Toronto Raptors 2009: Run-and-Gun?
When Bryan Colangelo arrived in Toronto, he brought along a vision of creating another run-and-gun team a.k.a Phoenix Suns version 2.0. Somewhere along the way that vision became lost, and he brought in Jermaine O'Neal. Now after this offseason he brought in talented players, and Jay Triano has said the Raptors will become a true run-and-gun team.
I'm sure the Raptors realize they must win with their offensive dominance, and that usually leads to the fast break.
I love the idea, but I don't think this is the team to implement that type of strategy.
Bryan Colangelo brought in three great players for the run-and-gun style of game. Those three players are DeMar DeRozan (via draft), Amir Johnson (via trade), and Jarret Jack (via free agency). All three of these players are fast and athletic, they'll get out on the break and will finish.
Marco Belinelli is coming from the Golden State Warriors, who have Don Nelson's system. So though he might not be athletic, he learned a thing or two about the fast break from that team.
Then comes Reggie Evans and Rasho Nesterovic. Both are coming from fast break teams (76ers and Pacers, respecitvely), but neither is really a fast break player. Rasho is especially slow and hardly gets off the floor. He's a solid player, but will work better in a half-court game. As for Evans he will get out and running. That's not his style though, he much rather prefer to bang around down low, fighting for rebounds and points.
Then comes Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon, Antoine Wright, and Andrea Bargnani who aren't the fast break type of players.
Antoine Wright just isn't an offensive player, he's raw all-around on offence. Bargnani isn't a great finisher and isn't the type of player to go up and down. Though Bargnani is quick, so he could run and spot up for threes on the break.
As for Hedo Turkoglu and Jose Calderon, they both work better in systems. Neither is really fast or athletic, which is usually the makings of a fast break player. Not to mention Hedo Turkoglu was burning teams with that pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard or spotting up for three. Hedo has good b-ball IQ which he maximizes during plays, as he sees where the defense gets confused or reads it wrong, and makes them pay.
Jose Calderon is a good passer, he'll make the right pass. Jose doesn't take risks and doesn't like going on the fast break, he likes to slow it down and grind out the points. This is shown by his high assist to turnover ratio, which shows he can pass, but he won't make it if there's a remote possibility that it could result in a turnover. Jose isn't a great finisher either, but he'll make those tough lay-ups as long as he's going to his right.
In a fast break game you have to be able to live with those turnovers and go for those "home run" passes or plays. Neither of the Raptor "playmakers" live with that mindset.
Also, whoever gets the rebound has to be able to make the quick outlet pass or dribble it up the court. Once again Raptors as of now don't seem to fit that bill.
So now this leaves the Toronto Raptor star, the one and only, Chris Bosh. Chris Bosh is so versatile he'll be successful on any system. Chris Bosh loves to slow it down, get his elbow ISO, and either take the shot or drive into the paint, resulting in a bucket or free throws.
On the other side of things Bosh absolutely had a blast running and gunning with Team U.S.A. Although he was playing with arguably the greatest athletes in the sport, and he focused more on defense then on offense. However, Bosh is arguably the quickest and most athletic for his position, so there's no reason why he can't be successful running anywhere.
The Raptors are all over the spectrum, but on the whole, they aren't fast break material. They seem to be better in a system, so now it lies with Coach Triano to make the right decisions and plays to maximize the talent.
Would running and gunning be fun? Of course, but I think a championship parade would be just a little more fun.
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