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Eastern Conference

Kawhi Leonard May Stay In Toronto

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All the talk about Kawhi Leonard not intending to remain with the Toronto Raptors beyond this season may need to be tempered a bit, according to a report from the San Diego Tribune’s Mark Ziegler.

Per the report, a source close to Leonard indicated that the superstar forward is going to remain in Toronto for the long-term,

Here’s what someone who knows Leonard as well as anybody told me privately: “He’s going to fall in love with Toronto – it’s going to happen. He’s not going to leave, I’m telling you.”

Furthermore, the report cites comments made by Norman Powell’s mother, Sharon, who discussed how her Southern California boy adjusted to life in the Great White North.

“The first time I went, it was freezing cold – cold like you just don’t know,” Sharon says. “But it was the best, it was amazing … Norman loves it there, he really does. He likes the city, the people, the team. The fans are so great, so supportive. They’re humble, they’re nice, they’re cordial. I haven’t seen pushy people yet.

“It’s just a fabulous place. Everybody has treated us with open arms. I’m hoping when Kawhi gets there he’ll feel the same way. I know he’ll be treated the same way.”

 

Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Says Andre Drummond In Best Shape He’s Seen Him In

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey is expecting big things from big man Andre Drummond this upcoming season and is excited to see what he can do as he is impressed with the shape Drummond is in.

“One, his overall conditioning. He’s in the best shape since I’ve been around him, the year and a half that I’ve seen. His body is slim and trim, his body fat is down, he’s been in Vegas working with Coach Gerg (Tim Grgurich) and Sean Sweeney all summer religiously, two and three times a day. That in itself is going to pay great dividends,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“Watching him in pickup games, he’s running like a deer. His decision making, I think the 3-point shooting experiment, we kind of put that on hold in the second part of the year last year but still, catching the ball on pick and roll, making decisions, he’s doing a great job of that – a much better job than he did last year. That’s something he’s worked on this summer, making the right read, the right decision” Casey added.

Drummond poured in 17.3 points and 15.6 rebounds per game for the Pistons last season, and has been working on his offensive game during the offseason.

“With him, teams try to go small with a guy 6-7, 6-8, he has the ability and agility and speed and quickness that he can get out there and guard those guys” Casey said.

“That gives him an advantage on the other end, where now I’m in a pick-and-roll situation, he’s got a 6-7 five man in front of him, he still can jump hook over him or kick out. That’s the part of his game, he’s doing a much better job with, his decision making. The third thing will be his finishing, finishing around the rim. He’s such a great offensive rebounder that he’s got to be able to finish once he gets it because he does a great job of crashing the boards and dominating the boards.”

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Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Dwane Casey Planning Flexibility with Blake Griffin, Thon Maker

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Detroit Pistons’ head coach Dwane Casey has a creative approach in mind when he utilizes Blake Griffin and Thon Maker this upcoming season.

While the Pistons don’t have a true center outside of Andre Drummond, Casey sees opportunities to get creative with his lineups, depending on the situation at hand.

“I see it being very situational,” Casey said, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com.

“The other guy we haven’t mentioned, we have played Blake at the five. Not good numbers off of that, so I don’t anticipate that but there are scenarios in the game, last two minutes of the game, where Blake could play the five. Looking for really a bump out of Thon, playing him at four/five, whatever it is, but a lot of nights if you look at the league, the rosters have gotten smaller and the traditional five has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur. The flexibility we have with Thon, with Markieff having the possibility of playing there, is really important.”

With Drummond focusing on developing his offense this offseason, the Pistons may lack some defense at the rim, and in the paint.

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Eastern Conference

Heat’s Bam Adebayo Discusses Team Picking Up Option

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Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat recently picked up the fourth-year option on the contract of center Bam Adebayo, who is thrilled to see further commitment from the team.

Adebayo, the Heat’s starter at center, will make $3.5 million this season, and is now guaranteed $5.1 million in the 2020-2021 season.

“It’s definitely a confidence builder,” Adebayo said, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s one of those things that a lot of guys don’t get to see, but I’m glad it happened to me. So we’re going to keep this thing going and see if we can win some more games.”

Adebayo collected 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists last season for Miami.

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