Put the brakes on the DeMar DeRozan starting talk. Triano says:
I’d like to start him, to give him minutes and let him grow as a player with the starting unit but not at the expense of somebody who outworks him through training camp. It may be a position that we jockey for a while until we find the right combination. He’s picked things up well but it’s a different world to him compared to the university level.
It looks like Jay’s giving him some tough love the first couple days and it shouldn’t be any other way. Even though DeRozan is being hyped all summer long and has impressed Triano with his speed (along with Weems), the starting role is still up for grabs, much like it wasn’t a year ago when we handed it outright to an under-performing Parker. The tightly knit Raptors unit is doing all it can to help DeRozan, Triano says:
I’m impressed by the professionalism the veteran guys have shown, they’ve taken him under their wing and are making him accountable in every single drill. It’ll turn into a competition because they’ll want those minutes and it’ll make DeMar a better basketball payer.
I’m presuming the fight for wing minutes is between DeRozan, Wright, Weems and Belinelli. Our podcast guest Ryan McNeill of Hoops Addict thinks that Belinelli could have a great shot at the starting SG spot. We also talk about Bosh’s weight gain, the Raptor that parties the most, Banks’ loneliness, the joker that is Amir and how an audio switch can ruin your day. Some very positive things about Antoine Wright were echoed by Ryan who was there on Media Day and spoke to most of the players. You can listen to the whole chat by clicking the play button below or in iTunes. You can also download the file.
A couple days back Evans went hard at Bargnani and today Bargnani says it’s all for the better. He’s saying Reggie’s going to make him better (much like JO) and that playing under the security of a new contract helps matters. Apparently he’s bringing it in the first two days just like he did last training camp. He’s also saying that a player’s confidence is proportional to his experience in the league. I beg to disagree and point to him as an example. Super confident in his first year and a deer caught in headlights the second. Some lose their confidence after a few bad games, some maintain it even if they’re launching bricks for two months. Bargnani’s confidence is fragile and it’s subtly reflected in his refusal to give a prediction for himself at the end of the video.
Reggie Evans is one of those guys whose voice is the opposite of his persona. Matt Devlin insists that he’ll be loved by Raptors fans because of all the obvious reasons and Reggie Evans agrees. He thinks the #1 thing he wants out of his play is to earn the respect of his opponents, peers and fans. All hail Reggie who takes a mild swipe at last year’s Raptors team in the video. He says that he’s changing the tone of this team especially the one set by players who are “across the water” with “slow feet” and who “can’t jump”. He says:
We have a lot of players from across the water. A lot of those player get portrayed as not being defensive players. So now I have like six players and that’s a huge challenge so we got to make sure we’re on point all the time. You hear things like ‘slow feet’, ‘can’t jump’ so we got to find ways…and coach has a good scheme going to close out the middle which is good. Close the middle and run out to the shooters and that’s our emphasis. We’re going to try to ingrain that into everybody’s heads where we close out to the middle and work our way out.
So there you have it folks, Triano’s already preparing a plan for what happens when the guards get beat and is going to “collapse and recover” every chance he gets. Those wing close-outs need to be super-quick for a scheme like that to work but at least he’s starting to teach it from Day 1. He’s recognized the athleticism he has at his disposal and is going to put it to good use at the defensive end, instead of the onus being on the big man to come out and help the penetrated guard, the responsibility will fall to everyone as they collapse and try to recover.
The question of leadership often comes up and this year’s team appears to be very mature as Ryan pointed out in the interview. Jarrett Jack, Reggie Evans, Antoine Wright, Jose Calderon and Rasho Nesterovic are no-nonsense players that can keep this group in check when things start going south. We don’t have to look towards Bosh to be the leader anymore; if one of the above players can take charge of this team, maybe it’ll lift the pressure off of Bosh and he can perform in his contract year.
Finally, Colangelo’s saying that Hedo’s got a fatigue factor going after playing in Europe over the summer but that’s something they all knew already and everything’s going according to plan. He’s not risking anything with Chris Bosh and will take his sweet time in getting him 100%. He also bigs up Hedo:
I think it’s going to help this team. We haven’t had a guy to go to late in the game, break down the defense, create a shot for someone else or for yourself. He’s going to be a great draw and bring a lot of the defense towards him. He’s going to open up opportunities for Chris in the post, open up opportunities for players on the perimeter to knock down shots. In late game situations I know he’s got that mindset where he knows what to do with the ball.
That’s your training camp report! I’ll actually be trying to make the trek to Ottawa for the Saturday scrimmage.