Jerryd Bayless

If you watch a lot of NBA action, you know that the ability to play smart, well-executed basketball at the end of games can be worth from 5 to 10 wins over the course of a season. Since the Raptors are a young team, it shouldn’t be surprising that this has been a problem for them this season, and it was certainly what caused them to lose last night in Charlotte.

While Jerryd Bayless had his second straight strong performance as a starting point guard, he followed 34 minutes of electrifying play with a disastrous final minute. His questionable decision-making and careless ball-handling you’ll see in this clip killed the Raptors’ chances of pulling out a close win. I’ve also included Andrea Bargnani’s costly turnover after a key offensive rebound when he should have taken a second to gather himself before attempting the pass to reset the offence.

It’s worth noting that in spite of last night’s rough ending, Bayless has been very impressive in his last two games. He’s obviously not lacking in confidence and I’ve been pleased with his hustle, his fearlessness in the lane and his ability to stay in front of his man on the defensive end. Here are a couple of highlights that stood out for me last night — in the first sequence, he gets back in transition to stop a fast break, forces D.J. Augustin to force up and bad shot on the ensuing offensive set, and then streaks down the other hand to set up a wide-open Sonny Weems for an easy jumper. In the second play, he drives through the athletic Bobcats defence for a near-circus-shot and-one.

It’s safe to say we haven’t seen a point guard who can make plays like this in Toronto for a while. It’s not hard to find flaws in his game — his handle could use work, his shot is inconsistent and he’s not a particularly great finisher at the rim — but his 24-points, eight-assists, four-rebounds average in those two games speaks for itself. Jose Calderon has only scored 24 points in a single game once since the beginning of the 2009-10 season.

Whether or not he’ll ever be considered a “true point guard” is uncertain, but even if you don’t consider him starting material in the long run, there’s no question the 22-year-old has Sixth Man of the Year potential. It appears that Jay Triano has allowed him the freedom to drive and shoot whenever he feels like it, and it’s worked out pretty well so far in Toronto with the unfortunate exception of that final minute.

In case you haven’t seen it already, let’s wrap this up with DeMar DeRozan’s spectacular dunk late in the third quarter. Watch this once for the dunk and then watch it a second time for Bayless flying off the bench in his warmup jacket with his towel waving to help DeRozan up. I like this kid. Also, can I say that my one of my favourite aspects of the NBA is they way bench players react to dunks like these? For some reason, many of them wear facial expressions like they just witnessed a particularly gruesome car wreck. It never gets old for me.

Comments (5)

  1. Love the DD dunk, but I think we would appreciate the dunk a lot more if could get the regular midcourt camera view. I respect the TV crew for trying to spicen things up a little with something new (baseline shots), but they are basically trying to justify their existence by fixing something that wasn’t broke in the first place. There are many other places they could improve the braodcast.

  2. Joey, society is ALL about trying to justify whom/whatever’s existence by fixing something that isn’t broken.

  3. Yeah, I find the weird camera angles off-putting sometimes, but because i’m focusing on taking notes and what I’m going to write about the game the next day, I don’t really let it get to me. I’m well-aware that a lot of Raptors fans hate the production style, though.

  4. Others have pointed it out elsewhere, but the biggest problem with the Raps production crew is their tendency to miss parts of the actual game because they’re cutting away to replays at the wrong time, or what really bothers me, showing prolonged shots of coaches or players sitting on the bench. I can’t count how many times I’ve yelled at the TV, “show the fucking game!”

    DeMar’s dunk was especially nice because I was yelling at him not much earlier for bailing out on a baseline drive and not trying to dunk it. Him and Weems should be trying to posterize defences way more instead of avoiding contact or being afraid of getting their shots blocked. People rag on Bayless because he gets selfish/tries to do too much on his own but at least he’s fearless driving the lane. We gave up an older, less talented player in Jack who wasn’t a true point either and people are crying about a kid who’s showing all kinds of potential? He’s also being forced to run a team whose plays he hasn’t yet had a chance to learn. Give him some damn time.

  5. “Others have pointed it out elsewhere, but the biggest problem with the Raps production crew is their tendency to miss parts of the actual game because they’re cutting away to replays at the wrong time, or what really bothers me, showing prolonged shots of coaches or players sitting on the bench.”

    Oh, god! I couldn’t agree more. It’s not that it happens all the time, but enough that it gets really annoying. I’m all for cut aways, but they hold the shot WAY too long. A word of advice: If the game is actually going on, don’t cutaway unless it is VERY important. You want to show a coaches reaction, show it as a replay on a dead ball.

    The other thing that bugs me is when the announcers are busy going on about something other than the game and they completely miss something. I’ve sometimes wondered who it was that did something important, but never find out because the announcers never mention it.

    Also, I concur about the weird camera angle on the dunk. The best shot was the normal one. Just because you HAVE a shot from underneath, doesn’t mean it’s the best one.

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