NBA Roundtable

Chrisholm Article — Triano Interview

In General NBA on August 26, 2009 at 8:23 am

Very good interview (oh, and part two is here) by TSN’s Tim Chrisholm with Jay Triano. I fully recommend all interested in the Raptors to read the whole thing.

There were a couple of sections which stood out for me though, and I’d like to note them down:

First Area Of Interest

The rookie and the starting two guard position

I don’t know if we really looked at the style of play so much because when you look at us you ask ‘are we a running team?’ No, but we are a transition team.

I don’t think with this starting lineup we’re going to outsprint anyone down the floor, but we’re going to be moving the ball and we’re going to be wise in how we attack. We get guys like (Hedo) Turkoglu, who can make plays, Jose, who can make plays. We added (DeMar) DeRozen, who’s going to be our athlete in that group to run and then we’ve got those toughness guys that I talked about. Then it’s going to come down to Chris and Andrea (Bargnani) being able to defend and play in the low-post area.

More on DeRozan

TC: So even though you’ve been talking a lot about starting DeRozen, that’s still not set in stone?

JT: Everything could still change. The reason that I think of starting him is because where else do you get a young guy minutes? You want those minutes coming with good players. If you can buy him eight minutes in the first quarter and eight minutes in the third quarter, now you’ve got a rookie who’s playing sixteen minutes per game but they’re good minutes.

You’re not winning or losing NBA games in the first eight minutes of the first quarter or the first eight minutes of the third quarter. If he does well, he’s going to earn himself more minutes. If he doesn’t, and we feel like we need to bring him off the bench, then we’ll do that.

This is no surprise because we read the same thing – DeRozan starting – from Mike Ulmer’s blog a while back.

So anyone who was wondering who’ll be the starting two guard — Demar DeRozan is expected by Triano to be the starter.

Second Area Of Interest

A lot of Raptors fans will love hearing Triano trying to fix this problem:

TC: Now, when you first took over in December, Bosh struggled. His shooting percentage went down ten-percent, his scoring went down by six points per game. He looked like he wasn’t sure anymore where he would get his shots. Sam Mitchell had a system where he really focused on getting Bosh his looks on isolations and pick-and-rolls, but you sort of democratized the offense. Do you think he had trouble adjusting to that kind of system?

JT: I think so, yeah. I just think in the past, largely because of our personnel, Sam would give him the basketball and he would hold it on the block and then make a play and if he got double-teamed, he’d throw it out and other guys would get involved. If they didn’t double, then it was gonna be whether Chris can beat this guy one-on-one tonight is going to determine whether or not we win or lose games.


JT: I think it was everybody getting it. The one thing that I like is to have the basketball move. Defenses in this league are getting so good at locking-in and concentrating on stopping and so the more you move the ball the more difficult that is for them.

We had a point guard in Jose (Calderon) who wanted to bring it up all the time, all the way. We had Chris who liked to hold it. We had Jermaine O’Neal early in the year who liked to hold the basketball. I think at the end we finally just ‘got it’ and everybody went and everybody moved. We told Jose ‘if there’s a guy ahead of you, pass it up. You’re as good of a shooter, you can catch it coming back and shoot it.’ ‘Chris, don’t hold the ball. You can make a move right away or swing it. If you can’t make a move in one-and-a-half seconds, forget it.’

One of the problems you hear Raptors fans talking about the most is when Chris Bosh kills the offense by holding the ball for 7-8 seconds before deciding whether or not to make his move. Killing the flow, the ball + player movement, and making everything stagnant and easy to defend.

It’s good to hear Jay Triano is aggressively tackling this problem.

Furthermore, I think this will be much less of an issue next season now that the Raptors have a second playmaker/scorer in Hedo Turkoglu. This will allow Bosh to play off of Hedo, especially in pick and rolls, and get more of his offense in that manner … which suits Bosh better and should make him more dangerous within the flow of the offense.

Third Area Of Interest

Amir Johnson

The biggest thing for me is that we have a bench, though. If you look at the guys that may come off the bench, the third string, our last five, you’re looking at Quincy Douby and Amir Johnson maybe – if he doesn’t beat out Reggie or Rasho (Nesterovic) – and last year it was Douby and Pops (Mensah-Bonsu) as our second line off the bench.

