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Valanciunas needs to come off the bench.

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  • Valanciunas needs to come off the bench.

    The 2-man combination of Ibaka and JV in the starting lineup is leading to by far our worst defensive lineups. They are so bad defensively, that even though they are decent on offense, these lineups are hugely negative. In fact they are the only two regularly used lineups that even have a negative net rating on this team.

    Just for reference to start here, the Cleveland Cavaliers as a team have the worst defensive rating in the league with 108.9. (A higher dRTG is worse for those who don't know, although I think everyone here knows, this is a pretty smart/well-informed forum).

    Lowry-DeRozan-Powell-Ibaka-JV = 111.5 dRTG and -3.4 netRTG
    Lowry-DeRozan-Anunoby-Ibaka-JV = 121.5 dRTG and -10.0 netRTG

    Ibaka and JV as a two man pairing have a 115 dRTG this season in 229 minutes played. It is the worst dRTG of any of our top 25 most used two man pairings this year. The next 3 worst defensively are DeRozan-JV (113.9), Lowry-JV (113.6), and Powell-JV (111.0). I think you can see the trend.

    The reality is the lineup needs to change, and the backcourt isn't the issue and neither are they going to be removed from the starting 5. Powell and Anunoby are the two best defenders on the team on the perimeter so one of them has to start at the 3 spot so that's non-negotiable. So the starting 1-2-3 will be Lowry/DeRozan/Anunoby or Powell for the season. What needs to change is the Ibaka-JV pairing. Now some will argue that it's Ibaka who needs to come off the bench. Despite the fact that JV is younger, already plays bench minutes (only playing about 20 minutes per game right now) and is less likely to affect team chemistry negatively by being moved to the bench in a 6th man role; I'll present the numerical evidence that he and not Ibaka should be benched.

    So if we're moving Ibaka or JV to the bench it'd be Siakam who comes into the starting lineup at the 4 spot with either of the former two playing the 5. The pairing of Siakam-Ibaka at the 4/5 has a 106.0 dRTG and +4.7netRTG so far this season. The pairing of Siakam-Valanciunas has only played 42 minutes this year, but it has a 110.3 dRTG and -5.3 netRTG, which is right around what it had last year in 591 minutes (109.8 dRTG and -4.0 netRTG). So clearly the Siakam-Ibaka lineup is better. In fact it's even slightly better on the glass with a 48.2 REB% compared to a 47.7 REB% so the myth that we desperately need JV's rebounding doesn't hold true there. Actually I want to talk about that a bit as well:

    JV is our best rebounder, but he doesn't actually make the team better on the glass overall when he's on the floor. The reason for that is that even though he wins his own individual rebounding battles, his poor defense often leaves several players out of position defensively, which means they also aren't even in position to rebound. This is why our defensive rebound rate is exactly the same with JV on the court (76.4%) as it is with him off the court (76.4%) this season.

    Building off that I want to discuss this notion that Ibaka would get bullied inside and worn down at center. I disagree. If anything, he's getting bullied at PF where he lacks the speed to handle most of the stretch 4s or combo forwards that teams play at those positions nowadays. That means getting killed off the drive, beaten to spots for spot-up or catch and shoot jumpshots, etc. It also means he gets pulled out of the paint where his best asset defensively (his ability to alter or block shots) is virtually eliminated; making him a net negative defensive player at power forward.

    Now at the draft combine, Ibaka measured at just under 6'11 in shoes with 7'3 wingspan and 9'3 standing reach. He was weighed in at 228, but that's when he looked like he does in the banner picture here: http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Serge-Ibaka-1302/ not the ripped machine that he is now. I'd guess he's probably around 250lbs right now. Myles Turner who starts at center for the Pacers is just under 7'0 with a 7'4 wingspan and 9'4 standing reach, and much skinnier than Serge. Yet he is able to play center night in night out. Thon Maker starts at center for Milwaukee with a 9'2 standing reach and very skinny frame. Tristan Thompson is 6'8 with a 9'0 standing reach and starts at center for the Cavaliers. The Wizards start Gortat who's 7'0 with a 7'2 wingspan.

