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How the Raptors became an ELITE defensive team.

Oh my the rebounding is a problem.

If it helps, there are parts not posted that go into analytical means of looking to get better. And Casey's emphasis is almost solely on looking at any kind of negatives and cleaning them up. So there are those amongst us that think like Casey I suppose. But I can't look past the fact that such attention to detail and improvement has gotten them to an ELITE level to begin with, and will likely continue to keep them progressing. They are going in the right direction, and not so much susceptible to succumbing to a problem that they have no answer for.
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Dmega
DocHolliday wrote:


Ok.  I'm not sure if posters are actually looking deeper at the stats or going by "feels".  Let's take GSW and their elite defense; the GSW average 44 rpg out of 51.8 chances and the Raptors 43.5 rebs out of 49.1 chances. The Raptors collect 9.5 oreb and the GSW collect 8.4 - 3rd worst in the league [wink] 
Really, I think as impatient fans (like me), we're in the middle of watching the Raptors learn something different - defending the perimeter and adjusting their offense. 
On the defensive end, the Raptors are on one of the best team for chasing opponents off the line which leaves players farther away.  Not really an excuse, just the Raptors learning how to play within the system; and sooner or later they'll stop thinking of how to execute so they can just play.
On offense, the Raps take a lot of 3s, long rebounds and we have players out of position at times.  Same as on the defensive side - keep playing to the point they stop thinking.  They'll get better as time passes and it might not be this year.
Really, why are posters nitpicking so hard? 😉 the Raps are top 5 in offense and defense and improving.  No, they haven't been themselves from the regular season to the playoffs in previous years but things are new on both ends, no idea what-so-ever what will happen.   No one does, there's no sample anymore except our worries of what might happen [wink]



I'm not comparing GSW rebounding to the Raptors.  I could care less.  To be clear GSW and teams like them with shooters will make teams pay for giving them second and third chances like the Raptors have been doing.

Everyone seems to agree the raptors are playing very well at the moment considering the growth over the last few years is remarkable.  I choose to bring up one item that can be fixed with a little bit more attention by the players to do basic things...ie block out, play the rebounding angles etc...

Bottom line the raptors still have games to play and work on things in game before the playoffs begin.  Even Casey has stated as such ie last quarter play.

The article as written I think is very good recap of what changes have been made to improve the teams performance.  Obviously the Raptors have looked at the film and crunched the numbers and after analysis they have implanted a game plan and it's at least partially working out.  They deserve props for the changes and I can testify that this years team is SOOOOO much better to watch than last years boring yet effective team (at least in the regular season).

This article also points out several short comings of the Raptors and as a commentary I think it is worth noting this team is not perfect any why. More importantly can they improve these things or not.  All I know is the better they play (forth in offense and defense is something I never thought this team could be based on last year but they have done it.)  the more likely they get to the finals.

It may be this year, but I hope they do.[smile]
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MikeToronto
Northern Neighbour wrote:


Third worst? Even if you meant "bottom third of the league", your math is still wrong. Good thing you're not a coach since interpreting statistics correctly is part of the job description.

Obviously the team could improve their rebounding, but within the context of all the other numbers they're doing a great job of limiting scoring opportunities and preventing points. Another key stat missing from the original analysis is that the Raptors are one of the best at forcing turnovers - 15 a game which ranks 8th. They're 8th in the league in steals and 2nd in blocks. They're also 8th best in opponents' assists rate, which indicates they don't give up a lot of open looks, get into passing lanes, and just make it difficult for teams to get good looks.


Yes, third worst. Look up at DanH’s post: without JV in the floor (and he plays just over 22 minutes per game), the Raptors are 28th in defensive rebounding. In other words, third worst. What’s not clear or inaccurate about my statement?
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DanH
MikeToronto wrote:
Yes, third worst. Look up at DanH’s post: without JV in the floor (and he plays just over 22 minutes per game), the Raptors are 28th in defensive rebounding. In other words, third worst. What’s not clear or inaccurate about my statement?


Well, that's a bit of a fallacy though.  I'm pretty sure you'd see a lot of teams with similarly bad splits with and without their best rebounders.  Heck, I'm sure some teams would post sub-30 rankings based on their weaker rebounding lineups.  

