Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Parker’

Moon and Parker are below average NBA starters

Posted by Arsenalist on October 11, 2008

No longer does it have to end with Bosh, O’Neal and Bargnani. Krish Humphries is now part of the “Big Four” that Sam Mitchell will be relying on for muscle. A strong training camp and a couple good preseason games later Humphries is feeling good about his new heavier frame which he isn’t shy to throw around. He seems to have cracked the rotation and maybe this time around he’ll stick. At the same time I wouldn’t put it past Mitchell to play him for 10 games in a row only to be given December off. Managing player expectations and playing time was a problem for us last year but to Humphries’ credit he didn’t complain even though it looked like he had a right to. In other news he shaved his head which is a bit sad because I dug the newer Hump model, it had a serious air to it which said “Don’t mess with me or I”ll drive my station-wagon right through your living room”.

Steve Nash is already looking for his next pay cheque and a logical choice are the Raptors. As he grows older (34 right now) the list of suitors will start to decline along with his play and that’s where the Raptors come into the picture. Nostalgic heart-warming feeling aside I can’t see the Raptors using their $25M in cap space on a 36 year old (although they did sign Olajuwon). That’s a logical line of thinking until you consider the “box-office impact” Nash could have on the franchise and the number of black jerseys he’d sell. Since the first goal of this organization is to run a profitable business I wouldn’t be shocked if they do it, although the signing will come about 5 years too late.

Back to the current roster and the most suspect position happens to be the swingman spot which has been a problem since the last three seasons. Starting Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker on a roster speaks volumes about the depth of the team but it looks like we’re going to have to make-do with what we’ve got. Neither Moon or Parker are NBA starters and look stretched playing their roles last year. We’re going to be out-talented at those positions on a nightly basis and are looking to scrape by based on what we feel is an advantage at our other two positions – PF and C. I’m not sure things work that way, having a balanced starting five where everyone can hold their own seems to work more often than having two above-average and two below-average players in the lineup.

The traditional off-guard is supposed to be your go-to guy in clutch situations and is relied on to provide key scoring but Parker’s 12.4 PPG (good for 19th amongst SG’s) is hardly what you call a scoring punch. Combine this with Jamario Moon’s meager offensive game and you realize they’re not exactly a potent threat. Below average actually and susceptible to offensive droughts which we know can kill teams in the post-season and if that’s the season that this team is supposedly built for, these two will have to have phenomenal years for us to be successful (whatever that measure is). Of course we could always acquire help at the trade deadline but Colangelo hasn’t shown an urgency to boost his team the last two seasons so there’s no reason to think he’ll do it now, unless of course there’s pressure from the top.

I could talk about the lack of bench-depth again but frankly speaking I’ll just wait for the regular season before we analyze Will Solomon and Hassan Adams any further.

There’s a look back at training camp in Carleton and some of the things that went behind organizing the event and a few thoughts from someone who was at the intra-squad game.

Minor trade last night – Pacers sending Shawne Williams to Dallas for what is left of Eddie Jones.

Have a nice Saturday.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Mike Ulmer and his pointless interviews

Posted by Arsenalist on September 19, 2008

Been busy for a couple days, got something brewing. Wait for it, its good.

Let’s get to some Raptor talk. The official website’s interviewing Anthony Parker and Willie Solomon. We don’t learn much except that Will Solomon’s thinking the contract from the Raptors is a “gift from God”. He sure sounds like a scrub that’s just happy to be there, reminds me of Jamario Moon all over again. What I can’t get past is Anthony Parker getting excited to play alongside Willie Solomon and labelling him as “ready to contribute now”. Maybe he’s just being nice, Parker’s like that. We did get further confirmation of one thing from the two interviews and that’s that Mike Ulmer needs to be fired. Now.

Jermaine O’Neal’s been spending a lot of time in Vegas this summer, he was training there in August but September’s dedicated to having some fun. He’s hosting a strip poker tournament alongside Robert Horry and some other NBA players. So far the knee’s holding up.

How about Josh Howard dissing the US national anthem and citing his race as the reason. He sounds like he lost his home in Katrina or is listening to too much Kanye. I’m not saying the government’s been kind to black people down south but that reaction might be a bit much. There’s also talk of Stephon Marbury getting waived, a move that’s about three years overdue.

By far the best article this week has been Hoops Addict’s interview of Sam Mitchell where he talks about the development of Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani has to feel the pressure to produce along with O’Neal, both have a lot to prove this season and should be heavily motivated. Chris Bosh wants to follow up his great Olympics with a good playoff run and that should add fuel to his fire. I just hope all three come through by staying healthy, playing smart and avoiding choking. I’m actually confident that barring injury O’Neal will have a strong year and make the doubters of the trade eat their words, its the other two that I’m more concerned with.

Speaking of Bosh there’s a psycho-analysis of Bosh in Slam this morning where there are two points that come up, one which I agree with and one that I don’t. I think you’ll feel the same way. Point I agree with: Chris Bosh is not a true franchise player. Point I disagree with: Sam Mitchell is the ideal coach for Bosh. The article’s subconsciously reiterating a lot of the points Charley Rosen made a couple days ago but this time its padded with enough fluff and niceties to make it sound not so harsh.

Not since the summer we signed Davis, Williams and Carter has there been so much expected from a Raptors team, let’s just hope the results are better this time around.

More tomorrow.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , | 79 Comments »

Proof that Andrea Bargnani is working hard this summer

Posted by Arsenalist on August 1, 2008

Andrea Bargnani working on his game

Andrea Bargnani working on his game

I’ve been known to read peoples facial expressions and judging from the picture above the Paul Bunyan look-alike muscled an offensive rebound away from Bargnani and then put it in for a 3-point play. Seriously though, aside from working with John Lucas and attending Tim Grgurich’s big man camp I have no clue what Bargnani’s been upto. Pete Newell’s big man camp starts off next week and there was some talk earlier in the year of Bargnani attending it.

In a HoopsWorld article from a couple days ago it was suggested that he could move out of the four spot and onto the perimeter which somehow is supposed to be a good thing. In a perfect world he would be able to defend the small forward position and score using his size on offense but realistically speaking he’s still a lot closer to a PF than a SF. Jay Triano alluded to two of Bosh, O’Neal and Bargnani being on the floor at all times which would mean there will be minutes for Bargnani at the PF as one of Bosh or O’Neal moves over to play center. Lest we forget Bargnani’s “natural position” is the power forward and so far in his Raptors career he’s been asked to play center.

I don’t think the difference between defending the C and the PF is much different in the NBA, both require him to box-out, rebound and use his quickness as an advantage. Last year a lot of fans felt that he was playing out of position and if we moved him over to PF it would fix a lot of his problems, I don’t buy that argument. At the end of the day he’s got to play big-man basketball and both positions offer the same defensive challenges and offensive opportunities, in fact you could make a case that he should be able to take advantage of centers more easily considering how they’re usually slower. Regardless of which position he plays Sam Mitchell has to try to use him as a plus point rather than a liability.

Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon were playing pick-up at some guy’s house and gave their thoughts on the Jermaine O’Neal trade. Both are counting on a “renewed” O’Neal to lead the Raptors this year. Parker gave his thoughts on ex-teammate Will Solomon joining the squad and says its another shot at the NBA for him after being very successful in Europe. Sure, whatever to not give the impression that we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel here. Jamario Moon will be heading down to Vegas again to work out with Joey G and O’Neal later in the month.

Resident fruitcake Mike Ulmer got to interview Nathan Jawai and once again failed miserably. My favorite gem from this interview has to be the question, Are Australians just like Canadians? No Mike, Australians marry kangaroos, eat their offspring and run around naked in shopping malls trying to set off fire alarms. WTF?!? You get a chance to interview a player, ask him basketball related stuff like his impressions of Mitchell, what he thinks of his teammates and other interesting stuff. Who cares if he thinks Torontonians are nice?

Jack Armstrong will replace Chuck Swirsky on the Fan 590. He’s paired up with some hockey coach just to even the balance for the puckheads. I might actually listen to a Fan 590 show after years of boycotting it because of their idiocy when it comes to covering basketball. Eric Smith is a fair enough analyst but after that the drop down is so significant that its not worth it.

The folks over at Rush the Court have compiled a list of schools which have produced the most NBA draft picks (Google Spreadsheet) and not surprisingly UCLA and North Carolina are #1 and #2. You might be surprised at #3, its not Duke. My Kansas Jayhawks are #8.

Could they have found an uglier picture of Bosh? On a non-basketball related note, this has to be one of the craziest stories I’ve read this year.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for swinging by in the summer time. A special thanks to the ArseBlog for linking it up.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Crosshair: Anthony Parker

Posted by Arsenalist on May 4, 2008

Next up on the crosshair is Anthony Parker. These are going in no particular order.

He reminds you a lot of Voshon Lenard – a capable scorer that can be effective as long as he’s not being stretched past his physical ability and talent. Parker’s got a textbook jumpshot that rivals Allan Houston and a fadeaway that can be considered deadly as long as the legs are fresh. His low-post game consists almost entirely of the fadeaway which can be used with success on shorter players. Once you put a bigger defender on Parker, his offense quickly degenerates as the fadeaway isn’t nearly as effective and the fake-the-drive-pull-up-for-the-j becomes too contested to be consistent.

Parker is the best mid-range shooter on the Raptors and can come off screens and into the 15-18ft area and drain the shot. On occasion he can drive to the rim and finish with authority which keeps the defense somewhat honest but even then they always play him for the shot – 82% of his shots are jumpers. Parker’s ability to score deteriorates as the game goes on and his legs get tired. This often results in him missing big free throws and jumpers late in the game. There have been over a half-dozen games where he’s missed a shot that would’ve iced the game or brought the Raptors completely back in it which has negatively affected his clutch rating. Maybe in his younger days he could’ve sustained his field goal accuracy for longer durations but as he approaches 33 it’s only going to get tougher.

