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Playoff Factors

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  • Playoff Factors

    Just read something from a "Hoops Habit" article about 5 factors that will likely be impactful in the Raptors playoff run and it was interesting. I thought it might be a fun topic to yell at each other over. In particular I read this from the article:

    "A secondary assist is a pass leading to an assist within two seconds and one dribble. The Raptors are currently tied for first place with the Golden State Warriors in secondary assists per game, meaning they move the ball with ease and do not shoot the basketball immediately after receiving it."

    I knew the Raptors ball movement was better this year, bit this statement caught me off guard. Makes me a little excited to see what a "35 minutes a game" Gasol looks like while Serge is out.

    I know the teams 3pt shooting is down, but I wonder how much of that is due to Fred and Lowry being injured, and then coming back and having to find their rhythm again. And the load that puts on other players who have to step up into roles they are not used to? I mean, that's what backups are for and the Raptors role players/backups haven't always performed as expected, when expected. So good health entering the playoffs will be another big positive.

    What about coaching. I have been generally supportive of Nurse. I DO think some of his goofy substitution patterns have been due to his desire to see certain combinations of players and to give different guys reps in situations they are not used to, but may face in the playoffs. He said he was going to do this, and he has done it. The man has something like 30 years coaching experience and has won championships in different leagues. I believe he understands pressure and will not blow it when things ramp up.

    So that's my three factors. The Raptors passing game will make their offense difficult to stop. The teams 3pt % will go up due to their 3pt shooter being healthy and in rhythm. And Nick Nurse's coaching being selective and deliberate, using knowledge and experience the players have learned in their free form ball jazz reps.

  • #2
    I mean, ball movement has certainly improved for the Raps since getting Gasol - they are up to 4.6 secondary assists per game from 3.6. Which is great.

    Of course, they are also 14th in ORTG with a 110.6 since the deadline, and were 7th with a 112.4 before it, 2nd with a 113.2 when JV and Lowry went down (keeping mind that the league average ORTG tends to climb as the season goes on, from 108 in December to 109 at the deadline, 110 since)...

    Maybe this means the offence will sustain better in the playoffs. We'll have to see. I don't know that it's a sure thing that's the case, or even if that's been the trend - I'd just as easily believe you if you told me that pass-heavy offences are the ones that get bogged down the most in the playoffs. But the lack of result improvement from that presumed process improvement should start to be concerning as this sample is building into a significant one.
    twitter.com/dhackett1565

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    • #3
      DanH wrote: View Post
      I mean, ball movement has certainly improved for the Raps since getting Gasol - they are up to 4.6 secondary assists per game from 3.6. Which is great.

      Of course, they are also 14th in ORTG with a 110.6 since the deadline, and were 7th with a 112.4 before it, 2nd with a 113.2 when JV and Lowry went down (keeping mind that the league average ORTG tends to climb as the season goes on, from 108 in December to 109 at the deadline, 110 since)...

      Maybe this means the offence will sustain better in the playoffs. We'll have to see. I don't know that it's a sure thing that's the case, or even if that's been the trend - I'd just as easily believe you if you told me that pass-heavy offences are the ones that get bogged down the most in the playoffs. But the lack of result improvement from that presumed process improvement should start to be concerning as this sample is building into a significant one.
      I wonder if their schedule over the last few weeks, with the lineup of teams they may not have taken seriously, and their dedication to load management along with "the regular season is just for practice" attitude has had an impact? They clearly seemed out of sorts against what would otherwise be considered gimmee's.

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      • #4
        Toronto has gone a really dangerous route. "Load management", a zillion diffferent line ups, even in important situations.... the team looks in chaos, looks like their Star player is a step behind and literally lost at times in the offence. They look like a first round exit more nights than not. Nobody watching who is being honest wouldn't at the elast say this is either true, or possible.

        That said.

        Skill wins games. Confidence and maturity stand tall when it counts most. The Raptors have skill, maturity, and yes, confidence in ample quantities. Assume the opposite of the original argument in my post. Assume that Toronto's treatment of Kawhi is exactly what he needs. Perhaps he was hurt when the year began, he needed a light load. Perhaps he was healthy, wanted to ease into the year with full intention of being a full timer by march but was actually sidelined with a new injury, a Murphy's Law type situation, and this has him again, needing a lot more moad management. Either way, assuming he might be ready to go by Game one, that alone is a really big deal. Add 15 more game for Gasol to fully suss out each of his teammates abilities and quirks. a few more weeks of shooting practice for our shooters, and fingers crossed, no more injuries, and you might have a tam healthy, with parts falling into place, heading into the forst round with a Superstar in Kawhi leonard that has shown that when it matters most, he is an absolute beast. Then maybe, things start looking up a little.

