Toronto Raptors

add news feed

tweet a story

Good to get the lunchbox links going again for another season and yep, lots of stuff to discuss in this Wednesday edition. We'll start off with Canis Hoopus' Wolves Season preview, considering the Dinos take on said Timberwolves this ev...
Good to get the lunchbox links going again for another season and yep, lots of stuff to discuss in this Wednesday edition. We'll start off with Canis Hoopus' Wolves Season preview, considering the Dinos take on said Timberwolves this evening in Toronto. Next, we'll move on to the Raptors, today's preview via Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose over at Grantland. Lots of good stuff here including Jalen wickedly smiling about Montreal: Hickory High takes a shot at previewing the Raptors but...um...what's with the Mickael Pietrus mentions? Some of the main players mentioned in these previews of course are Rudy Gay, and Jonas Valanciunas. The Toronto Star's Cathal Kelly discusses Gay, who apparently trained with Hakeem this offseason! That means he's due for an All-Star campaign no? Wait...Austin Daye did too??? Regardless, all eyes will certainly be on Gay, who makes Grantland's "All-Intriguing Team." As for Valanciunas, the National Post takes a look at the super soph, "whose ceiling is so high." Let's move from two of the bigger names on the DInos to two of the smaller in Terrence Ross and Landry FIelds. The National Post's Eric Koreen pens pieces on both, first on Fields and his re-constructed elbow, and then on Ross, and him becoming the responsible player the team needs him to be. Koreen also takes a look at Raptors' head coach Dwane Casey, who gets another shot this season. We'll stick with Casey and move to Sportsnet.ca, where Casey is the first in a series of "Know Your Raptors" videos. (I can't wait for the Psycho T edition!) Meanwhile, over at Raptorblog, Joseph Casciaro does a great job breaking down the team's entire roster using a number of different advanced metric views. Outside of current Toronto Raptors...poor Alexis Ajinca... And capping off today's links, meet Patrys15, who makes amazing mixes of the NBA's worst players. Enjoy!
about 5 hours ago
Source
Source
about 7 hours ago
Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose speculate where new Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will send Rudy Gay, marvel at the NBA Summer League work of Jonas Valanciunas, ...
Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose speculate where new Raptors GM Masai Ujiri will send Rudy Gay, marvel at the NBA Summer League work of Jonas Valanciunas, ...
about 7 hours ago
Let’s start off with a quick practice recap: Dwane Casey: Glad to take Lowry’s 17 points which came on an iffy hamstring Lowry bumped his hand in practice, didn’t look like anything serious From a health standpoint everything’s go...
Let’s start off with a quick practice recap: Dwane Casey: Glad to take Lowry’s 17 points which came on an iffy hamstring Lowry bumped his hand in practice, didn’t look like anything serious From a health standpoint everything’s good 26 turnovers were a lot but that’s a result of focusing on defense the first few days of training camp Wants to cut the turnovers “down in half which is what’s my goal” – so, 13 a game “Did a lot of good things defensively…but most of all, made up for the mistakes with effort..guys were scrambling for each other” Saw evidence of Ross’s improvement – attacking in paint, defending Wallace in post, digging in defensively, pushing it in transition Lowry raises the level of intensity in practice by constantly “coming at you” Will take Valanciunas’ fouls as they’re good fouls coming from rebound contests – they’re not cheap fouls “like not going straight up” in the circle The “verticality” and “balance” is key when going up for rebounds for Valanciunas, sometimes he doesn’t go up straight for a rebound and gets called for the foul Raptors turned down a lot of threes that they should’ve taken – comes down to it being early in training camp and guys not recognizing shooting opportunities Doesn’t mind Terrence Ross being “laid back” as long as he can play – sometimes he’s got to “fight through that laid back persona, so to speak, and attack like he did [against Boston]” Compares Ross to Rashard Lewis in terms of laid back guys who can play Squad will be rotated for tonight so guys who didn’t play in the first game will play today Got a little irked about the team being labelled a little “soft”, says he’s anything but soft and if that’s the reputation the team has he’s going to get rid of it “damn quickly” Jonas Valanciunas: Assesses his first performance as ‘good’ Guys are trying to get their rhythm and find out what their role is Thinks he picked up “cheap fouls” and is working on “verticality jumps” under the circle; says he needs to get better at that Normal for the first pre-season game to have lots of turnovers, thinks team will get through it Reporter asked if he had any familiarity going into this year, says ‘no’ since it’s been a long time since he played with these guys and that