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rtant as it is to have an NBA calibre platoon b

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rtant as it is to have an NBA calibre platoon b

Postby kaisy on Sat Oct 19, 2013 1:38 am

While the New York Yankees maintain their hold on top spot in the MLB Power Rankings, there were several teams making gains this week. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim jumped from seven to three, on the strength of four wins in the last five games and an offensive surge from first baseman Mark Trumbo. A dominant pitching staff, with a starters ERA of 2.90, has helped lift the Atlanta Braves into the Top 10, from 13 to nine. Pitching -- and not just Justin Verlanders no-hitter -- has helped the Detroit Tigers win five of six, and move up from 21 to 17. Even if their offence isnt terribly fearsome without 3B Pablo Sandoval, the Giants have won five of six, so they jump from 24 to 20. Going the wrong way in this weeks rankings, the Colorado Rockies have stumbled after a hot start, losing six of seven, and theyve slipped from third to eighth in the rankings. Losing four of six cost the Florida Marlins four spots, from eighth to 12th. The Toronto Blue Jays have lost six of eight, though slugger Jose Bautista missed five of those games, so theyve managed to remain in the middle of the pack, ranked 15th for the second straight week. Scott Cullen can be reached at and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Wholesale NFL Jerseys . When Atlanta tried to get tough, the Pacers buckled down and got even tougher. nfl cheap jerseys . Wilson, a native of Monroe, Mich., played in 110 CFL games with the Alouettes and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Wilson also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions. . Quiros had three birdies in a flawless round for a 10-under total of 200, one shot ahead of Swedens Peter Hanson, who recovered from an early bogey to shoot 65. McIlroy shared the lead with the 28-year-old Quiros after both of the first two rounds, but the U. Wholesale Jerseys . Neil headed to the dressing room in Game 3 and didnt return after a hit from Pittsburghs Brooks Orpik. The Penguins blueliner made contact as Neil lost his balance on his shift. "I was going down and I was in a vulnerable position and he gave me an extra shove, which I picked up speed going into the boards," Neil explained on Tuesday. Wholesale Jerseys China . Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said Malkin will not play against the New York Islanders on Sunday night. Malkin, who missed four games with a concussion late last month, just returned to the lineup on Monday.If you want an idea of how much upheaval this team has experienced since last season, the guards are where to look. At this time last season, we were discussing the future of Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless, with the spectre of Steve Nash looming in the distance. Today, there is only one name to mention, and thats Kyle Lowry. There is no doubt that Lowry has turned in a disappointing season with the Raptors. The full extent of his troubles can be found in my recent piece here, but suffice it to say that the Raptors did not get the return on their investment that they expected in year one with Lowry manning the point of attack. While Lowry brought an array of talents from Houston to Toronto, what the Raptors needed most from him was consistent leadership for their young squad. Lowry came to Toronto with a reputation as a workhorse who held teammates to the same high standards that he held himself. Unfortunately, several events this season served to undermine Lowrys ability to truly lead this club. First was his penchant for reckless play early in the season. According to the National Posts Bruce Arthur, at the teams lowest point, Lowry was reportedly called out at a team meeting for his selfishness and me-first style of play. That tendency made it hard for Lowry and head coach Dwane Casey to mesh early on, so much so that Lowry was supplanted in the starting lineup by the ultimate team-first player, Calderon, right up until Calderon was shipped to Detroit at the end of January. From there, it looked like Casey was intent on keeping Lowry on a short leash, which curbed his wilder tendencies but neutered him overall. Lowry has not been shy of late discussing his evolving relationship with Casey, but whatever their future is as a tandem, neither Lowrys play nor Caseys distrust helped Lowry establish a credible leadership position within the organization. All that said, it would be shocking to see the Raptors decline Lowrys $6.2-million team option this summer, and its very unlikely that Lowry is moved along in a trade considering his reasonable salary and the high expectations that the team had of him as recently as training camp. He may not have established himself as the future of the position for the Raptors this season, but he wasnt quite bad enough to warrant banishment, either. After all, his year-over-year stats arent really all that disparate, and his assist rate has ballooned in the last couple of weeks. Still, there are areas that Lowry needs to address before next season. While his assists have been on the rise, his shooting percentages have gone into a tailspin. Since the All-Star break, Lowry has shot 38.3 peer cent from the field, 30.dddddddddddd7 per cent from three and just 69.9 per cent from the free throw line. He has been given far less freedom than he had during his last two years in Houston and that is reflected in the offensive output hes offered since getting his starting job back. He has to be a standout three-point shooter, given the makeup of the roster and has to be a more efficient scorer, in general, if the teams wings are going to remain mostly unchanged heading into 13-14. This team is starved for perimeter efficiency with Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan doing their thing, so Lowry has to help balance out their deficiencies, not exacerbate them. Behind Lowry is a whole other conundrum. John Lucas III has had his moments (and the team can certainly use his floor-spacing abilities) but he is under-qualified to serve as a full-time backup point guard, especially given Lowrys spotty injury history. The Raptors brought in Sebastian Telfair at the deadline in an attempt to give the backup spot a more traditional look, but Telfair struggled with consistency and shot selection and looks like a long shot at best to return. What the Raptors need behind Lowry is a steady, seasoned, pass-first option that can, ideally, make open threes and run the pick-and-roll effectively (no, they wont bring back Calderon). The trick is not to bring in too qualified a vet, though, because Casey has shown a willingness to displace core players in his rotation for veteran options when afforded the option (Lowry v. Calderon, Ross v. Anderson). As important as it is to have an NBA calibre platoon behind Lowry, it has to be clear that they are BEHIND Lowry. The Raptors need to commit to Lowry and he needs to commit to the Raptors. They need each other to reach their immediate goals (the playoffs for Toronto, a hefty payday next summer for Lowry) and that cant happen if Lowry has to spend another year skating on thin ice with Casey. What really needs to happen this summer is for everyone to work towards unleashing the version of Kyle Lowry that the Raptors thought they were acquiring when they gave up a lottery pick for him last July. Lowry, by his own admission, needs to seriously up the quality of his play, Casey needs to structure the offence in such a way as to exploit his best qualities and the front office needs to ensure that the right compliment of players surround him. Last year, it felt as though everyone involved saw Lowry as such an ideal fit that hed just slide right in and produce. Heading into next year, everyone involved now knows its going to take a lot more work than that to make the most of this marriage. ' ' '
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