I wonder how it feels to be the only Canadian team in the NBA, probably not as bad as it feels to play for the only Canadian team in the NBA. While possessing a number of talented players, well mainly Chris Bosh, the Raptors have been stunningly mediocre for a number of years now, never doing particularly badly, never doing particularly well (they have only made it past the first round of the playoffs once in their franchise history). With the addition of Hedo Turkoglu this season, hopefully Toronto can turn things around in 2009-10, but probably not.
Not too many teams can line up three points guards of the quality of Jose Calderon, Jarrett Jack and Marcus Banks.
I can see this club getting back to within shouting distance of .500, but will that be enough to make it back to the postseason? I’m expecting the usual logjam from about sixth place to 10th place in the East, and with Washington bouncing back and returning to the mix, it will be that much harder for the Raptors to hop over enough teams to make the playoffs. Another factor is that, with such dramatic roster turnover, there could easily be a feeling-out period for this club. I wouldn’t be shocked if they started slowly and then enjoyed a big second half once this new group gels.
The most common knock on Turkoglu has been aimed at his defense and rebounding. Since Turkoglu is coming from a top 6 defensive club, this seems just a little overblown. As a small forward, Turkoglu is often set against some of the better scoring players in the league. While he isn’t considered exceptionally quick or athletic, Hedo does have a high basketball IQ and is taller than many at his position.
Comparing Hedo to the other small forwards in the eastern conference, his combined (pts/rbs/ast) stat line is superior to veterans like Tayshaun Prince, Shawn Marion, and Luol Deng. Even Rashard Lewis and Richard Jefferson’s totals were lower.
I like what the Raptors have done. They might have overpaid a little for both Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani (whom they re-signed), but that doesn’t mean they weren’t solid basketball decisions.
Chris Bosh, Bargnani and Turkoglu make up a versatile front line, and they have one of the best decision-making point guards in the league, Jose Calderon, to put it all together.