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Big Day For The Broadcast Side

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

October 14, 2010

Just a heads up that Friday is going to be a big day for Raptors NBA TV, starting off with the organization making a big announcement about the channel's transformation into NBA TV Canada at around 3:30 p.m.

It's not particularly surprising if you saw the new mics or graphics used in Wednesday's Raptors-Sixers broadcast, or any of the advertising in and around Air Canada Centre, or watched commercials on the channel of late.

But you can get officially introduced to the new look tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., streamed live right here at Raptors.com. You'll want to keep watching after that announcement, as a panel discussion on the evolution of technology in the NBA with follow. With Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, assistant GM Marc Eversley and former Raptor Charles Oakley all scheduled to attend, the organization will be well represented.

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You'll be able to enjoy an awesome premiere after the official launch of NBA TV Canada, as the Raptors Behind The 2010 Draft special makes its debut at 5 p.m. I know it's always in high demand at this time of year and you can catch a sneak peak of it below.

We then return to Air Canada Centre for our hour-long pregame show including Gate 5 Live and Raptors Game Day at 6 p.m. The Raptors then host the Celtics on NBA TV Canada at 7 p.m. with Post Up to follow on both the network and online.

Dorsey Docked A Game

If you tuned in late to Tuesday's game, you probably saw Joey Dorsey get teched and tossed for a pretty hard swing at Chicago's Brian Scalabrine with under 10 seconds to play.

Well the NBA took notice too and late on Thursday, the league handed Dorsey a one-game suspension. He'll be in the lineup for the remainder of the preseason however, as the suspension reportedly must be served in Dorsey's first eligible game of the regular season.

Day 8: Camp Wraps On The West Coast

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

October 5, 2010

Tuesday officially concluded the Raptors eight-day training camp but according to head coach Jay Triano, the preseason is merely another teaching tool for his rebuilt team before the games starting counting for real.

"We're just partially through it because we're counting all of October as our training camp," said Triano. "We're going to practice hard on a game day. Shootaround tomorrow is going to be a taped shootaround, where we're going to do live things and nobody is going to be playing enough minutes where they can't practice in the morning and then still play at night."

That being said, Triano is eagerly anticipating a new look from an opponent.


Day 7: Raptors Ready For Some New Competition

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

October 4, 2010

With just one more day at UBC before the Raptors stop facing each other and start facing other teams, Jay Triano continued to preach the necessities of solid defence on Monday following Day 7 of training camp in Vancouver.

While Triano cautioned there's much work to be done and that the preseason is still going to be considered a time for teaching, he was encouraged by some of the things he saw defensively Sunday, such as the aggressive pressure on the ball at half court.


Day 6: Raptors Split Up For Intra-Squad Game

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

October 3, 2010

Warning: Much of the following assessment from Sunday's training camp intra-squad game at UBC must be taken with an enormous grain of salt. You just can't glean much or project anything significant from a scrimmage amongst teammates. Execution was anything but crisp at UBC on Sunday and with eight-minute quarters the feel of a live NBA contest just wasn't there.

That being said, it was a spirited, high-energy affair at UBC's War Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon, with a loud crowd on hand showing plenty of love for the Raptors.


Day 6: Live Chat From The Intra-Squad Game At UBC

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

October 3, 2010

Day 5: Raptors Keep Up The Intensity In Vancouver

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

October 2, 2010

The Raptors were once again working hard on defence Saturday as they officially opened the Vancouver portion of training camp and that display of intensity has not gone unnoticed.

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo was quick to cite that high level of focus when asked what has impressed him the most after watching his team practise all week.


Day 4: Raptors Wrap Up Camp In Toronto

October 1, 2010

CLICK HERE for all the video from the Raptors' final training camp practice in Toronto. The team is now off to Vancouver to continue camp until Wednesday, when they face Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns top open the preseason.

Sherm Sits Down With Ed Davis

October 1, 2010

Raptors broadcast analyst Sherman Hamilton continues his series of one-on-ones and his latest is with rookie forward Ed Davis. Watch now as Ed discusses his recent knee injury, his play in summer league and adjusting to life in Toronto.

Day 3: Talking Defence & Depth

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

September 30, 2010

Thursday's practice saw the end of the dreaded two-a-days with some interesting comments from Jay Triano and some of his players regarding the season ahead.

