Not that the pessimists are listening, but Colangelo has seen some good in this pre-season as well.
His prized draft choice, 20-year-old rookie shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, has thus far lived up to all expectations. Most impressive has been his response to some tough love from head coach Jay Triano, who doesn’t hesitate to pull the high-flyer off the floor if he thinks there is some instruction needed after a botched assignment or poor decision.
"In order for him to get that (playing) time that we keep talking about, he is going to have to deserve it. So, I think Jay is laying down some principals now to let him know it won’t be an easy thing or something that is just handed to him," Colangelo said.
"I think the fact that he is receptive to it speaks volumes about his character," Colangelo said. "He is a talented basketball player without a doubt, but sometimes talent doesn’t get you there. You have to have the right mental approach to the game and to your teammates. I think we are all very pleased with where he is, not just from a physical standpoint, but also from the mental point."
Off the court, Turkoglu is a man of no pretense. Quiet, polite and accommodating. Entirely normal.
Ask him to describe himself and it takes minutes before he can come up with a suitable response. Not because he’s trying to find the appropriate adjectives but because he really doesn’t think in those terms.
"I’m a normal guy," is how he finally puts it. "I know I’m famous, you know, but I don’t try to separate myself from people. I do what regular people do.
"I know I get a lot of attention but it doesn’t mean that I have to hide or keep myself away from people."
The Knicks are more rounded offensively than the Toronto Raptors and they have a stronger frontcourt than the New Jersey "Brooklyn, cough" Nets.
Finishing third behind the Celtics and 76ers is not that much of a reach.
What do you think when you think Raptors? Probably Chris Bosh and maybe that big Italian guy. Well look at their starting lineup: the do-it-all big man Bosh; Andrea Bargnani, the 2006 #1 pick who got decent when everyone stopped paying attention (career highs last year of 15.4, 5.3, 1.2 blocks, 45% FG, 41% 3FG); the clutchy scorer Hedo Turkoglu (don’t forget that he’s a great passer – 4.9-2.7 A-TO); the under-appreciated Jose Calderon (great shooter, league-best 8.9-2.1 A-TO rate); and DeMar DeRozan, an athletic rookie who works his rear off. Offensive powerhouse Marco Belinelli will be a great back-up 2-guard. It looks like they’re going to score some points this year.
Pops would finish the half with 9 points and 2 blocks but the two-headed center would not outshine the perimeter players for long. Jermaine Taylor had a huge dunk on Andrea Bargnani’s dome in the 2nd quarter (2:40) and followed that with a break-away dunk on the very next possession. With those 3 guys handling everything in the paint, Shane Batti-eh? took care of things from behind the arc. Batti-eh? hit his 1st 7!!!! threes and ended up going 8 of 9 from long-range on his way to 26 points.
It looks easy to rate the 2009 re-make as superior to the 2006 version by assessing the additions of Turkoglu and Evans as vastly better players. Plus Bargnani 3 years later looks to provide the Raptors much more than Morris Peterson could in 2006.
Also, the second year wing player Sonny Weems may provide athleticism the Raptors didn’t have in 2006, but place him on the unproven list for now.
The only edge going to the 2006 team additions would be for Anthony Parker, who in 2006 wasn’t considered a sure thing either.
The Raptors Head Coach, and now author, joined the Game Plan to talk about his team and his new book.
The Assistant Coach of the Toronto Raptors joins the Morning Show to chat about the major changes to the Raptors, their focus on defence, and the current roster.
Believe in them because: They’re going to be able to score with any team. The Raptors are loaded with offensive mismatches. Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu each are very tough to guard.
Their bench is quite deep and generally, teams with solid depth do well.
Many players are in contract seasons meaning, they won’t to have standout years and get paid next summer. That includes Chris Bosh, Amir Johnson, Marco Belinelli, Antoine Wright, most notably.
This will be a solid regular season team, but is not built for the playoffs (though a win over Atlanta in round one is quite possible).