Turning Around The Toronto Raptors in Seven Seconds Or Less!
The clock is ticking.
One way or another.
My suggestion is just a little more bold than others, and all it requires is seven seconds or less.
Yes, Mike D'Antoni and his patented Seven Seconds or Less (SSOL) offense has had varying levels of success, but I think it's just about right for a team like Toronto.
The Raptors can be very successful when pushing the pace. Their timing and personnel is perfectly suited for the Raps to start running and gunning like the Winter Olympics biathlon.
Did I mention I can prove it? That's kind of important.
Think about it: SSOL embraces the three-pointer like your Mom embraced your brother the time she found him at the mall (he was hiding in a clothes rack).
Toronto shot around 37 percent from beyond the arc last year (12th in the league) while only taking 15.7 threes a game (24th). More possessions equals more threes, which equals more threes being made, which equals Jason Kapono earning his money.
Which is why Toronto has guys like Kapono, Andrea Bargnani, Anthony Parker, and Jose Calderon that can shoot. Let's get them shooting, and stop being so damn picky.
How many times would you watch a Toronto possession where they would run the whole shot clock and settle for a bad shot?
Why not just throw it down the floor, take the first good look, and repeat?
Also, SSOL can get the Raptors out and into some fast-break, transition basketball. It puts pressure on the other team and can hopefully get them to the line more. The Raptors were the best free throw shooting team in the NBA and they were only shooting 22.7 of them a game (25th in NBA).
What a waste.
By getting aggressive, you get fouled. Getting fouled is something the Raptors don't excel in, but when Jay Triano is holding a stopwatch in one hand and counting to seven, things can change.
The Phoenix Suns were a playoff caliber team in an uber-competitive Western Conference while under D'Antoni and his male-accoutrement-to-the-wall style of basketball. The Raptors can achieve this (and hopefully more) with the players they have today.
Here's some of the 2006 Suns compared to the Raptors:
Amar'e Stoudemire and Chris Bosh
Both are natural fours and both have been shoehorned into playing the five at times. When the Suns opened up the floor it negated some of this, until Phoenix general manager Steve Kerr lost the nerve to play renegade basketball and traded for a true five in Shaquille O'Neal.
With Bargnani still grappling with center, why not just make Bosh another Stoudemire pre-Shaq? It keeps him away from the teeth of bigger defenses and lets him spot up for that 18-footer he loves.
Running a SSOL offence also creates numbers so gaudy, people have begun to wonder if it deserves an asterisk. If and when the time comes to deal Bosh, it's going to be best for Toronto if his stats are mind blowing. Why get sixty cents on the dollar when you can get mind-blown cents on the dollar? Having a ton of possessions and a wide-open style will deliver better stats, and maybe a better deal for Chris Bosh.
My conscience has just pointed out that it might be a tad unethical distorting Bosh's value. My bitter, twisted side says that if we're going to trade him, let's work on getting a deal that doesn't resemble the Vince Carter fiasco.
Steve Nash and Jose Calderon
Two MVP trophies may put Nash in a different echelon, but Jose can shoot threes and he can drive to the net. Drop it off to Bosh every so often on the way and everyone's happy.
Shawn Marion and Shawn Marion
He's a guy with experience defending and rebounding with the offense going warp speed. When in doubt, Marion can look to Marion.
Raja Bell and Anthony Parker
Bell could shoot threes and defend pretty well. Parker plays a similar game, but he will probably avoid clotheslining Kobe Bryant.
The similarities are there and there is still Bargnani, who came into his own last year to provide another angle.
Toronto is not a big and physical team, so why fight it? The Jermaine O'Neal Experiment tried to kill its creator, and Bosh and Bargnani were born to run. Kind of like Bruce Springsteen, but more like a cheetah with Reeboks.
Most importantly, SSOL is entertaining and it gives the Raptors a puncher's chance in any game.
Running an offense like SSOL is not a guaranteed winner, and it does not promote a formidable defence. It does let the Raptors control the pace of the game, and D'Antoni and his teams have never finished worse than 24th in the league in total defense. Not great, but the ACC wasn't exactly Alcatraz for Raptors opponents either. You don't need to be perfect on D when you're scoring 120 a night.
So before you say who Toronto should trade/draft/fire/coach/defenestrate next, ask yourself a question: At the end of the day, do I want to watch Toronto run half-court sets until the shot clock explodes?
Or, would I rather see them try to break the scoreboard by taking more shots than a Comedy Central Roast?
For me the answer only takes seven seconds or less.
Maybe I'm being a bit hasty.
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