Raptors Make Another Minor Move

Raptors announced yesterday that Alan Anderson has been given a contract for the upcoming season. Anderson finished the 2011-12 season on a couple 10 day contracts with the Raptors and did turn a few heads it some ultimately mealiness games down the stretch. This leaves the Raptors with 14 players under contract which would leave room for another meaningless signing of Jamaal Magloire if they so desire. After all he did promise us a playoff spot this season without having a contract to be back.

I found myself angry when someone referenced Anderson as a "good guy" on twitter. This is not to say that he isn't. In the limited interactions I have had with him I would not disagree that he is a nice person. That said, I have reached the point personally that I grow tired of someone being a "good guy" or a "nice guy" as a selling point on why we sign someone.

I honestly don't care anymore on if someone is a nice guy or not. Can he play basketball and does he make this team better are my only concerns. Nice Guys finish last is an expression we all have heard since we were children. There might be some truth to that. Honestly, what good has it done to have a group of nice guys that were marketable and for the most part a low risk to get in any kind of trouble. It has not exactly led to a parade of playoff performances and success has it.

While you can get yourself in trouble going in a complete 180 of this, I still am not worried about a person being a good or bad guy. Demarcus Cousins has a well documented history of being a bit of problem child in his time with Kings. I still would be happy to have him over a guy like Ed Davis who is a nice guy. In terms of basketball talent think most would agree that Cousins is the better talent. Thus my choice would be based on that. We seem to have this massive fascination with what a given player will do to the chemistry of the locker room. Every now and than maybe it isn't a bad thing to bring in someone that will turn things a bit upside down. When you have this peace and harmony that most feel makes for an ideal locker room that can also lead to complacency.

So it is the hope, that regardless of if he is a good guy or a bad guy, that someone like Kyle Lowry can shake things up a bit.  What the Raptors have seemed to lack is a leader to stand up and take this team by the throat and push it to be better. Casey can only do so much of that as a coach. Something I think we all learned from Sam Mitchell and his run in Toronto. It has to come from one of the guys in that room. 

However what I am ultimately sick of both as someone that covers this team and as a fan is this notion that it matters if a guy is a good dude or not. What matters is winning. That is all that should matter at the end of the day. While I do not want a team of thugs and problem child types both on and off the floor. I am fine with a guy that keeps his nose clean off the floor and may not be the nicest guy in the world. I am cool with a guy that might not have a chance of winning most popular Raptor. I am fine if he tweets stupid stuff or stuff I would not agree with. At the end it is about winning. It nice to be idealistic and think that can be done with a group of great guys. That seldom is the case though. Ask yourself if you honestly think Jordan was a great guy or was he simple a great player? Kobe Bryant is not a great guy either really? Lebron James is ultimately kind of a jerk. Sure I would love to see a guy like a Kevin Durant win a title and a team like the OKC Thunder. Even on a team like that, Perkins is far from being a nice dude and winning Mr. popular. I think we all get guilty of this, what a guy is like kind of thing from time to time. Ultimately, a person and how they act is only relevant to how it translates on to a basketball court. So let's all try and focus on that. If a guys signs autographs for kids and gets out and does stuff in the community that is great. Still I am ultimately concerned with basketball. This could be a statement about why the Raptors shouldn't bother resigning Magloire. Which indirectly it is, although ultimately it is more a general frustration with hearing about how wonderful various guys are. You know what isn't wonderful? The Raptors record the last 3 years or so. It isn't wonderful missing the playoffs year after year. If you doubt that ask a Leaf fan. If you are a Leaf fan you are already aware of this. Winning nothing more or nothing less is all that should matter at this point. 

WWE Not On The Kobe System

As some of you that follow on Twitter might have noticed I started blogging about wrestling. Little did I know the WWE would decide to make the crossover into my NBA world as well. The last time the WWE and NBA really made news was when Raw was forced to change venues over an NBA Playoff game in Denver. Ironically enough this latest news is based on Colorado as well. Last night on WWE Raw this line was said by a "heel" manager character named AW.

"Titus ONeal (WWE Wrestler) is like Kobe Bryant in a hotel room in Colorado....Unstoppable"

This prompted a rather quick apology from the WWE coming out of the next commercial break. This was of course in reference to the Kobe Bryant rape trial from years ago. While I don't know if Bryant could sue WWE based on the comment nor would even care to go there it still was at least in poor taste. Bryant of course was never ultimately convicted of rape and is thus innocent in eyes of the legal system. Still it did make me realize just how long ago that seems and how Bryant's image has been restored to it's previous state prior to the events in Colorado.

Bryant is current part of team U.S.A and will be in action today playing for the U.S. In terms of the WWE they would like to see this go away fast. Linda McManon is trying to run for a senate seat in Connecticut and this is not publicity they are looking for. Ultimately this would be another thing that people would throw at her in a long list of transgressions in the wrestling industry.

Normally the WWE is always happy to find a way into the mainstream and has always tried to use NBA Stars as draw to their relevance with the main stream. There was a plan that Shaq was going to wrestle at the last Wrestlemania that eventually fell through. In past we have seen guys like Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone make appearances in the former rival company WCW that has since been purchased by the WWE.

This may just all go away but TMZ jumped on this like vultures waiting to strike. In terms of Bryant even if he has a legal case it seems unlikely he would want to remind people of that incident in Colorado. Bryant has of late been having problems once again in his marriage within the last year. So the chances he would take legal action against the WWE would be minor and quite frankly he likely wouldn't have a case anyway.

It does make me wonder about how we all seem to just bury the past of athletes and praise them as long as they comeback and become a winner. Winning does in fact cure all in many cases. Including repairing damaged reputations. WWE announced they have taken actions against the performer who utter this line on a live mic on Raw. What those are remain to be seen. Given he is not a major part of their company it could easily see him be released or fired. WWE does not exactly offer main people guaranteed contracts and Vince McManon will not need to use an amnesty clause to send him packing.

What also will or could be awkward for the WWE is their next PPV ironically enough will be in the home of the Lakers and Clippers Staple Center as WWE Summerslam is going to be there in a few weeks. These are the moments I am glad that my regular job is to cover the NBA. It is moments like this that make you kind of humiliated to admit you like wrestling or are a fan of it. Not to the level of a trail where you could go to jail in Colorado but still even that has been forgotten by almost everyone. That is except for this soon to be unemployed WWE performer...Clearly he was not on the Kobe System.  


Feeling Olympic Today

So the Olympics are underway. Before we get to basketball let's just talk what are Raptors broadcasters have been up to with the Olympics going on. You have Paul Jones calling the action for women's basketball over in London. Canada did in fact qualify in Women's basketball and all most started the tournament with a huge shock beating Russia but fell short. The Men of course are not there, something Steve Nash will be looking to change for 2016 in Brazil. Paul's partner in crime on the radio Eric Smith is calling play by play on boxing with Russ Amber in London. Matt Devlin who in the past has worked for NBC covering wrestling at the last games in China has decided to take a pass on the Olympics this time. He is getting to know Canada as he was in Montreal and Calgary calling CFL Games for TSN. Matt in the past has worked covering college football in the U.S on the Big Ten Network. So everybody is doing some different things. Myself the Olympics turn DNB HQ in to Olympics HQ as my mom has always been a fan of the games. So if I seem like I haven't slept over the next two weeks it is probably true.

As for the Raptors at the Olympics Linas and Jonas got a good old fashion butt kicking as Lithuania who was a last chance qualifier was no match vs medal favourite Argentina 102-79. In terms of what the Raptors did in that effort:

Linas Kleiza 20 points, 7/11 FG's, 1-1 3pt Range, 7 Rebounds and 1 Assist and 1 Steal

I know you really don't care right? After all we have seen Linas go off for Lithuania before only to see no evidence of it when he returns to the the Raptors. What did Jonas do?

Jonas Valancuinas 6 points 5 rebounds going 3/4 from field in 14 minutes. 

Not exactly setting the world on fire but good performance in limited minutes against a tough team in Argentina.

Then of course we have Jose Calderon the Spanish Starter by default with no Ricky Rubio. Spain had little trouble taking care of China 97-81. Spain got into hot water in past for a photo shout make their eyes look Asian. They eye a finals match up with the U.S down the line. As for Toronto's soon to be back-up point guard:

Calderon 12 points 3/6 from field 3 Rebounds 3 Assists  2 Turnovers and a steal. 

Spain was led by Pau Gasol with 21 and Jeremy Lin is not playing for China or the U.S Dream Team in case you were wondering. Speaking of the U.S they had no issues smashing Tony Parker and France 91-78 led by 21 points from Kevin Durant. Raptors had interest at one time in Andre Kirilenko who went off going 14-17 for 35 points in a 20 point win over the hosts Great Britain 95-75.

Canada's Women take on the hosts Great Britain later today in their second game of the competition. So good luck to the ladies. That is about it from me it is back to watching some sports that I have not watched in 4 years. I can't wait for speed walking!!!  


Lucas and Gray added to the Roster.

As we mentioned this morning a John Lucas III was on verge of signing. That was made official today. Also as first reported weeks ago by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports Aaron Gray finally has been confirmed as re-signing with the Raptors. Lucas III played last season for the Bulls and saw time with injury to Derrick Rose. Gray after some medical problems to start his Raptor career had a decent season and was as I recall the only Raptor last season to get MVP chants from the ACC crowd.

Both are now on board for next season so go out and celebrate the weekend as the "People's MVP" Aaron Gray is coming back and John Lucas III becomes the source of the often debated 3rd point guard position in Toronto. Joking aside I have no issues with either signing as both will be content in reserve roles.

What Raps Sked Looks Like?

