Guards asked to hurry up

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:49 AM ET

The Raptors have a tendency to take their foot off the gas pedal and that's not a good thing when a team is trying to run a fast-paced offence.

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell has been stressing the need to run since Day 1 of training camp. But the message is taking a while to sink in.

"We've got to get out and run," Mitchell said. "It's always better to advance the ball with a pass than to dribble ... Our guards when they do that, they have a tendency when they advance it to stop. You've got to keep running because chances are you're going to get a shot at the elbow."

Indeed, the Raptors' fast breaks often have not resulted in odd-man rushes. Backup point guard Jose Calderon seems to understand the concept of passing to get up the floor in the hurry, but Mitchell says the Spaniard tends to stop running after he makes the breakout pass.

Starting point guard T.J. Ford, on the other hand, is more prone to dribble up the court quickly, which isn't always the best option, even for such a fast player.

POSITIVE THOUGHTS

The Raptors have struggled to knock down shots all year, but Mitchell thinks he has a solution for his players -- don't spend nights wondering how to regain a scoring touch.

"What coaches always told me is start doing other things (when the shot isn't falling), start playing better D," Mitchell said. "Then, before you know it, you'll stop thinking about your shot and next thing you know, you're making shots.

"Like I told our guys, you can play a great game and be 0-for-8. You can rebound, you can defend, get deflections, take some charges. There are a lot of other things you can do. Like I told the guys, I am never going to be the coach that plays you based solely on if you're making shots or not because there are other things you can do to help us win."

ALL-STAR NOMINEES

Ford, Chris Bosh and Morris Peterson are the Raptors' representatives on the 120-player all-star ballot, which was released yesterday. The all-star game is Feb. 18 in Las Vegas.


Videos

Photos