Atlantic Rumors: Raptors, Crowder, Embiid

Raptors coach Dwane Casey admits he will not be able to replace Bismack Biyombo with just one player, Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun reports. Biyombo signed a four-year, $72MM contract with the Magic, leaving the Raptors without an obvious backup to center Jonas Valanciunas. Potential candidates include Jakob PoeltlPascal Siakam and Lucas Nogueira. Jared Sullinger could also see time there, Ganter adds. “Somebody in that group is going to step up and protect the paint,” Casey told Ganter. “It’s going to be not just on the bigs, but on the guards and wings to make sure they contain the ball and do a better job of not letting the ball get to the paint, so we don’t put as much pressure on our rim protection and our rim defense.”

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Celtics small forward Jae Crowder believes the high right ankle sprain he suffered in March caused his shooting numbers to take a tumble late last season, Taylor C. Snow of reports. Crowder shots 45.3% from the field and 35.4& from 3-point range during the first 65 games and 32.9% and 24.0%, respectively, following his injury. “My ankle was more fatigued than I really realized,” Crowder told Snow. “The way the season ended really gave me a chip on my shoulder to get better and to get in the lab and work and get better at the things I needed to work on.”
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown is practically giddy over the play of oft-injured Joel Embiid in training camp, Brian Seltzer of writes. Embiid has missed the last two seasons with right foot injuries but the center has shown great desire to get out on the court even while battling flu-like symptoms, Seltzer adds. “You just continually see how much he loves basketball,” Brown said to Seltzer. “He really loves playing basketball. He doesn’t like being pulled out. He wants to play.”
  • Veteran power forward Luis Scola, who signed a one-year, $5.5MM contract with the Nets this offseason, has taken a leadership role during training camp, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. New coach Kenny Atkinson offered high praise of Scola’s early impact. “I don’t think you can overstate it, everything he brings to the table, how he’s shown our young guys how to work, how to be professional, how to play the game, intelligence, composure,” Atkinson said. “I know it’s early, but he’s been everything, as advertised.”

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