        So about those rotations.... allllllll those rotations.

        I have long thought to myself that I would love to see a team, in any sport, with all its players comfortable playing any position, at any time, with any players beside him. It makes sense to me that this would create a perfect team. Nick Nurse might be trying to do this. And this, is what I feel is most dangerous, because if it works, awesome, but if it doesn't you have a team playing confused when it matters most. Thats not good.

        But if it works. If toronto's top 10 guys all know how to play in the offence, all have actual game experience not garbage time minutes, playing with every singly player, that comfort might pay off massively when the stress and prssure of the Playoffs are on them. Likely the bench gets shortened, minutes for the top guys increase, but your bench guys are ready to go when called on now. And not just as a bench mob, every single bench guy has played started type minutes wih the top guys, they know what to expect, and the starters know what they have with them. I think, if it could be pulled off it might work.

        Nurse has seen Toronto, matched equally with other teams in the playoffs lose countless games against other stars as we all know, th NBA and its officials aren't giving Toronto jack shit in the Playoffs. Nurse knows he can't get aught up in a star vs star series. He can't win that way. How he can win, is with a team complete from 1-10, with guys that can ALL step up and perform when their number is called, when the have the rock, and when it comes time to shoot it. It's much more difficult to screw a complete team, Indiana showed that a year or two ago, as did Boston against the Cavs last year. So, maybe a team with big faces, yet no face, can be the key to winning.

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        • #5
          Factors to me are Rebounding and Turnovers. Can't defend well if you don't take care of the ball and you allow easy offense for opposing team.
          Out for Load Management

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          • #6
            Superjudge wrote: View Post
            Toronto has gone a really dangerous route. "Load management", a zillion diffferent line ups, even in important situations.... the team looks in chaos, looks like their Star player is a step behind and literally lost at times in the offence. They look like a first round exit more nights than not. Nobody watching who is being honest wouldn't at the elast say this is either true, or possible.

            That said.

            Skill wins games. Confidence and maturity stand tall when it counts most. The Raptors have skill, maturity, and yes, confidence in ample quantities. Assume the opposite of the original argument in my post. Assume that Toronto's treatment of Kawhi is exactly what he needs. Perhaps he was hurt when the year began, he needed a light load. Perhaps he was healthy, wanted to ease into the year with full intention of being a full timer by march but was actually sidelined with a new injury, a Murphy's Law type situation, and this has him again, needing a lot more moad management. Either way, assuming he might be ready to go by Game one, that alone is a really big deal. Add 15 more game for Gasol to fully suss out each of his teammates abilities and quirks. a few more weeks of shooting practice for our shooters, and fingers crossed, no more injuries, and you might have a tam healthy, with parts falling into place, heading into the forst round with a Superstar in Kawhi leonard that has shown that when it matters most, he is an absolute beast. Then maybe, things start looking up a little.

            So about those rotations.... allllllll those rotations.

            I have long thought to myself that I would love to see a team, in any sport, with all its players comfortable playing any position, at any time, with any players beside him. It makes sense to me that this would create a perfect team. Nick Nurse might be trying to do this. And this, is what I feel is most dangerous, because if it works, awesome, but if it doesn't you have a team playing confused when it matters most. Thats not good.

            But if it works. If toronto's top 10 guys all know how to play in the offence, all have actual game experience not garbage time minutes, playing with every singly player, that comfort might pay off massively when the stress and prssure of the Playoffs are on them. Likely the bench gets shortened, minutes for the top guys increase, but your bench guys are ready to go when called on now. And not just as a bench mob, every single bench guy has played started type minutes wih the top guys, they know what to expect, and the starters know what they have with them. I think, if it could be pulled off it might work.

            Nurse has seen Toronto, matched equally with other teams in the playoffs lose countless games against other stars as we all know, th NBA and its officials aren't giving Toronto jack shit in the Playoffs. Nurse knows he can't get aught up in a star vs star series. He can't win that way. How he can win, is with a team complete from 1-10, with guys that can ALL step up and perform when their number is called, when the have the rock, and when it comes time to shoot it. It's much more difficult to screw a complete team, Indiana showed that a year or two ago, as did Boston against the Cavs last year. So, maybe a team with big faces, yet no face, can be the key to winning.
            Yeah, I think that's exactly what Nurse is trying to do: get the whole team used to making plays when they are uncomfortable - because that's exactly what happens in the playoffs. The other team knows 90% of your plays by the end of game 2. Your rotation gets blown up into combinations you never used before. The games get close and winning could come down to making just 1 or 2 big plays. In the past, we left all that playmaking up to Derozan and Lowry, but Nurse wants to empower everybody on the roster to do that ... in particular, off the dribble.

