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.