Saw the intrasquad game and the team with DeRozan won in a blowout. The starters shaped up like this: Johnson, Valanciunas, Fields, DeRozan, Augustin (black) vs Lowry, Gay, Ross, Acy, Gray (white). Tyler Hansbrough sat out with a tight hamstring – nothing serious. Here’s what I could surmise from the scrimmage having watched it on a stream that had all the qualities of a CCTV camera but without the action that makes CCTV awesome:
- Augustin looked very quick, made some high-skill plays in transition and changed gears very well. He was the best player in the game and showed a blend of distribution, scoring and transition play that we haven’t seen since T.J Ford’s lone good year – his drive ‘n kick game was the best part and got the better of Lowry getting into the lane multiple times
- Dwight Buycks had a nice summer league, but if this is the Augustin that’s showing up in practice, I can’t see anyone taking the backup PG spot away from him
- Ross looked shaky, you could tell that he was trying to “D-up” people but it wasn’t working, his angles were off and he got taken advantage of – like on this crossover by Augustin
- Lowry was much quicker than what I’m used to. He covered end-to-end very well, didn’t look like he was tired and looked generally more agile than what you might expect from him. His actual PG play? Meh, but he did have a couple nice setups including this one for Chris Wright
- I’ve picked Chris Wright to make this team and I stand by it; strong high-energy player who is versatile in the sense that he can guard multiple positions, and doesn’t need a defined role on offense – he’s just about good enough to have a spot on the team, and he can do things like this
- There was a strong focus on playing inside-out, getting bigs involved in the post, including a lot of trying to get the ball to Rudy Gay in the block. This is a shift in approach that is more than welcome, the question is whether the Raptors have the post-players to play this way
- Valanciunas was excellent, hit a couple jumpers, was involved in rebounding battles much more than what we saw last year, and looked comfortable stepping out. You could tell that the guy is in tune with the game having played all summer
- Daye and Novak nailed a couple threes and both stuck to the perimeter for the most part – very expected
- DeRozan’s game looked good (led team with 21 points), more confident in his dribble including this little jumper over Gay
- Gay has definitely physically bulked up but that advantage didn’t manifest on the court; there is a better effort of not playing as much at the elbow and applying more pressure on the defense – early days. If you’re a Gay critic, this game might please you in the sense that there’s a notable shift in offensive approach (for the better)
- Overall, quite a competitive game with lots of guys going at each other – DeRozan/Gay, DeRozan/Ross, Lowry/Augustin…
D.J Augustin shed some insights on the type of offense and defense to be run this year:
That’s the offense we’re planning on running this year: driving and kicking, finding guys, looking for the big guys down low, moving the ball, sharing the ball, playing as a team.
For the type of defense we’re going to play this year, you have to be tough and physical and I think we have [those kind of players]“
Dwane Casey praised Augustin a lot, didn’t show his cards on which of two of Wright, Stone, and Morais will be cut, praised Halifax for their hospitality, and provided a Hansbrough injury update:
He could’ve played. We just wanted to make sure, he had a tight hamstring, nothing that’s going to keep him from playing next week.
DeMar DeRozan‘s confident that guard play can be dominant feature of the Raptors:
Definitely impressed [by the guard play]. You’ve seen a little bit today what all our guards can do, from penetrating, to shooting, to defending. They can do it all, that’s going to be tough for a lot of teams to be able to guard us.