So I was asked to do a quick write up about the Raptors front court for our friends over at Bleacher Reports (definitely go and check it out, should be up on Tuesday). While I was musing about the potential impact of JO on CB4 and Andrea, my brain went on a total tangent about the overall Raptor offensive philosophy.
After watching the Raptors in the pre-season, I am very confident about their upcoming defensive prowess. However, I am also very concerned about their disjointed play on offense. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that Sam Mitchell needs to make a couple of adjustments, that in my opinion would let the Raptors offense operate at full throttle. Basically, I think the Raptors should mimic the New Orleans Hornets' offensive scheme. Now before all of you laugh at me and try to dunk my head in the toilet and flush, let me explain.
First my entire theory is based on the premise that Jose, on offense, is able to put the same kind of pressure on a defense that Chris Paul does, but not to the same extent because Paul has a flashier handle and is much quicker into the hole. Jose, like CP3, is able to pull up, drive to the hoop, or throw up very pretty lobs to the screener off every pick and roll that he runs. This triple threat that the PG presents is the essence of the Hornets' "playground" philosophy. I know the what you guys are thinking, thanks Doug Smith, but the entire offense already runs through Jose, got something a little more insightful?
Well actually yes, and this is the crux of my entire offensive design. The Raptors need to start running a lot of back screen action along the baseline for Joey or Jamario to compliment that Jose-Bosh pick and roll. If they can get that kind of movement in their offense it will make them an elite scoring team. Putting JO on the low block as the back screener forces the defense to make a decision every time Jamario or Joey makes a cut. The opposition has to decide whether they should switch or try to fight through the screen. At this point 2 very positive things can happen:
1) On the Switch, JO is guarded by a much smaller player that the Raps can exploit (while having Joey or Moon crash the offensive glass, if the big man decides to help).
2) The defense decides to fight through the screen, and Joey or Moon has an open alley oop, if their man gets caught up, OR they are left unmolested underneath the hoop where they can dunk with abandon.
Of course, defenses will adjust, but with AP hanging around the 3 point line, there is only so much the other team can do without giving up a WIDE OPEN trey. Anyway, I like Sam's focus on defense this year, but he needs to spend some time coming up with a new offensive game plan. The current plan of AP/Joey/Moon hanging out in the corner while Jose and Bosh pick and roll at the top of the key is so played out that Mike Brown is laughing at us.
Let's just hope that Sam can make the Raptors offense sexy like Megan Fox this year. I have a feeling that if he can, there are big things in store for this Raptors team, but if it isn't, he better start polishing up his careerbuilder.com profile.