DeRozan sounds like someone who has spent too much time invested in the welfare of the Raptors. We have seen this before from other players drafted into the organization who grew to become the team’s face, or at least voice — primarily Vince Carter and Chris Bosh. Eventually, being a part of repeated Raptors implosions can wear on a basketball soul. To be clear: DeRozan has not asked for a trade, and remains positive about the city and team.
Asking Gay to initiate the offence far less frequently also could be a potential solution. He is a below average ball-handler and passer, so it’s not clear why he has been tasked with being Toronto’s primary ball-handler, particularly with Lowry playing well. It’s led to poor numbers, both for Gay (17 games in a row shooting less than 47% from the field, tons of turnovers) and for the team and has limited the effectiveness of Valanciunas and Amir Johnson.
“Our bench has got to give us something,” Casey maintained after Denver’s subs scored 72 points, an opponent record against the Raptors. “Our (starters) can’t play for 48 (minutes), so we’ve got to get production from the bench.” “The guys coming in have got to develop a toughness, a resilience of getting stops and it starts on the defensive end. That’s where our problems started in the second half. They shot well but we didn’t make them feel us and that’s the difference.”
Don’t let the Warriors’ 10-8 record fool you. Near .500 in the West means absolutely nowhere near the same thing as in the East this season. Golden State has looked like one of the stronger teams in the Western Conference and they’ve absolutely dominated this matchup over the years with 10 wins in the last 12 meetings and eight straight in Oakland.
If Casey would like to change one thing about his team before they get back to Toronto, it’s their collective penchant for holding onto the ball too long. The Raptors, as poor as they have been in sharing the basketball, have had games this year where the ball did move from side to side and back again. They did it in Memphis, they did it in Milwaukee and they did it in Philly, but they’re not doing it nearly consistently enough. Casey pounds home that message every practice, every walkthrough and sometimes the message takes, but more often it’s forgotten either by game time or soon after the first quarter.