Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Round Ball Notes-2010

Despite the fact that I have not poured a lot of ink into basketball columns this year, that does not mean that I have ignored the game.
As a sports fan, that would be difficult to do. The news stream coming out of Miami in the last few days has grabbed headlines from coast to coast.
Apparently, the troops are a little disgruntled with their head coach. A relatively young coach, Erik Spoelstra cannot ignore the rumours surrounding his position with the team. Heat president Pat Riley has been through the NBA wars for many years, and could easily step in to right the ship. And it is a ship that contains the crew from the blockbuster deals before the season began.
Chris Bosh from the Raptors, and LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers joined Dwyane Wade in Miami. These three are arguably on a list of the top ten players in the game today. Certainly, Wade is on the list, and James is near the top. The jury is still out on Bosh, probably because he is still a little hesitant to go to the basket when the occasion arises.
The Heat have left the gate slowly this year, trying to get all of the new pieces working together. LeBron recently assessed his progress in working with Wade as “slow”. He said that he and Wade are both “used to having the ball, making plays, finishing plays. It’s a process of having to still be aggressive, but playing off the ball. We are trying to figure this thing out.”
The Heat are just over the .500 mark at 9-8, but they are 4-6 in their last ten games.

Closer to home, the Raptors have been seriously bitten by the injury bug once again. Their best rebounder, Reggie Evans, fractured his foot last week. He will be out of the lineup for several weeks, perhaps months.
A week ago, the Raptors made a trade with New Orleans to unload Jarrett Jack, an unhappy camper who could not adjust to the role he was expected to play this year. In return, the Raptors received a seasoned veteran, Peja Stojakovic. And not a day too soon!
It is expected that Stojakovic will step right onto the court with little time to learn any particular Raptor systems. At six feet, ten inches, he can handle himself in traffic, and has an outstanding shooting range.
Exciting young sophmore DeMar DeRozan will benefit from Stojakovic’s experience.
In a recent interview, Coach Jay Triano discussed some of the challenges facing young payers in the NBA. “Back to back games are always a challenge. Learning how to adjust in that situation is part of their growth as young men. DeMar will learn how to get to the (free throw) line more often, he will improve his scoring in transition. He will find that he will have to add new moves to his game.” That would be in response to the amount of scouting that is done in the game. If you only have one great move, your opponents will learn how to defend that move, very quickly.
Triano knows that DeMar has a lot to learn, in his “on the job training”. It is not made any easier when you consider that “he has to guard the best positional players in the NBA”.

When discussing the game, on an internet interview, Triano added: “This game is full of mistakes. Your job is to limit the number of mistakes.”
The Raptors will rely on Jose Calderon, the Spanish playmaker. Andrea Bargnani, the seven foot Italian, has been playing much better lately, and leads Bosh in a points per game basis.
On any given night, the Raps can put it together, and beat the best. When their transition game is sound, there is real excitement in the Air Canada Centre.
They face the Washington Wizards Wednesday night. First tip at 7:00pm.

James Hurst
29 November 2010

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