Thursday, November 13, 2008

Food for Thought: Owning Your Own Defense

An interesting statement by Jermaine last night got me thinking.......

Jermaaine O'Neal stated a very important point that the Raptors guards/small forwards should take to heart. He mentioned that the Raptors lost last night's game in large part because they just could not get a stop in the 4th quarter when they really needed one. He pointed out that the team was able to close it to 1 or 2 points several times, but just couldn't get over the hump by getting a stop. Importantly, he also mentioned that while on the road these kinds of games happen, it shouldn't be the case in your own gym, when the crowd is getting into it (since I was there, I can vouch for the crowd. It was sitting on its hands in the first half, but we were loud and into when the Raps made their runs).

Interestingly, he was fairly direct with his critque. He stated that at some point, every man on the Raptors needs to feel accountable for their defensive assignment. For the Raptors to become an excellent defensive team, he believes that the perimeter defenders have to defend like they are not going to get any help. I thought this was a pretty clear point that strikes right to the heart of the Raptors' defensive problems.

Since the Golden State game, the Raptors perimeter defense has sagged dramatically. Is this because they have gotten lazy and dependant on Bosh and JO to clean up their messes and missed assignments? Is this just their lack of athleticism showing? Is this because the coaching staff has put in a defensive scheme that doesn't put their players in a position to succeed? Is it a failure of the coach to get through to his players about playing defense with accountability?

Whatever the answer is, I go back to my point last night (with perspective from JO), if the Raptors don't commit totally to defense, and play with the reckless abandon shown by teams like Boston and Atlanta, then the Raptors are just running in place, and the future is indeed glum.

Comments are open, and I look forward to hear everyone's thoughts on this.......


Tex said...

OK, so I know you hate KG, but clearly you also have some reverence for the game he plays and the intensity he brings every night. The combo of he and assistant coach Tom Thibodeau have created a defensive monster in Beantown.

The reality is that he is the engine that drives their D, and no one on the Raps - let alone very few guys in the entire league - can match what he brings to the table each night. So as much as you bemoan the Raps' defensive woes, I think Boston is in a special situation right now and its not necessarily fair to compare the Raps to that. I understand that Smitch could and should make better adjustments on the fly, but I don't think wholesale changes are coming, or should be. They may tinker at the deadline, but face it, this is your team. Get used to it.

Billy Bee Absentee said...

Sorry Tex, but I am going to have to disagree with you quite vehemately. I would be shocked if Colangelo doesn't shake up ths team. He sees what the rest of us see, and he can't be satisfied to watch the Raptors muddle along as a .500 team.

As for KG, I have no reverence for him what so ever. In fact, I think Chris Bosh is a SUPERIOR player to KG right now.

I will say that KG makes his teammates feel accountable, and that is something that changes the team. KG himself is overhyped, and not nearly the "defensive force" ESPN makes him out to be.