Beware the case of diminishing pre-season returns
But the part about them only having a week for training camp would be met with cheers and huzzahs and hoorays and whatever else you have.
We’re just over halfway through the interminable NBA pretend season – first game of Raptors regular season is two weeks from last night – and I would be if you asked every connected with the team from coaches to players to management, if they were totally and completely honest, they’d tell you it’s time to get started for real.
As Dwane said the other day, the players are tired of the coaches, the coaches are tired of the players, the players are tired of each other and I wonder, really, how much good work is actually being done every day.
There has to be a staleness to the practices and I know there’s a staleness to parts of every game because everyone’s going over the same thing with no new challenge ahead of them.
Players, and coaches, love to have something to look forward to in the immediate future like the next game or the next trip or the next time something’s really on the line.
Now the sense of humdrum is palpable. I don’t know how many people shook their heads and agreed when I mentioned the pre-season is two weeks too long when we’ve been exchanging pleasantries these days. Everyone knows it, everyone says it in private conversation, the pre-season is at least two and probably four games too long. Take into account the two weeks or so of “informal” workouts before camp even began and you’re looking at six weeks of getting ready.
And I wonder how much good work is actually being done in practice, too. Yes, they need to work on specific sets and defensive systems but when you’re going against the same guys day after day after day after day, concentration has to wane.
The thing about practices in the season is that they are infrequent enough that they can sort of be “fresh” because they provide a respite, and a few teaching moments, from the grind of the games.
Now they are the same old, same old. And with a drawn out pre-season – the Raptors will have three stretches of four days between games and one three-day rest – it’s almost too much time in the gym.
So be excited, my pucks friends, if they do cut things to a week before they get going. The alternative is a bit worse.
I just wanted to announce that I’ve severed all ties with Lance Armstrong, too.
Take that, Lance!
After four games I’m still not sure what Landry Fields is going to give the Raptors on a regular basis but if it’s close to what they got in spurts last night, it’s going to be okay.
It wasn’t particularly flashy by any stretch of the imagination but it was a solid professional effort that added to the overall performances. A couple of solid off-the-ball cuts for easy layups, a couple of fast-break finishes and a vital contribution.
Dwane noticed, too.
I thought he did an excellent job running the floor, back-cutting, moving without the ball, we were going to DeMar in the post but his movement on the weak side created havoc and took out their help.
Those things you can’t teach, those are instinctive plays. We have ‘em in but a lot of times guys freeze over there and get like a magnet on the three point line. He did a great job of cutting and moving without the ball.
Now, we all know a dynamic three was on top of the summer shopping list but the hole didn’t get filled. No sense whining about it now, things are what they are and maybe that’s a spot that’s going to be quietly efficient rather than overtly exciting.
Missing some familiar names over there this week along with the kind of missives that make me sit up and take notice.
I need a joint with good TVs near the Marriott in downtown Montreal to watch some baseball early this evening, please. Maybe a joint with good bar food to sate the early appetite and maybe somewhere with a variety of taps to pull from. Oh, and somewhere not inundated with Rush fans, please.
Porter-willing, I land just before opening tip of the ALCS and I do think I’d like to sit and watch the Evil Empire get its just rewards.
Okay, two smallish guards at the same time. How’d you like the 11 minutes or so of a backcourt rotation of Lowry, Calderon and Lucas?
Looked okay to me, actually. Don’t see it working all the time – it’s going to depend on the size of the opponents most nights – but there are merits to it. Another ball handler to play on the weak side, a handful of good shooters and I guess the one drawback is that it might cut a bit into the minutes for DeRozan and he’s looked pretty good so far this pre-season.