Most notably from Triano was his comments about the defensive strategy he wants his team to employ.

Armed with some new personnel on the wings and several younger, athletic players with more seasoning, Triano wants to see a more aggressive brand of defence that puts much more pressure on the ball and passing lanes. The result should spark a fast-paced offence that burns opponents off turnovers and in transition.


Day 2: Raptors Pay Price For Wandering Minds

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

September 29, 2010

Attention to detail and conditioning have been focal points early on at Raptors training camp and when the former slipped somewhat on Wednesday, the result was a whole lot more of the latter.

Media entered the adidas Practice Court at ACC on Day 2 and witnessed a Raptors squad sweating buckets as they were put through a series of grueling conditioning drills. According to Jay Triano, it was the team's reward for its collective concentration slipping somewhat earlier in the morning.

"It was a tough workout today," said Triano. "Something we need to do this preseason, this training camp, is set a standard for the work that we want to accomplish... Today, our attention span wasn't as good. Guys come back from being away all summer and the first day's exciting. Today, I think they're probably a little bit sore, our minds started to wander so we had to cut it short and do some conditioning."


Day 1: Alabi On Court To Start Camp

Jay Satur - Raptors.com

September 28, 2010

It was nearly a full preseason roster doing plenty of running, but taking some time to slow things down on day one of training camp at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday.

Rookie Solomon Alabi told us he was good to go in our media day chat on Monday and true to his word, the centre participated fully in Tuesday's morning session. That left fellow freshman Ed Davis (meniscus injury) as the only player not participating in drills on Day 1 of camp.

But Davis, wearing practice gear and walking with a heavily-wrapped knee after having arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 20, had plenty to absorb in a practice that featured a heavy dose of technical walk-through to go with full-speed drills.


Key Questions Linger As Raptors Hit Camp...

September 28, 2010

With Raptors training camp upon us, we polled some of our experts and contributors to Raptorspace.com about several of the key issues surrounding the team.

1) What will be the starting lineup on opening night of the regular season?

Jay Satur (Digital Producer, Raptors.com): A lot of people put more belief in who finishes games, but I think your starting five should represent your best opportunity to establish a tone from tip-off. Ideally, if they play their roles effectively, you shouldn't need to worry about who's closing.

Now apply that definition to the Raptors. Not only is it difficult to establish a clear-cut candidate to start at every position based on talent, you also have to consider which combination is going to work most effectively together and give you that balance of defence and offence you need.

Here's what I go with right now, but ask me again in 10 minutes and this might change.

PG - Calderon (Probably the toughest position on the roster to call right now.)

SG - DeRozan (His game looks improved and he's the incumbent, why sit him?)

SF - Kleiza (He'd be the last person to admit it, but he earned this spot based his play at the Worlds.)

PF - Johnson (Offered a glimpse of his potential in this role late last season.)

C - Bargnani (Probably the only guy you can guarantee is in the starting five.)

Many won't agree with that lineup based on my above-listed criteria, which is why cases can be made for Jarrett Jack, Leandro Barbosa, Sonny Weems or Julian Wright. I'd assume that training camp and preseason play is going to sort things out. For now.

2) How will Andrea Bargnani fare as the #1 option for this team this season?

Gage AKA Richard (Raptorspace.com Contributor): Andrea's decision making on the floor will really come into play this season. He will have to elevate every aspect of his game to help the Raptors get over the loss of Chris Bosh. Its going to take a mindset and a commitment on both ends of the floor for Andrea to help the team both as a player and a leader.

3) Is DeMar DeRozan capable of evolving into a viable second option?

Matt Devlin (Raptors play-by-play announcer): Yes. Is it likely this year? no. Remember, this is a team that added a former 6th Man of the Year in Leandro Barbosa and one of the most complete players during the World Championships in Linas Kleiza. Barbosa has averaged better than 15 ppg over the last four years of six-year career. Last week I was speaking to an NBA executive who raved about the growth of Kleiza's game. During the World Championship Linas was dominant for Lithuania, averaging 19 ppg and 7 rpg while shooting 52 per cent.

