Parker earning praise

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Anthony Parker hasn't put up eye-popping numbers this season, but his numbers have taken a major upturn lately and his two-way game has arguably been the best on the Raptors.

The former Maccabi Tel Aviv star leads the Raptors with a 43% three-point shooting percentage (44-of-103) and is shooting 60% (15-for-25) from three-point range over the past eight games, and 53% (32-for-60) since Dec.1.

He averaged 16.7 points per game in his past four games and also ranks fifth in the league with 1.11 steals per turnover ratio (40 steals, 36 turnovers).

Coach Sam Mitchell points to Parker as a guy whose game improves offensively as his defensive game improves, which is something he has preached to his team.

"I tell all our guys, when you get your defensive game going first, offence is going to come because that tells you you're mentally ready and focussed to play," the coach said. "If you're doing the tough things, the offensive things come a little bit easier."

Mitchell praised Parker as a low-maintenance player, who does his job without whining.

"(Actually), we don't really have a lot of high maintenance guys. I'm probably the highest maintenance guy in that room," Mitchell said. "But as far as our players, even Chris (Bosh), I don't have to go out of my way to say much to Chris as far as praising him or stroking him. Bryan's (Colangelo) done a very good job putting together a team where we've got a group of guys that we treat like men. I don't want to yell and scream and berate guys, because you don't have to do that."

LEO'S TROOPS

Most of the players National team head coach Leo Rautins will rely on at this summer's Olympic basketball trials in Las Vegas currently play in Europe. It's a long shot either Canadian NBAers Steve Nash or Jamaal Magloire will play for Canada at the tournament. Rautins, who is also a Raptors broadcaster, has a pretty good selection of veteran internationals to choose from, including: Denham Brown, Toronto, Tulsa 66ers of the NBADL; Nate Doornekamp, Odessa, Ont., German 1 League; Carl English, Patrick's Cove, Nfld., Caffe Maxim, Italy; Andy Kwiatkowski, Cambridge, Ont., Ludwigsburg, German 1; Rowan Barrett, Mississauga, Adecco Asvel, France 1; Juan Mendez, Montreal, Ironi Nahariya, Israel.


Videos

Photos