Friday, October 12, 2012

Preseason thoughts

Raptors preseason is here and it is kicking. They've already played two teams where one was against Real Madrid at Air Canada Centre October 8th which they won  and Detroit Pistons in Detroit October 10th which they lost. I saw a lot of interesting things in the two games which I liked and disliked about the Toronto Raptors.

What I've liked:

Demar Derozan: So far in two games, Demar Derozan has been consistent and I've liked his effort he has put in scoring as he lead the team in scoring against Detroit with 17 points and 18 points against Real Madrid. He also made a lot of free throws against Detroit making 9 out of 10 in 27 minutes by being aggressive and attacking the paint. Altogether, he's made 19  free throw attempts in 2 games.

John Lucas III: I'm surprised with how good he has been in two games. I expected Lucas III to be a scrub and wouldn't get any playing time unless there were injuries at the point guard position. With the way he is playing, I think he could definitely back up Kyle Lowry if Jose Calderon gets traded. I've been surprised as he had 16 points in each of the two games and also has the ability to make 3 pointers reminding of Mike James.

Jonas Valanciunas: As Valanciunas made his preseason debut, a 5th pick in the first round of the NBA draft in 2011, many people thought that he would put a double double. I didn't expect it and nor was I going to expect much from him against Detroit as he just came back from an injury and is still learning to adapt to the NBA playing style. However, Valanciunas did make a presence on the court and did the little things that people should have noticed who posted two points and 2 blocks in almost 13 minutes.

His size and length could be seen on the court and which allowed him to set up picks for Jose Calderon twice and even for struggling Andrea Bargnani who made two 3 pointers in the corner. He block Greg Monroe twice, who is an up and coming offensive centre.

What I've disliked:

Defence: With all the attention of focusing on offence and playing more uptempo this season, Raptors defence has been horrible at times and even coach Casey knows it. During there game against Real Madrid, Raptors allowed Real Madrid to shoot 44 free throws and 42 percent from the field. The Raptors also allowed the Detroit Pistons to shoot 70 percent from the field during the 1st quarter. Raptors also allowed Pistons to allow 60 points in the paint. I think that Raptors big men have to do a better job to protect the post.

Free throw shooting: Raptors free throw shooting hasn't been good at all. Raptors went 18/28 from the free throw line and 35/57 two games combined. Players to notice are Andrea Bargnani who is 4/11 from the free throw line in two games. On the other hand, Derozan has been attacking the free throw line making 19 attempts.

Andrea Bargnani: Bargnani has been lazy, looks uninterested on the court and hasn't really made a splash in preseason. Perhaps, he might be a little rusty from not playing in the summer and recovering from his calf injury. However, I hope he'll be much different when the season begins because he will be a part of Toronto Raptors success. What he's done for the Raptors in two games is not good as he only grabbed 5 rebounds in two games(only 1 rebound against Detroit). He's made only two 3 pointers in 8 attempts and only 4 free throws in 11 attempts. I hope he can step his game up and be the player he was last year before getting injured.

Other notes:

- Kyle Lowry won't be playing any preseason games because of a strained muscle in his thigh

- The Toronto Raptors next game will be tonight against the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre. After this game, the Raptors will have 5 days off and play on Wednesday October 17th against Washington Wizards.

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