David Thorpe Speaks On The Raptors (Davis, Bargnani, DeRozan, Weems, Alabi And...)
here's a chat with David Thorpe, an analyst for ESPN.com who is the executive director of Florida's The Pro Training Center. Covering summer league daily, Thorpe took some time out to discuss the Raptors squad, the upside of Ed Davis, Solomon Alabi's willingness to "knock you on your ass" and why he thinks Toronto won at the draft.
"I was really high on the kid. I think that his feel for the game is really good. I think he's got the upside potential of being a scorer. Like I've been tweeting, he's got this slinky game where he can kind of move around guys. Kind of like Bosh, actually. He's not Bosh-level, but, he's not that far away from it. He's got a great touch around the basket. He doens't have Bosh's quickness, but he's got a good bounce. He just knows where to be. His instincts are excellent. He's always in the right place. He's also got an edge defensively, likes to block shots, which is something I didn't expect to see necessarily at this level. He's somebody who is going to score in this league. I don't know if he'll be a low-post threat, that would obviously be the ideal situation for Toronto, but he's going to be able to score off of other people, at a very high percentage. As he gets stronger, he'll get fouled more because he'll be able to handle contact better and refs will reward that. I think he's a guy that's going to be an above average player in the league.
"Going in I would have taken Patterson over Davis, but after watching them both play... I liked Patterson better, I still like Patterson a lot, but now I see Davis as a guy that maybe has more upside and I think Toronto is going that route a little bit. They're a young team and Davis has a chance to be a better player than Patterson over time."
DeRozan & Weems
How do you see his game fitting with or complementing Andrea Bargnani's game?: "Not great. I don't know that he'll be the rebounder that you'll probably want to put next to Andrea. He's someone that I can see being in a rotation, but not always with Andrea. I personally think Andrea needs a guy that's a big time shot blocker, a real five. Ed's a four. I see Ed as a backup to Andrea, but a nice little mix, he obviously does most of his scoring in the paint where Andrea does it from the outside."
"It's marked. Two of the more improved players from one summer league to the next. DeRozan, part of it's just more confidence. A year older, stronger, tougher, all of that. His command with the ball was good. Same with Weems. Both of them athletically are excellent together. They defended hard, they raced the floor, stayed very involved in the transition game. Absolutely felt comfortable being the leading scorers of the team. The difference now is Weems can shoot the three and DeRozan can't. At some point you want your two-guard in the NBA to be able to make threes so that's something DeMar's going to add to his game if not this year, certainly by next year. There's plenty of time this year. Players may struggle in November and December, but shoot it well in February and March.That's something I would guess he will try to mix in every day as time goes on to make it more a part of his game."
Had teams not been scared off by Alabi's illness...
"I thought there were some times where he really showed what you want to see in a seven-footer. He made a lot of plays around the rim. He's a guy that really shoots it well, I'm not sure he missed but one jumpshot this week, but he hasn't taken many. To me, this is a good thing. You want him around the rim where he can use his size and length to his advantage. He did a great job racing the floor, going rim to rim. The Raptors summer league team was so guard dominated with those two wings especially, Alabi and Davis did a good job running the floor and it would open up the lane for the wings, for Weems or DeRozan because the first guy back on defence was worried about the big guy. You don't get an assist on that, but that was good basketball. Most of the times, Alabi did a good job of not fouling, which I thought was really important. When he did foul, he did so aggressively, which is what the Raptors sorely need. He has no problem knocking you on your ass and not apologizing for it. I think he needs to play a lot of time in the D-League playing a lot as a focal point kind of guy and I think he'll end up being a longtime NBA player."
Source: The Score
"I can't imagine he would have gone below early 20's."