Like the Spurs.  When LMA sits, they drop from the 4th best rebounding team with him to the 3rd worst without him (even bigger discrepancy than the Raps).  Or the Celtics, who are a top 10 defensive rebounding team - they go from 1st with Baynes on the court to 3rd worst without him.  Or Denver when Jokic sits - they drop to dead last from 5th.  

Every team ranking in the league is based on a combination of teams' stronger rebounding and weaker rebounding lineups.  I showed where the team would rank with and without JV for comparison's sake only.  It's not a concern that the Raptors bench would rank near the bottom in rebounding rate because a) comparing lineups to teams overall is foolhardy and b) the difference between bottom of the league and middling is literal percentage points and c) the bench is winning those minutes handily making the tradeoff of scrambly help (and leaking out for transition points) versus rebounding well worth it.
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MikeToronto
DanH wrote:


Well, that's a bit of a fallacy though.  I'm pretty sure you'd see a lot of teams with similarly bad splits with and without their best rebounders.  Heck, I'm sure some teams would post sub-30 rankings based on their weaker rebounding lineups.  

Like the Spurs.  When LMA sits, they drop from the 4th best rebounding team with him to the 3rd worst without him (even bigger discrepancy than the Raps).  Or the Celtics, who are a top 10 defensive rebounding team - they go from 1st with Baynes on the court to 3rd worst without him.  Or Denver when Jokic sits - they drop to dead last from 5th.  

Every team ranking in the league is based on a combination of teams' stronger rebounding and weaker rebounding lineups.  I showed where the team would rank with and without JV for comparison's sake only.  It's not a concern that the Raptors bench would rank near the bottom in rebounding rate because a) comparing lineups to teams overall is foolhardy and b) the difference between bottom of the league and middling is literal percentage points and c) the bench is winning those minutes handily making the tradeoff of scrambly help (and leaking out for transition points) versus rebounding well worth it.


It's weird that I need to point this out to you, Dan, but you've conveniently forgotten the other side of the coin - minutes the said best defensive rebounders actually spend on the floor. Compared to JV's paltry 22.2 MPG, LMA plays 33.6 MPG and Jokic - 31.5 MPG, therefore their teams simply spend more time with them in the game. Celtics perhaps are in the same boat with us, although, at least by the eye test, they appear to be better at rebounding by the virtue of being longer than us and having Horford where we have Ibaka.
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DanH
MikeToronto wrote:


It's weird that I need to point this out to you, Dan, but you've conveniently forgotten the other side of the coin - minutes the said best defensive rebounders actually spend on the floor. Compared to JV's paltry 22.2 MPG, LMA plays 33.6 MPG and Jokic - 31.5 MPG, therefore their teams simply spend more time with them in the game. Celtics perhaps are in the same boat with us, although, at least by the eye test, they appear to be better at rebounding by the virtue of being longer than us and having Horford where we have Ibaka.


I don't really understand this obsession with the minutes played thing.

The overall rebound rate is minutes weighted.  The Raptors are an average defensive rebounding team when taking into account that JV plays only 22 MPG for us.

Heck, the rebounding "issues" being so clearly tied into JV's minutes is actually a really good thing.  If rebounding is an issue in a matchup, we can just play JV more.  Other teams who already play their best rebounders a lot have nowhere to go.

The entire team is set up to be capable of taking on extra minutes in the playoffs depending on need and matchups.  Sure, JV averages 22 minutes, but then again the Raptors have among the most blowout wins in the league - they haven't needed heavy JV minutes much.  And they are perfectly comfortable playing him more - a quarter of his games have come with minute loads between 26-31 minutes, which is what I'd expect from him in games where rebounding is a concern.

Heck, are we looking at Lowry's 32 MPG and thinking he won't play 40 when needed?  The same applies to any player on the roster.  Anybody could get more minutes than they currently are depending on need.
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LKeet6
great piece. I could literally SEE the plays, positive and negative, we do as it was mentioning them...

The best part, obvious as you read it, but maybe not when it's happening, and then you start getting into confirmation bias territory (well I do anyway! I'm way too excitable to be coldly analysing while things are happening!) is the "trade off" parts. I HATE giving up offensive boards, at least i can have a little word with myself now "we're giving up a LOT of shots in close, we NEED to rigorously defend those..."

Also, the fouling issue will decrease somewhat in the playoffs, so that's a nice little benefit to our way of playing.

And of course, like eIT, i'm a "serial" optimist, so i'll always think we can improve all this!
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