Tag: Kyle Lowry

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets

DeMar DeRozan working on three-point shot this summer


Last season, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan made his living in the midrange.

Only 8.9 percent of his shots came from three (and he shot just 28.9 percent on them, although that jumped to 34 percent after the All-Star break). Instead, 56.6 percent of DeRozan’s shots came between 10 feet out and the arc, and he shot just below 38 percent on those. While the league-wide pushback on midrange jumpers can get taken too far, if you’re going to take them you better make them. Nobody complains about Dirk Nowitzki’s midrange shots — more than 60 percent of his shots are from 10 feet to the three-point line, but he hits nearly 48 percent of them. DeRozan is dynamic when he can attack the rim, but if there are obstacles in his way he too easily settles for a midrange jumper he does not hit.

This year, DeRozan going to try to become a more reliable threat from three to open things up. New Raptor DeMarre Carroll has been watching DeRozan and talked about stretching out his shot to the Toronto Sun.

“(NBA three-point leader) Kyle Korver told me the three-point shot is just more repetition. The more you shoot it, the better you’ll get at it. I feel like if DeMar will keep working on it, it will eventually come,” Carroll said…

“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of other things he worked on in his game and he’s a dominant offensive player (already),” Carroll said. “So I think if he adds that three-point to his game it’ll take us over the top.”

The Raptors have overhauled their roster to become more defensive minded — that’s why Carroll was their top free agent target. They wanted a quality wing defender, and they got one of the best.

With this new roster look for even more threes — the Raptors were ninth in the NBA in three-pointers attempted last season and made a respectable 35.2 percent of them (12th in the NBA). If, as expected, Toronto starts Kyle Lowry, DeRozan, Carroll, and Patrick Patterson around Jonas Valanciunas, that’s potentially four three-point shooters on the floor around a big who demands a double in the post. Throw in a quicker pace (the Raptors were bottom 10) and the chance to get a few more threes in transition, and the Raptors could be bombs away from deep this season. Which will be a good thing, especially if DeRozan knocks them down.

The Raptors needed to make changes, their unimpressive first-round playoff exit (and the second half of last season) made that clear. But transitions are rarely smooth, and there are going to be some bumps early on for the Raptors as their focus shifts. Especially if those threes don’t fall for a stretch.


Report: Jonas Valanciunas’ contract extension worth $64 million

Toronto Raptors v Orlando Magic

Jonas Valanciunas agreed to a contract extension.

Now, that has turned into an official deal, and the financial terms have leaked.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is a little higher than the report that used $60 million as its baseline, but it hardly changes my conclusion: The Raptors got a steal.

Valanciunas is good, has a strong track of improvement and, at age 23, should continue to develop.

It wouldn’t have been the least bit surprising to see him get a max contract (projected to be worth more than $93 million) as a restricted free agent next summer. So many teams will have cap space to burn with the salary cap skyrocketing.

Valanciunas is already one of the NBA’s best low-post scorers. If he progresses defensively – and Dwane Casey is the right coach to help him – Valanciunas could anchor one heck of a team in Toronto.

Kyle Lowry is the Raptors’ unquestioned leader right now, and DeMar DeRozan and DeMarre Carroll are important cogs. But Valanciunas’ youth adds tremendous value.

Toronto has a team that can win now and in the future. Locking Valanciunas into a relatively cheap deal should only help them add pieces down the road.

For him, the guarantee of $64 million is life-changing money. The chance at more as a free agent obviously didn’t appeal as much as the security of this extension.

His risk-aversion is the Raptors’ gain.

Report: Markieff Morris prefers trade to Rockets or Raptors, but mainly away from Suns

Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets

Markieff Morris is unhappy in Phoenix and trying to force the Suns to trade him.

What’s his preferred destination and how does he want to get there?

John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports:

He likes Houston because of James Harden and Toronto because of Kyle Lowry, but he honestly doesn’t care where he gets dealt as long as he is not wearing a Suns uniform.

He is going to tell the Suns he can’t play for them, has too much hatred and animosity built up and that they won’t want him around.

Markieff is not calling back teammates and plans to be very standoffish when he reports to camp. He does not plan on arriving until he absolutely has to, so no pickup games with the boys before camp starts. He is expected to make a circus of media day.

He has told those close to him he can never be happy in Phoenix. That he won’t say a word to any of the Suns’ upper management and will have one word answers for Coach Hornacek. He will keep things short and simple.

He wants them to know he is not motivated.

For his sake, I’m glad Morris would be happy anywhere (outside Phoenix). The Suns sure aren’t going to do him any favors.

But the Rockets and Raptors would make sense on a number of levels. Both teams have several solid assets to construct a deal, making it more likely to find a workable package. They also could both use another talented power forward. Patrick Patterson is fine in Toronto, but he’s not an inspiring starter. I like Terrence Jones in Houston, but Daryl Morey is the type to hedge his bets with another talented player.

This is the time to trade for Morris. He’s quarrelling with his current team, facing felony assault charges and coming off a relatively down season. His value could hardly sink lower.

But he also quietly played very well in 2013-14, is just 25 and has an affordable four years and $32 million remaining on his contract. There are things about Morris to like – especially if he want to play for your team.

Rudy Gobert throws shade at Team USA for excluding Derrick Favors

Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz

USA Basketball announced its expected minicamp attendees, prompting one major Utah Jazz question:

Where’s Trey Burke?

Turns out, Team USA had a late change of heart and invited Michael Carter-Williams instead. Simple enough.

But Jazz center Rudy Gobert wondered about a different Utah teammate:

That Derrick Favors didn’t make the 34-player camp speaks to the Americans’ depth. None of these players are headed to Las Vegas:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Paul Millsap
  • Jeff Teague
  • Danny Green
  • Zach Randolph
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Greg Monroe
  • Khris Middleton
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • DeMarre Carroll

That list doesn’t even include players like Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, who chose not to attend. The U.S. is just loaded with talent.

It’s not hard to argue Favors should have been invited over some players who were. But try making the case he belongs on the final 12-man Olympic roster. That’s practically impossible, making this snub mostly academic.

But if Gobert wants to cape for his teammate, that’s just great.

Report: Raptors signing Shannon Scott to partially guaranteed contract

Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs

Most teams carry three point guards, and the Raptors are pretty set:

1. Kyle Lowry

2. Cory Joseph

3. Delon Wright

They’ll also have a fourth point guard in training camp.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Raptors have 14 players with fully guaranteed salaries. Scott becomes Toronto’s fourth with a partial guarantee, joining Ronald Roberts, Michale Kyser and Axel Toupane.

Roberts remains the favorite to win the 15th and final regular-season roster spot for a few reasons.

One, his guarantee ($75,000) is higher than Kyser’s ($25,000) and Toupane’s ($25,000). If it turns out Scott’s guarantee is higher than Roberts’, that could change the equation. But I’d be surprised if that’s the case. Even then, waiving Roberts would accomplish less than waiving Scott.

The Raptors can waive Scott, Kyser and Toupane and assign their D-League rights to Toronto’s affiliate. Roberts’ D-League rights are already held by the Santa Cruz Warriors, meaning he can’t be assigned.

Plus, it’s difficult to see Scott finding a role on this Raptors team. His scoring is suspect, and he never showed range to even the college 3-point arc. He defended well in college, but his pedestrian size for his position will limit that asset at the next level. He also passed well in college, but again, maybe not well enough to project him as a plus NBA passer – at least not immediately.

Most importantly, Toronto doesn’t need another point guard. Unless that somehow changes, Scott is most likely headed to the Raptors’ D-League affiliate.