Raptors at Hawks Points Per Game:

- April 16th, 2012

Here we go with some thoughts on Toronto’s surprising blowout win in Atlanta on Sunday.

I was (mostly) joking that Dwane Casey earned a coach of the year vote with Friday’s win over Boston. I’m serious now, he deserves a vote. Yes the Raps are a million games under .500, but what he has done here with this injury-ravaged group is worthy of recognition. Many believe Casey’s hiring is the best move Bryan Colangelo has done in his time here in Toronto.

- DeMar DeRozan is picking a fine time to stand out. There are a lot of decisions to be made by Colangeo and Co. this off-season but knowing that he has some stability at shooting guard after a bad first half by DeRozan has to be encouraging. Is DeRozan perfect? No, but he is way farther along now than he was in January when he was slumping horribly. He’s made strides in his game, becoming a competent defender, a quite solid mid-range shooter and a guy who will attack the rim all night and get a ton of trips to the line.

Obviously a priority will be to add a small forward who complements his game – ie. One who can rain threes while also getting to the line and playing solid defence. Despite his faults, Harrison Barnes remains an ideal player to put alongside DeRozan.

DeRozan posted up a bit against Atlanta and said that is something he is trying to add to his game, to emulate star guards like the guy he looks up to, Kobe Bryant.

“Just watching all the great two guards they always had that post-up capabilities,” DeRozan said.

“Take guys smaller than them into the post.”

- James Johnson still isn’t as chipper as he had been in the past – he still doesn’t look like he’s having as much fun as he once was, but the body language is improving a little bit at least. Whatever happened between him and Casey had a huge impact on him it seems (or else there is something going on with him behind the scenes).

- Casey is looking for Ed Davis to be more physical, not get pushed around as much, and we saw that at times against Atlanta. This is going to be a huge summer for Davis.

- UPDATE ANDERSON AND UZOH WERE BOTH SIGNED FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON THIS AFTERNOON

We’ll know today what happens with Alan Anderson and Ben Uzoh. I’d be shocked if both aren’t picked up for the rest of the season. They’ve taken the ball and run with it, Anderson in particular. Hard to see him going back to Europe even if he could get a bit more money there. If guys like Bobby Simmons can get boatloads of cash though, surely somebody will pay a couple million for Anderson next year. At worst, he’ll have his pick of training camp invites.

-  Interesting to hear Casey talk a bit about the zone, comparing it to an eephus pitch or changeup in baseball. Atlanta had a lot of trouble with it.

“It’s a change up. We disguise it, sometimes teams don’t know if it’s man-to-man or zone. It helps, you can’t win a championship with it, but it’s a good thing to have in our pocket,” Casey said.

- Getting back to Casey’s coaching for a minute, you can tell he has this group paying attention, because they constantly repeat the points he and the rest of the staff make to them in meetings and at practice when responding to questions.

- Casey said Gary Forbes is not sitting on the bench of late because of anything he’s done, but rather because other players are performing well. “It’s hard to play 15 I’m trying to get everybody in there,” he said.

“Gary’s gotten a lot of minutes over the year, but we need to get him in there. James was playing well as a small.”

 

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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