Gay and then runs to the opposite end of the court where it will take 2-3 pass to get the ball back into his hands again. And every time Lowery and Derozen get the ball its 1on1 to the brick house. Over all we get like 10-15 assists for the entire team in a game. We don't move the ball, we dont pass the ball, we just hand the ball off, and pray for at least a 40% FG night.
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Casey needs to pick up the pace even if it results in a few blown games which is usually the case when a team switches gears. The ball is sticking in everybody's hands right now and he needs to take the playbook out of the equation and just have the guys improvise and make quick decisions. Get back to fundamentals.

Lumping Demar and Gay together is wrong, although maybe I'm wrong, but I have league pass so I'll do a little analysis on a game, perhaps Portland, but I would wager that A) Demar's shots come on possessions where the team makes multiple passes more often then Rudy, B) makes more passes then Rudy, C) takes more shots using screens/movement from teammates then Rudy. I think their are some clear differences between the way Rudy and Demar get their shots, although that's not to say Demar doesn't dominate some possessions here and there - especially in the second half.
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I would have liked to still have Calderon here to help improve the ball movement and be the backup to Lowry. At the same time though, it's not Lowry's fault that the ball doesn't move, that is all on Demar and Rudy and anyone who suggests anything different is blind. I miss both Calderon and Ed and I wished we would have never gotten Rudy at all, as you can tell I truly hate BC and I'm thankful that Masai has arrived.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:00 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I see Lowry becoming too much of a guy that just plays in the middle of the court. He barely ever gets as far as the freethrow line anymore. Maybe the injury is holding his activity level back some, effecting his handle and the trust in his own shot.

As for the poor aesthetics or just the poor fundamentals apparent in this offense, i think some of that can be credited to defenses becoming more Thibadeaued to the point where ball movement needs to be very precise with 5 guys being very aware, comfortable and in sync with each other, and even then they might get a fair amount of threes at best. The game is becoming loaded on the defensive end as it was in the 90’s, with some of the physicality replaced with the ability to take away space to operate legally whereas then they had to try to get away with guarding space for brief periods before committing to defending a man.

I can remember seeing endless possessions where Mark Jackson slowly backed into his man before someone finally committed to doubling him and he hit the open man, or he found someone cutting that he could make a pass to, or he could take advantage of a mismatch with whoever was guarding him. It was isoisoisoiso. And today the only real options that remain would be trying to take advantage of a mismatch early in the clock. The double team would not have to come until he made his move, and the pass to a cutter would tend to be taken away by zoned out coverage of passing lanes. Aside from taking his own shot, he would be looking at sending the ball out to the perimeter or to a guy the defense would be happy to see take a midrange jumper.

Now don't get me wrong - ball movement has always been the ideal, and most effective way to get results from everyone on the floor. But sustaining the kind of really good ball movement that can get it done is a challenge. It can be a challenge for Miami. Portland was great at it, but it only gave them so much (barely anything inside) and they still had to go to overtime where they won with ridiculous shots way beyond the arc.

I just think from year to year we are seeing more teams figuring out how to best stymie good offensive play. This team that is so ugly and unacceptable, is afterall better than half the league in terms of production.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:14 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I would have liked to still have Calderon here to help improve the ball movement and be the backup to Lowry. At the same time though, it's not Lowry's fault that the ball doesn't move, that is all on Demar and Rudy and anyone who suggests anything different is blind. I miss both Calderon and Ed and I wished we would have never gotten Rudy at all, as you can tell I truly hate BC and I'm thankful that Masai has arrived.
Blind? That's a bit strong. As is the statement that it is ALL on two guys. That's just overstating something that is pretty obviously a problem and doesn't need to be overstated. I'm not sure where you saw so much ball movement with Jose. I saw a guy standing and dribbling in one place for long periods of time, quite often. This team was a one-pass special with him on the floor. Not a major improvement.

Now i could be wrong, but i think the ball is not sticking in the Jose sense so much this season. Even when Gay and Demar get the ball and don't pass, they do drive or shoot instead of overdribbling and letting the defense set up. They are following the George Karl rules of ball movement which require a player to decide immediately to pass, shoot or drive. There's still a lot of room for improvement in that sense, and personally i would like to see them taking more time in post-up situations now and again. They need to find the options, and others need to open other options up for them. Lowry could be a very big piece in that, and if they can hit more threes it would help a huge amount. But the overall principles in place, and the executing of them, is not utterly horrendous.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I think i have offered some points to discuss. If the guy that gave me a thumbs down would like to give it a go, that would be great.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Blind? That's a bit strong. As is the statement that it is ALL on two guys. That's just overstating something that is pretty obviously a problem and doesn't need to be overstated. I'm not sure where you saw so much ball movement with Jose. I saw a guy standing and dribbling in one place for long periods of time, quite often. This team was a one-pass special with him on the floor. Not a major improvement.

Now i could be wrong, but i think the ball is not sticking in the Jose sense so much this season. Even when Gay and Demar get the ball and don't pass, they do drive or shoot instead of overdribbling and letting the defense set up. They are following the George Karl rules of ball movement which require a player to decide immediately to pass, shoot or drive. There's still a lot of room for improvement in that sense, and personally i would like to see them taking more time in post-up situations now and again. They need to find the options, and others need to open other options up for them. Lowry could be a very big piece in that, and if they can hit more threes it would help a huge amount. But the overall principles in place, and the executing of them, is not utterly horrendous.
Jose definitely got the bigs involved..... at least give him that.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:45 PM   #18 (permalink)
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A part of me wonders if it's being deferred by some sort of hierarchical setting in the locker room where there's a belief that we go as far as Rudy and DeMar take us. Heck, I can see where Gay might think that (I recall some quotes made by the previous regime when they acquired him).

The coach can do a lot of things, but I'd love for the players to begin saying on the court, "enough of this". It's gotta be grating on the nerves of some of the players.

Again, I think Lowry really could take a bigger leadership role here as the overall floor general. Being a PG isn't just about passing the ball to the right target.
It does seem that the rhetoric of the coach and said players suggests there is some inherent belief in the room that it's all about those two leading us somewhere. They talk about how they are the scorers, and leaders, of the team, but this team seems like it has too much role definition and not enough accountability. We can't have our two best players defining themselves by how many points they score.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Jose definitely got the bigs involved..... at least give him that.
and was better at taking care of the rock...
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:54 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Demar and Rudy were named co-captains. I would have preffered to have seen Lowery and Amir share whatever symbolic responsibilities are entitled with that. I think Demar has come a long way in terms of leadership, and Rudy has some good experience, but Amir and Kyle are the guys that have earned it.
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