…whatever will be will be, the future’s not ours to see.

And that, sirs and ladies, is the theme of the season. I have no idea what to expect so everything will be a surprise. Don’t ask me cuz I just don’t know. What we can do is speculate regarding where in the spectrum of possibilities each individual Raptor and the team will fall. The only difference than previous years, I suppose, is that where in the past few seasons we’ve focused on individual improvement (Bargnani’s defense, DeRozan’s jumper), the focus will now shift to team growth and development. Certainly, the years dedicated to pure player development are behind us, and the salt and pepper we’ve added in the off-season speaks more to expecting team advancement than player growth.

Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields are the principal additions (leaving the raw Jonas aside), and as much as there are question marks surrounding Fields, both signings were a signal of intent that the Raptors are starting to become buyers than bystanders in the market. The signings addressed long-standing question marks, with the franchise finally acknowledging that Kleiza, J. Johnson, and even Calderon were deficient as first choices. As with any medium-profile acquisition, there’s a risk that it doesn’t pan out and the franchise is made to look bad. On that front we’re due for a win because the only relevant trade/signing that remains on the roster is Amir Johnson, the rest have been discarded.

Training camp nears and so does the accompanying optimism, which at this stage is born of hope and longing for basketball rather than material evidence. That’s how it is every October which makes it probably the best time to be a Raptors fan: when things are 0-0, when the playing field is even, when you’re not wondering how many games under .500 they are, when simply put, anything can happen. That sense of optimism is usually quite quickly extinguished, as evidenced by the 20-game starts over the last four years:

2011-12: 6-14
2010-11: 8-12
2009-10: 7-13
2008-09: 8-12

When you’re an average of 5.5 games under .500 with 20 games gone, odds are things aren’t going to improve because as you’re hitting the mid-season swing, so are other teams. It’s imperative that if the present sense of optimism is to exist beyond mid-December, that this year’s start lay the foundation instead of dig a hole. What do the first 20 games for the Raptors look like?

Oct. 31 Indiana
Nov. 3 at Brooklyn
Nov. 4 Minnesota
Nov. 6 at Oklahoma City
Nov. 7 at Dallas
Nov. 10 Philadelphia
Nov. 12 Utah
Nov. 13 at Indiana
Nov. 17 at Boston
Nov. 18 Orlando
Nov. 20 at Philadelphia
Nov. 21 at Charlotte
Nov. 23 at Detroit
Nov. 25 San Antonio
Nov. 27 at Houston
Nov. 28 at Memphis
Nov. 30 Phoenix
Dec. 3 at Denver
Dec. 5 at Sacramento
Dec. 7 at Utah

The bookies are going to be against the Raptors for the first five games, and a possible respite against Philadelphia later it’s back to the grind. The truth is that the NBA schedule rarely “eases up” any more and if you see a soft spot in the schedule where you think the Raptors are going to make up tough stretches, it’s a mirage. And that’s fine, I don’t want the Raptors to be a team that gets theirs against the supposed weaker sisters. What they lack in talent and experience, they can try to make up in defensive discipline. If Casey continues to have the influence he had last season and improves upon the 16-place jump in defensive rating (from 30 to 14), which you would think he can considering the addition of Lowry and Valanciunas, the Raptors will be in most games.

There were too many instances last season where the offense sputtered when it mattered and whether Lowry and Fields, and an improving DeRozan and Bargnani, can provide consistent clutch production remains to be seen. The elements to at least stay in games – which is always defense – are there, and that’s probably why I’m feeling better about this season than most. In the past we’ve always relied on bullshit like “run ‘n gun” and “we’ll run when we can” nonsense to be the identity of the team, and heading into this season it’s completely different and actually endorsed by the results from last year.

Defense alone will keep you in games, timely offense will win it and to produce said offense you need talent. So here’s my ranking of the top five talented players on the Raptors:

  1. Andrea Bargnani: Still the most potent offensive weapon and the man who can cause the most trouble for opposing defenses. If that All-Star thing is ever going to happen, it’ll happen this year.
  2. Kyle Lowry: A more proven commodity than DeMar DeRozan, his ability to constantly impose pressure defenses is going to be key. The training camp is all about getting him working with the bigs and shooters.
  3. Jose Calderon: On pure talent, he’s up there on the team. A key will be how Casey can utilize Calderon’s obvious offensive in tandem with Lowry. Or will he simply avoid playing two PGs together and be done with it?
  4. DeMar DeRozan: If he comes back with anything less than a sure-shot jumper for mid-range, the Raptors should buy him a one-way plane ticket. Can’t be waiting on talent to blossom no more.
  5. Landry Fields: The talent is hardly proven, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in this pseudo-ranking. He’s been brought here to score and provide three-point shooting, the latter being of critical importance.