DeMar is still evolving as a player and needs to continue to build on his all-around game. DeMar at his best, drives to the rim, gets to the line and uses his athleticism to his advantage. DeRozan spent the summer working on his game, notably stretching his range out on the perimeter to become a viable threat. While DD lit up the Vegas Summer League, its Summer League and there have been countless players to do so. The key from his Summer League performance is to take the confidence that he gained while destroying the competition and carry it into the regular season. Show a lil' swagga. Asking DD to become the second option this year may be asking too much. He's only entering his second year in the league.

Is he capable of becoming a second option? absolutely. It's up to him.

4) Which newcomer will have the biggest impact for the Raptors this season?

Akil Augustine (Producer, RaptorSpace): ... and the award for the biggest impact as a newcomer goes to... Linas Kleiza.

After the summer Linas had it's easy to buy the hype, but the hype is not what I am buying. It's the patience and commitment Linas had to show in becoming a real threat in Denver and now on any court on this planet (see his 2010 FIBA World Championship performance). A rare combination of tough guy body and attitude with a sharp shooters touch, Kleiza is like a great blocking tight end that can run the 40 in 4.4 seconds.

Now, team chemistry is something I can't predict, but from hearing what former teammates, coaches and Nuggets personnel have said about Linas, you know that the staples of his game; toughness, effort and confidence will be there, and I can't see any of his fellow Raptors having a problem with that. Averaging 13 ppg in just 25 mpg speaks volumes about his efficiency and the opportunity he has in Toronto to play more minutes. He also won't be behind the likes of Carmelo Anthony, K-Mart and Nene, which will put Kleiza higher up in the pecking order when it comes to the team's offence and should raise his offensive numbers. But his real impact will be the attitude he brings, Linas plays hard, and if he rubs off enough on our young players that will be the biggest impact of all.

5) Will the injury to rookie Ed Davis impact his development at the NBA level?

Jack Armstrong (Raptors Broadcast Analyst): I don't see the injury to Ed Davis is a major setback to his long-term development as a pro. It's a setback, yes. But only temporary. I have high hopes for him long-term and this will build the desire within him to get back on the court as soon as he can to contribute to the Raptors.

The opportunity to be around the team and get a daily feel for the rigors and demands of what it means to be a pro will be beneficial to him, yet there is nothing like living it and being out there on the court. With some patience and good health, I'm sure we'll see a lot of this young man in a Toronto uniform for years to come.

Good things are worth waiting for!

6) Who will be the biggest surprise for this team this season?

Eric Smith (Raptors Radio Analyst): Leandro Barbosa. While he may not be an 'elite' wing in the NBA (i.e. Kobe, LeBron, Pierce), he's a guy that loves the ball in his hands and he isn't afraid to take the big shot. His speed and overall offensive repertoire will be a welcomed addition to this young Raptors squad. And his leadership -- as a veteran coming from a winning program in Phoenix -- should prove to be invaluable.

7) Will the Raptors challenge for a playoff spot this season?

BorisD (RaptorSpace.com Contributor): It's probably a better question to ask if the Raptors will "challenge" anybody, for anything, this coming year. This past year we were subjected to watching a team which thought that success is something you stumble upon rather than go out and earn, which isn't likely to yield a team that plays competitive playoff-level basketball. So rather than worrying about making the playoffs or not this year, the first order of business ought to be to correct this cultural morass, where hard, selfless play - particularly on the defensively end - becomes the norm. If this doesn't happen, missing the playoffs will be among the least disappointing thing Raptors fans will have had to endure.

Having said that, however, the playoffs are still very much a possibility for this team. Frankly, the East is in a shambles beyond the top six teams, with the result being that the last two spots are very much up for grabs. Several teams seem to have just thrown a bunch of random players together with very little thought taken as to how it will actually work on the court. But does squeaking into the playoffs based on not failing to win against bad teams really provide much reason for hope? I think the larger question that the team needs to answer this year is whether it is prepared to play in such a way, possession by possession, that is professional and at a level of effort that is frankly required for elite teams to reach.

Personally, I think the embarrassment of last year plus the wide-open opportunities for some of the younger players who have so far exhibited that willingness to play the game at a proper level of commitment should prove impetus enough to get this team on that track and I'm rather excited to see that start to shape up.