Thursday, February 19, 2009

Time To Study Jose.

I haven't been reading what people think of Marion's debut but I loved it. He really gave us what we needed and what became the most evident to me was how everything will fall into place when Bosh gets back. With him getting the board, Marion is free to run and play the fast break. It's hard for him to do that when he has to get the defensive rebound but what's harder and perhaps more painful, is running the fast break but not being passed to.

What am I on about?

10 6 and 6 is not bad, but it would have been higher stats if Jose could play well with him. I don't know how many of you watched him in Phoenix, but what you'd probably notice is that Marion is great without the ball. He's a good slasher, always moving and quite frankly, I don't think Jose knew how to play with that. I can't really blame him being use to playing with Moon and Graham who basically don't move until they get the ball. On a separate note, that 6 assists is amazing. For years people have criticized his passing game but I'm sure you noticed that he has great passing around the rim. Something all our bigs tried to do but lacked the ability. Should be interesting to see how that plays out.

If you get a chance, watch that game and you'll see lots of Marion moves to shake his defender and hang around the rim. A classic alley oop set up from his phoenix days. What was obvious however was that Jose wasn't looking or couldn't see him and instead almost always swung the ball the other way.

Just after seeing a few of those plays I noticed something immediately. It's not about Marion fitting in and learning the system, or even Bosh learning how to play with him. The success of this deal is going to be on how quick Jose can learn Marion's style. So many analysts are out there saying the great thing about Marion is that he doesn't need the ball, he doesn't need the play, what he does is outside of any system. This is where Jose will struggle because although he is a great half court set point guard, he is probably one of the worst fast break point guards in the league.

This is going to be a huge adjustment for him because he is so careful so cautious. To run and gun however, you have to be prepared to accept mistakes. I haven't checked, but I'm sure if you look at Nash's stats last few years during the glory days he probably led all point guards in turnovers. To really run, you have to make those passes that are either going to be an easy two or a turnover and be ready to accept whichever.

Marion loves the quick post up. Get the rebound, run down the key and start posting up ready to do a shot in literally, seven seconds or less. Jose biggest flaw however is holding the ball too much. Watch him on fast break and you'll almost always see him drive towards the rim, see that he's not fast or strong enough to beat the opposition and pull it out. He needs to worry less about doing that himself, and simply look out for Marion the moment you get the ball because he will already be in a position to score. Jose is not faster than most pg's and should know that Marion is faster than most forwards and bet on him during the fast break instead. In fact, Marion almost out of habit always first runs towards the rim, hangs there for about 2 seconds to see if people notice him and then veers back towards the three. If Jose can find him when he gets to that key, Marion has a pretty nice touch around the rim. Many raptors fans would live with a missed shot in the paint for a change. I for one am a little sick of Jose and Parker getting rejected on fast break layups and would rather see Marion get fouled on a fast break DUNK. (which he did attempt in this game to prove my point and was one of the few fast breaks that didn't get rejected.

The second thing Jose needs to learn is something I'm sure all raptors fans have noticed since the beginning of the season. Jose's weakest pass is the alley oop. I remember a few games where he tried 2 or 3 and it was just beyond a disaster. Granted, he has made significant improvement in that area but he needs more. Marion may be the next best transition alley oop player in the NBA behind James. Jose is going to have to throw some more up there because the Matrix is very likely to convert that to at least free throws.

The great thing about it however is that Jose has proven to be a hard worker and a quick learner. Not to mention the fact that if I can notice these things with one live viewing, you can bet your ass they see it when they study tape. With Bosh coming back, things are still looking good for the Raps push.


  1. Like I said, it's refreshing to see someone not analyzing the Marion trade to death (pros and cons). Now we're getting into what I feel most fans are fascinated about. How can he match up with the rest of the Raptors?
    It's incredible that most reviews of the game have missed this pretty evident and important problem.
    It'll def. be interesting to see how Jose will handle it. I'm sure this will make him a better player. Gonna be awesome.

    Great post man.

  2. I think that Jose can't adjust to being an agressive point guard. It's not in his nature. He's a cautious, safe, half-court guard. I think because the media made such a big deal about how great his assist/turnover ratio was during his break out season, that he feels that he has to uphold that reputation. Therefore, he doesn't take the risks. I agree with you that it was so OBVIOUS that you could see plenty of times where Marion made moves without the ball and was waiting for the pass and Jose did not get it to him. I think this may be why Jamario turned into a "Kapono Lite", cause he was so sick of trying to make moves without the ball and not getting it? I hope you guys are right about Jose being able to adjust and become a LOT more agressive.

  3. Love how people are saying "When Jose adjusts". I think he has done nothing to show he will this season.
    I was thinking this exact same thing last night.
    But liked the detail on this post.

  4. well you're both right. Jose will never be a great fast break pg but i think it will be alright. He will definitely improve, mainly because it's only one player adjustment. Nobody else really moves without the ball so to keep an eye on one player in particular should be doable.

    And moon did not become that way because he didn't get passes. To be able to hang around the key, you need strength, something that he doesn't have so he just gets pushed out of the key.