Toronto Raptors coach credits team’s recent success to greater toughness | National Post

“In the past, that’s where a team like Chicago has taken us out — being physical on the defensive end, and we kind of give into it and [do] not bust it to go get the ball or be aggressive in our post-ups,” Casey said. “That’s a step I think we’ve grown to.” Casey thinks that the additions of swingman John Salmons and Patrick Patterson, in particular, have helped. But Toronto’s recent wins came over two in-transition teams — the Lakers and Bulls — and one of the worst defensive teams in the league, the 76ers. After playing Charlotte on Wednesday, the Raptors go into the Christmas break with games in Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio. Those contests could reveal the true progress the Raptors have made.

Raptors: Ross hoping to make the most of opportunity | Toronto Star

“Just have to be more focused, you have to be dialed in,” he said of his new starting role. “There’s a lot more that you have to deal with and a lot more you have to know and take on. “When Rudy left, it was, OK, we have me and Landry (Fields) so one of us is going to start and either way you’re going to get big minutes. I just knew it was an opportunity for me to go out there and show what I can do.”

Tough love working for Raptors’ Ross | Toronto Sun

Ross was last year’s favourite public whine. That’s you whining, not him. Whenever a member of the fan base would jump on Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, the first or sometimes second lament was why Ross wasn’t being given the playing time to develop. For some, Ross was whine No. 2 behind Valanciunas’ minutes, but either way, it didn’t take an upset fan long to get to either youngster and why anyone in his right mind would play an Alan Anderson ahead of them. The answer is rather obvious. One, because he wasn’t ready and two (and every parent out there should recognize this one) because you don’t give a maturing young man exactly what he wants when he’s still showing signs of immaturity.

Lewenberg: Raptors’ Ross seizes opportunity as starter | TSN

In DeMar DeRozan, Ross has a willing mentor, a player who has successfully overcome similar limitations. DeRozan – not unlike Ross, who is only a couple years younger – was once, in the not-so-distant past, considered to be one-dimensional. In his fifth season, DeRozan is blossoming into a complete player, averaging career highs in points, assists and three-point shooting, also growing on the defensive end. “Both of them are similar,” Casey said of his two young wing players. “Similar body types, similar games, fighting to find consistency. DeMar went through the same things his first couple of years in the league. Two guys in similar positions, same skill set being around each other can only benefit.”

How Raptors can get Wiggins without tanking |

What if Toronto mimics the Atlanta Hawks for four seasons—making the playoffs again and again without turning in a genuine run at the Finals—while Andrew Wiggins is learning how to play the NBA game and growing somewhere else? The Raptors will have been through a Drake-fronted rebranding and, coupled with a few playoff appearances, the perception of the franchise may just change for the better.

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  • mountio

    That Sun article is awfully generous in giving Casey credit for “developing” Ross with his tough love approach. To me, it seems more like Ross might end up being successful despite casey. I think we all know that if Gay hadnt been traded, Ross would still be buried on the bench.
    Also, there is evidence that when Ross got consistent minutes before the Gay deal, he played well also. Whos to say he wouldnt have developed better if he kept getting minutes? I certainly think he would developed better than currently, where he lost his confidence with all of casey’s quick hooks. If Ross turns out to be good, Ill be the happiest guy out there .. but somehow giving casey credit for the tough love is a big, big stretch to me

    • jjdynomite

      Agreed but perhaps it was Masai’s dictat to Casey to play Gay at the latter’s desired uber-high usage rate, to showcase him for a trade. Ironically, Gay was terrible in this #1 option role. Even more ironically, the Kings still traded for him.

      On a side note, I’d hardly compare Ross’ skill base to DD. We all know DD’s issues with 3 point shooting (until this season) and defence, while Ross is the opposite — a 3-and-D guy like Kawhi and DGreen were for the Spurs in the playoffs. I think “tough love” was a possibly good approach for Ross because he has always seemed to play more passively than DD.

