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Raptors Media Coverage: ESPN Shows Love

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  • Raptors Media Coverage: ESPN Shows Love

    The Morning Coffee does a great job of rounding up the Raptors news but starting with tonight's TNT game and rolling into the All Star weekend, there are going to be lot more media eyes on the Raptors. Feel free to post any here as you find one. Here's a front page one from ESPN just now

    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14...nference-crown

    "Toronto, the NBA's fifth-largest market, is the best-kept secret in the league. The city is cosmopolitan, demographically diverse and the team packs the Air Canada Centre to capacity every night. Media scrums in Toronto are robust. The Raptors don't have a rich history or legacy, but they're trending up in all the leading indicators of franchise health"

  • #2
    ESPN showing Raptors LOVE!

    Lowry carried a reputation for years as salty, a bit chunky and ubercompetitive. Elected as an All-Star starter for the second time last week, the new and improved Lowry now has 25 percent less sodium and fat, but all the same grit and tenacity as the original formula.
    By every measure, he and DeRozan compose the Eastern Conference's best backcourt for a team that's riding a nine-game winning streak entering its Thursday night matchup with the New York Knicks. DeRozan has evolved from a high-efficiency, low-usage sinkhole into a more nuanced offensive player with multiple speeds.

    Contested midrange jumpers constituted 30.1 percent of his field goal attempts the previous two seasons, but are down to only 21.3 percent of his shot selection this season. This evolution has culminated at a moment when DeRozan is almost certain to opt out of his current contract.
    "The kid works his ass off," Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri says. "Every single year he's gotten better -- and that's pride. I went to meet him in L.A. this summer. And when you meet DeMar, you meet him in the gym. He's there 24-7. He's not doing it to impress anybody. He just loves the gym, loves to work out."
    Jonas Valanciunas is still a somewhat mechanical big man -- and that might never change -- but he's aware of his limitations (possibly too aware), doesn't take a lot of bad shots, is careful with the ball, and gets to the line and converts. All of it adds up to one of the more efficient centers in the league.
    In Luis Scola, the Raps have found a sensible, stretchy forward who knows where to be in the half court on every possession. Their final piece is DeMarre Carroll, who is sidelined following knee surgery, but when healthy is an opportunistic wing who can slash, make plays and shoot from distance.
    Meanwhile, Toronto's six-through-nine guys have built themselves into a dominant bench mob that's crushing opposing reserves. After a quick blow late in the first quarter, Lowry often returns with Cory Joseph, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson and Bismack Biyombo. Collectively, they're plus-32.6 per 100 possessions in 116 minutes. The starters have been fine on the defensive side of the ball, but the reserves are the unit that really brings down the Raps' defensive efficiency number.
    "Our mindset was that we're not very good defensively last season, and we need to get better," Ujiri says. "So we got some two-way players. We added in Cory [Joseph], Bis[mack Biyombo], DeMarre [Carroll] and Scola. We had to get better, we had to get quicker on our feet. We had to get tougher."
    Casey came to Toronto as one of the sharpest defensive minds in the league. But with the exception of the 2013-14 season, when the Raptors finished as the No. 3 seed, they have struggled to wed their roster with a scheme that works. Most of the league has adopted pick-and-roll coverages that direct opposing ball handlers away from the middle of the floor. But with the deficiencies Ujiri enumerated above, Casey opted to have defenders square up against attackers, a strategy that was effective in Dallas, where he coordinated the defense. With Lou Williams, Greivis Vasquez and less experienced players with less intuition than the Mavericks' graybeards, not so much.

    "This league is a lot about personnel and what you have to work with," Casey says. "A lot of things you want to do and the type of team you want to have are one way. I'm thankful to Masai and the front office that went out and got better defensive players, no disrespect to the guys that were here. But Cory and Biyombo are better defenders. DeMarre Carroll is a better defender and that breeds a better defensive team."
    *mcHAPPY side note on bold: I'm thankful Masai went out and got better assistant coaches who took responsibility for implementing new defensive strategy.

    A leaner Lowry means a quicker Lowry, and while DeRozan and Valanciunas aren't elite defenders by any stretch, the continuity of the starters coupled with better speed and instincts has allowed the Raptors to institute a push/ice pick-and-roll scheme. That leaves them less vulnerable to middle drives, easy kickouts and general confusion after ranking toward the top of the league in "Was that you or me?" looks after surrendering buckets.

    "Fewer decisions -- it's left, it's right, it's one way," Lowry says. "Now that we're keeping it on the sideline, it makes it more convenient and helps [Valanciunas] know where he has to get at all times."
    April has not been kind to the Raptors, and the postseason failures are stuck in their collective craw.

