Morning Coffee

Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee Sept 30

While it remains to be seen if this year’s team is any more capable — they’re going to have to be exponentially better defensively to be able to run effectively — Triano has put a new premium on conditioning

Toronto Sun

Triano said he will likely not even begin playing with consistent line combinations until the team gets to Vancouver this weekend.

“We put a bunch of plays in Tuesday but as far as who is in the lineup and who is on the floor with each other we are just going to let that evolve. We just have a mix right now and I can’t see us putting together any kind of starting five or anything until we get into Vancouver. There’s no need. We’re not in a hurry to do that and we want a lot of guys to be able to play with a lot of other guys. We don’t want to pigeon-hole guys into positions.”

Toronto Sun

“These guys to me — the players I have worked with over the summer and the past few weeks are delightful guys. I don’t see any issues at all. I’ve been involved with some teams, particularly years ago, where handling the players was a big concern or a big part of the job. I don’t think this team is like that. I’m serious. Our guys are delightful. Easy to work with, they show up on time and their attitude has been very good.”

Carlesimo said for now, Triano is just looking for as many opinions from his staff as he can get.

“I think he wants me to tell him what I see and draw on my own experience much like the other guys on the staff,” he said. “The staff is very diverse. Its a very good staff so I think Jay wants — he was very clear on this — he doesn’t want someone to just sit there and nod their head. He wants you to say what you see, make suggestions, agree or disagree and then he’ll say ‘OK, this is the way we will do it.’”

It’s the way Gregg Popovich worked it in San Antonio the five years Carlesimo was with him and the best way he knows how to make sure the team develops.

“He wants you to challenge him,” Carlesimo said. “I haven’t been here this long, closing in on four months, but the thing I really like about Jay and the thing I really enjoyed in working for Pop was he wants to know what you think. Having sat in that chair, you do want that.”

Toronto Star

“If guys do conditioning for the sake of doing conditioning, it’s not the same,” said the coach. “We factor it into all of our drills, the speed at which we do drills and the length of time that we run a drill for. That gets these guys in better basketball shape. We don’t want them to run marathons, we want them to be in excellent shape to play intense basketball for 48 minutes.”

The Raptors have just two practices Thursday and one Friday left on the Toronto portion of training camp.

And when they convene in Vancouver to start workouts Saturday, it will be a welcome break.

“It’s just change the environment and where we are,” said coach Jay Triano. “It’ll be fun to go with one practice a day.” The Raptors will have four workouts at the University of British Columbia before opening the pre-season on Oct. 6 against the Phoenix Suns.

Toronto Star

Weems has become something of a cult hero to young fans of the team for his willingness to interact with the public. He and DeMar DeRozan, practically inseparable off the court, have made it a point to use social networking skills and their out-going personalities, to “connect” with the people.

It’s not because they seek the fame; it’s because they’re both 20-something and don’t want to be hermits.

“If we were trying to get attention, we’d be walking around downtown Toronto all day trying to get attention because everyone knows who we are,” said Weems, who turned 24 in the summer. “We’re not trying to do that, we’re just trying to help the neighbourhood.

“People of Toronto don’t ever see the Raptors. It’s just kind of us trying to let everybody know out there we’re regular people like everybody else. If you come up to us, we’re going to speak to you, we don’t have no bodyguards, we don’t have any of that.”


DeRozan didn’t have to wait long for his opportunity. With Chris Bosh heading to South Beach over the Summer to form the Super Team in Miami, DeRozan will now have a chance to show off his incredible athleticism that allowed him to begin dunking in the 6th grade.

He is as explosive as they come, has a 40″+ vertical leap, a polished mid range game, gets to the rim at will, and plays good defense.

The only question is his intensity. He seems to play at a lackadaisical pace at times.

It will be a season of ups and downs, learning processes and losses for the Raptors. But DeRozan should put up quality numbers and many ‘Wow!” moments throughout the year. I can see 16pts 6reb 1 stl with good percentages.

NY Daily News

With the Nets’ deal for Carmelo Anthony dead, at least for now, the Toronto Raptors are again trying to land Charlotte forward Boris Diaw, one of the key players in the proposed Anthony blockbuster. The Raptors thought they had finalized a deal for Diaw over the summer, but Charlotte owner Michael Jordan reportedly nixed it at the 11th hour.

If Diaw ends up going to Toronto, that means the Nets would have to find another team in a revised multi-team deal for Anthony. The Raptors are strictly opposed to helping the Nets, an Atlantic Division rival, obtain an elite player such as the Nuggets’ star forward.

National Post

DeMar DeRozan spent a lot of last year trying to suppress the feeling. He just did not want to admit it.

"At first I was denying it. But after the season, I said, ‘Yeah, I hit that wall.’ I hit it," DeRozan, the Raptors sophomore swing-man, said yesterday. "You could really tell. I really got fatigued at one point."

The wall in question was the dreaded rookie wall. DeRozan’s self-assessment is accurate, too.

His rookie season was, well, unspectacular. Outside of the occasional free-throw binge, incredible dunk or heady defensive play, DeRozan’s first year in the NBA was fine, and that was about it. He certainly did not validate the Raptors using the ninth pick in the 2009 draft on him immediately.

