And so begins a big, busy week
Join us at noon today for a live Q&A with Doug Smith, as the Raptors prepare to take on the Washington Wizards.
Four games in five nights, three of them on the road and all against Eastern Conference foes.
Big week indeed.
A split? That’d be a borderline disappointment. Running the table? Yeah, right.
Going 3-1? That’s about what’s needed, actually.
Oh yeah, one other thing. Let's move the game-day chat to noon today, if that's all right with everyone? We're still trying to find the optimum time for all concerned.
The first reaction of a coach is to protect his own and there was Jay, doing it in spades yesterday afternoon.
“I can’t blame it on players for not being able to guard, I have to find the strengths and weaknesses of each guy and figure out how much I have to play them.”
He’s right, of course. One of the biggest and most important jobs of any coach is to put his players in the best possible situation to succeed, offensively and defensively.
If that means devising a system where they, say, switch all screen and rolls or double-team automatically in the post, so be it.
But it’s also an age-old method of deflect attention, and criticism, from the players and while it may play well in the media, it’s not going to fool anybody who wears a uniform.
They know. They know what they can and cannot do, they know what teammates can and cannot do. They are quite hard to bluff.
Look, the simple fact is this team doesn’t have a lot of great individual defenders and if anyone thought they did, they apparently hadn’t been watching.
Jay and his staff have decided that it’s not a bad idea to junk up a game every now and then, switch on screens a few times, show a few times, play a handful of possessions in a zone (usually after timeouts when opponents have likely called a play set up to work against man defence); anything to gain even a slight edge for a little time.
Maybe that works for a little while but it seems to me that clouding the issue with a variety of defensive schemes runs counter to finding one that works and learning.
On the other hand, maybe there simply isn’t one that works well enough and you gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
So much for altering any lineup or rotation.
The feeling around the lads yesterday was that nothing’s afoot for tonight of the foreseeable future, although coaches always reserve the right to keep quiet about these thing until the very last minute.
And at least one player – Chris Bosh -- has, publicly, no appetite for it.
“Change doesn’t always equal success. I think the only change we can do right now is in the way we play and that’s really it. It has to come from within right now.”
Then he dropped a little history on us, while also making the case that it’s still quite early in the season, which in fact it is.
“The results are going to come, that’s how we have to take it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. There, that’s a little bit of knowledge for everybody. Or 18 games.”
Speaking of teams not living up to expectations, we give you tonight’s visitors, the 5-10 Washington Wizards.
You know how they’re “recognizing” a bunch of Raptors from the past as part of this “celebration” of 15 years of mainly mediocrity, as if 15 is some significant milestone?
Well, why not go all out and do it every game?
Find someone obscure for whatever opponent is in on whatever night and “celebrate” them.
I can see it tonight:
A litany of Mike James jump shots in a 20-second video clip.
Or perhaps a retrospective of the half hour that Antawn Jamison spent as a Raptor.
You know, something to get the fans all excited.
I read that it seems to be a fait accompli that Allen Iverson’s going to go back to Philly.
It’s a move that smacks of marketing triumphing over common basketball sense and I cannot for a second think it’s going to work.
Is he going to really help the team accomplish something on the court that it wouldn’t otherwise have achieved? Do you think Andre Iguodala is going to have the ball often enough? I wonder if Jrue Holiday develops as quickly playing spectator rather than point guard? Think Allen Iverson’s going to walk the ball up and throw it into the post to Elton Brand? You think when Lou Williams gets back that Iverson will cede his spot to him?
No, this, to me, is more about selling tickets and creating a buzz than it has anything to do with basketball. The Sixers are second-last in home attendance, drawing 11,412 per game and just edging out the woeful New Jersey Nets for 30th. There’s the reason.
Iverson’s best role right now, without a doubt in my mind, is getting it through his head that he could be a valuable backup on a good team and if he truly cared about winning, he’d have already searched out a solid franchise and offered his services as a sub.
Like, say, Boston.
Tough night with no DWTS and only a late NBA game I really had no interest in. (Although I did watch a bit of Indy-Golden State and let’s just say that’s a game where passing was at a premium).
But the big gridiron game now makes me a New Orleans Saints fan, at least for now. The dude Brees is pretty darn good and it was fun to watch him shred Dour Bill and his boys.
I will give them credit for putting in the time.
The Raps really didn’t work all that long yesterday – slightly under the usual time what with four games in five nights ahead of them – but long, long after everyone else had left the practice court, Jarrett Jack and Marco Belinelli were out there working on their shooting.
No idea if it’ll pay off but they were getting some extra work in.