    I could keep going but the idea is that there aren't a huge number of these physically dominating centers that could cause Ibaka problems. There are a few, specifically: Drummond (7'0, 280lbs, 7'7 wingspan), Embiid (7'0 not sure about his current weight, 7'6 wingspan), Marc Gasol and DeMarcus Cousins who could cause him issues defensively and on the glass, but that's about it. That doesn't warrant starting Valanciunas, when there are so many more guys that cause him problems (like any center with the least bit of mobility or skill on offense to shoot the three, which is like 70% of them).

    So I propose the new starting lineup be: Lowry-DeMar-Anunoby-Siakam-Ibaka. The 10 man rotation would be completed with Miles, Powell, Valanciunas, Wright and Bebe or Poeltl. Here's how I'd handle the rotation on a minutes basis roughly, while trying to keep everyone's minutes about the same as they are now. I'm putting FVV in, but when Wright comes back he'd take his minutes.

    PG: Lowry (33)/FVV (15)
    SG: DeRozan (35)/Powell (13)
    SF: Anunoby (15)/Miles (23)/Powell (10)
    PF: Siakam (28)/Anunoby(12)/Ibaka (8)
    C: Ibaka (20)/Valanciunas(20)/Poeltl (8)

    I'd try to stagger the minutes in such a way that Ibaka is only playing PF when Poeltl is in at center. Additionally, JV would be on the floor for longer spurts, and we'd try to have him mainly play with the Lowry+Bench unit as much as possible and with Siakam or Anunoby at the 4 next to him. The minute distribution for the team would look like:

    DeMar: 35
    Lowry: 33
    Ibaka: 28
    Siakam: 28
    Anunoby: 27
    Miles: 23
    Powell: 23
    Wright/FVV: 15
    Poeltl/Bebe: 8

  • #2
    Lotta typing to state the obvious. JV isn't making it happen at a top level in the NBA.

    Time to stop blaming everyone else for his shortcomings.

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    • #3
      Nice post man and nice effort. Something clearly needs to be done. I think JV needs to be on the floor with CJ as much as possible and benefits from being around shooting. The other challenge with JV is he and Demar seem to be a poor match and both struggle on D. There's multiple core players that JV just struggles to share the floor with.

      Edit--the Lowry, Miles, JV trio has played 10 minutes together and has a Drtg of 90.1 and a net rating of 23. I'd like to see this more. To set him up for success I think he needs multiple shooters on the floor and no Ibaka, no Derozan. (And to be clear I mean this as a Lowry+bench unit)
      Last edited by Rudy Bargnani; Sat Nov 25th, 2017, 08:30 AM.

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      • #4
        Rudy Bargnani wrote: View Post
        Nice post man and nice effort. Something clearly needs to be done. I think JV needs to be on the floor with CJ as much as possible and benefits from being around shooting.

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        • #5
          gk17 wrote: View Post
          I disagree. You take away the ball from the best shooter to give JV more touches. Especially with Norm playing with the bench, who also is looking for his own shot.

          I don‘t like this rotation at all.
          27 minutes for Anunoby is way too much for his knee and for a rookie over a longer period.
          8 minutes for Poeltl? Then you better shop him. His style of play fits better with the bench than JV‘s.
          OG has been playing 23mpg since becoming a starter. So idk why you think 27 is such a drastic change. And anyway it's just a rough rotation, you could always slightly increase Powell or Miles' minutes to give him more rest if needed.

          I agree Poeltl only getting 8 minutes is a problem. But until JV gets traded that's going to be the case. Poeltl has played about 10mpg for the past 6 games btw so it's not like it's a huge change from what's happening now.

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          • #6
            Shaolin Fantastic wrote: View Post
            OG has been playing 23mpg since becoming a starter. So idk why you think 27 is such a drastic change. And anyway it's just a rough rotation, you could always slightly increase Powell or Miles' minutes to give him more rest if needed.

