A lot of times younger players don?t heed the advice of veteran teammates. Not Weems and DeRozan. They both realize they have plenty to learn about playing in the NBA, even if it comes from a player with only five years of experience.
If all goes according to plan: Turkoglu gives coach Jay Triano a legitimate pest when it comes to attacking the defense and taking the pressure off Chris Bosh to create the bulk of the offensive opportunities. Jose Calderon is healthy enough to play 75-plus games, and Triano has multiple options at shooting guard: Wright (defense), Jack (scoring), Belinelli (long-range shooting), and DeRozan (youth, athleticism, upside). Andrea Bargnani rewards GM Bryan Colangelo and plays up to his five-year, $50 million extension.
Marcus Banks wasn’t at the ACC on Sunday and his permitted return date was unknown. Banks has been kept way for the most mundane of reasons, but a reason that is striking fear into coaches and GMs across the league, H1N1 or Swine Flu is here.
The Raptors still have some conditioning issues to work through with Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu and Antoine Wright, all of whom have missed a significant portion of the pre-season.
"I was talking to the guys about breaking an (opponent’s) rhythm," Wright explained. "A guy like Ray Allen can get going pretty quick and sometimes you have to knock him down one time. You don’t get roll-over fouls. You don’t get roll-over fouls. You don’t get to use them the next time so sometimes you have to break his rhythm, take a hard foul, regroup, talk, cuss a little bit, maybe change the coverage."
The proper description of Antoine Wright is just one of the lingering questions Raptors head coach Jay Triano needs to get sorted out as his club enters the final week of the NBA preseason.
4. Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors: Bosh will be one of the league's most-coveted free agents next summer and since this is a contract year he should have one of his best seasons statistically.
We've almost closed the book on the NBA preseason (Sonny Weems: A Man For All Preseasons is definitely making the bestseller lists); and the premature season hasn't treated the Raptors kindly thus far. They've compiled a 2-5 record and have had fans everywhere wondering what this means for the upcoming season. It could all just be preseason hyperbole, or it could be some ominous foreshadowing, at the moment it's improbable to tell (that improbable was for all you time travelers out there, I got your back Doc and Marty).
One thing that needs to change for the Raptors to win is the fashion in which they play the second halves of games.
?Jose, we love you,? Wright would yell after each of his successful shots, the cries more of a taunting variety than an admiring one. ?Jose, we love you. Jose, we love you.? ?Honestly, I talk trash everyday,? Wright said afterward. ?You either are going to beat me or get tired of hearing me talking. I think now, the level of practices just has been raised just with guys (having) to hear . . . me celebrating about all of the wins I got today. (Tuesday) they are going to be ready to play, hopefully.?
Chris Bosh is an All-Star and Andrea Bargnani is a skilled big man, but neither likes to mix it up down low. Meanwhile, point guard Jose Calderon is nice facilitator but gives up quite a bit at the other end.
Toronto needed toughness and it picked up a little by dealing Jason Kapono to Philadelphia for Reggie Evans but Evans' limited offensive skills make it hard to play him more than 10 minutes a night.
Despite their deficiencies, the Raptors big moves in the offseason were acquiring former Magic All-Star forward Hedo Turkoglu in a sign-and-trade deal and drafting USC forward DeMar DeRozan in the first round of the draft,