Tim Chisholm: Sitting down with Triano 1 on 1
Old 08-26-2009, 12:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Awesome interview.

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This has been a madcap summer for the Toronto Raptors, with a bushel of new players acquired by Bryan Colangelo in an attempt to return the club to the post-season and convince All-Star Chris Bosh to re-sign with the club next summer.

However, the man who is actually charged with making sense of the madness is head coach Jay Triano. On Monday I sat down with Triano for a lengthy discussion about last season, his overhauled roster and the myth of the Raptors as a running team.

Tim Chisholm: So when you took over back in December, did you already have a style in your head that you'd use if you took over as head coach? Is that the kind of thing you'd think about?

Jay Triano: You have the style that you want to play. I like the ball moving and I want the ball pushed up the floor. I value the possessions too much to do the 'seven seconds or less' type of style where we're going to take a shot, good or bad, and we're gonna get it up there. I honestly think that you can score a transition basket with eight seconds to go on the shot clock because you've run down the floor and created a mismatch that maybe takes a little bit of time to exploit. That's still transition to me because we won that battle in the first five seconds by running down the floor and creating a mismatch. Transition baskets to me are a little bit different but I always want to run and be the aggressors offensively.

Now, have we been what I wanted us to be defensively? Absolutely not. We have to have a toughness and a desire to want to play defense. I mean, the best teams in the league are the best defensive teams. We were twenty-first in field goal percentage allowed last year, and that's why we weren't in the Playoffs.

TC: Given your personnel then, especially defensively, did you have to sacrifice your personal philosophies in order to make this team run as best as this unit could?

JT: Yeah, for sure. I think that the sign of a good coach isn't 'this is my style and we're gonna play this way.' It's taking the pieces that you're given, the injuries that sometimes happen, and trying to put it together in the best way to maximize the guys that you have.

I think it's the same thing when you're dealing with people one-on-one. I mean, some guys need to be patted on the back and everything has to be positive and some guys need a real kick in the butt, and you have to get on them to get them to get to their full potential. So I think coaching a team is the same way; you can have your style but there had better be adaptations to it in order to find out how you can best play.

TC: Now, when you first took over in December, Bosh struggled. His shooting percentage went down ten-percent, his scoring went down by six points per game. He looked like he wasn't sure anymore where he would get his shots. Sam Mitchell had a system where he really focused on getting Bosh his looks on isolations and pick-and-rolls, but you sort of democratized the offense. Do you think he had trouble adjusting to that kind of system?

JT: I think so, yeah. I just think in the past, largely because of our personnel, Sam would give him the basketball and he would hold it on the block and then make a play and if he got double-teamed, he'd throw it out and other guys would get involved. If they didn't double, then it was gonna be whether Chris can beat this guy one-on-one tonight is going to determine whether or not we win or lose games.

I think that Chris got worn down a little bit. Especially when I had taken over, after the length of the summer, whether that's coincidence or not, or the fact that I tried to take the ball out of his hands and not let him hold it as much. But I think that he really started to grow at the end of the season, he started to put up better numbers and he started understanding what we were trying to do and I think everybody's going to be like that initially. It's gonna be my job in training camp to make sure that we adapt the style and get it comfortable for everybody right away and that it doesn't take Chris ten-to-fifteen games to feel good about what we're trying to do offensively.

TC: So what was it in those last few games that finally got the team to push through?

JT: I think it was everybody getting it. The one thing that I like is to have the basketball move. Defenses in this league are getting so good at locking-in and concentrating on stopping and so the more you move the ball the more difficult that is for them.

We had a point guard in Jose (Calderon) who wanted to bring it up all the time, all the way. We had Chris who liked to hold it. We had Jermaine O'Neal early in the year who liked to hold the basketball. I think at the end we finally just 'got it' and everybody went and everybody moved. We told Jose 'if there's a guy ahead of you, pass it up. You're as good of a shooter, you can catch it coming back and shoot it.' 'Chris, don't hold the ball. You can make a move right away or swing it. If you can't make a move in one-and-a-half seconds, forget it.'

I think everyone started to feel better about that and we started moving the basketball and we became a much tougher team to guard. It started in transition; if you got the rebound, go. Don't look for an outlet. We got into the habit were a guy would get the rebound and Jose would come running back and we'd hand it off to him and then we'd go up the floor. No, if you get it, go. And then Jose goes and if he's open, give it to him, pass ahead. I think we started playing with a lot more flow that way. I think the more fun it is offensively, with everybody touching the ball, guys bought into the defense a little bit more, we got better rebounding with [Shawn] Marion, a guy who tracks the basketball. I think if you have those three things every game you become a better team.

TC: You took a lot of heat for your record after Mitchell was fired. Did you feel somewhat vindicated by the way that you and the team ended the season?

JT: Honestly, I didn't feel the heat, but to feel vindicated? [pause] I was glad that we played the way that we did. Especially with guys knowing that we were out of it. It's pretty tough to motivate guys for 82 games a year, let alone trying to motivate them when their chances of playing in the post-season are gone. What're you playing for? I appreciated the fact that our guys played as hard as they did and got a chance to see what it could be like.

TC: So then when did you feel comfortable that you'd be coming back as the head coach?

JT: I didn't feel very comfortable for a while.

TC: Really?

JT: No. I can't say that I was confident that I was gonna come back and I wasn't confident that I was gonna get let go. I didn't really know. You know, Bryan was always supportive through the tough times and I just kept coaching. That's the one thing I'll always do, I kept coaching. It was my job to be there and I was there working hard, whether we were trying to win that last game to get into the Playoffs or whether it meant nothing. I'm gonna prepare our guys all the way through and make sure that we're ready. I know I was under the spotlight but at the same time that's what I do. It's what I did when I was an assistant coach and I'm not gonna change. I'm going to work as hard as I can to try and make us successful. If I need to bring in people that will help me and augment my style, I'm not afraid to do that, either.

TC: So going into the summer, how does it work? Do you and Bryan sit and think of guys that could fit into last year's system better, or do you fantasize about your ideal system and try to find guys who'll suit that?

JT: Well, I think Bryan and I have the same philosophy as far as the offense and the way we want to push the ball and move. Lots of movement. I think the next thing that came was, 'where were we deficient last year?' We were deficient in toughness and rebounding. We gave up something that I don't like to lose and that's shooters when we gave up [Jason] Kapono, but we needed to do that to get a toughness and a defensive presence and a guy that lets people know that they were coming into our building. We get that with Reggie [Evans]. We did the same thing when we got Antoine Wright; he's another guy that's got a real toughness to him and an attitude. Jarrett Jack's a tough player and a tough defender, so we addressed that.

We addressed the depth that we needed, too; we just didn't have enough depth. We had all of our money locked-up in Jermaine O'Neal [last year]. That deal to get Shawn in here gave a us chance to get a really good look at Shawn, and we liked him, but when you take a look at the fact that in exchange for Marion we get Turkoglu, Wright, we get a bunch of players in a deal and you think 'well, we've gotta give up something to get something.'

The biggest thing for me is that we have a bench, though. If you look at the guys that may come off the bench, the third string, our last five, you're looking at Quincy Douby and Amir Johnson maybe – if he doesn't beat out Reggie or Rasho (Nesterovic) – and last year it was Douby and Pops (Mensah-Bonsu) as our second line off the bench. Now they're pushed back. It's like there's a whole other starting five as our backup five that's been put into place. So that's kind of interesting and we'll have to see how we manage our minutes now.

I don't know if we really looked at the style of play so much because when you look at us you ask 'are we a running team?' No, but we are a transition team. I don't think with this starting lineup we're going to outsprint anyone down the floor, but we're going to be moving the ball and we're going to be wise in how we attack. We get guys like (Hedo) Turkoglu, who can make plays, Jose, who can make plays. We added (DeMar) DeRozen, who's going to be our athlete in that group to run and then we've got those toughness guys that I talked about. Then it's going to come down to Chris and Andrea (Bargnani) being able to defend and play in the low-post area. We got Amir Johnson to back them up, and Rasho and Reggie. I mean, I like the roster where it is right now. Does it fit a running style, no, but it fits a transition style.

TC: So, speaking to that depth, there was a point this summer when all that looked to be off the table in an effort to sign Hedo. Was that ever a concern a concern for you?

