Throughout the season, I'll be dropping by with these "Views From The 6" posts with random thoughts on the Raptors and other things, but mostly about this team. You can find the entire archive here (bookmark the link to catch up on future posts in this series!).
1. Watched the Magic take on the Raptors last night on a Saturday night with a bag of pistachios. It was about as exciting as that sentence reads. It was Orlando's home opener, and a stark contrast in terms of atmosphere to how the Raptors opened at the ACC on Wednesday. The half empty crowds elsewhere reminds me to really enjoy what's happening in Toronto right now while it lasts. Life comes at you fast, cherish it while it's good (fake deep).
2. For a few stretches, Dwane Casey went with an all second unit lineup of bench players only. It didn't really work in the second quarter (a bit better in the second half). My preferred lineup at the moment is for Patrick Patterson to be the first man off the bench to get minutes with the other four starters, and some rotation that ends up getting Lou Williams from additional looks with the starters. I'd love to see how a Lowry-DeRozan-Williams trio can impact the game. Of course, all of this depends on the matchups, and I might be a lot higher on Lou Will than what he'll realistically contribute.
3. For the record, I'm very down with Evan Fournier's hair. He's like a manga character. Side project: collect all NBA players, coaches, general managers and trainers that remind me of a potential manga character.
How can you hate this hair:
So who wants to style their hair like Evan Fournier's? pic.twitter.com/JRjLVFyN43— Rey-Rey (@TheNoLookPass) October 30, 2014
4. The Valanciunas-Vucevic matchup was something I wanted to focus on. Vucevic showed an array of moves in the first quarter and even hit a three-pointer in the second half. He's definitely the more polished offensive player of the two. Valanciunas flashed a few post moves during the game, including going to his left hand. He's still very hesitant on the perimeter when he has an available jumper, and everything just feels very rigid. It'll come. Right now I would take Vucevic. But check with me in two years.
5. A question (or, a reply I'll address here) from Twitter:
@RaptorsHQ only 25 mins for JV tonight, with only 3 fouls. So baffling what a short leash he gets from Casey— Scott Bialo (@Scott_Bialo) November 2, 2014
I don't necessarily agree with the assertion that Valanciunas' minutes are being mismanaged or he's not playing enough. The last time I was concerned about this was during his rookie season when the team was obviously going nowhere and he wasn't getting fourth quarter reps.
But now? With the team focused on racking up wins for a high seed in the playoffs, and with bigs like Patterson, Hansbrough and Amir Johnson as part of the rotation, I'm perfectly fine with the 25-30 minutes range in most games.
Eventually, Valanciunas should be a 30-35 minutes player, but right now, I don't see it as an issue at all.
6. By the way, Elfrid Payton is going to be really good, really soon.
See you next time.