Just like before, Raps can score

MARK KEAST and MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

WATERLOO -- There has been much said and written about who will pick up the slack on offence for the Raptors this season.

That especially comes into play when factoring in the shooting skills of the departed Matt Bonner, with his .421 career three-point percentage; Mike James, fourth in the league in average field goal percentage among point guards last season (20.3); and Charlie Villanueva, who set a Toronto rookie scoring record in 2005-06 with 48 against what is now his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

Still, despite the loss of key personnel, everyone feels the team will still score. Coach Sam Mitchell said the Raptors will move the basketball quickly, set picks and get people open shots, similar to last season.

"We're going to get more layups than contested three-point shots," said Chris Bosh, pointing to the speed and pass-first philosophy of new point guard T.J. Ford, who came to the Raptors in the Villanueva deal in June. "We'll always have perimeter shooting. Mo Pete can shoot, Fred Jones can shoot, so can Anthony Parker. Scoring isn't going to be a problem for us. It's important for us to stop people."

Said Mitchell, "We may not have two guys averaging 20 points. We'll score more collectively. When Chris got hurt last year, we sat in a room and wondered how we were going to score. But we still scored."

ENGLISH 101

The Raptors plan to find English instructors for Jorge Garbajosa (Spain) and Andrea Bargnani (Italy), but vice-president/assistant general manager Maurizio Gherardini feels they are doing pretty well with the language so far.

"I think the level of the English is good enough," Gherardini said. "What they need to pick up kind of quickly is the slang part of it ... They're improving their knowledge of English, they're improving their ear of listening to voices, understanding how the coach approaches them and what he's trying to say and how he's trying to say it. Of course, it will take a little longer to get down to the details of a normal conversation. In the overall understanding, their understanding is pretty good."

The good news is it's easy to tell when animated coach Mitchell is angry.

INJURY UPDATE

Jones sat out for the second day in a row with a jammed big right toe. Mitchell said it is possible the guard will return to the floor today.


Videos

Photos