Tag: Toronto Raptor

Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves

Kyrylo Fesenko with EuroBasket poster dunk over Jonas Valanciunas (VIDEO)


The just-begun EuroBasket tournament features a slew of faces familiar to NBA fans, some still in the league, others not. Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, a native of Lithuania, just inked a four-year, $64 million extension and is an important piece on a playoff team; Ukrainian big man Kyrylo Fesenko hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since 2012. But in their matchup on Saturday, Fesenko threw down this two-handed dunk over Valanciunas:

Lithuania beat Ukraine 69-68 in the game.

Report: Free agent Landry Fields out five months due to injury

Wizards v Raptors Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game 2

Landry Fields peaked as a rookie, making the All-Rookie first team while starting for a playoff-bound Knicks squad.

It has been downhill since, and the news is only getting worse for Fields, who spent the last three seasons battling injuries with the Raptors.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

A healthy Fields might have drawn a minimum-salary contract, though that would have been far from a lock. An injured Fields has no chance.

If he’s recovered, a team could sign him after the trade deadline if it can’t fit a hole via trade.

Fields could provide wing depth as a situational defender, though it’s difficult to play him if his shooting woes continue. After making 39% of his 3-pointers as a rookie, Fields has shot just 24% from beyond the arc since.

Fields’ NBA future already looked precarious. The 27-year-old will have a chance to return, but this might be the last we see of him in the league.

Watch Luis Scola drop 35 and 13 to lead Argentina past Canada at FIBA America


Raptors fans had to feel conflicted.

On one hand, they got to see their new power forward show that he still has a lot in the tank. There are questions about how the Raptors rebuilt their roster this summer, but if he plays like this Luis Scola can answer a few of them.

On the other hand, those Raptors fans are Canadians excited about their strong young national team — and Scola just torched them.

Score one for the old guard as Scola and Argentina beat Canada 97-84 behind 35 points and 13 rebounds from Scola Tuesday. He did it with his deliberate, physical, crafty, below-the-rim game.

Canada’s athletic young team — led by Andrew Wiggins, who had 13 in the game — looked a little tentative in their first game as potential favorites on a big stage. The top two finishers at FIBA Americas get a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and there is an expectation Canada will land one of those slots.

Argentina came out with an intensity and desire Canada did not match. Argentina has been on the big stages before — they are the 2004 Olympic gold medalists — and it showed.

Canada can right the ship Wednesday against Cuba (a game Canada should win handily). From there they should be able to get the wins to get to the knockout stage, and then they just need to play more like Scola and Argentina to advance.

Andrew Wiggins dunks on Andres Nocioni, bumps him again while hanging on rim (video)

Kelly Olynyk

Andrew Wiggins, representing Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship, drove past his defender and dunked on former NBA player Andres Nocioni. It was a fantastic play.

Hanging on the rim and bumping a dejected Nocioni? That was just insulting – and I mean that as an absolute positive.

Unfortunately for Wiggins and the Canadians, Luis Scola (35 points and 13 rebounds) led Argentina to a 94-87 victory.

Anthony Bennett has looked good playing for Canada. Will that carry over to NBA?

Men's basketball, Semi final round action,

Canada opens its FIBA Americas play today (Tuesday) taking on Argentina, in what should be one of the more attractive Group B matches in the tournament. It’s a game of contrasts. Argentina is the old guard, they have had international success — gold at the 2004 Olympics — but their golden generation has aged out (Manu Ginobili isn’t playing for them, for example). Canada is the young team on the rise, a squad loaded with young NBA talent — Andrew Wiggins, Andrew Nicholson, Cory Joseph, Nik Stauskas, Kelly Olynyk, Dwight Powell, and…

Anthony Bennett.

The former No. 1 pick, a guy panned as a bust, has looked good for Canada in warmups for the tournament. He was a starter and key part of Canada winning the FIBA Americas’ tuneup event, the Tuto Marchand Continental Cup. Against Brazil, he scored 11 straight points and finished with 16 points in 15 minutes in that tournament.

He was asked about what is different after that win, as reported by Josh Lewenberg at TSN.

“[I’m] just playing with confidence, pretty much,” the 22-year-old forward responded. “Just going out there, playing defense, running the court. Just doing the little things first and trying to make offense come to me.”

“Anthony has been exemplary this summer,” said (Canada GM Steve) Nash, the two-time NBA MVP and future hall of fame point guard. “He’s had a tough first two years in the league but his attitude’s been amazing. His talent has never been in question but his attitude, willingness to learn and attention to detail… not that his attitude was ever an issue, but for him to come, to play in the Pan Am Games, to partake in a whole summer with us, it shows he has a real willingness to learn and get better and a want to be a great player.”

Bennett is also healthy, which has not happened a lot through his first two years in the NBA, and those injuries impacted his conditioning.

The question is, can Bennett bring this same level of play to Minnesota next season?

Bennett has had moments where he’s looked improved before — 2014 Summer League, for example — but it hasn’t translated once the NBA tipped off. Bennett was better last season in Minnesota than he was as a rookie, but he still needs to make strides to become a regular rotation player an improving Timberwolves team can count on.

That’s the ceiling for Bennett, it seem — solid rotation player. That’s nowhere near what is expected out of a No. 1 pick, but that anchor around him is more about Cleveland’s misread than it is Bennett’s game (notice the Cavs changed GMs). Bennett is what he is.

Canadian coach Jay Triano told Bennett to simplify the game — find a thing or two you’re good at and focus on doing those things exceptionally well. Crash the boards, run the floor. Everything else will fall into place.

If it falls into place for the Timberwolves, it will be one more piece in their puzzle.