Thursday, November 4, 2010

All hail King Bargnani... errr maybe

I wanna talk a bit about the last 2 games from the Raptors season thus far. The first was against the Sacramento Kings and despite being up by as much as 16 pts. the Raps succumbed to their house of cards defense. The second game was against the Jazz where they were getting demolished for most of the game, came back strong only to run out of gas. This was the second game of their first west coast trip so I didn't expect much. Like I said before, I'll be satisfied if this team has a good showing and their guys start developing. Sure we're not winning and it's may seem stupid to argue otherwise but we're in a situation where, like it or not we're a rebuilding team so high draft picks and developing stars is perfect for the situation.

Several obvious points to talk about in this games were:

1. Andrea continuing to score
2. Reggie Evans continuing to be a beast on the boards
3. Demar continuing to be aggressive
4. Point Guards struggling

1. Andrea seems to be scoring very efficiently and with consistency now. Something we haven't seen from him in previous seasons. I know it's early still but he doesn't just ring off 3 straight 20+ performances all the time. He seems very comfortable out there on both end of the floor. He's not rebounding as much but I think we can all safely say that it's because a certain teammates been inhaling them all. He doesn't seem lost in the post, he seems to have decided what move he's making before he moves for the most part. His shot is on and he seems confident, very confident. I think he's taking this new role of The Man seriously and I think he may be getting a boost from the encouragement he's getting from Reggie. Of course I am only speculating but Reggie seems to be openly encouraging him on the floor and obviously from comments he's made to the media.

Teams seem to be respecting his shot and as usual the slower centers in the league, (so far) can't keep up with his pump fakes and leave him enough room due to the respect for his driving ability. He's cut out those horrible layup attempts where he usually, easily gets blocked right at the rim. He's showing a lot of arc on his shot which i noticed is a nice change from last season. He's got 2 moves that seem to be his favorites. First he has finally perfected a standard post up where he pushes his man in then turns towards the paint, (while protecting the ball) and either shoots over the top or tries a little hook. The main thing here that's new is that he's not getting it stripped from him cause he's going in strong and protecting the ball. He seems to be finding isolation and space on the floor a lot better.

Defensively he's still decent on a man to man basis. He seems slightly improved on the help defense situations but I'm not sure if he's not just being masked by Reggie's rebounding. Their next game against the Lakers will be a true test and I think Bargs is going to see double teams like crazy. He's scored 20 or more in 4 straight and I got a bad feeling that the streak comes to an end at the Staples Center.

2. Reggie is a beast. Imagine if he was healthy all of last season what kinds of performances he could have had. He ran out of gas against the Jazz but I think everyone was expecting he to tire out sooner rather than later. Could have done without him taunting the Kings but hey, if you got it flaunt it a bit. It sucks that he got them going but at the same time I don't 100% prescribe to always being a clean cut, quiet and reserve goody goody. He's going at it on both ends like a rabid dog on pork chop. Beating taller guys to the ball, knocking into other guys to get the ball, stealing boards right out of the hands of his own teammates. I say, if he gets his hands on it without fouling people then who cares. That's exactly the type of hustle that this team needs and that you wish was instilled at least a bit, into every player on the roster.

3. Demar's trying hard. He's gotten stronger, braver, and he's been working on his lane driving game. Our team was in need of a wing that isn't afraid to drive through the lane and get fouled or get points at the rim. Earlier he seemed to be overly aggressive and driving himself into double teams, triple teams and just situations where he ends up turning the ball over or getting an offensive foul. The last 2 games he been more methodical and has been very successful. He's also hitting more of his free throws which seems to be a team wide epidemic. He's shown that he's developing the skills needed to become a top tier wing man. He needs to hit his shots from the outside and mid range more consistently but his willingness to stick his nose in is a real positive change and I've really enjoyed watching it.

4. About the only negative besides the actual losses themselves, has been what's lacking at the point guard position. Where's the steady points? Where's the assists? I don't expect this to keep happening. I fully expect either Jose or Jarrett or both to come out of this and elevate their game. They might not be considered #1 PG's by most people but they ARE considered good, and highly capable. At times, they've both obviously shown they can be dangerous. This will not continue, I guaran-damn-tee it.

Another thing I'd like to talk about is the play of Linas, Leandro, and Sonny. All three have shown glimpses but all three have been inconsistent. There's nothing wrong with this. Linas and Leandro are both new and Sonny has much higher expectations than he's ever had in his short NBA career. They'll come around. Linas' consistency reminds me of Bargnani's from past seasons. I'm confident he'll bounce back. Leandro's been slowed by his wrist.

Amir... big disappointment so far. I am not sure he can play well enough to justify his pay cheque but so far he hasn't played well enough to justify Roko Ukic's pay cheque. I think he's a good bench player and paying his like a starter has been a mistake. It's not his fault. Someone gives you a zillion dollars, what would you do? Tell them no? Hellz no. It's Bryan's fault. I've been a supporter of him in the past and I still am but this particular signing I DO NOT agree with.

Other tidbits:

  • Triano's F-bomb was a slip obviously. But it doesn't stop me from giggling every time I watch it
  •  Marcus Banks is suddenly looking very good at least contract wise compared to Amir
  • I'm still excited to see what Ed Davis can do. Very stoopid move playing a pick up game but he's got a lot of upside and an up and coming team thrives on its first round picks. We're building on Demar, Andrea being our future. Davis could be a big part of that future.
  • BTW... like i said in the past, this Bargnani contract is looking better and better isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. BTW... like i said in the past, this Bargnani contract is looking better and better isn't it?
    I cannot agree more!