Still some issues to be resolved
One more in the bag and we’re that much closer to getting stuff started for real and I can’t wait. I know pre-season is for trying different things but, yeesh, it seems to drag forever, doesn’t it?
Still, there are things …
Yes, three pointers
Totally a small sample size but for a team that vowed to take, and hopefully make, more three-pointers this season, that’s a sorely lacking part of the repertoire at the moment.
Shooting 27 per cent from behind the arc collectively through five games – 26-for-95 all told, fewer than 20 attempts per game – certainly doesn’t tie into Dwane Casey’s plan.
Yes, the absence of Steve Novak has been a huge part of that – his hand kept him out of last night’s game – and DeMar DeRozan’s tour de force as a post-up player is another contributing factor but, still, they probably need to take – and make – more if they want to be as effective as they can be offensively.
That’s not analytics talking, either. It’s common basketball sense because if they space the floor with three-point shooters, it’s going to create more space for Valanciunas, DeRozan and Gay to get to the basket.
That’d be something to look for in the final three games.
Speaking of …
One of the failings of the bench group that’s eventually going to evolve is a distinct lack of long-range shooting – and scoring overall.
Novak will help, and I still think he’s got to beat out Austin Daye for a spot in that group, and perhaps Terrence Ross becomes more consistently effective as a shooter but I’m dubious.
I can see Dwane needing to be sure that two of DeRozan, Gay and Valanciunas are on the court pretty much every minute of the game because scoring is definitely going to be an issue when he starts making substitutions.
Maybe Augustin, who seems to be struggling a little bit getting totally comfortable, becomes the drive-and-kick point guard he’s been in the past but the issue is going to be if he drives, who does he kick it to?
A night off
Figured there’d be one night when Dwane gave almost all his starters off but I figured it’d be on the road and not at home.
But with three games still to go and issues trying to figure out which of the backups needs to play more, holding Johnson Gay and Lowry to a quarter, DeMar to just about 13 minutes while running Valanciunas out for a longer period to get him some work made sense.
There’s not a lot of mystery about what those guys can do, there is a lot mystery elsewhere but I would imagine the next three games are going to be pretty normal for the starters.
How’d the resting players like it?
DeMar was sitting at his locker after the game, called him a slacker for playing so little, he looks up and says:
“I never knew an NBA game was so long.”
The rest of the story?
Yes, Mr. Harvey, we’d like to hear it.
Keep hearing this and it’s not bad, is it?
I hear the pucks are off to a good start?
Should I start paying attention? Learning about the game? Trying of figure out who’s on the team?
I’m not sure I have enough time in the day to real all the minutia that clutters up the newspapers and websites but I probably need to make some, don’t I?
But, seriously, doesn’t it seem like we’re getting to critical mass stage with this team awfully early? Won’t it make the inevitable crash harder to handle?
For now, though, it’s all them, all time, isn’t it?
Here’s Murph’s take on Kelly Olynyk from the Herald, where he gets him to open up about many things Toronto and Canada.
Don’t forget, we’re here at noon for an hour or so with the weekly Question and Answer thing and if you can’t make it because you’re taking a course or doing something equally important, don’t forget to get in the mailbag by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You know we love to hear from you.
Been too busy and somehow missed this but Munch is leaving!
One of the all-time cool TV characters is leaving the Law and Order family?
I have Richard Belzer right near the top of the franchise’s all-time great – Lenny Briscoe tops the list by a mile and I don’t think there’s much argument there. I’d have Adam Schiff in the top three, too, just something crusty and likeable about him but that’s a discussion for another day.
But Munch, going back to the brilliant Homicide: Life On Street show that ended way to early (that’s where I first developed my enduring fascination with Melissa Leo), has been outstanding. But I know when Belzer was better and, yes, we have a story.
The old Oak Room at The Plaza in New York is/was/will forever be one of the great hotel bars of all time and back in the day when Butch was coaching, the team would stay there and we’d always meet at the end of the night for a foot-long cigar and some stories (yes, it was that long ago, you could smoke cigars inside).
And we’d see some stars – and some other interesting working people – and one night who comes walking in but Richard Belzer.
Now, remember, this is a long time ago, Super Son was just a wee tot and as Belzer’s getting accolades and hellos across the room – I remember him being quite friendly and nice – I kind of nod and say:
“Hey, you were great in Elmopaloooza!”
He looked at like I had three heads for a second and then laughed and said thanks.
And I don’t imagine any of you has ever seen Elmopalooza but it was a classic!