WOZ BLOG: The rotation, Terence Davis, the Canadian kids and more

first_img New Orleans Pelicans Toronto Raptors 0 Comments Share your thoughtscenter_img Welcome back to the Raptors blog, which runs after every Raptors game (except for back-to-back openers). It’s great to be back for another season, though we can’t imagine it will be anything like last year’s exhilarating magical mystery tour.As a reminder, what we do here is analyze some stuff that happened in the previous game (or games), look at some stats, pepper in a few quotes and look ahead.Thanks for reading. Let’s go:As expected, it was an awfully compact rotation for Nick Nurse, even in an overtime contest (won by Toronto 130-122). He has the seven returning guys he trusts, plus rookie Terence Davis II, who again showed some intriguing flashes, particularly in the passing lanes, where he appears to be a menace (more on that later). Nurse has said he wants to get the rotation up to nine and even 10 at times, with Patrick McCaw, Chris Boucher, Stanley Johnson, Matt Thomas, Malcolm Miller and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (who is currently injured) all potentially factoring in, depending on the situations.It likely isn’t sustainable to play only seven guys heavy minutes and an eighth a handful, especially because Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet tend to pick up numerous nagging ailments along the way. They’re doing a few things to alleviate the load on the point guards, like giving Pascal Siakam some reps running the offence, letting Norman Powell do it, letting Marc Gasol facilitate more and eventually want Davis to do more of that (though he’s focusing on two-guard play for now as he gets his feet wet).Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.I talked to Davis as he sat studying a scouting report before he made his NBA debut in the second quarter, the first Raptor who wasn’t on the team last year to check in.“I’m just focusing on the game, looking at scouting reports and things. I’m just locked in on the game. It’s my first one and I want it to be right and bring some energy into the game,” Davis told the Toronto Sun.Davis was excited to see what the Toronto crowds he had heard so much about sounded like (the Chicago exhibition doesn’t count).“I’m looking forward to that. I love a lot of energy in the building it gets me going and keeps me going. I consider myself an energy player an energy guy so just to see the fans like that, it’s going to be fun,” Davis said.He got them on their feet with a couple of steals and a three-pointer.I caught up with Oshae Brissett after the game to find out what it was like watching that ceremony for a local product who backed the Raptors as a kid.“Just being a part of it makes it 10 times better,” Brissett told the Sun. “Last year, obviously, I had no idea I was going to be here. I was watching and I felt and even then I felt a part of it because I grew up here, I’ve been a fan for such a long time now. Being here being able to see the guys get the ring, how passionate they were and how much it meant motivated me to try to get one.”Having the banner up in the rafters forever also will be meaningful, he said.Brissett was born in Toronto and played his high school basketball at St. Aloysius in Mississauga and at Athlete Institute in Mono.“The same way that it’s going to inspire us, it’s going to inspire (young players),” he said. “We can look at up at that as a reminder of where we want to get to and young kids come in here and see that it is possible and it is achievable it’s just going to add some more fuel to their fire.”One of those Canadians who grew up watching the Raptors, Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a tough debut (1-for-10 shooting following a great pre-season), but still did some things well and was thrilled to play at home to start his NBA career. The Pelicans love him and he’ll be fine.He said he had over 60 ticket requests and got advice from cousin Shai Gilgeous-Alexander about how to deal with only making one appearance here a year. Shai also is a crucial person to lean on as he adjusts to NBA life.“I’m fortunate to have somebody that has been through it and someone that is close to me that I can rely on and know that his interests are for me and my best interests. It kind of plays out well and just, when I look at everything that I have in my life, I have to say that I’m blessed.”He told a neat story too: “It’s pretty cool like even having my first-grade teacher here and her even telling me when I was that young I wanted to go to the NBA. So just seeing where it started, to now, it’s just amazing,” Alexander-Walker said.He also had good perspective on the Raptors and the title: “It’s great for the city, but at the same time, I’m a Pelican, so, I’m happy they won last year, but as far as it goes now, all that’s out the window. Congrats to Toronto and the city, but it’s a new season and we’re trying to win games.”Good answer.We’ll get into a couple of other things — Nurse saying he attended New England Patriots camp and learned from Bill Belichick about how to defend a championship and Nurse throwing the first coaches’ challenge in NBA history, at a later date.Next up: A big one (as early games go) against the new-look Boston Celtics in Beantown. Oddly, the Bruins own the Leafs, but for several years now, the Raptors have owned the Celtics.THREE STARS1. Pascal Siakam2. Fred VanVleet3. JJ Redick last_img read more

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