How they might spend the next few days
While sitting here trying to figure out what we’ll do next week to preview the opening of the regular season, a couple of thoughts come to mind.
Since the night of the NBA draft, Jay Triano has been suggesting that the best – and maybe only – way to get minutes for rookie DeMar DeRozan would be to start him for six or seven minutes in the first and third quarters and then get into a regular rotation of wings.
Well, now, obviously, that’s not cast in stone, as this quote from Jay yesterday indicates.
Personally, I think that’s a bit of a shot across the bow at the kid and he’ll end up being the starting shooting guard on opening night.
“I haven’t really had an opportunity to see anyone beat him (DeRozan) out yet. Now that Antoine is back, I’d say the job is wide open and that will keep our young rookie honest.”
The kid, shooting woes aside, has shown flashes in these pretend games. He’s willing to go to the rim (although it’d be nice if he’d be a better free throw shooter when he did) and his defence, while spotty, is not despicable.
Work ethic? They say it’s good but the one thing he could improve on is his attention span. It seems to waver during games, a byproduct of being a rookie, I think, but still troubling if it’s still happening with regularity after seven games.
I still think that the best way to ease the kid into the league is for him to get 12-14 minutes a night in that starting role. But, according to the coach, there’s competition now, which means it’d be really, really cool to get into practice and see the scrimmages, since that’s where the battle will be one.
Too bad we can’t. Guess I’ll have to try to get spies to tell me what’s going on.
The three most important things to work on in these practices leading up to Oct. 28? Well, if you ask me, and I just did, they are:
Play, play, play
Forget shooting drills and shell drills on offence and defence. They need to scrimmage, first unit against second, for as much time as is physically possible, and then go another 15 minutes.
There have been signs that the four key guys – Jose, Turk, Bosh and Andrea – will work well together but there have been a few turnovers created when one guy zigged when another thought he would zag; the necessary familiarity is only going to come through time on the court together.
Get to the line (and you know who you are)
Players, some players, have a tendency to take the free-throw shooting part of practice a little lightly. That can’t happen.
Foul shots are gimmes and they need to be collectively better at them. As a team, they’re only shooting 73.5 per cent from the line through seven games, that’s simply not good enough.
Run, run, run
I don’t have to actually do it so it’s easy to suggest but if conditioning’s the concern, they need to get strength and conditioning coach Francesco Cuzzolin on his game and work these guys hard.
If that means an extra half hour in the gym, so be it. If they have to blow off some weight room work to get some cardio in, do it. Conditioning cannot be an issue when things start for real and I think eight days between now and opening night should be enough time to get ‘em in passable shape.
A quick question:
When the Raptors scrimmage in practice, do you think each team scores at will?
Haven’t had too many digressions of late so here we go:
I know Tim McCarver states the obvious far too many times but he and Joe Buck are exponentially better than Chatterbox Martinez, The Other Caray and Whatever Ex-Pitcher it is they have over on TBS.
The TBS folks do basketball well. Baseball? Not so much.
I don’t think there’s any correlation between pre-season record and what happens in the ensuing regular season. There are too many variables – scheduling and injuries to start the season and pre-season opposition chief among them – but what the heck, maybe this gives you something to talk about:
Or maybe it just bores you and you entirely disregard it.
I can’t imagine which.
One about the process of gathering stuff and why, over the course of the many, many off-days between now and the start of the season, you may see similar stories each day if you read more than one publication.
It’s pack journalism, pure and simple, because that’s kind of the way things are structured post-practice.
While we’re waiting around to be let into the gym, members of the team’s PR staff canvass the gathered scribblers on who we’d like to speak with, just so that guy doesn’t sneak out before we can horse-collar them.
And those guys are plucked off, one-by-one as they leave, setting up a series of different scrums; I’ll go listen to the guy Faux wanted to talk to, M. Grange ™ will listen to who I want to talk to and the day’s representative of The Little Paper That Shrunk will stop to listen to whoever.
It sets up a series of scrums rather than a series of one-on-one interviews so we’re all privy to what everyone else gets.
And if the player picked by another guy provides the best quotes, or insight, or whatever, all of our ears perk up and he becomes, often, the subject of The Story Of The Day.
Because you don’t get a whole lot of WNBA news anywhere else around these parts, here’s a story out of Detroit today.
I don’t know what, precisely, it says that a team that’s won three championships in the past seven years and played before soldout houses in the playoffs this season would pick up and move, but I’m pretty sure it can’t be good.
Seriously, where else can you find out stuff like this?
Best chant of a night watching TV. “Beat L-A, Beat L-A” from the Philly fans.
Stole it from basketball, guess that’s why it sounded good.