I have been doing this for 5 years now, so looking at the Raptors Schedule, as we go back to a regular schedule this year after Lockout shorten one, it looks like a pretty typical schedule. Raptors as they have in past years will spend a lot of time on the road for the remainder of 2012. They will see there longest road trip of the season at the start of December(@ Denver, Sacramento, Utah, Clippers, Portland). It will be a case of survival in 2012 and try to be still in the hunt when the calender turns to 2013. Once it does the Raptors will have a 6 game home stand. (vs Portland, Sacramento, OKC, Philly, Charlotte and Milwaukee) When you combine that long road trip and home stand it is roughly an 1/8 of the schedule and it might just be a reflection of the Raptors season. Although another thing will be key will be how the Raptors manage in their own division. I feel in general the Atlantic has improved. Those 16 games in division could tell the story. If the Raptors can be close to .500 they might stand a chance at being a playoff team. If they fail to do that I would not think they have much hope. You can also argue there are no longer any easy wins for Toronto in the division when you consider the improvements the Nets made. While no one in the Atlantic will be a challenge for the likes of Miami they all will be competitive teams and all would be expecting to make the post season with a legit claim to get there. It won't be easy.

One thing that really was not going the Raptors way was when they will face Chicago. The latest news says Derrick Rose could be out now until March. Raptors only see the Bulls once of the three times the teams will meet prior to March. An April 9th & 12th home and home with Bulls did the Raptors no favours. Also when you consider the Bulls will be charging hard to make up ground without Rose as they approach the end of the season. Just one of the unlucky breaks of the schedule. When you look at the first 10 games for the Raptors they have a chance to get off to a decent start. But they will have tests vs Pacers (2- 1 home 1 away) OKC, Dallas and Boston all on the road. They also will play the home opener for the Nets in Brooklyn which will be a tough road challenge. In the end the schedule is what it is. At the end of it you play all the teams and have 41 at home and 41 on the road. No team has every won or lost a championship based on a schedule that I am aware of. The schedule is dynamic as well. Sometimes you will catch breaks with injuries and other times you will have your own injuries to endure. To speculate full on the schedule now based on just dates on a piece of paper is a little bit foolish. It does give you an indication on what type of path faces your club though. This path is one that is pretty much what Raptor fans have come to expect.

In terms of T.V it is same old store. No ESPN or TNT for the Raptors. People saying winning changes that but even when the Raptors were good they never have been a part of TNT on Thursday Nights. Honestly I am not sure why this matters for Raptor fans in this country. I get why would for fans outside of Canada and why it does for the players. Charles Barkley told you a long time ago TNT is Bias against Canada. He was joking about it but in a way they are. If you put the Raptors on TNT it is not in their best interest. They are basically eliminating a market of viewers to watch their game. TNT is not available in Canada unless you have a satellite dish...just ask Chris Bosh. So they would rather have two main markets to draw from. It isn't as much bias against Canada or the Raptors as it is just simple business. MLSE is not likely to petition the league to be on TNT or ESPN either considering they hold a monopoly on the broadcast rights here in Canada.

Aside from the schedule it would not shock me if John Lucas III is a Raptor by the time we talk again on Monday. It seems things are just about done and some smart fans noticed the Raptors had starting following him on Twitter. A clear tip off he soon will be signed on to the roster. Yes Twitter once again breaking a story. It is just common place in this modern world. I think the media would grind to a stop if Twitter were down for 24 hours. Well perhaps not but people would actually have to do work and research like the old days. Imagine if Google went down at the same time. Oh mass panic would set in for sure. Olympics getting going today so good luck to our Canadian Athletes and especially the Women's basketball team who did something the Men have not done since Steve Nash played for them, that is qualify for the Olympics.

Barring anything earth shaking news wise I will see you all on Monday.


Raptors 2012-13 Sked

Raptors 2012-13 Scdedule


Home Opener: Indiana @ Toronto October 31st. 

Nov 3rd- Toronto @ Brooklyn
Nov 4th- Minnesota @ Toronto
Nov 6th- Toronto @ OKC
Nov 7th- Toronto @ Dallas
Nov 10th- Philly @Toronto
Nov 12th- Utah @ Toronto
Nov 13th- Toronto @ Indiana
Nov 17th- Toronto @Boston 
Nov 18th- Orlando @Toronto
Nov 20th- Toronto @ Philly
Nov 21st- Toronto @ Charlotte
Nov 23rd- Toronto @ Detroit
Nov 25th- San Antonio @ Toronto
Nov 27th- Toronto @ Houston
Nov 28th- Toronto @ Memphis
Nov 30th- Phoenix @ Toronto  

( 7 home dates, 10 away dates )


Dec 3rd- Toronto @ Denver
Dec 5th- Toronto @ Sacramento
Dec 7th- Toronto @ Utah
Dec 9th- Toronto @ L.A Clippers
Dec 10th- Toronto @ Portland
Dec 12th- Brooklyn @ Toronto
Dec 14th- Dallas @ Toronto
Dec 16th- Houston @ Toronto
Dec 18th- Toronto @ Cleveland
Dec 19th- Detroit @ Toronto
Dec 21st- Orlando @ Toronto
Dec 26th- Toronto @ San Antonio
Dec 28th- Toronto @ New Orleans
Dec 29th- Toronto @ Orlando

( 5 home dates 9 away dates )


Jan 2nd- Portland @ Toronto
Jan 4th- Sacramento @ Toronto
Jan 6th- OKC @ Toronto
Jan 9th- Philly @ Toronto
Jan 11th- Charlotte @ Toronto
Jan 13th- Milwuakee @ Toronto
Jan 15th- Toronto @ Brooklyn
Jan 16th- Chicago @ Toronto
Jan 18th- Toronto @ Philly
Jan 20th- L.A Lakers @ Toronto
Jan 23rd- Toronto @ Miami
Jan 24th- Toronto @ Orlando
Jan 26th- Cleveland @ Toronto
Jan 28th- Golden State @ Toronto
Jan 30th- Toronto @ Atlanta

( 10 home dates 5 away dates )


Feb 1st- L.A Clippers @ Toronto
Feb 3rd-  Miami @ Toronto
Feb 6th- Boston @ Toronto
Feb 8th- Toronto @ Indiana
Feb 10th- New Orleans @ Toronto
Feb 12th- Denver @ Toronto
Feb 13th- Toronto @ New York
Feb 19th- Toronto @ Washington
Feb 20th- Memphis @ Toronto
Feb 22nd- New York @ Toronto
Feb 25th- Washington @ Toronto
Feb 27th- Toronto @ Cleveland

( 8 home dates 4 away dates )


Mar 1st- Indiana @ Toronto
Mar 2nd- Toronto @ Milwaukee 
Mar 4th- Toronto @ Golden State
Mar 6th- Toronto @ Phoenix 
Mar 8th- Toronto @ L.A Lakers 
Mar 10th- Cleveland @ Toronto
Mar 13th- Toronto @ Boston
Mar 15th- Charlotte @ Toronto
Mar 17th- Miami @ Toronto
Mar  20th- Toronto @ Charlotte
Mar 22nd- New York @ Toronto
Mar 23rd- Toronto @ New York
Mar 27th- Atlanta @ Toronto
Mar 29th- Toronto @ Detroit
Mar 31st- Toronto @ Washington

( 6 home dates 9 away dates )


Apr 1st- Detroit @ Toronto
Apr 3rd- Washington @ Toronto
Apr 5th- Toronto @ Minnesota
Apr 6th- Toronto @ Milwuakee
Apr 9th- Toronto @ Chicago
Apr 12th- Chicago @ Toronto
Apr 14th- Brooklyn @ Toronto
Apr 16th- Toronto @ Atlanta
Apr 17th- Boston @ Toronto

( 5 home dates 4 away dates )

16 back to backs
Longest Homestand- 6 games Jan 2nd -13th
Longest Road Trip- 5 games Dec 3rd - 10th


Raptors Hit East Coast For Training Camp

The Raptors are going to hold training camp out side of Ontario for only the 5th time in team history. They will be heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia from October 1st to the 6th. Raptors held Camp in Vancouver in 2010, Italy in 2007 and in Buffalo in 2000 and 2001. Raptors will be helping various charities while there as they play the annual inter squad game their on October 6 th at the Halifax Metro Centre. This marks the Raptors first trip to the east coast since 2003 where they had to cancel an exhibition game between themselves and Cleveland Cavs. What made this even more disappointing for fans was it was set to be the debut of some guy named Lebron James on Canadian soil. This was in St John's Newfoundland  at the Mile One Centre. It has taken 9 years for the Raptors to deliver on their promise to return to the east coast region of the country.

Dwane Casey was on hand this morning for the announcement. The team will hold it's training camp sessions at the Canada Games Centre. The Raptors played their first ever exhibition game in team history in Halifax which was a 120-107 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on October 14 1995. Halifax has been a stronger supporter of basketball in this country as the long time home host for the CIS Championships and has been home of the Halifax Rainmen that began playing ball in 2007-08 and were one of 7 franchises in the first season of NBL Canada's pro league that launched last season.


What Olympics Mean For Raptors?

There is a common over reaction to what happens at the Olympics. It really can have an impact on players as individuals to degree. Steve Nash points to his time with Team Canada as a big part of his development into an eventual two time MVP in the NBA. However, what did jumping over a french dude and winning a Gold Medal do for Vince Carter? Well it made him even more famous but in terms of his NBA Career it was pretty much status quo. Jose Calderon has had a great deal of success with Spain and also had some injuries that he brought back with him to his NBA Season.  I guess the point is whatever happens at the Olympics does not always have an impact on how a player plays going forward. It can have an impact both positive and negative but it does not guarantee anything.

First and foremost these games are all played under FIBA rules not NBA Rules so that is a bit of a difference. You have a three point line that is slightly closer. There are just a lot of subtle differences. As we sit on the verge of the Olympics we got a taste of the over reaction that is to come yesterday. Jose Calderon crossed over Deron Williams. Oh wow!!! This is great Jose is going be awesome now. Reality is no matter what happens to Jose in London two things are still likely true. One he will not be the starter for the Toronto Raptors next season. Kyle Lowry not playing in Olympics is still a far better defender and should ultimately have the starting job. Two it will not change the fact that quietly Jose Calderon wants out of Toronto and that seems clear. Also the roster for the Spanish National Team you could argue has more talent than the roster of the Toronto Raptors. He has better talent around him in general. So to say Jose is better or worse based on playing with that type of talent is really not a true comparison to what he works with in Toronto.