JT: Big time. That's one of the reasons that, as an organization, we debated how much we wanted to go after him initially because we knew the cupboards were bare. But, to Bryan's credit, before Steve Fruitman (Senior Director Basketball Administration and resident capologist) came in with the magical numbers in the four-team trade, he said he looked around to every team and every team is going to be tight. There's going to be a lot of minimum salary guys that we could fill out this roster with that are still pretty darn good. When you look at the guys who are signing to go to Europe, guys who want minimum salaries and they still aren't getting jobs - Joey Graham doesn't have a job right now, he's a minimum salary guy somewhere. Here's a guy where if you said you're going to renounce him but you're going to get him back at a minimum salary, that's pretty darn good. Bryan said 'if we sign Turkoglu, we're going to get some pretty good guys. Trust me, I'll find you good players that are minimum salary guys.'

But then, you know, the trade happens - it was unbelievable. Not only did we get Turkoglu and Wright, but we get [Jarrett] Jack, because all of a sudden we've got money to spend. All of a sudden we've got two teams now, we've got a starting group and a bench group, though I don't know who's in which one.

TC: So even though you've been talking a lot about starting DeRozen, that's still not set in stone?

JT: Everything could still change. The reason that I think of starting him is because where else do you get a young guy minutes? You want those minutes coming with good players. If you can buy him eight minutes in the first quarter and eight minutes in the third quarter, now you've got a rookie who's playing sixteen minutes per game but they're good minutes. You're not winning or losing NBA games in the first eight minutes of the first quarter or the first eight minutes of the third quarter. If he does well, he's going to earn himself more minutes. If he doesn't, and we feel like we need to bring him off the bench, then we'll do that.

I really like our back-end guys, and those will be the guys who are on the floor at crunch time, but it will give (DeMar) a chance to grow with our top four or five guys that are hopefully going to be with out organization for a long while. I mean, we've got Jose for four years, DeRozen for four, Jack for four, Turkoglu for five, Bargnani for five, Bosh for one. That's our top-six players and five of them we have for four or five years. I don't think you can be in a better situation than that. And if that doesn't sell Bosh on coming back, obviously we want Chris here, but then I still think that when your top four or five guys are in that position, then you reload with somebody at that spot and it's a pretty good group to be playing around.

TC: So then if those are your core guys, is it a matter of rotating the guys around them to maximize what they're going to be able to do?

JT: Right. I mean, Reggie will come in as our big guy, Rasho will be our stabilizer, Amir will come in as an athletic big, Antoine Wright will probably come in and be a stopper and help spell off Hedo for a bit. (Marco) Belinelli is a scorer, he'll be a scorer in the second group that comes in and makes stuff happen, and Jack will play both at the point and the backup two just to make sure that we get him enough minutes because he's a darn good basketball player.

TC: Now, you used a ten-man rotation a lot last year…

JT: I did early. I did early, and I hang my hat on why we successful at the end on the fact that we made a pact as coaches that we weren't going to have Jose and Chris Bosh off of the floor at the same time, and we had done that. They're both going to get tired at the eight-minute mark and we would go to the bench. We were one of the top teams in scoring in the first quarter but we were one of the bottom two teams in scoring in the second quarter. I talked to Jose and Chris and told them that I'm going to take one of you guys out earlier because I need to have one of you on the floor all the time. When we did that late in the year, that's when we got going. I think you have to keep your star players on the floor as much as you can. Now I have the luxury of a Hedo, a Jose, an Andrea and a
Chris – keeping two of them on the floor at all times. I think during training camp and preseason we're going to figure out where we suffered when three of those guys were off of the floor. We're doing a whole lot more with statistical analysis on games and who's on the floor during runs and stuff like that, more than just the plus-minus, and that will give us a feel for who needs to be on the floor for the majority of the time.

TC: When you're working through your roster and your strategy for next season, is it about finding ways to maximize Bosh, who's your anchor, or is it a matter of finding a way to maximize the greatest number of players?

JT: Maximize the greatest number of players.

TC: Even if it diminishes the largess of Bosh's role?

JT: Yeah, for sure. And I think it'll be a little bit tougher for Chris early, but at the same time it's going to be better for him. It's going to maximize his endurance throughout the year, because we've seen that every year, in the second half of the year, with the knee problems or whatever, it is because he's logged so many minutes. I'm not saying his minutes will go down because he's done an unbelievable job this summer of getting much fitter and much stronger, but we have to make sure that we do not wear that kid out to the point where he's got no bounce and he's shuffling down the floor like he did in the second half of the year last year. He just had no bounce and you've got to make sure that he has that live bounce and that he has it all the time.
Chisholm: Sitting down with Raptors' head coach Jay Triano
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Triano's analysis of the team and demonstration of his understanding of the game in this article is actually making me more optimistic about the coming season.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ping
I honestly think that you can score a transition basket with eight seconds to go on the shot clock because you've run down the floor and created a mismatch that maybe takes a little bit of time to exploit. That's still transition to me because we won that battle in the first five seconds by running down the floor and creating a mismatch. Transition baskets to me are a little bit different but I always want to run and be the aggressors offensively.
Very interesting point. The NBA always uses language that describes the two spectrums of playing styles: Fast! Run & Gun! 7-seconds-or-less! Either that, or "half-court. Setting up the right player. Grinding it out." But no one ever mentions the overlap between the two, and I don't think I've seen a team that looks to exploit this particular set-up. It'll be veerry interesting if Triano can design this type of system.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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i love this:

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'are we a running team?' No, but we are a transition team. I don't think with this starting lineup we're going to outsprint anyone down the floor, but we're going to be moving the ball and we're going to be wise in how we attack. We get guys like (Hedo) Turkoglu, who can make plays, Jose, who can make plays. We added (DeMar) DeRozen, who's going to be our athlete in that group to run and then we've got those toughness guys that I talked about. Then it's going to come down to Chris and Andrea (Bargnani) being able to defend and play in the low-post area. We got Amir Johnson to back them up, and Rasho and Reggie. I mean, I like the roster where it is right now. Does it fit a running style, no, but it fits a transition style.
and i especially love this:

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TC: So even though you've been talking a lot about starting DeRozen, that's still not set in stone?

JT: Everything could still change. The reason that I think of starting him is because where else do you get a young guy minutes? You want those minutes coming with good players. If you can buy him eight minutes in the first quarter and eight minutes in the third quarter, now you've got a rookie who's playing sixteen minutes per game but they're good minutes. You're not winning or losing NBA games in the first eight minutes of the first quarter or the first eight minutes of the third quarter. If he does well, he's going to earn himself more minutes. If he doesn't, and we feel like we need to bring him off the bench, then we'll do that.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Solid interview. Jay impresses me. I hope he can get the team to gel quickly.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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He makes an interesting point on DeRozan. I don't necessarily agree with throwing him out there with the starters, but maybe he'll take the opportunity and make the most of it.
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We have to have a toughness and a desire to want to play defense. I mean, the best teams in the league are the best defensive teams.
That is by far the most encouraging thing he had to say. Let's hope he means it, knows how to implement it and the players buy in to that philosophy.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great interview. I wouldn't agree with everything he said, but he comes off as a thinker.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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He wa ssaying the same stuff last year too.... was nobody listening?
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
He wa ssaying the same stuff last year too.... was nobody listening?

Most of what he's talking about is referring to last years outcome and how he plans on utilizing the new team he has this year.

Please explain...
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:48 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Same philosphies Ping, they are maleable and they change with personel

Thats all.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I really like our back-end guys, and those will be the guys who are on the floor at crunch time, but it will give (DeMar) a chance to grow with our top four or five guys that are hopefully going to be with out organization for a long while. I mean, we've got Jose for four years, DeRozen for four, Jack for four, Turkoglu for five, Bargnani for five, Bosh for one. That's our top-six players and five of them we have for four or five years. I don't think you can be in a better situation than that. And if that doesn't sell Bosh on coming back, obviously we want Chris here, but then I still think that when your top four or five guys are in that position, then you reload with somebody at that spot and it's a pretty good group to be playing around.
Derozan is one our top 6 players?

I'll be shocked if this isn't our Rotation next season

Jose/Jack/Beli/Banks
Derozan/Beli/Wright/Jack/Douby
Turkoglu/Wright/Derozan
Bosh/Evans-Johnson
Bargnani/Rasho/POB

The fact is, i actually agree with Jay Triano. Playing Derozan with our best players to start the 1st & 3rd quarters puts him in the best situation to succeed and not have to be a main option, allowing him to improve gradually and just concentrate on being in the right spots on the floor.

And if Derozan gets his 16minutes, that leaves 32 MPG for Belinelli/Wright and may be a little of Jack to eat up.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Here is part 2:

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Tim Chisholm: So then moving on to a guy like Turkoglu, who has a tendency to disappear from games when he doesn't have the ball in his hands, is there an opportunity in Toronto to let him run the point guard spot like he would do in Orlando?

