Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee: Jan. 24th Edition

DeRozan is chill | The Vince Carter stuff wont go away | Ross/JV hit rookie blue wall | Hansborough’s return has lineup impact | Case made for Lowry/DeMar

Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan sides with Richard Sherman, but remains guarded personally | National Post

“Me, personally, I’ve just always been laid-back — been cool, chill,” DeRozan said. “I only feel that way in the heat of the game. It’s kind of different. [Football] is more physical … But he made a lot of great points, talking about if it was hockey [the word “thug” never would have been used]. He made some key points. “People always want to see somebody’s personality. Once they do something … ” DeRozan trailed off from there. He is content to allow Sherman to make the headlines. He will be nodding along with the Seahawks star as he does, though.

Raptors’ DeRozan says Seahawks’ Sherman ‘is a good dude’ | Toronto Sun

It’s also why DeRozan is particularly guarded when the recorders, cameras and notebooks come out. “That’s why I just (stay) so conservative,” he said. “I don’t get caught up in no media stuff, (won’t) give them any extra juice to run with it and turn it into something extra.” DeRozan isn’t as much of a live wire as Sherman, but don’t tell him he lacks passion. “I’ve just always been laid back, cool, chill, I only feel that type of way in the heat of the game,” he said.

Why it’s time to forgive Vince Carter |

These days, Carter doesn’t shave his head for fashion—he does it because he’s balding. He’s worn a beard for years and it gives him an air of seriousness, even if he’s still a prankster whose elaborate pre-game pantomime involves Mavs youngster Jae Crowder pretending to push him to the scorer’s table like someone helping kick-start an old car. Carter has taken Crowder under his wing, has him over to his house regularly—and has been thanked by Crowder’s parents for connecting with their son. It’s been seven years since Carter was an all-star, but he isn’t a late-career gunner trying to avoid retirement. He’s a valued sixth man and respected elder statesman. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban brought Carter to Dallas as an affordable piece—after earning about $140 million in his last two contracts, Carter is now playing for $3 million a year—to help extend Dirk Nowitzki’s championship window.

Blair: Time for Raptors to bury the hatchet with Vince Carter | The Globe and Mail

The notion that a player need bring a title to his team to get his uniform retired doesn’t hold water in this market. Sundin … Gilmour … Clark … Salming – I’m looking at a whole bunch of honoured players’ numbers in the rafters at the ACC and many of them don’t scream Stanley Cup champion. Truthfully? I will always think Chris Bosh screwed over the Raptors more than Carter – and there are people close to the NBA team who won’t mount much of an argument.

Raptors At The Half – Still Developing Players First

“Up until the last 2 or 3 games, our young players were growing,” Casey said after the win over Dallas. “Terrence was growing. Jonas was growing. I think they kind of hit a sophomore blue wall a little bit which is expected. We expected that – they weren’t going to (continue to) play at a high level because they are still young players. The positive is the growth of DeMar DeRozan, and I still say Terrence and Jonas have grown and developed. We are growing, we are not a finished product, 2 or 3 starters who or not finished products, they are still growing – really a year and a half in the league, not even a half a year yet until Friday. So, we are ahead of schedule. We are winning some games in our building and we are happy with that.”

Toronto Raptors mid-season report card: Plenty of ups and downs in first half | National Post

“The positive is the growth of DeMar DeRozan. I still say Terrence and Jonas have grown and developed. … Three starters are not finished products. … We’re ahead of schedule. We’re winning some games in our building. We’re happy about that.”

Mid-Season Grades for the Toronto Raptors | Raptors 101

Last year at this time they were 15-26 and were trying to search for their identity. Although the season is still a long way from being over, it is safe to say that this Raptors team is in much better shape compared to last year’s team. The players know their roles this year, some are having career years, and they are all hungry for a playoff berth. It will be exciting to see if the team can keep up their strong play in the second half of the season.

Lewenberg: Raptors’ Hansbrough nearing return | TSN

Although he was playing well before getting hurt – even supplanting starter Amir Johnson earlier in the season – and Casey is a strong believer that you shouldn’t lose your job to injury, the Raptors coach has a tough decision to make when Hansbrough is finally able to make his return. Certainly it’s not a bad problem for a coach to have, but what will Hansbrough’s role be when he’s back in uniform and how will Casey juggle his five bigs? “We’ll see,” Casey said after practice Thursday. “Tyler’s a valuable part of what we were doing earlier, his intensity and what he brings to the table is important but those other guys have really set the tone for the second unit.” “I’m sure he’s not going to be able to come in and go full-bore for big minutes but we want to get him back in the rotation at some point.”

EOB Picks: 2014 NBA All-Star reserves |

OK, so make it two All-Stars for the Raptors. At this current moment, in terms of impact on the floor, you could make a strong case for Lowry as the top point guard in the East this season. His PER is only slightly behind Irving’s, but considering the defensive end… you know what I mean.

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