Archive for the ‘David Andersen’ Category

Peja StojakovicToronto Raptors President/GM Bryan Colangelo is not held in particularly high regard these days. Here’s ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons on Colangelo: “He didn’t just ruin the Raptors these past four years; he shoved them down the stairs, beat them to death with a baseball bat and buried them in a sanitation site.” Considering the current state of the Raptors, it’s pretty hard to argue with that assessment. But what I will say about Colangelo is that he probably executes more surprising transactions than any other GM in the NBA. Whether or not they’re transactions that help his team is another story entirely.

I was at my parents’ house this morning and was discussing the state of the Raptors with my father. I told him that sometime this season, Colangelo was probably going to have to trade either Jarrett Jack or Jose Calderon and Jack was more likely to be shipped out because of his contract. Sure enough, Jack has apparently been traded to one of the elite teams in the NBA where he’ll backup the league’s best point guard. Assuming he cares more about winning than being in the starting lineup, this is a pretty good development for Jack.

As weird as it seems to identify Jarrett Jack as the “key player” in a trade, that seems to be the case here. While he’s had a rough start to this season, the Hornets obviously see him as an upgrade over Jerryd Bayless as Chris Paul’s backup. Since Paul’s contract expires in 2012 and there might not even be a 2011-12 NBA season because of Collective Bargaining Agreement issues, it’s understandable that the Hornets are trying to do whatever it takes to convince Paul that he should sign an extension with the team. Upgrading his backup is a smart move in that context.

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Ron Turenne/Getty Images

Jose, Amir and the rest of the Raptors had the ACC rocking on Friday night

Over 16 000 fans were on hand to see a dandy of a game inside the ACC on Friday night.

The Raptors got off to a good start, the Rockets kept up, and we had a solid back-and-forth ball game going all night.

Sure, the Raps had a couple of lapses here and there that resulted in Houston making some runs, but give credit to Jay Triano and the coaching staff for calling timely timeouts and switching up Toronto’s defensive schemes to stop those runs.

A 13-point first half lead for the Raptors had actually become a six-point deficit late in the third quarter, but the Raps recovered with a 7-0 run to end the third with a slim lead.

Then, for the second straight game, Toronto dominated the fourth quarter with (mostly) quality possessions and timely stops to pull away down the stretch.

The Raptors outscored the Rockets 31-22 in the fourth, as the liveliest ACC crowd of the young season cheered on.

It should be noted that in the last two fourth quarters combined, the Raptors have outscored their opponents 56-37. For a team that had so much trouble closing out games through the first few weeks of the season, perhaps the last couple of fourth quarters were indications of growth.

This was truly an all-around team-win for Toronto. Bargnani led the charge, but all nine players that saw action chipped in. Sonny was hot early and battled through foul trouble. DeMar decided to relentlessly attack the rim in the second half. Kleiza abused whoever was defending him. Amir and Reggie continued to do what they do, the dirty work. David Andersen consistently nailed his jumper from the top of the key, and the two point guards combined for 14 points and 15 assists, while committing only three turnovers.

Jose was the better point-man again tonight, but credit Jarrett Jack for sharing the rock and spreading the wealth when he realized his jumper was still M.I.A. Jack had eight dimes and just one turnover in 23 minutes.

One thing I wanted to mention tonight has to do with plus/minus. Usually, I know it’s a useless stat. But in a close ball game like tonight’s, when you look at the boxscore and see Amir Johsnon at +29, Calderon at +27, and Kleiza at +20, it has to mean something, no?

It’s a rather irrelevant point, but has anyone noticed the Raptors have been outstanding on Friday nights this season? They blew out Cleveland, stunned Orlando and slipped by the Rockets all in Friday night affairs, and their lone Friday night loss came in a great effort against the two-time defending champs in L.A.

Next up, the Celtics, who the Raptors haven’t beaten at the ACC since the 2006-07 season and the team who has won eight straight versus the Raptors. No one’s expecting a W, but it would be nice to see this young team at least stick around.

Raptors Player of the Game: Andrea Bargnani -36 Min, 26 Pts, 11-17 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-3 FT, 6 Reb, 4 Ast (Andrea looked unstoppable, offensively, tonight. Inside, outside, he had it all going)

Rockets Player of the Game: Kevin Martin – 40 Min, 31 Pts, 8-16 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 11-11 FT, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Goat of the Game: Chase Budinger – 14 Min, 0 Pts, 0-6 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 1 Reb, 2 TO (Not to mention, he was absolutely abused by Linas Kleiza in the post.)

At the conclusion of the Toronto Raptors Fan Jam on Sunday afternoon, Jay Triano spoke with the media. As Scott Carefoot pointed out on Friday, Triano’s been tougher on Andrea Bargnani than we’ve seen him in the past. This goes along with what the rest of the team has said about Triano being more strict in this year’s training camp as compared to last year’s session in Ottawa.

We’ll start with his responses to questions about leadership and Andrea and then go to the rest from his scrum:

- Can you talk about your expectations for Bargnani specifically (as a leader):

“I don’t think that we’re in a position where we can force anybody to be a leader. I think that leadership will evolve and it’s the people who are respected by their teammates and that comes through either being a great player or being a hard worker or being very vocal and I think that it changes all of the time. I think that those are things that will still evolve and I think some of it has started right now, but I think the locker room is still pretty open.”

- Did you see any of that from him through the preseason?:

“Andrea? No, not really. Andrea, we’ve had him for years. I don’t think we’re going to see a transformation overnight. But we do expect him to be a leader as far as being a scorer on this team.”

Personally, I love that Triano knows what they’ve got in Bargnani and isn’t trying to turn him into something overnight that he hasn’t been over his career. I know we usually assume that the best or most talented player on the roster is supposed to be a leader, like basketball skills and people skills come hand in hand. Guess what? Sometimes that couldn’t be further from the truth. Some people are born leaders, some become them and others will always find it easier to follow the lead of someone else. A week ago we were learning that Bargnani’s teammates are finally getting to get to know him. He’s sitting in the back of the bus. When this is making news, I think it’s pretty clear that Bargnani is not the vocal leader of this team. I also think it’s pretty alright. Always better to be who you are naturally than try to become someone you’re not.

Really love Triano’s honesty this season. Here is more from his scrum on Sunday:

What did you learn?: “I think we’re learning how to compete at the defensive end a little bit better. I don’t think we’ve polished it or refined it the way that we need to, but they’re buying in to what we’re asking them to do, which is good. We’re a little bit more aggressive there and I think that’s helped us a lot. We’re up on 3-point shooters which is good and we’re forcing people to turn the ball over which is good. We’re going to get better at our rotations, which are new for some of these guys so it’s a good start. Offensively, I think we’ve proven we can score points and we just have to make sure we can keep sharing the basketball and when we do it’s good.”

- Surprised at all, by the team’s ability to put up points: “I’m a little surprised, but at the same time we knew we had guys that could score. Even last year when Chris was not in the line up at the end of the year, we still found a way to score. We’ve got a lot of guys that can score the basketball, a lot of guys that can find ways to put it in the basket. I think Kleiza and Barbosa add to that, they don’t take away from that at all.”

- On Leandro Barbosa’s wrist injury: “Sore wrist, he hurt it in the game. He was sore, but wanted to keep playing. Wants to fight through it, but we’re just going to be cautious with it for the first couple of days.”

- How David Andersen fits with this squad: “His general basketball IQ is very good. I think a lot of that comes from, he’s a veteran guy. He’s been in Europe, he’s been in the NBA. We knew that he could shoot the basketball and we wanted someone who could come in and kind of replace Andrea when Andrea is in foul trouble or is not on the floor. He’s been very good at that. Good at finding ways to step out and shoot the basketball.”

- How Soloman Alabi’s preseason has gone: “The biggest thing for him, he’s an excellent shooter. I think the biggest thing for him is getting experience and repetitions in because just balance wise, it’s a bigger game, it’s a faster game, it’s a little more physical. The fact that he’s got to go up against Reggie Evans and Joey Dorsey every single day in practice is only going to bode well for him as he develops as a basketball player because they do not take possessions off against him and if you can battle against those two guys you can battle against anyone.”

- On Alabi’s enthusiasm: “It’s unbelievable. He cheers when I sub him into a game. When I say we’re going to scrimmage, he wants to know how many scrimmages we’re going to have, because he knows he’s probably a sub in the first one. If there are two scrimmages, he knows there’s a chance he’s going to get in. You love that. You love for guys to want to play and he certainly does.”

- On the D-League being an option for him: “We’ll see how things go. If he can’t get minutes here, he needs to get minutes, he needs to play and he needs to compete, but we’ll see how things go.”

David Andersen

David Andersen's "tough guy" expression is very similar to his "I hope nobody smelled that" expression. (Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors’ regular season kicks off against the Knicks on Oct. 27 so that gives me 10 days (starting today) to profile the guys I expect to make up the Raptors’ 10-man rotation going into the 2010-11 season. Solomon Alabi, Marcus Banks, Ed Davis, Joey Dorsey, Ronald Dupree and Julian Wright are not part of this group at the moment but that could change later in the season and they’ll get their own writeups if and when that time comes.

Let’s do this in alphabetical order and start with an obligatory writeup of the somewhat mad-scientist-looking David Andersen.

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