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Toronto Raptors Jose Calderon loses the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto, February 25, 2011. (MARK BLINCH)
Toronto Raptors Jose Calderon loses the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto, February 25, 2011. (MARK BLINCH)

Jose Calderon needs to be selfish, Raptors coach says Add to ...

Jose Calderon is a pass-first, shoot-second kind of guy.

He is an unselfish sort, the type of point guard who gets more satisfaction in giving than getting, his 9.1-assists per game this season by far the best average on the Toronto Raptors roster (and fifth-best in the NBA).

Raptors head coach Jay Triano, however, would like to see a little bit more balance in the Spaniard's offence and is constantly urging the 29-year-old to take more shots.

Calderon's line in last Sunday's 114-96 loss to the Dallas Mavericks was more to Triano's liking. He hit on seven of his 10 shots and finished with 15 points while passing off eight assists and grabbing eight rebounds.

"And he can do even more," Triano said after team practice Monday. "I think there were a couple clips where he came off the screen in the second half and looked to be a passer. I've always said that you come off screens you can be a scorer. And if they take that away then you can be a passer.

"I just think sometimes he gets predictable with him coming off screens wanting to make plays rather than to play basketball."

The Dallas game marked the first time in eight outings that Calderon had taken at least 10 shots.

Against the Phoenix Suns last Friday, Calderon only attempted three. Against the Chicago Bulls in the game before that, he took five.

Triano, whose 16-44 team takes on the New Orleans Hornets at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday, said Calderon is more effective when he plays more selfishly and looks for his shot on a more consistent basis.

"We want him to be aggressive and assertive and I thought he was in the first half [against Dallas, when he hit five of six shots]" Triano said. "In the second half, I didn't think he was as much.

"Especially when we have guys out of the lineup, he's got to look to pick up some of the slack scoring-wise."

This season, Calderon is averaging 9.6 points a game while connecting on 44 per cent of his shots. And he will tell you it is his job as the point guard to try to get everybody involved in the offence when he is on the floor.

"Sometimes, the defence plays better defence, they double team me," Calderon said. "If I got two guys with me, somebody's open. So why am I going to shoot the ball? I just try to pass the ball to the open guy."

Still, Calderon says, depending on the game, it would probably be in the team's best interests for him to play more aggressively.

Andrea Bargnani, Toronto's leading scorer, did not play last Sunday, and missed practice Monday with flu-like symptoms.

"I have no idea," Triano said when asked if the seven-foot centre would be ready for Tuesday. "He's been AWOL for like three days now. We'll see. Hopefully, he's getting better."

After the New Orleans game, Toronto will get on a charter and fly to London for their next two games, Friday and Saturday against the New Jersey Nets.

Raptors forward Amir Johnson, for one, is looking forward to broadening his knowledge base through the European adventure.

"I'm going to come back speaking British," he said.

 

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