You also have Jonas Valancuanis and Linas Kleiza playing for Lithuania. Much will be made of how Jonas performs especially in the game vs the U.S on August 4th. Good or bad it still needs to be taken in context. He is playing against a virtual All-Star team in the U.S, Also though a team that lacks size. He also will be playing with FIBA rules and this will allow him to be far more physical as a defender than will be allowed in the NBA. Ultimately you really just need to look at Kleiza as the example of why not to take this all to seriously. Linas has had some great games representing his homeland but it has never translated to much in terms of his NBA performance. In fact he has been often injured and you might point to the amount of basketball he plays internationally in competitive environments as a reason why. Mark Cuban would agree with me on this. What it will tell us about Jonas his how he responds to a pressure filled situation and if he can deliver on a big stage. Still make no mistake that he needs to learn the NBA game and regardless of how he performs in London that will still be a challenge. What London can do for him is give him a positive frame of mind to attack that challenge.

Demar DeRozan got a chance to experience Team USA up close and personal as part of the USA's Select Team. This could prove valuable for him and it was only really a short chunk of time of his overall off-season. You hope it teaches him how to work smarter and develop his skills at more rapid pace. The risk was low and the benefit was high. He didn't punch a wall and ruin his off-season like Kyrie Irving did so he should be ok.

In the end the Olympics can be a positive experience for a player or it could be a negative one. It all depends on what the player gets out of it. In addition how the player gets out of it in terms of health. Injuries can be a huge blow for NBA Teams that far outweighs any benefit they get from donating their stars to the NBA,FIBA and IOC. It is important to keep everything in prospective and judge each players Olympic experience based on where they are at in their NBA careers and what they can get out of the experience. Personally I am more than happy that Italy is not playing in London and Andrea Bargnani is not playing for them. I would much rather he was focused on improving for his NBA job here with the Toronto Raptors. So now that I have said all this feel free to ignore it and over react as I know some of the people out there will. In terms of the Olympic Tournament itself the U.S will win and I don't suspect will have much trouble doing so. I think the Dream Team experiment was worth while in how it has grown the game globally. However 20 years later the only reason we still do this is basic U.S patriotism and nothing more. U.S likes to win at stuff and really is not that concerned with how they win just if they win.


10 Questions I Still Have About Raptors

We are starting to get to the dog days of the off-season. So thought today I would take a look at 10 questions I have about Raptors after Off-Season moves thus far. If you have some feel free to share yours in the comments. This are in no order of importance.

1. Do we see Jose Calderon in training camp? There is do ways we would not...A) Colangelo finally can actually trade him B) He gets hurt playing for Spain in the Olympics that start on Friday. (It happened before)

2. Who exactly is the 3rd point guard? It was suppose to be John Lucas III but still nothing official on that. The Raptors have a injuries at the position in the past so it really is something to be mildly concerned about

3. Is Landry Fields the answer at forward is just latest or question? The list of small forwards since Vince Carter was traded is a long one and filled with guys that have failed to take hold of job and make it their own. James Johnson is the latest to fail at this.

4. Can Jonas stay on the floor ? I worry about this more than I am concerned with the totally over blown expectations for him. Even if he is everything his biggest backer says he is. If he can't stay on the floor it really doesn't matter. Amir Johnson can but up some big numbers when he stays out of foul trouble. Jonas has never played under the rules here and the way fouls are called in NBA and FIBA is very different. Just watch the Olympics for evidence of this fact

5. Who exactly are Raptors better than in the Atlantic? I am not sure if they are better than anyone? Boston had a decent off-season to keep competitive for at least a year or two longer. Even with losing Ray Allen they added Jason Terry and they still look good. Nets some feel might even be a top 4 team in the conference. Philly didn't really do a lot so maybe them? New York has had a off-season of taking B and C options and like the Raptors missed on Nash they let Linsanity walk away. Still any team with Stoudamire and Anthony will be tough to beat. Not many 4th or 5 places teams in a division are making the playoffs or contending for them.

6. How good can they be on D? You can argue just adding Kyle Lowry as your starting point guard is a massive upgrade for this team on D. Jonas if can do #4 will be further along on this end of the floor. I think he is the Anti-Bargnani in a lot of ways. Ross, Fields and even Acy all add to the defensive skill of this team overall

7. Is Andrea Really That Guy or the Guy We Saw For 6 years?  Everyone wants to believe that the Andrea we saw last season for a brief stretch is the evolution of Bargnani to the next level. Was it that or just a simple mirage of sold play. Can he stay healthy this year?  How much secondary scoring will he get from DeRozan and the rest of the squad?

8. Demar In a contract year?  It is so dangerous to know what to expect from Demar DeRozan. He has all the motivation in the world this year to set himself up for a big pay day in the off-season. If he has a good year and performs was it about getting a big deal or just his natural evolution? If he has that good year does he make him an RFA target for other teams ?

9. What would it take for me to believe this team could be a playoff team? I am not sure what the answer to that is. As things stand today I don't. The 5th question in this is a major reason why. The fact the Bulls will be without Rose till March now helps in the conference, Orlando having to deal with Dwight Howard problems they likely fall out of playoff mix. But the Nets should jump in that spot. I just don't see a path to post season that makes sense to me.

10. Future of B.C? If this season goes poorly could this mean the end for Bryan Colangelo? The new MLSE Ownership will be in place and if the ratings tail off and the team is ultimately not that competitive how will they react to Colangelo? He built expectations for this season and so far I remain under impressed.

I could probably rattle off at least 5 more and maybe even 10 but it is still a long Summer to go. So will leave it at that. 


Expectations Out Weigh Raptors Reality

When this off-season started I wrote a blog about hope being back for Raptors fans. Almost always when there is hope another word is tied to that word which is expectations. We all have them for lots of things from the New Batman movie to tonight's 1000th episode of Raw. The trouble with expectations is depending on how much you want something to be good will impact on them. Some will convince themselves that something is good no matter what because they have waited for it. A fan could have been all in for Steve Nash and now is just as happy with Kyle Lowry. They might even convince themselves that Lowry was the right move. Even if they thought Nash was to begin with. Landry Fields was at first a horrible contract that we only signed in attempt to keep the Knicks from getting Nash. Now maybe he is like Shane Battier and the dude is kinda funny this could work. These are the people that rationalize. They want to ultimately be happy so they convince themselves to be happy.

Then you have people that will ultimately never be satisfied and take every rumour they hear to be fact. The Raptors were suppose to trade for Rudy Gay or Andre Iguodala. Land Steve Nash too and head on a magic carpet ride to the NBA Post Season. What the heck happened? Colangelo is a totally failure to these people. He didn't even make a good draft pick. I mean all the mock drafts had Terrance Ross rated way lower. As we know people that do Mock Drafts are so much smarter than real NBA G.M's. I mean they have a section of the resume for an NBA G.M that asks do you have any Mock Draft experience? These people accept rumours as fact and expect the rumours to be at very least matched or have something even bigger and grander happen.

But somewhere in the middle of those to types of people is the reality of things. Colangelo pointed to this off-season as the thing we all needed to be patience and wait for. Endure another bad season and things will change. We have all this flexibility he would point out on a regular basis. Not to mention Jonas was coming and in a fictional mock draft, that doesn't exist, had he been in this season's draft he would have been 2nd overall. In the end what we have ended up with for being patient it pretty under whelming when all is said and done to this.. We have all had birthdays or a Christmas in which we had high hopes for things we would get and in the end got a sweater and socks. Not that there is anything wrong with a sweater and socks we just wanted more. Bryan Colangelo promised us all kinds of shinny new toys and in end has not really given us that.

True, the off-season is not over but it sure seems the Raptors can not make the big splashes that were promised. It is not that Kyle Lowry isn't a good player. It is not that I don't love the young man arrived and in his opening press conference said he was going take the keys to the car and lead this team to the playoffs. I like that and the confidence that goes with saying that. Still when I look at what a team like the New Jersey now Brooklyn Nets have done, I find it hard to believe. The Raptors promised a cannonball like splash this off-season and delivered some ripples from skipping a rock across the water to this point.

They as they have done with Jonas Valanciunas done a terrible job in managing expectations. Raptors fans so want to have something to be excited about and you need to be aware of that. While Jonas ultimately could be and maybe even likely be a nice future piece, the odds of that happening right away would be slim if you just look at NBA History in terms of big men in general, or big men from Europe even more so. Like Jonas this off-season has been hyped up for over a year and in the end has left us disappointed for the most part. I think the Raptors will improve marginally. However to be a playoff team seems a far fetched dream of an idea to me. Even Colangelo himself has changed the party line to contending for a playoff spot. The Jays have been on a 18 year plan to do that haven't they. Now making the playoffs in the NBA is a lot easier for sure, but that said when you look at the off-season as a whole I find it hard to see how the Raptors would make the playoffs, without some serious help and a prefect scenario developing. If your thinking a trade for Jose Calderon could fix that I would suggest your dreaming. Calderon has been attempted to be moved for close to two years, even with an expiring contract I don't think he brings you back the pieces to change the ultimate outlook. I encourage they players, coaches and management to prove me wrong about all of this. I would like to see the Raptors be successful as much as anyone. I just don't see that success coming any time soon.


DNB Top 10- Things I Will Not Miss About Summer League

The plan today was to have an interview for you all and it did take place. Problem is the recording of that interview is lost somewhere in my computer and may never be found. A great start to a Friday right? None the less will get that sorted out and I am sure it will be worth the wait. So instead of that let's do a DNB Top 10 of Things I Will Not Miss About Summer League:

#10 People Not Paying Attention To The Game: In many of the Summer League games they have endless amounts of guests that roll through during a broadcast. When these guests stop by the game is shoved to the side as it is not important. Which in fact is true but that is like telling us wrestling is fake. Yes we know that but still want to enjoy it.

#9 Comparisons To Current Players: These kids have enough on their plates before people start comparing them to already established great players. We all do it though aka Acy and Reggie Evans. We really need to stop that especially at Summer League at least.

#8 Getting Reminded I Have Never Been To Las Vegas: Every year this is a reminder to me that I have never been to Las Vegas and I really can't afford to go. One day I will be able to go hopefully but till than this is a personal sore point. 

