I’m not the biggest fan of Ottawa but I found myself stuck in a pretty crappy hotel in the east end of the city due to some business over the weekend. This of course meant that I missed two of the most anticipated games in our young season but managed to catch them once I got back.
I’ve previously predicted that Carlos Delfino will emerge as a defensive stopper and possible rebounder from the three-position, but I believed he would take his time getting acclimated. Actually, Natalie over at Need4Sheed.com gave us a heads up on Delfino earlier this year.
“From the 3 spot, he can cut to the rack and take a pass for a shot which doesn’t expose how poorly he drives to the rim with the ball in his hands. Defensively he’s above average, but at the 3 usually has to play against superior starters. I guess what i’m saying is you got a good back up 3, an average at best back up defensive 2, and a 3rd string PG.”
Looking at these comments, I took a closer look at Delfino’s stats, trying to extrapolate them over longer minutes. At only about 16 minutes per game, Delfino averaged 3.2 RPG, 1.1 APG, and 0.6 SPG. In limited minutes, we could already see some hints that he was going to become a rebounder that we all secretly wish that Joey would become at the 3-spot. This year, he’s averaging 5.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.3 SPG in expanded playing time. It’s been argued that playing a particular position will affect your rebounding proficiency but with a team like the Raptors that draws out the big men it’s the wing players that have had the most opportunities to grab rebounds. Heck, it’s not only Delfino that’s rebounding from the guard position. After Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani, we have Delfino, Kapono, Parker, and Calderon as rebounding leaders.
However, there are a lot of lessons that we can learn from the Boston game. For one thing, it’s a pretty scary thing that this Raptors team could keep pace with the Celtics in spite shooting an absolutely horrible 36.7%. It’s encouraging because the Raptors seldom kept up with teams last year when shooting such a horrible percentage. Another lesson that we should take from the game is that Mitchell has to learn to trust Rasho a bit more. With Bargnani shooting horribly (15.4%), Nesterovic should have seen more playing time. Actually, he should have seen a lot of playing time, regardless, because he’s one of those guys that plays Kevin Garnett very effectively in one-on-one situations. In any case, there were many glimmers of hope from the Celtics game, even though they came out with a loss. My only other concern was watching Jose land awkwardly at the end of the game, but it doesn’t seem like he’s going to miss any games.
So the following week, we’re going to be seeing a lot of Raptors ball. It’ll be a good challenge for the deeper parts of the bench as the Raptors face two back to backs, with some travel.
Next Up: Raptors @ the Bucks