the team “needs to feel each other [out] again” Terrence Ross: “Knows what it takes this time around”, last year he was learning and this year he has a better understanding of how to approach things Says consistency is a skill that he’s learning, and he’s working closely with Bill Bayno on defense, attacking Learning that defense is a reactive thing that is more “common sense” than anything and he’s accepting that He’s “putting in the work” this year after a “tough” year – recalls how when guarding Corey Maggette his first time he realized how different the leap from college to NBA is “I don’t think we’ll get 26 turnovers, or anything near that again” Feels that consistency will buy him good will and end up with “coaches have more faith in [him]” “Tyler Hansbrough’s my favourite player on the team…I love playing with him…he makes my job a lot easier…he’s usually taking on two guys [so you ] can sneak in a rebound…it’s great having him on the team” I find it amazing that Valanciunas speaks such good English.  Imagine if you had to go to Lithuania for a job and be forced to learn the language, would you be as fluent in Lithuanian as he is in English? I’d still be figuring out the yes/nos.  Mind you, he wasn’t that awful to begin with (video below) but at this point I find it hard to believe that there’s any communication gap between him and the coaches/players, and that that is a big reason why he’s more effective. I’m winding back the years and thinking when, if ever, the Raptors had a potent combination of wing and interior play and the last instance that comes to mind are the Vince Carter years with Antonio Davis. T
about 9 hours ago
One of the things that fascinates me – and perturbs me to some small degree – about this day and age is how things that really aren’t “events” get turned into something huge and colourful and seemingly important. Take yesterday, for i...
One of the things that fascinates me – and perturbs me to some small degree – about this day and age is how things that really aren’t “events” get turned into something huge and colourful and seemingly important. Take yesterday, for instance. Land back from Boston and am anxiously waiting around Pearson to get my day going well and all I see when I’m reading the tweeter and waiting is breathless breakdowns of – get this!!!! – hockey sweaters. Yeah, hockey sweaters. The Canada hockey sweaters for the Sochi Olympics and if ever there was something overblown, that was it. I’m not picking on the pucks, honestly. I had the same feeling when they had the dog and pony show for the remade Blue Jays jerseys a few years ago and I know I’m going to roll my eyes in disdain whenever they do the makeover thing with the Raptors in a couple of years. But yesterday seemed to be over the top didn’t it? Stage shows, fashion critiques, history lessons. A rather disproportionate amount of attention for what it was. It’s like that everywhere, though, isn’t it? Why do we do it? Why does everything have to be staged and big and a show in these times? Is it because we need the distraction? Is it because we believe these to be important moments? Is it because we need TV shows to fill air time and need something to talk about that isn’t all that important? Everything these days is big, a production and I think what it does is denigrate the things that really should be big and bold and brash. There doesn’t seem to be context any more, if we treat everything as important, the stuff that is important tends to get lost and I believe that’s the biggest danger. It’s on us, I suppose, to somehow find a way to distinguish between matters of importance and matters of showmanship. Hockey sweaters, or baseball jerseys, or whatever, are shows, not things. Now, everyone rush out and start buying them up because that was probably the goal at the heart of the whole thing. - This is this guy’s birthday and is this his greatest song? - Yes, we will be back with an IGBT for tonight’s big tilt with the Minnesota’s (big question: What does Schved’s hair look like?) and you should all join in on the fun. And if you can’t and have some pressing questions, let’s start the weekly (weakly?) plea for mail at askdoug@thestar.ca. With back-to-back games Friday-Saturday I have no clue what we’ll do when but there will be mail and you have to help me out. - Okay, looks like the marketing poohbahs and facilities people at the Maple Leaf Sports and some big shots at the league office came to their senses and decided to follow some league rules because there’s been some movement on the seating issue. (I bring it up knowing it’s inside-reporting and you probably don’t care but I started it so I should finish it). Seems the atrocious corner of the bar at the top level on the end idea is dead, which means we no longer will have the worst seats in the NBA. For tonight, because there is no visiting radio or TV, there are some seats courtside that we’ll use, for the rest of the pre-season will be in regular stadium seats in a corner with some kind of temporary table and in the regular season, I think we’ll be somewhere in the Air Canada Club. I know, it’s confusing to us and we’ll still be far, far away from the action and that will limit what we do in the IGBT and with some of our reporting but at least we’ll be closer to the top of the lower bowl and it’s an okay compromise, I think. Squeaky wheel getting grease? I don’t know. I do know that some saner heads somewhere prevailed. This was still planned terribly from the start and, yes, everyone’s scrambling but it’s better, I think. - This is what they’re talking about concerning tonight’s HOTH opponent. (I’m doing okay remembering to add stuff from the other team so far this season, aren’t I?) - Or is this his greatest song. You pick.
about 10 hours ago
A word on Rudy Gay, Jonas Valanciunas and the disgrace to his profession that is Tommy Heinsohn. Hey! Real basketball was played! No more Eurobasket recaps!  No more quelled optimism about summer league! We actually recognize the faces ...
A word on Rudy Gay, Jonas Valanciunas and the disgrace to his profession that is Tommy Heinsohn. Hey! Real basketball was played! No more Eurobasket recaps!  No more quelled optimism about summer league! We actually recognize the faces on their heads and the names on their backs! Can you tell that I’m excited? Okay, I should probably step back and acknowledge that it was still just a preseason game. I mean, Dwane Casey put out a crunch time lineup of Buycks-Ross-Fields-Daye-Gray. We can’t read too much into these games. That being said, here are three things I’ve totally read into. You can find the boxscore here and the highlights from the game are below: Jonas Valanciunas Looked Fantastic Nevermind the fact that he fouled out and committed three turnovers. He was whistled for a bunch of ticky-tack stuff and a few of those turnovers weren’t really his fault. Instead, focus on the fact that he scored 10 points on 5/7 shooting, including the first six points of the game. He also chipped in with 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots, all in under 27 minutes. Those numbers are fantastic. Granted, Jonas went up against the likes of Kris Humphries, Kelly “Dirk” Olynyk (more on this later) and Jared Sullinger, so his numbers should be taken with a huge grain of salt, but he was dominant. He flashed some post-moves on offense, including his trusty right-handed hook shot, and he showed smart instincts on defense, permitting Kris Humphries to shoot jumpers from outside of the paint. One key development I’ll be looking for is to see if Jonas can cut down on that ugly foul rate (4.6 fouls per 36 minutes last season). There is no depth at centre behind him (apologies to Air Gray) and the Raptors really struggled on both ends of the floor when he’s not in the game. Most of his fouls were racked up on defense, but he seems to average one offensive foul per game on moving screens. Although he sets very wide screens and almost always gets his man open, Jonas has a habit of moving too soon on screens, which either takes him out of the play, or he gets whistled for the foul. Hopefully he gets his timing down and manages to stay on the floor. Rudy Gay Turns it on After Slow Start to Finish with a Game-High 17 points I was cursing at my laptop as I watched Gay launch two ill-advised jumpers to start the game. Both shots were taken with lots of time left on the clock and he was being guarded well by Jeff Green. Needless to say, both jumpers clanked out and he did not look good. However, he turned it on over the rest of the game. He made a three in transition, beat Gerald Wallace off the dribble and finished at the rim. He also sunk some turn-around jumpers,which was nice.His shot chart for the game is below: He didn’t have the lift that he once had, presumably because he’s put on some muscle over the summer. His first couple of jumpers were flat, but his shot looked great after he found his form. Gay didn’t really take anyone into the post. He was guarded by Jeff Green for the majority of the game, who is every bit as large as Gay (6’9 228 lbs for Green, 6’8 222 lbs for Gay), so perhaps it didn’t really make sense for him to challenge him in the post, but it would have been nice to see Gay pull out the post game at some point. The odds are good that his post-game will be on display in his next match against the Timberwolves, whose wing players are quite diminutive (Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, Alexy Shved). Tommy Swinesohn is Unprofessional I was only able to catch the game on an online stream last night, so I was forced to trudge through the Celtics broadcast feed, meaning I had to sit through Tommy Heinsohn’s color commentary. Perhaps it’s a tad hypocritical for me to chastise his lack of professionalism, given that I routinely spend my time (and Zarar’s good faith) whipping up trivial articles imagining conversations and compiling sarcastic quizze
1 day ago
Well, the Raptors short stay in Halifax ended off with an intrasquad scrimmage at the Metro Centre here in Halifax over the weekend. It was Team Black consisting of Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Landry Fields with t...
Well, the Raptors short stay in Halifax ended off with an intrasquad scrimmage at the Metro Centre here in Halifax over the weekend. It was Team Black consisting of Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Landry Fields with the blowout win 92-64 over Team Gray made up of Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay and Terrence Ross in front of over 7,000 at the Halifax Metro Centre. Sean Francois and myself recap the game from our point of view in the Metro Centre stands.HIP HOOP JUNKIES linkage!Twitter: @hiphoopjunkiesFacebook: 'Like' us on Facebook!Podcast: Subscribe to RAPS TALK, our audio podcast on iTunes If you don't have iTunes, you can subscribe hereT-Shirt Shop: Hip Hoop Junkies clothing
1 day ago
Well, the first road trip’s over, ended with a big bang and a short night and if they are all this easy and nice, this might not be a bad season after all. A bit too long but there aren’t too many with two practice days thrown in. Any...
Well, the first road trip’s over, ended with a big bang and a short night and if they are all this easy and nice, this might not be a bad season after all. A bit too long but there aren’t too many with two practice days thrown in. Anyway, I guess we’ll stick with the usual format unless anyone’s got anything better. If you do, I’m all ears. (I will preface this by pointing out, again, that it was Game 1 of the pretend season, any resemblance to regular season action is purely coincidental) - THREE-POINTERS Mr. Inside-Mr. Outside That’s what Dwane’s been telling us he wants from DeMar DeRozan this year and Game 1 provided steady proof of that. Can’t think how many times DeRozan was on the block to make things happen, he showed a few good moves – one up-and-under in the first half was outstanding – and since he’s bright kid on the court, I’m sure he’ll see the passing lanes as they develop. As Casey put it: “He’s got to remember what he’s No. 1 in. Catching in the post, getting into the paint, creating a shot or if they double team, being ready to kick it out.” He is, however, going to need to be surrounded by guys who can make shots since he’s been one of their shooters. - Fumble fingers The 26 turnovers were atrocious, even for a first pre-season game, and there was an even more alarming aspect to it. They came from all over the court in all manner of mistake and everyone made them. Check out the boxscore and see how they were distributed to get my point. That’s troubling because that means a lot of guys have a lot of work to do to be better; if it was just one or two or three it could be an area of intense focus for the coaching staff. Now? Now everyone has to sharpen up and be more conscientious. - Time will tell I will remain – as you all should – solidly skeptical about Terrence Ross because he’s really done little to inspire a lot of long-term confidence. Yes, he can dunk and he can finish on the break but his penchant for mentally drifting is irritating to the coaches. Last night though, he was excellent at both ends. He got over or through screens without losing his man or giving up on the play. Dwane lauded him for his effort, now we have to see it every game. “Terrence played with playoff intensity, that’s the intensity that we have to build and continue to work with.” - Yes, they absolutely did play this song during a timeout and it was perhaps the most un-NBA-like music I’ve ever heard at a game.   (Side note: Only had two or three cracks about whether or not Drake was there and that’s going to get old in an awful hurry) - Let me get this straight? The TOD couldn’t pitch to save their souls in what was, yes, the most disappointing season ever so they whack one hitting coach and let the other one retire and keep the same guys allegedly responsible for a horrible year on the mound? No, I don’t get it either; hope Griff can explain it to me somehow. - A question for the ages. You get to the elevator, push the button to go up and about 30 seconds later some guy shows up, sees the light on and goes up and pushes the same button. Is that supposed to make it come faster? Happened to me half a dozen times on this trip and I’m perplexed. Maybe I should try it the next time I’m the second person there. - Can’t get to the Boston Globe site because of its paywall but here’s what the Herald had on last night’s game. Full-on tank mode after one pre-season game? Yikes! - One game means nothing, right? Right. But there were flashes last night from Kelly Olynyk that made you think the young Canadian kid’s got a good chance to be okay. Most impressive to me was his passing abilities. I think he had five or six assists and a couple of them were nicely threaded passes in traffic that show a sizeable Basketball IQ and ability to read the game and his teammates. Talked to him a bit before the game, h
1 day ago
It’s been 6 long months, but the Toronto Raptors are back playing NBA basketball. The Raptors kicked off pre-season with a 97-89 win over the Dirk Nowitzki-led…sorry, I meant the Kelly Olynyk-led Celtics, in Beantown. Ty...
It’s been 6 long months, but the Toronto Raptors are back playing NBA basketball. The Raptors kicked off pre-season with a 97-89 win over the Dirk Nowitzki-led…sorry, I meant the Kelly Olynyk-led Celtics, in Beantown. Tyler Hansbrough (more on him later) and Rudy Gay led the way for the Raptors, with 17 points each, Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double (10 points and 10 rebounds) and the Raptors as a team shot an impressive 52% from the floor. The Raptors also out-rebounded Boston, 46-26. Offensively it was a case of the very good, and the very ugly for the Raptors. As mentioned, the team shot the ball well from the field — although not from 3 — and beat up the Celtics in the paint. But after looking dominant early in the game — jumping out to a 14-2 lead, thanks in-part to Valanciunas picking up where he left off in Summer League — the Celtics took advantage of some REALLY sloppy turnovers by the Raptors to go in at the half only trailing by 5. The Raptors turned the ball over 16 times in an error-strewn 1st half (and 26 times in total), which led to 19 points for the Celtics. You could put many of the turnovers down to good old pre-season rust – a DeMar DeRozan palming violation, and Amir Johnson stepping on the baseline after coming down with a defensive rebound seems typical of a team shaking off those summer cobwebs – but it was rough to watch, regardless. Some of the more frustrating turnovers came when Gay and Johnson attempted to force the ball into Valanciunas in the low-post. It was the right idea, but bad execution. The Raptors did manage to clean things up in the 2nd half, however, and after the Celtics put up a strong 3rd quarter led by the impressive Jared Sullinger -- the most impressive Celtic on the floor, in fact -- Toronto finished the 4th quarter in the ascendancy; a 11-3 run giving them a stranglehold in the game that they wouldn’t relinquish. Ultimately, of course, results in the pre-season matter little. The Raptors went 6-1 in last year’s pre-season and started the regular season 4-19; so yeah, take a lot of these final scores with the proverbial pinch of salt. What matters is establishing some chemistry between the guys on the floor, allowing players to try out various elements of their game that have been worked on in the summer, and giving Dwane Casey the chance to experiment with the rotation, and mix and match different lineups – Casey used 11 different players by the end of the 1st quarter, so mix and match he definitely did. So the final score aside, there were a lot of positives to take away from the game as far as individual performances go. Valanciunas looked great early on, and his teammates looked for him often in the post, where he looked very comfortable. We’ve all waxed lyrical about how much more of a physical specimen Valanciunas is now compared to this time last year, but it can’t be stated enough. He just looks so much more like an NBA centre a year on from his rookie season. He used that newly-acquired bulk – and great footwork – to his advantage against the Celtics, getting points off offensive boards, and establishing himself as a real presence down low. Some sloppy fouls led to an early night with 3 minutes to go in the 4th, but it was a productive 24 minutes overall for the big Lithuanian. On the subject of physical alterations... It might be too early to call Rudy Gay’s eye surgery an unmitigated success – although I’m sure it’s already made him a safer driver on the road – but he looked very smooth against the Celtics, particularly in the 2nd quarter, when he scored 10 points, on 5-6 shooting. There was still a few customary Rudy Gay long 2s – advanced metrics, be damned! – but overall Gay mixed up his game nicely, driving to the rim as well as shooting from the ou
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors 97 Final Recap | Box Score 89 Boston Celtics Amir Johnson, PF 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +5 Played a bunch in the first half and was active as usual. We saw a 21-f...
Toronto Raptors 97 Final Recap | Box Score 89 Boston Celtics Amir Johnson, PF 22 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 4 PTS | +5 Played a bunch in the first half and was active as usual. We saw a 21-foot jumper and some great help defense on driving point guards. Played a bit of center too and didn’t pick up a single foul in his entire shift. Good start. Rudy Gay, SF 23 MIN | 7-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 17 PTS | +13 A colder start than a Breaking Bad episode, but picked up once he decided to drive instead of settling for the fades. The bulk didn’t show much, but the approach in the second part of his shift was entirely drive-first. Some of those scores came against Gerald Wallace in 1v1 situations which is always tough. Jonas Valanciunas, C 27 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | +6 Efficient, professional, and extremely unlucky to pick up six fouls. Looks way more confident in the post and releases the elbow jumper with no hesitation. He fought for the offensive rebounds and had good success. Sure, the Celtics frontline isn’t anything special, but you can’t pick your opponents. Kyle Lowry, PG 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 7 PTS | +8 If distribution is what you want from your PG, then Lowry delivered (assist for Gay, assist for Johnson). You can tell by the speed at which he changes ends that he’s in better shape and you’d be pleased to know that instead of reaching and gambling, he was closing out guys, and that too multiple times per possession. DeMar DeRozan, SG 24 MIN | 6-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | +6 Had a couple of big time moves in the post and in transition, on one occasion driving left for a tough lay-in. Two of the biggest knocks against him is that, 1) he can’t shake off guys and tonight he showed success against some athletic defenders, 2) he can’t finish at the rim in traffic, which he did well tonight. The three let him down. That needs to go in for him to take the next step, otherwise defenders will sag. Tyler Hansbrough, PF 21 MIN | 5-8 FG | 7-8 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 17 PTS | -6 Never seen a guy hustle this much in a pre-season game. Had two back-to-back put-backs in the third which restored the Raptors’ confidence when the Celtics were making their run. One of the reasons Valanciunas had such a good game was directly the result of the attention the defense has to pay to Hansbrough when he’s aiming for the offensive glass. Austin Daye, PF 13 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +1 Does not work at the PF – way too small. Didn’t see any quickness so not sure where he fits in the lineup. He needs to be hitting his threes to be productive because he will rarely, if ever, have an advantage in any individual matchup. Landry Fields, SF 20 MIN | 2-3 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | -5 Had two drives to the rim, and one score in transition. Overall, a player like him should move without the ball a lot more than he does. I’ve always likened his role to a Mo Pete, but he’s simply not as active as the former Spartan. Aaron Gray, C 9 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +8 This was not a matchup for him. The Boston bigs are athletic dudes who can eat him up by taking him outside, and are mobile to get around him on the glass. Gray has his role on this team and it’s not against a team like the Celtics. Dwight Buycks, PG 15 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +6 Welcome to the NBA, looks a lot different than summer league, don’t it? Not a great game, looked rattled whenever he did get by his man and every pass had a touch of nervousne
2 days ago