My apologies... The season has started and I still have 3 teams that I failed to write but who cares? The season is long and it's only 3 more teams, right? Well, I guess it's double time for me...
The city of Toronto had it going the past 2 years... They finally made the playoffs and had built a team surrounded by international talent led by 2006 first overall pick Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon. Of course, you can't forget about Chris Bosh being the focal point of the offense for this team. After two years of playoff experience, people are going to think highly of this team since they acquired Jermaine O'Neal in the offseason. But that wasn't meant to be though as the Raptors lost more than they've won. They did started well at 3-0 but after that lost to the Nets in OT where Vince Carter, a former Raptor and Face of this franchise, catches an alleyhoop pass from Bobby Simmons with 0.2 seconds left, things went downhill from the team. They never got their groove back. Sam Mitchell was fired and was replaced by Jay Triano. Andrea Bargnani was so-so. Chris Bosh was dubbed as "soft". JO limped with his injury. And Jose Calderon was the only one doing all the job for the Raptors. Soon after realizing they are going nowhere, the Raptors had had enough and traded Jamario Moon and Jermaine O'Neal for Shawn Marion's expiring contract. Though Marion was a better fit for Toronto, they managed to finish the year with a 33-49 record which isn't enough to make them come back to the playoffs.
The 2009 NBA Draft gave the Raptors some sort of a hope. They did have the 9th pick of the draft in which they selected pogo-stick swingman Demar DeRozan. Demar is an extremely raw but talented guard who can give the Raptors a boost at the 2 and 3 spot. The USC Trojan was pretty underwhelming in his lone college year but this kid has the most upside coming out of this draft class. His athleticism is extremely excellent, he has good mid-range game though his 3-point shooting needs a lot of work. AT best, he could be Vince Carter and At worst, he could end up being Gerald Green. It's a risk the Raptors took but no fans were complaining as to why.
The Raptors look thoroughly international-flavored and they've been known as such ever since Brian Colangelo took over as GM. They reacquired back up center Rasho Nesterovic and traded for Marco Belinelli who hasn't really blossomed into a good player while at Golden State. They also traded Jason Kapono's contract for Reggie Evans. They also acquired athletic wingman Sonny Weems from Denver and Jarrett Jack from the Pacers. It was a busy off-season for Toronto who is looking to bounce back after a dismal season last 2008-09. But the biggest move of all was acquiring 6'10 Turkish forward Hedo Turkoglu who recently had an NBA Finals appearance with the Orlando Magic. Turkoglu added more international flavor to the Raptors team. With so many moves, will the Raptors be able to put the right team? Can they make it to the playoffs this year? What will Jay Triano do to make this team work well? Can Chris Bosh remain happy with his team loaded with offensive talent? It's a puzzle that can only be answered once the season starts. But one thing's for sure, it's going to be a very, very interesting season for this team...
NBA Draft Grade: A-
NBA Offseason Grade: A
Predicted W-L: 46-36
This is just a writer's opinion... Anyone care to comment, I am open for it^^
I like you take on the raptors fizer
I have been a longggg time raptors fan, maybe because I live in Canada.
But I do not see them winning that much games with the defense they are playing right now.
Im no expert, so I cant say how they can improve, all I can see is the starters are really bad at defense.
maybe Bosh and DeRozan are average, but other 3 guys Jose, Hedo, and Barg. are just awful on the defensive end. I think they really need a good defender on the perimeter at least. And Im hoping that DeRozan can develop into a lock-down defender.
There are a lot of what-ifs can be asked about the raptors this past season, like what if they drafted the rookie sensation Brandon Jennings that everyone loves, or they have traded their franchise player Chris Bosh, but again Im no expert, so I cannot predict the outcomes of these what-ifs.( I do like to see Jennings in a Raptors uniform tho..)
So, I think the Raptors really need to find a way to get better on the defensive end right now, other than that, they are a solid team whether Bosh leaves next season or not.