Progress report on Raptor players from Eric Hughes
Old 08-16-2012, 05:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors Progress report on Raptor players from Eric Hughes

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So tell us a little bit now about what's going on in your world basketball-wise?

EH: Well we finished Summer League and I'm lucky enough that I live in Los Angeles in the off-season, so you know DeMar (DeRozan) lives there, Amir Johnson lives there, Ed Davis spends a lot of time there because his agent lives there, Terrence Ross, same thing, his agent lives there, Landry Fields, who we just signed, lives in Long Beach which is, you know, a half hour down the road; so we've pretty much been working out three to four days a week down in LA since we left Summer League. And then actually today (Sunday, August 5, 2012) I flew to Vegas, and Ed Davis, Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy are gonna join us here. There's an NBA Skills Camp that the NBA allows teams to send players to and it's run by Tim Grgurich, who's probably the godfather of workout. He puts on a camp every year and the NBA sanctioned it and every team in the league sends three players and a couple coaches and we work guys out as a group starting tomorrow morning (Monday, August 6, 2012) through Wednesday night (August 8, 2012). So like I said I got here today, the players have flown in, we'll have a little kick-off tonight and then we'll start up tomorrow morning.
Quote:
RHQ: And then after that camp, what's on the schedule?

EH: I'll head back to LA and Amir and DeMar and Terrence and Landry will work out with us for a couple more weeks, and then I have actually not gone on my honeymoon yet , we postponed it until the end of the summer, so we are going to go on our honeymoon at the end of August for a couple of weeks, and then back to LA, and then right up to Toronto and we start getting after it for the preseason stuff before Training Camp starts.
Quote:
RHQ: There was a lot of talk during Summer League about Ed rebuilding his shot and watching the games, indeed it did look not only like he had smoothened out some of the kinks, but that he was shooting it with more confidence.

EH: You know what, our shooting coach John Townsend, who we hired last year, spent roughly three weeks from the time the season ended, with Eddy in Richmond Virginia, Eddy's home town. I take my hat off to JT for that work, I really had nothing to do with it, that's JT's expertise and he did a great job with Eddy and I think that goes back to what we were talking about earlier. We knew at the end of Ed's rookie season that we needed to make some changes in his shot but like I said, you go through a lock-out, and you don't get a chance to work with him on it. And during the season, it's not only that you don't have time, but I don't know if changing someone's shot midway through a season is at the top of the priority list. You definitely work on every aspect of the player's game, but the summer when you have an extended period of time is when you work on that.

And hats off to both JT and Eddy for working on it because I agree, I don't think there's any question his shot is much improved and it's going to be a huge part of his progression and getting better in this league. He's going to have to become a better shooter.
Quote:
RHQ: And talking about Terrence Ross, you saw a lot of the qualities on display that made him such an appealing draft pick out of Washington. Can you talk about some of his strengths?

EH: Obviously his biggest strength is his ability to shoot the basketball. I went up with Jim Kelly, and one of our scouts to watch him work out a couple times in May, a slow time for us as you know, and the one thing I noticed about his shot right away is how fast he gets it off. That's a hard thing to do. A lot of guys come out of college and they're really good shooters but to be able to get out with that kind of release, which I call an NBA release, he definitely has that and I saw it from day one. That was part of his success in Summer League and I think will help him progress that much faster than the other guys right away.

Physical play is something he needs to work on right away. A lot of times this summer he settled for his jump shot instead of attacking the basket and making contact with the defence and that's something DeMar DeRozan is still working on, not shying away from contact and a term we use called "fouling the defence" - get into their body and foul them before they foul you.

It's all those things we're working on you know, Terrence needs to become a better handler too, but those are all common things for rookies that you work on. There's nothing hugely out of the ordinary with Terrence that's like "oh my gosh, this is going to take a while." His things are minor things, his things are things that can be built with confidence and better strength and physical conditioning and just getting used to the grind of an NBA season.

Quote:
RHQ: It's funny, I think the last few times we've talked, whether it was DeMar or Sonny, these same issues came up so it seems to be a common theme with most young wings entering the league.

EH: Definitely. You look at DeMar, he led our team in free-throw attempts last year but you look at his numbers compared to the elite wings in the league and it's not even close in terms of how many free-throw attempts he creates. But those free-throw attempts come from winning games and from the referees respecting you and how you play and if you shy away from contact they're not going to give you anything. But if you prove that you're going to get to the free-throw line 10 to 14 times a game like a lot of those elite players do, you're going to get those calls and you're going to get the respect. So we've definitely harped on that with DeMar and he's gotten better at it and like I said, we continue to work with him on it with drills in the summer, because if he's going to take his game to the next level that's what he needs to do. You know, he's gotten better every year but still not to that status that I think he wants to be at, nor where I think he should be at so it's a work in progress.

