Graham or Moon? No small decision

MIKE GANTER

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

Don't expect to hear the identity of the Raptors' starting small forward until at least Tuesday.

Head coach Sam Mitchell said he will use all four remaining practices before deciding between Jamario Moon and Joey Graham.

The decision will come down to which player fits best into which unit.

"Joey is probably a little bit more aggressive scoring than Jamario, but then Jamario does other things defensively," Mitchell said.

"I'm just trying to figure out what I need. If I feel like I need a little more scoring from that second group than I will probably play Joey with that group."

WHO BACKS UP JOSE?

Will Solomon, the front-runner for the job from the outset of training camp, managed to practise yesterday but is still being limited by a hamstring injury.

"He practised a little bit (yesterday), but he hasn't really practised," Mitchell said of Solomon.

"Right now Roko (Ukic) is getting better every day. One thing I really like about him is he's like a sponge.

"He asks a lot of questions and he's trying to learn. You only have to really tell him something one time before he kind of gets it."

As for Solomon, Mitchell said, "You can't give minutes to a guy who hasn't been practising."

PLEASE DON'T ASK

Jermaine O'Neal appreciated the concern, but felt way too much was made of his early departure from Tuesday's loss to the Denver Nuggets in Edmonton.

"If it's an injury, you guys will know because I won't be practising," O'Neal said. "I appreciate you guys asking me on a concern level, but a little bit of tightness is strictly precautionary because it was the last pre-season game. I'm ready to rock and roll."

PLAYING WITH NUMBERS

In addition to deciding on a starting small forward and a backup point guard, Mitchell will use the next few days to determine how extensive his rotation will be. At this point he says it could be as small as eight men or as large as 10.

"That will depend on who I feel is ready to go opening night," Mitchell said. "If it's eight, it's eight. If it's nine, it's nine. If it's 10, it's 10. It's not going to be my decision. It will be how they practise the next few days."

SERIES CONSIDERATIONS

The Philadelphia 76ers will move the start of their home opener against the Raptors on Wednesday to 6 p.m. from 7 p.m. if there is a World Series game that evening.


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