‘The Film Don’t Lie’: Toronto Raptors Subjected to Grueling Video Sessions Amid ‘Terrible’ Defensive Stretch
Another win, another film session pointing out all the defensive letdowns in the game.
That is what it is to be a member of the Raptors today, and head coach Dwane Casey has no intention of letting up as long as he’s seeing subpar defence on the court.
The team has won three in a row after back-to-back losses in Sacramento and Houston, but the bad defence continues to be the daily theme.
Following Monday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, the consensus in the room from the players was the defence had gotten a little better. The coaching staff had another opinion, as Kyle Lowry and the rest of the team found out when they arrived at the practice facility Tuesday morning.
“Terrible, according to the film the coaches showed us,” Lowry said when asked the status of the Raptors’ defence. “The film don’t lie.”
Lowry, though, seemed to be a little caught off guard by another no-nonsense film session, especially after the team had endured a similar session Sunday when they got back on the practice court following a day off and after another win in Milwaukee.
“Coaches are going to find things to pick at, but that’s the one thing about it — we have to take it as a positive, constructive criticism and go from there,” Lowry said. “I believe they want perfection from us and that’s what we have to strive to be: Perfect.”
Listen to Casey for even a nanosecond and it’s pretty clear perfection is a long way away for the head coach.
“We had a lot of defensive mistakes,” Casey said about the win over the 76ers. “We have to continue to work on our fundamentals. I am going to keep harping on it, preaching it. We were in the same boat this time last year where we had to do a huge turnaround defensively, and we will keep working on it.
“Whether it’s Philadelphia, Memphis, the Lakers or whoever it is, we have to have a core belief and commitment and be connected together to get it done defensively.”
Regardless of the three-game winning streak, Casey isn’t seeing that, and possibly because the team is winning, the film sessions are purposefully harsh to ensure no one gets too happy with the status quo.
“We put the films together and what we try to do is, from a coaching staff, (ask) ‘what is a trend?’ Is our transition defence a trend? Lack of communication, pick and roll defence, is that a trend?” Casey said. “So we’ve got to show it and whoever’s feelings it hurts, we can’t worry about that.”
Normally, the Memphis Grizzlies would provide a great test for a team looking to gauge its defensive readiness, but for the second year in a row, these same Grizzlies arrive in Toronto for Wednesday’s game with a good chunk of the top of its roster out with injury.
The latest, and certainly most significant loss, is that of point guard Mike Conley, who suffered a traverse process fracture in his back in a collision during the Grizzlies’ loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.
Also unable to play Wednesday will be centre Zach Randolph, who is away from the team to deal with a personal matter, and forward Chandler Parsons, who is still a week or so away from returning from a knee injury.
Without Conley, the Grizzlies will be relying on a pair of rookies to man the point in Andrew Harrison and Wade Baldwin IV.
Regardless of who plays, Casey wants to see more improvement on the defensive side from his Raptors.
“It’s not going to happen (at once),” Casey said. “Unfortunately, the more games you play, the better offences are probably going to get, too, because they’re really going to get into a rhythm. So you’ve got to really make sure those steps defensively are bigger than the steps teams are making offensively.
“Right now, teams are scoring at a high rate, shooting the ball at an extremely high rate. You’ve got centres, like (Wednesday) night, (Marc) Gasol is shooting 41% from the three. So the game is either changing or the offence is getting so much better and more sophisticated.”
One way or the other, Casey is adamant the Raptors will get back to the defence they are capable of playing. Until he sees it, every single defensive mistake made is going to get highlighted.