The papers from Dec. 11.

Raptors give youngsters the ball, but Spurs take it to the basket | National Post

The Raptors have very little depth, and it could get worse if general manager Masai Ujiri continues to chop from the top of the roster. On Monday, when discussing the deal, Ujiri said he is judging everybody, including Raptors coach Dwane Casey, on player development. Ujiri rightly pointed out that if he were being guided by wins and losses, he would have made more severe changes by now.

Raptors Rapid Recap: Spurs Cruise Past Raptors 116 | 103 – Raptors HQ

For the second straight game, the Raptors’ offense looked much improved as the club finished with 23 assists (season average is 17.4) and showed off some much improved ball movement, meaning easy looks for a bevy of players. DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Kyle Lowry all got involved early and again, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson dominated down low. But that was the starting group. (Yes, Ross got the nod tonight.) The bench…that’s another story.

Raptors get run over by Spurs | Toronto Sun

“We were trying to play big minutes with (the starters) and they got us in the second quarter and that was the difference in the game. I’m going to chalk this one up to travel, we ran out of gas as the game ran on,” said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey.

Aron Baynes big night comes from a season of preparation | 48 Minutes of Hell

On Tuesday the Spurs looked dead in the water eight minutes into the game. Tim Duncan couldn’t hit a shot and Tony Parker couldn’t hold on to the ball. To make matters worse, Raptors big men Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson looked like All-Stars. Gregg Popovich’s leash is short on back-to-backs and San Antonio looked headed for a night of frustration. But thanks to the organizational systems in place and a team culture that emphasizes readiness and preparation, the Spurs left Toronto with a big win. And a large Australian (Aron Baynes) man had a night he’ll never forget.

Recap: Spurs show off depth in 116-103 win over Raptors | Pounding The Rock

Aron Baynes, you guys. This was Baynes best game as a NBA player, by far, and his biggest contributions surprisingly came on the offensive end. Baynes provided a presence inside that the Spurs were lacking. His screens were as wide (and possibly illegal) as ever. Bangers scored 14 points on 7-9 shooting and pulled down four offensive boards. He also faked a hand-off and darted to the rim for a thunderous dunk. It was glorious and hopefully it nets him another chance in the rotation. Stop it. I know a part of you, a little voice inside is saying “if Baynes can play like this, then Splitter is expendable.” Stop it.

Valanciunas and Raptors start strong but fade in loss to Spurs | The Globe and Mail

Valanciunas was a force in the opening minutes, scoring 10 of the Raptors 24 first-quarter points and making all five attempted field goals, flipping in a hook over Duncan after an up-fake, and taking a Lowry pass at the chest, backing down Duncan before turning around and hitting a short jumper. By the time the game was six minutes old, DeRozan and Lowry had combined for seven assists. But Valanciunas spent the final 6:40 of the first half on the bench after two quick turnovers, and the Spurs came back from a 43-42 deficit to lead 59-53 at the half. Valanciunas didn’t score another point until making two free throws and throwing down a dunk with less than two minutes remaining.

Lewenberg: Undermanned Raptors succumb to Spurs | TSN

For the second straight contest, sans Gay, there was a more cohesive flow to the team’s offence. With 23 on the night – nine coming in the first quarter – the Raptors reached the 20-assist benchmark for the first time in seven games and only the fourth time in 20 games to begin the season. “I did like the ball movement,” Casey said. “I’m really going on the first quarter when we were fresh, humming and in sync more, so to speak.” As per usual, the drop-off was most significant when Lowry went to the bench.

Raptors’ Dwane Casey stuck in no man’s land | Toronto Sun

“You have to coach the guys that you’re given,” said Casey, in a one-on-one interview Tuesday. “Whatever happens (with me) happens. I’m not worried about ping pong balls (NBA draft lottery) or anything like that. “My job is to make DeMar (DeRozan) better, to make Terrence (Ross) better and make Jonas (Valanciunas) better. Whether we win or not, that’s a different story. “Nobody has said anything to me about tanking … We’re trying to teach these guys how to win. The most difficult thing in sports is to win and grow. We’re trying to do both.

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4 Responses to “Morning Coffee: December 11th Edition”

  1. morgan c

    Love Lowry’s attitude, and DeMar as well. But man, this team is bad. The pre-season optimism seems especially silly now. We just don’t have talent. People were expecting JV to make the leap and become close-to all-star caliber. Yikes. I would take above-average starter at this point. I am concerned the malaise and Casey is ruining him. Extremely concerning.

    • Jam

      I think it’s clear that this year is now about the tank. As much as I hate the prospect of another long rebuild right after a failed rebuild, it really is necessary. Colangelo made the mistake of trying to “fine tune” the roster every year, and built mediocre teams year after year….giving away really valuable picks along the way (let’s not forget that the Pacers picked Roy Hibbert with OUR pick acquired in the O’Neal trade). Once he finally went into his own rebuild, his prized top pick bogged us down, killing Ed Davis’ development at the same time. Ujiri is a smart GM, he’s already proven it by moving 2 impossible contracts and getting value back both times. A draft like this one is very rare, where the top 5-10 players can potentially change the course of the teams they are drafted by. If we end up in the top 4, we have a shot at Wiggins, Randle, Parker, or Marcus Smart, all game changer type players. Obviously we want to bring the Canadian kid home, but even if we miss out there are real options in this draft. This year can be a full out training camp for JVal, Ross and DeRozan, then next year we add some amazing young talent. We’ll be exciting to watch for the first time since Vince.

  2. Bo4

    Morgan C, I’m not as concerned as you are. The former Kings will be playing soon. Lowry should be gone by the trade deadline, (or we’ll just lose him for nothing as a free agent). With two new significant players added to our pick of the top six we want to keep, next year will be a totally different team (emphasis on TEAM!). Casey is NOT the problem. Mis-matched players has been.

    • Jam

      I agree that I find Casey’s coaching has improved since the Rudy trade, which leads me to believe that Casey was either intimidated by Rudy or Rudy just didn’t listen. I still don’t think he’s a good coach going forward though, he still makes some very questionable decisions concerning who is on the floor. JVal minutes have been wildly inconsistent, which is really bad for a big man’s development. Same can be said for Terrence Ross. He has started the 4th quarter with 4 bench players on the floor on several occasions, always resulting in the opposing team either taking the lead or increasing a lead. I like Casey, and think he knows a thing or two about defense….but a young team with developing players needs a coach who can draw up plays and make things easy on offense. Raps look confused too often.


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