On Pro Bball Report recently: NBA preseason ends, Cavs have issues, Anderson Varejao recovering slowly, Kevin Love is ready, Coach Casey likes Luis Scola, Clues from Raptors open practice, waived players, Raptors 905 and more.
There’s argument every year about how long should training camp be. By the fourth week players are itching to get going and start playing games that count. DeMar DeRozan is more than ready to go. “Pretty much itching to get out there and start playing, play for something and start the marathon, ” DeRozan said.
Varejao told Pro Bball Report. “I am trying to take baby steps and go little by little because I know I had a pretty tough injury – just recovering, trying to stay in touch with the medical staff, stay in touch with the coaching staff, telling them how I am feeling so we don’t over do it, but actually I am feeling pretty good.”
“Not surprised,” Cavaliers head coach David Blatt insisted. “As I told you on many occasions I think physically he’s really in good shape. He has no problems running the court, moving around on the court. I thought he didn’t shy away from any contact whatsoever.”
Out of the line-up in Toronto was LeBron James (back), but he is expected to be ready for opening night. Kyrie Irving (knee), injured in opening game of the Finals, isn’t expected back before December as is Iman Shumpert (wrist). Other players are coming back from injuries as well and are not 100 per cent as the season is getting underway.
“I like what Scola brought, similar to what Amir brought last year. The rolling, the smartness, the rebounding, the defense, the pick-and-roll defense was solid. He (took) a charge. A lot of positive things from him being in the (starting) lineup.” Coach Casey
While an open practice doesn’t even hold the meaning of a a preseason game, it does appear to confirm Coach Casey’s recent comments about how effective Scola was with the starters and that Patterson will provide three-point shooting off the bench again this season.
The waived players include free-agent guard Shannon Scott, guard-forward Axel Toupane and forwards Michale Kyser and Ronald Roberts. It is hoped they will join the Raptors D-League affiliate, Raptors 905.
The Toronto Raptors new D-League affiliate is rushing towards their inaugural season that kicks off with preseason games against Erie, London and Windsor in November. The Raptors 905 will play their home games at the Hersey Centre in Mississauga.
• Big Stories From The Previous Week
After Mitchell was let go by the Raptors he became one of us in the media. This was a bit of a surprise because if you got to know Sam like we did in the media, he was a bit of a character with us. We were never sure if he liked us or just put up with us because it was part of job description as an NBA coach
On draft night the Timberwolves took a 19-year-old center from the University of Kentucky named Karl-Anthony Towns. The team already had 20-year-old Canadian superstar forward Andrew Wiggins and another 20-year-old in guard Zach Lavine. And don’t forget Spanish sensation Ricky Rubio, this is team that full of what ESPN’s Dick Vitalle would call “Diaper Dandies”.
However, we are still waiting to see that Eurobasket dominance in Toronto. So far Valanciunas has averaged less than 20 minutes per game in preseason and contributed just 9.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. He hasn’t been the dominant force the Raptors need their new $64 million man to be – at least not yet. But there is an explanation.
“(Norman Powell) is making a lot of mistakes like all rookies, but that’s what preseason is for – to give those guys minutes – Bruno (Caboclo) minutes, Norm (Powell) minutes, Delon (Wright) minutes, all those guys minutes,” explained head coach Dwane Casey. “(They) probably won’t be in the rotation when it becomes real”