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MessagePosté le: 24/08/2016 10:06:56    Sujet du message: e 2012, turned two double plays at second bas Répondre en citant

TORONTO - After auditioning roughly 60 prospects, including nine Canadians, in 11 sessions spanning over nine workout days this spring, the Toronto Raptors are putting the finishing touches on their wish list heading into Thursdays NBA Draft. For most of the last week, Masai Ujiri and his scouting staff have been mulling over 10 targets they anticipate will be available with the 20th overall pick, their first of three selections, hoping to narrow that list down to five by Tuesday. With three days to go, does he have someone in mind? "Hes around like the back here," said the former scout, gesturing to the back of his head just before the Raptors concluded their final pre-draft workout Monday afternoon. "But he hasnt made it to the front yet. Hes working his way." No, Ujiri wont tip his hand, not with so many variables at play. Fourteen teams occupy the 19 slots that precede the Raptors and will determine who is available to them. They have a list of about 13 players that are expected to be off the board by the time Toronto is on the clock. The pick will be Ujiris first as Torontos primary decision maker - the Raptors did not have a selection in last years draft - and should immediately put his keen eye for talent to the test. Since Ujiri took control of the Raptors, a franchise that has mostly been accustomed to selecting in the lottery, he has emphasized the importance of drafting well regardless of where youre situated in both the first and second rounds. For only the third time in franchise history, and first in 12 years, the Raptors are positioned outside the top 19 in the drafts opening round. Although its not an advantageous spot to find cant miss, NBA-ready talent, history has shown it can be done. In 2000, with the 20th overall pick - the teams lowest ever first-round selection - they found one of their best and most reliable contributors in long-time Raptor Morris Peterson. In 2011, then with the Nuggets, Ujiri used the 22nd pick to snag emerging forward Kenneth Faried. As Ujiri knows, the key is preparation aided by a little bit of luck and the subsequent development that is required to turn a late first-round pick into an impact player at the games highest level. "Its a huge bonus," Ujiri said of finding a diamond in the rough on draft night. "You look at the programs that have done well in the NBA, they just strike with picks like that. Its takes constant study, and really knowing players, believing in players and a system." "I think a big thing is you kind of have to be realistic on the expectations of the players," added Dan Tolzman, Torontos director of scouting, who was also a member of Ujiris front office staff in Denver. "I think everyone wants to find those diamonds and the guys that will be all-stars and MVPs and this and that but those guys are pretty hard to find outside of the lottery and the top-five even." "So I think the idea is if you can find guys at 20 or 37 or wherever that have careers," he continued, "that are eight-year players and theyre role players on your team and theyre doing good things to help you win, thats a successful draft pick. You might get lucky and hit a guy thats going to be a big time contributor and hes pushing for all-stars and that kind of thing, but thats not really what youre looking for when youre outside of the top-five or the top-10." Over the last four weeks, the Raptors brass have seen around a dozen players that figure to be selected in the latter half of the first round, or early in the second. According to team sources, there are roughly five prospects of interest that were either unable or unwilling to come in for a workout. While the workouts are not the be all and end all - the team has scouted them all in live action - they can go a long way in getting the coaching staff and trainers on board with a potential pick. Should a player fall to them unexpectedly, Ujiri will keep his options open and hasnt ruled out the possibility of trading up, if the price is right. Still, the focus is on making their make at 20. "Those trades and talks, people dont understand," said the Raptors GM. "We talk about like maybe 100 trades and then two happen. Thats the nature of our business. We will be aggressive but our energy is focused on 20, rather than wasting our time on [something else]." In addition to their first-round pick, the Raptors also own a pair of second rounders, 37 and 59 - the second to last pick in the draft. Regardless of whether or not theyre able to address their needs in the draft, Ujiri has prioritized his offseason to-do list. "We need a big wing at the three position," he said. "We [also] need some kind of shot blocking big. We have good, skilled bigs, we have a shooting big, we have a big down low, but we want to figure out how we can protect the rim a little bit. That may come now, it may come later but its something we know we need on our roster. So those two positions look like something we need." His top priority has not changed. "Were going full force after Kyle Lowry," Ujiri said, speaking of the teams coveted free agent point guard. "And if theres a talented point guard in the draft we know that its going to be tough to come and contribute to where our team is off the bat, but well go for talent