The trade deadline is still hours away but one of the biggest deals of the season probably happened last weekend when the Toronto Raptors sent Jermaine O’Neal, Jamario Moon and a draft pick to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
Marion and Banks made their debut with the Raptors tonight and although it resulted in a loss, it’s clear both players will have a huge impact on the franchise for the remainder of this season. Will they be enough to help Toronto sneak into the playoffs? That remains to be seen, but after watching the two play tonight it became clear they’ll be a huge benefit to the team moving forward.
After the game Marion was bombarded with media around his locker while he talked about his debut, the reaction the crowd gave him and the need for Toronto to talk more on defense.
Sit back, relax and enjoy some insight into Shawn Marion.
Reporter: So, how did it feel?
Shawn Marion: It was cool. A little different but it was alright. I think what needs to happen is we just need to play with each other some more to get a feel for each other. I think we were just missing each other. Our timing was off, but I saw some good things out there tonight. There are some things we need to work on but we can all help each other.
Reporter: What are your thoughts on the warm reception the crowd gave you tonight?
Marion: (Smiling) Oh, it was great. What more can you ask for? I think if we got a win it would have been even better. I think we just need to get more comfortable on the floor with each other and need to keep this thing going. I think our energy level was great at times (but) I also think at times we got discombobulated out there because everybody wasn’t talking. Other than that, I think we left it out there on the floor and that’s all you can ask for.
Reporter: You were guarding LeBron (James) for most of the game and you held him in check and he had to distribute the ball more than he usually does.
Marion: I think when I was guarding him I was almost able to make it hard for him and he was missing some shots. He was making some good passes out there but thing about LeBron is when you can hold him down to six or seven points for a long time you’ve done a good job on him.
Reporter: It looked like you were still figuring out defensive rotations and where guys were supposed to be on offense.
Marion: It’s a little bit easier when guys are communicating and talking, it’s hard as hell to play defense when everybody is quiet. I think with any good defensive team you can hear them talking about stuff and it makes everybody that much more alert. When you go out there all quiet and stuff it makes playing defense that much more harder. I think the principles on defense are similar to the stuff we did in Miami. At the same time, here in Toronto we just need to fine tune a couple of things here and there. We just gotta’ talk more, that’s the biggest thing because it revs everybody up.
Reporter: Jay (Triano) said they missed you three or four times when you made a pretty good cut because they just weren’t used to you being in that spot. Did you sense that?
Marion: Oh yeah, definitely. Jose (Calderon) and I actually talked a little bit about how he needs to get a feel for me because I was cutting and getting open but he couldn’t get a feel for it. He couldn’t see me. I told him I’m always cutting and moving without the ball and a lot of times my man isn’t even paying attention because I’m sneaking around. I move great without the ball. It happens. It’s a reading and a feel thing and I think we just need to help each other. That’s the only way it is going to get better.
Reporter: Is it tough to be in that situation? Is it frustrating to be the new guy and not knowing exactly where everybody is going?
Marion: For me, I’m a basketball player. It’s not hard when I have the ball in my hard, it’s hard when I don’t have the ball in my hand. I think it’s tougher for guys to get a read for me than it is for me to get a read on people because if I’m coming off a screen or if I have a double-team for me I’m always going to find the open cutting guy. It’s just a matter of everyone else doing the same thing as well and everybody helping each other. I think sometimes it’s just that much harder when you take it and you can’t see nobody. Or, you do see somebody and you’re not able to make the pass.