    "You can dissect it any way you want, but there was no positive that came out of it," Ujiri says.
    Ujiri might have the best job in the NBA. At a time when owners are increasingly itchy and interventionist, the Raptors' confederation of corporate and individual owners is decidedly low-maintenance and gives its charges in basketball operations plenty of space. The Raptors are willing to invest in medical, scouting, facilities and, of course, talent -- a good thing, because the Raps will almost certainly have to exceed the cap to retain DeRozan.
    Toronto, the NBA's fifth-largest market, is the best-kept secret in the league. The city is cosmopolitan, demographically diverse and the team packs the Air Canada Centre to capacity every night. Media scrums in Toronto are robust. The Raptors don't have a rich history or legacy, but they're trending up in all the leading indicators of franchise health.
    Toronto made LaMarcus Aldridge's short list last summer, and though the Raptors were a long shot at best, meetings with top-line free agents have a way of sending notice to NBA players and their representatives that an organization can hold its own at the league's adult table. In Ujiri's mind, gone are the days when players kvetched about not having "the good cable" at their condos in Toronto.
    "It's simple: Win," Ujiri says. "If you have a good culture, you can attract free agents. We have a very unique opportunity here."


    http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/14...nference-crown


    I find the last line interesting. Raptors don't have any cap space this summer. What is up your sleeve, Masai?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: what is up your sleeve

      Ibaka?!

      Here's the sell: slightly higher usage than okc, become a big name star in Canada, and join a team now better than yours was once you join it, okc window has peaked
      It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

      Comment


      • #4
        KeonClark wrote: View Post
        Re: what is up your sleeve

        Ibaka?!

        Here's the sell: slightly higher usage than okc, become a big name star in Canada, and join a team now better than yours was once you join it, okc window has peaked
        Very possible.

        But it won't happen this year.

        I think another drawing card could be Africa.

        When TL/MLSE sat down with Masai, first thing they said was we will give annual donation to Giants of Africa. Ibaka is very committed to Africa as well.


        Going to be very interesting what happens with OKC. If they don't win a title this year or next, or even if they do, what happens if Ibaka wants his market value?

        Comment


        • #5
          JV being possibly too aware of his limitations is a good point. Recently it seems like he's attempting to do a bit more and I like it. Even if for every completed pass there's a little-too-ambitious shot attempt. I can live with that.
          Two beer away from being two beers away.

          Comment


          • #6
            Not sure why my thread was merged. It was much much more than ASG.

            Note the title:

            What's behind Raptors' formula for run at East crown


            It was not, "What's behind Raptors' formula for hosting ASG"


            I'd appreciate unmerged.

            Comment


            • #7
              McHappy is right, story has zilch to do with the AS game.
              If we knew half as much about coaching an NBA team as we think, we"d know twice as much as we do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Merging this thread is as much of an offence as derailing every single thread with Derozan arguments. Own up to it mods. #FireEm

                Comment


                • #9
                  3inthekeon wrote: View Post
                  McHappy is right, story has zilch to do with the AS game.
                  Although my title mentions "allstar", the concept is the ramp up in media from tonight's TNT game to all star weekend. That was the article I quoted. Sorry for any confusion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    KeonClark wrote: View Post
                    Re: what is up your sleeve

                    Ibaka?!

                    Here's the sell: slightly higher usage than okc, become a big name star in Canada, and join a team now better than yours was once you join it, okc window has peaked
                    Looking at the progress the team is making this year, adding a healthy Carroll and Ibaka to the starting lineup would be phenomenal.
                    "We're playing in a building." -- Kawhi Leonard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      S.R. wrote: View Post
                      Looking at the progress the team is making this year, adding a healthy Carroll and Ibaka to the starting lineup would be phenomenal.
                      The only downside would be our lovable Lithuanian would be stuck at 8 shots a game for a few more years. I think everybody's priorities lie with winning games tho, including jv
                      It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        mcHAPPY wrote: View Post
                        Not sure why my thread was merged. It was much much more than ASG.

                        Note the title:

                        What's behind Raptors' formula for run at East crown


                        It was not, "What's behind Raptors' formula for hosting ASG"


                        I'd appreciate unmerged.
                        It was merged because JClaw already posted this same article an hour earlier. No sense in having two threads talking about the same article. I edited the thread title to suit.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure there's too much to read into that last line. Seems like the basic foundation of Masai's strategy since he got here rather than anything specific.

                          But I do think he'll do the requisite courting of Durant and/or Horford like he did with Aldridge.
                          It’s Ogugua season. Time to gugua.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jclaw wrote: View Post
                            Although my title mentions "allstar", the concept is the ramp up in media from tonight's TNT game to all star weekend. That was the article I quoted. Sorry for any confusion.
                            Ohhhhhh.

                            I see.

                            Honestly, I didn't click your link/thread and didn't realize it was same article.

                            I've pretty much ignored all things Toronto ASG related as I'm not really a fan of the whole thing outside 3pt shootout and dunk contest.

                            I think your idea is a good one. Just think that article is so much bigger than the ASG.
                            Last edited by mcHAPPY; Thu Jan 28, 2016, 05:35 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Joey wrote: View Post
                              It was merged because JClaw already posted this same article an hour earlier. No sense in having two threads talking about the same article. I edited the thread title to suit.
                              OK.

                              I disagree, though.

                              JClaw's premise for the thread was a lead up to the ASG in Toronto.

                              The thread I started was to highlight the talking points in the actual article that had so much more to do with the ASG.


                              Next time I take 15 minutes out of my busy day to cut/paste, quote, bold, etc. I'll think twice - lol.

                              Comment

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