Toronto Raptors: Early Observations from the Coaching Change

David Aaron LindsayContributor IJanuary 22, 2017

Sure, it's only 3 games in and you there obviously isn't enough of a sample size to get a true read on how the Toronto Raptors will finish under Jay Triano, but there are some early indicators, both good and bad, that are very evident so far.


First the Good

Jason Kapono looks like a different guy. It's no secret that the past year and a half has not been good for Kapono. His Raptor career has been wildly inconsistent thus far and even worse than that, this year he was starting to try and do things that were outside his game.

They may have been well intentioned, but when you have Kapono doing things like trying to create off the dribble or drive to the basket with the ball, bad things are bound to happen. His game is based more on intellect than athleticism and so far under Triano the results have been encouraging. He is thriving with the increase in pin-downs and motion sets and is finally starting to look confident out there again; let's just hope it continues.

Joey Graham also looks reborn under Jay. There appears to be a renewed sense of confidence and relaxation with Joey. Unfortunately, Sam Mitchell always seemed to have a hair trigger when it came to Joey and eventually a player becomes afraid to make mistakes or take chances for fear of being yanked.

The trouble there is, with a guy like Joey, he needs to play with so much energy and intensity to be successful that, at that speed, mistakes are bound to happen from time to time.

Now I'm not saying he should have been given carte blanche out there, but being trigger happy just can't work. You could see in Joey almost more than any other player that Sam's style didn't reflect the guys he had to work with in most cases and his demeanor has completely changed.

Hopefully Joey continues to progress under Jay and finds some consistency, cause the Raptors could really really use what he has been bringing to the table the past couple of games.

Jermaine O'Neal looks more comfortable out there. His stat lines so far may not have changed much since the coaching change, and it is impossible to quantify or prove this, I just know, from what I have saw watching the games, he just seems to be more comfortable out there.

Under Sam he was getting his touches and doing what he does, but the offence almost seemed to come to a halt when they tried to get him involved and it was either him or bust (Which is one of the big reasons I think his FG% is down so far this year). Now he's still getting his touches and picking his spots, but it just seems more natural for him and if he misses the shot or the double comes, the other guys are there to either grab a rebound or reset things. The system just seems to involve him more and not exist in spite of him.


Now the Bad

The only real negative I have observed so far is Chris Bosh. I know, I know, it really hasn't even been that bad, he's been ok. He just doesn't look like the same guy we saw dominating the first couple weeks of the year. Heck, it might not even be a bad thing, we might actually be better when the load is being spread around more.

I am just afraid if things develop to the point where he is no longer the focal point of the offence; will that affect his decision in 2010. Sam's system was VERY Bosh friendly, he developed and thrived with Sam as his coach. Obviously it's still early and I do think Bosh has the skill set to thrive, I would just be a little more comfortable if it were showing up a little sooner.

But I guess if that's the only new problem since the change, then things should be improving going forward under Jay Triano.



***Obviously I still think we are one very good wing player, that can create off the dribble and get to the basket, away from contending***