Today at 11AM the Raptors will announce that Toronto will host the 2016 All-Star game, a long overdue but excellent development that can only benefit the Raptors and the city. It’ll be like Caribana weekend, only good. The big names in Toronto, the TV coverage, and hopefully a Raptors All-Star or two by then would make this a very exciting weekend and would hopefully put to rest the nonsense of players not wanting to stay/come here due to it being in Canada.
More importantly, I believe that if Adam Silver was of a slightly different race, he’d look like Gus Fring from Breaking Bad:
It’s there, trust me. I’ve been comparing these pictures for the last two hours and I know that they’re the same person.
Heading into training camp I don’t find myself asking too many questions of the roster, only because there is no deep glaring hole on it like years past. On the scoring front, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas should carry the load. Defensively, good defenders like Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry (when not reaching), Tyler Hansbrough, and Amir Johnson has us covered for the most part. When it comes to rebounding, Hansbrough, Johnson, and Valanciunas is a good start and there’s probably a need for another big in there, considering we haven’t yet accounted for Ed Davis being shipped away.
The bench is a modest one and susceptible to some exploitation, but Steve Novak, Landry Fields, Terrence Ross, Dwight Buycks (based on summer league, I know), and Quincy Acy are at the very least role players that look like they can play the part on an Eastern Conference eighth seed. Once you overlay this roster with the expectations in a weakened East, there’s a sense that whatever modest goals are set are going to be achievable ones, at least for me. There’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Raptors will be making the playoffs as a late seed this year, and it’s taken the usual edge off of things. There’s been no major summer signing of import so there’s nothing too new to look ahead to except for Tyler Hansbrough. It all makes for calmer waters. Not saying I’m not excited, just that I kind of see what’s coming and I’m already missing Bryan Colangelo’s penchant for rashness no matter what the feasibility.
You might have seen the note from NBA.com about using some advanced methods to track player movements. To summarize:
The groundbreaking system will provide a continuous stream of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation, and ball possession for detailed and targeted analysis of players and teams.
Hmmm…player separation you say? I hope the NBA makes this data available publicly so I can watch Blake’s head explode. In any event, I’m offering ten predictions regarding what this new software will speak of regarding the Raptors.
- Rudy Gay’s distance from the man he’s defending will always be the greatest of any Raptor.
- DeMar DeRozan’s foot speed when dribbling out of pressure on the perimeter will be the slowest of any Raptor.
- The fastest guy with the ball in his hand end-to-end will be Dwight Buycks.
- Other than Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay will take up the highest percentage of Raptors possession.
- Of all non-PGs, Terrence Ross will spend the least amount of time inside the paint (I’m counting Novak as a PF).
- The best weak-side help defender for the Raptors will be Landry Fields (i.e., he’ll cover more ground helping a big down low than any one).
- The Raptors will make a concerted effort to provide help in the paint, even if it means leaving shooters open on the wing (i.e., you’re not going to see big men being stuck on defense at the perimeter).
- Jonas Valanciunas will be the first big man running back on defense to cross the half-court line on majority of the possessions.
- Dwight Buycks will be the only player to drive more to his left than right.
- Quincy Acy will be called for the most face-up travels (i.e., on the wing, facing up) per 48 minutes.
Here’s the Raptors training camp roster:
|NO.||PLAYER||POS||HT||WT||BIRTHDATE||PRIOR TO NBA/HOME COUNTRY||NBA EXP.|
|4||Quincy Acy||F||6-7||233||10/6/1990||Baylor / USA||1|
|14||D.J. Augustin||G||6-0||183||11/10/1987||Texas / USA||5|
|13||Dwight Buycks||G||6-3||190||3/6/1989||Marquette / USA||R|
|5||Austin Daye||F||6-11||200||6/5/1988||Gonzaga / USA||4|
|10||DeMar DeRozan||G||6-7||217||8/7/1989||USC / USA||4|
|2||Landry Fields||F-G||6-7||214||6/27/1988||Stanford / USA||3|
|22||Rudy Gay||F||6-8||230||8/17/1986||Connecticut / USA||7|
|34||Aaron Gray||C||7-0||270||12/7/1984||Pittsburgh / USA||6|
|50||Tyler Hansbrough||F-C||6-9||250||11/3/1985||North Carolina / USA||4|
|15||Amir Johnson||C-F||6-9||237||5/1/1987||Westchester HS (Los Angeles) / USA||8|
|7||Kyle Lowry||G||6-0||205||3/25/1986||Villanova / USA||7|
|6||Carlos Morais||G||6-3||220||10/16/1985||Atletico Petroleos/Angola||R|
|16||Steve Novak||F||6-10||235||6/13/1983||Marquette / USA||7|
|31||Terrence Ross||G||6-7||197||2/5/1991||Washington / USA||1|
|77||Julyan Stone||G||6-7||200||12/7/1988||Texas-El Paso/USA||2|
|17||Jonas Valanciunas||C||7-0||257||5/6/1992||Lietuvos Rytas / Lithuania||1|