in the draft. But Kyle Lowry is our target and well try to get that done." In just over a week, the Raptors - and other teams for that matter - can begin negotiating with Lowry, unable to officially sign him or announce a deal until the moratorium period ends on July 10. Until then the focus will be on the draft, one of the most chaotic events on the basketball calendar and an invaluable opportunity to add young talent, provided youre well prepared for it. The Raptors have done their homework. "I was walking into the conference room where our guys were meeting and I was like okay, no news that will throw me off right now," Ujiri joked. "Because you know its going to keep coming. There will be something tonight and something else tomorrow morning. Thats just the nature of the draft. I heard something yesterday that threw us off a little bit. But it will keep coming and coming and coming until that last minute. Thats the joy of it, I mean you love it. Thats why we do it. There is always action. As long as we come out on top, then were fine." MIAMI -- Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gregory Polanco had five hits Friday night, and the last one was the biggest -- and the longest. Playing in his fourth major league game, Polanco broke a tie in the 13th inning with his first homer, helping Pittsburgh to an 8-6 victory over the Miami Marlins after the Pirates had a ninth-inning meltdown. Polanco went 5 for 7, scored three times and made a run-saving catch in right field. "That could have been a coming-out party for him," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Very exciting to watch. I hope we get to watch for a long time." Clint Barmes singled off Mike Dunn (5-4) to start the 13th and advanced on a sacrifice. Polanco homered on a hanging 2-2 slider and smacked his hands as he circled the bases, mindful his mother was in the stands watching him for the first time since he played winter league in his native Dominican Republic. "For sure this is my best game ever -- the first time shes here watching me play," Polanco said. "I was excited and a little emotional. Shes so proud of me, and I know shes feeling excited right now." Jeanmar Gomez (1-2) pitched four scoreless innings after the Pirates blew a 6-2 lead in the ninth when three relievers combined to issue six walks. The Pirates Jeff Locke pitched a career-high eight innings, and the bullpens wildness cost him his first victory since Sept. 12. Miami trailed 6-5 and had runners at first and third with two out in the ninth when Hurdle ordered NL home run and RBI leader Giancarlo Stanton intentionally walked. The strategy backfired when Casey McGehee fell behind 0-2, and then walked against Mark Melancon to tie the game. Melancon struck out Marcell Ozuna to send the game to the 10th. "You rip off the rearview mirror and keep playing," Hurdle said. The Marlins stranded three in the ninth and two in the 12th. "The game was there for the taking at the end," McGehee said. "It was unfortunate we couldnt quite finish it off." Pittsburghs Sterling Marte homered and tied a career high with four hits. Ike Davis added a two-run double, and the top four hitters in the Pirates order went 13 for 27.dddddddddddd The Pirates have won seven consecutive series openers, and on Saturday they have a chance to reach .500 for the first time since mid-April. Miamis Nathan Eovaldi pitched as though he was more worried about his wifes delivery than his own, which was understandable. Their first child is due, which left Eovaldis status in doubt until game time, and he allowed 10 hits and six runs in 4 2-3 innings. Stanton hit his 18th home run. Rafael Furcal, making his season debut after being sidelined by injuries since 2012, turned two double plays at second base but went 0 for 6. Locke, making his second start since right-hander Gerrit Cole went on the disabled list, allowed two runs, seven hits and no walks. The left-hander said he was encouraged by his performance. "Its huge," he said. "Anytime you give this team a chance to win, it makes you feel good. Thats what Ive always tried to do through the struggles and the successes. It builds a lot of confidence moving forward." Locke made the NL All-Star team last year but pitched poorly the second half of the season and has spent most of this season in Triple-A. NOTES: Marlins LF Christian Yelich left the game in the second inning with a strained lower back. His status is day to day. ... 2B Michael Martinez made his first start with the Pirates and went 0 for 3. ... Pirates OF Josh Harrison (ankle) was held out of the lineup. ... Former Pirate Garrett Jones pinch-hit in the ninth for Miami and struck out. ... The Pirates Russell Martin was safe at second when the Marlins botched a rundown in the fourth, but the call was reversed following a replay review and he was ruled out. ... Martin made his 1,000th career start at catcher, which ranks fifth among active players. ... RHP Stolmy Pimentel and RHP Vance Worley are candidates to start Sunday for the Pirates in place of LHP Francisco Liriano (left oblique strain). ... LHP Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.15 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday for Miami against RHP Charlie Morton (3-7, 3.14 ERA). Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' ' Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping
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