However, after he had an excellent summer that included all-tournament honours at the Las Vegas summer league, DeRozan is one of the reasons to hold out hope that this will not be a nightmare season for the Raptors.

National Post

Alvin Williams will still serve on Triano’s coaching staff this year. But thanks to a promotion last week, he will also be an executive, the team’s director of player development. Williams looked the part of the latter yesterday, nattily attired with a strapped suitcase that one reporter deemed to be the dreaded "European carry-all." "Alvin’s in a dual role now. He went from practice to a board meeting," Triano said. "We’re trying to get him one of those clip-on ties so he can just do it a lot quicker and snap it on before he goes."

Toronto Sun

Head coach Jay Triano wasn’t particularly happy with the team’s focus on its second day of camp. So rather than beat this head against a wall trying to teach sets and schemes to the half of the team that was able to pay proper attention, he gladly turned them over the Cuzzolin.

“It was a tough workout — but something we need to do,” said Triano.

“This is training camp. You have to set a standard for the work we want to accomplish. Today our attention span wasn’t as good. The guys coming in after being away all summer in the first day it’s exciting. But today they’re probably a little sore and our minds started to wonder and we had to cut it short and do some conditioning.”

Because as much as Triano needs a well-drilled team, he needs a well-conditioned one just as much.

As much as they wanted to run last year and score off the fast break, last year’s makeup just wasn’t fit to play that kind of game or perhaps weren’t willing to.

And while it remains to be seen if this year’s team is any more capable — they’re going to have to be exponentially better defensively to be able to run effectively — Triano has put a new premium on conditioning.

“We didn’t do this as much last year,” Triano said. “We weren’t in shape to do it.”


As it would pertain to the Raptors, Dampier would immediately start at center for the club and his impact would be felt across the roster. First and foremost, his ability to defend, rebound and block shots would address three key areas of need for the Raptors. Right now they have no one who can bang against the bigger bigs in the NBA, they have pedestrian rebounding in the frontcourt and they have questionable talent at protecting the paint against drives. Dampier would be able to immediately step in and provide a serviceable solution in all of those areas, and the trickle-down effect would be substantial.

The Samsquanch

Now that I have blown off that steam from the nixed trade I guess I’ll focus on this team. This team has 3 glimmers of hope and they are Bargnani, Weems and DeRozan. This hope lies on the potential you have here with these 3. You hope that Bargnani’s finally learned enough from his previous half decade in the league to string together the skill set necessary to make him look like a legitimate NBA center and give us 20 pts and 8 rebs. Then you got the young guns who look like they have the athletic tools to become the next superstars on this team a’la McGrady and Carter, (hopefully minus the selfishness and douchebaggery). But they haven’t done anything outside of this past summer league.
The rest is all garbage. All garbage parts other teams didn’t want any part of. I love Jarrett Jack but he’s not a starting PG on a contending team. Not consistent enough. But he’s capable of bringing his level up. We’ve seen it before. He’s also capable of disappearing but that’s what sets him apart from the rest of the team cause he could still bring his level up. You cannot tell me that any other player on this team would be a coveted player by the likes of championship contending teams cause if they were, they wouldn’t be here. There’s a reason why no Raptor ended up on the USA dream team. There’s a reason why none of them have even been at the selection camp. Bosh is the only one and he’s left town. That provides enough proof to me that the Raptors’ talent pool is gutter level. Nobody even wanted to look at any of them to potentially join the world championship team. So when you look up and down our roster it has 3 players on it and they’re not even proven. So i will not waste my money to watch them get dismantled over and over by teams like OKC who a few years ago, the Raptors used to trounce but now have turned the tables around so much that I wouldn’t bother to venture to the ACC.

New Leisure Blog

Work ethics.  I will give credit to certain players on this team.  They work hard.  DeRozan, Weems and Davis have all been working out before the season starts.  So did Amir and Jarret Jack.  Hard work usually pays off, especially if you have talent.  These guys do have some talent.

4) Cap situation.  The Raptors do have some cap room to play with in a season or two.  If Barbosa do opt out, they will have even more.  Of course they still have a huge exception if they choose to use it.  So it’s not like the Raptors are capped out and can’t be flexible.  They have some flexibility here.


The Raptors can offer Dampier the same amount of money that he would have made (presumably BEFORE the Skinner deal) in Milwaukee … but T.O. can certainly offer more playing time.  Damp would almost certainly start in the middle for the Raps.

Milwaukee papers were reporting on Wednesday morning – before the Skinner signing – that Dampier was scheduled to visit with Bucks GM John Hammond and then fly to Toronto to meet with Bryan Colangelo and company as well.

I’ve heard the same story – that Dampier could be in town to meet with the Raps this week; in fact that meeting may be as early as Thursday.  We’ll see.

The 14-year veteran has averaged 7.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.5 rebounds per game for his career.  He spent the past 6 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and his best year as a pro came in 2003-2004 when he 12.3 points and 12.0 rebounds.

Dampier turns 36 in July 2011.

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