In this week’s edition of RaptorBlog Radio, we discuss Rudy Gay’s first five games as a Raptor, the myth of the NBA “closer,” Jonas Valanciunas returning to form, Tyler Hansbrough being a fake tough guy, a potential Andrea Bargnani trade and Terrence Ross’ chances in this Saturday’s dunk contest.
Basically, when you look at the fact that Ilyasova is a floor-stretching forward who rebounds well and has the versatility to play the three and the four, you come to the realization that he’s everything Raptors fans wish Bargnani was, just at a much cheaper per-year cost (the advanced numbers also clearly favour the cheaper and younger Ilyasova).
Tuesday’s Raptors and Nuggets match-up may be both a reminiscence of multiple dunk competitions past, as well as a preview of the Saturday to come as it features 6 former and future participants. This in addition to the fact that each team features a point guard (Kyle Lowry and Ty Lawson) that pushes the fast-paced offence of their respective teams, sets up Tuesday night to be a high scoring game full of highlight reel dunks. Whether it is a put back slam by Terrence Ross, a self-pass off the backboard by JaVale Mcgee or a behind the back alley-oop to Kenneth Faried, these high flyers have proven they can deliver at any point in the season. This game is sure to get fans hyped up for All-Star Saturday Night.
That is no longer a concern. Not only is Ross practising his dunks and inviting any and all advice from his teammates while he does so, he’s putting in time in the video room checking out past contests for any help he can get. “From 1987-2010,” Ross said of the contests he has researched. “It has been all over the place for me.”
No, there won’t be a major change around his playing style. After six seasons, Bargnani has showed everyone what he is about and to expect things to be different would be foolish. Toronto needs front court and inside scoring as they rank 28th and 27th respectively in those categories. So if it doesn’t work, any deal has to bring in missing pieces to address the frontcourt issues as well as another point man who is a good distributor. Once those issues are addressed Toronto may continue to build and move in the right direction.
I was struck, when reading SI.com’s Toronto Raptors page, by the unflattering discrepancy between the combination of offensive (13th) and defensive (21st) Raps rankings, and SI’s Power Ranking (26th). In other words, our statistical capability is dramatically ahead of our game results. It’s time to learn how you feel about Dwane Casey. Is he a good coach struggling to grab wins with an inferior roster, or an overrated cheerleader whose poor decisions in crunch time have cost us numerous victories? I’ll offer a middle ground for those of you who think we won’t really know how good Dwane is until next season (?), when the roster is presumably more settled.
This week on the podcast we take a look at how Rudy Gay is fitting in with the Raptors. What to do with a problem like Andrea or is Bargnani a problem at all? Talk of All-Star Weekend and the fact the NBA has indeed “Let Terrence Ross Dunk.” Also talk of what exactly the rest of season should be about.
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