2nd and 6

So we went from no games to two in the blink of an eye. Reggie Evans is quickly climbing the charts as one of the most popular Raptors of all time. Seriously the guy is bigger than Matt Bonner, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and the JYD combined. O.K perhaps not, but it is clear that Reggie has become the answer for a lot of Raptor fans. The way he plays the game is flat of aggressive. Keep in mind he does this all the time. He did it in the scrimmage in Ottawa vs his team. He did it the last 2 nights vs his old team. I hate to see what happens when he plays someone he doesn't like. I tweeted last night that he is like a Bull on the basketball court and that is no reference to Chicago or Chuck Swirsky there. Everything is just done in an aggressive manner and he stands out because of it. If this attitude can rub off on a few other look out.

Toronto also has it lovable underdog for this season as well. If I had told you that Sonny Weems would be one of the best players on the floor after 2 exhibition games...what would you have said? I am sure a lot of the answers would not be fit for print. People did not know a lot about him and it was Amir Johnson that got all the attention when the trade was made. Well we now know this much. Sonny can jump and dunk and get people off there feet. Comparisons to both Joey Graham(On non-guaranteed contract with Denver) and Jamario Moon (Cleveland Cavs) have been tossed out there. But let's just wait and see. Weems is proof of at least this, the Raptors are indeed a lot deeper. If Sonny Weems is this good that can only be a good thing. I will push the other 13 guys in front of him on the depth chart to play well.

If you are concerned about the Raptors offense...don't be. Jay Triano even admitted that the team has not even come close to having the entire offense in place. It is also missing perhaps it's 2 biggest weapons in Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Bosh. As for the other side of the ball there are flashes of better play and still some of the same old issues. I dream of a day when the Raptors can play solid perimeter defense. It still is something that to this point seems to be an issue. However there is still lots of time and the Sixers are trying to bring in the Princeton offense that does use that aspect as a weapon.

I also am to the point of complete frustration with the defense of Jose Calderon. No more injuries and no more excuses it is time to man up and play some defense. It seems that new fellow Jarrett Jack can do it and if Jose can not it may not be long before we see two starters from Georgia Tech in the Raptors starting 5. Any defense worth anything needs good on the ball pressure and that comes from your point guard more often than not. Jose must improve in this area if the Raptors are truly going to get to the next level as a defense. If he can not eventually a choice is going to have to be made. Jose also for whatever reason looks tired out there. He did not play for Spain this summer but I don't think the message was not to play basketball at all. Calderon needs to pick it up. He has a legit option behind him this year. So be you a Calderon fan or not it seems clear that Jose needs to pick it up. That being said I am happy to see the ball being pushed and the team getting out and running with Jose in there as well. Jose Calderon may not lead the league in assist to turnover ratio this year and the Raptors may be better for it.

Demar Derozan has 2 games under his belt and I think the second was better than the first. That is all we are asking for from Demar is to be just a bit better every game and everyday. He even made a few shots from 3 point range which is nice to see. Demar needs to show he can make that shot because it is safe to say that early teams are going to play him to drive the ball. He also has shown some good skills in passing the ball. He has held his own on the defensive end and that is great to see. He was matched-up against Andre Iguodala and did not look out of place at all. It is going to be a process for Demar but it seems everyone with the organization seems happy with his progress and I have no reason to disagree.

Special shout out to Amir Johnson who had his lip split and came back to play after that in a pre-season game. Marco Belinelli had a nice night at the office as well as he scored a dozen. Andrea Bargnani had yet another jaw dropping drive and dunk. Offensively Andrea is showing signs of taking his game to a new level. Still looking to see consistency and will he keep this up when Bosh returns. I have always noticed that Bargnani seems to pick his game up when Bosh is not in the line-up. He needs to play the same way be there a Bosh out there or not.

So those are some thoughts throw 2 games and there are 6 more to go.


  1. I haven't been able to watch the pre-season games yet, but the FT statline worries me. The Raptors have been a great free-throw team the past several years, but if the hustle players like Johnson and Evans are unable to make their shots, then they are liabilities on the floor when the games are close. If Bosh isn't good to go by the start of the regular season, who do you put at the 4/5 to finish?

    Do you think Triano will continue to do off/def subs in the last minute of play? Are you a fan of that strategy, or would do you think it's too disruptive?

  2. Bosh will be good to go maybe as soon as next week if you believe the word on street. He was out shooting last night prior to game. Reggie Evans is the first big off the bench on most nights I believe.

    I think it make sense for Triano to do that given the personnel on this team there are always exceptions to the rule and if a guy is having a good night I am sure he would stay in the game.

    I don't mind it as a strategy as long as it is never set in stone. There has to be flexibility in it. You never want to OVER COACH a team.

  3. Not that it will have any particular impact, but it appeared that Banks contributed in a controlled, reliable, team oriented manner, while Douby was eratic and over-aggressive with individual play at times.

  4. " I have always noticed that Bargnani seems to pick his game up when Bosh is not in the line-up. He needs to play the same way be there a Bosh out there or not. "

    Do you think this has something to do with the amount of touches he gets when sticky-hands is on the court?

  5. I think that Bargnani be it deliberately or not defers to Bosh. Not as much about touches as in terms of attitude.