Aussie Raptor fits right in

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:49 PM ET

From the moment he was informed of his move from Houston to Toronto, David Andersen had an inkling he’d fit in well in his new surroundings.

Even before his first practice, the affable Aussie knew his skill set would match the type of system the Raptors were looking to run.

The grind of training camp and the tedium of the pre-season did little to change Andersen’s perspective on how he would mesh and how comfortable he’d feel in the environment.

“The assimilation has all been good,” Andersen said on Sunday. “The transition has been comfortable because it’s team-oriented and I knew I was coming into that scenario.”

Andersen spent last season with the Rockets, where he was used as a reserve at both power forward and at the centre spot.

For most of his professional life, he honed his trade in Europe, where bigs are used to extend defences and play facing the basket.

The Raptors have a Euro flavour in that they want the ball to swing freely and they have a centre in Andrea Bargnani whose best asset is playing on the perimeter.

Andersen finds himself in head coach Jay Triano’s rotation, his minutes to be doled out primarily as Bargnani’s backup.

The power forward spot will be occupied by Reggie Evans and Amir Johnson with an injured Ed Davis waiting in the wings.

In certain matchups, the Raptors can throw Linas Kleiza at the four when they want to play small.

The jury, meanwhile, is still out on what kind of defensive presence Andersen will provide, but he can shoot the ball and he will force opposing bigs to vacate the paint, which is huge given the dearth of players who can take their man off the dribble and attack the rim.

“I’ve always been a fan of the Raptors because of the European mix,” Andersen, 30, added. “So far, everything’s been good. Guys are starting to understand their roles and the system.

“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity and helping the team get as many wins as it can.”

Andersen made 45% of his three-pointers in the pre-season, averaging 7.0 points in his seven appearances.

“He’s a veteran guy who brings a professional attitude,” Triano said of Andersen. “He’s been good at finding ways to step out and shoot the basketball.”


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