Title: Why the Raptors’ overall approach on defence is no longer working for this team
Date: January 24, 2023
Original Source: Sportsnet
Synopsis: In my latest at Sportsnet, I took a deep dive into the Raptors struggling on defense despite the same principles and personnel.
Late in a game against the Charlotte Hornets last week, the philosophy underlying the Toronto Raptors’ defence was laid plain.
Up 10 with a little over four minutes to go, the Raptors forced a Charlotte turnover on a fairly routine play. Terry Rozier came around a Mason Plumlee screen, saw a help defender, and made a quick pass to LaMelo Ball. Plumlee then made a late roll to the paint after his defender had committed toward Rozier and Ball. This is a form of “shorting” the pick-and-roll, adding an extra step for the offence to confuse the defence. Plumlee was alone cutting to the rim.
Because of the Raptors’ length and aggression — and yes, a poor pass from Ball — Plumlee never received the pass. Scottie Barnes had shifted into a sort of coverage-zone at the elbow rather than scampering back to put a body on Plumlee immediately. Rather than putting out a fire that never started, Barnes was in position to pick off the pass.