Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Morning Coffee – Sun, Dec 11

Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Jonas Valanciunas’ breakout remains on hold until he can improve on defense – The Defeated

The takeaway here isn’t that Valanciunas is totally unplayable on defense — he’s just unplayable against certain match-ups. His lack of mobility, stamina and awareness corrupts the defense when Valanciunas is asked to guard out to the perimeter. And while the Raptors try to keep him in the paint as much as possible, sometimes there is nowhere for him to hide — especially since teams are targeting Valanciunas in the pick-and-roll more than ever.
Valanciunas presents a threat of his own on opposing defenses. He’s a limited player, but Valanciunas can score fairly easily in the post and sets monstrous screens that aren’t credited enough for the points on DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry’s ledger. But the fact remains that the Raptors can score just fine with Valanciunas off the floor.
The Raptors post an offensive rating of 115.7 (!) when Valanciunas plays. That figure somehow jumps to 118.5 (!!) when he sits. The split was less pronounced in 2015–16 (113.0 vs 108.8) when the offensively defunct Bismack Biyombo played as the backup, but again, the Raptors’ offense did just fine with Valanciunas out.

Inside Stuff: Kyle Lowry –

The other half of the Raptors’ all-star backcourt, Kyle Lowry, visits his old stomping grounds in Philadelphia.

Inside Stuff: DeMar DeRozan –

We take our show north of the border to Toronto, Canada where Grant Hill and Kristen Ledlow catch up with Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan

The Raptors need Jonas Valanciunas but not all the time – Raptors HQ

The almost 29 minutes Valanciunas played in that game came as something of a surprise, given the speed and mobility of the team the Raptors faced. The T-Wolves, stocked with spry big men Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng and Nemanja Bjelica, pose matchup problems for JV on the defensive end. This is to say nothing of the quickness of the Wolves’ guards, and the pick-and-roll situations they’d undoubtedly put him in. Valanciunas was eventually forced out of the game at the 6:45 mark in the first quarter after picking up his second foul trying to hedge, er, I mean, high wall on Ricky Rubio. It looked like the under bet would have been safe.

The second quarter saw Valanciunas hit his stride though — on the offensive end — with six points, bringing his total to ten for the half. Sure, the T-Wolves had 16 second chance points, and Dieng pump-faked Jonas out of his shoes once for a dunk, but the Raps had managed to tie it up. A third quarter awakening from Towns (who spent most of the night being guarded by Patterson, which should tell you something), and some vicious dunks at JV’s expense, suggested more trouble on the horizon. Until the Raptors came alive in the fourth, outgunned the young Wolves 36-21, and blew the game open. For his part, Jonas finished with a 20-10, on 60 percent shooting with six offensive rebounds. He even recorded a blocked shot. Shrug.

“Every game is the same, you know,” said Valanciunas afterwards, Sphinx-like as always. “There’s ups and downs. Everybody goes through some bad games and some good games, you know. You just gotta play through that stuff.” As an assessment on his specific performance — or the season as a whole — Jonas isn’t exactly wrong.



Raptors’ Rudy Gay trade continues to pay huge dividends three years later | Toronto Sun

Patrick Patterson is the lone remaining original piece in Toronto and, quietly, he has become a player nearly as important to Toronto’s success as the two all-stars — even if his scoring or rebounding numbers look pedestrian.

Patterson has never averaged even 9.5 points per game in Toronto, never hauled in more than the 6.0 rebounds he averages in 2016-17 and he’s shooting only 36% from the field and 35% on three-pointers, yet, again, Patterson has proven himself indispensable.

Take Friday’s win in Boston, for example: Patterson shot just 2-for-7 and committed five fouls, but he had the second-best plus-minus on the team, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out four assists.

The Kentucky product can be streaky, however, he provides a needed outside threat at power forward with his ability to hit three-pointers. It’s something that he wasn’t doing in Sacramento, but became proficient at upon arriving in Toronto.

He is also an elite defender, able to both move laterally extremely quickly and protect the rim well (opponents shoot 41% at the rim against Patterson, the eighth-best mark in the NBA, and much better than the 53.8% mark Jonas Valanciunas is allowing).

Good things happen when he is on the court.

Home Court: Who let the dog out? – Video – TSN

Home Court guest host Meghan McPeak and co-hosts Duane Watson and Josh Lewenberg are joined by former Raptor Jerome Williams, to discuss the current state of the Raptors and whether or not there’s still a role in the current NBA for true Centre like Jonas Valanciunas.

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