The Toronto Raptors started the year quite poorly, however things have finally turned around for the team. Dwane Casey has returned to his defensive roots, and the team has climbed back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
If the Raps continue their pace of winning around 75% of their remaining games, the playoffs will likely be in their future.
This week, the Raps spit 4 home games, and the last one against the Milwaukee Bucks really stung. Closing in on the Bucks, the Raps really needed that one, and the loss really shifted the whole momentum and mentality of a team who was blowing out opponents on a nightly basis.
Let’s check out the Weekly Rap:
The 92-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder was expected. This was followed up by two blowouts against the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bobcats. This week could have been stellar for the Raps if they came away with the win against the Bucks, but failing to do so gives them a B for the week.
Player Report Card
Jose Calderon- B+
Calderon ran the offense pretty well this week. However, in every game this week Calderon got cooked by the opposing point guards. It’s getting to the point where you know what you’re going to get with Calderon, and I don’t know if that’s going to be good enough for a starter’s role.
Kyle Lowry- F
What has happened to Lowry? He’s the most talented player on the Raptors, yet doesn’t get that treatment. Dwane Casey continues to roll with Calderon, and it’s apparent that Lowry isn’t happy. Another problem could be the fact that Casey has told Lowry to take it back a step and look more for his teammates. Bottom line is, Casey isn’t using Lowry properly, he’s frustrated, and some serious talent is being wasted.
DeMar DeRozan- B-
DeRozan has taken the next step this year, but he’s still one step away from being the all-star Raptors fans patiently await. DeRozan’s biggest problem is when he gets taken out of a game because he can’t score, his confidence level goes way down. When he has one of those bad shooting nights, or gets locked up, DeRozan becomes pretty useless.
Terrence Ross- C-
Inconsistency pretty much sums up Ross’ rookie campaign thus far. Again, Casey seems to be a bit too hard on him as Ross seems to have little or no room for error before getting benched. But clearly Casey felt that he didn’t deserve many minutes this week, so the C- isn’t totally his fault.
Landry Fields- D
Fields is a nice guy, sure. But he is, without question, Bryan Colangelo’s worst signing. Ever. The guy continues to miss layups, mid-range jumpers, and just fails to contribute any value whatsoever offensively. Defensively and on the glass he’s solid, but the liability he possess’ on offense really makes him useful in a limited amount of situations.
Alan Anderson- B+
Anderson put on an incredible show against OKC, was quiet against Philly, solid against the Bobcats, and horrid against the Bucks. He’s a solid guy to have in that 6th man role, but it’s clear that he’s not going to carry the Raps on a nightly basis. Still, his return has certainly provided a large spark for this club.
Mickael Pietrus- C+
Maybe we all expected a bit too much out of Pietrus. He really does look washed up, and it looks like this may be his last appearance in the weekly rap for a while.
Quincy Acy- B+
Acy has been getting some run due to the injuries to the front court. He has shown that he may, one day be a decent 5th rotation big man.
Amir Johnson- A+
I really don’t know what more Amir can do for this team. Just a fantastic week- Amir really is the rock of this team. He might want to cool it a bit with those mid range jumpers though.
Ed Davis- A
With the exception of the OKC get, Ed also had a very solid week. Can Ed be a legitimate starting power forward in this league? At this rate, I don’t see why not. #TradeBargnani, right?
Credit to Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports for the photo