            It's a big gamble for sure, because it could backfire into confusion, fingerponting and lack of confidence in the coaching staff. It does look like complete dogcrap at times. It's an unorthodox approach, but if it works, Nurse will be hailed as a genius.

            Comment


            • #7
              golden wrote: View Post



              It's a big gamble for sure, because it could backfire into confusion, fingerponting and lack of confidence in the coaching staff. It does look like complete dogcrap at times. It's an unorthodox approach, but if it works, Nurse will be hailed as a genius.
              It's funny, as i get older, these are the things that I get excited about. Just waiting to see if something like this will work. I love the gambles, mostly because for me, if they don't work, i just turn off the television and carry on with life haha.

              I still wonder about cohesion and chemistry with the whole "Load Managing" situation, but that could just be a me thing, who knows what the players really think. Either way, a deep team of robots is the only way a team from Toronto can win in the NBA IMO, so hopefully they can do it right.

              Comment


              • #8
                3 Factors

                Chemistry/Rotation- This one fall both on the players and the coach. The amount of starting lineups we played have potential to be a blessing or dangerous depending on how the team puts it all together when the games really count. It also falls on nick to find the best 8-9 guys and roll with it. If guys arn't producing e.i Norm they have the be removed from the rotation at the first sign of struggles.

                Rebounding- The main weakness this team has shown all season. We can't be allowing teams extra possessions in the post season when the pace slows down. We don't have to win rebounding ever night but offensive rebounds that extend possesion can be back breaking.

                Pace- We need to be able to push the pace and get those easy buckets in transition we got all year. My biggest worry is that we can't produce those looks for siakam or the transition 3s for lowry and danny and the offense get dysfunctional. We also need to be able to score in the half court when teams take away the fast break. This may be where Gasol shows to be the most valuable. I think you need at least 2 guys on the court who you can give the ball to and they can take their guy one on one. Gasol and Leonard fit this mold but we may be looking for a 3rd option when one of them is not on the court. Lowry ability to score and facilitate in the half court may end up being the x factor in many games.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Three facotrs:

                  1) Playoff gear. Kawhi and Lowry need to crank it up and produce at their respective peaks, everybody else just needs to fall in and chip in around them. 2-8 is plenty deep enough.

                  2) Shooting. This team is on another level when the 3 ball is dropping.

                  3) Defence. This team has shown short bursts of really, really, really good defence - sometimes only for a single quarter or less within a game. They have the potential to be a terror on D. In the playoffs, they'll have to take the peaks they've teased us with and bring that for 48 minutes in every game. If they can do that, it'll compensate for off nights in other areas (it's also how the bench guys get their points).
                  "We're playing in a building." -- Kawhi Leonard

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                  • #10
                    Easy/efficient buckets in the paint and Rebounding.. d'oh!

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                    • #11
                      I'm really thinking the biggest thing will be to score points than the other team. Do that, and we should advance.
                      It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

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                      • #12
                        KeonClark wrote: View Post
                        I'm really thinking the biggest thing will be to score points than the other team. Do that, and we should advance.
                        LOL. But I was going to say that one of the things I've noticed through the years is that the more things a team needs to go right in the playoffs in order to win, then the more likely they are to lose. As for the Raps, I haven't given it much thought but I would imagine that if the perimeter defense is good and they make some threes then they will be just fine.

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                        • #13
                          slaw wrote: View Post

                          LOL. But I was going to say that one of the things I've noticed through the years is that the more things a team needs to go right in the playoffs in order to win, then the more likely they are to lose. As for the Raps, I haven't given it much thought but I would imagine that if the perimeter defense is good and they make some threes then they will be just fine.
                          I think by the time the Raptors start the playoffs, Nurse will have figured out who to play, who to play them with and what matchup he wants to use. As a consequence, they will have lots of things going right. To be honest, I think Nurse is the X Factor. I believe he has been keeping a lot of stuff in reserve. The team seems absolutely okay with how he has been running things. No complaints, always respectful of the coach and mutually supportive of the other players.

                          I think these guys got their shit together.

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