If you’ve been reading this space for a while you know that post-game wrap-ups around here are usually filled with emotion, disgust, joy and a wide range of feelings which are usually towards the farther ends of the spectrum of happiness and despair. So when I report with almost no emotion whatsoever that the Raptors dropped their summer league opener to the Kings 93-86 (box score), I’m trying to say that this game doesn’t mean anything.
AltRaps has scourged Yahoo for some very nice pics from the game. A game where Joey Graham was very impressive until you realize who the competition really was. Either way, you can’t take away 24/8 and 12-15 FT from Joey, nights like these only happens in dreams for the guy. Fast forward to the final two minutes of the game and you’ll instantly recognize the fourth quarter famine that was so evident of the big club last year. The Raptors failed to score when it mattered most going Turnover, Missed Jumpshot, Missed Horrible Jumpshot for the last three possessions of the game.
Jaycee Carrol showed us a little something something with a few nice floaters and a couple jumpers and went 6-9 FG for 14 points. Unfortunately he happened to take a very ill-advised late three which spattered mockingly against the backboard. It is summer league, if you’re not going to try stuff like that here where will you try it? Very unimpressive night for our PGs, John Lucas going 3-13 FG with a very, very bad pass in those crucial final two minutes. How Daniel Ewing managed to pick up 5 fouls and 2 turnovers in less than 9 minutes was a thing of beauty, the man sure makes the most of his time on the floor. He was my outside pick to make the team, egg on my face indeed.
Before the game Joey Graham talked about the struggles of trying to stay in the NBA:
“It’s just rekindling the flame that I had missed throughout the season. It’s just a matter of me coming out here, playing hard and doing the same stuff I’ve been doing while I’ve been in the Toronto Raptors organization…..When Jermaine or Chris is tired, I can definitely come in and play that position. When Jamario, Parker or Jason Kapono are tired I can play that position, too. Me being able to play multiple positions is an advantage for this team.”
He’s desperate for consistent minutes and begging Sam Mitchell to let him play through his mistakes. Graham’s got the physical ability to be in the NBA but I just don’t think he has enough time to show the Raptors organization that he’s worthy of it. My guess is he’ll end up being without a contract for next season, have a good year somewhere else and get back in the NBA – just like Hassan Adams.
Raptors summer league coach Eric Hughes chimed in post-game and pointed out to the Kings having a few first round picks on their roster as being the difference:
“I thought we played really hard – it was a physical game. They have four first round draft picks on their team and I think that showed a little bit with the way they were physical. Not that we weren’t ready for it and not that we didn’t compete, but ultimately that caught up to us at the end.”
Uber-blogger Rod Benson and Chris Bosh’s brother did not play and Hassan Adams chipped in with 9/3/4. That concludes the formality of covering a meaningless game.
Anthony Parker and Jermaine O’Neal are working out hard at Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. Jermaine’s giving his usual “reborn” speech but Anthony Parker chose to talk some technicalities:
“He brings toughness, a defensive presence in the paint, and he’s a great rebounder. All of those things are things we struggled with last year…He’s going to open things up and you’ve got to honor him and maybe send two people at him, same way with Chris. And that opens things up for guys like me and Jason Kapono on the outside.”
The man is obviously talking great sense here, O’Neal’s acquisition is designed to get the likes of him and Kapono open looks and we know they can knock them down. On paper it really is a great idea and if Sam Mitchell can utilize two double team threats and two great outside shooters properly, there’s little reason to believe that we can’t be a very good offensive team. On the other end of the court you know that Bosh and O’Neal will do their part, it’ll be upto our perimeter guys (including Moon) to lock down the perimeter. Another benefit of having a healthy Jermaine O’Neal is that we won’t need to constantly double team the likes of Dwight Howard as much as we did last year, thus easing the pressure off our defense.
Some bloke in the Miami Herald is proclaiming that the Raptors tried to acquire Shawn Marion but the Heat didn’t show great interest in T.J Ford. Then the writer goes on to say that Miami would rather have Larry Hughes. I personally loathe Shawn Marion’s game, he’s a product of a Phoenix system which suited him perfectly and not a superstar. If really hope Colangelo didn’t actually try to acquire him.
Raptors play Denver on Monday. Have a nice day and as John Stewart says, here’s your moment of zen.