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Dec 2, 2012 9:16pm
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In Week 2 of our “Tweet Bag” series, we tackle Torontos leaky defence, Andreas
role with the team (along with his trade value) and how the Raptors were able to
secure the services of Kyle Lowry. Peyton Hillis Jersey . Lets dig in.
@andrew2doucette: Why has the defense been so poor this year? We improved at PG,
SF and C on defence. What gives? Defence takes chemistry, and like you said,
there are new players at PG, SF and C in the starting five this year. Plus, the
two returning players are DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani, hardly known for
their commitment to the defensive end of the floor. The big disappointment has
been Bargnani, who was so active on defence at the start of last season and
seems to have completely reverted back to his old self early this year. There
are other factors, too, though. Jonas Valanciunas is a rookie and is still
adjusting to the size, speed and skill of opposing NBA centres. Landry Fields
was playing with zero confidence before his bothersome right hand took him out
of action. Jose Calderon has been logging time at shooting guard, where he has
been obliterated defensively. The bench has been more active than smart,
defensively, and the teams rotations lack the consistency needed to develop a
defensive rhythm. Plus, they played Dallas and Oklahoma City recently, two
top-ten offences, which has hurt Torontos defensive efficiency. All that said,
the overall defensive impact that this team has had has been noticeably weaker
than expected. They currently rank 22nd in defensive efficiency, a far cry from
12th, where they finished that season. Dwane Casey looks lost as to how to
correct teams early woes (which also include below average offence, issues with
focus and a lack of roster cohesion) but he has to find a way to right the ship
defensively because having a strong defensive core is the teams only shot at
making noise this season. @stephen_hogan10: What do you think of Amir starting
and Andrea coming off of the bench? Thats a complicated question. In empirical
terms, Bargnani probably should be a reserve in the NBA, playing a role like
Al Harrington did when he was with Denver. His inconsistent energy makes it hard
for a coach to know what they are going to get from him night-to-night and
high-volume, low-efficiency scorers have really become bench staples around the
league (Terry, Crawford, Smith). I think that is an inevitable future for
Torontos enigmatic big man, but I doubt it ever happens in Toronto. The big
problem is that a starting front court of Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and
Landry Fields (or Alan Anderson) would not be able to score. While DeMar DeRozan
and Kyle Lowry possess some scoring punch, it isnt nearly enough to offset the
lack of offensive prowess from that front court combination. The Raptors sit at
18th in offensive efficiency right now and they simply cannot afford to remove
Bargnanis scoring potential from their starting five. Beyond that, though, its
also hard to see Bargnani, with his unpredictable nightly effort, embracing a
role off the bench for this team. Yes, you can make the argument that a player
should just accept whatever role a coach assigns to them, but Dwane Casey is
having enough trouble motivating him with the first unit, can you imagine how
desultory the results could get if Bargnani was demoted to the reserve crew? Its
a nice idea, but Bargnani is going to be the starter, likely for as long as hes
wearing a Raptors uniform. @Steebo: What would you consider realistic trade
options for Bargnani (not Bargs, Jose for Pau)? Not to be evasive, but this is a
tough question to answer. Who would have thought that Toronto could have landed
Kyle Lowry for a protected first round pick? Who would have thought that Orlando
would sacrifice Dwight Howard for Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Moe Harkless,
Nikola Vucevic and some protected firsts? Who would have thought that Portland
would turn down a sign-and-trade offer of Derrick Williams and picks for
Nicolas Batum? The thing about trade value is that it doesnt really exist, at
least not in any kind of empirical way. One team may covet a player because
their particular skill set is seen as a necessity (like when the Warriors
sacrificed Monta Ellis to get Andrew Boguts post defence). Another team may be
looking for a way to reorganize their cap commitments (like when Portland gutted
the veteran contingent on their roster last season). Another team may just get
bamboozled (like Indiana was when they sacrificed Darren Collison for Ian
Manhinmi in July). So, whats Bargnanis value? Who knows. It wouldnt surprise me
if Toronto settled for a salary dump, swapping Bargnanis three remaining years
for David Wests one, for instance. Nor would it surprise me if the Raptors
managed to pull off Bargnani and Jose Calderon for Pau Gasol. So many variables
enter into the conversation when you are talking about trades and trade value,
and they are only multiplied when you are talking about a player as divisive as
Bargnani. I do think youll hear his name tossed around A LOT around the trade
deadline, so perhaps well all get a better sense of his value when February
rolls around. @canadafubuki: Lowry has been playing great! How were the Raps
able to get him for so little? And how does the trade rank vs [Colangelos]
others? For those who dont know, the Raptors traded Gary Forbes and a protected
first round pick to get Lowry this summer. That pick was the key to the deal.
