DeMarre Carroll did not leave the Toronto Raptors as gracefully as he arrived. A couple of days after being shipped to Brooklyn Nets with a couple of picks, DeMarre Carroll was not shy to critique his former squad.
As reported by Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat, the ex-Raptor expressed his relief from parting ways with what he believed was a team that relied too heavily on isolation basketball.
Carroll also added that,
"This year, I feel like a lot of guys didn’t trust each other, they didn’t feel like other guys could produce."
These comments come as a surprise, because although DeMarre Carroll never seemed to fit in with this squad, it was not obvious that he was unhappy. Additionally, it is not common to see a player be so outspoken about internal issues.
Also, Coach Casey still played DeMarre a decent amount of minutes. Carroll started many games despite many fans being displeased with DeMarre’s play.
Furthermore, it comes out of nowhere because Carroll spent much of his stint with the Raps nursing an injury or having horrid shooting games.
Thus, the question becomes: is the criticism warranted? And further, is it appropriate criticism coming from DeMarre Carroll?
The Numbers Do Not Lie
DeMarre Carroll’s criticism of his former team is clearly valid. You do not need to have a doctorate in stat analysis to see the lack of ball movement from the Raps.
The numbers indicate that the Raptors did indeed run a lot of isolation basketball, and also that they got effective scoring chances playing this way.
In this way, it is the classic case of unknown causation. Are they scoring effectively in isolation because they are doing it so often, or is their brand of isolation basketball actually creating scoring chances? Let’s dive deeper into the numbers.
The data shows that the Raptors were effective on the offensive end. They ranked as one of the premier offences during the regular season, ranking 6th in the entire league.
In this regard then, DeMarre Carroll’s comments do not have too much merit. However, an eye test of the Raptors tells a different story. In the second round of the 2017 playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Raptors had offensive woes.
Their offence often got stagnant and predictable, with many possessions consisting of over-dribbling. The reliance of iso basketball and lack of ball movement is clearly not a good recipe to beating elite teams in the post-season.
What Good Does it do for DeMarre?
The next question then becomes what good does it do for DeMarre Carroll and what purpose does bashing on his old team serve?
Firstly, this does DeMarre no real benefit. It only makes him look like a bad leader.
Brooklyn brought in DeMarre Carroll with the expectation that he will bring veteran leadership. His criticism only proves those beliefs wrong. It shows a lack of accountability on his end and an eagerness to blame others.
Along the same lines, the comments show that DeMarre might not be the best teammate in the locker room.
If he noticed these issues earlier, he should have brought them up with the entire organization from the top-down. I am sure Masai Ujiri would be open to suggestions, and that leaders like DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry would have attempted to do what was best for the team.
Addressing an issue in the past is useless, and the statements only negatively impact the league-wide perspective on DeMarre.
These statements are even worse because it is not like DeMarre was very effective when he did play. In two years North of the Border, Carroll hovered around 40% field goal. This is an atrocious shooting percentage.
He also boasted a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 11.9 in 2015-2016 and 2017 which is below the league average. Thus, although the criticism might be warranted, it does not seem right coming from DeMarre Carroll. He would have been better off just keeping his mouth shut.
The consequences of Carroll’s statement are yet to be seen. Will his comments negatively affect his league-wide perception ala D’Angelo Russell? Will his comments scare away future potential free agents from signing with the Raps?
Two things are certain though. First, the Raps relying too heavily on isolation basketball is not only the subject of sports debate shows. The entire league has taken notice. This cannot be good for free agent pitches.
Second, Masai Ujiri seems not to care one bit that his club is an isolation heavy one. Masai trading away DeMarre Carroll, resigning Kyle Lowry, and bringing back Dwane Casey all show that he is comfortable.
He is comfortable with the current brand of isolation basketball the Raps are playing. He is comfortable with the current culture, despite him voicing otherwise. He is comfortable with being average.
Let me know your thoughts. Do DeMarre’s comments have merit? Do they hurt his image or the image of the Raps more? Is DeMarre simply bitter or is he genuninely concerned about his former squad? Comment down below.