    • Roarque

      My understanding is that the Raps drafted Ross because of Casey who got a tip from a coach in Oregon – maybe, just maybe, that same coach told him how to develop Ross from the boy playing college hoops to the man we now see challenging NBA veterans. Just saying – you can whine when things are going bad but please applaud when things turn around. Casey takes the sh*t so therefore he gets the glory too — man on the point.

      • mountio

        Id like to believe that is true .. but Casey has said many times that his philosophy is that “vets win games” and thus he doesn’t trust young players at the end of games. We have seen this not only with TR, but JV as well. If this was some calculated thing towards TR to get the best out of him (and maybe it is) – then Id be happy to give credit where credit is due. But. this seems like a coach who has just set his team back at least a year or so by not letting his young players develop … which is particularly frustrating when its been in favour of guys like AA, who clearly had no future with this team.

  • One relaxed fella

    About tanking and getting Wiggins without doing that.

    First of all, this draft isn’t about one player. If someone is targeting one specific player after more than 20 games into the season, than it’s just ridiculous.
    Second, to me personally this contra argument against pro tankers looks even more complicated than trying to get him or any other top 5 player in the draft. The author of that article doesn’t brake down all the possible situations and that makes his arguments flawed. What if Wiggins doesn’t want to play in Toronto after his rookie contract and will feel loyal to the team that drafted him? What if Raptors by then will still be one of the “neither good nor bad” (will be in a no mans land stuff) teams in NBA and they won’t be able to convince that they could successfully build around Wiggins? Or what if the team that drafts Wiggins will build around him successfully or any other team if he becomes a free agent? There are a lot of points that were not taken into account and this should convince why waiting for Wiggins long years is a better idea than tanking and trying to get into a top draft positions?

    Third, regardless to what I’ve said, I think that it’s good that these ideas (that Wiggins might flee to Toronto some time later in his career) float around the media. Maybe Raptors will get a 3rd or 4th pick and the teams that will have higher picks might consider passing on Wiggins and picking someone else instead. I mean, wouldn’t you be concerned if your future franchise player will likely leave you after 4 or 5 seasons? You’d want him to play in your team for as long as it is possible (if that guy really becomes that good). So you’d probably want to pick someone who will be patient and loyal to your organization.

    Some other interesting stuff: Knicks have lost again and they also lost Prigioni (broken toe). So currently they have only Udrih at PG. This might force them to take the offer that is being dictated by Ujiri.

  • Bo4

    I’m willing to trade (in order):

    Amir Johnson, 66th in PER, 1st in current value.

    Kyle Lowry, 84th in PER, 2nd in current value.

    DeMar deRozan, 80th in PER, 3rd in current value.

    Tyler Hansbrough, 167th in PER, 6th in current value.

    Chuck Hayes, 222nd in PER, 7th in current value. &/or

    our future draft picks

    FOR (in order):

    Tristan Thompson, 141st in PER, 4th in current value.

    Andrew Nicholson, 144th in PER, 5th in current value. &/or

    Kelly Olynyk, 268th in PER, 8th in current value.

    • Roarque

      Really? Kelly Olynyk? Why? Is it the maple leaf tat?

      • Bo4

        Yes, it is cause he’s Canadian. ALSO, it’s cause he reminds me of Kevin McHale as a young Celtic. Besides, there is an “&/or” in there.

        • Tim W.

          Olynyk reminds you of a young McHale? How?

  • Derek

    Are there any stats on guys who leave a team in free agency to go play for their home town? Specifically, because they want to play for their own town, not because the home town has the most money or have the best championship chances. All this talk of LBJ going to the Cavs, or Love to LA, or Wiggins to Toronto. Has this ever happened? Can’t even think of one, but i’m just a casual fan. Just seems like even less of a chance than getting a #1 pick.

    • Tim W.

      It’s extremely rare for a player to end up signing, especially for less, with his hometown team. Take a look at most of the top players, and the vast majority, if not all, play in a different city from their home town. Even if you go back throughout history, the teams that players end up becoming loyal to are the teams that drafted them or they achieved success with.

      A lot of players will actually avoid playing for their hometown team because of the extra pressures and responsibilities there.