||12-22-2011 10:50 PM
Armstrong: Thoughts on the Raptors
Armstrong: Five thoughts before the season gets under way
TWO-WAY PLAYERS: When I watched Dwane Casey's debut in Toronto on Sunday, that is what I saw and appreciated from his team. You want to play? You're going to give championship calibre effort on BOTH sides of the ball. He's laying the correct foundation that will pay off for him in Years Two and beyond when the talent level improves. He's only the second Raptors head coach other than Hall of Famer Lenny Wilkins (who was past his prime when he got to Toronto, good man who I respect) to have NBA head coaching experience. In my opinion, that will help him and that matters in a situation like this. He's paid his dues and is a good basketball man who has the strength of his convictions yet will adapt/adjust when need be.
Big adjustment for guys like Andrea Bargnani, Ed Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Bayless, Johnson's, Calderon, etc. is to be able to get your conditioning/durability and mental toughness/focus level UP to a professional/championship effort level. You COMPETE on EVERY play: NO plays off. This ain't summer league or some pickup game. Time to play like a man. Show up every day and play the game hard and carry yourself like a pro. NO Excuses. They'll probably/likely be more L's than W's but, if by the end of April, these guys know what 'Raptors Basketball' is and what the standard of expectation/performance is, then Years Two and beyond will get a whole lot better as the Draft/Free Agency/Trades begin to turn this thing around.
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