Voluntary workouts have started and Jonas is crocked. According to Casey, he “felt something pop”. A calf strain of some sort, maybe the same one that inflicted Bargnani or maybe it’s a different sort (Casey says they’re different and Jonas’ is almost benign). Frankly, it doesn’t matter which kind of calf strain it is, and if I’m being completely honest, I think calf strain’s should go to different schools and have separate water fountains. I’ve also never met a calf strain that isn’t totally racist and/or isn’t a wife-beater. I don’t know this for sure, but some guy in the Union Station washroom told me there are countries where calf strains are basically buried alive at birth. Good for those countries, we’re obviously a long ways away until we join that group of civilized nations. In conclusion, calf strains are Nazis.

Speculating about a potential injury problem isn’t very productive or fun, however, this does make you look at the depth at center and you go, “Hmm, we’re a bit thin there”. You can count on Aaron Gray and Jamaal Magloire to hold the fort down for a 5-minute period, but it’s only a matter of time before we ask Amir Johnson to slide over to the center. In fact, the shift of Amir Johnson to the C is almost inevitable, especially if the franchise wants to give Ed Davis any sort of light of day, not that he deserves it. Davis’ $3.1M team option was picked up in 2011 extending him through 2013-14, so the franchise does have another year after this one to “evaluate” Davis. Not sure how much evaluation is needed, though, the guy seems pretty generic. Davis falls into the category of player on the Raptors that you dangle in trade talks and see if there’s any interest that interests you. You could argue that DeRozan falls into that category called “Nothing Special” as well, and that trading away these types of players is a low risk move.

It’s difficult enough to get a handle on this team and what they’re capable of, it’s even harder to confidently say where the strengths and weaknesses lie. The consistency of Bargnani’s production has always been put into question, yet at the same time he’s the best player on the team capable of lighting it up. Whether DeRozan is a perennial 12.8 PER player, or whether he’s about to take the next step to an efficient 20+ PPG (he shot 42% last year) scorer remains to be seen. Ross is a massive question mark, and to me a big X-factor on the roster because of the three point shooting and defense he can potentially bring. How well Lowry integrates and how long it takes him to do so, will have a direct bearing on the team’s W/L record. Whether it’s the rookie-year Fields we signed or last year’s is also up in the air. Too many variables make for inaccurate projections.

What you can confidently say is just a few things:

  1. The defense will be better. With Lowry in at the point, Casey gets more options in terms of schemes to deploy. Whether it be trapping or simply more consistent ball-pressure, Lowry gives Casey more of a chance to play the defense he wants to play.
  2. We have a legit center. Although it remains to be seen how much Valanciunas can contribute, the Raptors finally have a true starting center which you can foresee being around for more than a year.
  3. The three-point shooting should be better. As Casey said today, Terrence Ross should add something and so should John Lucas (39%). If Landry Fields comes close to shooting the 39% he did his rookie year, the court will be spread.

Switching gears, Jose was asked if he feels there’s competition at the PG spot. The poor guy must be tired of answering that question. T.J Ford, Jarrett Jack, Roko Ukic, Jerryd Bayless and now Kyle Lowry…the guy has always had a “rival” in training camp, and somehow he seems to come out on top in the end. For some reason or the other, the starter gets usurped and good ol’ Jose’s back in the picture. It always starts with Jose outshining the starter in the second quarter to pull the team back to within 5 after they were down 25 early. People start saying how Jose’s finally taking risks, expanding his vision and his jumpshot is “back”. Soon enough the starter starts underperforming and an ankle-sprain later, Jose’s back in the lineup and the team has a few good games. A month later, he’s back to looking like a defensive sieve and fans start calling on how Jose’s a great backup, but not a starter. Vicious cycle.

Casey’s flat out downplaying any PG “controversy” without mincing words:

“I don’t expect any point guard controversy whatsoever”

He also goes on to talk about John Lucas:

We talk about Kyle and Jose, but I do know that John’s going to make a case for himself and it’s going to be hard to keep him off the court. Talking to some coaches in Chicago, they said the same thing: it was hard to keep him off the floor.

There you have it, we need extra security to keep John Lucas off the floor.

Ed Davis also said something but I had zero fucks to give.

Here’s Jose doing Jose-type stuff.

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