            I agree Poeltl only getting 8 minutes is a problem. But until JV gets traded that's going to be the case. Poeltl has played about 10mpg for the past 6 games btw so it's not like it's a huge change from what's happening now.
            Playing JV off the bench and moving Siakim next to Ibaka negates Pascsl main strength, running out in transition since he has to stay back to rebound. Makes him a useless stretch 4 on offense. Rather start JV and if he cant adjust yank him for Poetl, he needs to close out or the guards have to stop going under. Ibaka fits better as a shooter with the bench than JV as the roller until Wright comes back. Which ever they pick its better than doing nothing. If JV starting and Ibaka on the bench or vice versa doesnt work better to try now

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            • #7
              raptors999 wrote: View Post
              Playing JV off the bench and moving Siakim next to Ibaka negates Pascsl main strength, running out in transition since he has to stay back to rebound. Makes him a useless stretch 4 on offense. Rather start JV and if he cant adjust yank him for Poetl, he needs to close out or the guards have to stop going under. Ibaka fits better as a shooter with the bench than JV as the roller until Wright comes back. Which ever they pick its better than doing nothing. If JV starting and Ibaka on the bench or vice versa doesnt work better to try now
              Also OG - Pascal - Ibaka hurts spacing since there are only 2 corners. Having a roll man opens up the corners

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              • #8

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                • #9
                  For Suns
                  Only one thing matters: We The Champs.

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                  • #10
                    Been saying this forever.

                    JV is the Raptors' version of Greg Monroe and hopefully soon with a similar fate.

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                    • #11
                      Probably the only thing I'll agree with you on. JV works well beside a quick and smart PF like Patterson but a slow/lazy guy like Ibaka beside him creates a whole lotta issues.

                      But Casey never fixes the starting lineup because he wants to "keep the bench intact" lol...

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                      • #12
                        https://www.thestar.com/sports/rapto...-nba-game.html

                        “You know what’s in my head?” Valanciunas said to Lowry, loudly.

                        Lowry appeared to nod sympathetically.

                        “I’m trying to give it everything,” Valanciunas said. “You see what they do to me?”

                        What “they” had presumably done, in the loss that unfolded earlier that evening, was yank Valanciunas from the game a few minutes into a disastrous third quarter, never to see the floor again. It was the third straight game Valanciunas hadn’t played in the fourth quarter. It was the third straight game he had played less than six minutes in the third quarter. And it was part of an early-season trend that hasn’t boded well for his place in the Toronto rotation
                        Doesn't sound like he'll be thrilled to be benched.
                        Only one thing matters: We The Champs.

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                        • #13
                          My order of preference when it comes to handling JV is:

                          1) trade him.
                          2) keep him as a starter.
                          3) have him come off the bench.

                          He's basically become a bench player that starts.. only plays about 20 mpg and hardly in the second half. Personally I like the speed of our bench. JV will slow it down. Keep the pace low to start off the game and then run the opponent out of the building with our bench and continue that fast pace into the second half. Just need to play defense as well which we've failed to do against NY and Indiana recently.

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                          • #14
                            planetmars wrote: View Post
                            My order of preference when it comes to handling JV is:

                            1) trade him.
                            2) keep him as a starter.
                            3) have him come off the bench.

                            He's basically become a bench player that starts.. only plays about 20 mpg and hardly in the second half. Personally I like the speed of our bench. JV will slow it down. Keep the pace low to start off the game and then run the opponent out of the building with our bench and continue that fast pace into the second half. Just need to play defense as well which we've failed to do against NY and Indiana recently.
                            That's all fine and dandy but you can't just ignore the numbers. The starters are literally playing league-worst defense. That's not sustainable and that's not a winning strategy.

                            We've tried this nonsense before with Scola where we insisted on starting him all year with JV until we got to the playoffs with Indiana and they forced us to change it after going up 2-1. Milwaukee did the same to us last year where we were forced to move JV to the bench after going down 2-1.

                            We're not always going to be able to come back from deficits in series and have the freedom to change our lineup midway and figure things out. The bottom half of the east is getting better. We need to figure out our best lineups NOW and use them instead of waiting or trying to baby certain players' egos.

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                            • #15
                              MixxAOR wrote: View Post
                              https://www.thestar.com/sports/rapto...-nba-game.html



                              Doesn't sound like he'll be thrilled to be benched.
                              Could care less, not thrilled about him getting killed defensively.

                              He'll get over it when he gets more touches as a bench player or in SAC, PHX or whereever we end up trading him too.

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