It's time to put your money where your mouth is, answer the following:
1. Number of Wins:
2. Final position in Atlantic:
3. Seed in East:
4. Bargnani Scoring/Rebounding Average:
5. Will Bosh get traded (Yes/No)?
6. Which rotation player will miss the most games due to injury?
7. Turkoglu Scoring Average:
8. Other than Jack, our best sixth man will be:
9. Record on January 1st (33 games):
10. One free prediction:
With just two wins in eight pre-season games, the Toronto Raptors will have no momentum heading into the regular season.
"No. It doesn't count. It's irrelevant," Raptors power forward Chris Bosh said. "Yeah, it's irrelevant."
Their record of 2-6 might very well be unimportant; some other numbers, though, are plainly disconcerting. Not that anything from October is necessarily transferable, but a shooting percentage of 44% is merely average for a team that is supposed to shine with the ball.
In trying to make sense of some abysmal shooting of late – 2-for-20 from three-point range in their final pre-season game, a 98-90 loss to Minnesota on Friday ? the team's head coach is looking for a bit more "me" and a little less "we" to get the percentages up to even mediocre.
"I think they're trying to fit so well that they're making unnecessary passes," Triano said yesterday. "What's happening is these guys want to learn each other and they want to get along with each other so well that I'm almost at the point now where we have to be a little bit more selfish."
The way Triano and a couple of players see it, passing up good shots has a twofold detrimental effect. Not only does it often lead to more difficult field-goal attempts, it's also creating more than a few turnovers because defenders know what to look for.
We were discussing Marco Belinelli in a scrum with Jay yesterday afternoon while the struggling backup swingman was over on the other side of the gym getting in some extra shooting.
Raps and the rest. Just kidding it is Boston and everybody else. Raptors if you don't know what I think about them by now not much more I can say. I really like what I saw from Philly in the Pre-season. The Knicks are a little better but not much. Nets will much like the Raps had to need some time to recover from the Post V.C experience. Celtics are the clear cut favourites in this Division. So much so to see them go 14-2 in the Division would not be so crazy to think. Boston is focused on the Conference and not the division and they should be.
As most readers know, I'm a big fan of David Berri's Wages of Wins website, and the "wins produced" (WP) metric he so often employs to measure player value and effectiveness.
Is the metric infallible? Of course not.
However I've found more often than not, that it's given a pretty acurate view of both individual and team performance.
One of my main concerns with Turkoglu is that, for somebody who is lauded as a top offensive player, he's not a particularly efficient scorer. His field goal and three-point percentages last season and for his career (.428 FG% and .385 3P%) are nothing special. He could return to his 2007-08 percentages of .456 and .400 (when he won the NBA's Most Improved Player award) ? but as a 30-year-old, history shows that to be an unlikely occurrences.
Marco Belinelli's eight minutes of playing time on Friday during the Raptors' loss to Minnesota in Sioux Falls, S.D., raised some eyebrows because of its brevity. Head coach Jay Triano said it had as much to do with getting Antoine Wright playing time as anything else, but he didn't give Belinelli a complete pass either.
The H1N1 watch has hit the Toronto Raptors.
Guard Jarrett Jack, swingman Antoine Wright and assistant coach Alex English were not with the team on Sunday when the team practised in preparation for Wednesday?s season opener against Cleveland. All three called in sick, and did not go to the Air Canada Centre. That is exactly the way the NBA wants it, given the flu scare.
Now, all three could be suffering from an unrelated bug. However, given the fear of the illness, there could be many more practices like Sunday?s.
“In the past, guys would come in and we’d evaluate them and think maybe it?s better to go in and sweat it off, or maybe not,” coach Jay Triano said. “But now we?re trying to stay away from guys spreading it.
“We just hope that it?s not something go around.”
Starting center Andrea Bargnani(notes) decided to pick up a rebound once every 5.9 minutes. Good for him.
I was floored when the first offer came in to add to my initial donation tweet, shocked at the second, humbled by the third and lost my ability to speak soon thereafter. Emails, comments on the blogs, DMs on twitter, IMs on my Blackberry, GTalk. All contained offers of help financially, offers of retweeting or simply what this all started being about: following Patrick O?Bryant.
5. Toronto: If the Cowboys are America's Team, the Raptors are the World's Team. They have two players from Italy and one each from Turkey, Slovenia and Spain. Their key player, however, is Chris Bosh, who went to Lincoln High School in Dallas. Bosh, like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, will be a free agent at the end of the season. If the Raptors don't play to their potential and at least challenge the heavyweights of the East, Bosh could be traded at the deadline in February. Turkoglu will make the Raptors better and third-year center Andrea Bargnani is poised for a breakout season. Jose Calderon is one of the best, yet most overlooked point guards in the league.
Recently, the analyst declared that the Toronto Raptors would miss the playoffs in 2010, which, in turn, would prompt Bosh and the club to cut ties through a trade or during free agency at season?s end.
To be fair, Webber has a unique perspective. Like Bosh, he was once an All-Star power forward. And like Bosh, he experienced a high profile contract negotiation with a franchise he helped rebuild -the Sacramento Kings.
On the one hand, Webber is also right. The results matters. For instance, a winning or losing season would have to influence CB4?s decision to re-up with the Raptors or migrate south to the United States.
On the other hand, Webber?s overlooking two factors. First, consider the economy. Unlike the free spending days of the 1990s, the NBA – like the rest of the business world – is in a recession. With a declining salary cap, less money is available for all players, including the big ticket free agents of next summer.
As regular readers of this space can attest, this is an observation which was made, repeatedly, by yours truly throughout the 2008-2009 season ? and going even further back than that ? based on Basketball Acumen, specific situational stats and Possession Outcome Charts, to the consternation of some Raptors fans obsessed with an individual player?s seasonal ?game stat averages? [i.e. basic and advanced] and/or drunk on the Kool-Aid distributed by the organization.
There?s a lot of talk and hype behind DeMar DeRozan which has left some room for Sonny Weems to sneak in some of his own shine. Both of the aforementioned are incredible athletes and are also both former Slam Dunk Champs.
Look at these three slams from Sonny in the same game during pre-season action to add to your anticipation for this week?s home opener vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to Prime Time Sports and Jack Armstrong was on, and they were talking about the lack of excitement in Toronto about basketball this season.
Actually, I sort of see that too. Last season, there were a lot more casual fans talking about the Raptors, and thinking the team was going to take the next step forward and Jermaine O?Neal + Chris Bosh would be the new twin towers, echoing what Sam Mitchell had said when they acquired O?Neal.
Of course we know what happened next. The team won the first 3 games and then it?s all downhill from there. Mitchell was fired after 40+ points lost in Denver, O?Neal was much less than advertised and the Raptors won a disappointing 33 games.
According to Chicago law firm Winston and Strawn, Zavala's Web site displayed ads using the name of Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh to create revenue for his company.
That is, until Bosh sued for the rights to return his domain name to his possession.
"I definitely didn't know about that," Lucas said. "I'm just finding out right now — I didn't even know anything about it. I'm going to sue, too."
Thanks to Bosh, there's no need. Bosh won his case and was awarded $120,000 under the guidelines of the Federal Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. He also won the rights to all of the domain names this month, and he'll donate them back to any affected athlete as well.
Toronto Raptors: This team could have a slow start and won't play much defense. However, Hedo Turkoglu's wide skill set will have a huge impact offensively. His ballhandling and shooting can't help but make Chris Bosh a happy teammate.
TFC's collapse in New York is just the latest in bad news for Toronto sports fans; good thing for Maurice Johnston he has Brian Burke and Bryan Colangelo to help defend the MLSE fortress
For another thing, he's matured since his young, foolish days, when he wrestled with then- Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell and wanted out of Canada so badly his motivation waned.
Former Magic Coach Brian Hill has said that Carter was the most coachable player he'd ever been around while an assistant with the New Jersey Nets the past few years.
Anthony Parker likes the position he's in right now with the Cavaliers – right between LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal.
The 6-foot-6 forward, who was acquired during the free-agency period this summer, stands to benefit greatly from playing alongside the two as he assumes the starting job as the Cavs' shooting guard.
"They get most of the attention. They make it easier for guys like myself offensively," Parker said. And Parker has taken the opportunity to show what he can do offensively on a few occasions during the preseason. A couple of times, he has moved off O'Neal screens to make a quick jump shot with little difficulty. It's not something that the Cavs did with consistency.
– While we were waiting in the hallway, the place felt dead. Walking into practice, it was easy to see that the guys did a lot of running as everyone was dripping in sweat and most wasted no time in clearing out of the gym. Amir Johnson stayed to work on free throws with assistant coach Eric Hughes while Quincy Douby was at the other end of the court and went head-to-head against Alvin Williams to get some extra work in.
– We were notified that Antoine Wright and Jarrett Jack along with assistant coach Alex English were all absent from practice due to illness. Tough break for the Raps, especially in the case of Wright, who needs this extra time to get repetitions in as well as conditioning. Sidelined for most of training camp and almost all of preseason with the sore right knee, Wright was unable to keep up with his conditioning and the plan was to play himself back into game shape with practice.
WHO WON’T: We’re not seeing Toronto. Yet. Yes, the Raps turned half their roster over to add significant depth – Hedo Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack, Reggie Evans, Antoine Wright, and rookie DeMar DeRozan are the new recruits, but this is not the kind of group that will gain much traction in the postseason. Still, it bears watching: This team’s style will undoubtedly have a European flair (Hedo, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon), and everyone wants to see if it will make a guy from Texas (Chris Bosh) happy enough to stay.
Toronto Raptors – Chris Bosh
The Raptors had quite a disappointing season finishing 33-49 but it was mainly caused by injuries and chemistry problems with the firing of former coach of the year Sam Mitchell and having so many lines up changes. Aside from the emergence of Andrea Bargnani late in the season, Chris Bosh was the only bright spot on this team during the year. Bosh had his healthiest season in four years playing and starting 77 games this year. He also put up a career high 22.7 PPG and led the team in rebounding with 10.0 RPG. Aside from Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson and Zach Randolph, Bosh was the only other player to average at least 20 PPG and 10 RPG this season. Unlike the other Atlantic Division teams, this selection was a no brainer and there is no other player on the Raptors that even comes close to match Chris Bosh?s contribution to the team. Without anything else to say, proclaiming Chris Bosh as the Toronto Raptors MVP of this season is without question.