Its protected in such a way as to virtually assure that it will land in the
lottery (basically by establishing a floor for how low the pick can be when its
moved), an imaginative way for Houston get value for their standout point guard.
Now, how “little” Toronto gave up is still to be determined. If the pick they
sacrifice winds up being a top-five pick in the next few years, then that
represents a serious payout for Lowry. If the pick lands in the late lottery,
then it was excellent value for the Raptors. For Houston, the pick got them
exactly what they wanted. They wanted an asset they could use in a trade for a
star, and it was packaged in their trade for James Harden last month, so they
got what they wanted out of the deal. So, you see, the value of the pieces in
the Lowry trade are all relative, and still not entirely known until the pick
that was sacrificed has officially changed hands. For Colangelo, its one of his
best trades. The club absorbed some risk based on the unknowns over the pick,
but Lowry was a stellar addition to the club at a position that needed it. Hes
one of the only two-way players that Colangelos ever acquired and he immediately
vaulted the Raptors in the playoff conversation (and his absence has begun to
take them out of it). You cant do much better than that, short of trading for a
superstar. Tamba Hali Jersey . Prince Fielder,
Nyjer Morgan and the Brewers were a boisterous bunch last year on their way to
winning the NL Central. Matt Cassel Jersey . —If Peyton Manning is
sore, hes not saying. http://www.chiefsprostore.com/jamaal-charles-jerseys
.S. Open by winning the Nordea Masters by five shots on Saturday. Derrick Johnson Jersey . Juuso Puustinen and
Ryan Thang each had a goal and an assist while Taylor Beck, Zack Stortini and
Michael Latta also scored for Milwaukee to make a winner of Ian Herbers in his
coaching debut. Eric Berry Jersey . —The persistence that
helped Cameron Wake make the transition from mortgage broker and frustrated
couch potato to AFC sack co-leader is evident every time he chases a
quarterback.ST. LOUIS - Centre fielder Jon Jay was put on the 15-day disabled
list Tuesday by the St. Louis Cardinals because of shoulder soreness. St. Louis
played the finale of a five-game homestand with only one regular outfielder,
left fielder Matt Holliday. Right fielder Carlos Beltran missed his second
straight start due to a minor knee injury but was available to pinch hit, and
first baseman Lance Berkman was a late lineup scratch. “We decided to stay
cautious with Carlos and give him another day,” manager Mike Matheny said. “His
knee has been barking.” The team gave no reason for scratching Berkman, who had
played two games since coming off the disabled list from a left calf injury. Jay
injured his right shoulder when he banged into an outfield wall last month. Jamaal Charles Womens Jersey. Hes 3-for-18 on
the homestand with one hit, a bunt single, in his last 15 at-bats. Jay is
hitting .343 in 26 games and went 1 for 4 in Mondays 6-4 loss to the Chicago
Cubs. Outfielder Shane Robinson was recalled from Triple-A Memphis after one day
in the minors. Robinson was 3 for 4 with a triple Monday, and arrived minus his
equipment. Robinson planned on asking utilityman Skip Schumaker, who started in
centre field, for a few items of equipment to tide him over. “I didnt think
anything would happen this soon. But it did,” Robinson said. “Its been