Kyrie Irving

We were finally able to get beyond the madness of Media Day and are ready to get down to business. Day 1 had a couple themes:

Health
Bosh is on the shelf for the next few weeks, which is a big blow to this team. This is Triano’s first training camp, and you know he isn’t happy that his franchise player (sorry Hedo, but this is still Bosh’s team) is out for all of it. Not only do the Raptors have new players that need to be integrated, but Triano has to impart his system while getting everyone to play nice. Yes, Bosh can sit in class with the rest of them, but what about actually running through sets? There comes a point where Triano will run out of chalk, and the guys will need to mimic the X’s and O’s, and run the plays. This is where Bosh will be missed. Sure, Amir and Evans will get burn on the 1st unit, but long term, this isn’t the plan.

Colangelo did say that no one wins a championship in October, but what about building a solid team? How much of an issue will not having Bosh in the mix while the rest of the lot go through the motions be? My guess is minimal, since he will still be around the lot of them, and will know the plays, but I have to wonder about the dynamic of the A-squad with a B-Squad piece mixed in.

We all know why Bosh is injured: he worked out too damn hard over the summer putting on 15lbs of muscle. From what I have read and seen, he did it the the right way. He didn’t just bulk up, but he did it in a manner that wont be affecting his bread-and-butter: his quickness. Tell me you aren’t excited to see how he is going throw around his KG’esque frame in the blocks come November.

Turkoglu’s name popped up as well. There is concern for his legs from a busy Euroleague summer which saw Hedo have a solid tournament. Add in the Finals run the Magic made and the whirlwind courting by the Blazers and Toronto, our $53mil man hasn’t had very much rest. With Hedo being on the wrong side of 30 (aka older then 29) this can be an issue, but if Triano manages his minutes properly over the next few months, I don’t see this being that big of an issue.

Expectations
We all read between the lines, that BC swung for the fences this summer and put together what he thought was a solid team that improved over last season (and to a degree I do share this sentiment), but when he actually came out said the goal is 50 wins, wow. You would have hoped he learned his lesson from last season’s claim that this was the most talented team he has assembled in Toronto, and managed expectations. He went the other direction, and what that has done is fuse most fans, and the media to a degree, with a new sense of optimism.

You nab one of the centerpieces of the Orlando team that was a couple layups away from winning the championship, add some athletic wings who can create and potentially play defense to the core of Bosh, Calderon and an improving Bargnani, and we have ourselves a team that can win some games, and play an entertaining brand of basketball. Shoot, this is better then watching a labouring HO come up short from 8 feet out in the paint.

One thing that excites me is that Triano is giving Calderon and Jack free reign during scrimmages. I personally love watching free wheeling guys, who play in control, but are fluid in what they are trying to do out there. Jah knows Calderon needs to loosen up and make some plays more often as opposed to making the open pass…sorry, couldn’t resist.

Getting Smart

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but there has been an emphasis that Triano is sitting these cats down, and trying to increase the collective basketball IQ. Call it NBA crowd sourcing. It seems as though the direction is defensive oriented. I must admit, I liked the sound of that. We have heard from numerous folks (Leo being the latest, video below), that these cats can score, but they can also be effective defensively.

We do have athletic players, some of whom have never been accused of playing defense, but apparently all they need is to be told HOW. Here I thought it took a willingness/desire/commitment to play defense, not just your coach instructing you on the proper crouching tiger defensive stance. Fortunately, they will be able to concentrate with the ban on cell phones during practice.