Title: Cavaliers’ corner offence offers Raptors a familiar challenge
Date: April 3, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I broke down Cleveland’s corner offense set and the challenges it presents the Raptors.
There are no “good” options for defending LeBron James. He is the most unique and difficult cover in the NBA, unrivalled physically and with a preternatural feel for the game and ability to exploit even the subtlest of advantages. Guard him 1-on-1, and he is capable of scoring ad nauseam. Send extra help, and he’ll ping the ball around the floor to the shooters and cutters he’s been surrounded by.
This is not new. It is every team in the NBA’s lot in life until James slows down or, because he does not appear intent on slowing down even under a historic workload, until he shows mercy on the Eastern Conference. Stopping him is not a premise that exists. Slowing him down enough to win four of seven games is a challenge exactly one team has found themselves well-equipped enough for over the last three seasons.
The Toronto Raptors, then, are not special in their struggles to slow James down. It is true that they lack the requisite size to bang with players of James’ physical ilk, and that they may be best off just engaging in shootouts, accepting a potential playoff series being dictated on offence-first terms. It’s the same for most teams, and it’s the same dilemma the Raptors faced in the last two post-seasons.