Friday, August 31, 2007

The short term solution---Role definition

So as mentioned in the feedback for the previous post, Canada did make it to the 5th spot and will be playing next summer in the last chance tournament. I already discussed my thoughts on how the Canadian team can improve long term, but since the tournament is next summer, those idea's won't work. I predict that with the success of the Toronto Raptors, basketball overall in the country will grow as long as the country can get behind the Raptors as Canada's team and not view it as Toronto's team. But again, thats long term. What needs to be done is pretty much get rid of every player and coach on this Canadian team with the exception of Dalembert and maybe Leo Rautins.

I like Leo, but this job might require someone with more experience, who might not even exist, but that's what is needed. I say get rid of everyone, because quite honestly not one player we have comes close to comparing to the talent that is seen around the world. The players we used the past few weeks came in 5th, in a tournament that saw a U.S. team doing a dream team impression, even though they are not the Dream Team, as we will see in the Olympics next year. A tournament that also had Argentina who used it's b team to beat everyone except for the States. And Brazil with one player, Leandro Barbosa, single handly defeating almost every other team. Again, we have press conferences for Samuel Dalembert, who would not even come close to being considered a top 10 center in the NBA right now, and center is the weakest position in today's game. His NBA experience is useful, but in a perfect world he would be the back-up, not the star.

As much as it's nice to support the local boys, that will only go so far when the local boys are 18th or whatever overall and showing no signs of improving that ranking. Compare this to the Raptors. The Raptors aka the local boys were in the NBA basement. And for a while, us Raptor fans would support the local boys anyways and hope that they would start to play better. But they didn't. Do you continue to turn the blind eye and continue with a postive mind-set even though there is a serious lack of potential for any type of success? Sometimes it's important to call a spade a spade. Let things off the hook on a consistent basis and you are left with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The only way that the Raptors changed was by picking a few players to keep and dumping the rest of them and getting new guys. If something is not working, then it needs to be fixed. Well the Canadian National team would be wise to follow suit, who really can play ball. Who, if supported by 4 other strong players on the court, could go toe to toe with Lebron James or Barbosa or Manu Ginobili? That's the type of players we need. That's the type of players we don't have.

Of course how can we replace players if we don't have them? Of course we can talk all about adding Nash and Magloire, but both players are not young. As nice it would be to have those two, especially Nash as Magloire is really just an average player in the NBA, to teach the youngsters a thing or two for the future of the national team, we must assume they won't be playing next year. What I saw was a clear lack of leadership on the court, that superstar player that guides the team (again the Steve Nash type of attitude). But also a lack of role definition. How many different players were the leading scorier during the tournament? The Raptors are all about ball movement and equal opportunities, but Bosh is still the clear cut main guy when it comes to number of shots. David Thomas for example, who shot the ball at 58%, should be getting a majority of plays called for him, while the other majority should be going towards Dalembert to establish the inside game. The American team understands this formula as Carmelo is the main guy, Delfino with Argentina and Barbosa with Brazil. And Canada might want to consider something new for Carl English to do as he shot the ball the most on the team and ended with a super nice number of 32%. Try giving the ball to someone who can actually score, and let him take more shots, and you won't end up being second from last in PPG like Canada was. On the States, Jason Kidd is a starter and has shot the ball a handful of times. Cause he understands his role and follows it. Canada needs to identify a player, maybe big body Jesse Young, who's only goal on offense is to set solid picks and to keep the ball movement going and to grab offensive boards. Maybe that is stuff that will come from growth as Leo spends more time with the team, but i didn't see the building blocks for that this past 2 weeks.

This is just a suggestion, cause they are going to play again next year. And unless the help arrives from you know who, how can we expect anything different from these guys? One more year of experience is going to help? So I guess the 76ers in the NBA has a legit chance at a Eastern conference championship next season. Experience matter to teams that show potential, we saw none from Canada this summer. So again, should we follow them blindly? Or demand more from our national team?

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