Jay Triano: Absolutely, yeah. There are a couple of things I'll give you right off the bat: one, if he rebounds the basketball then he brings it up like he did in Orlando, and Jose is excellent off of the ball so he'll know where to space. The other thing that they did is they would run what they called 'thumb-down, five-special', which is just a zipper to bring him up to the top and then it's a high screen-roll for him. Well, now we've got Jose on the side, they zipper him up and get him [Turkoglu] at the top, spread the floor, and he goes. The day that we made the deal I said to Micah [Nori, assistant coach, NBA scout] and our coaches "thumb-down, five special", we're adding that one, put that one in our playbook! And I like the way that we run it equally as well as the way Orlando did it. They'd just zipper him up, it's a high screen with Dwight [Howard] and then Dwight rolls. Well, we're gonna put CB in that and they lifted Rashard Lewis, so we're gonna lift Andrea, we'll put Jose in one corner and Belinelli in the other corner – who are they gonna help off of on the screen-roll? That's why we're just gonna roll CB down, with shooters all around him, and he's going to have a chance to go right to the basket. It plays to his strength, it plays to Hedo's strength as a playmaker, to Jose's by catching the ball and making a play.

Jose's probably going to have to get used to not having the ball in his hands as much, but I don't think that that's a problem.

TC: Along those lines, with so many new players coming in, how do you feel about players coming to you with plays that worked for them in other systems?

JT: I have no problem with that. They usually go to my assistants in the summertime. In fact, we ask them. We'll ask "what was your favourite play in Indiana?" They'll tell us and we'll go "oh yeah, that was difficult to guard" or "we always switched that, that was easy." We ask them what the best play is for them to get open.

I always have that card in my pocket. It's listed, it's motion offences if I feel like we're stagnating, I have plays for Chris, I have plays for Andrea, I had plays for Jermaine last year. I'd think that we'd need to get Jermaine going because he's not guarding anybody, so we'd run a couple of plays to see if we can get him into the game. So that card has all the different strategies of the game; "We're stagnant offensively, let's get into this. We need a basket, we need a post-up, we haven't gone inside in six straight plays". I have a series of post-up plays, screen-roll plays, everything. That card is just like a checklist throughout the game; "this isn't happening, let's go through it – boom – there's a play we can run". Those are plays that are in our playbooks, but we don't give them a call so other teams can't scout us.

TC: Is there a point where there is too much depth for a team?

JT: Yup.

TC: Do you feel that this team is straddling that line?

JT: No, I want that depth because the one thing you can never account for is injuries. If everyone stays healthy all of the time then we're going to have a little bit of a problem, but it's going to be a good problem. It's going to be a problem this year when we're going "which three guys do we put in suits tonight?" instead of "who the heck do we put into the game?" So it's kind of flipped this year.

We've got guys that we're trying to develop and make better, too. With a guy like Sonny Weems, he's a guy we're going to try and develop. It's not hard to put him in a suit, but a couple of injuries or some good play by him or some quick development by him and all of a sudden he's fighting for a spot.

TC: Bargnani says that one of the biggest reasons for his development last year was that you just let him play his game. Where's the line, though, between allowing a guy to play his way and developing him for the betterment of the team?

JT: Well, his issues were twofold. He was a guy that we wanted to have in the organization for a while, so we were going to have to find a way to develop him within the confines of the team. For a guy like Jermaine, we can't change our offences or rewrite plays for him because we knew that he was one or two years and gone. I have to wade around that to try and find that line [between player and team], and I think that last year we got caught up in that. I think with Jermaine, we got so caught up in trying to make him look good so we could trade him that it compromised the effectiveness of our team. Then we get rid of him and Bargnani starts to flourish, he's not looking over his shoulder anymore wondering when this guy is coming in, he knows he can make a couple of mistakes and he's going to stay on the floor so he can fight through it. But when we had Jermaine, all of a sudden I'm tempted to say "Jermaine, get him out" because he's messed up twice. I didn't have that luxury later on and that let Bargnani play through. It's tough though; you have to look at where guys are and what their future is in the organization.

TC: How do you keep a player that struggles during development focused, without letting him buy into the media pressures or fans reactions to his growth?

JT: Well, that's part of our balance every day. I mean, you've got to have coaches who are well liked by the players, positive guys. I mean, I'm going to give them s*** and they're going to feel like s*** about me because I'm not playing them, or I'm taking them out of games for making mistakes. That's when the assistant coaches have to be in their ear saying "c'mon, let's go, let's get some extra shots." Then they're going to give them "no, why bother, I'm not going to f***ing play, he's not going to play me." And that's when they have to go "no no, you're gonna get your shot sometime, you have to be ready when your shot comes." That's where with you and your assistant it becomes good cop, bad cop.

