When he made his pre-season debut on Friday, Bosh went 4-for-8 from the field, including a hitherto unseen hook shot.
By his own admission, it wasn’t exactly a vintage Kareem hook, but Bosh’s ability to make the shot gives defenders another weapon they must now contend and defend.
"I’m just able to get in the post, establish positioning on duck-ins, and just use my size to my advantage,” Bosh said.
Among his nine points against the Timberwolves was a jumper he made from beyond the three-point arc.
"A lot of people have seen me in the past knocking down perimeter shots,” Bosh said.
"I’m going to be down low more and I’m going to get dirty in the paint."
In Friday’s pre-season game against the host Minnesota Timberwolves, Weems was given his first chance to start at the NBA level.
Even under the backdrop of exhibition play, the night’s significance wasn’t lost on Weems, who scored 11 points in Toronto’s 112-97 win, the Raptors’ first in the pre-season.
"I was really, really excited," Weems beamed following yesterday’s workout at the team’s Air Canada Centre practice facility. "I am very, very grateful to coach (Jay) Triano for giving me the opportunity and all I wanted to do was take full advantage of it.
"I wasn’t given a chance to prove what I could do last year. The confidence coach Triano showed in me and the confidence my teammates showed means a lot."
"He’s playing with confidence. I saw him right there and I’m running plays for him," Calderon said of Bargnani. "He’s big, he can do lots of stuff, he’s pretty interesting.
"When we get Hedo and C.B. (Bosh) back, he’s going to be even more open. They’re going to have to make a lot of decisions on our team – who do you want to score and what do you want to do?
"Andrea is going to be a key piece for us this year."
Video preview of the Toronto Raptors
Chris Bosh comes in at No. 13 on Slam Online’s list of the NBA’s Best 50 Players. That sounded a little high when I first saw it, then I listed out my top 15 players and I had Bosh at 12th, so me and Slam are in pretty close agreement on that one. If you did this poll 1-2 years ago I may have said Top 10 – there’s no doubt that Bosh’s stock has dropped since the Raptors fell out of the playoff picture last season. Getting drummed 4-1 in the first round against Dwight in 2008 didn’t help the cause either. But many people agree that the Raptors are building steam and that with the addition of Hedo they’ll be back in the playoff hunt. I don’t disagree – the lower seeded playoff teams out East are almost impossible to pick year after year. The Raptors could finish anywhere from 6th-12th. Exactly where they do finish depends a lot on what Mr Bosh does this season, in what could very well be his last in a Raptors jersey.
The bench appears to be a source of strength for the Raptors, but looks can be deceiving. Jarrett Jack deserves minutes. Marco Belinelli and Amir Johnson need minutes to improve, as they are young and talented. Rasho Nesterovic and Reggie Evans were both good pickups for depth, but Rasho is getting up there in years. And while Reggie Evans gives 110% every time he’s on the floor, he just isn’t that skilled a ball player. Let’s take a look at last year’s stats – His rebounding rate is an outstanding 19.0% (meaning he grabs 19% of the available rebounds when he’s on the floor), but he has a turnover rate of 21.3% and a TS% of 51.4%, both of which are absolutely horrible for a big man. The man had a PER of only 10.4 and, considering the weight PER gives to rebounds, that is a red flag. You don’t need advanced statistics to understand Reggie’s limitations, though. Watch him play for just a few minutes and you will see a guy who stands out for his aggressive play, but is a liability on both offense and defense. He misses easy put-backs, fouls unnecessarily, and tries to do things he can’t do. I love the effort he brings and hope it’s contagious, but he can’t really be on the floor for longer than 10-12 minutes a game.
How can I make myself feel better…. oh yeah! The Raptors offense is, in a word: wow. Jose back at full health to distribute the ball; DeRozan flying all over the court, tracking down loose balls, throwing down dunks and generally slicing through the defense; Bosh with his newly developed size and desire to get to the post more; Bargnani with his continued growth from last year and the Turk impact to hit big shots and find open teammates make the Raptors starting 5 INCREDIBLY dangerous. All can shoot, all can pass, all can get to the basket. If any team tries to double team any single Raptor, watch out. These guys can and will find an open man, and he can and will make the right shots and passes. The bench gives numerous different looks as well. Amir Johnson is a beast around the basket offensively (youtube him – if you’ve never really watched him before, get ready to fall in love, Toronto). Belinelli can shoot and is an underrated ball handler. Jack is worthy of being a starting 1 or 2 on some teams. He can handle the ball, he can shoot, he can get into traffic in the lane, he’s tenacious, he wants to win, and he’s a natural leader. The sky is honestly the limit for this club on offense. I don’t have anything else to say about it. It should be a masterpiece.
The front office staff for the Raptors are not the only ones who have seen this firsthand. When asked if it feels strange to have been in the league long enough to be named as DeRozan’s favourite player, Iguodala offered up a story about an even younger, but just as athletic 14 year-old who had attended the University of Arizona’s basketball camp when Iguodala was a counselor and student of the school.
“It goes by fast, but I remember watching DeMar in Arizona at summer camp when he was there. He was my favourite player and I got a chance to hang out with him way back then. He probably doesn’t think I remember that, but I remember that I told coach that he was going to be in the NBA one day," says Iguodala. "Even at the age of 14, 15, I could see it, you know. He’s always had that type of game and he’s also a hard worker. He’s one of the younger guys that I admire. He’s going to be good in this league.”
Tags: Amir Johnson, andrea bargnani, basketball, Chris Bosh, Demar DeRozan, Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, jose calderon, marco belinelli, NBA, Rasho Nesterovic, Reggie Evans, Sonny Weems, toronto raptors