Davis is Back And Thoughts On A Long December

Reality is never a lot of fun. Raptors after the high of a surprising 4 game win streak have kind of come back to reality. The loss of Reggie Evans was a major blow to the Raptors. You might on the surface think it is just about rebounds but it is about a lot more. He really had become a leader this season with the lack of any real leader in that locker room. Bargnani is clearly the best player on this team offence wise. He also is likely the most talented overall. But no one is confusing him with a leader. We have spoke many times about Jose Calderon and his lack of leadership in this blog. On the floor he may be a leader in terms of his running of the offence. But off the floor Calderon has never really stepped up and taken that leadership role. The Young Onez are all still growing and learning, and while they may be the most visible in terms of this team in almost sharing the role as the face of the Raptors, Leading this group is still not something any of them are set to take on. DeRozan is actually battling with a hamstring and just trying to get his game right. Johnson has yet to consistently prove he can stay on the floor. While Weems has earned his way into the starting line-up and has been the most consistent of the group. But for Sonny the idea of being a starter is still a fresh one for him to deal with.

So for all of those reasons the leader that emerged for this Raptors team was Reggie Evans. He leads on the floor with his flat out hustle and energy, while off it he is a no nonsense straight forward guy. Reggie is not ever afraid to speak his mind. If the Raptors had a battle royal there is no question who the favourite to win it is. He is the closest thing the Raptors have had to Charles Oakley. He may not have the scoring touch of an Oakley and from everyone you talk with Oakley had a basketball IQ that was off the charts. But in terms of a tough guy that speaks his mind and has respect in the locker Reggie does have that. The fact the Raptors effort was awful without him is not really a great shock or it shouldn't be. Reggie was asked not that long ago why he had not been more vocal and taken this leadership role last season. He said that the fact he missed the first half of last season was why. It is hard to get guys to listen when you are not out there battling with them was the basic reason he gave. Which makes a lot of sense. After the start Reggie has had to this season maybe the fact he has been in there from the start this year will change what he says and how it is taken. But clearly someone who is healthy needs to step up to the plate and lead this team. Although Reggie's injury is not as bad as the one that caused him to miss over half the season. He still is not going to be back anytime soon and think if he played another game in the 2010 calender year I would be shocked.

December is already a challenging month for all teams in the NBA with the fact that the holiday season kicks in. Players just like all of us having shopping for presents to do and planning for the short time they actually do get off for the holidays. But now the Raptors also have this giant void to fill in the line-up. It comes at a critical time as well in terms of the fact the Raptors have a lot of home dates leading up to the holidays. Many coaches will tell you the more they are on the road away from home in the holiday season the better, as it avoids a lot of the distractions I mentioned. It is likely we will see ED Davis finally make his debut with the Raptors in this month as well. Currently in the D-League with the Raptors other draft choice Solomon Alabi. Well until I just got an email from the Raptors he was. We interrupt your originally scheduled blog with Breaking News.

Breaking News-Ed Davis has been recalled from the Erie Bayhawks. In 2 games with them Davis averaged 10 point 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 17.5 minutes per game. Davis is expected to practice on Tuesday with the Raptors and be on the active roster vs the Wizards on Wednesday.

So back to what we were talking about which ironically was Davis. My main concern in terms of him is that some fans may have over blown expectations for him. It is important to keep in mind this a kid that missed the end of his college season and all of training camp and pre-season. While his father is a former NBA player and all it does not mean this is going to be easy for him. Just like it took Demar DeRozan time to adjust to the NBA. In fact still is adjusting to a degree. Ed Davis is not going to come in and be able to set the world on fire and make you forget about Reggie Evans. It is going to be a lot of learning and growing and mistakes. But thanks in part to the trade the Raptors made and now the injury to Reggie there is going to be minutes for Ed Davis to start that learning process. The same eventually will be true in terms of Solomon Alabi who is comparison to Davis is very raw.

Regardless of this latest bit of news, December is going to be a tough month for the Raptors, and they will be a team looking for someone to fill in for Reggie as the leader. Who will step up to the call and do that might be interesting. It also might be a large step in the growth of some young players on this roster. It is going to be an intriguing month to see what happens with this team. A chance to take steps in the development process. But with the latest 2 losses, it was a good reminder as to what this season is all about. Goals of the playoffs in the unspectacular Eastern Conference are really unlikely, and if on the slim chance, and I do mean slim chance it would happen, it would be considered a major bonus and a minor setback. The bonus being playoff experience for this young group. The set back would be a lower pick in the draft. But on the plus side that Miami pick is not looking as horrible as it once did, with the Heat 9-8. Regardless, Raptors and playoffs should not be in the same sentence at this point. Growth and development are what this season will and has to be about.

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