The evolution of Jason

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Every time he takes his man off the dribble, Jason Kapono takes the next step in his hoops evolution.

And each time he penetrates the lane to draw a defence or get to the foul line, the verbose veteran gets more comfortable in his role as a Raptor.

"It's a process, but I'm finding my niche," Kapono said yesterday. "Some people might look at me as strictly a spot-up shooter, a catch-and-shoot player, but I've been trying to change that for the past two years."

Kapono's ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc was one of the intriguing qualities that sparked the Raptors' interest when Kapono was a free agent this past off-season.

He left the Miami Heat as the NBA's most lethal three-point gunslinger, forcing teams to extend their defence with Kapono spotting up on the perimeter.

What Raptors fans have seen as the team hits the quarter-pole is a more polished Kapono, who is beginning to expand his offence and slowly shed his label.

"I'm still going to shoot the basketball when an open look presents itself, but I think I've shown people that I can put the ball on the floor," he said.

Kapono has averaged 53% shooting from the field, while averaging 9.8 points coming off the team's deep bench.

"I'm trying to provide a spark," Kapono said. "As a team, we're all getting more comfortable as time goes on."

BARGNANI BACK

Speaking of shooters, Andrea Bargnani returned to practice yesterday and said he's hopeful of returning to the court tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.

The second-year forward/centre has missed four games because of a hyper-extended left knee.

With a healthy Bargnani on the floor, the Raps have another player who spreads the floor.


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