#7 Trying To Care About Players That Will Never Be On My Team: Some times it is easy to route for these guys, in the case of Brent Petway who was on the Raptors Summer League squad in 2010 it was easy. One he went to Michigan and two he was a guest in this blog. Easy to root for Canadians as well. But in general it is rough to get behind a guy that you know is never making your team. Daniel Orton or Kyle Weems were never going to be Raptors and I knew that from the jump.

#6 Ten Fouls: I mean seriously this just makes games less entertaining. Really who needs to worry about getting a foul in Summer League. When in doubt foul is basically the way it goes even if it is not intentional. When you go into a game knowing you got 10 fouls that is not a great mindset.

#5 Practice Uniforms: They just don't look cool to me. Pretty basic looking and it is a sea of black and white for the most part.

#4 Crowd Shots: It seems part of the whole thing of Summer League is who is watching gets almost as much attention as who is playing. We get it, that lots of NBA execs, coaches and players are in the crowd watching.

#3 Summer League Superstars: You might have noticed in our Recaps I said instead of the player of the game, we went with heading to the Nate Robinson Summer League Hall of Fame. Nate Robinson has his number retired in Summer League after all. Summer League is important, but not to the point that you can think a great performance there automatically equals NBA Success. What gets forgotten is 85-90% of the guys playing in Summer League will not be playing in NBA in the fall. The ones that will of that group, only a select few will be playing major rolls for their team. How many Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli performances is it going to take for us to get it? Jimmer got 30 points...great...he still isn't good.

#2 Rumours: I hate this time of year for one basic reason. The amount of rumours is endless. There was one a couple weeks ago the Raptors were signing Aaron Gray. Still has yet to happen. Now in the last few days John Lucas III is coming. Still yet to materialize. This along with speculation of Jose Calderon being moved or not moved. It just never ends. I know a lot of people love this time of year. I honestly don't, just give me the facts and not the latest Dwight Howard rumour and I would be happier.

#1 Bad Shooting: Summer League based on what I said in number three is not exactly oozing with talent. Some games have been just unwatchable at times. Yes the games are shorter with just 10 minute Quarters but the seem to drag on with all the bad shooting and parade to free throw line that was mentioned earlier. It just can be a painful experience to watch.

So that is it, now back to the hunt for the lost interview. Truth is I will likely have to re-schedule and redo the interview which I swear to you was good and we had a great guest for you. One way or the other will recreate that interview or if a miracle occurs I will be able to find it.


The W-Rap On Summer League

I want to start this by saying the natural reaction to Summer League is to over react to what happens there. This is just a small part of a larger puzzle that is a young players off-season and transition to the NBA game. This is why the fact that Jonas Valanciunas not being here was a minor disappointment. While it is great for him personally to represent his country and play in London it will be done so under FIBA rules. One of the key factors for Jonas will be how he adapts and how quickly he adapts to how the game is called in the NBA which is vastly different. Yes he will get some good things from playing in the Olympics on a very big stage with very big expectations from his homeland. That will help in preparing for what awaits him here in Toronto. After a season of hype he will have some people expecting and some even demanding instant success. Raptors have set a very high bar for the expectations on this young man with fans. I feel that was a mistake and Raptors could have done a better job managing expectations. That said think everyone is hoping for a player that can solidify himself at center position for years to come. Now let's move on to who was in Vegas.

It was also disappointing to not get to see a full look at Quincy Acy. He unfortunately bruised his back late in the 2nd game of Summer League and did not return for final 3 games. In the brief glimpse we did see it was much as advertised. A bull in a china shop that is kind of everywhere that reminds you of Reggie Evans. Still different in the sense he does have some skill on offense. Acy was 5-11 from field and unlike Reggie he is a good foul shooter, only got to the line once but made both. He averaged 6 points and 5 boards in 22 and half minutes per game. Will have to wait till pre-season to get a full look at Acy but as I have said since draft night he will grow into a fan favourite he is destined to be that based on his skills, his attitude he brings to the floor and in what little we have seen friendly off of the court.

Terrance Ross started with a bang and ended with a fizzle. I think you saw both why the Raptors liked him and why other question the number he was selected at. He is a guy not afraid to shoot the ball. He fired up 70 shots in 5 games connecting on 26 to average 37.1%. That has to be a bit disappointing for someone the Raptors and others were touting as the best shooter in this draft class. Also may still need to get use to that NBA three point line as he was just 6-24 from behind the arc which is 25%. His defense was as advertised he averaged a steal a game. He runs on the break and showed he can finish at the rim. DeRozan not only has competition for minutes but for dunks in practice and in games. Still if were talking dunks it is still Demar who wins that. Ultimately I was impressed with the raw skill set that Ross has and obviously there is work to build on that but you can see this is a kid with both talent and confidence.

Ed Davis was the man for the Raptors in Summer League. No one he needed to defer to and it was all about Ed. I am not going to say it was a mind blowing success, but it was some steps in the right direction. Let's start with an average of 9.4 rebounds in 5 games and averaged 2 a game on offensive end of the floor. That is nice to see and in Ed Davis' role with the actual roster in begins on the glass. Davis in the season just averaged 6.6 rebounds. Next we had heard talk of Ed Davis having worked oh his shot and reconstructed it somewhat. Davis shot  26-51 from the field for a 51% field goal percentage. Compare that to season it is pretty much status quo with 51.3%. What was encouraging though was at the line. Davis got there 40 times and made 28 which works out to a 72.5%. That is a bump up from just 67% last season. While you can argue about level competition when evaluating Summer League the free throws are the same in Vegas as they are at the ACC. Perhaps the best thing was how Summer League closed for Davis. He got a key rebound and made to big free throws to secure a win. Nice way to close out things in Vegas. He averaged a block a game which you would like to see improve. He averaged just shy of a block a game last season. In general we saw a more aggressive Davis who still made his share of mistakes but overall you liked to aggressive nature we saw and some signs of adding some strength to his frame. Something coach Casey was admit he wanted both DeRozan and Davis to do with off-season.

As for everyone else it is unlikely any will be getting an invite to camp with the Raptors the only exception to that could be either Bobby Brown or Ben Uzoh. This would only be if the Raptors failed to bring in John Lucas III as is being reported or if some Calderon trade were to materialize in which the Raptors would be with only 2 point guards in Lowry and Lucas or Lowry and Calderon if he remains. I would give the edge to Uzoh only because he already has some time with the club if for no other reason. I like Bobby Brown but he is a guy that looks for his own offense a little to much for my liking. He has the second most shot attempts on the Summer League Roster (Ross led team with 70) and I just am not sure that makes me comfortable in a 3rd point guard. He is also a streaky shooter. When he is hot you love him, if he isn't you are begging him to pass the ball. Uzoh did have a good final game but I was not all that impressed. He entered this as the clear choice to get a camp invite and he leaves likely not getting one. This might be pure coincidence but the fact news leaks about Lucas III after three Summer League games might speak to what the Raptors thought of what they saw from both Uzoh and Brown. It is also just might have been next on check list after making a trade of James Johnson to the Kings with no salary coming back the other way.

You can check out all the stats for yourself on NBA.Com and judge for yourself on all of this. It could have been better, it could have been worse which is almost a reflection of the Raptors record in Summer League of 2-3. Not that it is about wins and losses in these games. Still it was an inconsistent Raptors squad that had moments of great play and other times where they could not score to save their lives. It is important to keep in mind that level of competition goes up a step in Pre-Season and another huge step in the Regular Season. It is also key to realize this is a small sample size at the early stages of a process that is an NBA Off-Season. I would not be fast to judge anything to harshly or be overly optimistic. It is just a peak in the window at where various players games are at.   

Raps Hang On To Finish Summer League With A Win

Oh the end of Summer League is here. Things we have learned from it? Ed Davis still has work to do but you can already see the difference in him being able to work with the coaching staff since April and have them guide his off-season work. Terrance Ross showed both some of the reasons why the Raptors took him at number 8 and some of the reasons why some folks feel that might have been high. Still the talent and the skills the Raptors were after seem to be there. It is now on both Ross and the Raptors to develop it. We only got a glimpse of Quincy Acy and you saw why many myself included mention the name Reggie Evans along side his. You also got to see a bit of the differences in terms of the offensive skill level he has. Aside from that not a lot else will matter from this Summer League roster. If the Raptors do in fact follow through as rumours suggest and sign John Lucas III than that would make Ben Uzoh and Bobby Brown's chances of an invite in the fall to camp as slim and none. Devoe Joesph represented himself well but he also likely is not in the Raptors future plans right now. As for today it is the Knicks provide the opposition as no one in New York is concerned with Summer League in the slightest as they still are coming to terms with Jeremy Lin taking the money and running to Houston. It has left many head scratching that suddenly now the Knicks have become concerned with money they pay someone. That team down the street in Brooklyn looks pretty good and Knicks more than anyone in the Atlantic will have to deal with that.

The Game:

Knicks miss on a three to open it up and Bobby Brown hits on his open look from three. Brown keeps it rolling and scores on a pull up jumper for 2. Ed Davis gets in on the fun and Raptors jump off to a 7-0 run against the Knicks still searching for first win in Summer League at 0-3. Knicks make a pair at the line and Ross misses his first attempt of that afternoon. Knicks battled there way back after a slow start to trail 8-6 with 6:20 to play in first. Bobby Brown forces a runner in the lane and that does hit with 5:53 to play. Both teams having trouble shooting hanging in the 20% range early on. Just one of the many reasons I will not miss Summer League that much. Ross with shot clock running down chucks it up for a long two and hits it to give Raptors a 12-8 lead. Poor D from the Raptors giving the Knicks a wide open three which they hit. Knicks were shooting just 25% prior to that but still you can't give anyone even in Summer League that open a look. Knicks make it back to back threes leaving the game tied at 14 with a Raptors bucket on the other end. Raptors would respond after letting the Knicks nose in front. Weems and Joesph with back to back buckets give the Raptors a 20-16 lead. Raptors would add a bucket as would the Knicks to make score after one 22-18 Raptors.

