The Raptors personnel has changed significantly since the 2019 championship. Four starters and six of the top eight for playoff minutes from that team are gone. Most (all?) of those players brought unique things on offense that we haven't replaced with a younger version of the same thing -- our offensive strengths are quite different now. I think we have the following unique strengths:
- Scottie Barnes
- Quite a few guys who can both shoot and drive at least decently well
- Frontcourt mobility
- The ability to go *small* without actually giving up a lot of size
- No elite iso player
- No clear, elite pick-and-roll combo
- No elite post/passing big
- Not a ton of experience/veteran savvy
- It's slow developing, so we run up against the shot clock, and we don't have great iso bail-out options. We're top ten in iso frequency, despite being bottom ten in iso points per possession.
- The ball doesn't change hands often, so good players (e.g., Scottie) get left out of the play too often.
- We're bottom 5 in the league in generating "wide open" three pointers and "wide open" shots in general. That says to me that we're not generating space in the half-court.
I don't know all the systems out there: help me out if you have some suggestions. Here are some possibilities:
- Spread Pick-and-Roll (e.g., D'Antoni)
- Spurs Motion
- Dribble Drive Motion
My current vote is Dribble Drive Motion offense, because I think it makes sense in a few key ways:
- I think it fits the versatility and quickness of the roster.
- Minimizes the need for an elite iso guy.
- Minimizes the need for a big as offensive fulcrum.
- I think it would help generate chances earlier in possessions.
- I think it would get the ball changing hands more quickly, so guys like Scottie Barnes and OG would be involved in more plays.
- There's been some NBA success for teams with similar roster construction using dribble drive motion (e.g., Nuggets 2012-13).
- The Raptors already use a spread base offense with some similar principles as dribble drive, but it clearly doesn't have the same rules about attacking aggressively. But it wouldn't be a total overhaul of everything -- just a shift in mentality.