DeMar DeRozan may yet wind up taking part in the NBA Slam Dunk competition but the decision of who will or won't be competing is still weeks away.
There's no question of the Raptor rookie's interest in the event. He has been talking about the possibility since the Raptors drafted him ninth overall last June.
An erroneous report earlier this week that DeRozan had confirmed his participation was a case of the player saying one thing and the writer hearing another.
I’d like to see Turkoglu, Belinelli and Wright out on the court with Bosh and either Bargnani (same scenario as Calderon’s, I think) or Johnson when Jack needs a blow.
Marcus Banks has been okay but if they want to get Turk going or Belinelli going (more on that later) giving them some extra time and a chance to share ball-handling skills might be a good move.
It’s a different look, one the Hawks wouldn’t have seen or had time to prepare for, and is probably worth a shot.
It’s not like Toronto’s been a well-oiled machine on offence the last two games.
"That's the position I'm in," said Jack. "That's why they brought me here, for reasons like this, if Jose needs a little relief. I'm just trying to come in and do the best job I can."
Whether Jack remains as the starting point guard Friday against Atlanta is unknown. Calderon, who missed two games with a sore left hip, didn't travel with the Raptors to Milwaukee on Wednesday, remaining back in Toronto to get treatment.
Calderon was back with the medical staff for a session Thursday and is likely to take part in the team's shootaround Friday morning. If he comes through that session all right, he's likely to be a game-time decision.
If Calderon can't go – and the same scenario will play out for Andrea Bargnani and his sore right ankle – Jack will start again and Triano will be forced to mix and match lineups against the Hawks.
Who's hot? Jamal Crawford might be the early front-runner for Sixth Man of the Year. He has scored in double digits in 18 of 21 games this year.
Who's not? Mike Bibby has just 10 points over the last three games. He has made four of his 20 field-goal attempts over that span.
"A lot of [teams] have new people coming in," Saunders said.
"Toronto's got new people they're trying to integrate … into their system, and what they're trying to do from an offensive and defensive standpoint. You can't get a snapshot of a team through 15, 20 games even. It's going to take 30, 40 games before you know what you have."
In other words, Raptors fans: Feel free to release your angst over every loss (Wednesday night's defeat in Milwaukee was rather maddening), but don't get overly concerned.
As long as Toronto does not win too many games or lose too many games in a row, nothing drastic is going to change in the next couple of months.
This week however I covered a Raptors practice and the game the next day. NBA rules only allow photographers to go into their practices after they are over (it sounds like federal Conservative policy to me). The doors opens, we pile in hoping that there are a few players throwing a few hoops-often it is quite quiet and a good picture can be quite rare.
I lucked out this time when a couple of players started hoofing around a ball like they were playing soccer. I was thrilled to be able to make a more interesting looking picture than yet another tight shot of Bosh making free throws.
The pictures didn’t run because immediately after practice they showed off their Huskies heritage uniforms-obviously more newsworthy. Perhaps next time.
Here is Demar Derozan doing his thing at the my personal favorite high school event, the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic. For more info on this event go to www.risemag.com
12. Toronto Raptors (10-14): Patrick Patterson, PF, Kentucky
Chris Bosh’s performance over the last two seasons has all but written his ticket out of Toronto next year when he becomes a free agent. Taking his place will be Patrick Patterson, who is sure to garner some major looks as he takes Kentucky deep into the NCAA Tournament this season. Alongside John Wall, the 6′8″ power forward has showed great potential and has been on NBA scout’s radar since he joined Wildcats. He is undersized but his long wingspan and tough play will allow him to have success on the defensive end.
1. Take a holiday song (from Jingle Bells to The Chanukah Song).
2. Change the lyrics to give them a Raptors focus
3. Either write a copy of the lyrics and post them in the forum titled: Home for the Holidays Karaokee Kontest
4. Upload a copy of you singing the song to YouTube or a similar website post a link here
5. Songs/Lyrics can be posted up until December 20th (Post as many songs as you like).
6. Christopher Bond from Evil Dead The Musical will select and perform the top five songs and
7. YOU will decide the winner! Voting will take place between Dec 21st and Dec 24th.
After getting beat down by the Buks the Raps face a very talented Atlanta Hawks team tonight for the second time this season.
Here's hoping the results of tonight's match-up are better than what transpired the last time these two teams came together.
Now, the Raptors went back to their old defensive ways allowing the Bucks to shoot 52% and scoring 117. The Raps were short-handed without Andrea Bargnani (ankle) and Jose Calderon (hip) in the starting lineup. Rasho and Jarret Jack both got the starts in their place. For Bosh, it was another day at the office with his 26 pts/10 boards but Mr. Big Bucks, Hedo Turkoglu, failed to show up for missing offense. Hedo put up only 9 pts on 4 of 8 shooting.
The optimist would say the Raptors have won three of there last four games. The pessimist would say they’ve lost six of there last nine… so which are you? Are you concentrating on the three bad teams the Raptors beat, or the one bad team they lost to?
Defence or a lack there of was the reason for last nights loss as the Bucks shot a red hot 52 percent. The Raps were shorthanded without Jose or Il Mago and Jarret Jack had nothing for the Jennings/Ridnour connection.
So what now?
Bosh and Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki are the only two NBA players averaging more than 20 points a game and fewer than two turnovers. Bosh came into the season with a career average of 2.2 turnovers a game and has cut that down to 1.8
Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani are both third in voting for the NBA's Eastern Conference all-star team, while Victoria's Steve Nash is third among guards in the West.
