Waiting and wondering which group shows up
|Join Doug Smith for a live Q&A today at 1 p.m., as the Raptors prepare to take on the Boston Celtics.|
This not being on the road and missing games and not being around, frankly, gets old in a hurry.
Luckily, back to the arena and the usual schedule tomorrow.
Until then …
So, Jay gets to 82 games tonight as a head coach and as Dave pointed out in his column today, he’s got almost the same record over that period as Sam did over his.
Now, that’s a wee bit of apples and oranges – I don’t think it’s entirely fair to compare 65 games as an interim guy one year and 17 the next with a full season starting from scratch – but it does lend itself to discussion of what Triano’s done this year.
Good or bad?
On the whole, I’d say okay.
Yes, there are problems with the team’s defence – as if that’s a huge surprise given the lack of a true stopper anywhere on the roster – but the one thing that will kill coaches quicker than anything with players is a sense of panic or constant change and I will give Jay credit for steadfastly maintaining he’s not making dramatic change to his system and that the players have to play it better.
Maybe that ends up being a fatal flaw but maybe, eventually, they get it and improve. Maybe not, but I’d rather have a coach with the courage of his conviction rather than someone wishy-washy who changes with the wind.
Are they worse defensively than even I thought? Hell yeah. But it’s the little things, like hustling back on defence, missing box-outs, slow rotations, mindlessly running into screens rather than fighting over them that’s the reason. And that is on the players.
Other than that, what’s Jay done this year?
Well, we’ve seen him make solid in-game adjustments – Chicago on Rose, Clippers on Kaman – that have put his players in position to win.
His stuff out of timeouts and quarter breaks is good, I’d dare more consistently creative than the last guy. And, again, it can be the greatest play call in the history of play calls but if someone misses an open shot or forgets an assignment, the fault doesn’t lie with the coach.
The rotations? Well, I’m not a huge fan of Jose and Jarrett on the court at the same time for lengthy periods but you have to admit it’s worked at times.
I think there needs to be an expanded role for Belinelli and perhaps a diminished one for Wright, who’s struggling at both ends of the floor – but I think he’s using Johnson in precisely the right way.
As I’ve perhaps mentioned, I truly believe coaches get too much blame when things go wrong and too much credit when things to go right.
And, on the whole, I think he’s done a good job. Not great. Not horrible. Good.
I’ve been home and watched a bit of TV over the last couple of days and I will say this: I will gladly pay $10 a month if they get those spectacularly annoying TV tax commercials off the air.
In Boston, there have been some concerns about slippage with the Celtics – Paul Pierce called them a “work in progress” recently – and here’s today’s offering from the Globe.
The one thing I’ll be most interested in tonight is the level of “energy” with which the Raptors play.
They’ve paid all kinds of lip service all season to playing hard and playing smart and being aggressive and coming the debacle in Charlotte gives them a perfect opportunity to put some action behind the words.
It’s difficult to measure “energy” but getting after loose balls and hustling back on defence are two of the prime examples.
Watch to see how they make out.
Speaking of Boston, they’ve got a double-header in whatever the call the Garden today, Bruins-Jersey at noon and Celtics-Raptors at 7:30 p.m., and I actually sat through one of those one year, for some reason covering Habs-Bruins in the afternoon before a Raptor game at night.
True story: We’re in the Bruins dressing room after the game and I don’t know one guy from the next so I’m floating from scrum to scrum trying to get a good quote or two to build into a story I’m sure is going to suck.
There’s apparently a very popular player surrounded by cameras and writers and I can’t even see him as I stick my tape recorder over someone’s head.
The guy’s going on about how good the Bruins are when they put three “big” guys out there, how much trouble it causes when the “big guys” are on the ice.
Now, I’m kind of snickering listening to this guy because my idea of “bigs” is like 6-10 or maybe 7-0, maybe taller.
When the scrum’s over, I figure out the guy I was listening to was Joe Thornton, who’s all of 6-4.
Big? I giggle.
And then go write the world’s most average hockey game story ever.
Christmas cometh – I know this because I watched two lasses decorate a lounge last evening while attending a Mighty Yankees Dads And Coaches First Of Many Off-season Socials – and that means some kids need some help.
And what better way to help than to make a donation to the Jim Proudfoot Corner of the Star’s Santa Fund.
Click here if you can spare any extra cash and really help out.
We appreciate it.
Back to the people at hand – the Raptors – and it’s amazing to me how many calls there’ve been for some kind of change to the team’s starting lineup.
Take Jose out. Move DeRozan. Demote Bargnani.
The only two who escape, it seems, are Turkoglu and Bosh and I’m not sure why since there seems to be a huge panic in the streets thing going on these days.
Well, the last time was asked Jay about change was a week ago and he was emphatic there wouldn’t be.
And he’s right.
I don’t think it makes any sense right now to fiddle with something like the starting five on a team that’s 7-9 and done enough good not to get buried in either the conference or the division.
Now 7-9 is not great and it’s not horrible. It was, pretty much, precisely where I expected them to be about now. The starters are okay, which again is what was expected, not great, not horrible.
I’m not sure what changing would do. I think everyone likes the production the Raptors are getting from the subs most nights, no sense tinkering with that. And there’s no reason to think making change will alter what this team is right now: About average and headed for the middle tier of the East.
They are not great, but they are not the Nets. Or even the Knicks. Or even the Sixers or the Wizards at the moment. They are what they are.
What’s up today, you ask?
How about the traditional game-day chat at 1 p.m. Eastern time, I think the technical difficulties that took GruntTV off the air the other day are fixed and then the in-game fun and frivolity at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time.
There, you can plan your entire day now.