The Antoine Wright era begins tomorrow night. Are you ready? It’s been terribly frustrating to see some of our main rotation players limp in to this preseason. First it was Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu and last but definitely not least, Mr. Wright, who will definitely be a key cog on this team, especially one that lacks defensively. The fact that he had been labelled as a defensive-minded player, no less as a starter for most of the season on a 50-win team in the Western Conference, I mean this is not Marcus Banks we are talking about here. Rick Carlisle’s a fan and that can’t be a bad thing at all. Here’s what Bryan Colangelo had to say recently:
“But I’m not sure even I realized what kind of perimeter defender he was, but it became very clear, very quickly after talking to Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle that (Antoine) is a tough kid, he’s a great defender and defends multiple positions.”
Wright should start on this team as of today. Maybe it’s just the old school mentality in me, but rookies, especially barely-turned-20 year old ones, should not be starting from Day 1. Give DeMar some incentive to get better. One of the great things about him is that he is quite the observant young man, and may benefit from getting a read on what’s happening on the court. Ray Allen gave him a hard time the last game, and you know these veteran guards probably salivate at seeing a rook lining up across them at tip off. Plus, who’s going to get the benefit of the doubt with the refs?
Other things to look for:
Chris Bosh vs. Al Jefferson: Chris has gotten bigger and wants to play that. Mixed reviews so far. Let’s see if he can put it all together against one of the better 4’s in the game.
Jonny Flynn vs. Jose Calderon: Will Jonny join the list of point guards who will abuse Jose? It’s not a matter of “if”, but “how much”. We’ll get a preview of that, for those with sadistic tendencies.
Marco Bellinelli, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems: Will they leave a lasting image on Coach Triano tomorrow night with a great game? There’s a feeling that these three have the most to prove.
It’s really unfortunate that a game against the lowly Timberwolves will be our first (and last chance) to see our full roster at work, sans Reggie Evans. We’ve seen what Reggie can bring to this team already and I don’t think elements like chemistry and cohesiveness are part of his vocabulary.
But it’s exciting isn’t it, optimism in abundance, and every team is undefeated. Opening night is just 6 days away.Follow @raptorsrepublic