Juggling act keeps Triano busy

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Read just about any pre-season piece about the Raptors this year and if general manager Bryan Colangelo isn't already being fitted for another executive of the year award, his off-season remake of the Raptors is being applauded six ways to Sunday.

Roster options, something head coach Jay Triano had very few of when he first got this job last December, are now not just available to him, but plentiful.

And for that, Colangelo can take a bow even before a single game is played.

He has given Triano as much as was possible, and probably a little bit more than even he expected, since he started moving pieces this past summer.

On the one hand it's a godsend, but it also puts Triano in a tough spot because it's up to the head coach to take all these fixings and try to fashion a roster that is not just effective and competitive, but one that is happy and operating on all cylinders.

Effective and competitive Triano is pretty sure he can do. But keeping as many as 11 -- mostly veteran -- players happy and comfortable in their roles is a whole other ball game.

Colangelo himself said as much earlier this week.

"A young guy like Amir Johnson did some things (Thursday) and you start wondering how is Jay going to integrate him into the lineup especially with Chris (Bosh) there and Reggie Evans doing what he is doing," he said. "There are so many different ways to turn now which speaks to the depth."

And it's not just finding times for the bigs.

"I think it's going to be hard for Jay to find time for Jarrett Jack at the two, Marco (Belinelli) at the two whether it's Antoine (Wright) playing the two or the three. Sometimes injuries play a role, but I'm sure before we get going here on the 28th, some things will rise to the surface, some of those decisions will become very clear."

For his part, Triano understands how vital roster management is in terms of keeping the season on a nice even keel and the locker room inhabitants relatively happy.

But can he do it with this many players apparently deserving of minutes?

Barring something unforeseen or a serious injury, there appears to be little to no playing time for the quartet of Marcus Banks, Patrick O'Bryant, Sonny Weems, and Quincy Douby. Three will likely spend he majority of the season in a suit on the inactive list. The fourth of that group will dress but probably won't see a lot of time. The D-League is another option.

That leaves Triano looking to keep 11 guys happy. An 11-man rotation is just too big. It takes any flow out of a player's game. You're just getting warmed up and into the flow and it's time to sit to get another guy minutes. For now, Triano can joke about it.

"Nobody is complaining about minutes right now," Triano began. "Now they're complaining about too many minutes but I am thinking about it. When you get a guy like Amir Johnson and he's making plays and DeMar (DeRozan), who played much better Thursday, and you're sitting there thinking: 'How are we going to find time for all of these guys?' "

Johnson, as good as he has been this camp, appears to be one of those guys who will have to settle for a little less playing behind the likes of a Bosh and an Evans.

Bosh, as interested a spectator as the Raptors have had this week, thinks, that approached the right way, the former Piston can even make that to his advantage.

"He's probably not going to have a lot of minutes to work with but it's kind of good knowing that because you can tell yourself: 'Okay, I've only got 10 minutes, so I'm going to run the court hard and crash the boards every time and set screens and do a lot of great things in the short time I have.' I've noticed he's always got great energy. He just works his butt off."

That's a best-case scenario for Triano, but don't kid yourself. He's still got some very tough decisions ahead of him.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos