Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas Summer League’

Philly rip Raps, Leo rips Dally, Croatia rip Canada

Posted by Arsenalist on July 18, 2008

The Raptors dropped one to Philly in Vegas. Up by a deuce with 16 seconds left, they let Philly tie it on a layup (think defensive breakdown) and committed an offensive foul to give them the ball back with four seconds left. This of course was enough time for Jamont Gordon to lay one in with 0.6 left.

The PG play was a bit better with Ewing and Lucas improving their shot selection enough to have more points than attempts. Joey Graham and Hassan Adams got their run in and the Raptors had a nice rally in the third where they cut down an 8 point deficit. Nathan Jawai didn’t play (presumably because of his injury) and Rod Benson finally got off the bench for 0 points in 4 minutes. Honorable mention goes out to CJ Giles for grabbing 12 rebounds and being very active on the glass. There’s no point talking about this game because we’re not going to be signing a single player from this roster that we haven’t already inked.

Leo Rautins ripped into Samuel Dalembert on the Fan 590 and called him a prima dona. There are rumours that fire was coming out of Leo’s nose and smoke out of his ears when he was speaking.

The game against Croatia was nothing short of a blowout as recorded so excellently by the Posted Sports Live Blog. As Grange points out there was never a doubt about who the superior team was as Croatia suffocated the Canadians into horrid shooting spells to take the game 83-62. Canada shot 27.1% for the game! So ends Canada’s Olympic dreams and so begins the speculation of what the future of Basketball Canada holds including Leo Rautins’ job status. The Raptors interest in the game was Roko Ukic who ended up with an unimpressive 1/5 for 3 points (box score). As the Posted Blog notes, the main fault today was the inability to execute on offense more than the Croatian defense and that blame must lie somewhere. The game repeats in the evening at 10PM on The Score.

They’re trying to come up with a nickname for the Oklahoma City team and some douchebag is saying that naming the Raptors the Raptors was a mistake and just a 90’s fad. I beg to differ, so what if Jurassic Park was the thing back in the day, the Raptors name still isn’t half bad. The real mistake was associating the color purple with the team which could only mean Barney! Aren’t dinosaurs supposed to be big, dark and menacing? Our early marketing never really captured that image. I’m happy with the name, I just wish they’d stop using the word “extinct” every time we get kicked out of the playoffs.

A nice post here about how Phoenix is no longer the attractive NBA market that it used to be because of the way Robert Sarver does business which is in stark contrast to how Jerry Colangelo did it. The report also suggests that the Suns are going after Shaun Livinston among other second-tier guards. Deron Williams has agreed to an extension with the Jazz and the Clippers have signed Kelenna Azubuike to an offersheet as the exodus from Golden State continues.

Jay Triano will help P.J Carlesimo lead the US Select team which now also features O.J Mayo. Triano is obviously a very well-respected coach whose involvement with USA Basketball speaks volumes about his credibility around the league and his coaching skills. I never got around to figuring out why he was made the scapegoat for Team Canada’s failures. He got the short end of the stick on that deal and I’m happy for the bloke anytime I see his name popping up anywhere. Future NBA head coach this man right here.

Quick one today.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , | 14 Comments »

Raps lose to Nuggets + Only 3 sureties, rest is “wide open”

Posted by Arsenalist on July 15, 2008

Summer league continued with a 90-79 loss to the Nuggets. The Raptors managed to win the second and third quarters but got off to a horrid start and ended the game by repeating their first quarter performance. The defense was very leaky and the offense a bit of a mess as one would expect of a bunch of guys thrown together at the last minute. Joey Graham and Hassan Adams racked up 31 and 28 minutes and scored 16 and 11, respectively. On an evening where it was very hard to spot an NBAer on the Nuggets squad, the two pros were easily our best players. Based on the Nuggets’ ball movement it looked like they’ve been playing together for years – 6 players in double figures!

The point guards struggled again with John Lucas unable to find the stroke going 3-12 FG. Daniel Ewing was glued to the bench along with Rod Benson and Chris Bosh’s little brother managed to get in for four minutes and clanged a couple jumpers. Jaycee Carroll came back to earth and C.J Giles racked up 8 turnovers to go along with his 8 points. Check the box score for more excitement but it doesn’t look like there’s anything good coming out of this year’s summer league crop. Nathan Jawai’s 2 points in 20 minutes is analyzed in detail by a RealGM poster. FYI, Donte Greene (who many an expert had us picking) exploded for 40 and the game-winning assist against Phoenix.

A quote-heavy article in the USA Today has Hubie Brown analyzing the trade and Sam Mitchell mentioning that Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon are the three starters for the team and that “everything else is wide open”. Nothing we didn’t already know but it assures that Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon’s jobs aren’t guarantees. Bryan Colangelo’s picking O’Neal to have a “breakout year” and Brown wisely cautions that the trade is entirely dependent on O’Neal’s health to which Colangelo counters by praising his medical team.

It’s been said before but it warrants mention again: balancing the two front-court powers so that they’re complementing each other rather than coming in each others’ way will be Sam Mitchell’s greatest challenge as a coach. This situation can go south very quickly if the Raptors offense becomes as simple as O’Neal and Bosh alternating PNR and post-up situations. Mitchell has to balance O’Neal’s desire to revive his career and channel that motivation into the team functioning better, not individual glory. As he pointed out in his presser, its hardly going to matter what the stats are if we don’t see playoff success. At least early on O’Neal and Bosh share a clear understanding of what they need to do “to lead this team to the next level.” We’ll see how they’ll execute their ideas.

Ron Artest is still out there and looking to be traded to a team that’s more “committed than Sacramento”. Get him here and half of our defensive and toughness problems will go away. The problem is we don’t have anything to barter with. If nothing else, it would be very much appreciated if he’d stay in the West and not join an up and coming Eastern conference team like the Sixers, Nets, Bulls, Hawks or Magic.

Jose Calderon’s giving his thoughts on Greece while Leo Rautins is hoping that his Canadian team is finally mature enough and ready to take center stage. Canada plays Slovenia at 6AM today.

The men from RaptorsTalk have an Eastern Conference preview already out and they’re picking the Raptors to finish above the Sixers and Magic. A very optimistic article that’s worth a read but only exists because the summer is so damn long.

Scott Foster was at the receiving ends of 150 phone calls from Tim Donaghy while he was busy supplying Vegas with future NBA boxscores. So far Foster’s not under any investigation. I’m still waiting for the NBA to get into Hue Hollins’ grill for calling that foul on Scottie Pippen the year Jordan was playing baseball.

In other news, Ex-Raptor Rasho Nesterovic will be retiring from international basketball after the Olympic run. He was one of the better Raptors last year and produced whenever called upon, even if I think hard I still won’t be able to come up with any complaints about his play.

That’s about it for this morning. Thanks for reading. If you’re looking for some extra-curricular activities Cuzoogle will help you out.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

Kings drop Raps + Parker speaks + Colangelo wanted Marion?

Posted by Arsenalist on July 13, 2008

If you’ve been reading this space for a while you know that post-game wrap-ups around here are usually filled with emotion, disgust, joy and a wide range of feelings which are usually towards the farther ends of the spectrum of happiness and despair. So when I report with almost no emotion whatsoever that the Raptors dropped their summer league opener to the Kings 93-86 (box score), I’m trying to say that this game doesn’t mean anything.

AltRaps has scourged Yahoo for some very nice pics from the game. A game where Joey Graham was very impressive until you realize who the competition really was. Either way, you can’t take away 24/8 and 12-15 FT from Joey, nights like these only happens in dreams for the guy. Fast forward to the final two minutes of the game and you’ll instantly recognize the fourth quarter famine that was so evident of the big club last year. The Raptors failed to score when it mattered most going Turnover, Missed Jumpshot, Missed Horrible Jumpshot for the last three possessions of the game.

Jaycee Carrol showed us a little something something with a few nice floaters and a couple jumpers and went 6-9 FG for 14 points. Unfortunately he happened to take a very ill-advised late three which spattered mockingly against the backboard. It is summer league, if you’re not going to try stuff like that here where will you try it? Very unimpressive night for our PGs, John Lucas going 3-13 FG with a very, very bad pass in those crucial final two minutes. How Daniel Ewing managed to pick up 5 fouls and 2 turnovers in less than 9 minutes was a thing of beauty, the man sure makes the most of his time on the floor. He was my outside pick to make the team, egg on my face indeed.

Before the game Joey Graham talked about the struggles of trying to stay in the NBA:

“It’s just rekindling the flame that I had missed throughout the season. It’s just a matter of me coming out here, playing hard and doing the same stuff I’ve been doing while I’ve been in the Toronto Raptors organization…..When Jermaine or Chris is tired, I can definitely come in and play that position. When Jamario, Parker or Jason Kapono are tired I can play that position, too. Me being able to play multiple positions is an advantage for this team.”

He’s desperate for consistent minutes and begging Sam Mitchell to let him play through his mistakes. Graham’s got the physical ability to be in the NBA but I just don’t think he has enough time to show the Raptors organization that he’s worthy of it. My guess is he’ll end up being without a contract for next season, have a good year somewhere else and get back in the NBA – just like Hassan Adams.

Raptors summer league coach Eric Hughes chimed in post-game and pointed out to the Kings having a few first round picks on their roster as being the difference:

“I thought we played really hard – it was a physical game. They have four first round draft picks on their team and I think that showed a little bit with the way they were physical. Not that we weren’t ready for it and not that we didn’t compete, but ultimately that caught up to us at the end.”

Uber-blogger Rod Benson and Chris Bosh’s brother did not play and Hassan Adams chipped in with 9/3/4. That concludes the formality of covering a meaningless game.

Anthony Parker and Jermaine O’Neal are working out hard at Joe Abunassar’s Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. Jermaine’s giving his usual “reborn” speech but Anthony Parker chose to talk some technicalities:

“He brings toughness, a defensive presence in the paint, and he’s a great rebounder. All of those things are things we struggled with last year…He’s going to open things up and you’ve got to honor him and maybe send two people at him, same way with Chris. And that opens things up for guys like me and Jason Kapono on the outside.”

The man is obviously talking great sense here, O’Neal’s acquisition is designed to get the likes of him and Kapono open looks and we know they can knock them down. On paper it really is a great idea and if Sam Mitchell can utilize two double team threats and two great outside shooters properly, there’s little reason to believe that we can’t be a very good offensive team. On the other end of the court you know that Bosh and O’Neal will do their part, it’ll be upto our perimeter guys (including Moon) to lock down the perimeter. Another benefit of having a healthy Jermaine O’Neal is that we won’t need to constantly double team the likes of Dwight Howard as much as we did last year, thus easing the pressure off our defense.

Some bloke in the Miami Herald is proclaiming that the Raptors tried to acquire Shawn Marion but the Heat didn’t show great interest in T.J Ford. Then the writer goes on to say that Miami would rather have Larry Hughes. I personally loathe Shawn Marion’s game, he’s a product of a Phoenix system which suited him perfectly and not a superstar. If really hope Colangelo didn’t actually try to acquire him.

Raptors play Denver on Monday. Have a nice day and as John Stewart says, here’s your moment of zen.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Quick Saturday Round-Up: Raptors hire Gordon Herbert + Summer League on TV?

Posted by Arsenalist on July 12, 2008

Just a couple tidbits happening, the Raptors officially announced that they’ve signed Nathan Jawai. The new news is that he will participate in the Las Vegas summer league (July 11th – 19th) but he’s not listed on the official roster yet. The Raptors take on the Kings tonight at 4PM EST and you might be able to catch the game on P2P.

Michael Grange is saying that we’ve signed a Canadian assistant coach by the name of Gord Herbert. He’s the most successful Canadian to coach in Europe and will work closely with Bargnani, Ukic and Jawai. His Wikipedia page has a bit of info on him.

Current head coach of Aris BC…Herbert attended the University of Idaho and went on with his basketball career in Finland for 12 years…his playing career ended in 1994…Herbert played for Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics…and at the 1986 FIBA World Championship. Herbert has coached many teams including Frankfurt Skyliners, with which he won the German League in 2006, as well as Paris and Pau Orthez with which he won the French cup in the 2006-2007 season. On July 7, 2007 he officially became head coach of Aris BC.

Leo Rautins is going off on the officiating after Canada’s loss to Germany. If only he’d be as outspoken when calling Raptors games we’d have a lot more fun:

“Everything you could imagine happened. I’ve never seen more travel calls in a game in my life against us, blocks. . . All I can say is I’m just going to tell you what was told to me by German officials, the head of the scorers table told me it was an embarrassment. That kind of sums it up.”

The Knicks might be close to shedding Zach Randolph by trading him to the Clippers who are trying to fill the void left by Elton Brand. Funny, I thought they had narrowed their choices down to Emeka Okafor and Josh Smith. I don’t see the Clippers falling for this one.

The freaking Nets signed Eduardo Najera for 12M over 4 years. Debatable money given he’s 32 but he’ll play hard for them and should be good for at least a couple of those years. Jorge Garbajosa is said to have received an offer from the Lakers; you think Pau Gasol had anything to do with this?

The Anne Hathaway vs. Megan Fox matchup was won by Megan Fox.

That’s about it.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Hassan Adams deal + Salary cap + Signings from elsewhere + Las Vegas

Posted by Arsenalist on July 9, 2008

Good morning.

Hassan Adams signed a 2-year deal with the Raptors on Tuesday. Terms aren’t disclosed but I’m thinking its Jamario Moon Year 1 money which was around half a million per year. A nice chunk of change just to warm a bench, or at least I’m hoping he’s going to warm a bench while we acquire a legit scorer at the swing position at some point this off-season. The last thing we want is him to have as big a role as Moon had last season, that would be fatal.

According to Eric Smith, the Raptors will also be announcing their new play-by-play voice soon. This doesn’t count as the “two major announcements” set for Wednesday (1:30 PM, 3:30 PM) when the Jermaine O’Neal trade will become official. Yes, the other “major” thing is Hassan Adams.

The NBA announced the new salary cap which is now at $58.68 million, up about 3 million from last year. The Raptors after signing Calderon will be just at that number counting Garbajosa’s salary at 100%. In reality only the buyout amount counts against the cap so we’re clear of the luxury tax. This also means that the best we can offer anyone without going over the cap is the mid-level exception.

Philly couldn’t ink Josh Smith but it looks like they’re going to get Elton Brand. Here’s the Atlantic power forward situation: Kevin Garnett, Elton Brand, Chris Bosh and Zack Randolph (I know, I know). I would think this acquisition more than offsets our trade for Jermaine O’Neal and makes Philly even more of a threat next season. Philly’s also made a salary-shedding trade with the Timberwolves who are now known as the “worst cap managers in the league”. How Kevin McHale is allowed to run a franchise after all he’s put that team through is the biggest unknown in the NBA.

Corey Maggette is staying in the West which has to be considered good news; the Warriors winning the sweepstakes since they were one of the few teams that could offer him more than the mid-level exception. This means Mickael Pietrus is out and off to Orlando who have bolstered their already strong SF position. As of today, both Orlando and Philly have to be considered superior to us. Add this to the list of teams that are outright ahead of us (Boston, Cleveland, Washington, Detroit) and you’ll notice we’re a 7th seed – yikes!

James Posey’s a free agent as of today as he’s opted out of his 3.8M deal. He’s increased his market value to the point of inflation. Sure, he’s a nice enough defensive presence and can knock down threes but its easy to forget that he’s playing with three superstars. No other team will afford him the space and freedom that he got in Boston. As much as I’d like to see the Raptors get a defensive slasher at the wing position, getting Posey might be paying too much for the returns he’ll provide, especially since we already have a Jamario Moon – a cheaper but less effective version. There’s interest from the Cavaliers, Wizards, Hornets, Spurs, and Lakers.

There’s also this little story about Jamario Moon going to Alberta for the Raptors summer camp (July 14-18). This of course is the same week as the Las Vegas summer league which starts on July 12th. Wasn’t he supposed to be working on his technical skills during this time?

Here’s the Las Vegas summer league schedule, don’t know about the TV but if its not on Raptors TV, check myp2p.eu. The Raptors TV schedule isn’t out for the week of the 14th but they are showing games on the 12th (PDF link), just not the Raptors one.

Opponent Date Time
Sacramento Sat, July 12 4:00 PM
Denver Mon, July 14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia Thu, July 17 8:00 PM
L.A. Lakers Fri, July 18 8:30 PM
Golden State Sat, July 19 6:00 PM

If you’re jonesing for some ball until then, there’s the Orlando league which features the two top picks.

Something totally random now. I was watching the Jays game and Rod Black was doing a fine job of calling the action. Given how brutal he is at basketball, I expected some of his crapiness to eek through the Jays telecasts but he’s holding his own out there. Kudos Rob. On an entirely different note, I’ve decided that Jennifer Hedger is closer to being hot than not.

That’s your Wednesday blog. Later.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | 13 Comments »