Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Morning Coffee – Thu, Oct 8

Jonas needs to be more flexible | Defense again (hopefully scoring wont be an issue now) | Raptors might have the stuff to stop Cavs? Maybe? No? Yes? ... (slow day, season can't start soon enough)

Adapt or Die: The next step for Jonas Valanciunas is flexibility | Getting Benched

Players like Draymond Green or Boris Diaw – those guys are flexible. You put them in any lineup and they can adapt. They have enough skills and enough smarts to become whatever the team needs from them. And while they’re not masters at any one aspect of the game, their all-around excellence makes them highly useful. Valanciunas is inflexible. He’s only effective on offense if he’s given the ball. He can grab the occasional board and he’s big enough to play the part of a pick-and-roll big, but for the most part, Valanciunas does most of his damage in the post. Turn, pump-fake, pump-fake, back-down, two steps, sweeping right hook, profit. He needs the ball to do that.

Raptors’ defensive changes made to help team as whole | Toronto Sun

“Today was a tough practice just because there are a lot of distractions with a different gym,” Casey said. “I don’t know if we got a lot out of today but there’s a lot we got to pick up. I don’t know if we got caught up in LA or whatever but we have to get our focus back in training camp mode.” Casey, though, also wanted to clear up a little misconception about the defensive scheme changes he has made this year. Through camp it has been reported that it’s being done primarily to keep Jonas Valanciunas closer to the basket and out of the high pick and roll defensive coverage. Casey says the intent was never about making those changes to help Valanciunas. They are being made to help the whole team. “The key is all of our bigs have to go and get the ball,” he said. “All of them have to focus on rebounding. We are not changing our defence for one guy. We are changing it to make sure we take advantage of an offensive system and all of our big guys have to go and rebound.”

Head-to-head NBA 2015–16 season preview | The Gauntlet

The Raptors were anything but consistent last season, but they still made the playoffs. Last season’s 26th-ranked defence was a sore point and the Raptors soft defensive play in their first-round playoff matchup against the Washington Wizards bounced them from the playoffs. They’ve remedied these holes on defence with the additions of Bismack Biyombo, DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph. Additionally, the club signed Canadian Anthony Bennett, who hasn’t yet lived up to the expectations of being a first-overall draft pick. But Bennett has talent, and playing in his hometown may be the spark he needs to prove himself. These new additions, combined with the fact that Toronto is playing in a weak Eastern Conference, could mean the Raptors make it out of the first round for the first time since the 2000–01.

Pick and Roll: DeMar DeRozan | BBALLBREAKDOWN

I disagree with the Raptors being among the elite in the East, but we’ll save that for another day. Yeah, I think that entering his seventh season, Demar is who he is, and that’s absolutely fine. At 6’7″, he has the size to guard anywhere on the perimeter, from point guards to small forward, and even some power forwards. Sure, the three-point stroke could be better (okay, could be MUCH better), but hey, a guy named Dwyane Wade can’t throw it in the ocean from three and he’s made a nice Hall of Fame career for himself, I’m not worried. DeRozan can punish defenders with the drive or drop buckets on their head with a deadly pull up jumper. You don’t average almost 22 ppg over two years (like DeRozan has for his last two) for a playoff team if you’re not at least near elite!

NBA Eastern conference preview: Can any team stop the Cavaliers? | The Cauldron – SI.com

Though unlikely, the Raptors have made enough changes and shown enough talent at times that one could see them approaching top-10 status on both ends, but the matchup with Cleveland is daunting. Carroll, even before his injury in the playoffs, failed to slow James in the post. With Lowry (still solid on D when locked in) and Joseph, Toronto has the horses to throw at Irving, but there isn’t really a solid Love antidote between Patrick Patterson and Luis Scola. Defensive rebounding also does not project as a strength. On the other end, dual threats at the guard spot will force Irving to guard somebody, but James should be able to coast unless the Raptors can really upgrade their ball movement. Cleveland has multiple options to slow Valanciunas, starting with the enormous Mozgov, although Valanciunas’ post-up skill should allow Toronto to punish any pick-and-roll switches.

Vegas bets on Raptors backslide, sets win total at 46.5 | Raptors HQ

The math people over in Las Vegas have some upsetting news however. For the 2015-16 season, this august body of bookmakers are suggesting the Raptors will win around 46.5 games this year. That’s where the line is set. Will Toronto really finish at 46? What about 47? Some other number?

Raptors See Something In Anthony Bennett That Others Don’t | Pro Bball Report

A wonky shoulder kept Bennett out of the line up in the Raptors first pre-season game, but his play with the National Team during the Pan-Am Games proved he is worthy of a second chance in the NBA. National Team coach Jay Triano and GM Steve Nash love him as a player and a person. Bennett is also happy to get to play with one of his national team teammates and another Toronto native Cory Joseph. “I’m very excited to have the two of us here, representing our city and our country,” Bennett said. “And I’m just really excited. I can’t even put it into words.” This is a win-win situation for the Raptors. If it works out it’s great for team. If not it only cost them the minimum salary and didn’t put a monkey wrench into their salary cap.

Send me any Raptors-related link: rapsfan@raptorsrepublic.com