Raptors continue to get burned by the Knicks from three point range which is a surprise when you factor in the Knicks have shot only 19% from three coming into this one. Today they are now 3-6 currently. Ben Uzoh gets a steals and finishes it off on the other end. Raptors hanging on to the lead as Uzoh make it back to back hoops for him after a couple Knick free throws and Raptors lead 28-25. Uzoh seems to have took a page from Bobby Brown as for the third straight possession he goes up and this time draws a foul. Makes the score 30-26 Raptors. Ben Uzoh is doing it all himself after Knicks make one of two at the line Uzoh again draws contact and goes back to the line. He makes both and Raptors lead 32-27. Uzoh finally decides passing might be a good idea and Joesph nails a jumper to maintain the five point lead. J.R Smith's little brother answers for the Knicks and makes it a three point game. Landry Fields got interviewed on Knicks broadcast this guy continues to grow on me. He called the so called poison pill in Jeremy Lin's contract a tic tac for James Dolan the Knicks owner. If that is true what is the poison pill in his contract not much smaller than a tic-tac? As I ponder what is smaller than a tic-tac Ross gets to the line and gets the Raptors back in front as the Knicks had fought back to tie it at 37. Raptors give up jet another 3 from Withers who Ed Davis set a pick on after the bucket heading back up the floor and sent him flying. That didn't deter the little guy as he made a jumper to extend the lead to 4 after Raptors failed to score.Ross with a nice pass gets an assist to get Raptors back on scoreboard but they still trail 45-40 in late stages of half. Brown to Wright on the Alley Oop makes it 45-42. Ed Davis missed a jumper in the lane around foul line just inside of it on the block. Brown takes it himself and scores and draws the foul which Brown makes to tie the score with 10 seconds to play. Raptor give back what Knicks gave them with  basket and a foul. Brown able to get to line before time expires and cuts Knicks lead to 48-47 at the half.

Boy I must be pumped for end of Summer League there were game recaps not this long for regular season games last year. Ed Davis gets second half off to a better start with a jumper in rhythm on the baseline. This remains a tight affair tied at 51. Bobby Brown never shy to take a shot does and gives the Raptors a 55-53 lead. Ross extends that lead with a slam in transition. Raptors build on this advantage as the Knicks broadcast talks with Amare. Raptors continue to roll as the lead gets up to 7 points leading 62-55 with 5:30 to go here in the third. Brown the drive and drop off to Ed Davis who draws the foul. Davis has done a decent job getting to the line in Summer League and has been better once he gets there. I didn't jinx him as he makes both and Raptors lead keeps growing. Thompson finally ends the Raptors run with a bucket for the Knicks. Joesph answers on the other end and Raptors back up 9. Which is what the Raptors have held the Knicks to so far in this quarter just 9 points. Raptors get a three and extend largest lead of day to 12 point up 69-57 with 2:10 left in the third. Ben Uzoh gets his point total to double figures with a leaner with shot clock about to expire. Raptors took foot off the gas pedal a bit and allowed the Knicks to creep back a bit at the end of the 3rd. Another three late takes a 16 point lead and cuts it to 8. Raptors answer with a three to make it an 11 point lead after three with the score 76-65. Raptors in that 10 minutes out scored the Knicks 29-17.

Raptors start the 4th with a nice Alley oop and then get out on the break and score again quickly getting the lead to 15. But the Knicks still searching for a win were not apt to give up quite yet. They got things back to even for the quarter but that still leaves them 11 behind. Ed Davis grabs a board to get him to double figures which has been a regular occurrence in Summer League and is one point shy of a double double. Knicks trim Raptors lead to 9 with just under 5 to play. Ed Davis gets the lead back to double figures and gets himself a double double and Raptors lead 87-76. Knicks flirting with getting back in this down 89-81 with 2:34 to play. Knicks hit a three which has been a theme and the lead down to just 4. A charge on the other end and Knicks ball with 49 seconds to play. Make it a 2 point lead on strength of a 13-2 run. Davis misses on other end but secures rebound off a Knick miss that would have tied the game. Raptors heading to line with 12.1 to play. Joesph to the line missed second but Ed Davis get the board and he heads to line for 2 more with 11.1 to play. Makes both and ices the game. Knicks got three to make it interesting but Raptors escape with a 94-92 Win.

Knicks fall to 0-4 in Summer League and Raptors are done Summer League closing with two wins to finish 2-3. I have a complete wrap on Summer League later tonight or tomorrow. But quick take is Ed Davis showed us signs of improvement but still want to see more. Ross showed both why Raptors like him and why others think he was taken to high. Finished Summer League on sour note with just 5 points and shooting just 2-8. We unfortunately only got a glimpse of Quincy Acy who missed the last 3 games with a back bruise. He was as advertised in what we did see. As for the rest ultimately not likely to see any of them. Maybe Uzoh if the Raptors fail to sign John Lucas III. Joseph the Canadian and brother of Cory from the Spurs had a nice finish to Summer League today and here is hoping he catches on somewhere.

Things of Note:

  • Knicks 4-10 from three point range 
  •  Bobby Brown with 11 points shooting 3-5
  • Ed Davis just 3 points and 6 rebounds in first half.
  • Raptors shot 50% in first half
  • Big 3rd for the Raptors gives them double digit lead.
  • Quincy Acy remains out with back bruise.
 Heading to Nate Robinson Summer League Hall of Fame:

He was clutch at the end. So let's give it to Ed Davis with 15 points (12 in 2nd Half) , 11 rebounds and 2 Blocks. 

Heading to the NBDL:

Daniel Orton may not even make the D-League. 1-4 with 4 points and he was quite under whelming overall through 5 games. 


Raptors With News Off The Floor As They Win On It In Vegas.

Some big news before we get to all this Summer League bunk. The Savior Jonas Valanciunas has been signed. He is not here in Vegas Summer League as he will be taking his talents to London for his nation of Lithuania, as they qualified earlier in the month. Raptors could use him as they are 0-3. I know it is only Summer League and all of that.,,,,But still the Raptors haven't even been close to winning to this point. Ed Davis has been doing well though. There is that.

The Game

Kings jumped out to a 6-2 lead as they are led by JIMMER. But the Raptors would storm back and on Bobby Brown 3 would lead 10-7. The aforementioned Jimmer was 0-4. Terrance Ross would make a shot to extend  the lead to 5. Finally the Jimmer would hit one and it was 14-10 Raptors with under 4 to play in the first. After a strong debut and a couple ho hum games Terrance Ross early was showing off  the total back on the defensive end of the floor. That would be part of what helped the Raptors to an 18-14 lead.

Raptors opened the 2nd with a couple baskets to build a 22-14 lead. Joesph brother of Cory with a 3 and lead is up to 11 points. Raptors lead 31-23, but some news breaking as the Raptors play, that will not be good for Ben Uzoh and Bobby Brown. Raptors are on the verge of signing John Lucas III away from the Chicago Bulls. This would also make it much easier to move Jose Calderon should the Raptors want to do that or more likely are able to do that. Back in Vegas Devoe Joesph was have a nice performance with 10 early. Ross is looking good in this one as he makes a nice jumper. Jimmer for the Kings is finally getting on target he nails a three to get Kings back to single digits down seven. Kings were chipping away get lead down to 5. Ross with a nice steal but perhaps an ill advised three in transition that he misses. Ross would make up for that with a pretty jam off an inbound play. Raptors would close the half with Bobby Brown drive to hoop for the score and Raptors lead 47-39 at the half shooting 47% from the field.

Raptors keep the hot hands coming out of the locker room for 2nd half and extend the lead to 52-39. This was a fun game with some highlights on both ends and Raptors still controlling things with a 58-48 lead. Landry Fields was on commentary for this 3rd Quarter and guy is funny and distracting me from writing stuff. Bobby Brown score to re-establish a 14 point Raptor lead with score 67-53. Raptors fight hard and keep the 14 point lead heading the 4th leading 77-63.

Teams continued to trade buckets to start the 4th with score 81-67 Raptors. Ed Davis was having a tough day today but his Summer League team was pick him up. Davis got stripped in the post and went into another Raptors hands who would score. Davis had been good in first three games today not horrible but 2-9 so far and just 10 points and 6 rebounds. Ross on other hand has 20 and has been having his best complete game of summer league with play on both ends. Raptors had taken this one over with score 92-74 with just 3:02 to play. Kings were making a push late though cutting lead to 10 with 1:48 to play. Raptors were in danger of blowing this and made a line change subbing all 5 players out for the starting 5 with the lead trimmed down to 7. It was far from a great finish but the Raptors will hang on for their first win of Vegas Summer League as they hang on to win 96-89.

Things Of Note: 
  • Former Raptor Assistant Alex English coaching Kings Summer League squad. 
  • Landry Fields I have concluded is a funny dude. 
  • Ross showed off the defensive skills Raptors liked in him
  • Acy remains on sidelines with back bruise.
  • Was most complete effort so far minus the last 3 minutes of the 4th
Heading To Nate Robinson Summer League Hall Of Fame:

Ross 21 points (7-17, 2-3 from 3) 2 rebounds 2 assists and steal (7 Fouls- Only in SL)

Heading to NBDL:

Will be kind we got a win and no one was really awful in this one. Ed Davis did have an off day but he has been pretty solid for the first three games. Davis was 2-9 from field but did have 10 points and 9 rebounds.


DNB Touting Were On Tout, While Lowry Touting Playoffs?

Ok this maybe a really stupid idea or it might be a good one. Time will tell I am guessing. So as most of you know I am somewhat of a wrestling junkie and even started a blog for fun about it. In WWE they have started promoting this site called Tout. Not surprisingly they own part of this company. Basically what it is a video sharing site with just quick 15 second video takes. So I figured why not give this a shot and see if it can help us be more interactive with you. Here is my first Video Tout asking you about something Kyle Lowry had to say. I have yet to figure out how you embed these things so for now just use this link. You can also follow us on Tout @DNBOnTout. This may be The Next Big Thing in social media or it might be another idea we just let die. Basically your involvement will determine that.

Lowry and Fields Introduced At ACC

If you were hoping to see Steve Nash come to Toronto today will not measure up. That said ultimately that has nothing to do with Kyle Lowry or Landry Fields being Raptors. Lowry was rocking a bow tie for his presser that will make one of the members of Team DNB happy. Colangelo was on hand to introduce both and off the top touted both players abilities to play on the defensive end. "Two Gritty, strong, tough, defensive players" one of the many words Colangelo had to say praising his latest acquisitions. 