But that's the balance of coaching, and that's what makes the line so fine between NBA players and how you deal with them. I mean, you can't take away their scholarship and you can't bench a guy for five games because he makes too much money and the fans wanna see him play. So, it's finding ways to maximize everybody's play. That's why you need to have a good relationship with people. I have a good relationship with Chris, and I had a good one with Nash when I coached him. You've got to be able to say "I'm coming after you in practice today because you were horse s*** yesterday." You know, you just give them a little bit of warning. It's not something that you do every day so that makes them feel "oh s***, okay". I give it to everybody else, so I've got to give it to the best player, too. I think that's the benefit of relationships that you build up over time and I'm going to have to build a lot of new ones because we got a lot of new guys. But at least three guys know me.

TC: So how much of what you want to do next year have you figured out and how much of it is going into training camp with a blank slate?

JT: Well, I think I know a lot of them. I've watched Hedo enough that I know what he likes to do and I know where he likes to be on the floor. You don't run plays for Reggie, you just ask him to get the ball and throw it back out and do it again and that's what he thrives on, on that role. So I don't know if there's too much that will change. I mean, we're going to put our stuff in, then when you put your stuff in you see how they are going to react to your stuff and how they react with other guys on the floor, then you come up with ideas on the fly: "This might be good with both of these guys on the floor out there, they both like to drive-and-kick, what if we put in our weave play?"

We have our stuff that we want to put in, that we've thought about for each of these guys, but you know what? You start going on the canvas and you just go "this isn't the way we wanted this to go, let's make some adaptations to it and let's see if we can come back at it a different way."

TC: Was there any conscious effort to mirror certain roles from last year, with parallels like Pops and Evans, Belinelli and Kapono, Rasho and Voskuhl?

JT: I think that just happens because of positions in the league. Pops and Reggie, you know, we couldn't get Pops back because Reggie's that role as a rebounder. You know, Rasho's more of a veteran guy, just like Jake, you're right, but he's a guy that we've had here in the past. I just think that you want to have an anchor back there, the veteran guy, and I think it's more about position than it is about the personnel from last year and trying to match up against it.

TC: You have two long road trips to start the year, so is there any concern about the team having time to gel with so many games away from the ACC?

JT: I think, and I'm trying to look at the positive because you could say "oh, our schedule is tough at the beginning because there's a lot of away games," but I think the best way for teams to gel is to be on the road. Now, when you're finished practice and you're going out somewhere, your doing it with each other. You get to know guys a lot better because you're not going home and not seeing them again until the next day at practice.

I like the fact that our schedule is tough early because I think we're going to surprise people and people won't know what to expect from us. You can't take a report from last year and go "these are the Raptors," because there are only three of them that are. The different things we do with our personnel, that's going to make it tough, so we may surprise some teams early. That, and the road trips are going to be the time for us to bond and come together early.

TC: Given how strong you feel the five-man rotation behind the starters is, is there an opportunity for a guy outside that group, like a Quincy Douby, to earn his way into the rotation, or would that take an injury to happen?

JT: No, but when they start thinking like that, that's where they're gonna stay. Quincy's been working so hard that he thinks he's going to be our Eddie House-type off of the bench that gives us a boost when things aren't going well, and I like that. We're going to have our group that comes into the game that are going to be our energy guys, and hopefully those guys are going to play, but if those guys don't play that way in practice then their back-ups are going to be who plays. I've found in coaching that it's the quality of those guys, the ones who bust their ass every day in practice trying to get to that second string, that make your team, because now the second guys have to bust their ass to not lose their spot and in doing that they make our starters compete on a daily basis.

I joked with Chris this morning downstairs, I said "I don't know if you guys are going to be able to score against our second unit, that's where all of our good defensive players are."
He said, "who's gonna guard me?"

I said "Reggie's gonna lock you up."

He said "I'm gonna take him down low."

I said "He won't let you get low."

I mean, we just got into it. I can see the score at the end of ten-minute scrimmages being zero-zero because they're not going to be able to score and they're not going to let you score. That's what will define our team, how hard those guys push each other. I can't wait for it to get started.

