The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

“We’re going to play physical and we’re going to play tough”

Posted by Arsenalist on October 7, 2008

Pre-season will never tell you how good your team is but it might tell you how bad it is. That’s probably why Bryan Colangelo’s making the trip to Cleveland to see his team and prized acquisition in action. He’s also sure to keep a close eye on Sam Mitchell, Colangelo’s not a GM that meddles in coaching affairs but he might make an exception this year if he sees players like Bargnani, Kapono or O’Neal being misued or not used to their full capabilities. He made some comments towards the end of last season about player misuse and this time around I highly doubt he’s going to wait that long before letting Mitchell know what he really thinks. The leash is short.

The Raptors practiced on Monday and Mitchell’s saying that it’s all about getting better and acclimatizing O’Neal into the team. A veteran like O’Neal’s in cruise control and his pre-season performances hardly matters because its all about familiarizing yourself with team concepts. He also says the Raptors don’t do anything different than any other NBA team, they just call things differently. So pre-season is all about getting the nomenclature right. Andrea Bargnani gives a little more interesting interview where he stresses that he “needs to get better in the low-post” and thinks that his off-season regiment has given him new weapons which he can use this season. He’s also saying he gave up international ball in favor of following the regiment the Raptors had set for him. I think that had a lot to do with Maurizio Gherardini whispering something to Andrea as much as it had to do with him wanting to get better. In short, Bargnani’s talking the right talk heading into pre-season and so far his on-court results aren’t bad.

Basically the same thing is being rehashed here and here.

Now I don’t know if this is all talk but it makes me feel nice when I see a quote like this:

“It doesn’t matter who we play against, we’re going to play physical and we’re going to play tough.”

When was the last time a quote like that came out of training camp? I’d say not since the Oakley/Davis years have we had anyone close to an ‘enforcer’ in camp. I’m not saying O’Neal’s an enforcer, I’m saying he’s a big solid talented body that welcomes a physical challenge and won’t shy away from it. We’re counting heavily on O’Neal to provide a scoring punch, rebounding boost, interior defense and raw toughness in the paint. If he can deliver 3 out of 4, it ain’t bad. It’s sort of putting all our eggs in one basket but at least we have a basket.

Funny quote from Roko Ukic as pointed out by Lang Whitaker whose take on the Pedowitz Report is something I’m looking forward to:

“I got some air balls in the practices so far. I just need to reduce this.”

Joey Graham didn’t practice on Monday and neither did Nathan Jawai who was sent to a medical facility down south to get a second look at his aching heart. I’m telling you, he’s just homesick. Given the 13 players we have on the roster I’d put Graham, Jawai and Sampson at the bottom of the pecking order. If Humphries early success spills over to the regular season we’ll be seeing practically nothing of Sampson and barely anything of Jawai; they might end up being strictly practice players which Joey knows all about.

So we’re in Cleveland tonight and get the Knicks tomorrow at home. Lebron is expected to get some time along with Mo Williams and the Cavaliers will be looking to play some fast-break basketball and pressure the ball 90 feet which should provide a good challenge for Ukic who’s likely to get a good chunk of playing time. Just like us they’ll be testing things out so most of what will happen tonight shouldn’t carry much weight. There is the matter of the first quarter and a half which is played fairly hard by both teams and since Cleveland actually has excess players in camp they’ll be going hard at it for most of the game. We on the other hand have our roster set in platinum encrusted diamond.

Michael Curry’s been comparing Rodney Stuckey to Chris Bosh in a good way:

“As a player, I was in Toronto when Chris Bosh was a rookie, and their demeanors to me are the same. Both of them are very quiet but aggressive. Both of them had to work at it, but both of them want to be great.”

We (I) like to criticize Bosh for not being a “true franchise player” but I have never doubted his desire of wanting to be great and respect the work ethic, seriousness and commitment he brings to the team. I’m just waiting for him to elevate his game to the next level and maybe O’Neal can provide the backdrop for Bosh to rise to the NBA’s elite level – a constant MVP candidate.

That’s it for this morning. Have a nice Tuesday.


23 Responses to ““We’re going to play physical and we’re going to play tough””

  1. […] – The Arsenalist […]

  2. khandor said

    The R.E.S.P.E.C.T. I have for one Michael Curry is well-documented.

