It is possible we’ve reached the bleakest part of pre-season. For the Toronto Raptors, Tuesday marked the two-week anniversary of the team’s first official practice. Wednesday will signify that there are two weeks remaining until the first game that counts. So, they are stuck in the middle — the part of a stretch that everyone in basketball agrees is at least a week too long. Gone is the excitement of starting anew; not here yet is the excitement of actually starting anew.
Finding a consistent style for the second unit is one of Casey’s goals over the final pre-season games. It is not a group rife with scoring, nor is it particularly big and tough; finding out what it can be could be difficult. “What we have to do is get a rhythm with a second unit, get them an identity,” said the coach. “Our first group is more of a system offensive-type team, our second unit is more of a draw and kick (offence) and that’s the identity we want from them.”
“He can come in and change the game, he has that type of Leandro speed. I don’t know if he shoots the ball as well as Leandro right now, but he does have a three-point game in his repertoire and he’s a bit bigger, more physically built. (Buycks has that Barbosa-like) type of speed that can break down opponents off of the dribble.” Buycks said his international experience will help him now that he is in the NBA because it was tougher to score inside overseas, because opponents packed the paint and fewer fouls were called.
Unfortunately for the Raptors, both DeRozan and Gay are average to below average with respect to shooting efficiency and average to below average when it comes to gaining or keeping possession of the ball (click the links to see more detailed stats at The NBA Geek). So perhaps they should consider spending more time worrying about their scoring (especially the part about scoring efficiently) — especially given that both players are not known for their defense prowess.
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Still, one current NBA general manager tells me he figures somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 teams won’t be trying to win when opening night hits Oct. 29th—they already know they can’t. But he points out that although tanking can give you a great chance to select a good player, the odds of winning that way in the long run are still bad. You can win the top pick and still not get a once-in-a-generation-type player—there just aren’t that many of them. And you don’t win titles in sports with young players, particularly in the NBA where you need a star to hook your cart to.
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- Terrence Ross Victim of /r/photoshopbattles
- Rapcast #167: Training Camp and Pre-Season Review