Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan - teammates soon?

Before I get to today’s piece I want to talk about Hwy 427. What the f*ck gives? There’s been construction on that bloody thing for the past two years and nothing has gotten done. Every night they close the northbound lanes at 8PM so that only one lane gets through. The southbound express (which already only has two lanes south of Bloor) is closed 80% of the time if not completely shut down in favor of the collectors which is also reduced in lanes. I can understand if this was a one-time thing but I kid you not when I say its been going on for years on end. Somebody fix something.

There are indications that Jamario Moon will be in the starting lineup instead of Jason Kapono because of defensive reasons. We’ve talked about this all summer – Kapono needs as much playing time with Bosh and O’Neal for him to be successful. Jamario’s a scrub and can adapt to any situation so it hardly matters who else is on the court with him for him to do his thing. As I said before the old ‘defense over offense’ argument usually wins here and this is no surprise, just a little disappointing. I would actually buy that argument if Moon was a shutdown-type defender who actually could lock you down but he’s not, he’s athletic and has great reach but does not have great defensive mechanics (cheating and recovering doesn’t count). Last year I was in favor of him being in the lineup because we needed his rebounding but with O’Neal already complementing Bosh we can afford to have an offensive weapon out there in favor of another rebounder. Matt Devlin thinks otherwise.

More on this. Bryan Colangelo is expecting big things for Kapono which is great but you have to put him in a position to succeed. We can’t do the same thing as last year and hope the results are different. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is stupidity. You could go ahead and blame Kapono’s performance of a season ago entirely on him but so far what have we done to mitigate that? The only thing I can think of is that we’ve kicked out Delfino whose 23 minutes will supposedly be given to Kapono resulting in more shots (hopefully). I understand that point of view and strategy but would just like to see Kapono get as much playing time with Bosh and O’Neal as possible.

Great quote from Sam Mitchell about the lack of depth on the roster and how the talent is more concentrated:

“That’s why we thinned out the roster – it makes it easier for me to coach.”

You don’t say? The less-is-more theory is great for golf but for a team that hopes to compete for an NBA title it doesn’t work. But wait! Are we actually competing for an NBA title or trying to win a playoff round? What is our measure of success this season? I wish Colangelo could answer this question. All those of you with press passes, do me a favor and ask this question of him. Please. Concentrated talent is a good thing though, it allows a coach to define roles properly, make sensible substitutions and manage expectations of players. If Mitchell manages to properly do that for his 8-man unit I think I’ll be more than pleased with him. Just please don’t bench Humphries for a month and then play him in the fourth quarter of a tight game for 8 minutes.

There’s tons of interviews on raptors.com, here’s one of them with Roko Ukic. He says that being healthy is the biggest thing and that he needs to “get better everyday”. Asked what he does well he says that he can pass the ball well, especially with the larger NBA court. Roko my friend, you’re right. There is more space to pass but the defense recovers and takes away passing lanes so fast that what looked like a good idea ends up being a turnover. I’m not worried though, he’s looking to impress and sounds like he’s got a good head on him and I do think he’s going to surprise a ton of people.

Slam is ranking the Top 50 players in the NBA and Chris Bosh comes up at #22. More importantly they dropped this old-school YouTube vid on me which just made my day. There’s talk that Vince Carter is a different man at camp this year. I remember watching those Training Camp shows on Raptors TV last year and they had their cameras on the Nets training facility and Vince appeared to be taking it ultra-easy and not coming within 500 miles of breaking a sweat. If he does decide to play to his potential it might up the Nets win total and make the four automatic wins we’re counting on against them harder to get.

Oh yeah, Joey Graham tweaked something. Why even bother playing rest of the season? Let’s just concede all 82 :)