What's with all the love for Lucas? He is a 3rd stringer for garbage minutes or injury coverage ... maybe a situational 3 pointer.
Imo: Lowry, Demar, Fields, Bargnani, Jonas
Bench mob: Jose, Ed, Ross, Kleiza ... Amir & Gray? Having them makes it tough to stick to a 9-man rotation. I'd say 10, by adding Amir.
I'm surprised that Casey would go with the shorter rotation, but if it is 9 guys, then there are my picks. I think Amir starts over JV in the beginning but JV will probably take over after 25 games or so. The bench will likely have 2 bigs, so I think you have to have Davis there. I wouldn't be surprised to see some interesting lineups used, Bargs & Davis & Amir at the same time while playing a zone D might work.
I think to be successful without the elite talent, you have to play the match-ups. Kleiza would get minutes on nights where he play small ball PF. Gray gets minutes against true bigs to hack them. Anderson plays when they want to shoot the heck from the 3-line (Lowry, Ross, Anderson, Bargs & JV - 4 shooters, 1 guy on boards).
This team is 10 or 11 deep. Casey says he is going to use a 9 man-rotation--likely meaning he will use, on average, 9 guys in one game. Who the 9th, or even 8th guy, is will be determined by match ups. But since we are cutting 3 players apparently, I guess I'll play along:
I think Casey's gonna have to move to a 10 man rotation. If you go with only 9, and you want a 4 man big rotation (I can't imagine Casey would go with a 3-big rotation with Amir and Jonas fouling at the rate they are likely to), that leaves 3 wings to split 96 minutes. That's a lot. Especially when no one wing is substantially better than the others.
So I imagine either Lucas or Anderson will squeeze in as the 10th man in many circumstances.
Here's my breakdown:
[10th man] Lucas/Anderson
Gray (for the BIG big men)
Maguire (for the Durant/Kobe/Lebron's)
Will hopefully get amnestied
JV-AJ-LF-DD-KL. AB-ED-JL3-LK. That's my 9. I play them unless they screw up then the guy behind them gets his shot.If they keep winning they keep playing. Can't see Lucas ahead of Jose but that's what I would do.
We saw a little bit of everything tonight and I think that is likely throughout the year. Might only be 9 guys a night, but it could be a different 9 guys every night. Casey is like the guy in Ali Baba's cave who has to decide "Do I play with the rubies, the diamonds, sapphires or pearls" whenever he wants to do a jewellery dive.
Kyle looked great. He's going to be a star in Toronto. Landry looked good, and JV is ahead of where I thought he'd be. It is preseason of course, but there is a whole lot more talent on this team. A team that looks like it can play some d and get out and run. I think most nights, our ability to defend and run against the opposition will govern rotation. Our bigs are nice and mobile. If Amir can concentrate on defence, he should be ahead of ed. Ed still has something to prove but he's making strides.
It will be interesting to see some real games to assess if Lucas can play backup, if we have lots of depth at the 4, if Ross can back up the 2/3. If we show strength in those areas, I'd be open to trading Jose, ed and dd for a sf, if a trade for a quality sf was out there.
I really see that this team can be extremely successful on both ends WITHOUT Bargnani, and honestly, it's kind of proving it's point watching these pre-season games. Bargnani has been invisible on both ends of the floor.
Depending on matchups and foul trouble, I expect Davis and Gray to get some significant playing time as well, but I can see Casey only going 9-10 deep during any given game.
I don't expect Lucas, Anderson, Acy or the 15th man to get much burn most games.
The other thing is that NBA coaches generally open up the bench in the first 10 games or so to 11 or 12 guys before they narrow it down. A guy like Davis could earn himself a spot in the rotation if he's lights out in that stretch.
On a personal note, I'm really hoping to see as little of Kleiza as possible. I just don't like how he plays. If Ross can handle minutes, I'd much prefer to see Kleiza waving towels.
I disagree with you on Kleiza though. If JV can prove capable of handling big minutes, then I think either Amir/Davis needs to go (more than I have since last offseason). With JV & Bargnani starting and Gray & Amir/Davis as the primary backups, I think there's a good opportunity for Kleiza to get lots of playing time in the 2nd unit, at both the SF and PF positions. He is a streaky-good shooter and can post-up as well, potentially providing all sorts of mismatches to take advantage of on the offensive end. I worry that having Amir & Davis on the 2nd unit together (again, assuming JV can log heavy minutes with the starting lineup) is going to get clunky, since their games are too similar.
Lucas has definitely been making a case for himself to be seriously considered when the team needs an offensive boost. I can see him and Lowry playing together in late game/close game situations. He gives up a few inches but his defence is good. Maguire will obvioulsy be used against specific players to give them a totally different look and throw them off their game.
Alan Anderson is also showing solid D and effective offence. The Raps are injury ready. There won't be a huge drop off if even any two starters were hurt at the same time. And more to the point, the coach won't have to ride any horse so hard it is put in danger of injury. I don't think overuse is going to be an excuse any player will be able to use.
Be interesting to see what the average minutes played looks like for the starters. On the Raptors it could turn out to be the lowest in the league. And they really can afford to play flat out. Other teams could wind up hating to play against this team, simply because of the pace, and how hard they are hounded by the defence.
So what do we expect this "8-9 man rotation," that has been alluded to, to be? I think the first 8 players are pretty obvious: DeRozan, Bargnani, Valanciunas, Lowry, Fields, Davis, Johnson and Calderon. But who will be the 9th?
I really hope it's Ross because over the years I have become very confirmed in my belief that young players need floor time to get better and it's that simple.
I'm concerned that Casey will choose to compromise Ross's development in order to win more, ie., I'm concerned we'll see a lot more Alan Anderson than Ross.
So anyways my question is, again, who will be the 9th man?