On Pro Bball Report recently: Raptors top backcourt, Cavaliers injuries, Kyle Lowry workouts, Team Canada success, Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas, Cory Joseph, Luis Scola leads Argentina, Jonas Valanciunas leads Lithuania , Andrea Bargnani wants to win now, Canadian Tax myths and more.
It seems like a lifetime ago, but the Toronto Raptors started last season demolishing all-comers in a 13-2 run that ended with an unfortunate DeMar DeRozan groin injury that cost him over 20 games. DeRozan was returning from an All-Star campaign and perhaps the only good thing to come from his being hurt was it opened the door for Kyle Lowry to earn an All-Star nod of his own.
No less than starting point guard Kyrie Irving, starting power forward Kevin Love, one-time starting center Anderson Varejao and last year’s starting center Timofey Mozgov are all expected to be back (eventually) after serious injuries. The player and the team can say everything is going great and the rehab is on schedule, but nothing is a sure thing until the player gets on the court and puts a few games under their belt.
The Toronto Raptors All-Star and starting point guard Kyle Lowry will turn 30-years-old during the upcoming season and this realization has brought some changes to his usual summer workouts. Pictures of a new slimmed down Lowry went viral in social media, but the once stocky guard hasn’t slimmed down for the cameras, no this Raptor is getting ready for an 82 game schedule and a long playoff run.
Team Canada Sets 12 Man 2015 FIBA Americas Roster
Basketball Canada announced the 12 man roster for the Olympic qualifier as follows:
Anthony Bennett, Aaron Doornekamp, Melvin Ejim, Brady Heslip, Cory Joseph, Andrew Nicholson, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, Robert Sacre, Phil Scrubb, Nik Stauskas, and Andrew Wiggins.
Luis Scola tried to tell the Raptors media that he’s got a lot left to give before heading off to join his National Team and in Argentina’s 91-86 opening win over Puerto Rico at the 2015 FIBA Americas he dominated his opposition. Scola scored a game high 22 points on 56 percent shooting from the field and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, including a demoralizing 5 offensive boards
You Reach, I Teach, Luis Scola Humbles Team Canada
If the NBA player laden Team Canada has a weakness it’s that they are young and the Argentine veteran Luis Scola was more than happy to teach his inexperienced opponents a few things on his way to a 35 point 13 rebound performance in his team’s humbling 94-87 victory.
As expected Canada took out their frustrations after an opening game loss to Argentina on the hapless Team Cuba 101-59 at the FIBA Americas tournament in Mexico. Canada lead wire to wire and was up by 20 points after the first quarter. Andrew Wiggins and Nik Stauskas led Canada with 15 points apiece as head coach Jay Triano spread the minutes around as evenly as he could between his 12 players.
Head coach Jay Triano had been spreading the minutes out early on at the FIBA Americas, but in a sloppy game against Venezuela, he turned to the stabilizing influence of Toronto Raptors new point guard Cory Joseph. The 82-62 final score belies the fact Canada let their opponent get back to within 11 points in the fourth quarter after being up over 20 in a game Canada should have won in similar fashion to the 40-point blowout of Cuba.
In their final game of the preliminary round at the FIBA Americas tournament, Andrew Wiggins led a barrage of scoring that overwhelmed Puerto Rico 112-92 as Canada won again to go 3-1 and advance to the second round as the third seed.
Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas is playing for Lithuania at Eurobasket 2015 and he posted a double-double as his team eked out a 69-68 win in their tournament opener over the Ukraine. This game turned into a battle between Valanciunas and the Ukraine’s big man Kyrylo Fesenko with each player finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds
Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas led all scorers as Lithuania defeated their close rival Latvia 68-49 in their second match at Eurobasket 2015. Valanciunas scored 15 points, grabbed 7 boards, 2 steals and blocked 2 shots in 22 minutes.
At this point it can only be taken as cold comfort, everything Toronto Raptors fans thought was wrong about their team’s former number one overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani was true. Bargnani really was putting himself first. Bargnani told RAI (Italy) in a recent interview that his own personal results were more important than winning.
Why The Blue Jays Really Can Re-sign David Price
by Adam Scherer, Partner Tax
The bottom line is that it is time to eliminate taxes as a potential reason for athletes staying away from Canada. Baseball players should focus on factors other than taxes when deciding to play here: a beautiful and lively city with fine restaurants and nightlife, and playing meaningful baseball games all summer long in a stadium packed with the best fans in baseball. Those things will help curb any costs.
• Big Stories From The Previous Week
Every now and then somebody tries to explain the inability of the Toronto Blue Jays, Raptors or Maple Leafs to land some available big name free agent using Canada’s exceedingly high personal income tax rates. However, most people are almost undoubtedly unaware that the highest personal tax rate in the U.S. at the federal level is a comparatively shocking 39.6 percent plus US citizens pay an additional 2.35 percent Medicare tax.
It’s still early to be making predictions about next season, not that being early has ever stopped anyone, and it seems the Toronto Raptors failure to land a superstar player in free agency has bumped them completely off the radar down South. The Raptors just can’t get any respect for their anticipated defense of the Atlantic Division or their consecutive franchise record setting seasons.
“Cory keeps getting better,” said two-time NBA MVP and Team Canada general manager Steve Nash. “I don’t think a lot of people thought he was an NBA player after his first year with the Spurs and he has continued to get better and better and better and look where he is now. He is a valued NBA player. Cory is a tough kid, he plays hard, he competes and he keeps getting better and he’s been rewarded for it.”
Luis Scola has shouted from Puerto Rico that he’s not done yet. Playing for Argentina in the Tuto Marchand Cup, a warm up tournament for the FIBA Americas, Scola didn’t just lead his National Team, he led the entire tournament in scoring, rebounding and assists per game.
After suffering a broken knee cap and undergoing surgery in June, it shouldn’t exactly come as a shock that the Cavs All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to miss the start of the 2015-16 NBA season, just about no one expects him to rush back before January either and really, why even that quick? The thing is with the Cavaliers, there’s a pretty good chance no one notices his absence.
“(Bennett) has arguably been our highest energy guy in practice,” head coach Jay Triano said. “I don’t really try to classify who’s a four and who’s a five, who’s a center and who’s a power forward. We ask our first big down the floor to be the guy who occupies space and looks for something in transition and with his speed and the way that he runs, he is usually the first guy down the floor. I told him not to worry about numbers, be the first guy down (and) rebound the crap out of the ball. Get it every time that it’s available. I said that will keep you on the floor longer, that will let other people see what type of skills that you have and he has a lot of basketball skills.”