Milwaukee Bucks at Raptors Points Per Game:

- February 9th, 2012

Lost in the very valid points about lack of practice time causing “defensive slippage” like in Wednesday’s loss to Milwaukee is one major factor nobody seems to be mentioning. Andrea Bargnani, shockingly, was playing fantastic defence. Without him, the team takes a major step back on that front (yes I never really thought I would write that sentence). Sure lack of reps is hurting the team, but I’d say the lack of Bargnani has been as much or more of a factor. Toronto is now just 2-12 without him and a return is nowhere close.

- It will be interesting to see if Bargnani is activated before the all-star break so he has a chance to be an injury selection. I know the franchise lobbied hard for him to be included and if he returns for two or three games he has a shot, especially since Andrew Bogut, Al Horford and Brook Lopez are injured. If Melo and Stoudemire are injured too (which seems to happen often), that will open up a forward spot or two (Stoudemire doesn’t deserve to be an all-star this year, but he plays in New York so is overhyped and could make it again).

- That said about Bargnani, I have no doubt the team is tired, mentally and physically, and that is why the defence has regressed. With a ton of practice time coming up, I think things will pick up in that department.

- Jerryd Bayless’ inability to stay healthy (ankles) has to be a concern for the Raptors. I still keep him over Barbosa long-term (cheaper and younger), but at some point they might have to question whether he is durable enough to be a building block.

- DeMar DeRozan seems to be taking to the small forward position doesn’t he? His numbers are better there and he seems more aggressive, since he can take slower threes off of the dribble. He seems more comfortable there, even if he often gives up a few inches. James Johnson told us that he actually prefers the power forward spot to the three, which makes DeRozan’s emergence at small forward even more intriguing.

“Ya, it’s easier for me. I dont have to run as hard as on the wing. It’s getting pretty simple, the problem was not knowing the plays, not knowing where to be,” Johnson said of playing small forward.

“I prefer (to play) whatever. I just want to win. Whatever makes us win, let’s do it.”

Johnson said assistant coach Tom Sterner has rebuilt his jump shot and given him a lot more confidence.
“That’s all Tom Sterner. Me and him rebuilt my jumper. It’s in rhythm, NBA rhythm, not one of those guys can get to or close out to. I’m getting more comfortable taking them. I’m not thinking of the fundamentals of the jumper anymore. I’m thinking about am I open.”
“I’m finally learning the catch-and-shoot or catch and make a faster decision.”

- Had a chance to talk to Ed Davis a bit before the game about his being snubbed for the rookie-sophomore game. He said he isn’t too concerned about it, but of course wants to gain recognition through his play. He maintains he will be an all-star one day.

- Funny Brandon Jennings line on whether he talks or see DeRozan much during the season. He said no but …

“We’re both doing different things. But when we see each other it’s all love. We’ll always probably go hit up Roscoes Chicken and Waffles when we’re in L.A. Just do something.”


 

 

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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