Observations from the Intrasquad game in Halifax
Here are just a few insights from what I noticed from the scrimmage.
One of the first things that stuck out to me was with the player introductions. I was a bit surprised that Demar Derozan was the last guy called out. I fully expected it to be Bargnani, and was caught off guard when they called DD after Barg's. DD also handled the mic duties for the team twice during the day, including the team farewell. Perhaps Barg's is less comfortable speaking English in front of the crowds, but to see DD being pushed as the leader felt awkward. I don't think anyone who follows this team feel that DD is one of the leaders. In my opinion, he would fall on the hierarchy below guys like Lowry, Fields, Bargs, Kleiza and Magloire.
It was disappointing that neither Valanciunas or Lowry played in the game. While JV's injury was well discussed previously, Lowry's injury came as a surprise to me as he came out dressed to play in warm-up gear, while JV came out in grey sewat pants (obviously not game ready).
The best I can remember the teams where:
Ross and DD guarded each other the entire game. Ross didn't overly impress or stand out. He pulled up for jumpers a couple of times where DD was chase him down and got stuffed, when he should have drove the hoop.
Fields was awful at the free throw line. I believe he went 0-4, with none of them even close. He came up short on one of them, and missed badly off the backboard the others.
Derozan shot the ball better than I remembered. He showed decent range (hit a couple of 3's and long 2's).
Amir looked good, was very active on the glass and kept his feet moving on offence.
If Ed Davis has spent the summer developing a jump shot, it didn't show. His shot looked the same as last year.
Acy played well but looked a bit over matched when dealing with the bigs. He had a couple of nice dunks and offensive rebound put-backs, so hopefully he can find his niche.
JL3 was too quick to shoot and often looked to take a long jumper rather than get an offence going. The first possession he shot a long 2 within 5 seconds of being over mid-court.
It was Acy's birthday, so they got him cupcakes. He didn't smile once. Then DD called out Ross and JV to have a rookie dance to some country music. They barely moved at first, then Acy started some air guitar type dance move, which JV copied. Ross didn't move the entire time. Would have been nice to see more personality form the guys.
The team gave $52,000 to Feed Nova Scotia charity and gave a jersey to the family of the President of Basketball NS who died of cancer this year.
Mugsey Bogues was in attendance (one of the players I coached sat next to him but was too scared to talk to him) and gave away a signed jersey. Nice to see the team reaching out to former players other than JYD.
They brought down Matt Devlin who interviewed BC and he once again stated that playoffs are the goal for this year.
Coach Casey addressed the crowd a couple of times, but other than that he mostly chilled with JV on the bench and let the assistants run the show.
Final note, not quite sure what happened. But as they were leaving the court, Derozan dropped down to the court to either a) do a push-up or b) kiss the court. I'm guessing it was a push-up, but I could be wrong. There were several players around him, so it was hard to get a clear shot. So either he is comfortable in his role and showing off or showing a true love for the game and honouring his guest hosts.
Anyways, nothing groundbreaking, but thought it would be worth sharing. Overall a great experience (although it lacked the atmosphere of a real game at the ACC).