TSN: Can Bosh & Jose Carry the Raptors?
Old 10-21-2008, 11:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default TSN: Can Bosh & Jose Carry the Raptors?

Today's TSN Roundtable question is: This team clearly belongs to Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon. What do you expect from them this season and what do the Raptors need from them to take the next step?


Originally Posted by TSN.ca
ARMSTRONG: Bosh -- major impact. I love his maturity and vocal leadership. He plays hard all the time. Bosh can score inside and out. He's quick, makes his free throws, gets to the rim on the drive, rebounds and makes occasional blocks. Bosh is an energetic and aware defender. He's a winner in every respect and keeps getting better. I truly enjoyed watching his development as a player.

Calderon -- team guy all the way. He makes others better. Calderon shows crafty changes of speed and has excellent court savvy. And he shoots it -- very good on the screen and roll. Calderon will handle the extra minutes okay. Jermaine O'Neal will love playing with this guy. His defense, though, needs to get a lot better. He has to contain folks better.

SMITH: I don't think anyone expects much more from Bosh and Calderon than they've already provided. Bosh comes in healthier than he's been to start a season in about three years and his defensive intensity seems to have picked up a bit; that's where his improvement will have to come from. Calderon is expected to continue the growth pattern he's shown over the last three seasons, improve his defence, continue to make smart decisions with the ball and satisfy the offensive needs of his two big men.

KOREEN: Bosh's defence at the Olympics was certainly spectacular, but those hoping to see it translate to an 82-game regular season should focus on something else. With the offensive load Bosh carries with the Raptors, it would be unwise of him to play with the aggression on pick-and-rolls that he did in Beijing. That was a two-week tournament in which he was playing between 20 and 25 minutes per game. He should play at least 36 minutes per game this year, and that sort of defensive intensity would completely wear him down. Still, Bosh might have the most versatile offensive game for any big man in the league, and his defence, with the security blanket of O'Neal behind him, should improve. That being said, no judgments about Bosh can be made until the playoffs. Only then will the Raptors be able to tell if he can be the best player on a championship-calibre team. (It should be noted that he averaged 24 points and nine rebounds in the playoff loss to Orlando last year. The defeat was not his fault.)

As for Calderon, first and foremost, I do not expect him to have the same eye-popping assist-to-turnover ratio that he had last year. More minutes will lead to more turnovers. The key is withstanding the increased workload. His shooting percentage dipped near the end of the season last year, an indication of fatigue. Since then, he played for Spain in the Olympics, not giving him much rest. Still, throughout his NBA career, Calderon has found a way to adapt. If he plays 35 minutes per night, 13 points and nine assists sounds reasonable, with a shooting percentage still hovering around 50 per cent.

CHISHOLM: First and foremost Bosh has to learn how to play alongside O'Neal. For the two of them to tap into the potential of their pairing Bosh has to learn how to play at an even higher level without the ball in his hands on offense. There are going to be a lot of scenarios this season where spaces on the floor will open up for him as a result of having O'Neal out there, and Bosh has to increase his awareness of where those spots are going to be and how to find himself in them.

Conversely, he has to be ready to draw those same defenses away from O'Neal and make sure he finds him in those situations. Bosh has at times struggled on offense without the ball in his hands - mostly in moving without the ball to find offensive opportunities that don't involve the pick and roll - and that can't happen this year if he and O'Neal are to mesh as post scorers. He showed great development to this end during the Olympics, especially compared to the World Championships two years ago where he struggled to find his niche amongst LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and so hopefully for the Raptors some of that development can translate to the NBA this year.

For Calderon the only real hope and expectation is more of the same. He proved more than capable of leading this team during T.J. Ford's absence last season and he was rewarded accordingly with a fat contract and the starting job. He plays a highly controlled and efficient style and the fact that the team already knows what they can expect from him (and is comfortable with that) is one of the biggest reasons he was so eagerly retained. With so many question marks surrounding this team this season the best Calderon could do for the Raptors is be exactly the player the team already knows he can be. although a little more defense would be welcomed, so long as we're just throwing stuff out there.
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