Everything’s rosy in late October. By Christmas, something’s not right. During All-Star weekend you’re hoping that a trade could turn things around. Come March, you’re hoping they lose to get a good spot in the lotto. At the end of April they’ve put together a win streak out of games that don’t matter and set themselves up for continued mediocrity.
So here the Raptors are again, late October with the world and 82 games in front of them. There are new reasons for optimism. Nine new faces on a gutted roster that’s eager to leave the 33-win season of a year ago behind them. The bench has been shored up and the core of Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon have a new and talented sidekick in Hedo Turkoglu. Throw in ninth-overall pick DeMar DeRozan or Marco Belinelli at the two and you’ve got a solid starting five that’s heavy on the international flavor that the Raps have been serving up for the last three years.
They stand a far better chance of holding a UN summit than the Larry O'Brien trophy. But the Raptors, who speak more languages than Berlitz, will throw a memorable season-long going-away party for Chris Bosh. Six new players will figure into the rotation, which raises the possibility of a chaotic first few months. But everyone on the roster has a specific role. Ballhandling by Jose Calderon. Outside shooting by Andrea Bargnani. Rebounding by Reggie Evans. Toughness by Jarret Jack. Scoring off the dribble by Hedo Turkoglu. Young bounce by DeMar DeRozan. Defense by … um, oh well. You won't fall in love with any one player, but you'll fall in like with several. Plus, Bosh is playing for money. They'll finish top-6 in the East, make the playoffs, pull a first-round surprise and then reach for a hanky when Bosh goes off to … drum roll … Miami.
The Raptors are a disappointment. It’s not too early to say that is it? Bargnani?s 35 minutes a night are all that is holding this Raptors? team out of the playoffs.
Doug Smith Previews the 2009-2010 season.
It's all but certain that rookie DeMar DeRozan will start tomorrow at the shooting guard spot, marking only the third time in team history a rookie started in the opener (Damon Stoudamire in 1995 and Joey Graham in 2005). Triano said while DeRozan deserves the start, he wasn't pushed that much in training camp because of all the team's injuries.
Frank Zicarelli: MVP = Dirk Nowitzki
This isn?t my first post about Twitter and surely not the last, but it is the MOST important one to date. The NBA and its players have embraced social media like no other. With the help of Twitter there has been virtually no ?off-season?. Fans have gotten a chance to interact with and hear from their favorite athletes off the court. One of those players is Patrick O?Bryant.
Say that with me: Eight thousand, two hundred and forty dollars.
That represents the confirmed pledges so far to be donated to the Team Up Foundation if Patrick O?Bryant reaches 2500 followers on Twitter by end of day October 31.
What do you need to do? Easy. Sign in (or sign up) for Twitter, then click here and, on O?Bryant?s screen, click on ?follow?. That?s it. Don?t use twitter? Do it anyway??that 20seconds you spend doing it is worth $8240, no?
I also want to take the time to be clear about one thing: you don?t have to donate. If you want to, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you would like to put towards the cause. Don?t feel pressured, though. You can help just by going to twitter, following @13POB13 and that?s it.
Clever move by the Raptors, who are honoring Toronto's hoops heritage with 1946-47 Toronto Huskies throwbacks (for more on the Huskies, look here and here). Yes, the design is pretty plain, but hey, a Toronto throwback could've been much worse. Now let's hope they make use of the Huskies' old logo, too. On-court debut: Dec. 8.
It?s an understatement to say that "hope" is not a word being kicked around much in Toronto sports circles, but the Toronto Raptors will likely have the whole city behind them this season, because (sorry Leafs!) they represent our only chance for playoff action.
The experts have picked the Raptors as a bubble team, in the hunt for the playoffs but by no means a sure thing. The burden of their fortunes will be placed once again upon the broad shoulders of Chris Bosh, who is geared up for a monster year now that he?s playing for a new contract (and he?s wrapped up filming that random documentary about getting tattooed).
If you?re on the brink of panic now, the month of November will almost definitely throw you over the edge. The Raps open their season on Wednesday at home against Bron and the Cavs. After a quick trip to Memphis on Friday, they come home to face the Magic at the ACC on Sunday. After Detroit the following Wednesday, the Raps hit the road for seven of their next eight including the Hornets, Mavs, Spurs, Suns, Nuggets and Jazz. In the six games left in November after the road trip, they face the Magic again, the Heat and the Celtics.
Honestly, I cringe at the thought of their record coming out of November and I fear for the general mental state of Raptors Nation. My only hope is that we aren't yet booing the home team but intuition tells me this is probably too much to ask.
* 39 free throws off 61 shot attempts
I?m very surprised at how well DeRozan is getting to the free throw line. He didn?t look at all capable of posting above average numbers during summer league.
This is something to watch going forward. It would be great news for the Raptors if DeRozan could supply a good dose of free throw attempts ? because the Raps? offense is way too reliant on Chris Bosh for easy points at the stripe + it would be a great sign for DeRozan?s scoring efficiency both in the short term but more importantly in the long term.
Following the latest embarrassment in Minnesota, the Raptors ended the preseason with just two wins and six loses. Worse, Hedo Turkoglu left the game early after tweaking an ankle and the Raptors? abysmal three-point shooting continued.
After an exciting off-season of change brought in nine new players, many Raptors? fans are now beginning to fear the worst.
Guards Quincy Douby and Sonny Weems, and forward Reggie Evans (left midfoot sprain) have been listed as inactive for the purpose of submitting today?s roster.
The reality of the situation (the Raptors not the flu) is that one month doesn?t make or break an NBA team, especially one with so many new faces. They?ll be nights when we look at this team and shake our heads and they?ll be nights when they?ll look unstoppable. Given the current state of Toronto sports franchises, I can understand the jaded view of the city, but these aren?t the Leafs and although a tough start to the schedule could see the Raps a few games south of five hundred early remember, when the Raps won the Atlantic they started the season 22-22.
The intriguing piece will be DeMar DeRozen. While I am still not convinced he should be in the starting line-up, his willingness to learn and speed of learning combined with Turkoglu's vision is going to result in some weak side baseline dunks by DeRozen, watch for it.
It's not there yet. It may come quickly – certainly faster than it did last year- but the Raptors are going to need some time to adjust to all the offseason roster changes.
The Toronto Raptors placed forward Reggie Evans on the inactive list with a left mid-foot sprain on Monday.
?I don?t care,? Bosh said Monday after the team?s practice. ?I really don?t care. Comments are comments. Move on. I?ve never really been a person to dwell on anything. It?s basketball.? He did have one point to clarify, though. ?I?ve never quit in my life.?
"We're not one of those good teams where we can just show up for a game and play basketball. Some teams are like that, but we're not good enough to do that. We're going to have to practice hard and this is our first year together. Our first month, first two months together. We're going to have to do things full speed. Coach is going to try to break us down so that we think when we're tired a little bit so we don't get as careless with the ball [and we can] make sure we stay solid in what we try to do."