Of course, if you want to make your mark on the league with your defence, you really need your best players committing to that end of the floor, and that's where Toronto's big-ticket item, Andrea Bargnani, comes in.
He shocked everyone in Raptor-land out of the gates last year with his commitment to Casey's defensive schemes, and for the first time ever the team allowed fewer points per 100 possessions with Bargnani on the court than off of it.
So far in this preseason he looks just as committed to keeping up his defensive production. He and Valanciunas have teamed up to use their length and mobility to really choke-off the basket area from their opponents, and both are doing a solid job covering on pick-and-rolls and protecting the weak side.
There are still blown assignments here and there, but for the most part the focus and precision of Bargnani's defence gives plenty of hope that he can continue to play like this well into the season.
Considering that he'll no doubt lead the team in minutes played, that's a very important factor in Toronto's bid to become and elite defensive outfit.