Link to article (post as URL wasn’t working): [Joe Wolfond] The Raptors are testing the limits of an offensive philosophy shift

I thought this was a good article. I’m curious what others who’ve been watching the start of the season are thinking so far and expecting the rest of the way.

Some article snippets:

Toronto is testing the limits of a philosophical shift. Because practically speaking, this is a very similar roster with similar (in some cases starker) limitations to the one that finished bottom six in true shooting and half-court efficiency each of the last two years.

The Raptors are off to a 1-3 start, with the worst offensive rating in the league. While they’ve offered plenty to feel encouraged about - they continue to thrive in transition, their more conservative base defense has been tremendous, and Barnes appears to have taken a sizable leap on both ends - their half-court offense has been inept enough to undercut most of the positives.

The Raptors can cut, hand off, and reverse the ball to their hearts’ content, but what does that amount to if their actions aren’t treated as genuine threats by opposing defenses?

How much of that is really about execution, though, and how much of it is about personnel? There are things the Raptors can do better, but at the end of the day bending a set defense is hard to do without high-end ball-handling and movement shooting, both of which are in short supply in guard-poor Toronto. Schroder brings more rim pressure than VanVleet, and his playmaking has been a pleasant surprise, but he’s a similarly poor finisher with a lot less off-ball gravity.

“It’s hard. That’s the art of this job,” he says. "We want to create new habits, we want to play to a different identity, but then we have certain players that are really good at doing certain (other) things. So, yes, occasionally it makes sense to look for a mismatch and take advantage of it.

  • streetfestivalOP
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    9 months ago

    I’d say it hasn’t been a great start to the year. The positives: Scottie’s taken a step up, Gradey Dick looks good (shooting and IQ) for how young he is, I like Dennis as point guard quite a bit, Otto’s looked great (shooting, IQ, helping run bench offence) in very limited minutes, and I like the vibes with Darko

    The negatives: half court offence is at least as bad as last year, we still have far too little shooting/floor spacing, this is Siakam’s last year under contract, this is OG’s last year under contract (he has a player option for next year), this is Gary’s last year under contract (he’s had a terrible start to the season, shooing ice cold), and we don’t have our first round pick for this year’s draft since we traded it for Poeltl.

    It looks like the front office has fully embraced a “this is Scottie’s time” mentality. I really want to like Yak, but I’m under impressed to be honest. He can’t space the floor and his touch at the rim is bad. He’s basically our biggest body and he seems a little smarter and less injury prone than Precious (who I’m hoping will take a big leap this year), and our record with centres since Marc and Serge has been awful. With the .5 second offence strategy Darko’s running (which I’m sure the FO is supportive of), I don’t see Siakam having a future on this team. And that makes the Yak move puzzling.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens around the trade deadline. I think we kind of have to trade Siakam and OG since they’re on expirings and we can’t withstand more contracts walking for nothing in return since the championship. I hope we don’t get fleeced.