Cory Joseph has exceeded all expectations that the Raptors had for him when they inked him to a four-year, $30MM deal this offseason, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes. “When you do these things, you try to get good players and you try to figure out,” said GM Masai Ujiri of Joseph. “You do your scouting, you do your analytics, and you try to figure out if the team will fit together. But honestly, until they start playing, we [don’t know]. When we looked at it, we tried to look at two-way players who bring us some kind of toughness and that’s what he is. He’s a two-way player that will pick up the ball full court and put pressure on opposing guards. He knows how to fight people and make people better and score a little bit too. So you hope that it translates to the basketball court.”
Coach Dwane Casey is also a fan of Joseph’s, but he also admits the play of the 24-year-old playmaker has exceeded expectation, Lewenberg adds. “He has [been a pleasant surprise],” said Casey. “His energy, his toughness wasn’t a surprise but it’s really been glaring. He’s really filled in. I didn’t know how much we could play the two [point] guards together but he plays bigger than he is. He’s not the typical point guard, he can guard twos, he can get down there and wrestle with some threes. If he gets switched off he gets into the big guys’ knees and boxes them out. So he is better than expected.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would like to bring former teammate and fired Rockets coach Kevin McHale to the Celtics in some capacity, even if it’s just in a consultant’s role, Ainge told Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The Mavericks are also interested, league sources said to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
- The Nets have respect for the coaching of Randy Ayers, whom they recently hired as a scout, though team officials say the organization doesn’t regard him as a coach-in-waiting in case Lionel Hollins is fired, reports Chris Mannix of SI.com.
- The Celtics have assigned Jordan Mickey, Terry Rozier and James Young to the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link).
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.