    IMO, Michael Curry is someone who SHOULD have been hired by the Raptors franchise back in Feb 2006, if not before that.

    Under the Leadership of someone like Michael Curry, Chris Bosh would be even further along the continuum toward achieving greatness as an NBA player than he is today.

  3. FAQ said

    The Raptors practiced on Monday and Mitchell’s saying that it’s all about getting better and acclimatizing O’Neal into the team. A veteran like O’Neal’s in cruise control and his pre-season performances hardly matters because its all about familiarizing yourself with team concepts. He also says the Raptors don’t do anything different than any other NBA team, they just call things differently. So pre-season is all about getting the nomenclature right.

    Just as I said several days ago, and Mitchell might have read on this fine forum … JO, acclimatization, familiarizing, differently … and this is only one player! Just imagine what has to happen to get 6 new players blended in to function like a ‘team’..!!!

    Lets just recognize that after the starting five, the Raptors are a new and unproven group of players. Humphries, Bargnani, Graham, Moon, Kapono, will all have to step up to new and higher levels of performance if the Raptors are to compete, never mind ‘win’.

    The remainder of the team are unproven players and anything from them will be considered a big plus.

    I think we must first watch the Raptors before we make any predictions about this reconstructed group of players, aka a team.

  4. fluxland said

    khandor… hate to break it to ya – that never happened, as Dr, J never did, as Emby never did, as Curry never did and I assume countless others due to: race issue. Isiah is the exception cuz he was part owner, plus you know how that turned out.

  5. Endo said

    I’m worried about Ukic’s shot. First they said that it needs a complete overhaul and now he’s shooting airballs in practice. I don’t know if he can backup Calderon for even 10-12 minutes a game without being a liability on offense. I think Adams will get a chance at playing backup PG this year. Could be a battle between the two.

  6. fluxland said

    Doesn’t matter Endo.. Jose is here and that cunt TJ is gone.. all our problems are solved. Jose is taking us to glorious heights and lands never reached before. Plus we got JO, what is there to worry about? Have a beer, buy a thunder stick, look at the cheerleaders.. nothing to worry about. GOOOOOOOOO RAPTORS!!

  7. FAQ said

    LOL … Ukic has no shot … LOL … don’t believe that for a second because it’s just a ruse to deceive everybody. Once he gets on the floor Roko is gonna rocko the league with his shooting .. believe it…!!!


  8. fluxland said

    Again doesn’t matter. You guy realize with TJ gone Jose is going to triple his scoring average and double his assists? Seriously, Roko can enter the game, commit 4 fouls 10 TOs go 0/20 team down by 24 in 4 minutes… doesn’t matter!! You know why? OLE! OLE OLE OLE JOSE!! JOSE!! He’ll shutdown the opposing PG.. score 20 in the next 6 minutes .. rack up 10 assists and hand out 5 gatorades.. all the while holding up one hand with the patented 3 fingers… Soo obvious!! (/FAQed)

  9. nunya said

    “Graham, Jawai and Sampson that the bottom of the pecking order”….really? You need a degree to figure that one out?

    The term is REGIMEN, not regiment.

  10. Arsenalist said

    Woah…nunya the grammar nazi.

  11. FAQ said

    Re: fluxland Says: October 7, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    There is nothing “Soo obvious”(/flux-ed) about this Raptor roster other than it’s filled with a gaggle of 6 new players, a bunch of NBA scrubs and only 2 1/2 legitimate NBA starters.

    Bosh and Calderon can start on any NBA team, but JO will have to prove he has the stamina to play a whole season without aggravating his old chronic injuries.

    We now depend on Mitchell’s Magic to weld, meld, bond, glue together a workable, competitive team. Hold yer breath .. “So obvious”.

  12. fluxland said

    Guess the sarcasm wasn’t very obvious. But thanx for pointing out the obvious there, FAQ. Really? 6 new players? I must have just woke up from a coma. Injuries? JO? Stamina? You don’t say! I thought the man was Lance Armstrong. Mitchell? Coaching? Cohesiveness? Playbook? What are these mysterious terms you are using? Not sure they apply to dumbass Mitchell The Motivator Only. C’mon, as much as we are waiting for Starbury to get shipped out of NY, we can expect Sam Unemployment Line Mitchell to be looking for work in the WNBA by Xmas. Let’s just hope Raptor fans get exactly what they want again and this team is 3 – 22 by that time.

    Seriously guy.. some of us have been saying the same things (over and over might I add) as you for the last 3 months. You are not breaking any new ground here. Perhaps you should read the comments more often then every 3 months. SO OBVIOUS…

  13. FAQ said

    Would you trade SF Joey Graham @ $2,449,184 … for SG JJ Redick @ $2,139,720 ..??

    Both contracts end after this season and both are seemingly available for trades.

    Calderon/JJ Redick/Kapono/Bosh/JO .. Ya think (and Ratpors lose 125-115) ..??!!!

  14. fluxland said

    Not in a million years for a 1000 reasons..JJ can shoot but that’s about it. Joey is inconsistent but versatile.

  15. FAQ said

    Ooops .. it’s all moot now:

    Redick’s Option Picked Up By Orlando

    ESPN – Oct 07, 2008 4:22 PM EST

    The Magic have picked up the $2.8 million option on guard J.J. Redick for the 2009-10 season.

    Redick, the Orlando’s first-round pick in 2006, originally signed a two-year deal with two one-year options. He’ll making $2.1 million this season.

    He wanted to be traded last season, but worked hard this summer and appears to be a solid member of the rotation heading into the season.

    But wait … surely the Ratpors need another SG on their roster while Joey is excess to need at SF …!!!

  16. […] Kapono picked up from where he left off…from the regular season. He managed 5 shots in 26 minutes, with only one trey. Without watching the full game, and not being privy to the plays being run, hopefully it is a pre-season anomaly. He did drop an elbow on Mo Williams, must have had something to do with the guys being tougher. […]

  17. khandor said

    IMO … the Cavaliers are another team in the EC that is merely spinning its wheels while being stuck in neutral.

  18. David Moro said

    Everybody here enjoy Humps and Bargs’ double digit performance and “the bust” Bargnani’s 9 rebounds (3 offensive)?

    Oh, by the bye 15/9/1/1

    Not bad for a bust playing off the bench, huh?

  19. khandor said

    David Moro [and others],

    Looking forward to seeing Il Mago play this season with my own eyes.

    Will reserve judgment until then.

    Please note, however, that unlike some in the blogosphere I have never once referred to Andrea Bargnani as even remotely being close to ‘a bust’.

    Those in doubt of this fact, on my part, should locate/research the message floating somewhere in cyberspace where I compared Andrea favourably to one notorious Tippy-toe-jump-shooter from the NBA’s illustrious past who eventually became recognized as a legit member of the exclusive list which contains the ’50 Greatest Players of All-Time’, as a highly serviceable role playing remorseless thug with a velvety touch from long range who found his niche with the Bad Boyz of a different era and earned back-to-back League titles once he began to be used in the right way by that specific team [i.e. emphasizing his strengths, properly identified, and minimizing his weaknesses, in the role that fit him best with that outfit].

    IMO … those who think that Il Mago is the ‘2nd Coming’ of an NBA Superstar, like Dirk Nowitzki [not a hope in you-know-where!] … or, the ‘1st Coming’ of an unique Super talent in this League [nada!] … or, just another ‘No. 1 Overall Pick who will never pan out’ [sorry, but, out-to-lunch, as well!], as a serviceable NBA player down-the-road a piece… are ALL missing the boat, by a country mile, when it comes to this young man.

    If trained properly and then ‘unleashed’ in the right way … Andrea Bargnani has always had the goods it takes to become a highly effective ‘role player’ for a top notch team in the NBA, despite the fact that he SHOULD NEVER have been picked No. 1 overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2006 NBA Draft. As a mid-level Lottery Selection, on the other hand, he is off to a solid start in his NBA career which should last a long time [in excess of 10 years] and be quite productive.

  20. fluxland said

    Are you seriously getting excited over one meaningless game? Do you even know what his career highs are?

  21. fluxland said

    Khandor, I dunno how your comment appeared before mine. It wasn’t like that earlier. My comment was for Dave M.

  22. Arsenalist said

    Flux, I’m having serious issues with comments getting lost so bear with me.

  23. khandor said

    Not to worry, Flux. Not to worry.

    Reading ‘between’ the lines is something I’m usually pretty good at. :-)

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