Calderon still has some evolving to do

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:09 PM ET

It’s doubtful if Jose Calderon learned anything from T.J. Ford when they gave the Raptors arguably the strongest one-two point guard punch in the NBA.

Calderon isn’t as selfish as Ford and neither is he prone to disrupt team chemistry.

The two are as opposite as a team that likes to play in half court and a team that pushes the ball at every opportunity.

But there is one quality Ford possesses that Calderon somehow must incorporate into his game. That is the ability to take over games.

Whether Calderon ever evolves into that player who wants the ball in his hands in crunch time and isn’t afraid to take a game-winning shot, regardless of its outcomes, remains to be seen.

Calderon has shown flashes of being aggressive and looking to score before deferring and getting a teammate involved.

Tuesday night, that resulted in a season-high and a team-high 21 points, and seven assists, in helping the Raptors defeat Ford and the Indiana Pacers 123-112.

Being selfish while running the show sounds odd.

By definition, the role of a point guard is to facilitate an offence, find players in their sweet spots and establish a pace and style that ultimately defines a team.

On Toronto’s first possession Tuesday, Calderon was very aggressive in turning the corner on a pick and roll from the right elbow.

He drove the lane hard, but his finish lacked quality and the ball hit iron.

But the point was made, even though the basketball failed to drop.

Whether Calderon’s extra step was the direct result of being matched up against Ford can be debated.

Calderon can’t beat Ford in a battle of quicks because the Spaniard isn’t the most fleetest of foot.

As long as Calderon can keep his man in front of him on defence, the Raptors should feel content. Calderon never will earn any votes for any all-NBA defensive teams.

Calderon’s strength is his offence, which best sums up the Raptors.

In roughly more than nine minutes in the opening quarter, Calderon posted 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting and three free throws.

Why he doesn’t begin each game the way he began Tuesday ranks right up their with the mystery that is Reggie Evans’ injured foot.

There’s nothing wrong with being selfish and looking to score in the flow of an offence.

Calderon posts nice numbers and at times is more concerned with protecting the basketball.

But there’s nothing wrong with taking a calculated risk.

Calderon isn’t going to suddenly become this me-first, shot-happy point guard because that’s not in his makeup.

He doesn’t have to be Ford, but there’s nothing wrong in taking a page from Ford.

In contrast, Ford’s shots and baskets Tuesday appeared inconsequential, given how woefully the Pacers defended.

Yes, Ford scored, winding up with 16 points, but he wasn’t getting any of his teammates involved.

There are no problems with the Raptors when it comes to filling the net.

On defence, however, the deficiencies are obvious.

When they clean that up, which won’t happen anytime soon, and once they play an entire game with sustained energy and commitment, the Raptors will be fine.


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