Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Posts Tagged ‘sacramento kings’

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 »

Clueless 4th quarter stretch kills Raptors in Sacramento

Posted by Arsenalist on March 17, 2008

Toronto Raptors 100, Sacramento Kings 106

The first three quarters were marred by stretches of bad defense, spotty offense, turnovers and generally speaking, some low quality basketball on both ends. Both teams were thankful that the other hadn’t blown them out so the fourth quarter began with the Kings nursing a three point lead and the Raptors looking to salvage a win on this roadtrip before they get a lesson in Basketball 101 tomorrow in Utah. The game was up for grabs in the fourth quarter but the Raptors, not surprisingly, failed to execute down the stretch on both ends and the core flaws of this team were yet again exposed.

Let’s fast forward to the fourth quarter to the part where we’re intentionally fouling Sacramento to stretch the game. Who’s their best FT shooter? It’s Kevin Martin at 86.4%. Who do we allow to easily catch the ball four straight times and get fouled? Kevin Martin. There was zero ball denial being deployed and Martin iced the game going 6-8 and Sacramento grabbed the offensive rebound on his last missed FT (how fitting). The inbounds play where Delfino allowed Artest to walk right underneath the rim to catch and lay the ball in reminded me of Corliss Williamson in Game 5 of the Detroit series. It was that dumb and obvious. The Raptors weren’t even on the same page when it came to fouling, Mitchell wanted the Raptors to play defense with 34 seconds left but Jose Calderon didn’t get the memo and so began the fouling fiasco. Maybe it’s stretches like these that’s prompted TSN’s Tim Chisholm to openly rip Sam Mitchell:

Mitchell can (and does) blame the players all he wants, but his Raptors have become a purely reactive team because he coaches them that way. This is not a team that walks into a game knowing who they are and how they’re going to beat their opponent, they’re a team that looks to interrupt what their opponent does and hope that they fall apart like the Raptors do in similar circumstances. They never impose their will on their opponents, but rather try and counter every move their opponent makes against them, tacitly admitting that they can’t conceive of a plan to beat them in advance and giving all the psychological power that implies to the opponent.

Rasho Nesterovic’s soft hands and Jason Kapono’s outside shooting kept us in this game of runs where the first team to play defense was going to come out on top. Just like the Golden State fourth quarter, nobody played any real D, the Raptors just cooled off between the 2:40 and 1:04 marks of the quarter where Jamario Moon missed a three and Jose Calderon missed a jumper. On the other end in this same stretch Kevin Martin and Ron Artest got scores while Brad Miller hit 2 free throws. A 1 point game turned into a 7 point deficit and that’s all she wrote. Talk all you want about whether Jamario Moon is the guy to be taking threes in crunch time (and why Kapono was on the bench) but that’s a whole other topic. This paragraph is to let you know what key stretch cost us the game.

This blog is becoming pretty boring because I keep saying the same shit over and over again: Their guards got into the paint way too easily and created opportunities for everybody around them. 19, 17, 14, 32, 15. Those aren’t the lottery numbers, those are the point totals for Sacramento starters who were benefiting from PG penetration and the Raptors’ inability to fight through the pick part of the pick ‘n roll. For a team that runs the pick ‘n roll on eveerry siingllle plaaay the Raptors can’t defend it for shit, Jose Calderon is the worst when it comes to this. He firmly believes that going underneath on a shooter is a valid option as long as you flail an arm after the shot’s been taken. This is pretty basic stuff, almost man-you-ball basic. The rebounding was expectedly bad again, 50-36 is the final tally with Sacramento grabbing 5 key offensive boards in the crucial fourth quarter. Ho hum.

Looking at Mikki Moore (17/7) and his snake collection I can’t help but think that’s the type of guy this team needs. A banger, a banger that knows how to bang and rebound, and be angry and collect snakes. That’s what we need, a snake-collecting, mean, tattooed, angry, tough rebounder to set some things right. Plus he can hit the mid-range jumper better than Brezec, Hump and Bargnani. Yes, I said Bargnani. What did Sacramento get him for? 5.3M. We threw away four times that much on Jason Kapono who had his second great game of the year. Bryan Colangelo dropped the ball on this one, he knew Garbajosa had injury issues and didn’t address our interior defense need even after having an up-close view of Moore in the NJ series.

It’s becoming clear as my Dasani bottle that Jose Calderon and TJ Ford cannot coexist. I’m not being a drama queen nor am I a supporter of one over the other. They’re hampering each others games, Calderon hasn’t been the same since TJ got back and TJ hasn’t been the same since he’s been coming off the bench. Let’s face it, he’s over his injuries now so the deserving player should get the starting job and since TJ is our official starter, there’s no need for him to come off the bench anymore since you can’t really lose your job to injury. It’s not like the team is in some great rhythm that something might be disrupted if TJ starts. Maybe they can play better if they have well defined roles, like it was in the beginning of the season. What do you think?

Although they won’t admit it, the other is a distraction to them. More Ford to Calderon, than vice-versa. We need to get back to having a traditional PG setup and trade one of the two to address one of our many other needs. Which one do we trade? Do you really care? Is one of them that much better than the other?

This one hurt. Tomorrow in Utah will be very tough, Matthew Sekeres agrees.

Liners:

  • If Sacramento doesn’t commit 22 turnovers, this one might’ve not even been close.
  • Andrea Bargnani supporters, let’s hear it: 2-7 FG against a Kings team that doesn’t have a center. 37% shooting in the last five games? Why is he taking transition threes when he has the laterally challenged Brad Miller on him? Didn’t we draft him to blow by slower bigs? What gives? What are we waiting for? I thought this was the perfect opportunity for him to step up with Bosh being out? Huh? Anybody?
  • Sam Mitchell doubling Anthony Johnson with TJ Ford on him in the post is questionable. Johnson is not a great offensive player and even if he can score, why not let him make a shot before respecting his post-up game?
  • The Raptors need to get better at double-teaming. For starters, either do a hard double team or don’t do it at all. Poor Jose Calderon is often asked to provide temporary help on the post-up player which doesn’t bother him at all. All it does is pull Calderon out of place so his man can drift, catch a pass and make an open jumper.
  • Our close-outs on Kevin Martin, Ron Artest and Beno Udrih were very bad. We have to do a better job of keeping track of our man on the floor and must rotate briskly, quickly and with a purpose to shooters. I sound like a broken record but perimeter D and blow-bys are killing us.
  • Leo Rautins love Jason Kapono. Leo calling out TJ Ford as being the reason why Kapono missed clutch threes was asinine, Leo argued that Ford wasn’t finding Kapono on the floor and that cooled him off. Wrong! Only once did TJ not pass him the ball on the wing, that does not cool off the reigning 3-pt champ.
  • I want a job like Doug Smith. Sitting courtside, I promise you I’d report a helluva lot more than what he does.

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Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 42 Comments »

Sunday *boilk* – Bosh return imminent + What’s a #1 pick?

Posted by Arsenalist on March 16, 2008

Good news, Chris Bosh is aiming for a Wednesday return against Miami. He’ll avoid the roadtrip and will likely give it a shot against a Miami team that wouldn’t shock anybody if they go winless the rest of the season. Yes, they’re that bad.

Some words of warning: Bosh’s return will naturally be followed by some sub-par performances as has been the case anytime he’s returned from any kind of injury, however small. He takes great care of his body and needs to be in complete agreement with it before he tries anything even moderately complex. So I wouldn’t be surprised that in the first few games he’ll be somewhat passive and rely on the jumper much more than the drive. It’s something we should be used to buy now. The good news is that we have about 20 games remaining which is enough time for him to regain the mid-season form he had been in before he went down.

The Kings got blown out last night in Phoenix (gave up 79 points in a half :) and the game was over at the half. Most of the Kings starters didn’t exert themselves too much so they should be fresh enough to give the Raptors all they can handle at home tonight. This is the only winnable game of the roadtrip and we’d be good to take advantage of it by showing up from the start and not getting down 20 early. The mental and physical energy required to come from behind takes too much toll to actually complete the comeback, even more so on the road. The Kings will be looking to split the back-to-back and will make this a very tough game for the Raptors. Kevin Martin is exactly the type of player that can give our guards fits by creating off the bounce and penetrating, let’s hope we learned a thing or two from the Denver experience. Taking some pride in the defense should be priority number one, over the last nine games we’ve give up close to 50% FG 7 times!

I’m sure Sam and the team are busy preparing for the game since according to Channing Frye there’s nothing to do in Sacramento.

Something has been made of the Raptors suing the Spanish Federation over non-payment of benjamins concerning Jorge Garbajosa. I’m with the Raptors on this one, it’s nothing personal, just business. If you agreed to a contract, you have to honor your end and if the Raptors feel they’re getting jipped, they got all the right in the world to sue. Of course all this wouldn’t have been an issue if Garbajosa wasn’t stupid enough to suit up in a meaningless tournament knowing the precarious situation his leg is in. I’d understand if Olympic qualification was dependent on the FIBA tournament but there was nothing of the sort on the line. Nothing. Zero. He’s created a lot of problems for all parties involved.

I’m a little sad to see our small forward situation, an area where we had a weakness at the end of last season and something that still hasn’t been addressed along with the rebounding. Jamario Moon, Joey Graham and Carlos Delfino are the 3 by committee and let’s face it, none of them is good enough to be a starter. Moon’s defense is so inconsistent that you don’t know what to expect from him on any given possession, Graham is plain bad and Delfino is about as consistent as Morris Peterson. Pickstar brought up a point in yesterday’s comments about benching Moon but the question to ask is, in favor of who? There is no clear cut winner in the battle for the three spot and Sam’s simply picked the guy who plays the best D among the three.

Can this team find within itself to get better defensively? Is it just a matter of effort and application or do we just not have the personnel to be good. We allow teams to shoot 46% against us, that’s 10th worst in the league and the 9 teams behind us are all missing the playoffs. What’s kept us afloat so far is our shooting which is at 46.7 FG%, 6th best in the NBA. Now mind you even that number is skewed because we’ve shot the ball really well in many of our losses where we tried to out-gun the opponent but failed to score in crucial fourth quarter stretches. Imagine if we were a decent defensive team, if our guards were able to keep their man in front of them and our rebounding wasn’t 4th worst in the league. We could actually be favored in a playoff matchup! My belief is that as it is right now, we cannot be a good defensive team for three reasons: 1) Our perimeter defense (especially the PG spot) is weak and we concede too many points because of blow-bys and 2) Lack of pure rebounders, once we get a stop, the possession should be over but it’s not. Aside from Bosh, we don’t have anyone who can consistently grab in-traffic rebounds which is key and 3) Interior defense, our rotations inside the paint are shot. This doesn’t get much ink but if you take notice you’ll see that Chris Bosh is the only player who knows how to rotate on defense, once the offense negotiates him, it’s a layup every time.

There’s a very good Raptors message board, Raptors Forum, that is slowly gaining popularity, sign up and join the discussion and help make it a solid board. RealGM has been disappointing of late, Exhibit A is this clown who’s first 17 posts all involve blindly bashing Jose every chance he gets. Tsk, tsk.

I emailed Chuck Swirsky and told him to stop calling every player taken in the first round as the “#1 Pick” because it’s confusing, see, they’re first round picks, not #1 picks. There’s only one #1 pick in any draft. It went something like this:

Me:

Hey Chuck,

Just want to let you know that you’re totally wrong about calling every first round draft pick a “Number 1 pick”. There’s only one Number 1 pick in the draft and that’s the first guy taken, everybody after that is a 1st rounder and NOT a Number 1 pick.

Chuck:

Its a matter of semantics most basketball fans understand when we call a player their first round pick

Me:

Well, I’ve been fan for a long time and have never heard that semantic. Every fan I speak to (in person or online) refers to them as a first round pick. Same goes for media outlets like ESPN, Sportsline, CNNSI, TNT etc. So you might want to be in line with what the general semantic is and not something that’s niche to a select few.

Chuck:

No reply.

Meh, thought I’d throw it in there. Reading his blog, it turns out that Deshawn Stevenson thinks Lebron James is overrated.

Till after the game.

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

Detroit was too much but we can handle Sacramento

Posted by Arsenalist on January 16, 2008

Sacramento Kings 91, Toronto Raptors 116

I don’t fancy the Raptors chances in an up and down, no defense, all offense affair where the first team to play some defense or go through a drought ends up losing the game. I’ve seen that movie before and have learned that there’s no thing as a “safe lead” when it comes to the Raps because they’re as liable to score 9 points in a quarter as they are to explode for 36. So when we were up by 20 on the Kings, the thought of a win was about as distant as a warm sun. Not until a few minutes had passed in the fourth quarter and the lead still remained in the high teens was I able to sight a win, and a pretty solid one at that.

Both teams were looking to score without much thought being given to defense and it was very apparent that somebody was one drought away from being down big. In a game of runs, the Kings got cold in the third quarter through turnovers and ill-advised shots and the Raptors capitalized on the other end, often in transition to the tune of a 36-22 quarter. It’s not like the Raptors played great defense, many of the Kings’ 20 turnovers were unforced and careless. The Raptors did however do a very good job of clogging up the passing lanes in anticipation of would-be passes, Anthony Parker and Carlos Delfino’s 7 steals combined is testament to that. The third quarter saw the Raptors completely demolish any 2-3 and 3-2 zone that the Kings were using by moving the ball around to get open looks and even attacking it, forcing it to collapse leading to easy hoops through quick interior passing.

Chris Bosh (11-12 FG, 31 pts) and Carlos Delfino (8-11 FG, 27 pts) led the charge with Bosh taking maybe one outside jumper all game because things came that easy for him. I’m starting to think Mikki Moore slowing down Bosh last year was a total fluke because he couldn’t contend with anything Bosh was trying to do. If CB4 had been eating an ice-cream with one hand he still could’ve put up 20/8 today. Even he was surprised with the space he got:

“I was just trying to be aggressive and drive to the basket. At the beginning of the game, I saw a lot of lanes. Guys weren’t really concentrating that much on me if I wasn’t in the post. Anytime that happens I’m going to try to drive as soon as I catch the ball.”

Delfino shot the ball well in Detroit and his stroke was still there tonight, none of his threes were of the jacked-up variety and usually came after a double on Bosh spawned a string of passes on the perimeter leading up to the ‘Fino. We did an excellent job of quickly moving the ball on the perimeter and forcing Sacramento to make their rotations which ended up getting the last option on the play an easy shot. It was beautiful at times. Granted if this was Detroit, they would’ve locked down Bosh and forced such a bad pass out of the double team that the theatrics that followed tonight would’ve been impossible, but then again it’s not in our place to beat Detroit, Sacramento we can handle.

I think the Kings would’ve had a better chance of beating us if Bibby and Artest hadn’t played because for the better part of the evening, the Kings players’ were trying to get theirs instead of going through any real offensive sets. Mike Bibby and Kevin Martin might be locking horns for FGAs in the future because Kevin Martin clearly feels that he deserves equal if not more touches than Bibby who would beg to disagree. The only reason we would’ve lost to the Kings tonight was if we went through a huge offensive funk or if we played zero defense, we did neither. Our outside shooting was solid with Kapono having his second straight good shooting game and as mentioned Bosh and the ‘Fino going off. What’s lost in the mix is Calderon’s 17 points, 14 assists and most of all his quick and intelligent passing on the perimeter. This RealGM thread pointed out by PsychicSpy debated whether our guard play is lacking. It’s very unfair to create such a thread after a game against Detroit, our guard-play has been generally acceptable all season, it’s hardly the reason we’re still a middle of the pack team in the East.

As is custom, here’s the Bargnani paragraph, I’m going to write it in green from now on: 3-13 FG, 7 points and 6 rebounds. Well, a pretty good game by Bargnani considering his standards. What might be getting lost in the stats is that most of the shots he took were of an acceptable quality level and he simply missed them. I only counted two missed defensive rebounding assignments and he did get back on defense when the Kings were on the break. Two of his field goals were good finishes around the rim and the other was a sweet baseline jumper initiated by a double on Bosh on the weak side. He did log 26 minutes which tells you he didn’t piss off Sam too much. Hopefully against Atlanta he can log 35 minutes, get us 12 points and 8 rebounds while shooting say 5-15? I can live with that. Yeah, it’s depressing but I can live with it.

Yesterday’s loss in Detroit left a bad taste in our mouth because of the way we lost, we played like shit and coached like shit but then again it was Detroit. They’re a cut above us and we should hope to be at that level in a year or two, for now let’s savour a rare blowout against a decent team. The 4 in 5 stretch is going according to plan so far, Friday at home against Atlanta might end up being a similar story as today. The Hawks will be looking for a revenge, the Raptors need to avoid a let-down after a good performance today, they should expect things to be a little tougher especially on offense as the Hawks have enough athleticism to bother the likes of Bosh, Parker and Calderon. Should be a good one.

I’d like to thank the readers especially PsychicSpy, SAMisCOY, Raps Fan, Crank, PapiJulio, Birdman, Red Rebounder and everybody else for keeping the discussion lively on this site. Keeps me motivated.

One-Liners:

* The Score production was very poor, they missed at least 4 live plays when showing replays.

* Leo Rautins demolishing Chuck Swirsky’s bobblehead doll was tasteless. And also not funny. How many times did Leo Rautins point out that Reggie Theus was good-looking?

* Jason Kapono is starting to come out of his spell, that’s good, real good.

* We did a very good job of recognizing the zone and moving the ball around it to get good open looks.

* The see-saw affair of who’s the 2nd string point guard continues with Juan Dixon ousting Darrick Murray Martin. The race is simply too close and Mitchell can’t decide. It’s a good problem to have.

* Bibby and Artest returning turned out to be a good thing for us because the Kings were trying to find themselves through the better part of the game.

* Smitch proved that he’ll bench even his favorite player (Moon) if he fucks up. That was nice to watch.

* Sam Mitchell’s stare down of the officials was classic. It’s one of those things that sometimes makes me look past the glaring fact that he has no plays.

* We had 24 points of 20 Kings turnovers, shot 52.4% and outrebounded them 42-29, that’s the game right there. It goes in line with the theory that if we shoot the ball well and rebound, we have a great chance of winning. A no-brainer really.

* Hope to have Podcast #3 tomorrow in the PM. It’s a solo effort, do tune in.

Thanks for reading. Check the feed.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 40 Comments »

Raptors start 4 in 5 stretch + Podcast #2 + Thoughts on Ukic

Posted by Arsenalist on January 14, 2008

First of all, congratulation to Chris Bosh for winning the Player of the Week. Well deserved award indeed but now it’s back to work.

It’s four games in five nights time again starting on Tuesday in Detroit. The Pistons just got their ass kicked by the Knicks and will be looking to kill the next thing they see. Unfortunately, it’s the Raptors. Realistically speaking a win here is about as likely as a Bargnani triple double, hell even a double double. I suppose stranger things have happened but let’s just hope the Raptors stay close and give themselves an opportunity to win at the end. In order for us to have any chance the bench production has to exceed five points which is what we could muster up last time we met in Toronto. The good news is that Bargnani had a great game against them last time around, hopefully it wasn’t just a fluke and he can take advantage of his quickness against Wallace/Maxiell/McDyess.

After that we have Sacramento sans Mike Bibby and Ron Artest but don’t let that fool you, Reggie Theus has these guys playing well and smelling upset pretty often. They’ve already beaten Detroit, San Antonio, Houston, Utah, NJ, Orlando and Memphis so the Raptors don’t exactly scare them. After that we get a day’s break before we play Atlanta at home which isn’t an easy task but a doable task, the Hawks and Raptors have historically played very close games and there’s no reason that this will be different. After that it’s Philly in Philly which should be a routine assignment by now and the Raps will be looking for a season sweep. Optimistically speaking, we should come out 3-1 out of this stretch and if I put my pessimistic hat on, I’ll say we’ll drop one of Sacramento or Atlanta and come out 2-2 which will prompt some fans to jump off the bandwagon, good riddance.

Time for Podcast #2 with the The Man from RaptorsTalk.com where we learn that he’s really a Knick fan. Go over to his blog and bombard him. We’re getting a little better but sound like two guys who’ve never done a podcast probably because we’re two guys who’ve never done a podcast. Other topics touched on include Ukic, Bargnani and the upcoming week. We both know that we’re brutal but I guarantee the quality and content will pick up by Podcast #7.

“Hoping for a 3-1 Week”Download it! (Size: 36.2MB, 25:46)

The Raptors need for a second scorer and/or rebounder is apparent and so glaring that it’s natural for trade speculation. If you’ve been following this space you know that I’m a big fan of Reggie Evans despite his nut-hugging ways. He’s got a reasonable salary and might be expendable in Philly where the word of the day is rebuilding.

Back to our 4 in 5 stretch, given the lack of a consistent second scorer, it only follows that Bosh needs to have big scoring game in order for us to have a winning record. ESPN’s short but accurate analysis in the power rankings sums it up:

Depth is supposed to be one of Toronto’s calling cards. But with Bargnani amiss and T.J. Ford into his second month on the shelf, Bosh might have to keep putting up huge numbers to keep the Raps where they are.

One can read a couple things into the buyout reached by the Raptors to free up Roko Ukic next year. With TJ Ford hampered by injuries and Bryan Colangelo indicating that he will match any offer on the open market for Jose Calderon, it looks likely that Ukic is being brought in as an insurance against a TJ Ford injury. I’ll be surprised if Ukic is being brought in to ride the pine ala Juan Dixon and Darrick Murray Martin and would think he expects to play at least 15-20 minutes a game. Now unless he’s going to be filling in at the off guard spot, we have a PG situation in Toronto where one of Jose or TJ will be getting squeezed, I’m guessing the latter. Even we if we sign Calderon to a reasonable contract, we’ll still be shelling out approximately 18-20 million at the point guard spot, a bit much I would think.

Here’s hoping for a 3-1 week.

Grab the feed. Till tomorrow.

Posted in Raptors, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »