Both Bosh and Turkoglu, whom the Raptors acquired via a four-way trade this summer, did a number of light drills in practice yesterday.
Turkoglu is relatively healthy, but fatigued after playing in the NBA Finals with Orlando in June and then playing for Turkey at the world championship qualifying tournament this summer in Poland.
"Not at all," Triano said, when asked if he was worried about the dynamic duo being ready for the season.
"There’s plenty of time. They’re mentally involved in practices right now, they’re watching everything we do and they’re starting to get the itch and they’re hungry to get out there and they’re starting to do a little more.
"Chris did a little bit in practice (yesterday). Hedo did a little bit and Antoine, we’re going to see how his knee reacts over the next couple of days," said Triano, adding that Turkoglu is biting at the bit to play.
"I joked with a couple of people the other day, that as soon as he says he’s ready, I might make him wait another week. He’s out there shooting and ran through some dummy offence stuff today and five-on-zero stuff and he’s going to be fine."
"I just gave him some words of encouragement," added Bosh, of the 20-year-old, who may be the club’s starting shooting guard this season. "I just told him what he already knows — go out there and play basketball, work on our principles and be defensive-minded. (I told him) you’re going to make mistakes throughout the game, so don’t get down on yourself. Just play as hard as you can."
DeRozan, who was picked ninth overall by the Raptors in this year’s NBA draft, has been inconsistent in camp, but the club is high on his athleticism and eagerness to learn. The former USC star has been compared already to Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers, the team Toronto faces this evening in their first pre-season game at the John Labatt Centre in London.
Ironically, the Raptors passed over the dynamic Iguodala in the 2004 draft, selecting the long-departed (from the NBA) Rafael Araujo instead Head coach Jay Triano plans to give the rookie some significant minutes in the pre-season and is anxious to see how he performs against real competition.
"He’s still making a lot of mistakes out there in practice, and I’m sure he’s going to make them in a game," said Triano. "But that’s part of how you have to grow. We think is going to play a big role for us."
"I just have to get everyone involved," Calderon said after the Raptors worked out Monday at the Air Canada Centre. "I know what CB (Chris Bosh) likes, and some others but there are new guys to learn.
"Everybody sees the game differently and you have to get used to that."
Calderon will start – likely alongside Marco Belinelli, DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and Reggie Evans when the Raptors face the Philadelphia 76ers in London, Ont. – in his first truly competitive game since April, when Toronto finished a 33-49 2008-09 season with a win in Chicago.
Since then, the 28-year-old Calderon has had minor surgery to fix a wonky tendon in his left middle finger and spent most of the summer resting a sore left hamstring.
He was a bit rusty to start training camp trying to get back to NBA speed but with more than three weeks until opening night of the regular season, there’s plenty of time.
"The big thing with Jose is building up his endurance and the competitive part of the game," said head coach Jay Triano.
The pre-season schedule is rather hectic for the Raptors, who play two sets of back-to-back games in the first week. But they also have some time to practise and that suits coach Triano just fine.
"We have four (games) in six (nights, to start) but we do have two big three-day breaks where we can put some stuff in at practice," he said.
Toronto rookie DeMar DeRozan admitted he was confused at first about taking a bus to London. “I though we were going to London, across seas,” he said.
DeRozan will get his chance to show he can make an impact as the No. 9 pick of the 2009 draft. With Antoine Wright staying home to nurse a sore right knee, it’s likely DeRozan will get the nod to start tonight.
“I haven’t really been paying attention to it; [starting] would be great,” he said.
Say what you want about Colangelo, but the man is not shy about making moves. I think the Raps improved. The question is how much?
The Sixers practiced yesterday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for the first time this season. They finished training camp at St. Joseph’s University on Saturday night.
"We got a little physical. . . . It kind of got ugly out there, so, yeah, we’re ready to play someone else," said Brand, who will see game action for the first time since having season-ending shoulder surgery in early February.
Brand said he was eager for tonight’s game.
"I’ve felt very strong, healthy, no lingering hamstrings, tendinitis, little things that pop up in two-a-days for guys," he said. "I was prepared and made it through without any hits at all."
During yesterday’s scrimmage, coach Eddie Jordan used the same first-team lineup he had used all through camp: point guard Lou Williams, shooting guard Andre Iguodala, small forward Thaddeus Young, Brand, and center Samuel Dalembert.
It can be hard to find last year’s Raptors on this year’s squad. 12 new players since last year. New Head Coach. Key new Assistant Coaches. The team has depth at point guard, small forward, and power forward that they didn’t have last year. The team has a “real” starting small forward for the first time in years.
The risk the Raptors face is everything is new. A lot like the 2006-07 team, this team may get out the gates slowly. But they will be much better than last year’s team. If everything breaks their way, look for a 52 win season. If things start out slow and the team struggles with its new identity, it could mean a 40 win season.
Should the aggressive acquisitions made by Toronto this offseason fail to work out for some reason, or if injuries plague the team this year, Toronto stands to lose much, as this is not the year for unlucky circumstances to occur. Keeping Chris Bosh is the only way that Toronto can continue to improve over the next few years, so it is critical that these deals work out (for more about Chris Bosh, read The Custodian’s article “Take On Me”). However, I predict that this will not occur, and the Raptors will significantly improve, allowing them to make the playoffs this year.
#6- Toronto Raptors
Brian Colangelo was very busy this past off season with several key acquisitions including Hedo Turkoglu, Jarret Jack, Marco Belinelli, and Antwan Wright. It’s a contract year for Bosh and the Raptors will have a healthy Jose Calderon. Watch the entire Raptors team be harder to play against, and with more skill. Colangelo should be up for another executive of the year award after this year. (Last year #13)
A new season dawns upon us, and I have no idea exactly how we’ll do, which makes it the most exciting season yet in the past half-decade or so. By the way, I’m writing this while sitting in a lecture – gotta love university – they keep finding new ways to bore you to death. Anyways, here are my first thoughts when it comes to each player, in no particular order:
Last season he played at a slender weight of 225 pounds and this year he’ll be playing between 240 and 245 pounds.
So, how did Bosh do it?
“Working hard, eating a lot,” Bosh joked with the media. “I got with my trainers and we talked about everything. They expressed to me the desire to put more weight on and we started working on that early in the summer.”
The combination of new workout program and eating four to five times per day has made a big difference.