DeMarre Carroll didn’t want to draw out the free agent process any longer than he had to this past summer, and while he had other teams he was considering playing for, the Raptors made the strongest first impression on Carroll, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders relays. “It was short and sweet,” Carroll told Kennedy regarding his free agency. “I got married, like, three days before free agency so as soon as it started, I wanted [the process] to be short and sweet. My agent knew that. We had a list of six or seven teams that we were truly interested in and we kind of ran with that. I think Toronto was the first team to show up at my door and they made the best impression. The first impression is sometimes the best impression, and I felt like they made the best impression. They [made sense] with what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, being a key part of an organization, and that’s why I went with Toronto.”
Here’s more from Toronto:
- With the Raptors’ bench experiencing early season struggles, offseason free agent signee Cory Joseph has been a revelation for the team, writes Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. “He’s been a godsend for us with the second unit,” coach Dwane Casey said. Despite Joseph not having seen much playing time during his first four seasons in the league, Toronto had faith that Joseph could blossom in a new environment, Wolstat adds. “He’s who we thought he was. He’s learning guys’ [tendencies], I think he’s so used to throwing it to Timmy [Tim Duncan] or Manu Ginobili [with the Spurs] and getting out of the way, he’s got a little bit more to do with our team,” Casey continued. “He’s learning how to do that, doing a solid job, doing a heckuva job defensively fighting through screens and guarding pick and rolls.”
- One downside to the Raptors’ roster getting younger is that the team lacks reliable depth in the wake of its early season run of injuries, Eric Koreen of The National Post opines. GM Masai Ujiri‘s plan to use the bottom of the roster to develop younger players is a smart long-term plan for the franchise, but is one that may harm the team’s chance to contend this season, Koreen adds.
- Luis Scola‘s value to the team goes well beyond his on court production, with the veteran quickly becoming a valuable mentor to the team’s less experienced players, writes Holly MacKenzie of NBA.com. “In practice, he’ll make coaching points,” Casey told MacKenzie. “He’ll stop things and go and teach. You cannot put a value on that. It’s very sound. A lot of times a player will suggest something and there’s no way [the player he’s helping] can do that, or your team can absorb it or understand it. He’s already teaching everything within the concept that we’re trying to do. The defensive system, offensive system. He’s a valuable, valuable veteran.”