Repesa is being afforded unfettered access to the Raptors’ coaches during training camp because they believe you can never have enough sets of eyes watching what’s going on.
It is fitting, seeing how Repesa is considered one of the great minds of European basketball.
Fresh off coaching Croatia to a spot in next year’s world basketball championship, taking a year off from a 15-year career with some of Europe’s top club teams, Repesa is providing a little bit of insight to what’s transpiring on the court.
"I really respect him," Triano said of the 48-year-old Repesa, who will be at the Raptors’ camp until the end of next week.
"I told my coaches, make sure you go talk to him. We can learn a lot from guys, especially guys who have coached in Europe for a long time.
"I try to talk to him every day and value him being here."
The Raptors have decided to split the players into two groups, leaving one on the court and sending the other to the weight room.
"We have six guys on the floor that we can devote the coaches to for skills and drills for 40 minutes," said coach Jay Triano.
"They get up a lot of shots and it’s good intensity shooting. We work on some of our half-court stuff dummy because we’re not allowed to have defence on them right now and the other group goes and lifts."
Effective and competitive Triano is pretty sure he can do. But keeping as many as 11 — mostly veteran — players happy and comfortable in their roles is a whole other ball game.
Colangelo himself said as much earlier this week.
"A young guy like Amir Johnson did some things (Thursday) and you start wondering how is Jay going to integrate him into the lineup especially with Chris (Bosh) there and Reggie Evans doing what he is doing," he said. "There are so many different ways to turn now which speaks to the depth."
And it’s not just finding times for the bigs.
"I think it’s going to be hard for Jay to find time for Jarrett Jack at the two, Marco (Belinelli) at the two whether it’s Antoine (Wright) playing the two or the three. Sometimes injuries play a role, but I’m sure before we get going here on the 28th, some things will rise to the surface, some of those decisions will become very clear."
To hear Bosh tell it, attention to detail, particularly positioning on the floor is going to be key for the Raptors this year.
"We have the opportunity to spread the court a lot this year, but we have to know where our spots have to be," Bosh said. "Each spot has to be filled by one of the five guys. I know if Hedo and Bargnani are in the game, I’m going to have to roll and be inside because that’s where my advantage is. Everyone has to know their role and know their spots and work well together."
Triano believes the key to coaching isn’t imposing your will on the group, but recognizing that, for the most part, players in the NBA are like people anywhere else: getting better is a reward on its own.
It’s an approach Triano has taken to his first training camp. For the first time, not only are the Raptors videotaping practice sessions, Triano and his assistants are going over the film with the players in a classroom setting before they step on the floor.
“There’s a lot of teaching, because we’re trying to change the culture and what we’ve done in the past,” the coach said.
The classroom sessions are a technique Triano picked up from Duke University and Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski during the summers Triano has spent assisting the U.S. national team program. “This way, when we get on the floor, it gives us more time to execute because we’re not stopping to talk,” the Raptors coach said.
So Nesterovic returned to Toronto, signing a one-year deal for US$1.9-million. Nesterovic was in Toronto from 2006-08, starting 112 regular-season games and six playoff games.
Universally liked in the dressing room for his understated humour and his professionalism, Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo never wanted to get rid of him in the first place. He did so before last season to acquire Jermaine O’Neal, but did not hesitate to bring him back.
"The stability, leadership and presence that Rasho has both in the locker and on the floor, it’s really clear to us that it’s a nice piece to have," Colangelo said. "We lacked that after he left."
"I’ve always liked him," coach Jay Triano added. "He’s one of my favourite players, one of my favourite people in the NBA."
"Guys have been very conscious about keeping guys out of the paint and taking pride in ‘our house’, keeping people out of ‘our house,’ " assistant coach Alex English said. "The more we play, the more we get used to it, the better we get at it, the more pride is going to be instilled. "This is probably our most intensive defensive camp since I’ve been here." The Raptors allowed opponents to shoot 46.5% from the field last year, 10th-worst in the league.
As disappointing as the Raptors were last season, Bosh wasn’t bad as their focal point — and yet he wasn’t as good as his talent would seem to warrant. Per 48 minutes of “clutch time” (according to 82games.com) he produced 34.2 points, 19th-best in the League and ahead of guys like Danny Granger, Deron Williams and Andre Iguodala, and a mere percentage point behind Vince Carter. Bosh hit 45.8% from the field in the clutch, right in line with Kobe and Paul Pierce, and his 14.8 rebounds per 48 minutes of clutch was just outside the League’s Top-15. He had games where he hung 30 and 40 points on the NBA’s best post defenders (CB4 especially seems to have Dwight Howard’s number), games where he owned the glass (which should happen more often with the extra bulk), and games where he was as reliable down the stretch as any superstar. Bosh can also keep the defense off-balance by making the occasional three — and he actually hit 60 percent of the threes he took in crunch time.
Alex English got his start in coaching as a NBADL head coach in 2001-02 for North Charleston. The next year Alex was an assistant coach with Atlanta and in 2003-04 he was an assistant coach for Philadelphia.
On June 7, 2004, Alex English joined the Raptors as an assistant coach. The contrast of the calm and elegant statesman English against the young and fiery Mitchell was undoubtedly important for a Raptors team that was under-going a lot of change. And English has been an important stabilizing influence ever since.
Any team should be honored to be represented by a Hall of Fame player and true gentleman such as the Toronto Raptors’ Alex English.
Antoine Wright interview
Amir Johnson interview
The play-by-play voice of the Toronto Raptors joins the Raps head coach at training camp in Ottawa to chat about the upcoming season.
The play-by-play voice of the Raptors chats with the teams’ 2009 first round draft choice on his training camp in Ottawa.
He played for the Toronto Raptors for several seasons, becoming a fan favourite and an active member of the Toronto community. Alvin Williams is now back in Toronto as an assistant coach. Williams joins the Game Plan to discuss his new position with the Raptors and to discuss the team’s training camp in Ottawa.
NBA referees will be able to use instant replay on shot-clock and out-of-bounds calls this season.
The NBA Board of Governors approved the expanded use on Friday.
Referees will be permitted to check replay to see if the 24-second clock expired before a successful shot or a foul.
They can also consult video during the last 2 minutes of regulation and any overtime period to determine which player last touched the ball prior to it going out of bounds.
Tags: alex english, alvin williams, Amir Johnson, andrea bargnani, Antoine Wright, basketball, bryan colangelo, Chris Bosh, Demar DeRozan, Hedo Turkoglu, Jay Triano, marco belinelli, NBA, Rasho Nesterovic, toronto raptors