No Shortage Of Floor Generals For Raptors This Season

Ulmer's Position-by-Position Analysis: Point Guard | Shooting Guard | Small Forward | Power Forward | Centre
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Mike Ulmer -

September 29, 2009 - With training camp opening today in Ottawa, the time is ripe for a more thorough look at the Raptors. Over the week, we will deliver an analysis by position.

Today, point guard.

One year later, Raptors General Manager Bryan Colangelo won't be fooled again.

Last season, when Jose Calderon's right hamstring injury forced him out of the lineup, the team's lack of depth at the point proved devastating.

The Raptors were left with a green Roko Ukic and journeymen Will Solomon and went 5-10 without Calderon. Even when he returned, Calderon struggled mightily on the defensive end as opposing point guards routinely steamed by him into the heart of the Raptors defence.

By the time Calderon truly returned found his health, the season was too far gone. But rather than coast, Calderon delivered. His 19-assist, 22-point performance in an overtime win against the Chicago Bulls in late March was a staggering statistical feat.

This time, the Raptors have a more than feasible back-up in Jarrett Jack, signed away from the Indiana Pacers by Colangelo.

Calderon is typically optimistic when he assesses this year's team.

"We have everything we needed. We have 15 guys who can really help the team. I am really excited about it."

Here's a breakdown:

Jose Calderon

2008-09 Statistics: 12.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 8.9 apg, 1.1 spg, 34.3 mpg, 0.497 FG%, 0.406 3p%, 0.981 FT% in 68 Games Played (68 starts)
Age: 28
Strengths: When healthy, Calderon is one of the headiest and steadiest point guards in the NBA. He worked assiduously to refine his jump shot but his three-point percentage dipped last season to .406 from .429. He is nearly .900 from the line. He protects the ball and was victimized for a miserly 2.1 turnovers a game.

The arrival of Hedo Turkoglu will alter Calderon's game. Turkoglu sometimes brings the ball upcourt and when stationed in the offensive zone he becomes a de facto second point guard.

All this figures to be for the good. Restored to health, Calderon can go back to turning the corner and distributing the ball.

Fatigued by international commitments going into last season, Calderon returned to Spain this summer to heal and fine tune his body.

Weaknesses: Never a great defensive player, Calderon can be posted up by bigger, more physical guards.

Jarrett Jack

2008-09 Statistics: 13.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.1 spg, 33.1 mpg, 0.453 FG%, 0.353 3p%, 0.852 FT% in 82 Games Played (53 starts)
Age: 26
Strengths: At six-three and well over 200 pounds, Jack has the ball-handling skills to play the point but enough size and shooting touch to play two guard. He is a good rebounder, notice his 3.4 boards a game (compared to Calderon's 2.85). Did a fine job spelling T.J. Ford as the starting point guard for the Pacers' final dozen games after a five-game losing skid. Pacers went 8-4 with him as the starting floor general the rest of the way.

Should Calderon be hurt, Jack is able to stand in indefinitely. In games where he played 40 minutes or more, Jack averaged 18 points. He can be a physical, hard-nosed defender.

Weaknesses: Not the fastest man on the court or the best shooter, Jack's value is in his versatility. He does everything well but not superbly. That makes him an excellent bench player and spot starter.

Marcus Banks

2008-09 Statistics: 2.5 ppg, 0.80 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.5 spg, 9.4 mpg, 0.368 FG%, 0.158 3p%, 0.611 FT% in 22 Games Played
Age: 28
Strengths: Who knows? Banks played just six games for the Raptors and twice was out of the lineup via coach's decision. Toe surgery meant he missed the last dozen games. When he was in the lineup, he did not play much. He was on the court for six minutes all season. Still, when given a chance Banks has produced. He managed 10 points and 3.8 assists while splitting times between Minnesota and Boston in 2005-2006.

Weaknesses: There has been criticism of poor court vision and lackadaisical defence.

A remnant of the trade for Shawn Marion, Banks will be on hand to soak up any leftover minutes.

Quincy Douby

2008-09 Statistics: 4.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.2 spg, 11.1 mpg, 0.382 FG%, 0.304 3p%, 0.895 FT% in 27 Games Played
Age: 25
Strengths: Like Banks, Douby doesn't have much of a body of work. He lives and dies on his shot and when he is on, he can get on a roll. He shot the ball 22 times in netting 32 for Sacramento against the Lakers in 2008. Douby can play either one of the two guard positions.

Weaknesses: The numbers tell the story. Douby did not play in five of the 12 games for which he was eligible. His 4.4 points a game did nothing to earn him more playing time and while he bills himself as a combo guard, he is more suited to the two-guard spot.

At roughly 175 pounds, it remains to be seen if Douby could handle a heavy workload guarding two's and some of the league's bigger point guards.