This week the Zan will take a look at the Raptors position by position and will give you a look into what can be expected or shouldn’t be expected from the Raps this year.
The first position to break down might just be the easiest. The point guard.
Coming into this season, the point guard position is one of the few spots on this roster where there really aren’t any question marks. It is pretty clear who will be playing, it’s really up to coach Casey how to divide up the minutes. This may prove to be a difficult task.
The choice in starting point guard and division of minutes will likely yield plenty of discussion and should become an outlet to vent our frustrations during a losing season.
No player gets it worse on Raptor blogs than Jose Calderon, but he’ll still likely start for the Raps.
It’s not a bad choice as this young team could use a steady hand that gets them the ball in the right places and takes care of the rock. Though I would anticipate that Jarryd Bayless will get plenty of minutes and a legit shot to take over as the starter as the season progresses.
Bayless is still an enigma wrapped in a puzzle for the Raptors. Is he a SG? a PG? a Bench player? a starter?
With no real expectations this season, it might be worth it to find out, while the results of games are not that important.
Bayless seems to me to be more of a SG than a PG, but I guess this is something we will discover this year. With increased responsibility comes greater expectations and Raptor fans are wondering what exactly Bayless means for the future. Is he part of the core or not? This will be his make or break year.
As for Anthony Carter; Well, I wouldn’t expect him to get all that much playing time. He’s here to push Calderon and Bayless in practice, teach defence and be a general, all around positive influence.
He has won games in his career, has been around the league a long time and will act as player/mentor/coach for this young team. He was an inspired choice for Colangelo in the off-season and his role on the team will be very much in the mould of a Mark Jackson, a Darrick Martin, a Jalen Rose. A veteran who will help these young players develop.
If he even moderately improves Calderon’s defense he should be given a nobel prize.
In Our Dreams
The best case scenario here is for Dwane Casey to instill a defensive mindset in his point guards. That’s why he is here, that’s why Anthony Carter is here.
Calderon is an awful defender. You don’t need to go too far to find all kinds of people writing/complaining about all his negative traits on the defensive end.
If he can show some improvement or at least have a system built around him to plug the gaping holes he’s going to leave then that will be a positive.
Calderon really isn’t a major concern going into the season. He is what he is and he isn’t likely to develop all that much. The hope here is that Bayless develops into something and starts pushing Calderon for minutes.
A best case scenario would see Bayless playing his way into a starting spot sometime during the season. If he can showcase himself as a solid point guard option then the Raptors will be able to focus on other areas of need moving forward.
The Raptors want Bayless to succeed and firmly entrench himself as the everyday point guard of today and tomorrow. It is far more likely he’ll show himself to be an adequate member of the Raptor bench. Either way a piece for the future would be nice.
Dwane Casey is a solid coach who implemented a very smart system that played to the needs and strengths of the Dallas Mavericks. He was able to hide Dirk’s deficiencies under the rim and made the most of what he had, but he isn’t a miracle worker.
This is not Dallas.
Jose Calderon is not going to get a whole lot better defensively, Jarryd Bayless is not even a point guard, in my opinion, and Anthony Carter cannot be counted on to cover for these two for long stretches.
I foresee a lot more of Anthony Carter than we really should or will want to see. If defense is king this year, he’s the one that will come in and play. I can see this getting under the skin of the Raptor faithful that want to see Bayless given any and all minutes to prove his worth to the team going forward.
This is a position that will see many changes next season. In all likelihood Bryan Colangelo already knows who his PG target is in Free Agency next year or in the draft.
All three-point guards are stop gaps for this season. None will be around in a year or two. In fact, Calderon could be amnestied ( I love how that is becoming a verb now) this coming off-season ending his days as a Raptor. I’ve been a big fan of his over the years, but this is his last chance to prove that he’s got something to bring to the table. Hopefully he embraces his mentorship role with the Raptors the way he has embraced everything asked of him during his Raptors tenure.
This will definitely be the most frustrating position for Raptors this year and also likely the punching bag for all frustrations surrounding the team on message boards and blogs.
Get ready for a rough year.
The Zan Tabak Herald
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Zantabakherald