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January 22, 2015 Updates
January 21, 2015 Updates

"Chicago, Toronto and Washington are all better built for the playoffs than Atlanta," said one Eastern Conference executive, "because they have size and at least one guy who can break you down." The disciples contend that the Spurs already laid waste to the need for all that by winning a championship—and nearly winning two—that relied as much on Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Danny Green as it did Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, who have been a Big Three in name more than reality for the last several years. Today's NBA, with its zone defenses, profusion of three-point shooting and diminished physicality is more akin to guerrilla warfare—flexibility and versatility at both ends of the floor being more important than a singular matchup or three. "I would definitely think the model now is a team that plays stronger together than just having a couple of superstars," said one Western Conference scout. Bleacher Report

January 19, 2015 Updates
January 15, 2015 Updates

That’s a long time from now, but a great deal of what the Raptors are building is being constructed with Wiggins in mind. First off, there’s the team’s $30-million standalone practice facility on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition. It’s a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses thing – few NBA teams still practice at their arena, as the Raptors do. Toronto Globe & Mail

His return on Wednesday night, exactly 47 days after he last played, was met with the expected excitement from the Air Canada Centre fan base, which gave him a standing ovation as he was announced with the Raptors’ starting five and then again when he got his first touch in the game. DeRozan wound up playing just under 29 minutes in the Raptors’ 100-84 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, contributing a team-high 20 points to the cause on 9-of-14 shooting. The return was seamless, almost effortless, or at least DeRozan made it look that way. “I just wanted to stay level-headed,” he said after the game. “Treat it like a normal game, as I normally would. Not get too high. I understood I still had to go out and play and not do too much. I just wanted to play within the rhythm of the game.” Toronto Sun

January 13, 2015 Updates
January 12, 2015 Updates

Now, though, coaches and leading edge researchers are questioning the wisdom of the morning shootaround: As a coaching tool, it’s often redundant; it also disrupts much-needed sleep. “I was always raised to get eight hours of sleep as much as you could but in this league, it’s almost from a player’s standpoint, with travel. So we have to find the rest as many places as we possibly can,” said Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, who began slowly eliminating morning shootaround’s from his team’s schedule two seasons ago. “We’re a little bit ahead of the curve . . . I was from the old school for a long time, but I’ve seen the benefits of having the later shootarounds,” said Casey. Toronto Star

For players whose bodies take a pounding game in and game out over the course of an 82-game season, and who criss-cross the continent on road trips, the extra few hours of sleep is very much welcomed, says Raptors veteran Chuck Hayes. Often times, teams will have just landed the evening before a game, or have played the first leg of a back to back. Players have also been known to enjoy the nightlife. But whatever reason they’ve been up late, Hayes says the extra time snoozing instead of being at a morning shootaround is a big help. “Younger guys might want to go out, but it’s always better to get more sleep,” said Hayes. Toronto Star

January 7, 2015 Updates


Nasty break-up and all, Air Canada is the best thing that ever happened to the Toronto Raptors.


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