Nineteen years after the birth of the NBA in Canada, basketball’s presence in Canada probably isn’t as large as what was expected. This is unquestionably a hockey country, making the experience of a Canadian basketball fan a peculiar one. Perhaps that’s why, despite being smaller in numbers, Raptors fans are regarded as one of the most rabid and passionate groups in the league. Outcasts in their own country and afterthoughts on a league scale, they’re ready to put everything into a winning team or, failing that, a top Canadian player, as we saw with Nash.
The pick-and-roll, it is not all about the screen. “I call it a marriage,” Casey said. “Those two guys [the screener and the ball handler] have to be married and get it done, helping each other. That’s so important. “[Johnson] doesn’t mind contact. That’s something that he learned from Ben Wallace and those old guys in Detroit, how to set legal screens, how to hit people and understanding it doesn’t hurt if you set it properly and protect yourself. He’s one of the best. You’ll always see him at the end of the game setting screens, understanding angles and timing, because in crucial parts of the game you don’t want [an illegal] screen.”
“I believe I can score 12-14 points, but I am not looking for the scoring part, that will come when you are in the right (spot). When you run pick-and-roll and keeping the defense off balance a little bit, that’s when the scoring will come for me. For me, it is about making my teammates better, being unselfish and being a leader.”
But nine years ago today, when it was announced that the Toronto Raptors were trading Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, an Alonzo Mourning that you knew would never play here, and two middling first-round draft picks (one of which thank god turned into Joey Graham…wait…), try as you may, you just couldn’t come up with much in terms of a positive spin on the deal.
Amir Johnson intoned that Charlotte was a lot more competitive than its recent record. “They’re a good team, scrappy, they get after you, play hard for the whole 48 (minutes),” Johnson said. “For us, we definitely have to match their energy. Main thing we’ve got to do is out-work those guys.” Back in November, Charlotte embarrassed the Raptors in the first quarter, scoring 32 points.
Is Masai Ujiri the real Il Mago? The Toronto Raptors pulled off a seven player deal that sent Rudy Gay and his 40 shots/game to Sacramento. On this week’s podcast we break down the trade between the Raptors and Sacramento Kings, recap the past week with the Toronto Raptors, Terrence Ross’ performance in the starting lineup, the emergence of Amir Johnson, Austin Daye’s winter driving and our Wenningtons of the Week where we recap the best NBA Canadian performances from the past week.
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