Even though DeMar is going into his fourth year next year, which is kind of hard to believe, he's still got a lot of upside and we're going to keep working with him. The lock-out hurt DeMar as well, the lock-out hurt a lot of players, but he's had a good summer this year. Johnny Lee our strength coach has done a great job with him and DeMar hired a strength coach in LA because that "physicalness" that the Dwyane Wade's and the Kobe Bryant's and the LeBron Jameses and the Carmelo Anthony's of the league have, DeMar has to attack the game both physically and mentally if he's going to take another step up.

RaptorsHQ Talks With Raptors' Assistant Coach Eric Hughes - Part I - Raptors HQ
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good read.
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing jeff
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I hope Terrence Ross gets some playing time this year. Excited to see what he can bring to this team in real games.
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Old 08-16-2012, 07:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks! I feel a bit better after reading that article. Internal growth baby!
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dark Knight View Post
I hope Terrence Ross gets some playing time this year. Excited to see what he can bring to this team in real games.
don't worry, its probably going to be mainly a DD, fields, and ross rotation at the SG/SF positions, unless he really sucks he's going to be plenty of PT
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Dark Knight View Post
I hope Terrence Ross gets some playing time this year. Excited to see what he can bring to this team in real games.
He's our only backup SG.....well our main one at least.

SG- Derozan/Ross/Calderon (limited min)
SF- Fields/Kleiza/AA

I predict a pretty tight rotation of

DD/Ross
Fields/Kleiza

with Jose getting the odd minutes at SG and AA getting a lot of DNP's unless we run into injuries.

Last edited by jeffb; 08-16-2012 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 11:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jeffb View Post
He's our only backup SG.....well our main one at least.

SG- Derozan/Ross/Calderon (limited min)
SF- Fields/Kleiza/AA

I predict a pretty tight rotation of

DD/Ross
Fields/Kleiza

with Jose getting the odd minutes at SG and AA getting a lot of DNP's unless we run into injuries.
AA will be the type of player that gets PT if the other 4 players arent hitting shots IMO
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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A great thing to take away from that interview for any aspiring bballer is "fouling the defender"
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:52 AM   #10 (permalink)
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That was pure fluff. I dont blame anyone, what the hell else is there to talk about?
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Superjudge View Post
That was pure fluff. I dont blame anyone, what the hell else is there to talk about?
i'd rather read it than not read it.

i think DD not getting to the line is more to with refs than him lacking aggression. Of course it's something he needs to work on, but when he does go the rack he doesn't get a high % of calls. Can't blame a guy for becomming hesitant when he's scared of getting a TO, a block or a missed shot. If our record improves maybe he'll get the calls.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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There's a part 2 that will go up today, FYI.
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Old 08-17-2012, 09:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LKeet6 View Post
i'd rather read it than not read it.

i think DD not getting to the line is more to with refs than him lacking aggression. Of course it's something he needs to work on, but when he does go the rack he doesn't get a high % of calls. Can't blame a guy for becomming hesitant when he's scared of getting a TO, a block or a missed shot. If our record improves maybe he'll get the calls.
I agree DD's aggressive when he drives hard but maybe they mean how he's being aggressive? Seems when contact starts DD tends to curl away or pass out. I don't recall many moments when DD hits the floor when driving or trying to drive through someone - plays you see Wade/LBJ/Kobe/etc do. At first you won't get the calls but if he's consistent about it those calls should shift his way. If he keeps hesitating he won't ever get those calls. Lofty comparisons in the article though, but if you're going to reach one might as well reach for the top.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:26 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Part II


http://mobile.raptorshq.com/2012/8/1...zan-kyle-lowry


Quote:
RHQ: Let's talk some more about DeMar then. Statistically when you looked at his numbers last year overall, there was some miniscule improvement in certain stats, bigger in some than others, but then a lot of pundits would point to more usage etc, etc. You guys know DeMar's development better than anyone though, so did you think that he took another big step forward last season?

EH: You know, it's still hard for a young guy like that to carry a team. With Andrea missing a major portion of the season and you've got guys coming and going, and trading Leandro, that's still a big adjustment for a young kid to make. So yeah, I thought DeMar made some strides. Is he where he needs to be? No, I'll be the first one to admit that. He's not behind, but I'd like to take another step next year and I think Coach Casey has really helped that process for him and again it's holding DeMar accountable at both ends, at the offensive end and the defensive end. It's physical play for DeMar that's going to take him to another level and that goes for both ends.

But yes, he definitely made some strides. He went from a less than 10 per cent three-point-shooter to almost a 30 per cent three-point-shooter. But 30 per cent is still not good enough though so did he make some strides, yeah, but still not where he needs to be. He got his free-throw percentage up to over 80 per cent, he led us in free-throw attempts which is a good number. Again, DeMar is definitely showing growth but I'm not satisfied with where he's at and I know he's not and for him to take another step will ultimately help our team take another step.

RHQ: Do you think he'll play some 3 this year?

EH: You know I'd assume he probably will have to. Obviously with the addition of Landry, Landry is kind of like DeMar in that he's a 2 but can also play some 3 as well. DeMar is a 2 that can play some 3, Linas has obviously had a great Olympics so he'll be there, and Alan Anderson is back so we've got some nice options.