Lowry right out of the gate mentioned he felt could lead this team to playoffs. Fields was not making any predictions. Both stated that they were happy to be part of Toronto and Lowry even referred to Toronto as the T-Dot. Lowry said he went online to check out the Raptors roster when he found out about the trade. That might not speak well to the Raptors being known in the U.S. Lowry talked about working on his jumper and talking about working hard and getting his work done early. He also talked about his background in Philly and his relationship with former Raptor Alvin Williams.

Lowry was coming across as a very confident young man stating when asked about the ceiling on his skills he said he doesn't put one on himself. Colangelo talked about competition throughout the roster and including at the point guard position if Jose Calderon were to be back. Lowry echoed the comments of work and working hard throughout many of his answers. Fields was much more understated in comments a lot of times agreeing with stuff Kyle had said previously. When asked who he was looking forward to playing with Fields said Lowry. Which was an odd answer seeing as when he signed his offer sheet Lowry was not a Raptor. He had said he was excited to join the Raptors who had a lot of young up and coming talent.

Lowry will wear 3 and Fields will wear 9. There was mention of Nash of the top but no questions about him to Colangelo or Fields in the role his signing of his offer sheet played in the Raptors push to get Nash. Lots of talk of a fresh start for both and opportunity. I might add another word and that is pressure as this Raptor fan base is tired of losing and will hope these are to pieces of the puzzle to turning this team around. It is not going to be an easy challenge. Lowry certainly came of as a confident young man. Some Raptor fans wanted him all along and at least by his words today you can kind of see why. His play speaks for itself. Fields will have a chance to restore his promise that seemed to get taken away once the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony.

Time will tell if these are moves in the right direction. Unlike if this was Steve Nash being introduced there will need to be some winning that happens before everyone including the casual basketball fans are willing to buy into what the Raptors are selling.


Raptors Still Searching For A Win In Vegas.

So this game was not as easy to find with no Live T.V feed. So in being honest this re-cap might be a little less than I have done for first 2 with having to watch online. Will do our best though as the Raptors do their best to get a win. They will have to do it without Quincy Acy who signed a contract earlier today as you might have read here. The Raptors also said good bye to the Ninja James Johnson sending him to Sacramento for a future 2nd round pick as you also might have read here. Raptors take on the Mavs who have been in recovery mode after missing out on D-Will than Nash and No Scola either. Mark Cuban dreams of Chris Paul and D-12 next year perhaps. So maybe some of these guys on Mavs roster can earn a job as Cuban looks to wait till next year. Raptors could not score to save their lives yesterday. Lots of turnovers as well. It just was a typical ugly Summer League affair. Even Ross who impressed in Game one only had 14 on 4-14 shooting. So let's see how it goes today shall we.

The Game:

Sam Mitchell on call again and again is calling out Ed Davis. Davis did do well yesterday with 15 points and 12 rebounds but 4 turnovers. After giving up first basket the Raptors took a 6-2 lead in early going Ross opening the scoring for Toronto. Ed Davis was able to impress Sam with a move to hoop for two. Ross made a nice jumper with no hesitation and sticks it as Raps lead 10-6. Raptors have led most of the way and Bobby Brown not shy to shoot does from the corner for 3. He Davis dropped a dime not kidding at all and Raptors lead 19-13. Raptors take a nap and allow the Mavs to tie this game up at 19 late in the first. Raptors gave up 11 straight before Joesph was able to make two at the line with 1.9 seconds left in first. That would be last scoring of quarter and Mavs lead 24-21 after one.

It has been a pattern for Raptors they have started and closed quarters pretty badly. That continues today as Mavs are in midst of a 15-2 run that started at end of 1st. Turnovers costing Raptors and the lead for Mavs increases to 11. Ross on other end hits a three to bring it back to single digits. Weems a turnaround air ball will not help. That is Kyle not Sonny and no they are not related. Mavs re-establish a 11 point advantage with an easy score on the break it is 41-30 Mavs with a time out on the floor with 4:19 to play in the half. Ed Davis with ugly miss in paint but got his own rebound. Raptors labouring on offense again down 12 to Mavericks. Make it stop please? Mavericks lead 48-30 as Raps have been stuck on 30 for like ever. They still are at the half with score 50-30. Mavs end quarter on 13-0 run.

Ben Uzoh at 9:11 of the 3rd finally gets Raps on board with first of two free throws but misses the 2nd. Raptors have not had a field goal in so long some Vegas Shows opened and closed before the last time they scored one. Ed Davis finally makes a shot after he missed one earlier in the possession and Raptors have a FG. Ross would make the wait for the next one a lot shorter with a score on the drive. Still down 20 though with the score 55-35 Mavs. Raptors put together their own 9-0 run but they were still miles behind with score 55-40. Raptors had found a way to score once in awhile but defense was still a riddle yet to be solved with Mavs leading 67-52. Bobby Brown came in late in 3rd to ring up 6 points as he was still shooting.

Will keep the comments to minimum in the 4th quarter. Just because I am in a haze of Summer League awful. If Raptors get this to single digits I will change my mind. Bobby Brown his heating up though as he nails a three to make it 12 point game. Brown has 11 of Raptors last 13 and 14 overall. This is in part because he is making shots and in part because he rarely passes. Ross forces a three doing his best Bobby Brown impression but not as successful with the air ball. Raptors still down big 72-58. Raptors still down a dozen with 3:40 to play. Bobby Brown and Ed Davis share lead in team high  scorer with 17 each. Also as much as I have joked about it Brown has 4 assists I don't remember any of them but that is what stat sheet says. Ed Davis with a deep jumper for two and he hits 20 points on the game Raptors still down 11 though and time is running short with 2 and change to play. Mavs step on gas pedal a little and lead is back to 15 with under 2 minutes to play. Good Night Vegas make sure to tip your waitress as this game is done. Dallas takes it 85-75 and Raptors fall to 0-3 in Summer League action. 

Things Of Note: 

Raptor Offense continues to struggle. Shooting 36.7% at half.
D not exactly much better giving up 50 in a 20 minute first half.
Nice games for Ed Davis and Bobby Brown.
Raptors cleaned up turnovers in 2nd half

Heading To Nate Robinson Summer League Hall of Fame:

Ed Davis  23 points 9-14 with 7 Rebounds and just 2 turnovers

Heading To NBDL:

Kyle "Don't Call Me Sonny" Weems 4 points (2-10) 0-4 from 3

Acy Inked

Toronto Raptors have signed Quincy Acy their 37th overall pick out of Baylor. It is a multi year deal. Acy who was injured at the end of yesterday's game with Heat told reporters after that he was fine and will see if he suits up today versus Dallas. Acy had 6 points and 6 rebounds vs Houston in 28 minutes of action and 6 points and 4 rebounds in just 18 mins vs Heat before leaving the game in the fourth with an injury.

As I stated on draft night Acy is finally a good second round pick for the Raptors. I am totally confident that he will grow into a fan favourite with fans in his time in Toronto. He said at his opening presser his motivation to do well was "To feed his son." Now with an NBA Contract he can do more than that and will likely earn every penny he is paid in doing so. Hard not to root for this young man the way he plays the game.

Ninja Vanish

As we reported earlier the Raptors were on verge of moving James Johnson to the Sacramento Kings and the deal is done. The Raptors will get in return a 2nd round pick from the Kings in 2014. Here is the official Release from the Raptors on the Trade:

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have traded forward James Johnson to the Sacramento Kings for a 2014 second-round draft choice. The Kings will absorb the remainder of Johnson's contract providing the Raptors with additional roster and salary cap flexibility. “The addition of Landry Fields and Terrence Ross created some crowding at the wing positions,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “This move frees up minutes for our players under contract, increases our financial flexibility and opens up a roster spot to address other needs.” Johnson averaged 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 25.2 minutes in 62 games last season. He was acquired from Chicago on February 22, 2011. In 87 appearances with the Raptors, Johnson posted averages of 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 26.0 minutes.
Raptor will be taking on Mavericks in Summer League Action at 6pm local time today and you can check for a full re-cap in DNB shortly after. So good bye to James Johnson who was someone I always enjoyed for his honesty in talking with him. It seems he and Dwane Casey could not get on the same page and that is what is at the core of this move. He was benched late last season for an incident that apparently occurred during a practice late in the season.

Ninja No More As Fields and Lowry Welcomed Tomorrow

Some news on a couple fronts this morning. Ryan Wolstat from the Sun who is Vegas is reporting that you can expect James Johnson to be traded by the end of the day. Mark Stein also confirms that a deal between the Raptors and Kings is looming. Don't expect a big haul for James Johnson. He feel out of favour after an incident with Coach Casey that saw him benched and never really returned to his normal minutes. Most felt Johnson would not do well in a reserve roll and the Raptors now will likely start Fields at the 3.

Speaking of Fields both he and Kyle Lowry are expected to meet the media on Tuesday around noon at the ACC Tomorrow. It will be interesting to hear what both have to say. Was Lowry happy about his trade? What does he think about having a disgruntled Jose Calderon as his potential back up? Perhaps some answers on those and a lot more. In terms of Fields he picked Toronto but did he think or hope the Knicks would match? Oh yeah and what about all that money? Will see what is asked and what is answered tomorrow.

Raptors continue Summer League today and will have a complete re-cap of the action from Vegas. So come back later tonight for that.


Offensively Challenged Raptors Can't Take The Heat

So after a day off the Raptors get set for a Summer League back to back facing the Miami Heat today with another game set for tomorrow. In game number one the Raptors looked good through 3 quarters of play. Terrance Ross gave Raptor fans a taste of all he can do. Made some threes had a couple slams and led the team with 21 points. Ed Davis also looked pretty good, not perfect but showed some signs he has got a little stronger and had one brief stretch where he looked dominant. Bobby Brown was chucking up shots and making some while Ben Uzoh had a solid nothing flashy performance. Ultimately one of these two guys should be getting an invite to camp if they earn it. This is regardless of what becomes of Jose Calderon situation. Raptors other rookie Quincy Acy was kind of all over the place and was getting his feet wet on the this next level. Heat likely don't have same amount of talent the Rockets do in terms of players under contract so it should make for an easier opponent for the Raptors. Also in case you missed it Landry Fields is officially coming to town as we told you last night in the DNB. So let's go and get this Summer League extravaganza under way.

