On Pro Bball Report recently: Raptors coach Dwane Casey rolls on, Can James Johnson help, the questionable Andrea Bargnani, Knicks gamble on Kristaps Porzingis, Bigger better Raptors, Sim Bhullar comes home, Lucas Nogueira to the 905, Jurassic Park is back and more.
The Raptors have won more games than the season before for four years in a row.
“I have watched DeMar (DeRozan) grow as a man and a player,” Casey said. “I have watched Kyle (Lowry) grow. We are watching JV (Valanciunas) grow right in front of our eyes. So it is always important to see guys grow and develop like that and take the steps they take.”
“I think being in the league and out of the league and being on some tough teams – some really good teams and some really bad teams – I’ve learned not to lose my confidence over stuff like that and not get upset,” Johnson told Pro Bball Report. “The coach wants to win just like you do and he is going to put people in positions to be successful regardless of whether we win or lose. So I have to keep that in the back of my mind, keep your attitude and your self in check, it’s tough.”
Nets Andrea Bargnani Is Still A Giant Question Mark
by Frank McLean
The Brooklyn Nets are finding out what the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks already figured out, Andrea Bargnani is still a giant pain in the you know what. The Nets signed the seven foot Italian center in the summer and he did not play a single preseason game for the club as his left hamstring bothered him for the entire preseason. First impressions are everything and you can say he has not made a good one with his new ball club.
New York Knicks Have Put Their Faith In Kristaps Porzingis
by Frank McLean
The gamble with Porzingis is that while he is 7 foot 3 his slender build gives questions as to whether he can stand the nightly beatings a center takes in the NBA. He will be playing with grown men and he has never played an 82 game schedule with numerous back to back games or 4 games in 5 nights. Usually a young player can be expected to hit a wall sometime after Christmas.
The Raptors upgrade at starting small forward alone should be enough to raise expectations for this team. Carroll is the big physical small forward head coach Dwane Casey has been begging for these past two seasons. The junkyard dog, three-point shooter and defensive glue-guy of the Hawks represents a major upgrade.
Bhullar has a soft touch around the net, good hands and nearly impossible height to guard and while he may have gotten into better condition last season in Reno, he still had a long ways to go when working out with Team Canada this past summer. If he can get into “NBA shape”, he could be one of the D-League’s most intriguing prospects.
“Honestly, I don’t have the bounce of three, four years ago,” Nogueira told Pro Bball Report. “From last year to this year I put on 42 lbs. It’s a lot, so I don’t think my body is ready yet to run and jump like two, three, four years ago when I was 180-200 lbs. Alex (McKechnie, director sports science) and Jon Lee (strength and conditioning coach), they make me get better, use my body to get stronger and still run and jump like two years ago, but I am a very tall and long guy, so this makes for easy dunks. A couple of years ago I had a good bounce, but (now) I don’t have the same bounce compared to last year.”
Jurassic Park is back for Toronto Raptors fans in the square outside of Gate 5 at the Air Canada Centre. The season opener festivities will kick off at 5:30 pm on Wednesday with team personalities, the Raptor and the Raptors Dance Pak when this free fan party will open to the public once again.
• Big Stories From The Previous Week
“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
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.