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Old 12-12-2011, 09:45 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Young Raptors could catch teams off guard

If the shortened NBA season is going to be a sprint, the Toronto Raptors believe they at least have the young legs to keep up.

The Raptors held their traditional media day Monday at Air Canada Centre ahead of what will be a far from traditional season, with 66 games crammed into four months on the heels of the NBA lockout.

The first month alone features a stretch of three games in three nights a gutbusting feat to be sure, and one that could take a serious toll on older teams.

"Hopefully we catch some of the older teams on the back-to-backs, or the back-to-back-to-backs," said Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan. "I think we should take heed of that. We've got young legs and hopefully we'll be able to bounce back faster than other teams and we should use that to our advantage."

To bolster his solid young nucleus of DeRozan, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo beefed up the veteran presence, signing Toronto native Jamaal Magloire, Anthony Carter and Rasual Butler.

Coach Dwane Casey said they'll be expected to be much more than just veteran voices in the locker-room in this grind of a season.

"All those (veteran) guys are going to get more minutes than they can stand. We'll have a solid rotation but still distributing minutes with the number of games that are coming as rapidly as they are going to come," Casey said.

"The good thing about it is, guys complain about playing time. There shouldn't be a reason why guys complain about playing time because there's going to be enough minutes to go around to keep from wearing guys down, where there still is energy at the end of a game.

"I think we have 17 games in the first 20-something days. A lot of games, a lot of minutes."

Magloire, the first Canadian to play for the Raptors in their 16 seasons, quickly made his presence felt in the locker-room when he arrived last Friday.

"In the first players meeting (he) stepped up and said some great things that I hadn't heard anybody say in awhile," Colangelo said. "It actually prompted a number of other players to step up and say something, so he already had an impact just in the first half an hour he was with this club."

The 33-year-old Magloire, a veteran of 11 NBA seasons, said he gladly shoulders a leadership role with his new team.

"All I'm trying to get across is we're going to work extremely hard in training camp and if we set the right foundation down, we're going to give ourselves a chance to win every night," Magloire said.

Colangelo said the Raptors have been too quiet in the past, and can use vocal players in the locker-room like Magloire and Carter.

"At halftime very few people would say anything," Colangelo said. "If you do it in the right way and deliver that message the right way, I think it will be well received, especially by the young players. And the young players I think are thirsty for it, so it will be a positive impact overall."
Interesting quotes from Colangelo there at the end, but it doesn't really surprise me, considering how young we actually were.

Young Toronto Raptors squad could capitalize on shortened seasons - Winnipeg Free Press
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