TC: Was it intentional to build your coaching staff with one guard [Alvin Williams], one wing [Alex English] and one big [Marc Iavaroni]? Will those guys be primarily responsible for teaching those positions? How mutable is that?

JT: It wasn't planned that way, and I don't know if it would be that way all season because I think that they all have too much knowledge. I mean, Alvin, yes, I'll stick him with the guards because he's played the position, he knows it better than anybody. Marc, it's the same. Alex, he's scored so many points as a forward - these guys have more experience at teaching those guys one-on-one at those positions, but they shouldn't be afraid to talk to other guys. It wasn't done by design but I love the way it's played out.

TC: How much leeway do you give them as a head coach?

JT: That's a good question, because a lot of head coaches are "I'm the only voice," but I've never done it that way. As an assistant, when I knew I was going to have something to say in practice and a part of practice was going to be mine, or the scouting report was going to be mine, I worked so hard. I made sure I was prepared. You don't want to go in front of those players and be unprepared or disorganized or not know what you're talking about because players will pick up on it. Players are smarter than you think, and if you know about something as coaches, the players already knew it. If you insult them in any way by not being prepared or ready for something, they eat you up, and that's when you lose the respect of the player.

I give my staff a lot. As an assistant I loved it when I had responsibility, when I worked that hard, and I want my guys to feel the same. I want them to be dedicated to it and I feel that you are more dedicated to it when you have more input. I've always coached that way.

TC: People keep talking about Marc Iavaroni as a Tom Thibodeau [the Celtics' defensive guru] for the Raptors. Will he be tasked solely with designing the defense, or is it more collaborative than that?

JT: No, it's going to be collaborative. The good thing is that he, Micah, Alvin and I were all here when Kevin O'Neill was here [Marc actually worked with O'Neill in Memphis], and while it's not Kevin O'Neill's system, it is a system that he ran here and we've all seen it and we're all familiar with it. We agree as coaches that it's probably one of the better ones that we've seen. That's what the defensive schemes that we put together are going to be.

TC: What kind of defensive compensations do you have to make, especially with a starting line-up that is not strong defensively, to help keep the scores close before you shuffle in the defensive players on the second unit?

JT: Well, the one thing we are going to do this year is make our defense a system. It's not going to be about you and me, we're going to be very systematic, just like when we run an offense. There's not going to be a lot of questions or time to think about "what am I supposed to do on this?" We're going to keep it simple. We're going to have to make adjustments to it as we play in different games, but we're all on the same side about the scheme that we're going to play. And that will benefit our guys that maybe aren't excellent defenders because they'll know where their help is coming from and where to force their guy – we're going to keep it as simple as possible.

TC: Do you see your rotation as nebulous enough that if you're getting killed, say, by an athletic four that you'll put in Amir Johnson over Reggie Evans to try an matchup better?

JT: Absolutely. You read that as a coach. I don't go into a game saying, "you're going to be the sub no matter what." I'll go into a game and see a matchup that I don't like, I'll send Amir in to be the big that takes away Rasheed Wallace. Or, say Nick Collison is killing us on the glass, I'll say to Reggie, "get in there and keep him off the glass. Outrebound him, outwork him." You play matchups as much as you play your own system. It's not very scientific as to who's going to play, who's going to be on the floor; a lot of it is how well your guy plays and what they [the other team] do. If the Knicks come out and play three guards like they did late in the year, three guys that are six-feet tall, then we're going to have to put some smaller guys out there if we're not pounding them inside and beating them. We might have to get some smaller guys out there, like Douby, Jack and Jose at some point, so Douby gets thrown in the mix and maybe Patrick O'Bryant doesn't play for a few games because teams have gone small on us.

Every game is different. That's what makes it, as coaches, challenging and fun. We could go five games without playing Marco Belinelli, then you start thinking about how you have to get him into some games or else he's going to shut it down and he'll be lost for the year. Maybe you put him into a game where he shoots the ball well and he's right back into the rotation. It's tough.

TC: As a coach, is there ever a voice in the back of your mind that thinks you have to make this situation as accommodating as you can for Bosh to try and entice him to stay beyond this year?

JT: [pause] In the back of your mind maybe, but I think if you let it to come to the front of your mind, I think that's when you start losing what will really be the difference for him in the end, and that's this team being successful. If I do that, and he embarrasses himself or doesn't do well, and you're giving him all the shots, then it's not going to work. He's a good enough player that he's going to get rebounds and he's going to get buckets, but if you start to make changes to try and get him there you lose the rest of the team and that's when you start losing games. That's what's going to determine whether he stays or not, how successful this team is going to be. That's my opinion. I don't know, maybe he's already decided he wants to go somewhere, maybe he's already decided he wants to stay, but I think that he likes the way that this thing is going, with the group of players we've brought in and the future where it's going to be and we've just got to make that it goes that way.

