Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sixers, Knicks

There is already some added intensity from Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, and the fact that he is now in the final guaranteed year of the three-year extension (the final year of the deal next season is a team option) he signed in May 2014 likely has something to do with it, Mike Ganter of the Torono Sun writes. Casey would like to see better defense out of the Raptors, who are in win-now mode, Ganter adds.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • There is no reason to panic — not yet, at least, from the Sixers‘ perspective — about Jahlil Okafor‘s performances offensively because the team spent all of training camp working on defense and even highly-touted rookies experience a learning curve, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
  • Kyle O’Quinn is comfortable playing for the Knicks because the versatile 6’10” power forward grew up a Knicks fan and lived in nearby Queens, Zach Braziller of the New York Post details. “Being in the home locker room, putting on the white jersey, it felt good,” O’Quinn said. “My mom was there, she was happy to be there. It was a good feeling being at the Garden. It was definitely a good feeling getting a win at the Garden.” The Knicks acquired O’Quinn in a sign-and-trade with the Magic during the summer. O’Quinn received a four-year, $16MM deal from the Knicks.
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2 thoughts on “Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sixers, Knicks

  1. smittybanton

    Panic, no. But folks should temper their expectations for Okafor. He is not the low post beast some people are expecting to see. He has post moves, but is not explosive at all. Plays under the rim. He’ll abuse small ball centers when he’s not double teamed. But he’ll almost always be double teamed.

    What sets him apart is his nimbleness and ballhandling for a man his size. He’s pretty much unstoppable one on one when he goes off the dribble from 12 feet in. Patterned his game after Tim Duncan.

    Okafor can actually shoot, although folks will point to his FT% at Duke and say he can’t.

    One way Nerlens and Okafor can get along is for Noel to pick Okafor’s man at the free throw line. Okafor can either shoot a free throw or freight train his way to the basket. Meanwhile, Noel dives to the cup since he gets over the defense for the pass. Robert Covington and Nik Stauskas are on the wings if defenses collapse.

    It’ll be next to impossible for teams to have two big men that can move with them. If teams go small and cut Okafor off, they can’t get over the rim with Nerlens Noel, and Okafor is a good passer.

    • Arthur Hill

      I can see Okafor and Noel developing a good long-term chemistry just as you described. It could mean there’s no role for Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, even if he ever gets healthy.


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