Some Joey, some Shawn, some Marcus, and some other stuff
This really getting a bit tedious, isn’t it?
They play, they lose, nothing happens that we haven’t seen too many times before (lack of energy? Check. Lack of rebounding? Check. No third scoring option? Check. Scary ugly defence? Check, check, check) so what’s a guy to do?
Well, plumb the recesses of the brain to come up with marginally interesting topics of discussion. And work on those goofy top five lists to generate some, um, discussion.
And today, this is what those recesses of the brain came up with (and if you think it’s easy, you don’t know my brain):
|DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR|
|Joey Graham has been one of the few positives this year.|
I can’t remember who and I can’t remember why (creeping senility, I say) but someone last night during the game asked about Marion and Graham and I suggested you could make the case for Joey over Shawn, so I will.
You can say Graham’s at least Marion’s match in athleticism (he’s a far superior physical specimen, the only thing he doesn’t have is that spectacular second jump of Marion’s) and in quickness and explosiveness, the worst it is is a tie.
Marion’s got a better nose for the basketball and an ability to track down rebounds that Graham only wishes he had.
Both are equally adept finishing on the break and if you really think about it, isn’t Graham a better ball handler? Sure, he handles it too long on too many possessions but he’s got a knack for getting by his man on the baseline and creating space in the mid-range area.
Defensively? You’ve got to give the edge to Marion. I’ve seen Graham beaten back door so many times, it’s not even funny. Fixable? Probably.
Shooting? Well, I don’t think there’s a question of who’s got the better mid-range game.
Now, all that said, I’m still not convinced that Joey’s a starter on a good team in the NBA and Shawn’s been, what, a four-time all-star and been through some huge, huge games in which he’s had a major impact.
The point? Not sure there is one except that those two are much closer together in skill level than many would think at first blush.
Action: Yeah, like there was any last night.
Reaction: 65 down, 17 to go.
That’s about all I’ve got off that one, folks.
Maybe there is one:
Action: Bargnani’s big start
Reaction: And a so-so finish
Eleven points in the first quarter, 10 the rest of the way sort of sums it up for the kid too many nights, doesn’t it?
And if you’re trying to ascribe blame, there isn’t one single culprit.
Teams like Utah – you know, good teams – stick to him like glue after he gets off to a hot start; it was more the Jazz than the Raptors on Sunday afternoon who got him stopped.
There are times he stops himself, either by getting in foul trouble and having to sit down because he’s a rhythm guy like few I’ve seen and after going cold, it takes a while for him to heat up.
And, yes, some of it’s on his coaches and teammates. There aren’t a lot of specific plays set up for him, a pick and pop with the point guard is the bread and butter but until someone gets a summer and a training camp to figure out other ways to use his skills, that’s going to be about it. There’s been far too little practice time since December to revamp sets to get him more looks in different places.
A question off the game, sort of:
Q: Last night towards the end of the blog you responded to a question about BB IQ. I would agree Kapono has a high basketball IQ, but only off the ball. He sets great screens and moves to open space. If you give him the ball he seems to have no idea of what to do. It's the same on defense for him. He helps well but is clueless or athletically overmatched all the time. Your thoughts?
Kevin M, Maple
A: I see your point and it’s obvious that he’s physically over-matched at times but some of what you point out goes to his level of intelligence.
The offence? Well, that’s an issue, I think he sees himself as more of a slasher than he is, maybe because he sees space he thinks he can fill but his release is so quick, he’s got to think “shoot it” as soon as he catches it. I’m sure the coaches have pointed this out but when it’s the rush of the game, he seems to go blank on that point at times.
Defensively, a coach once told me this:
“If you tell Jason not to let his guy go left, he won’t let him go left. He might get beaten right like a rented mule all night, but the guy’s not going left.”
Now, if instances like that, the correct help is on the right, he’s not nearly as bad as many think. Trouble is, here it seldom is.
Oh yeah, in Philly, they got up this morning to read this.
The Not So Curious Case Of Marcus Banks
I’ve had a few, um, friends, suggest the Raptors are missing out somehow by not playing Marcus Banks an awful lot to see what they’ve got.
Well, here’s why:
You’re going to have a new starting two-guard next year and it’s not going to be Banks and there’s no way in the world he’s a starting point guard on even an average team.
And, if you caught the few minutes he got last night and the horrific airball he put up at home the other day, playing him to “showcase” him so teams might sniff around a trade this summer is not the wisest of choices.
No, what you do is try to include him in a summer transaction as cap ballast (“You want Bosh, you take Banks and Kapono”) or you hope that by the time you need him for a few minutes in a couple of games next year, he can get the job done.
Here’s a question.
Next time these guys win – and it has to be someday soon, doesn’t it? – when I run the story for the paper in the other city, it’s going to be something like:
‘OHMYGAWD, They Lost To The Raptors!!!!’
Yes, folks, it’s come to that.
Q: What's the difference between an unrestricted and a restricted free agent? Thanks.
Chili S, Toronto
A: Teams have the right to match any offer a restricted free agent gets on the market.
Just read that Galen Weston’s worth has dropped from $7 billion to $5 billion.
That tells me either (a) those omnipresent television commercials really do blow, or (b) a whole lot TSN2 viewers who can’t see them are Loblaw’s shoppers missing out.