Bosh, who is seeking to make his fourth consecutive all-star appearance, has 303,550 votes in the first set of returns announced Thursday, and trails Cleveland's LeBron James (649,327) and Boston's Kevin Garnett (533,187) in voting for Eastern forwards.
Bargnani ranks third among Eastern centres with 67,310 votes, well back of Orlando's Dwight Howard (625,279) and Cleveland's Shaquille O'Neal (206,657).
"We can always play Al (Horford) at the ‘4 [spot],' Marvin (Williams) at the ‘4,' " coach Mike Woodson said. "If I don't feel comfortable with ‘O,' I can go that route."
Smith will be the first Hawk to miss a game due to injury. The Raptors, by comparison, have lost 35 player games.
Hunter played 16 games last season as a rookie.
3. Alright, the last one pains me to say it, but the injury to Reggie is really paying off for Amir. The man has become a great rebounder no both ends, plays good d, but more importantly knows his limits, plays within his game, and gives us a lot of heart and hustle. Granted reggie will bring all of those things, besides maybe the playing within his game but if he was never injured, our big man rotation might have just ended at Rasho and Reggie. I think Amir has assured himself of a steady spot in the rotation.
If Hedo Turkoglu can, in fact, be awoken from his “fall slumber”, against the likes of:
Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams
Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier
Dwyane Wade and Jermaine Jones
Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus
then, the Raptors really do have hope of making a meangingful climb up the Eastern Conference standings, as the schedule progresses.
If not, however, then, most unfortunately, this is going to be a very long and difficult year in Raptorville.
Oh, sure, I suppose you could make the case that Chris Bosh is more likely to re-sign with the Raptors if they make the playoffs but… meh. I mean, are we really supposed to rally behind giving him a max contract and trying to build a championship contender around him? Don't get me wrong, he's playing absolutely awesome this season. But I think we've established that Bosh is best-suited to be a Pau Gasol to somebody's Kobe — you know, like he could be in Miami. This team just isn't going to be good enough to contend in the next few years unless Bargnani suddenly elevates his game to a Nowitzki-in-his-prime level. I know some people are still holding out hope for that, but I ain't one of them.
Unlike some of the superstars on the 2010 free agent list, he does not make a large amount of money from endorsements (players like LeBron and D-Wade, who are often mentioned in the same breath as Bosh, make enough endorsement money to supplant them on the SI Fortunate 50). So, the cash Toronto can offer Bosh might be enticing enough for him to stay up north.
When discussing a potential move to the Knicks, you have to factor in the effect New York City could have on Bosh's celebrity. Playing in blue and orange, he is guaranteed to see an increase in sponsorship deals. While one of the mitigating factors behind Bosh’s lack of endorsements is due to the fact that he has yet to make it to the NBA Finals, or deep into the playoffs for that matter, Bosh also had the unfortunate luck of being drafted by the only NBA team located in Canada—a franchise that gets little to no press unless they are winning big. Since Bosh arrived five years ago, the Raptors have only made the playoffs twice.
Free-agent bonanza Hedo Turkoglu has been anything but (at 14 points per game) in Toronto, where the Raptors have dipped below our mediocre expectations.
The Raptors allowed Milwaukee to shoot 52.5 percent from the floor, falling to 0-9 when opponents eclipse the 48.3 percent mark. The Hawks shot 59.1 percent – 52.4 percent (11 of 21) from 3-point range – against Toronto last week.
Despite another disappointing defensive effort Wednesday, Chris Bosh provided another strong offensive performance. He finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and has averaged 25.8 points and 13.5 boards in four games since being limited to a season-low two points in 16 minutes against the Hawks.
The four-time All-Star sat out much of the first half of the Atlanta game due to foul trouble and most of the second when the game got out of hand.
Toronto has lost three straight and five of the last six meetings with Atlanta.
When an opponent converts 3.5% more of its Total Shot Value, generates 5 more Possessions per game, and has a Points per Possession differential of 0.168, it indicates that your team was out-classed in a number of different phases of the game.
1/4 of the way through the regular season schedule, what should now be a legitimate concern for the Raptors organization, and its fanbase, is what you see when you look at the following two charts; appraising [i] where these two teams were last night:
Average paid attendance is down 3.7 percent in the NBA through the first quarter of the regular season, sending gate receipts plummeting 7.4 percent, according to league documents obtained by CBSSports.com.
Net gate receipts, the money teams make from ticket sales, fell to an average of $828,985 per game, down from $894,823 at the same point last season. Only nine teams were up or flat in average net gate receipts through Nov. 29, while 21 teams saw a decline.
The Raptors aren’t very good. They entered the game last in defensive rating and if it were possible to go any lower than that they would after letting THIS Bucks team put up 117 points on them. That being said, it’s wonderful for the Bucks confidence to really pound a team. The Bucks have been competitive with most teams at home and they have the Blazers and Lakers coming in over the next week. The Blazers are beat up and primed for a Bucks upset on Saturday while confidence is still high and feelings are still good.
Beating the bad teams is what teams that want to make the playoffs do. The Bucks have stated that as their goal time and time again and this is a positive step in that direction. Something they desperately needed after about eight negative steps in the last nine games.
Jarrett Jack talks to the media following the Raptors game in Milwaukee.