The first of a mini-series examining the Raptor players, and how they stack up in regards to a particular facet of the game. In this case: Defense.

The Starters

Calderon
You do a lot of running around, your arms are active, you’re always yelling, but not a whole lot of defense is going on. Amazing really. Yes you were injured for most of the year, but what about the last two years??
Verdict: 2 Thumbs Down
You are destined to defend your pig farm from the swine flu. Fortunately, there is medicine you can give them once you fail at that too.

DeRozan
You have the tools grasshopper, you will have the freedom to put things together and find your groove.
Verdict: 2 Thumbs Up
Expectations aren’t outrageous, and you have a year grace period. I imagine you will block a couple ridiculous shots in the mold of Tayshaun Prince that will make AltRaps clap, hop and giggle like a little girl.

Turkoglu
For now, all folks can think about is that block you had on Kobe in the finals. BryCo got you for your offense, we aren’t fooling anyone here.
Verdict: 2 Thumb Up
You’re tall, coordinated and know how to ball. You can disrupt passing lanes, and make that entry that much harder to toss. As long as you don’t take plays/games off, and grab some boards, you won’t hear a peep from me.

Bosh
While you’re no Duncan or KG, you are a solid team defender who does everything good, but nothing great. Too bad that a team defender needs a team to be effective.
Verdict: 2 Thumbs Up
This years crop is the best lot you’ve had to play with in years. So when you help on defense, someone will actually rotate over to cover your check, and not hang you out to dry.

Bargnani
LOL…VL plays defense like he rebounds – dude is 7ft, so just standing there, something is bound to happen. Yes you get a block or two a game, but when you put your hands up, you approaching 9ft. It’s not like a 6ft9 Ben Wallace who goes after it.
Verdict: 1 Thumb Up
By virtue of your size, you’re going to block some shots. You are getting stronger and tougher to push in the low blocks, but your defensive acumen is very low. I can’t recall a time when you rotated on a defensive play, or played that roll well. You’re a scorer, so put the ball through the hoop. I imagine you will have to put up 27/game to even the rest out. Jam on it son.

The Bench

Jack
Lil-big person, Jose is going to looking over his shoulder, which is a good thing. You are quick and physical and will give the backcourt a different look in more ways then one.
Verdict: 2 Thumbs Up
I don’t have much to add here, just make your presence felt, pick a couple pockets, and get up in peoples grill.

Wright
We were told that we will love your blue collar hustle. I’m not super familiar with your game, but you come with good reviews with your “get-at-it-ness”.
Verdict: 2 Thumbs Up
Long, athletic and willing to grind. That’s all I need to hear.

Evans
If only you would play defense like you molested Kaman. You are tough and intimidating, which is something the Raptors have been missing since Oakley/Davis/JYD left.
Verdict: 1 Thumb Up
The new Humphries, that’s what pops in my head when I think of Reggie. He plays like Calderon, seems like he’s a good defender, but really isn’t. Fortunately we don’t have a defensive game plan for Reggie to eff-up.

Belinelli
Apparently his defense is much more solid then people think, which is great because I think he is just an offensive player. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since I don’t know too much about him.
Verdict: 1 Thumb Up
I hope he’s up to task since he will be getting some burn.

Ukic
His defense is far more consistent then his offense, sadly. He’s quick, long, and can disrupt passing lanes.
Verdict: 1 Thumb Up
He has the tools to defend the point well, tall and quick, just has to be consistent and build on the uggg….mole hill he built last year.

Douby
Quick and aggressive on the perimeter. He has long arms, and can surprise if people get sloppy with the ball.
Verdict: 1 Thumb Up
Our boy is known more for his offense then defense, which is quite telling. Ultimately, no matter how good he played during summer league, he is sitting at 4th on the depth chart at the PG, so as long as he doesn’t play bad, he doesn’t have to play good; if that made any sense.

Nesterovic
He never makes the spectacular plays, but he’s consistent, and there is something to say about that on a team full of guys who aren’t.
Verdict: 2 Thumbs Up
Solid, dude is solid. He isn’t the greatest defender, but he brings that veteran presence on defense which means we wont get nervous when he subs into the game in any situation….segue…

O’Bryant
You would think he would be a poor man’s Bargnani on defense (lol first time that has been said); he’s 7″ with a 15″ wing span, a little defense should fall into his lap (blocks, tips, steals…). Sadly it doesn’t
Verdict: Zero
Zero

Banks
Zero
Verdict: Zero
Zero

So, we have 17 of a possible 28 thumbs up. Not great, but better then average.

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