The Game:

We have something interesting before we even start as former Raptor Head Coach Sam Mitchell is on the call for NBA-TV. That might be most entertaining part of this game based on the start and it took till the 8:13 mark for Norris Cole to split a pair at the line and register first point of game for the Heat. Oh and by the way Chris Bosh in the house to watch because he is lonely and needs attention.  Ross finally gets Raptors on the board at the 6:36 mark and it was only 3-2 Heat this is not going in the Summer League instant classic vault. Eventually this game would develop a pulse and Ed Davis with a nice score to get Raptors with in two down 8-6 more than half way through the 10 minute first quarter. Raptors defense has been better or the level of competition is not as high I will leave that for you to judge. Raptors added a player to roster for Summer League? Kyle Weems and I confirmed he is not related to Sonny. If your wondering why not much is being said about the game, it is 12-11 Raptors with just 1:44 to play. Summer League yucky at it's finest. Heat went on a 7-0 run to close the first quarter.

Chris Bosh joins commentary to start 2nd quarter. Reason see above and also to stick it to Toronto that he won a title. While Chris Bosh tells us about his so fabulous life Heat continue the run to 11-0 carrying on from end of the first. Chris Bosh is still flapping his gums and the Raptors finally scored a basket. Chris Bosh is finally leaving maybe someone will talk about the game, including me? Heat lead 25-15 in the game by the way. Ross about the only bright spot for Raptors so far as he splits a pair at the line and has 10 of the Raptors 19 point with 4:46 to play. Raptors creeping back in this game and Ed Davis helping out with a bucket to make it 27-21. Sam Mitchell says the Raptors have a lot of young talent they just need to step up. So I guess Sam is sleeping on Ed Davis too. Quincy Acy has some good luck after a slow start making a shot as he hits the deck to get the Raptors to within two as Heat lead 27-25. This came finally got to halftime with the Raptors shooting bricks and yet some how only down 2 points with score 31-29 at the half.

Despite my protests they will play a second half in this game. Raptors continued to be scoring challenged as the Heat get the early jump and score the first 7 points of the half. Ed Davis heads to the line with with a chance to get Raptors on board in 2nd half after being scoreless for the first 2:31 of quarter. He would make both and score was 38-31 for Miami. Raptors could barely buy a FG in this game but find themselves down 43-37 with under 4 to play in 3rd. We also still had Sam Mitchell for some laughs too. Rafael Araujo once had 14 fouls in a Summer League game when I coached. Ah the memories of Summer Leagues past. Ed Davis was taking advantage of all these missed shots with 10 rebounds to go with 13 points. Acy after a slow start gets a basket to pull the Raptors within two with score 43-41 for Miami. Raptor kept chipping away and had their first lead in a long time with score 44-43 Raptors with under a minute to play in 3rd. Heat would respond though and get a nice dunk from some guy you will never here from again. He would be fouled which was a theme in this game teams had combined for 48 fouls to this point. No idea what Summer League Record is for fouls by two teams in a game. Terrible close out to 3rd for Toronto and they trail 50-44 heading to the 4th with 10 minutes left to play.

Quincy Acy is a bitter awkward on offense but effective as he gets in the paint and scores with an unusual looking little hook in the lane. In this game if it goes in it is good though. Heat would again make some distance and take a 57-48 lead. Quincy Acy took a spill as he was attempting to challenge a shot. He got a foul and fell hard on his back and hit the wood. But in true Reggie Evans like fashion he got back to his feet. Raptors decided to use discretion and sub him out of the game.  Again like in game one for the Raptors they were looking awful in the 4th quarter as Heat have built up a 67-50 lead with about 5 minutes to play. Barring some kind of comeback there is not much to say about this one. Raptors make it look a little more respectable for those who only check the final score. Heat take it 71-59. Ross followed his 21 point performance with 14 points and just 4-14 from the field.

 Things Of Note:

Both teams shot under 30% in First Quarter (Summer League is AWESOME) 
Raptors "SUPPOSED" SUPER FAN hanging with Chris Bosh:

Raptors shooting 28.6% at half. Heat 22.9% (Bricks For Sale Bricks For Sale)
Both point guards having issues in this one bad shooting aside.
Fouls were plentiful in this one. 
Acy leaves game in 4th after hard fall on his back.

Heading to Nate Robinson Summer League Hall of Fame:

Ed Davis 15 points 12 rebounds ( 4 Turnovers- Not so Hot )

Heading to NBDL:

Ben Uzoh  0 points 0 assists  2 rebounds and 5 turnovers 


Raptors' Fields of Dreams- Kinicks Will Not Match

It would appear in 45 minutes Landry Fields will officially be a Toronto Raptor. Frank Isola one of the Knick Beat Reporters as well as regular contributor on NBA-TV tweeted about an hour ago the Knicks will in fact not match on Fields. This makes Spike Lee's Fields jersey now worthless. It also means the Raptors cap space is all accounted for unless an unexpected Amnesty of someone were to go down in the next 2 days. Fields is set to make an average of about 6.6 million in the reported 3 year offer sheet. In the third year of that deal the number spikes to like 9 million plus. The Raptors are on record saying that while Feilds did help in there quest to get Steve Nash that they had legitimate interest in him as well. If that is fact or fiction the reality is they now have him. Raptors are back at it in Summer League tomorrow taking on the Miami Heat minus the star power. We will have a re-cap of all the action from Vegas.

What took the Knicks so long? We're they seriously considering keeping Fields? Or were they just trying to mess with Raptors and make them sweat it out? If the Knicks were serious about keeping Field's the new modified offer sheet the Jeremy Lin signed with Houston likely changed all that. Lin would get paid a totally insane amount in the 3rd year of this deal that would make him like not have to ever sleep on a couch again. Fields can offically starting moving his couch and all the rest of his stuff across the border and find a pad for him and his girlfriend to call home in Toronto. People may not believe this but I had never seen her till last week. She kinda looks like Pam Anderson before she aged. Anyway done deal as you now have a constant reminder of the fact Steve Nash said no. Fields will hope to be more than that in his time with the Raptors.

Update Midnight: Raptors Official Press Release On Fields Signing.

The Toronto Raptors announced Sunday they have signed guard-forward Landry Fields after the New York Knicks chose to not match Toronto’s offer sheet for the restricted free agent. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.The Raptors signed Fields to an offer sheet Wednesday. Under the terms of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, beginning Thursday the Knicks had three days to match the Raptors’ offer. Fields, 6-foot-7, 215 pounds, has averaged 9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 30 minutes in 148 games. He has appeared in every contest the past two seasons, making 143 starts. Fields was a 2010-11 T-Mobile All-Rookie First Team selection and twice named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month (November and December 2010). He paced the Knicks in rebounding 22 times, and set a franchise rookie-record making 86 three-pointers. He had two 20-plus scoring games and 11 double-doubles. He scored a career-high 25 points versus Philadelphia on February 6, 2011 and recorded a career-best 17 rebounds on November 16, 2010 at Denver. Fields scored in double figures in 25 outings last season, with a high of 21 at Sacramento on December 31. He posted double-digit scoring efforts in nine of 10 games from January 18 – February 3, averaging 13.6 points. He also contributed seven games with at least three steals, A native of Southern California, Fields was an All-Pac-10 First Team selection as a senior at Stanford in 2009-10, with averages of 22.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 36.3 minutes in 32 games (all starts)


Ross Impresses But Rockets Win

So it is the Raptors vs the Rockets, kinda, sorta but not really. These two teams hooked up for a trade that sees Kyle Lowry make his way north and Rockets getting an undetermined lottery pick for the future and Gary Forbes. Josh earlier today gave you an excellent break down of your Raptors Summer League Edition in the blog. Ed Davis says I am sleeping on him as he informed me on Twitter. I can assure Ed and all of you that no one is sleeping on Ed Davis right now. He is the main guy that everyone will be focused on as the Raptors play these next 5 games. Davis was not able to have a Summer League after his rookie season with the Raptors due to the NBA Lockout. The lack of time he had with coaching staff as a result of that lockout led to a season in which people expected more than what Ed provided. That is not sleeping on Ed it is just being honest about it. This is a chance for him to give people reason to feel good about him.

Aside from Davis the Raptors have rookies Terrance Ross and Quincy Acy to get their first looks from Raptor fans. However perhaps the most vital thing of this Vegas Summer League will be the two point guards the Raptors have on this squad. Ben Uzoh the last Raptor to record a triple double as he was playing with Toronto on 10 day contracts at the end of last season. Bobby Brown who was on the 2010 SL roster and is a guy that is friendly with guys on the squad like Demar and Amir. Who wins this battle might ultimately win a job on this roster. Especially with talk the Raptors and Jose Calderon seem to be heading for the NBA version of a divorce. So that might be the biggest thing to watch over the next 5 games.

The Game:

Raptors win the tip and Ed Davis ends up with a jumper that misses. That is how your Summer League begins. Ross would open the scoring with hitting a corner 3 after a stop for Raptors on D. Ed would get a score and one showing off some of that strength he is adding? Makes the and one. NBA-TV had score board screwed up but after Joesph Canadian Content three ball it was 11-7 Raptors. Ross gets to the line with 4:54 to play makes a couple. This seems a good time to remind you that in Summer League it is 10 minute quarters and you also get 10 fouls. Raptors offense hit the skids and Houston was taking advantage of Raptors with some new folks on the floor including former Orlando first rounder Daniel Orton. Rockets lead 22-17. Brown still chucking and hits one from deep. Ross a half court buzzer beater does not fall so Rockets lead 22-20 after one.

Acy looks and plays a lot like Reggie Evans, but offense is a little different as he shows with a nice jumper. Ross showed why he has that Twitter handle with a throw down on a Ben Uzoh feed very nice. Sparked the Raptors a bit and they were back on top 29-24. But the Rocket would battle back and re-take lead with 3:47 to play in half 33-31. I would suspect coach Casey will not be thrilled with the defense. Ed Davis has a sneaky 10 points and 4 rebounds as he tries to steal some spotlight from Ross who was most impressive Raptors on the floor to this point. Make that 12 as Davis caught fire near end of the half.  It was 41-40 at half Rockets.

