|Raptors Dance Pak - highlight of this season?!?!|
No team in the Association was worse on the defensive end last season than Toronto...all 8 playoff teams from the East were in the top 1/2 of the NBA as far as team-D...this team projects as the worse D in the NBA for a 2nd straight year, but I don't buy those projections...for one thing P.J. Carlesimo is in as Assistant Head Coach to Triano...P.J. is no joke...he will surely have this team-D humming at a much better pace than last season...also gone is the brutal Bosh and Hedon't, and in is Ed Davis and Soloman Alabi...both are rookies who slipped down the draft board as teams were concerned about their injuries (in the case of Alabi he has Hep-B which is a concern)...in is also the slimmer-trimmer Reggie Evans...yes Evans was on the roster in 2009-2010 but he was injured almost the entire season...Evans has looked very good in Preseason, especially when it comes to grabbing an offensive rebound and finding an open teammate for a good look where in the past he thought he was the good look...I am a big Andrea Bargnani fan (again I am in the minority) but have to admit that he is a soft soft soft 7-footer on the defensive end...a Davis, or Evans, or Kleiza, or Alabi will have to guard the opponents Power Forwards and be sure to help out Bargnani on the opponents Center - a task that fits Ed Davis perfectly
|Ed Davis aka Mr Ed aka Ed Truck|
The Raps were top 6 in O last season, and they lose scorers, but that may be able to become a positive too...now the offense is not beholden to one guy...does not feel the need to cater to one or two guys to make sure they get their touches...Sonny Weems took major steps forward in 2009-2010, as did Amir Johnson, and both should have a chance to improve on their stats from last year in this ball-sharing O...I have faith in starting PG Jarret Jack to distribute the ball in a European-style O...Jay Triano was a consultant for Team USA recently and no doubt having to study the European game would have led to new ball-movement/player-movement type of ideas...plus wait 'til fans get a load of Leandro Barbosa...they don't call him the Brazilian Blur because that name was randomly selected out of a bag-o-nicknames...they call him that because you will be stunned at how fast he moves with a basketball...his assists MUST improve over the 2.6 he averaged in Phoenix, and his 1.5 in Preseason were bad, but this guy can fly and has the potential to create for others on the fast break...
|Kleiza in a recent game repping Lithuania|
Who haven't we looked at yet...how about DD aka DeMar DeRozan...DD averaged 8 points per game in his rookie campaign and we saw that he was a one-trick pony...highlight reel dunk-or-bust...that will not cut it at this level...word is that he knows that full well and worked hard in the offseason to better his jumper...we can only hope that is the case...time will tell, but DD is one guy that has to take positive steps forward in 2010-2011
Could Julian Wright be a pleasant surprise?!?! In August he was acquired from New Orleans for Marco Belinelli...in 2007 Wright was the #13 overall pick so we hope he can reach his potential, but he has had a s l o w start to his NBA career...
|amazingly NOT on the hot-seat|
I like Boston-Orlando-Chicago-Miami-Milwaukee-Hotlanta (in that order actually) more than I like the Raps...but that is only 6 teams...8 will qualify for the playoffs...I like the Raps to be there with New York, Washington, and Charlotte to compete for the 7th and 8th playoff spots
Good news for Raps fans is when the world was predicting the 2010 Jays would lose 100+ games I predicted 84 wins (they got 85) so you can count on my predictions...ya right...I should mention the bad news for Raps fans is that I predicted the team would make the playoffs for the last 2 seasons...ahem......