TC: What's your baseline for success this year?

JT: I don't have a number, but we have to make the Playoffs. In my mind we have to. I'm too competitive. You have to make the Playoffs and then you have to make a run because so much can happen in the Playoffs, you get a bad matchup or whatever, but we've got to make the Playoffs and we've got to make a run.

TC: Well, thank you very much.

JT: Thank you, man.
I just read it a while ago, good interview.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I think he expands on a lot beyond what went on last season. I really like how he's looking at the team. He's said much of it before, but to see it all presented so coherently together is very reassuring.

It sounds like Wright will be playing more at the 3, and Jack getting added minutes at the 2.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:19 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think he expands on a lot beyond what went on last season. I really like how he's looking at the team. He's said much of it before, but to see it all presented so coherently together is very reassuring.

It sounds like Wright will be playing more at the 3, and Jack getting added minutes at the 2.
Yeah, the SG rotation will probably be (going by what he said):

Derozan- 16MPG (according to Jay-starting)
Belinelli- 18-20MPG (roughly)
Jack/Wright- 12-14MPG

Outside looking in: Weems, Douby

I'm in favor of this actually.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We could go five games without playing Marco Belinelli
Jeff goes into cardiac arrest...
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Jeff goes into cardiac arrest...
lol I'm not worried about him not playing.
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Old 08-26-2009, 11:14 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Gee so maybe there's some hope for Triano after all?

Go figure....
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Old 08-27-2009, 06:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Reading everything as a whole, I can see that he's really absorbed a lot from all the previous coaches he's worked under. I think that could be a very good thing. The main thing is that he stays on top of everything proactively, and not just chasing his tail reactively. And in this interview, for the first time really, I get the sense that he can manage to do that for the most part.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:13 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Part 2: Tim Chisholm: Sitting down with Triano 1 on 1

Following on from yesterday. Chisholm did an excellent job - partly b/c Triano was so candid (and correct) in his assessment of what need to be done.

Chisholm: Sitting down with Raptors coach Triano, part 2

A few excerpts:
Quote:
I think with Jermaine, we got so caught up in trying to make him look good so we could trade him that it compromised the effectiveness of our team.
Quote:
I have a good relationship with Chris, and I had a good one with Nash when I coached him. You've got to be able to say "I'm coming after you in practice today because you were horse s*** yesterday." You know, you just give them a little bit of warning. It's not something that you do every day so that makes them feel "oh s***, okay". I give it to everybody else, so I've got to give it to the best player, too.
Quote:
I think, and I'm trying to look at the positive because you could say "oh, our schedule is tough at the beginning because there's a lot of away games," but I think the best way for teams to gel is to be on the road.
Quote:
I've found in coaching that it's the quality of those guys, the ones who bust their ass every day in practice trying to get to that second string, that make your team, because now the second guys have to bust their ass to not lose their spot and in doing that they make our starters compete on a daily basis.
Quote:
I joked with Chris this morning downstairs, I said "I don't know if you guys are going to be able to score against our second unit, that's where all of our good defensive players are."
He said, "who's gonna guard me?"

I said "Reggie's gonna lock you up."

He said "I'm gonna take him down low."

I said "He won't let you get low."
Quote:
That's what will define our team, how hard those guys push each other. I can't wait for it to get started.
Quote:
Well, the one thing we are going to do this year is make our defense a system. It's not going to be about you and me, we're going to be very systematic, just like when we run an offense.
Enjoy.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:34 AM   #20 (permalink)
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That's why we're just gonna roll CB down, with shooters all around him, and he's going to have a chance to go right to the basket.
There's a big difference between the pick that D12 sets and the wet noodle screen of CB4. Chris is going to have to set more solid screens then in the past for this kind of thing to be effective. If the reports of him packing on some muscle this summer are accurate then maybe that won't be an issue.

Quote:
I said "Reggie's gonna lock you up."

He said "I'm gonna take him down low."

I said "He won't let you get low."


At least Bosh is talking tough. That's an encouraging sign. This could really be the year he puts it together from a leadership perspective.
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