Raptors to revamp Davis’ jumper/footwork; Big game from Joseph and more

- February 22nd, 2012

Pistons Points Per Game coming by tomorrow morning but today wanted to do a roundup of assorted topics of interest:

First, congratulations to Cory Joseph, who got his first career start on Tuesday when Gregg Popovich decided to rest Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. It was an ugly game for the Spurs, but Joseph managed 13 points, three assists and 0 turnovers, hitting a pair of threes in a 4-for-13 shooting effort. Getting that chance will help him down the line. Believe only two 20-year-old Canadians have ever started a game in the NBA. Tristan Thompson earlier this season and now Cory.

- On to Ed Davis. A lot of people are asking me if the news that the Raptors intend to work extensively with Davis in the off-season on his jumper and footwork means he is part of the long-term plans? While it’s a positive for Davis supporters that they are talking about working with him this summer, I wouldn’t read too much into it. Dwane Casey wants to make the players he has better. That’s his job. He can’t be thinking that he won’t have certain guys to work with in the future. He can only think about what he has now and making the current Raptors better. It’s  up to Bryan Colangelo to make moves and give Casey the players to work with.

They have already worked on Davis’ jumper, like James Johnson, his mechanics look better, but they are very concerned with the way his left foot comes towards and crosses over his right when he takes a jumper (he doesn’t do this at the free throw line). The movement is all wrong, it is not a smooth motion and it is counter-productive. It will be rebuilt from the ground up in the summer.

EDIT: I do believe one of Davis or Amir Johnson will be traded this off-season. With Linas Kleiza a solid stretch 4, but ineffective at SF, Andrea Bargnani looking like the starting 4 of the future and even James Johnson putting up better numbers as a 4 than he does as a 4, that’s an awful lot of power forwards going forward. Jonas Valanciunas, Aaron Gray and possibly Jamaal Magloire should get the centre minutes next season and even if Bargnani shifts to the 5 a bit, there will still be at least one PF too many.

Davis is cheaper than Amir and would be easier to get value for based on upside potential so don’t convince yourself that just because they are talking about working with him in the summer that he’s definitely staying. I’d be shocked if both Davis and Amir are back next season. There likely isn’t room for both of them and Bargnani, Kleiza and Johnson don’t seem like likely candidates to be moved.

- Casey likes what he has seen from Davis recently after a down period. He has totaled 20 points and 15 rebounds on 9-for-14 shooting over his past two games and was one of the only Raptors to show up against the Bobcats on Friday.

“I thought Ed did a heck of a job against Charlotte, he competed, he rebounded, mixed it up in the paint. Ed is growing, up until the last 3 or 4 games he had been inconsistent, but I thought his effort and focus and productivity offensively have been there the last couple of games,” Casey said this week.

- As I wrote today, the Raptors believe the playoffs aren’t a pipe dream. It sounds crazy and it remains a highly unrealistic outcome, but you can’t hate on them for saying so. They are trying to win games not think about draft picks and the future.

“We have a long way to go, (but) can definitely turn things around this season and make a push towards the playoffs,” said Jerryd Bayless.

- Bayless is expected to play against Detroit on Wednesday, while Linas Kleiza’s status is dicier. A lot more factors come into play with Kleiza than with some other players (ie. scrutiny from outside affiliates).

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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