Toronto Sun

Toronto starts the pre-season with its most experienced roster since 2002-03.

The current group has 77 combined years of NBA experience (32 from Magloire, Carter and Butler alone, Oakley, Willis and Brown combined for 34 in 1998-99) and this is the first time in team history that a rookie is not on the roster. Of the 12 regulars back in 1999, seven had two years of NBA experience or less. Five members of the current group have two years of experience or less, Bayless has three.

Sophomore Gary Forbes says the veterans are team lynchpins.

“They’ve been there before, they’ve won a bunch of games and been in situations we haven’t,” Forbes said.

“They are there to help us along the way.”

The established pros have talked throughout training camp about being impressed by the work ethic of the youngsters. Of course, committing to not being committed helped prevent Carter and McGrady from reaching their vast ceilings.

That doesn’t seem like it will be a problem for this group.

“I love the effort, I cannot question the effort, the guys have been diving on the floor,” Casey said.

The coach added he has yet to decide on how everybody will be deployed.

“This year I think you can throw traditional roles and rotations to the wind,” he said.

“There’s going to be a lot of games in a lot of nights … we’re going to be flexible. We are deep. We have two or three guys at each position.”

Toronto Sun

Solomon Alabi has taken some strides since last year, but remains very much a work in progress.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey likes the 7-foot-1 centre’s work ethic and some of the things he brings to the table, but recognizes that what Alabi needs most of all, probably can’t be provided by the club this season.

“Really, Solo needs to play more than anything else to learn the NBA game and adjust to the speed,” Casey said after practice on Friday.

“A summer league would have been great for him. All the workout drills don’t really help him (as much as game situations).”

Casey admitted that the NBA Development League could be an option for Alabi this season, though such a move likely wouldn’t come anytime soon since: “right now, we need all the healthy bodies.”

Alabi got into only 12 games as a rookie last season, scoring six points and hauling down 14 rebounds in 59 total minutes. Alabi played 22 games for Erie of the NBDL, averaging 7.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 18.5 minutes per game.

“He has a nose for the ball rebounding-wise, excellent athlete and is an excellent stand-still shooter,” Casey said when asked to appraise Alabi’s strengths.

Alabi has an influential backer in his former coach at Florida State, ex-NBA head coach Leonard Hamilton, who recruited Casey to Kentucky.

“(Hamilton) raves about him. He’s been calling me all summer promoting him and talking about him,” Casey said.

National Post

Casey also said it is becoming increasingly hard to get his players to focus on the little things with a game so near. The Raptors play the Celtics at home on Sunday, and a lot of these players have not played a meaningful game since April. The players are looking forward to the action, certainly. “It will be good to play against some different guys because everyone knows what we’re doing right now,” swingman Rasual Butler said. “We can kind of cheat the plays [in practice] a little bit. To get out there and defend some offensive sets you don’t know, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Damn Lies & Statistics

Ed Davis, PF, Toronto – Davis has a few things working for him as we head into the new season. First, he has lots of raw ability and works hard to get better. Next, he acquitted himself well as a rookie in ’10-11, averaging 7.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in less than 25 minutes per game and he is committed to continuing his improvement. Finally, his competition for minutes in the frontcourt will come from Amir Johnson, a decent sleeper in his own right, but one who is coming off of ankle surgery, and Andrea Bargnani, who gives the Raptors little in terms of rebounding and interior defense. Davis, who has added some bulk in the offseason, should emerge as a key for this team. I can see him averaging better than 30 minutes a night and posting double-doubles like it’s nobody’s business. I’m buying in the middle rounds.

You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me?

The easiest part of this prediction process for this division is who will be the worst team. If you are able to name five guys on the Raptors off the top of your head I’ll give you twenty bucks. They are a really young team without any star players since Vince Carter and Chris Bosh have left to bigger market teams. Andrea Bargnani is their best player averaging over 20.0 points per game last year and DeMar DeRozan averaged over 17.0 points per game at the shooting guard position. There is just not enough to get the Raptors out of the basement in the division, though. The other four teams have experience and star players that will have their way with the Raptors.

demar hova

  • AB7.38pt.on.cb4

    Raptors will surprise a lot of “expert”. Never know how much improvement AB,DD,ED,AJ can give to you with DCasey.

    • p00ka

      This place could use a lot more positive discussion, rather than too much of the constant harping of the same critical “opinions” day after day. It chases people away who want to focus more on positive ways of looking at the team they support. Bah humbug!
      Cheers, GO RAPS!!

      • Flyfresh416

        I co-sign.  You’d think we’re the opposing teams’ fan, based on the bullshit I read online from our so-called “fans”.  There’s a lot more good things to talk about regarding the team.  Besides, this is a evaluation year as well as a push to make the play-offs (as a goal; shoot for the stars, land on a cloud).  There isn’t any high expectations, there was a lockout and so there shouldn’t be any high expectations from us.  They didn’t have Training camp, what’s to criticize?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BBYHOSXSD5CG4RWAE6GLFRE66A Abe Saperstein

          It’s starts at the top actually. Other blogs keep the tone much more toned down and less sensationalist. This one tries to inflame passions to get a few extra hits. Sort of makes sense, but then it winds up attracting the dregs of sports debate.

    • cesco

      Too few preseason practices , they were still concentrating on a new way to execute one-on-one defense a couple of days ago . Improvements will be slow to come but they will come .

    • KaioKev

      I really hope they do prove the so called experts wrong. I understand Raptors are a work-in-progress but that’s just it: “progress”

  • Smith

    Some Fans here are simply delusional. “Proving the Experts Wrong”, ” Fighting for 8th Seed” and … Come on people, GET REAL !! This season is not about winning or losing. This is a season about evaluating what we have starting from DD, Amir, Davis,…. to AB. Some of you should really spot being a delusional fanatic fan and understand where this team is. This reminds me of the Poll that we had here last year when Bayless was traded and over 50% of the fans , thought Bayless is an ALL-STAR PG !!! Well, this season is the time to answer that question IF it has not been answered yet !! Another example is JJ and how Tim and … thought he is like Pippen !!! Well, this season is time to answer that too. Face it people, all these teams in the East are 2-3 years ahead of us and much better than us:

    Heat, Boston, Orlando, NJ, Pacer, Philly, NY, Chicago, Indiana, Bucks,Atlanta .

    We are in the same level as:

    Cleveland, Detroit, Washington, Charlotte. 

    • p00ka

      Proving the experts wrong can mean nothing more than battling better than some predict, improving defense more than some naysayers are expertly predicting, and maybe even a few more wins than expected. No big deal or delusions. Just expecting progress over expecting continued down slide like some here. “Fighting for 8th seed”? I don’t recall anybody saying that, but if so you’re picking 1 errant comment out of hundreds, and certainly nothing of such in this thread. Jockeys in a knot this morning?

      • AmirFan

        “I don’t recall anybody saying that”….
        LOL, I guess you just don’t read other people’s posts here :) 

        “Jockeys in a knot this morning?”
        Really !!! Did you have to say that and make yourself look like a soar teenage looser !!!

        Positive enforcement are fine but not losing focus on what the goal of this season is what matters most. Obviously, you do belong to the group which thinks this team will be competitive this year. Well, tell us than HOW many wins do you think this team will have by the end of this season ??

        • p00ka

          Show me posts suggesting 8th seed, and I’ll show you hundreds that don’t, which was my point. Your turn.

          Do you mean “sore” and “loser”? In any case, pretty lame. senseless retort.

          You don’t comprehend very well if you see what you think is obvious, but maybe I miss your interpretation of “competitive”. Is “improving”, “making progress” and a few more wins than some expect translate to competitive in your eyes? Not mine, but enlighten me to your obvious.

          I prefer to see at least a few games of what this team looks like under a new coach/style before tossing out wild guesses of wins, the number of which I couldn’t give a damn about this year anyway.

    • Nilanka15

      Some perspective is appreciated. Success isn’t going to be measured by wins and losses this year. This year is for development, identifying who will be considered “core” pieces moving forward, and weeding out the rest. Beating New Jersey in the standings shouldn’t be our concern if it means losing sight of properly building a championship calibre team. Unexpected wins are great in the short term, but it will be a crushing blow to this franchise if we don’t end up with a top 5 pick this summer.

      Also, thanks for not quoting Bertrand Russell.

      • p00ka

        Get over it dude. Petty, or is that pity?

        • Nilanka15

          Is there a problem? You dont like people “harping” the same opinions day after day, and I don’t like Bertrand Russell quotes.

          • p00ka

            Which I wasn’t doing now, was I? Yesterdays news, but carry on letting it eat you if it works for you. Is Dr Phil in the house?

            • Nilanka15

              Perhaps you should re-read your first post above.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BBYHOSXSD5CG4RWAE6GLFRE66A Abe Saperstein

                You guys both need to get a room. The sexual tension is suffocating.

    • What the

      you forgot to mension the Dirk 2.0 guy, i’m still waiting after 5 years …but you after 1 or 2 seasons want an answer on some of these guys when what we should be concern about is getting rid of the ones that have been here for 5 years and we know about

    • KaioKev

      Wishful thinking is all it is dude, relax. I’m sure most fans “wish” their favourite team plays in the NBA finals every year. 

      The experts and many people on this site are calling for another abysmal 15-20 win season. Me, on the other hand, I’m hoping for 25wins. That, in my opinion will prove many experts wrong :)

  • Japetas

    I don’t know how good the Raptors are going to play this season, but yesterday i saw Detroit – Cleveland game and I have no doubt, that we’re better than both of those teams…

    • Nilanka15

      Lol, I watched that game too, and both teams were horrendous. But that could be a result of the short training camp more than anything. It was pretty sloppy basketball, which we’ll probably see from all teams the first few weeks.

    • cesco

      But Cleveland now have the potential ROY in Irving ( from what I saw). Another team that could finish ahead of the Raps .

  • JHP

    I must admit I really don’t know a whole lot about basketball.  I’m hoping the team is better and gives a more consistent effort.  With that said I’m a little disappointed with how this year has been written off by BC and the gang.  Now I’m not talking about casual fans but the GM and company. So let’s hope they surprise a few teams and do better then expected. 

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Will we continue hear the young excuses again now that this team is the most veteran laden in terms of years of actual NBA experience since 2002?

    Solomon Alabi aka Ajinca Light is garbage it’s time to cut ties with him and give his roster spot to a real player.

    Ed should be the Rap’s starting PF as he posted the most doubles doubles on the team in limited minutes last season plus he gets after it on defense & hustle.

    Will Bargnani dive on the floor for a loose ball this season?

    Will AB get more than 2 double doubles this season?

    Will AB average more than 5.5 rebounds per game?

    Will Bargnani box out consistantly under Casey?

    Will Andrea play big in the paint?

    Will Casey really hold AB accountable for his on court play?

    There is no real culture change until both Jose & Andrea are traded away and the Rap’s move forward with- DD, ED, AJ, JB, JJ & JV their 2012 NBA draft pick and whatever talent that they would receive in exchange (for JC & AB) until then it’s all a pr spin from BC to get fans to spend their hard earned money supporting his flawed vision of Raptors basketball. 

    • AB7.38pt.on.cb4

      And after that Raptors will win no1,no2,no3,no,no5,no6,no7.Yes,Sir