Jose Calderon (Frank Gunn/AP)
Quietly, Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon has emerged as one of the best floor generals in the league. Because he plays for an above average franchise that is located outside of the United States, his solid work this season has gone largely unnoticed.
However, Calderon is in the final year of his contract and it is very possible that soon the majority of NBA fans in the U.S will know of the dazzling guard hailing from Spain.
Calderon and his Raptors will be facing Orlando next, and Calderon has already burned the Magic this year. In January, Calderon went for 19 points and 13 assists as the Raptors defeated the Magic, 127-110.
What makes Calderon such a steady point guard is his ability to quarterback the offense and control the tempo of the game, with proof of that being his 8.7 assists per game. He has an unbelievable turnover to assist ratio at 5:1. Calderon’s efficiency at his position is unmatched and the argument could be made that he is right behind
Chris Paul of the Hornets as the best distributing guard in the game.
Another stellar aspect of Calderon’s game is his shooting ability. While he may not be a go to option, Calderon can easily blow by a defender and pull up for a mid-range jump shot and nail it consistently. Calderon is averaging 12 ppg. He is also very proficient from behind the arc and can knock down the open three, as he is shooting an outstanding 46% from three-point land.
The one aspect of Calderon’s game that needs some work is his defense. He isn’t the most athletic player and that hurts him at times, but Calderon is still a decent defender. He might have a hard time guarding quicker point guards, but Calderon can usually hold his own.
Orlando has had a hard time keeping Calderon in check this like most teams, because they don’t have a player who can disrupt him consistently. Calderon is extremely careful with the ball and makes little mistakes, so a player must be a top tier defender to disrupt him. Jameer Nelson is too small to consistently hang with the taller Calderon, who can easily shoot over him at 6-3. Carlos Arroyo doesn’t have the defensive prowess to consistently disrupt him and Keyon Dooling usually is guarding the team’s best perimeter player.
The best way to neutralize Calderon is to try to disrupt him with high energy and in your face defense. It will be difficult to force him to turn the ball over, but there is a chance you can disrupt his flow and take the team out of their offense. Orlando’s best chance to stop this prolific guard might be to try and isolate him, take the ball to the hoop and try to get him in foul trouble. If Orlando can’t do either of those things, the efficient Calderon might scorch the Magic again.