I have cast aside any bias I have and ranked the Raptors third. My reasons? Jarrett Jack, and Reggie Evans. The supplemental arguments are DeMar DeRozan, Roko Ukic, and new acquisitions Marco Belinelli or Antoine Wright for added punch offensively or defensively.
It just makes that much sense. Granted working against them is having that Marcus Banks character on the roster, with Patrick (waste of space) O’Bryant.
The Raptors really have put together a formidable bench to hopefully avoid some of those depth issues that plagued them last year.
I think the most likely scenario would have Colangelo package Ukic (or Douby) and O’Bryant to a team for one player – preferably a PF/C with some upside and rebounding potential. Ukic (unlike Banks) may be enticing enough for a team to pull the trigger on a deal – especially if we take someone back who has greater than a year term. This would obviously have to be a calculated risk. A deal of this ilk would allow us to free up another roster spot as well to go after a third string SF. If Wright goes down this season, we are still a little thin at the small forward position, as Belinelli will see more time at SG and Evans will spend most of his time at the PF position backing up Bosh. DeRozan may see a little time at the SF, but we can’t count to heavily on the rookie.
No one knows the answer, but on paper it’s possible. Because you have enough skill players, and good outside shooters which the defense must respect. The biggest difference between the Raptors and a European team is that the Raptors does have a couple of guys who can score in isolation when needed, starting with Chris Bosh. Bosh is a nightmare to guard, his combination of a good jumpshot and a very quick first step gives other team’s best defender fits. Bosh draws almost 10 free throw attempts per game, not a lot of bigs in the NBA could do that. Bargnani and Hedo can also score in isolation if needed. A lineup of Calderon, Belinelli, Turkoglu, Bosh and Bargnani, features 3 good ball handlers and all 5 of them can shoot, which is truly unique. So the upside to this is that the teams has many good to great passers which could result in fun times in Toronto, something the city hasn’t seen.
The Raptors just bought that futon. It might work out for them. They might be able to squeeze it into the den, invite some friends over and watch the game, eh. If they didn’t really have a guest room, maybe they’ll get more use out of it since for them, it can once again double as a guest bed when someone had a bit too much Moosehead for the drive home and needs a place to sleep it off or some out of town guests show up and need a place to crash. They might think "man, I can’t believe we got this futon and at such a steal,eh!" But it’s still just a futon, and one that was going to go on the curb with a "free" sign in a couple of weeks anyhow, so I can’t really see how we’d lose any sleep about it. It’s just a futon.
But now there’s some neighbor screaming at the top of his lungs about how I was robbed, that the futon was golden and I’m just an apologist for the ever-evil futon consortium that hasn’t made a good deal on futons for three decades. "How could you possibly just give away a futon?!" he started screaming, with a good deal of incomprehensible babble and some vulgar insults attached. [And now our unarmed North American friends with universal health coverage have exploded into a contest of whether or not over whose franchise will be sifting through the futon lottery longer? Insane.]
Really, all this over a futon?
They very validly point out that a lot of the Raptors players aren’t very athletic, and don’t spend enough time attacking the basket. They point out that for the lion share of last season, Calderon couldn’t have defended against a girl scout pulling a wagon of cookies, because he had the lateral quicks of Roseanne Barr.
You can hear their microscope focusing purely on the Negative potential of the team. Every now and then they will begrudgingly give some ho hum credit to Bosh. But never leave that point before stating they think he’s overrated. And then two sentences later talk with baited breath about how Bosh will leave Toronto for their team next year.
The Raps will be better next season. But how much better.
So if you want to see a summer time charity game again let’s here it. In fact don’t just tell me but tell @chrisbosh on Twitter. Steve Nash had picked up the game for a few years and tried to move it out west and it pretty much died off. I say it is time to bring it back. I understand that this year with the renovations and construction around the A.C.C it would not have been possible. But next year it would be. If things work out right Chris can sign his new contract to remain a Raptor at halftime. That alone would fill the A.C.C would it not?