Jonas Valanciunas is too raw, and although I’ve lied to/convinced myself he’s going to be have a big year, I can’t realistically expect much from him. Same for Terrence Ross, those who are expecting a Mo Pete-impact forget that in Peterson’s first year the Raptors had Vince Carter, Mark Jackson, Antonio Davis, Charles Oakley, Dell Curry, and Muggsy Bogues.

Things warming up now.

  • Milesboyer

    I give the Raps a 50/50 chance of making the playoffs.

    • Daniel

      With all due respect, you are delusional. Our current roster is good for 23-28 wins, or ranked 11-14 in the East (Charlotte beat us twice last season however they are deliberately tanking for at least 2 season, a la Oklahoma model).

      • Red and White

        Considering the Raps won 23 games in a lockout shortened season without JV, Ross, Fields, Lowry, and a healthy Bargs, I think 23-28 wins is if the season goes horribly wrong.  Mid 34-40 wins is the range I am seeing more, but maybe I am just being optimistic.  

      • skeptical

        I doubt the Raptors make the playoffs (seems like a stretch, although one I *want* to believe) but anything less than 30 wins would be a notable disappointment unless the team gets hit with injuries.

        Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time I was disappointed with this team.

    • FAQ

      I give the Raps a 50/50 chance of not making the playoffs.

  • Nilanka15

    I might be inclined to put Kleiza ahead of Fields on this pseudo list (focusing more on offensive “talent”).

  • Destro

    Can we pls drop the AB all star talking points…its corny…
    Hes not an AS plain and simple..never has been and never will…

    • cesco

      He may or may not become an all star but one thing is for sure , the chances of the Raps making the playoffs reside mostly on a healthy Andrea ( and a healthy Lowry ) . A team that is in the playoffs picture in January will have their best player getting strong considerations for an all star berth .

      • Destro

        Jokes aside..this team competing for a playoff berth will actually reside on about 5-6 players playing really well…This isnt OKC a team driven by 2 supserstars..its a team that is pushed by a collective effort..the notion AB drives this ship is faulty on every level because he cant carry a team or this team…just fact…He needs DeMar,Kyle,Landry and a few others to play at high levels for this team to have any shot…

        As far as all star aspirations team being close to competitive would help but ive maintained it for years until he D’s up like a man every night and gets his rebounding numbers up the coaches will never select him…a 13/10 big will always get picked over 20/5…*shrug* 

        • cesco

           I completely agree that all the key players need to be at their best to have a chance for a playoff spot . As far as AB is concerned he would have to have  23/7/2.5AS/1.0 BL stats at least to have any chance to be picked . He may achieve that if all the other key players improve also and the team is really into the playoffs picture . Just a dream at this time of the year .

          • Destro

            an AB stan being reasonable and logical…

            unchartered territory

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000105737128 Keith Warren

             AB will not get 1.0 blocks per game! lol

            I see AB being more of a 26/5/4 kind of guy. But really I am hoping for someone else to take the lead and let him become more of a role player. We need a Kobe so that AB can be more like Gasol and pick up scraps.

    • PESTRO

       can we drop you from the fanbase?

    • NyAlesund

       You love Andrea and I am sure you have his jersey……………….

      • Destro

        I would never rock a jersey of any euro player not named Petrovic…

  • 2damkule

    so…yeah.  training camp.  cool.

  • Roarque

    From what I’ve heard, Jonas is a defensive bull with no ego. IF he can control his fouls and IF he can work the pick and roll with the PGs and IF he’s okay with Andreas being the top dog offensively then Jonas will make a positive impact on the team.

    • Nilanka15

      I don’t see Jonas having any problem with his offensive role on this team.  It’s probably the part of his game that needs the most work.

      Assuming a regular lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, Fields, Bargnani and Jonas, Jonas would likely be the 5th offensive option.