Motiejunas with a nice post move on Ed Davis for a score in paint. He has been big for Rockets with 13 to lead all scorers at this point in game in the early 3rd. Joesph finally got the Raptors on the board in the 2nd half after 2:20 of nothing on offense. Rockets were scoring though and lead 47-42. Ross with another 3 and Raptors were back to within 2 points after a sluggish start. Ed Davis with some need D with a block and Ross with a slam and finish on the other end. Ross is winning over people by leaps and bounds in his debut. Ben Uzoh having a nice day as well hits a jumper and this puppy was tied at 52. Raptors and Rockets would keep it close and Raptors would stick their nose in front 62-61 after 3.

Bobby Brown nail his funky funky three to open up the 4th. It seems that both Raptor point guards have been keeping up on the NBA news as relates to Jose Calderon. Bobby Brown doing it by scoring with 13 and not shy from 3 attempting 8 and making 3. Uzoh doing a little bit of everything with 6 boards and 5 rebounds and 3 dimes. That said the Rockets would getting better of play in the 4th leading 74-70 with about 5 and change to play. Daniel Orton in first summer league game for Orlando was kicked out. Seems he hasn't learned a lot as he got a tech for the Raptors in his debut with them. This game was slipping away from the Raptors but a nice hard foul from Ed Davis. He turns it over on the other end though when I try to give him some love. Rockets turn that into points and lead 81-70. Ed Davis would get bailed out with a fould and split a pair but then on the transition would show a little something with a slam. Learn how to spell Motiejunas as he was taking over this game late. Davis left him wide open for a three. He would score again and had a game high 25. Ross with a drive and score for the lay-up in garbage time to give him 21 to lead the Raptors in scoring but it was not enough as Rockets take it 93-81.  

Things Of Note:
  •  Ross and Ed Davis lead Raps in scoring at half with 12 each. Davis also had 6 boards but 4 fouls to go along with that. 
  • Ben Uzoh appears to be following the Calderon News and playing like he wants a job
  • Getting beat on Glass early 22-16 after 1st half.
  • B.C was on broadcast and once again said Jose is not happy about the trade. But would not confirm or deny he has asked to be traded. 
  • Raptors D overall was not that impressive. Really fell apart in the 4th.
  • Ed Davis looked more aggressive still a work in progress.
  • Ross made a lot of fans today.

Heading To Nate Robinson Summer League Hall Of Fame:

Terrance Ross:  21 points 8-19 (3-8 from 3) 3 rebounds 2 assists, 2 steals and two Hi-light Slams

Heading to the NBDL: 

Daniel Orton: 0 points 3 rebounds and boneheaded tech foul.

Toronto Raptors NBA Summer League 2012 Preview

At 6 PM ET tonight, the Toronto Raptors take on the Houston Rockets in Las Vegas. Summer League allows teams to evaluate their young talent, veteran journeymen and players overlooked in the past. This year's roster contains a bit of everything. Check it out:

0 Bobby Brown, G 6-2 175 9/24/1984 (Cal-State Fullerton)
2 Terrell Stoglin, G 6-1 185 11/10/1991 (Maryland)
4 Quincy Acy, F 6-8 225 10/6/1990 (Baylor)
8 Devoe Joseph, G 6-4 180 6/21/1989 (Oregon)
18 Ben Uzoh, G 6-3 205 3/18/1988 (Tulsa)
21 Trent Plaisted, F-C 6-11 220 10/20/1986 (BYU/USA Aliaga)
25 Rodney Carney, F 6-7 205 4/5/1984 (Memphis State)
31 Terrence Ross, G 6-7 197 2/5/1991 (Washington)
32 Ed Davis, F 6-10 225 6/5/1989 (North Carolina)
33 Daniel Orton, C 6-10 255 8/6/1990 (Kentucky)

This roster is very interesting for a number of reasons. Right off of the bat, you have the rookies, Ross and Acy. Most fans have been judging these two by Youtube mixes and word of mouth, so it'll be nice to see what they're made of. Ross' scoring ability should be on full display this week. Expect a TON of threes and a few dunks. Acy will likely be a garbage man that hustles for offensive boards and blocks shots. I'm eager to see his ability in the post. Does he have any semblance of a post game?

Also of note is the return of Ed Davis. In years past, Ed has had to defer to players like DeMar DeRozan and Sonny Weems in Summer League play. This year, he's the main guy. The Raptors brass have been adamant that Davis is a new player. They said he's more focused, more skilled, bigger, and should essentially dominate over the next week. Is he a quality 4? His first two years have been incredibly inconsistent. The Raptors seem convinced that he's still quite the stud, and claim to have invested a ton of time in his development this summer. Things to watch for? His jumper. Let's see if the Raptors have actually rebuilt his form like they said they would.

Ben Uzoh is almost certain to make the Raptors' regular season roster barring an explosion by Stoglin or Summer League vet Bobby Brown. Casey and the coaching staff love Uzoh, and believe his steady play last season is just the beginning of what he can do in the future. Brown has been on the Raptors' Summer League team for what feels like forever, and in all honesty I'm not sure why they keep bringing him back. Sure, he's friends with DeMar, Sonny, and Davis. But if you're bringing someone in to suck up to your players? That's not a good look.

One of the most intriguing players on this squad is Rodney Carney. Carney is your prototypical athletic freak, with unlimited potential that he just never seemed to reach. I wouldn't be shocked if he made the regular season team as the third string wing man. He's a decent defender on his athleticism alone, he's incredibly quick, and can hit the three with consistency. Expect a lot of head scratching with Carney, though. He's that J.R. Smith/Gerald Green type of player.

Devoe Joseph was an interesting addition to this roster. I always like it when teams give a local guy a chance, and the Raptors have finally brought someone in with actual talent. Joseph's college career was shaky to say the least. He wasn't able to showcase his abilities the way he'd have liked, and his rumoured maturity issues certainly didn't help his draft stock during the draft. However, he's a very talented player, and should attract a bunch of Canadian basketball fans.

I'm not sure why the Raptors decided to give Daniel Orton a chance. He's a bruiser with few skills. Even when Dwight Howard went down in Orlando, Orton didn't see much playing time because, quite frankly, he's just not very good. He's also a bit of a knucklehead, something that the Raptors have been trying to distance themselves from. There's almost no chance Orton makes the team, with a very deep rotation between the 4 and the 5 with Bargnani, Johnson, Davis, Valanciunas, and Gray.

The Raptors probably won't finish Summer League with a very good record, but they should be a fun bunch to watch. The plethora of athletic shooters and undersized hustle players speaks to the types of players the Raptors are looking for to fill out their roster. If I had to guess, I'd say Uzoh is a lock, and Carney has a bit of a chance. Time will tell though.

How do you guys think the Raptors' Summer League team will do?

Another Player Raptors Risk Getting Nothing For?

It was kind of not taken seriously by some when I suggested that Jose Calderon would be unhappy and not want to remain in Toronto. ESPN report later and suddenly I am looking like I know what I am talking about. The problem is while Calderon believe it or not does have interest from a number of teams they are content to play chicken with the Raptors about getting him. In most of the situations talked about Calderon would just be a rental starting PG or if acquired through a trade a really expensive back up.

The team that could use him most is likely the Dallas Mavericks. However the Mavericks would only need him for this season. It seems that Mark Cuban and company are happy to wait till the Amnesty deadline of July 17th and see if the Raptors will blink and just Amnesty Calderon. This is not something the Raptors plan on doing.

If Calderon is not able to be moved you are asking for trouble in a couple of ways as stated yesterday. 1) You have a PG controversy from the opening day of training camp. Or 2) what happens if Jose gets hurt in Olympics again? Raptors in both cases would prefer to avoid that. My guess is regardless of Calderon situation the Raptors will look strongly at bringing in the best PG from their Summer League Roster. Which includes Ben Uzoh who they had on a few 10 day contracts, Bobby Brown who Raptors had the last time we had Summer League a few years ago was on that roster.

That said there is a huge drop off from Lowry to either of them. Bryan Colangelo has a real problem on his hands and it is going to be interesting to see how he finds a way out of it. Seems some NBA Teams are not willing to make a deal for Calderon but would strongly encourage Bryan Amnesty Calderon so they could swoop in and get him for nothing but what it would take to bid for him via Amnesty.

After letting Chris Bosh walk for nothing and the Raptors history of getting very little to nothing for their key players the idea of Calderon being gone for nothing is not one they really want to see happen. Given their history though it one that would surprise almost no one. It is no secret around the league that Calderon has been available after the failed trade for him with Charlotte. The Raptors already did let Bayless (Sign w/Grizzlies) walk for nothing who was the key piece in the trade for Jarret Jack when he was moved. There is a long history of guys that have not been able to play with Jose Calderon long term in a PG tandem. The Raptors would like to keep Kyle Lowry's name off this list despite stating the opposite. The difference is this time it is Calderon that is going to be tossed aside but the Raptors are doing everything possible to make sure it is not for nothing. 

Raptors Release Summer League Roster

Raptors have Released their official Summer League Roster and HERE IT IS: 

No.      Name                       Pos.    Ht.         Wt.        Birth Date         College          
0          Bobby Brown          G         6-2        175       9/24/1984          Cal-State Fullerton
2          Terrell Stoglin         G         6-1        185       11/10/1991       Maryland                     
4          Quincy Acy              F          6-8        225       10/6/1990          Baylor                       
8          Devoe Joseph        G         6-4        180       6/21/1989          Oregon                   
18       Ben Uzoh                G         6-3        205       3/18/1988          Tulsa                          
21       Trent Plaisted         F-C     6-11      220       10/20/1986       BYU                              
25       Rodney Carney      F          6-7        205       4/5/1984            Memphis State          
31       Terrence Ross        G         6-7        197       2/5/1991            Washington                
32       Ed Davis                  F          6-10      225       6/5/1989            North Carolina            
33       Daniel Orton           C         6-10      255       8/6/1990            Kentucky                   

Their first action is tonight vs the Rockets and you can catch it on NBATV Canada it would appear live at 6pm. We will have Recaps of all the Raptors Summer League Games here on the DNB.