Is playing good defense a skill that most Raptors players lack?

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Old 03-22-2010, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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"Defending, like anything else in the NBA, is a talent level. And you can’t have people that are not great defenders and expect them to be great defenders. Just like you can’t have people that aren’t great scorers and expect them to be great scorers. He put me out there to be a defender and he puts guys out there to be scorers. He does focus on defense, but if you don’t have defensive players, then you’re not going to be a great defensive team."

I just read the above Jared Jeffries quote and it got me wondering...are the Raptors a bad defensive team because they don't put in the effort or because the majority of them lack the skill set required to defend effectively?


Thoughts?
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If you are afraid of the other player, your defense will be horrible. in other words youre soft, you're not willing to play D because you might get hurt, be embarassed. in other cases, you might be physically unable to guard someone as well.

Its hard because the NBA is loaded with talent and the game is only going to get harder. Players should just man-up, take there chance on D, know where to stand on the court (this is for offense as well), anticipate, put pressure when you need to, trust your teammates and know your opponent.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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a little of both i think. many of the raps players have shown how well they can defend, they just don't do it very often (yes killer b's, i'm thinking of you). others are just flat out horrible defenders. jose is just not going to be good at stopping penetration, no matter how much work he puts into it. he does have thick calves after all.....
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It is skill, but it is skills that people in general tend to develop less eagerly and spontaneously. Offense is glamorous.

Offensive great players are the best. They have risen to the elite of what everybody wants. Great defenders are usually guys that weren't good enough to dominate offensively but still talented, and so passionate about the game and ambitious and competitive that they developed that in order to survive.

But nonetheless, make no mistake about it, the best offensive players are the best players, the most talented. Most should dominate on the defensive end as well, now that they're professionals. For the ones who have all the athletic qualities this is more true than the guy's who are only effective on offense with the ball in their hands though, like Nash, or on the Raptors Calderon and Turkoglu. But even players like those have something that makes them as good as they are, and it's usually smarts and knowing what the opponent is gonna do, which also is a huge factor and can be used when playing defense.

Last edited by Mr4thQuarter; 03-22-2010 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A mixture of both I'd say.

Using Bosh and Bargnani as examples you have two guys who aren't great defenders to start and couple that with inconsistent defensive efforts.

This team consistently gets ripped on the PNR, and that embodies a lot of what's wrong with this team. PNR defense is all about fighting through screens and communicating. Jose always seems to be lost in the PNR, and Bosh and Bargnani in particular don't do much to jump out and hedge the ball handler. That right there is straight up effort.

Bargnani and Bosh's defense or lack thereof is magnified by the fact that our guards are blown by on the majority of our defensive possessions. When you have two big men who aren't weak-side shotblockers but still have to be helping on nearly every possession you're going to get exposed, and that's what happens with this team. There's a lack of talent there.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Given the effort this team can defend. They can be a good defensive team, not great, but somewhere in the middle of the league. They proved that for a two months stretch. But defence doesn't come naturally to most of our players unfortunately.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The Mark Iavaroni experiment has been a massive failure!
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I think they need to work harder than most teams to be good defensively. I think that helps explain why they suffer more with a harder schedule and road games in particular. And if they lose a Bosh, or a Wright, or Bargnani doesn't perform on D, or whatever, then it doesn't matter how hard guys like Jose and Turkoglu work, they are just going to be giving up a lot. They could really use more depth in terms of defensive stoppers, or maybe use Banks more in those scenarios where the level dips so drastically.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think that's the key, LX. This team does have to work harder to achieve average results on defense. By and large, they've showed they're not willing to do that consistently.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thought mentioned communicating - and that is one thing that was really there when they were getting things done defensively. But honestly - I don't think the PnR is their achilles as much as transition D, and a lot of that becomes troublesome due to rushing their offense. If this team finds the right pace, and takes care of the ball, then they look pretty good on defense.

The biggest mystery of the season for me is why they rush things and force passes so much against the teams that are going to run out on them the most. I think part of that comes from not having a good consistent long-range shooter, and another part comes with not having much beyond Bosh in terms of a guy that can have isos run for him when the opposing defense is packing it in. I would still far more prefer to see them try to pick those teams apart a bit more, slow the game down a bit, try to get to the line more, and save some more energy for running back.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Defense is a skill anyone can develop, aslong as they can move laterally. IMO defense ultimately defines a player desire to play the sport.

In every profession there is a task that every employee hates. In basketball I think its defense. There is no rewards for it on a stat sheet and you are always out shined by the top scorer.

That being said I think its a ego driven characteristic of the game. Often time when you play exceptionally well offensively your hustle on the defensive end improves. If you are playing poorly often you forget its a team sport and start to let your ego drive your will for playing defense. Prime example Carmelo, the guy plays defense amazing when he is dropping 20+ pts, when he plays poorly he does quick fouls and rides the bench.

I think defense is a collective effort where everyone needs to learn to love the aspect. All great teams and players that I can remember played amazing defense even if their teams haven't won a championship. Prime example Allen Iverson.

Can one player slack on defense? I doubt it because it creates a domino affect down the line up, and I personally feel that is what happened between Bosh, Bargnani and the entire Raptors rotations.
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The team is built on a weak foundation:

Calderon, Bargs, Hedo

Three of the top 4 highest paid players and who play the most minutes are weak defenders. Look at the young upcoming teams, all their core players can defend:

Durant-Green-Westbrook

Joe Johnson-Horford-Joe Smith-Marvin Williams

Even Charlotte and Milwaukee have continued to excel because they have built and acquired players who can defend:

Jackson-Wallace-Tyrus Thomas-Chandler

Bogut-Jennings-Salmons-Bell
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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They just suck. They don't have any effort or desire to defend. They just pretend to and get blown by on every play or they leave a guy open. They can't switch if there life depended on it
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think we have the skill set to be an average team on individual defence. We have many players on our team that have slow feet to be effective and play good individual defence. In the NBA for example pg's can blow by anyone one on one. Very few can keep their man in front of them. The Raptors struggle on d when they decide just to worry about their guy, thus for what ever reason deciding not to play team d.

When it comes to team d i think we can be an above average team on d. However the following must take place for this to happen.

1) you must trust your team mates
2) you must understand your system
3) you must communicate
4) must never take a play off on defence
5) must be physical, hungry,and strong with the ball
6) must bust your ass on d just as hard as you do on offence..too many save their gas to score points ????
7) quick hands or hands in motion reduces vision on the court can off set alittle for slow feet
8) must take getting beat on the boards personal,the glory of scoring should be just as strong as the glory of defending
9) if committed to d then you are working and busting your ass, must want to play ...d should never go into a slump because a slumping d means your lazy or just plain tired.
10) if the Raptors follow points 1-9 they can be an above average defencive team.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:39 PM   #15 (permalink)
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11) you must clap your hands and point to the spot on the floor where you expect your man to blow by you...

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Old 03-22-2010, 05:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
11) you must clap your hands and point to the spot on the floor where you expect your man to blow by you...

Ole!
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'trane View Post
11) you must clap your hands and point to the spot on the floor where you expect your man to blow by you...

Where would Jose be defensively if he didn't do that
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurk View Post
Where would Jose be defensively if he didn't do that


or




TAKE YOUR PICK
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:52 PM   #19 (permalink)
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You have to separate the man D and team D concepts. Most of the Raptors aren't particuarly spectacular man defenders...lock down, whatever you want to call it. That doesn't mean they can't learn to be good team defenders...they're different skills. I think they've shown the ability to play decent team D, but it's the effort and determination that's lacking. We've seen a lot of turnaround in the roster in the last few years with little actual change to the oncourt product. The main reason is we have brought in like players(i.e. not known for individual man defense), and players that tend to be 'soft' and lack discipline. I personally think the coaching staff has a lot to do as well with not getting the players to buy in and commit on every play.

So in short I think the roster has more potential than it's showing but I can't see it materializing in it's current look..coaching staff included.

Look at the Bucks. They bring in a tough defensive minded no bullshit coach in Skiles and what does he do next? Gets rid of the soft type players(Charlie V) and replaces them with grit(Delfino). Guys that were previously buried on the bench because they're not A-list names(Ilyasova) are now getting minutes because they bring attitude and defensive intensity. That's why this team has excelled even with the loss of an all-star shooting guard. Larry Brown did a similar thing in Charlotte.

I think we either need to replace some of our softer finesse guys with grit or we need a task-master of a coach to ship them into shape.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:54 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Keep crapping on Jose, sure, easy target...

How come Jose didn't look half as bad on defence when the Spaniards were kicking Americans' asses in the worlds and during the Olympics?!

Defence requires certain physical tools (quickness, sometimes bulk, sometimes timing), but most of all, it requires intelligence and dedication. A good defender studies his opponents, learns the trends, strengths and weaknesses and also a team of such knows how to defend together, rather than every man for himself.

Last season's great article on Battier actually illuminated a lot of relevant point when is comes to playing stellar defence. IMHO, although our players do lack the tools sometimes, coaches have not done a good enough job preparing them and making them play D as a unit. Or, perhaps, they've already been tuned out.
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