Fundamental basketball is key to success—just ask the San Antonio Spurs.
According to basketball fundamentals, a point guard should look to make his teammates better, a shooting guard is the team’s shooting specialist, a small forward should be the most versatile player on a team, the power forward position should be held by your second tallest player (who specializes in rebounding and scoring near the basket) and the center position is filled by the one who rebounds and defends the paint well.
The Toronto Raptors, however, have a different approach to fundamental basketball.
According to many Raptor fans, Jerryd Bayless, who was acquired in a trade last November, is the future starting point guard for the Toronto Raptors. When Bayless was given playing time, he constantly played bad defense and demonstrated very poor decision-making skills.
Demar Derozan is the shooting guard for the Toronto Raptors. Although his points per game improved drastically compared to his rookie year, Derozan is still inconsistent at shooting the ball and has very limited range. Demar shoots less than 10 percent from three-point land. Other than his “offensive skills,” the 2009 lottery pick doesn’t bring anything else to the table.
Andrea Bargnani is the most criticized Raptor player. Many Bargnani apologists claim that the former No. 1 pick would play better if he played the power forward position instead of the center position. Power forward or center, it is completely inexcusable for a seven-footer who plays 35 minutes per game to barely grab five rebounds per game.
Bayless, Derozan and Bargnani are three of the core players for the Toronto Raptors. It will be painful for Raptor fans to watch—for years to come—a turnover-prone point guard paired with a shooting guard who shoots less than 10 percent from the three and a seven-footer who grabs barely five rebounds per game.
To makes matters worse, the Raptors' big-man coach was Alex English, a 6'7" shooting guard. It comes as no surprise that their main big man plays like a shooting guard when their former big-man coach himself was a shooting guard (a great one).
Letting English go as a big-man coach was a big step forward for the Raptors. Now, let’s see if Bargnani, Derozan and Bayless still play against the fundamentals of their respective positions with a championship winning coach in Dwane Casey.