You might have problems when… Marcus Banks outplays Jose Calderon

Toronto Raptors fans have gotten used to seeing Marcus Banks this way – On the bench, in a suit.

Heading into the season, many writers and bloggers have ignored Banks altogether in their depth charts and previews. Since coming to Toronto with Shawn Marion, he’s done absolutely nothing on the court, with even fewer expectations for this year. With Jarrett Jack in town to back up Jose Calderon, there is nowhere for Banks to play.

On the other hand, Calderon says he was “embarrassed” by his play last season, despite posting some pretty decent numbers. Plagued by a hamstring injury, Calderon was useless defending opponents and had trouble getting to the rim effectively. Supposedly, things were going to be different this year. Jose sat out of EuroBasket and claimed to be 100% healthy during training camp.

He sure didn’t look it last night at the John Labbatt Centre in London, Ontario.

In Toronto’s first pre-season game, Calderon was repeatedly burned by Louis Williams as the Raps gave up 65 first-half points. He also looked sluggish running the offence, holding the ball too long and turning it over on telegraphed passes. Calderon should have been the best point guard on the floor – Instead, he was the worst.

Now, I know it’s pre-season. Jose hasn’t played in a long time, and it’s understandable that he’d be rusty. Still, with talk of improved defence, it’s disconcerting to see such a pathetic display from the start. Calderon will have a shot at redemption when the teams meet again tonight – Hopefully, he’ll adjust and play better.

On the other hand, Banks actually played well. He easily exceeded his non-existent expectations, throwing a nice alley-oop and showing off a decent handle.

It would be great if Toronto can actually get something from Banks this year. We heard nothing about him in training camp, and it was assumed that his big contract would waste away on the bench for another season. But again, it’s pre-season, and nothing matters. Or so I hope.

Because if Banks and Calderon play anything like last night, the Raps have problems.


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October 7, 2009 3:39 pm

Overall, Marcus Banks was bad last night … although he might have played better than some were expecting; while Jose Calderon was decidedly mediocre … although he might have played worse than some were expecting.

The Starting PG position isn’t the main problem on this team … given who Jack [solid role player], Banks [back-up], Douby [back-up], DeRozan [too young right now], Belinelli [back-up, should be playing PG], Weems [back-up], Evans [back-up], Johnson [back-up], Bargnani [offense-only starter], Nesterovic [back-up] and O’Bryant [back-up]are as basketball players.

james bond
james bond
October 7, 2009 4:36 pm

I think the biggest problem facing Calderon is the fans and media drastically over-rated him. Sure, he’s an excellent shooter and is absolutely deadly when left open. But he was never a good defender, even before the injury, yet this was masked when he was coming off the bench playing against less athletic players.
On the offensive end, Jose’s assists are inflated by his style of play – usually a pick and roll to Chris Bosh. Jose’s excellent assist/turnover ratio is largely due to the fact that he plays ultra conservatively and rarely passes the ball inside, which probably hurts the team more than it helps. Jose actually doesn’t create much inside, as most of his passes are on or around the perimeter.
The fact is, due to the fact that Jose prefers to hold on to the ball and play conservatively, he would actually be best used off the bench as a steady, reliable player who can help maintain the lead or prevent the opposition’s lead from becoming too great.
Jose was the best back-up PG in the league, and we got carried away with our TJ hate and a bit too willingly over-looked his faults. He should remain an important player on the team, but in a sixth man role off the bench.

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