Our future PG, Jerryd Bayless

There is no secret that NBA is a guard’s league and more importantly, most good teams have a PG that can break down the defense.  For years, the Raptors don’t have that guy, but now they may have found one in Jerryd Bayless.

Bayless played PG in Arizona, many scouts had him as top 5 pick, great size and very good handle, very strong and quick.  He didn’t have as good a season in Arizona, mostly because he is playing for Kevin O’Neil who inexplicably slowed the pace down.  Bayless excelled in the open court, but he didn’t have too many chances to do so in Arizona.  He dropped to 11th overall in the first round and was picked by the Pacers who traded him to the Blazers for a package that included Jarrett Jack.

His first year in the NBA was quite rocky.  Bayless is not a natural PG, like a lot of 19 year old playing in the NBA, he turned the ball over quite a bit and couldn’t shoot.  The Blazers never gave him minutes to develop.  He did a lot better in his second season, especially in the playoffs where he played SG beside Andre Miller.  He averaged 13 points in 27 minutes in 6 playoff games. He was then traded to the Hornets for a top 7 protected pick.

For whatever reason, he just couldn’t do much in New Orleans.  The lack of playing time is certainly difficult, with Chris Paul around, Bayless isn’t going to have a chance to do much.  When the Raptors acquired him in a trade, it was a blessing for Bayless.  He went from one of the slowest pace team to a team that pushed the pace.

His numbers as a Raptor is very impressive.  Look at his per 36 minute numbers: 20.5 points, 6.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds, shooting 47% from the field, and 44% from the 3 point line.  He has a knack of going to the free throw line, averaging 6.8 attempts in 36 minutes. He has shown he can get to the paint against anyone and has expressed the desire to win.

Now, I am not sure he could continue to shoot 44 percent from the 3 point line, he has a line drive jumper which tends to go through streaks.  He is still learning how to run a team properly, and his inexperience shows at times.  Triano knows this and would have Barbosa run the point at times when Bayless struggled.  His defense is good at times, but tend to bite on head fakes, and he doesn’t get a lot of steals for someone who is so quick.  He does have the physical skills to be better.

I hope the coaching staff spend a lot of time with him before and after the game and looking at tapes on what he can do better.  Bayless would do well to learn a little bit from Jose Calderon on how to run a team.  It doesn’t mean that he has to become a pass first guard, but learning where your teammates are would be a good start.

If he can continue to improve, the Raptors would have finally found someone that can be a building block.  That’s a positive in a year where wins are hard to come by.

 

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