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Some things, v3.2

1. Long time readers of From Deep will recall I have a bit of a fascination for the Team Hugger role. I first noticed it in any major way when the Raptors were in Italy for training camp and opened up their exhibition season against the Boston Celtics and James Posey positioned himself at the scorer's table by the sticky mat the players used to clean their shoes and basically smothered all the Celtics starters as they took the floor. Now team huggers - the DH, designated hugger? - are everywhere. Last night Marcus Banks was quick out of the blocks to begin the hugging for the Raptors, but Sonny Weems - doubtless trying to provide some added value as he tries to find some room in the Raptors perimeter rotation - didn't let it go without a challenge as he quickly jumped up and took a secondary position to give extra hugs after Banks was done. Another training camp battle to keep an eye on, obviously.

2. For the second straight night Calderon fouled Louis Williams on a right-handed dribble drive in the game's first minute. Triano was saying beforehand that the problem of dribble penetration has to be solved by a team approach - the ball-handler has to see enough bodies behind the primary defender to discourage the attack in the first place - but let's face it: Calderon's going to get tested early and often by every slasher in the league.

3. Fan affection for Reggie Evans is well-placed: He's a good guy, easy to deal with and competes hard and all the time. But there's a reason he's been used in limited roles for most of career, and it's not just because he's a clunky offensive player. From what I can see it's because for all the lengths he goes to get the ball - he has eight steals in two games to go along with eight offensive rebounds - when he does get it a lot of not very good things happen. He's turned it over six times and any shot - even those inside three feet - is more likely to miss than drop. He does great work to get post position and human nature is to give him the ball because of all the other effort he gives, but the problem is allowing him to get the ball could be the best defensive play any team makes.

4. DeMar DeRozan may very well be a good NBA player. He's certainly diligent: he spends time before each game sitting beside development coach Eric Hughes with a laptop open going through video sequences and has earned praise from Triano for being a quick learner. But the Vince Carter comparisons made by Colangelo after the draft were overblown, even if you isolate the athleticism. Even Andre Iguodala is a stretch. DeRozan may well be able to jump, but he's had a number of chances to put guys in the basket and he's opted to lay it up so far. He kinds of shies away from contact. Early days, obviously, but attacking the rim in even the slightest traffic is something he's got to do better.

5. I wrote about it in the paper today, but the whole Turkoglu thing is officially seeming strange to me. How long does a 30-year-old professional athlete need to recover? It's basketball, not the Tour de France or ultra-marathoning. The NBA Finals were over June 14th. The European championships were held from Sept. 7-20. Turkey played nine 40-minute games. I accept the notion that missing the first week of training camp -- giving Turkoglu two weeks after the end of Eurobasket made some sense. But last night Turkoglu was talking vaguely about suiting up in a week from now, which would give him nearly a month off. It takes a month to recover? Really? Isn't part of the reason you're paid $10.5-million as a professional athlete to make sure you're prepared for the rigours of your job?



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