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Armstrong: Raptors' second unit holding up well early on

Jack Armstrong
11/16/2009 1:12:25 PM
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With the injury to Reggie Evans in the pre-season there has been some speculation about how the depth and second unit of the Raptors would hold up here early in the season. On the whole, the second unit has been solid so far with the Raptors at 5-5 with two tough games remaining here out West. The team has a ways to go yet -- tightening the defence and locking in on the philosophy but they're improving compared to a few weeks ago. To be a successful team you need your second unit to perform. Here is my take on how they're doing:

1. JARRETT JACK: Can and will play a lot better. Has gotten off to a disappointing start in the first 10 games. Shooting has been off (35 & 29 %) and is forcing things a bit (20 turnovers). His defence has been OK but can be better. I was thrilled when the Raptors signed him. He's a good competitive player. He'll settle down and he's more than capable of being a solution in the future. Hopefully, the near future.

2. MARCO BELINELLI: He struggled in the pre-season but he's been very good once the games have counted. He's a gamer! Gets after it!! Shoots it. Has range, uses his quick's, uses screens, creates his own shot and is fearless at the rim. He is a gritty defender and I like his swagger on the court.

3. AMIR JOHNSON: With Reggie Evans out he's taken advantage of the minutes given to him and he runs like a deer and finishes in transition. Has provided rebounding and solid overall play. Nice addition to the team. Plays hard. He's earned his minutes - that's for sure.

4. ANTOINE WRIGHT: Solid on the ball defender. Very physical and tough. Good quick's. Like the challenge of getting after it. He needs to be a bit more selective with his shot (Shooting around 32 % from field and 3's) and attack basket rather than settle for the jumper. Injured ankle right now. Need his defence and grit.

5. RASHO NESTEROVIC: Steady as she goes. He rebounds and defends. Reliable and great team guy. Does whatever you need him to do when called upon. A Pro.

6. SONNY WEEMS: Has been a pleasant surprise when called upon. Gives you that burst of energy necessary when he comes in. Very comfortable on the break and I like his willingness to attack the basket. Will have to be patient and be ready and productive when called upon.

7-9. REGGIE EVANS/MARCUS BANKS/PATRICK O'BRYANT: Injuries/Lack of Playing time--Incomplete. Fully expect Reggie Evans to make an impact as a rebounder and defender, with garbage points on the offensive boards when he returns. Need his grit and passion ASAP!!!!!!!!!

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