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.

  • Kanata

    You gotta get more vicious with that circle, Arse…;) 

  • cesco

    Calf strains cannot be all that bad . If TRoss turn out to be a quality player ,you have to thanks AB calf strain which allowed the Raps to select much higher in the lottery .

    • arsenalist

      New Raptors GM: Calf Strain.

  • Milesboyer

    Training camp can’t start soon enough – these articles are all sounding exactly the same – are they even worth writing?

  • Nilanka15

    Jose mentioned that Valanciunas’ offensive game is more developed than people give him credit for.  Wonder if he’ll surprise everyone on that end of the floor.

    • arsenalist

      He won’t.  His pick ‘n roll looks pretty good on YouTube but you have to think that against NBA defenses that help will come over much sooner and cut him off.

      • Nilanka15

        I interpreted Jose’s comment to suggest that Jonas might actually have a decent low-post more (or two).  But I guess we’ll find out in a month.

      • Nilanka15

         *low-post MOVE*

  • Jeffrey Thompson

    Raptors always seem to have bad luck, don’t they?  Hopefully JV will be up and running by the opening tip off.  

    • 511

      When I hear the word ‘pop’
      used, I cringe. Often means a tear, but if it is, and if it’s calf-muscle (that
      tore), the good news is, it usually heals remarkably fast (going by personal
      experience, anyway). So, concerned but not worried. I doubt (very much) this is
      a Bargnani type of thing. 

      Also, those who insist from a
      high-horse in blogs elsewhere that this has ‘nothing to do with’ the ankle
      injury witnessed during the Olympics are talking out of their butt. If it’s the
      same leg, the likelihood of a connection is not exactly low.

      But again, not worried.
      I’d wager he’ll be ready by the end of Oct. Won’t be surprised though, if
      getting to full-speed in training camp takes an extra week or two. 

      • 511

        and … I should probably add, I’ve been told since – by a knucklehead-fan like myself – that it is not a muscle, but a tendon. So … ya. I don’t necessarily know what I’m talking about. Still not worried, tho. 

  • Daniel

    Anybody who thinks Lowry is an upgrade over Jose is either an ignorant or an idiot.

    • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

      I m happy to be ignorant and idiot. Lowry is a Beast !

    • Nilanka15

      Incorrectly using the word ‘ignorant’ as a noun is also quite ignorant, no?

    • A$AP BOBO MEIN

      you don’t watch basketball do you.

    • Destro

      Your tears are delicious !

  • Sheptor

    I hope JL3 stays glued to the bench. We have the best 1-2 punch at point in the league imo. Jose should not be shipped unless an unbelievable trade shows up and we have to because Jose is going to be a #2 for the remainder of his career, he knows this now. See how the season goes and if a great deal doesn’t turn up re-sign the guy and let him retire as a raptor. If we make the playoffs I can see Jose being a big reason why, if Johnson and Davis or Ross have big years chances are Jose will also be a big reason why. I do not see him starting unless an injury occurs to Lowry. Lowry will have to play pretty bad for it to happen where as in seasons past all it took was for Jose to play pretty good as a back-up for the question to arise. This year even if they play close to even Jose is still going to be seeing bench minutes and I couldn’t be more glad to see him do it. Go JOSE!

    • KJ-B

      $10.8 mil is kinda pricey for a backup — again listen to Casey-speak, “it’s gonna be hard to keep Lucas off the floor…Lucas is one of our better 3 pt shooters in drills…spoke to the coaching staff in Chicago and they said it was hard to keep him off the floor.” When you read between the lines, you gotta know that Calderon, right now is nothing much more now than an expensive Insurance policy.

      • Sheptor

         Nobody says you have to re-sign him at that price..I’m sure if we made it to the first rd and had a good series or even by some chance won he would be happy to accept a 3yr 15 mil or something.

        • KJ-B

          Hey, it would be nice to have a Raptor lifer from cradle to the grave–we’ll see though, cause athletes are successful because of their egos and never wanting to be 2nd best (eg. Ray Allen going to MIA to come off the bench instead of play w/ BOS)

  • Guest

    Don’t think we should worry too much about depth at the C.   The NBA is getting smaller and quicker, so forget the days of 1 2 3 4 5, PG SG SF PF C.   You have a gaurds, forwards and bigs (exception maybe with PG).  And with a good coach like Casey, I have no worry at all if Bargs, Amir or ED slide to the “C” position for stretches.

  • BCsMaBoi

    The part that doesn’t add up in the J-V situation is the mysterious “pop” that was heard. Something is not adding up!

    • Nilanka15

      Was it a “pop” sound, or a “pop” feeling (described by Jonas and then repeated by everyone)?

      I’ve strained muscles before where it felt like a pop, but didn’t hear anything.

  • KJ-B

    My deal with Calderon is no different than #7 — the defensive side of NBA ball is just way to fast for them to be difference makers…My thing is, you can only afford to have to 1 of them playing significant minutes on a playoff calibre team…and yup, you guessed #7 wins that argument every time.  

    Lowry’s a 36 minute game guy.  And DeRozan’s more long term, they drafted a 2 guard, and signed a 2/3 in the summer = no extra minutes for a year older/slower Calderon at the 2…

    For the sake of loyalty, trade the guy to a team that can give him more than that in Toronto–you already hear the narrative by Casey, “Kyle’s an Alpha Dog”… it was nice Jose.

  • Statement

    Why does this website keep deleting my question about matchbook.com?  It’s not spam I’m a human with a question, damnit.

  • Matt52

    My chuckle of the day:

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

  • GetDefensive

    Yo arse u get my email? Took a stab at writing something….

  • c_bcm

    So Bargs did not come to these optional workouts?

    • Thornbury

      He was there.  They were all there except JV

  • No disrespect

    “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. Viscous cycle.” its sooooo true

    • Destro

      Unfortunately this isnt a competition…Lowry is the starter you gave up too much to have it any other way…

  • Bendit

    “Viscous cycle” works well too.

  • Blakerose

    I cant believe you called Roko a “rival” to jose. WTF?

    • Arsenalist

      He was dude.  People were calling him to start over Jose all the time.  Something about him being a better defender.  The tide hit a high after that San Antonio game Roko had.  I didn’t even mention Will Solomon…

      • Gremio53

        I just saw Roko play a few weeks ago at a Ukraine-Croatia game here in Ukraine and boy does he suck. He couldn’t stop giving up the ball, or shooting bricks. He finally hit a couple threes near the end of the game but he was fouled with 30 seconds to go and down by two and bricked both free throws. I had all my buddies with me yelling ‘your not even good enough for the Raptors!’ ‘Twas a fun evening :)

  • FAQ

    Injuries are not a good omen. JVal did play the summer so he should have been in good condition. Ugly surprises are not good surprises.

  • enlightenment

    You know going small at C isnt a big deal, we have 3 7footers in our rotation!