Amir Johnson — at least for the time being — is being considered behind Reggie Evans and Rasho Nesterovic in the depth chart.

Big Man Minutes

Once again, for those keeping count at home:

  • Chris Bosh — 36-38 minutes a night
  • Andrea Bargnani — 36 minutes a night
  • Backup Big Men — 20-24 minutes a night to be split between three players. Most likely with two of those players getting the majority of  those minutes and just breaking the double digit mark per game.

Even if Amir Johnson does surpass the other two veteran big men — and he should because he’s a lot more talented than either player and can contribute a lot more to the Raptors than either player as a result — he’ll still likely be playing only 10-12 minutes a night in a backup role. Except for maybe 10-15 games in the season where Bargnani or Bosh are out injured.

Great Interview

Anyway, it was a superb interview by Chrisholm and it’s well worth reading the whole thing.

Triano also talked about new players acquired, more on the running game, on defense + toughness, on what the bench players can bring to the table, on Bosh’s role being somewhat reduced because of the influx of more talent, and also how Bosh is in great shape while working out hard this summer.

Lots of good information. Great interview.

  1. I thought it was a great interview as well. Your point “Killing the flow, the ball + player movement, and making everything stagnant and easy to defend.” is bang on. I felt near 100% Jay said the right things – of course the bigger challenge is IMPLEMENTING them. I’m hopeful – but at least (my view) he’s laid a strong foundation.

  2. Dave,

    re: “One of the problems you hear Raptors fans talking about the most is when Chris Bosh kills the offense by holding the ball for 7-8 seconds before deciding whether or not to make his move. Killing the flow, the ball + player movement, and making everything stagnant and easy to defend.”

    The Raptors fans who continually bring this point up … are simply not sophisticated in the ways of the NBA.

    What do I mean by this?

    1. When a player like Bosh “holds the ball” in this way … and receives copious amounts of PT … it’s because this is viewed as an isolation option by his head coach, who is satisfied that this sequence of events [or in some cases non-events, really] is in fact his team’s highest percentage scoring opprtunity.

    Whether that head coach is right or wrong about this perception, it’s a simple fact that this is precisely what that head coach is thinking.

    It is NOT this player’s fault for “holding the ball” in this way.

    How do I know this?

    If the head coach thinks that it’s the player’s “fault” … what he does in this League IS CHAIN THAT PLAYER’S REAR END TO THE BENCH. Period. End of discussion.

    When that player receives copious amounts of PT, it’s because he is thought to be that team’s best scoring option by that team’s head coach, using that isolation sequence.

    2. When this type of BASIC offensive structure breaks down and becomes stagnant … the fault lies with the isolated player’s 4 teammates who are not moving/cutting into open spaces and providing him with viable high percentage alternative scoring opportunities which would generate him a large number of assists for the player who is merely “holding the ball”.

    [NOTE: The iso’s in question here are not 1-4 low situations with a primary ball-handler at the top of the key and his 4 teammates spread along the baseline. We are either speaking of “low post”, “short corner”, “elbow” or “wing” isolations.]

    If this player’s 4 teammates do not move/cut effectively without the ball in their hands, as a collective group, or do not present enough in terms of “individual mismatch opportunities” vs their respective defenders then the stagnant aspect of this offensive “action” [or, in this case, lack of the same] falls at their feet, not the isolated player.

    3. When the Raptors call/run a set play/action which involves a number of integrated screens, cuts, mis-directions and/or picks … otherwise, commonly known as, “running a set play” to generate a “specific catch & shoot attempt for a specific player” … the fact is that Chris Bosh DOES NOT simply choose to “hold the ball”, in effect, bring the Raptors offense to a grinding halt.

    The simple fact is that the Raptors have run fewer “set plays” per game than many of the other [the majority?] top teams in the league.

    This is not Chris Bosh’s fault.

    The fault for this … lies with [I] Bryan Colangelo, as the architect of the team, and then [II] the team’s head coach [and staff].

  3. I thought it was a really good interview too. Its good that Triano is stressing those things for offense, but I feel that our offense would be effective regardless just because of the amount of offensive firepower this team has.

    I am more concerned about the defense. He really did not go too much in detail and I would like to hear Triano’s views on how he plans to defend the pick and roll and help defense on a drive. I wonder if he is still going to use his “protect ths paint” strategy, implement more zone or just play straight man-to-man defense.

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