Players upset with lack of playing time

steve Buffery -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

The Raptors are on the verge of a minor meltdown. No fewer than three veterans are unhappy with their lot and that doesn't include point guard Rafer Alston, who threatened to quit the team after a loss in Boston on Dec.3.

Leading scorer Jalen Rose is upset with his demotion to the bench, although he has been effective in that role, scoring a team-leading 19 points in a 106-94 loss in Phoenix on Sunday night.

Another veteran who comes off the bench, Lamond Murray, is fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting (48%) but is still not getting major minutes. Murray believes his playing time should increase, although, to his credit, he has not made a fuss.

And then there's 11-year veteran Donyell Marshall. After his trade from Chicago to Toronto last season, Marshall was a revelation for the Raptors, leading the team in rebounding, blocks and three-pointers, while averaging 39 minutes per game.

This year, his playing time has been reduced to 25 minutes, although he did miss eight games because of injury, and he also has not been starting. All of which does not sit well.

"I've never been one to really complain but it has been frustrating lately," Marshall said yesterday following the team's morning shootaround at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"It's just a frustrating period knowing what I did in a starting role last year for this team, and now being asked to take a lesser role. I still feel I have a lot in the tank.''

Coach Sam Mitchell praised Marshall's contributions, but added, quite matter-of-factly, that he should count his blessings in the role he has been given.

As for Rose's complaints about not starting, Mitchell was also very candid.

"I didn't change the lineup because of scoring. I changed the lineup because of rebounding and defence," he said. "Everyone in this league knows Jalen can score, and I respect the fact that Jalen has been a professional and has done his job, but I just felt like we needed a different element."


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