I think DeMar is 2-man in the league but DeMar can play some 3 and again the thing you've got to look at is on the defensive end. Guarding 2's and guarding 3's are two completely different things. Offensively playing the 3 might not be that big of a difference but guarding 2's vs. 3's is a huge deal.

RHQ: You touched on the Olympics, any early thoughts on the play of Jonas Valanciunas? He hasn't played a lot but...

EH: ...yeah, I've watched him play a little, obviously he doesn't play a lot of minutes with them. I loved Jonas watching him on film last year, I know our management who've watched him play in person many times are obviously very high on him so we're excited. But again, it's a big jump to go from playing in Europe to playing in the NBA. I'm sure there will be a learning curve for him too but the one thing I do know about him is that he's got the physical ability right now to make the transition, he's got the mentality, he wants to learn and he wants to get better.

RHQ: Who's the one player you're most excited to see in terms of a new face next year, and what he can do?

EH: I would say Kyle Lowry. I've always been a big fan of his, I took a trip to China with the NBA a couple years ago and Kyle was the NBA player on that trip so I've gotten to know him a little bit and he's got a great relationship with Alvin Williams so I know he's a kid of character. I know he works hard so I'm excited about him but I'm excited about some of the kids we had for half a season last year like Alan Anderson. I'm really excited to have Alan back. I spent some time with him this summer and I just think he's such a glue guy and a solid guy that you can throw in and just have play. He can make you a three, play some really good defense, he knows the game, plays hard, so I'm excited to see what he can do.

I'm excited about Jonas obviously, and then our three young guys because we just spent a lot of time with them. I put Eddy Davis in that equation as well when I speak of the three young guys, I mean the Summer League guys, as he hasn't had the same opportunities, as we discussed. Quincy I think has a ways to go because he's an undersized 4-man but he's got an unbelievable motor and a will and excitement to him that we haven't had since we had Reggie Evans and I'm excited about that.

And then Terrence obviously because we've lacked outside shooting and he's definitely a guy who can make outside shots.

Honestly I'm just excited mostly to have a full season with these guys. Last year was such a chopped up affair with training camp so short and no summer to work with the guys, so you had to cram a whole summer into a shortened time period. And then with a brand new coach, you're trying to implement your offence and your defence and it was really hard, it was really hard for Coach Casey and then for his staff to prioritize what you wanted to work on and what you could work on. And there's an example of during a shortened season like that, Eddy Davis' shot, and working on it, you had to find time to do it. And when you're playing five games in a week and cramming a 66 game season into four months, it's hard. Because it was only 16 games less than a normal season with basically two less months!

So that's hard. It's hard on guys' bodies and it's hard to figure out what you could and couldn't do in practice, and how much guys had in the tank, and what did you need to do to prep for the games so it was hard. And so mostly I think I'm just excited to have a normal season with our guys and a full training camp and a full off-season to help with the progress of our players.

RHQ: I actually wrote a piece during the lock-out last year where I wondered if the Raptors wouldn't be one of the teams most hurt by it. You've got so many young players, and the future of the team really predicated on their development, and then you can't spend the necessary time to develop them...it must have been very frustrating at times last year from a coach's standpoint.

EH: Yeah, it was just really hard. From figuring out how much you could do in practice to how much you could do after practice, should we practice on days off, should bring guys in or not, it was tough. So I'm excited to get back to a normal routine where guys are getting their rest and you can do stuff before and after practice and work with them. Last year we didn't practice till noon because we wanted guys to get extra rest, so there were just a lot more challenges and I'm looking forward to a return to normal.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:53 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DocHoliday99 View Post
I agree DD's aggressive when he drives hard but maybe they mean how he's being aggressive? Seems when contact starts DD tends to curl away or pass out. I don't recall many moments when DD hits the floor when driving or trying to drive through someone - plays you see Wade/LBJ/Kobe/etc do. At first you won't get the calls but if he's consistent about it those calls should shift his way. If he keeps hesitating he won't ever get those calls. Lofty comparisons in the article though, but if you're going to reach one might as well reach for the top.
agreed. Just think at this moment in time it is literally impossible for DD to get the same number of fta as the elite guys, just my opinion. DD will have to improve, try to be more aggressive, drive at the right time, drive in the right way but if he does do that i hope people will take notice of that instead of looking at his fta stats and saying he's not aggressive enough.

I remember he was more aggressive in his first 2 seasons and he got burned by the refs, change needs to come from both sides. Like i said if we're better this season and we've got more guys getting to the hoop, lowry, ross, DD, fields, Bargs that puts more pressure on the refs to start calling something! really hope next season that change happens.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:31 AM   #16 (permalink)
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It's good to hear that the Raps have a coach working with at least 5 guys 4 days a week. I had pictured everyone living in different cities and a coach flying around to spend a couple of days a month with each player.

I wish Aaron Gray was a focus for the coaching staff. If they could get him shooting better than 50% free throws, and give him more confidence in the little jumpers he always seems to be wide open for, I'd be relieved.

Get your butt to LA Gray you off-season lollygagger.
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