#1 Hedo Turkoglu
If Hedo Turkoglu isn’t allowed to control the basketball and run the offense then he’s only a role player. You’ll get the contribution we saw from him during his time in Sacramento, San Antonio and in Orlando pre-Stan Van Gundy.
Turkoglu is only a high end player when he’s given large amounts of time on the ball + a huge amount of freedom to do as he pleases + is a key playmaker (creator) for your team.
So far, Toronto isn’t giving him those opportunities. If the Raptors continue down this path then (1) The team is going to be significantly worse than it should be (2) his $50 million contract is going to become an albatross (3) The team won’t be able to trade him until the final two years of his contract and will stuck with his overpaid under-productive self.
The Raptors (coach + point guards) have done a very poor job of getting Hedo Turkoglu enough opportunities in the first two games.
#2 Second Unit + Turkoglu + Calderon + Jameer
Orlando and Nelson
A good way to give Hedo Turkoglu opportunities to dominate the basketball is to use him in the second unit … something the Orlando Magic used Turkoglu brilliantly last year.
This regularly helped get Hedo into the rhythm of the game when he was struggling early, or in the third quarter, and helped him finish games on a higher note.
Additionally, there was always a balance issue between Hedo Turkoglu and their talented point guard Jameer Nelson. Both players needed the ball in their hands to be most effective and there were times where finding the balance was a difficult issue for them. Playing Turkoglu in the second unit, and then letting Jameer take over when Turkoglu sat, allowed both players extra opportunities to express their skills. Those opportunities helped each player stay in (or establish) their rhythm which helped the Magic close both the first half and end-of-game situations off on a high note.
Toronto and Calderon
The same balancing act was always going to true for the Raptors also. In fact, it’s more of an issue for the Raptors because Calderon isn’t as effective off the ball as Jameer Nelson (not as good a scorer, more a Steve Blake type player off the ball than a Nelson type player). Consequently, both players were (relative to last year) going to lose some time on the ball and that was going to create diminishing returns for both players.
In order to maximize Turkoglu’s + Calderon’s individual value the Raptors will have to create more minutes for both players to play without the other + during the minutes where they’re apart give the other one the opportunity to dominate the ball.
Finally, when Turkoglu plays in the second unit the offense has to run through his hands … not Jarrett Jack’s (or Belinelli’s).
Jay Triano needs to do a better job of molding the second unit in Hedo Turkoglu’s preference (screen and roll threat + shooters + players who will play off of him) in order to get the best out of Hedo Turkoglu and out of Jose Calderon. He hasn’t done that well enough in the first two games.
#3 Amir Johnson
Amir Johnson is not a stopper. He is not a good enough man-to-man defender to be a player that you stick on highly skilled offensive opposition in hopes of slowing them down.
Amir Johnson is a very good team defender and a capable defender against secondary + non-offensive threats. When used in this manner he’ll have a large effect on your team’s defense overall.
When used against talented scorers … well he’ll regularly gets eaten alive.
The (1) biting on every pump fake going (2) incessant fouling (3) general sub-par defensive work makes him an easy mark for any skilled offensive player. Throughout the last two years in Detroit Amir Johnson has been lit up with regularity whenever he’s been pitted against a 20+ppg threat.
There’s a wrong way and right way to use Amir Johnson defensively.
Also, stop playing Amir Johnson for two minutes and pulling him out.
The overwhelming majority of players will struggle when given playing time in that manner … and Amir is especially susceptible to this. It creates inconsistency and self-doubt in his game.
Either leave him in the game or don’t play him at all. Just stop doing this.