Parker’s tendency to become anonymous for large parts of the game is very troublesome, as a starting shooting guard playing 39+ minutes a game you have to be a constant factor in the play. There are times where you almost forget that he’s in the game until you look at the box score after the game (see Orlando) which makes you wonder just exactly what the hell he was doing while he was in there. This phenomenon is partially because he’s not a good enough scorer to demand the ball and score consistently like better 2-guards such as Crawford, Johnson, Hamilton, Allen or Richardson. It’s also because in a Bosh-central offense his primary role becomes that of a three-point shooter. If the defense has him covered on the three-point line, he basically becomes a non-factor. Although there have been a few times where he’s carried the team offense over a 4-5 minute stretch, it doesn’t happen nearly enough for him to be considered a go-to guy when your offense is in a funk.

Overall, Parker’s offense only flourishes when teammates are setting great screens, Bosh is being doubled off his man and he’s being guarded by smaller players. If that’s not happening, Parker finds getting his points much harder and becomes that much less of a factor. He doesn’t have any go-to moves in his arsenal, something which is almost mandatory for a shooting guard on a team that hopes to be contending. The 7% dip in his playoff shooting percentage (48% – 41%) is a great example of how a limited offensive player like Parker can be neutralized in a controlled and planned playoff setting.

Just like his offense, Parker’s defense also suffers as the game wears on. This is completely natural for any NBA player but since the Raptors’ perimeter defense is leaky at best, a drop-off in Parker’s ability to keep his man in front of him is highlighted even more when we lose. Nobody can question his effort when it comes to man-defense, but if he’s guarded by a quicker player his lateral quickness can be put to the test quite easily. In many cases this year the offensive player has tried to create space by shaking Parker and shooting over him, he’s done an excellent job of contesting those shots. It’s because of these types of possessions and his on-court demeanor that he’s built a reputation of being a decent defender, but when it comes down to the nitty-gritty he has some serious issues.

The biggest complaint about Parker’s defense is that he drifts from his man for no reason, especially when he’s guarding him on the weak side. This has resulted in countless open threes for the opposition and has effectively negated anything else he does on defense or as some might argue, what he’s provided on offense. Sam Mitchell’s tenure has seen the team refuse to double team legit scorers (Kobe) while sending help when its not needed (Howard 12 feet out). Such inconsistent defensive philosophies have resulted in players like Parker, Delfino and Calderon not understanding their defensive duties as they should and they are always found cheating and getting burned. How many times this year have you seen Parker wildly flail his arm as the shot is being released? Those aren’t shot-contests at all because they don’t actually bother the shot, they just underline how late Parker is on his close-outs.

Jack Armstrong’s been saying it all season: down and dirty defense, quick close-outs, shot-contests and a determination to keep your man in front of you is what the Raptors need to do. Anthony Parker can give you the grittiness but if it isn’t accompanied by the lateral quickness and a defensive system that puts a premium on close-outs, it doesn’t mean much. Leo Rautins’ metaphysical love for Anthony Parker is largely because they’ve both bounced out of the NBA and played in Europe. Parker’s return to the NBA is something of a vindication for Rautins’ career, you know, European ball matters. Leo constantly referring to Parker as a clutch performer couldn’t be farther from the truth but his claim that Parker is a leader carries a lot of weight.

Just like Moon’s getting too much playing time because of lack of other options, Parker being a starter who plays close to 40 minutes a game tells you how thin we are on both offense and defense at the SG position. The closest thing to a backup shooting guard we have is Jason Kapono and he was missing practically the entire season, thus forcing Parker into playing heavy minutes which his body isn’t made for.

Parker probably should have been playing in the NBA a couple years before he started his Raptors stint. It would’ve been interesting to see what he could do with younger legs. At this point in his career Parker cannot be a starting shooting guard for a team that hopes to win a round or two in the playoffs. Maybe earlier in his career, but definitely not now. His contract is reasonable at 4.5M and he’s coming off the cap after next year. He should be playing approximately 20 minutes a game coming off the bench and become our Vinny “The Microwave” Johnson. Bryan Colangelo has to sure up the starting SF and SG position at some point and whether he can address both this summer is the question that will determine Parker’s fate. Colangelo has to decide whether Parker’s best value is in a trade to a contending team which puts a high value on his outside touch and veteran leadership or letting him come off the cap next year.

Personally, I like Anthony Parker’s attitude, on-court demeanor and what he can give on offense. He’s simply too old to be a factor the way a starting shooting guard should be. I think he has a place on this team as long as his role his reduced and better defined, right now we’re asking too much of him and when he doesn’t deliver (12.5 PPG – 32nd among guards) we tend to get upset without realizing that he’s just another player on the Raptors thats being asked to produce beyond his means.

As for the present today, George Washington anyone?

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »