Raptor Report – School’s out for the Summer

The Toronto Raptors were 1 of 22 teams who took part in Vegas Summer League this year and ended the week with a record of 3-2. The win-loss record holds little importance here with the focus put on learning a teams system. The Raptors had 4 players on the SL roster who are under contract for the 2009-2010 season and the games gave the coaches a chance to see how they have been developing and pinpoint what they need to work on for the rest of the summer. The rest of the roster was made up of hopefuls trying to snag a roster spot on this team or any other that was scouting at the tournament.

DDDeMar DeRozan – I said it all week long – this kid is “As Advertised” and possibly more.
From Kevin Arnovitz on True Hoop

DeMar DeRozan is far more polished than advertised. He uses his quickness to build his game. As Mike Moreau said in David Thorpe’s twitter thread, “Demar DeRozan really comes off the curl with speed, balance and elevation-very controlled. Will come off a decade’s worth of pindowns.” He also rarely takes a bad shot — uncommon among rookies and in Summer League, and particularly uncommon among rookies in Summer League.

Breaking down his game, its evident that 3 point shooting is not part of his repertoire as of yet and I am happy about that. He showed a very solid mid-range game with the ability to get a shot of quickly before the defense was set. Dunkin’ DeRozan didn’t forget to show off his hops during summer league but struggled when he was sent to the free throw line. He was able to make room for himself and get to the basket consistently but with maturity will come the ability to make quicker decisions on passing out from the post. I was pleasantly surprised with his ball handling but if he wants to be a starter in the league at the 2 guard spot that is another part of his game he can work on which will help him create better. Tim Floyd instilled defense into the minds of his players and DeMar has good foundation but it would be to his advantage to focus on this facet of his game for the rest of the summer. The Raptors have a glaring weakness and he needs to step up to the challenge. The team has been horrid at protecting the 3 point line and have a penchant for constantly being slow on their rotations. If this kid can work on his man D and team D, coach Jay Triano will find it hard to keep him off the floor.

After only a year in college, Raptor fans got a little glimpse of what this guy is going to be doing on the next level. DeRozan showed why he was picked 9th and by years end I believe he will prove to be the steal of the draft.

unibrowQuincy Douby – Quincy Douby has been putting in the work and it showed. Knowing he is comfortable with his jump shot, the coaches asked him to be more aggressive and drive to the basket. He did as they wished, resulting in frequent visits to the free throw line. Showing his determination to improve he received high praise from the staff after leading the team in scoring and assists over the 5 games.
In a recent interview with the SacBee, Douby gave a ton of praise to the Raptor coaching staff.

“I learned more during one 10-day contract from coach Triano than I did during my three years with the Kings,” said Douby
“I went through three coaches in three years there. With Toronto coach (Jay) Triano is showing faith in me, letting me play my game. I’m out here showing that I’m a player, and I’m going to continue to work and help the team in any way I can.”

What impressed me more than the 18ppg was the 3.8apg. Summer league is after all a showcase and most players want to get theirs, yet Douby was able to do that and make the others around him look good. With Jarrett Jack Toronto bound, Douby will most likely be filling a spot at the end of the bench as the 4th or 5th guard. Watching his performance over the past week gave me a bit of confidence. Incase of injury to any of the other guards, he will be able to step in and provide some instant offense and take on PG duties in a pinch. Defensively this guy isn’t gonna be stopping Chris Paul from getting to the basket but he will do a better job than Roko Ukic. I envision Douby to try and become an Eddie House type of guy and he needs to just keep working at it which should in turn get him 10 minutes of floor time every other game or so next season. If he manages to discover waxing and fixes those eyebrows I’ll tack on an extra 5 minutes of playing time per game… just saying.

rokoRoko Ukic – Thank BC for Jarrett Jack, because if Roko was the guy coming in for relief PG duty, I don’t think any of the other off-season moves would have been worth it. The kid has potential but it is still raw. He could develop into an exciting player but he seems to be developing at a snails pace.

Besides DeRozan, Roko is the guy I focused on during summer league and came away unimpressed to say the least. He needed to work on his jumper and 4 games into the tournament I still cringed every time he took one. The ball handling is there but he seems overly excited to be running an NBA team offense leading to an inexcusable amount of turnovers. He needs to slow it down, stop leaving his feet to make passes and make smarter decisions when he decides to drive the basket. Another thing… Whats with these Euro players dribbling with their head down? It drives me crazy when Bargnani does it and even more so when the guy leading the offense is doing it.

Considering going into the offseason, Ukic was the primary backup point guard, after just 4 games he was completely outplayed by Quincy Douby at that position. He has a long road ahead of him to develop into the guy people projected him to be. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is waived at some point before or during the season and is back playing ball in Europe next year.

pobPatrick O’Bryant – The knocks on this kid have been about commitment to put in the work and take direction. Personally, I rather his derriere be warming the Raptor bench next season over Will Soloman.

I’m going to keep telling myself that big guys take longer to develop and with the Raptors being desperate for size in the front court a 7 foot warm body can’t hurt. POB has a nice jumper but so do most of the bigs on this team. He needs to use his frame, get stronger on the boards and impose his will to become a reliant shot blocker. My advice would be to watch some Samuel Dalambert tapes and try to become that type of player.

Worst case scenario … Patrick O’Bryant = 6 fouls to give off the bench.

Rest of the Class (Notables)

Smush Parker: A guy who has been a round the block and then some, didn’t do much to impress me as he jacked up shot after shot. He has no chance of taking a spot on the Raptor roster that is already handcuffed with the untradeable contract of similar player Marcus Banks.

Brent Petway: Petway is an entertainer. Unfortunately, all the athleticism in the world can’t help him until he manages to do more on the floor beside provide a few highlights. He may want to look into Jamario Moons approach of making it and if he keeps at it I wouldn’t be surprised to find him on a NBA roster a few years down the road.

Ekene Ibekwe: This guy was my surprise on the Raptors roster. He had good instincts, moved the ball, active on the boards and shot a good percentage. All the skills are there in raw form and with more playing time in other leagues, he may have a chance to play on the big stage soon.

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7 responses to “Raptor Report – School’s out for the Summer

  1. 18 PPG from Douby. That’s impressive, and took me totally by surprise. It will be interesting to see what role he’ll play on this year’s squad.

    As for Roko, I maintain that everyone is being too hard on the kid. We must be patient. He’ll be 25 in December, and is still learning the ropes. From what I’ve been reading, Jack will likely be playing more two than point; that’s what he did in Indiana. Jack can drive, and will improve our wing position.

    Calderon was garbage in his first season in the NBA, too. He turned out alright. Let’s give Ukic the benefit of the doubt.

    • I understand that we need to take the wait and see approach but the kid is not ready to play backup PG in the NBA on a nightly basis. With all the other tweaks in place it would have been a shame if that position killed us during the season.
      I am not really hating on him just saying he has a ways to go and summer league was a chance to show what he has improved on. From my vantage point… it wasn’t anything to write home about

      • No, I feel you. Last year Calderon was hurt, and we were completely screwed at the PG position. I guess that’s what makes the Jack signing all the more important. He can play both. All in all, I’m excited about the roster, and thanks for the reviews from summer league.

      • pittsburghbusiness

        I agree he’s not ready for nightly, but I’m still excited about the season!
        -Jennifer from http://pittsburghbusiness.wordpress.com/

  2. Pingback: Morning Coffee July 21 - Raptors Republic - Raptors Blog ESPN True Hoop

  3. Regarding Ukic, the one positive was in his shooting improvement 13/23FG & 4/9FG3 is a big improvement in that area that was terrible last season.

  4. Pingback: Linkage for Jul 20 11am to Jul 21 9pm - Raptors Republic - Raptors Blog ESPN True Hoop

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