6. Toronto Raptors 43-39
Toronto’s big splash this summer was adding Hedo Turkoglu. The Raptors also added combo guard Jarrett Jack and promising youngsters Marco Belinelli and DeMar DeRozan. I expect Chris Bosh to have a MVP-caliber year as he’s in the last year of his contract. The playoffs are in sight for a team that essentially gave up halfway through last season.
When I heard Toronto stole Hedo Turkoglu away from Portland, I immediately thought: ‘Hey, maybe we’ll actually have some competition in the division this season’. I mean, you take a guy like Turkoglu, put him in place next to your All-Star in Chris Bosh and suddenly you have a very formidable inside – outside punch. Factor Jose Calderone at point guard into the equation and the Raptors finally have something of a head turning nucleus. And we can’t forget about Andrew Bargnani, who’s finally transforming into a real NBA player. We at least have to take them seriously, right?
I was looking over their roster though, and I still can’t decide how I feel about it.
Joey is big, he is strong, and he is hard to move. Joey is athletic. Joey can rebound! The one area of his game that has improved since his rookie year is his rebounding. That in and of itself makes Joey worth a second look – on this Raptors team anyway. In modest minutes, under 20 per game, Joey’s rebounding numbers have gone from 3.0rpg in 2005-06, steadily up to 3.7rpg last season. (The 07-08 year not being reflective of anything, except Mitchell)
Joey also performed well guarding bigs like Dwight Howard or stronger wing players who prefer to post up, where he could use his strength to hold his ground. Joey’s mid-range offensive game is decent as well, reflected in a very acceptable shooting percentage of about 48%.