There is a staccato rhythm to the NBA season: practice, shootaround, game, practice, shootaround, game, lather, rinse, repeat. It is a schedule that has withstood the test of time and the whims of coaches who would alter it; a schedule that suits the players.
Coach Jay Triano surprised (and probably delighted) his players by announcing that practice was to be replaced by a day of bowling at a local alley. "I would have liked to have done something a little more (intense), like paintball or something," the coach said. "But we can't afford to do any silly stuff."
Beyond the bowling adventure, there was good news that Antoine Wright was able to participate after putting his injured knee through a tough workout on Monday. ?He was great today,? said Triano. ?His knee looked good. When we came back here, he went up to the gym to get a workout in, and there were no effects after a tough workout yesterday. He will be raring to go and we?ll moderate it accordingly.?
Twitter nation, ask yourself one question. Are you following 13POB13?
After injury to front court stars Al Jefferson and Kevin Love, the Minnesota Timberwolves made a move to acquire former Raptor Nathan Jawai (aka Aussie Shaq) for a future 2nd round pick.
The only 6th man of the year award Marco Belinelli has a chance of winning will be in the WNBA. Ok, maybe the NBDL. Anyway, he hasn?t impressed anyone so far. He is way too trigger happy and streaky to be effective and his defense isn?t very good.
Weems, who has arguably had the best preseason of any Raptor thus far, is young, aggressive, and supremely athletic. Just take a look at his NCAA slam dunk championship on YouTube. Weems has benefited from an injury to Antoine Wright, and so far has shown he deserves to back up Hedo Turkoglu. Not only is Weems very active on the floor, but?as a boon for the defensively challenged Raptors?he seems willing to work on becoming a better defender. All might change once regular season starts, but so far Weems has done his part to be in the mix.
The individual match-up advantages favour Atlanta ? which will probably mean another road loss for the Raptors, in this back-2-back.
Raptors expected W-L Record: L, 7-13
The results, so far, have been disastrous. While the offence has generated a very good 108.35 points per 100 possessions (Offensive Rating), the defence has gone to hell. The Defensive Rating has ballooned to 131.16. Obviously, this is unsustainable (it will improve some), but the signs of a terrible defensive core are there for all to see.
After last season?s disaster, GM Bryan Colangelo stressed the need for the Raptors to get better at rebounding to be tougher this season. Then he went out and signed the defensively challenged Hedo Turkoglu to a monster contract. Reggie Evans might add some toughness, but how much can he contribute if he only plays 15 minutes a night. Rookie DeMar DeRozan and Marco Bellinelli give Raptors fans hope, but any more than 42 wins will be a surprise.
I briefly spoke with Raptors coach Jay Triano last month, and while we didn't touch much on the upcoming season, he did reveal some interesting facts about coaching at the NBA and national level, as well as the current state of Canadian basketball. He was promoting the Campbell's Chunky MVC ? Most Valuable Coach ? program, which recognizes amateur coaches from all sports across Canada. And for a guy who went from coaching the Simon Fraser University men's team to becoming the first Canadian head coach in NBA history, he's probably one of the right guys to talk to.
There is no mistaking Amir Johnson for Vince Carter. They don’t look alike and they play the game of basketball in a totally different way. Had a chance to have a brief conversation with Amir prior to the game on Sunday. Never did ask him about wearing the infamous number 15 for the Raptors. He seems to be enjoying his new situation here in Toronto though. I asked him how things were going in terms of getting to know all his new teammates?