      • CJT

        His points will come off of effort plays, putbacks, offensive rebounds etc. for the most part.

  • Daniel

    Raptors’ fanbase has Stockholm syndrome and fell in love with an awful GM and a below-average roster. We are worse than last year: Lowry is a wash with Bayless, Fields is worse than JJ or Kleiza, 2 rookies replaced veterans like Barbosa and Magloire. We’ll be lucky to have 16 wins by the trade deadline. This fanbase deserves this team as it is blind to obvious facts: this GM hasn’t brought in one better player than Bosh or Calderon (I consider TJ, Jack, Bayless and Lowry to be the same type of player at the lower end of the NBA PG scale), whom he found here when he got the position. Andrea is the closest to them however he needs to become a much more consistent player at a higher level to have an impact on the wins column. Bosh had had the highest WP48 and then Calderon has posted the highest WP48 after Bosh left and then a huge drop-off where it counts the most. We lost Bosh for nothing and we’ll see what Colangelo we’ll get for Calderon.
    This is probably my first off-season in which I don’t give the Raptors any benefit of the doubt. The roster is bad in the same measure as the hype is high. I watched every Raptors game for the last 6 seasons however this season I intend to get the League Pass and to watch some good teams playing good basketball. The hope has ended. We need to turn the page in order to start getting excited again.

    • Nilanka15

      I stopped reading after “Lowry is a wash with Bayless”.

      • 2damkule

        it got ‘better.’

      • Ihatehaters

        Me too.

    • 2damkule

      i hear ya, bud.  i have no idea how they’re gonna replace the big cat, he was a large person, and from all appearances, it looked like he had even been a basketball player at some point in the (distant) past.  and to think they’ll only have another large person with some skill (grey) and a mere ROOKIE (BAH!  rookies are ASS!!) to play the 5.  i dunno know, i dunno know…

      and lowry?  PUH-LEASE, didn’t you see all that whining he did in houston!  LOCKER ROOM CANCER!!  not even that, from the 30 seconds or so of video i bothered watching of him, he’s a total ball-hog, and only wants to get his.  clearly, he’s JUST LIKE bayless & jack.  and don’t give me that ‘good defender’ bullshit, he’s barely 6 feet tall, how’s he supposed to guard anyone?

      don’t even get me started on fields…you know ‘we’ are paying him $34 million in that 3rd year, right?  i may not have the numbers exact, but it’s something crazy like that, and that’s all that really matters, AMIRITE!?!  and i totally agree, what a downgrade on JJ, we’re TOTALLY gonna miss that guy, what with his great, uh, hustle, and stuff, and like, totally wicked playmaking ability.  and the blocked shots!  man, he was great.

      just hope they don’t forget to feed the big man in the middle, er, out on the perimeter…that’s their ticket to Ws.  they better ease him back slowly, don’t go all expecting mediocre D & horrible rebounding right away, they’ll have to build him back up to those levels…gotta make sure he’s not stressing that calf, can’t afford to have him doing too much of that dirty work in case he reinjures hisself.

      so yeah, way WAY WAY worse  than last year.

      • c_bcm

        I first read this post at face value and got angry. I then re-read it imagining a sarcastic inflection in my voice (head)….best…post…ever.

      • CJT

        Do I detect a note of sarcasm in your voice? 

      • cesco

        You forgot to say that they lost the team leader ( big cat ) . That is a huge loss .

        • Lorenzo

          We re-signed Magloire to a non-guaranteed contract

          • cesco

            Oops , they got their leader back .

            • CJT

              Playoffs here we come!!!

      • Josh

        This may be one of the greatest replies to an idiotic post I’ve ever read.

        • Matt52

           I have to agree.  I’ve read it 4 or 5 times now and every time is just like the first time. 

          “AMIRITE?!”  lol

    • pran

      babcock drafted bosh just sayin.

      • Nilanka15

        Replace “Babcock” with “Grunwald”, and the above statement is 100% correct.

      • KM

        No he didn’t

    • Destro

      I understand your sentiment completely but i do think Lowry is better,I think they made the wrong move Calderon over Bayless as a back up and i think they are marginally better given an upgrade at PG i dont think it will necessarily translate into a better W-L record or that they’ll be any closer to a playoff spot..for the record i think there at best a 30 win team which will be about 8-10 wins shy of what they need…

    • Statement

      Not to pile on too much, but you have to get your facts straight too.

