On Pro Bball Report recently: the Raptors 905 advantage, new jerseys, extending Terrence Ross, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver, Raptors rebounding, toughness, small ball and road realities, Greivis Vasquez misses Toronto, Derrick Rose speculation and more.
“The plan is to help Lucas (Nogueira), Bruno (Caboclo), Delon (Wright), guys that might come down here and be assigned give them experience so that they are not just sitting around watching up there (on the Raptors) all the time and then get guys that we have a liking to to get them under our umbrella. Guys like Ronald Roberts, guys like Sim (Bhullar), guys that we like, let’s develop them as well and who knows, maybe they’ll end up getting on the actual Raptors team some day in the future.”
The Raptors 905 showed off their uniforms at media day and they looked pretty good on one of their newest and most familiar prospects – 7’5 Canadian center Sim Bhullar.
“With our uniform unveiling, it’s a sign that we’re getting closer to making history as the first Canadian team in the NBA D-League,” said Raptors 905 General Manager Dan Tolzman. “Our team is excited to bring a high level of basketball to Hershey Centre and the 905, and we’re looking forward to seeing our fans come out to support this team, starting with the preseason games later this week.”
Signing Ross is the NBA equivalent of a preemptive strike ahead of a rapidly rising salary cap and pending restricted free agency next summer. While no one would/should argue the price paid for Ross’ signature is high based on his production and the salary cap during the recent past, just about every NBA general manager has some very real fears about what could happen next summer with the cap set to rise by about $20 million. Ross’ deal could look cheap after what is sure to be a very tense free agency period in each of the next two summers.
“Three-point shooting has been my forte for the past two years,” Carroll told Pro Bball Report. “That’s something I really took upon myself to try and get better at and become one of the top three-point shooters. You know I had a teacher in Kyle Korver, so that’s not too bad of a teacher. So, I just have to continue to keep shooting the ball, keep doing my mechanics and let the rest take care of itself.”
“Bismack (Biyombo) brings a lot. Jonas (Valanciunas) is doing a heck of a job on the boards. (Luis) Scola quietly is doing a heck of a job on the boards, he’s tough as nails in the paint and also DeMarre Carroll, he gets in there and bangs it up,” Casey explained. “We have added some good rebounders on our team.”
Bucks Greivis Vasquez Found It Hard To Leave The Raptors
By Frank McLean
Vasquez admitted that it was hard to leave Toronto. “It was hard extremely hard,” Vasquez explained. “I was so engaged with the city and the fans and with the team. It’s part of the business. You’ve got to move on real fast.”
Grinding Raptors Reflect Head Coach Dwane Casey
The addition of DeMarre Carroll, Bismack Biyombo and Cory Joseph to the Raptors rotation infused a large dose of toughness that complements the toughness of their on the court leader Kyle Lowry. However, what often gets skipped over is the impact veteran Luis Scola has on this team.
“We had a hard time defensively trying to stay big when they actually ended up going small and moved Carroll to the 4-spot,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan explained. “When they played small, we had a hard time. That’s when the fouling started.”
Road Trip Reality Bites The Toronto Raptors
By Frank McLean
“We have to execute offensively,” Casey said. “We have established ourselves defensively, but they made some tough three’s. (Hassan) Whiteside had a big game with 20 points, which is out of the norm for him. But we will bounce back. We’re going to go back home and we will get back to work and bounce out of this.”
The speculation certainly seems premature, big trades this early in the season are not the norm and how Rose performs over the next month or so will have a big impact on his perceived value in Chicago and around the league. If Rose starts to find even some of his old form, the desire to rush him out could diminish rather quickly.
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“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.
“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.”