Pure point guard

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:38 PM ET

Jose Calderon's reign in Spain as one of that league's best point guards over the Past three seasons demonstrated one irrefutable fact.

Besides being a marvel in distributing the ball and finding his teammates for open shots, the kid could flat-out shoot.

Which you would never know by watching Calderon play as a Raptor.

It has been said many times that the Raptors are completely satisfied with the way Calderon has adjusted to the NBA game. He's a pure point guard on a team that hasn't had many of those over the years, and also is a real hustle player, both on offence and defence.

But there has been one glaring weakness to his game -- his inability to make the long-range jumper.

Calderon is shooting a respectable 44%, but most of those made were from close-in. From 15 feet and out, he's struggling, even more so from three-point range, where he has hit five of 33 attempts (15%) -- strange when you consider that last year, playing for Tau Ceramica in the Spanish Elite League, the personable Calderon shot a respectable 45% from beyond the arc (49-for-108) and a stellar 57% from the field. In fact, the native of Villanueva de la Serena shot 50% in all three seasons in the Spanish League.

So what gives?

Calderon, who is averaging a stellar 5.6 assists for the Raps, insisted that he is a much better long-range shooter than he has shown in Toronto, but has not concentrated on that part of his game.

"When I play a little bit bad, everybody told me about the shot," he said. "I can shoot, no problem.

"But here I get more assists than (in Spain) because I play for the team. You have to adapt to the team," the Spaniard added, waving his arms in the air to emphasize a point. "Here, we have the players to shoot the ball. I don't go out to shoot."

Calderon understands that it's not his job to launch shot after shot, that his game is to set up his teammates for the wide-open shot, and he happily accepts that role.

"When I'm on the floor, I'm with MoPete, Jalen Rose, Chris Bosh and Matt Bonner. Those four are better shooters than me, why I shoot?" he said. "I try to penetrate, create (open shots)."

That's why his teammates love the guy so much -- he'd rather pick up an assist than a three-pointer. Still, Calderon insisted that the day will come when his shooting percentage in the NBA will rise to what it was in Europe. Once he becomes more comfortable, and shoots a little more, the percentage will rise.

"I'm not the best shooter in the world, but I can shoot," he said. "I'm not scared about my shot."

The Raptors play host to the New York Knicks tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre.


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