Can we get the season underway already?
I get that the Raptors' coaching staff needs time to work on everything from rotations to defensive schemes but ugh, eight games?
And tonight it's the Knicks again?
Yep, it's the Raptors vs the Knicks this evening, live from the Air Canada Centre in essentially the same game as last week.
There's really no need to preview this one again or talk at length encore une fois about Andrea Bargnani's return. The Knicks and Raptors will both likely give heavy doses of playing time to their respective benches as the clubs prepare for the real season to kick off next week.
So instead of three keys to a win tonight for the Dinos, how about three things I'm actually curious to see resolved by the time Toronto gets their 2013-14 season underway?
1) Who backs up Kyle Lowry? Notice I said Kyle Lowry? Last year you may recall that this wasn't exactly a valid question as Jose Calderon made it clear early on that he wasn't giving up the head PG job so easily. And in the end, he wrestled the starting position away from Lowry.
This year though, it's Lowry or bust and the real question is who the number two option is.
At face value the job seemed to be DJ Augustin's but he hasn't exactly been lights out this preseason. Through five preseason games he's hit a grand total of 6 shots. That would be cool if he'd only taken 7. Or 10. Or even 14.
He's taken 23 however and at 15 minutes a night, it's not like he's been given spot duty here and there. Last year in Indiana he averaged 16 minutes a contest so his current PT is not that far off.
Therefore the backup position is open for consideration and right now, it's Dwight Buycks that has the inside track in my opinion. Buycks hasn't been the second coming of Chris Paul, but he's shot better from the field and has simply done a better job running the show.
2) Who gets the 15th spot? Or does anyone? Right now I'm inclined to believe that Julyan Stone grabs the spot and the Dinos elect to go with a full 15. Stone has been hinted as a valuable option off the pine because of his size and defensive abilities, and I think that will be enough for him to land a permanent jersey.
Well...permanent until Masai Ujiri decides by December he needs to blow everything up...
3) Which player or players are the first off the bench for Toronto? Obviously the answer to this question will somewhat be dictated by situation. Foul trouble, match-ups, any number of things can impact who goes in first after the starting five.
However I think situations aside, we'll see Tyler Hansbrough and Landry Fields as the go-to options. Casey seems to trust both quite a bit already this pre-season, and both can man multiple positions depending on the situation. Fields can even play some point forward if pressed into the role and tonight we may see some of that against his former team.