      Jose Calderon, average WP/48 from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010 (Bosh’s last year) = .1902

      Chris Bosh, average WP/48 from 2005-2006 to 2009-2010 (Bosh’s last year)
      = .1668

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000105737128 Keith Warren

       Wow, Landry a wash with Bayless? Bayless can’t even start anywhere yet Landry has been a starter at 2 different locations. Landry has a stat line of a starter. Bayless can’t play more than 40 games a year without getting injured. You are off your rocker!

      and I am glad 2 rookies replaced Barbosa and Magloire! They suck! At least rookies have potential!

  • FAQ

    I have sympathy and empathy for coach Casey because he has a herculean task facing him with a roster of 3 veterans, 3 rookies, 3 still-development players… and then the rest of the team.

    When the Raptors start with a string of losses, unrealistic fans will be calling for his head… BCs too.

    • Daniel

      I don’t. Recently he’s spewing the same BS as Colangelo’s. I like Casey however he’s not top-notch head coach. He’s better than the previous coaches however it doesn’t mean shit. In any case, the fans don’t matter. The new ownership may get rid of Colangelo during or after this season. The new GM may keep Casey until a better option for a better roster comes along.

      • FAQ

        Realism is not negativity.. it’s reality.   All I’m saying is that Casey
        will have to pull off a miracle with this bunch of disparate players
        who will likely need over half the season to jell as a functioning NBA
        team… if ever.

        Sorry for opining realistically …!

        • CJT

          Would you agree that different people have different versions of what they call reality?  What you think is realistic may not be what others do?  For example some people’s reality had them building survival shelters for the year 2000.  I didn’t believe that was a realistic view of the events that would unfold, but they certainly did.  So while I believe that you are not trying to be pessimistic for the sake of pessimism, your view of the reality of the team may not be other peoples view of reality.

          • Destro

            you try WAY too hard sometimes…

            • Lorenzo

              You’re uglier than Demar

            • CJT

              I find it more interesting than simply spitting out the same garbage over and over.

          • FAQ

            An optimistic view of the Raps is winning 35-40 games.
            A realistic view is only winning 15-20 games.

            What Rap fans refuse to realize is that this group is not yet a ‘team’, and it is filled with rookies and rejects from other teams. The few veterans have either plateaued or are still developing.  This is not a good model for a NBA level team and realistically speaking not much should be expected from this group of players on an unproven team still under construction. 

            Of course, the NBA is more than the Toronto Raptors.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000105737128 Keith Warren

               Wow, you really are a fan aren’t you! Realistically, you can’t predict what this team is going to do in future months. You could only say what you think this team is right now. And you are right. But after an 82 game season when some talented rookies and what basically is a new core of players, could actually be a playoff contender. Your perception of this team could easily be stated for New Jersey as well. Joe Johnson is going to make them a powerhouse? yeah right! Bynum, will suck the life out of the Sixers if he stays healthy. That is 2 teams that the raps will be battling for a playoff spot and frankly I don’t see either one being a better team.

    • cesco

      Could you do us a big favor and spew your negativity after the season has started , if warranted . We are waiting with impatience the start of the preseason and see how the team is improving with the new additions . Time will tell on the successes or failures of the team . Let us wait and see .

      • FAQ

        Ooops…. should have posted here….!!

        Realism is not negativity.. it’s reality.   All I’m saying is that Casey
        will have to pull off a miracle with this bunch of disparate players
        who will likely need over half the season to jell as a functioning NBA
        team… if ever.

        Sorry for opining realistically …!

        • p00ka

          “When the Raptors start with a string of losses, unrealistic fans will be calling for his head… BCs too.”

          Is that “reality” or your imagination of the future?

        • cesco

           You forget that Casey was able , without the benefit of a full preseason , to mold this team with the worst defense to become pretty good defensively . So why can’t he continue with the improvements . Lowry , Fields , Ross and Jonas are quality players and they should be able to blend in with the team quite quickly .

    • Destro

      Alot of truth here and i think they’ll start off slow..1-5 and about 7-13 in there first 20…

      • nottheendoftheworld

        No way … 10-10. It however still won’t mean we’re better than any Raps team from the previous 5 years.

  • John

    Good article. