Raptors are headed to Halifax for training camp.

Dwane Casey spoke after yesterday’s practice, here’s the summary:

  • Two a day practices in effect
  • Defensive focus for the rest of the week
  • Lot of conditioning last night and it showed in their legs
  • The venue change for the practice scrimmage will give a little mental bump
  • Players-only team dinner last night
  • Tempo, energy is up this year compared to previous training camps
  • DeRozan’s attacking more because of his confidence level
  • Kyle Lowry is attacking more because of being in better shape/healthy
  • Tyler Hansbrough and Austin Daye have brough energy and they’re making guys compete
  • Austin Daye brings shooting, he’s a “big time skill guy” – did well to add muscle and strength, not just weight
  • Daye is expected to be one of the better three-point shooters on the team
  • Daye wroked with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston on footwork, post-moves
  • Terrence Ross is “up and down”, he’s got to bring consistency after a “typical rookie year”
  • Ross’s “up and down” is expected of a player in that stage of his development
  • Doesn’t help Ross when a guy like DeRozan is going at him in practice
  • The minutes behind Gay and DeRozan are wide open – they’re completely up for grabs
  • Bench has to either “hold serve” or outscore the other bench, we can’t have a repeat of last year when that was “our #1 nemesis”
  • There will be times when D.J Augustin and Kyle Lowry will play together – at times, that is

DeMar DeRozan talked as well, recap:

  • Getting better every day and working very hard
  • Trying to set the tone in training camp
  • The two-a-days are easier to take because he’s been playing ball all summer
  • Similarities between this camp and the one from two years ago – lots of defensive focus
  • Got lots of athletes on this team that can play defense

Terrence Ross did the same, recap:

  • Had a great day at camp on Wednesday
  • Two-a-days are much easier now because of the good shape he’s in
  • One lesson from last year is to know to “never take a play off” and focus
  • Time off in the summer helped him relax, unlike the draft year – this year he’s more ready for camp
  • Did a lot of conditioning in the summer so the “wind” wouldn’t be a problem
  • Picked up a lot about Casey’s defense last year and it’s “second nature” now

Finally, Dwight Buycks:

  • Body is sore, everybody’s a little “knocked up, bruised up”
  • It’s a “defensive-minded camp for sure” – says that definitely works in his favour
  • “Everybody from every position is going after everybody which is going to make us better”
  • Defensively, it’s definitely going to be tougher in the NBA, but I’m ready
  • Defense starts with the PG and we can’t be gambling too much because if the PG gets beat, it’s a problem
  • DeRozan and Gay have been vocal and talking, and he’s trying to be vocal too but has got to learn before he becomes vocal
  • Lowry’s a great point guard, they’re definitely competing and making each other better

What did we learn here? Nothing we didn’t already know – Dwane Casey’s having a defensive-minded camp which is much more in tune with his first camp than the one last year, which apparently was far more focused on offense.  We’ve all seen enough training camps to know that at this point it’s all about optimism, paying lip-service, and looking ahead on improving a 0-0 record.  It’s like the beer league team I play in: at the start of the season we’re excited to be there, we talk about how great it is now that everybody will show up for every game and we’ll never have to play 8 v 11 again, how the soul-crushing 8-0 losses are a thing of the past, how we might even not finish last in the league – exciting times, everybody’s awesome.  You don’t need me to tell you how things turn out, and such is the case with the Raptors – let’s play some games to see what we got here.

Tyler Hansbrough appears to be bringing the pain in practice which is to be expected, but I didn’t expect Casey to throw in Austin Daye’s name as one of the guys whose upping the tempo and competing (he’s also added some muscle and strength as well, but who hasn’t?).  The mention of Daye as a “one of the better three-point shooters” took me by surprise until I saw what he shot last year – 42% (career 36%).  I’ll try to dig up the video for all his 3FGAs once I get my Synergy Sports account sorted out.

I have no idea what to make of Ross – so far he’s apparently had one good day out of three, and he’s being chewed by DeRozan a little bit on defense.  I’m curious to know how Landry Fields is faring in all of this and how much of a factor Chris Wright is being at that backup SF.  I think there’s going to be some surprises as both the shooting guard and small forward backup positions.  I’ve already pegged Chris Wright as a surprise to come out on top at backup SF, and I think the only thing that’s keeping Ross in the play at backup SG is that we have nobody else there.  I need to hear some sound bites out of camp where Terrence Ross is dominating a scrimmage or two – that would make me feel a little better about the guy.  And I know interviews aren’t much to go by, but the guy just seems way too chillax.

Finally, I’m not really sure how I feel about MLSE receiving $500,000 from the provincial government for the All-Star game.  I realize the event will generate revenue for the city, but does MLSE really need a handout?

Here’s a quote supporting the funding by Finance Minister Charles Sousa:

“This is the first time ever the NBA All-Star Game will be held in Ontario, and it’s going to provide an outstanding amount of enthusiasm, tourism and full hotels.  Do you know that in Orlando last year it netted $95 million in benefit to local communities? That’s what we’re talking about.”

Here’s one against it from CTF Ontario director Candice Malcolm:

“The government can’t resist handing out money left, right and centre and I guess Maple Leaf Sports couldn’t resist taking the grant. It is a shame because Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment had been a model of not seeking or going after taxpayers’ subsidies.”

I don’t even know why MLSE would accept the relatively pittance sum knowing the potential backlash it might cause, but then again somebody has to pay for Marcus Camby’s buyout.

Till tomorrow.

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  • ibleedpurple

    Great read! Thanks for the post. It’s true training camp is all about optimism and trying to set the tone for the season. Every year we go through this and every year I get excited to see the drastically different team/team mentality hit the floor to win games and wow crowds. For once it would be nice to be rewarded as a die hard Raptors fan.

  • SR

    Bleh, nothing turns fans against their own teams like having the government hand tax money over to millionaire/billionaire owners. Bad idea all around.

    Nice notes from training camp though. This is a team full of good guys who work hard and are pretty sincere – it makes them a lot easier to root for.

    If Austin Daye can shoot 40% from three, it’ll be interesting to see him compete with Novak for minutes. One of them may become expendable.

    I hope Terrence Ross gets it in gear this year. He’s still as young as some rookies coming into the league, though.

    A little disappointed by yesterday’s (?) comments from Rudy Gay about just firing up shots. That kind of “You don’t know me!” determination to not listen to detractors but to stick to your game – that gets a lot of guys into the pros against some tough odds, but once you’re in the NBA you’ve got to be able to learn, develop, and evolve. Dammit, Michael Jordan and LeBron James adjusted their games SIGNIFICANTLY as their careers progressed, and they’re two of the all-time best. That kind of “ignore the naysayers and just do your thing” attitude is why guys like Allen Iverson have short careers. You’ve got to adapt and evolve, man. The team will be a heck of a lot better off if Gay’s shot selection (and ball movement!) improves.

    • thegloveinrapsuniform

      i think its just a knee jerk reaction to the question thrown at him (mind you i didnt see the interview). i dont doubt that these guys listen attentively to trainers and coaches, be it constructive or negative. probably just making it known that, “dont think you guys know more of what’s best for us than ourselves” kinda comment. i mean if he really does not give a shit, he probably wouldnt have done the eye surgery or added 20lbs of muscle.

      and thats also the positive thing about Gay this year, he’s made the actual effort to improve. and it also says a lot about his desire and his affinity for the raptors organization. he’s never had the willingness to take care of that eye and bulk up during his whole time with memphis, just goes to show that he was content and they were content of what they were getting out of Gay, but now, the raptors organization has driven him to instill in himself that he needs to do more to get to the next level.

      Or maybe its because its just a contract year for him. hehehe.

      • SR

        Yeah, it’s basically his last chance to respond to coaching. If he doesn’t change his game this year and then opts out, he’ll be relegated to a “he is what he is” player. That would really affect his next contract.

        • thegloveinrapsuniform

          did he have an issue with Hollins before??

          i think he had the same situation in memphis as bargnani in toronto. i think the grizzlies organization was content on what he was only willing to do, and he was happy with that as well. i dont think they pushed him hard enough that he wanted to improve, but rather accepted what he was only willing to do and surrounded him with talent to make up for whatever he couldnt/wouldnt do. but now he’s in a situation where the franchise is putting a heavier load on his shoulders, so he has to do something.

  • alb.perjet

    Having a few years experience in the business of raising capital for companies and governments, $0.5M is nothing. What this will do is probably force MLSE to send their Basketball Vans around smaller cities in Ontario for rib fests, festivals etc. (“Raise basketball awareness”). Its pocket change when you think of it.
    There is no reason why politicians should be debating.

    Now for Basketball: I am so pumped for this season! I predict us being 2-4 games under .500. Lets start it.

    • arsenalist

      That’s a good point about forcing MLSE to go to smaller cities (if that happens, that is). I didn’t think of it that way but it’s still debatable as I can probably think of better civic uses of $500K than getting basketball vans out there. You can argue that If basketball is to be promoted the money should come from people operating basketball institutions (MLSE, Canada Basketball, etc.), as they’re the ones that usually stand to benefit.

      But yeah, $500K is chump change in the grand scheme of things and minute compared to the waste out there.

      • alb.perjet

        Your argument is fair. 500K is chump change.
        Your predictions for the season?

        P.S: huge fan of this site, love the articles keep up the good work.

  • Nilanka15

    I was surprised to hear Casey acknowledge that last year’s bench wasn’t good enough. I mean, we all knew it, but this is the first time I’m hearing him mention it out loud confirming the idea to all.

    • robertparrish00

      Wonder when he will acknowledge last year’s coaching wasn’t good enough.

      • ItsAboutFun

        Sheeeesh. I don’t know if you expect some loud confession to the public (ain’t going to happen, no matter how entitled you feel), but I’ve heard him admit, in an interview, to having made some poor decisions last year. I think that’s as far as it’s going to go, so I would suggest that those who are actually wasting time concerned about this, find something else to demand of the coach.

  • Hassan Mehmood Khan

    lol why he fuck does MLSE need money the oweners probably are worth more then the government of ontario

  • billy_bob_tweed

    Zarar, if you are “really sure how [you] feel about MLSE receiving $500,000 from the provincial government for the All-Star game,” then clearly you have a brain disorder and cannot think logically. It’s corporate welfare at a time when the taxpayer is getting hosed and organizations that actually require assistance are getting slashed. This is a no-brainer.

  • Van Grungy
    • SR

      “Anyone can apply, as long as you qualify.”

      Whoa boy, maybe you’ve had different experiences than I have but securing a government grant of $500k is a process that can take several months, burn up hundreds of hours of admin time, and involve entire organizational histories, reports, documentation, logic models, budgets, cost projections, audited financial statements, etc. etc. etc.

      Then there’s usually several weeks of back-and-forth where you’re asked a seemingly never-ending list of questions requiring more background information, projections, reports, signatures, meetings….

      But yes, “anyone can apply, as long as you qualify.” Technically quite true.

      That this appeared to have happened so quickly in response to Toronto landing the all-star game tells you that this was obviously not the normal funding proposal process. This was about a couple suits at the top and a couple phone calls and badda-boom badda-bing, done deal. One of the wealthiest corporations in the country just got a handout paid for by you, Joe Taxpayer.

      The fact that it’s “chump change” in the sports world and in the big-picture of government (over)spending doesn’t make it small potatoes when it comes to basic social programs for vulnerable people, for example.

      There are a lot of programs/organizations out there that could help hundreds > thousands of the most needy citizens in this city with $500k. It’s a large amount at the service delivery level, and I don’t think, as tax payers, we should ever be okay with the government tossing 1/2 million dollar handouts to the province’s richest corporations just because it’s good PR. It’s normal, I know, but it’s not okay.

      • Van Grungy

        Too bad the only choices are more Liberal Party corruption, Communist (NDP) and the Liberal Party Blue

        Ontario is screwed long term

        • Raptorsss

          Maybe, you need to go back to grade 10 civics class to understand what communism is or maybe that unfortunately no political party is immune from corruption. The difference is those who admit to their mistakes and those who hide them.

          As for this article there is no rationale as to why this was necessary. It’s like me asking for government financing on a condo when I already have the money in cash.

          • Van Grungy

            Oh my, a useful idiot. Please spare me, my eyes are wide open.

  • smrt

    “I need to hear some sound bites out of camp where Terrence Ross is dominating a scrimmage or two – that would make me feel a little better about the guy. And I know interviews aren’t much to go by, but the guy just seems way too chillax.”

    I worked with T-Ross recently on a commercial spot for Bell where we shot him at 1000 fps on white void dunking and ball handling. I work with celebrity all the time so I don’t get starry eyed very easily but it was kinda cool seeing last years dunk champ crammin it up close and personal (I of course positioned myself in the best spot to shag rebounds:) We talked a bit and dude is super chill, almost timid… But Bosh was like that in his first couple years so maybe Ross will become more confident as time progresses. Looks like he’s put on a bit of weight and is in exceptional conditioning. Kid’s shredded:)

  • smrt

    Oh ya forgot to add… Next spot is booked and we shoot next Tuesday. JV’s up for this one:D

  • mountio

    The benefit of the all star game to TO is massive. $500k is nothing all things considered. This is essentially the largest sporting event that the city could land, outside of the Olympics .. where the govt would spend multi-millions to attain. I realize its just one weekend and its mostly celebs and strippers that benefit .. but the profile that Toronto could gain by the people that will come and what they will say about the city is huge. The rep our team could bet in the league is also huge.
    As Simmons calls it “the black super-bowl” .. will put TO in a place its never been before from an American perception perspective. $500k .. money well spent.

    • ItsAboutFun

      Yeah. I can’t fathom why some are so upset about it. It’s a minor investment that will return a LOT more $$$ at the end of the day.

      • Louvens Remy

        I don’t know why the Ontario Gov’t needs to “invest” in this. The governement and the city would be making a lot of revenue from the event regardless of “investment”. The grant is to provide support to the applicant. In this case the applicants MLSE, Bell and Rogers are worth in excess of $30 Billion combined. The worst part is that MLSE doesn’t even have to pay this money back. Its just typical back room fat cat type stuff. I can’t even be mad at it. Seen it happen too many times over the years. It’s part of being super wealthy.

  • KaioKev

    $500k!!! That like the revenue they get from 2 Leafs’ games.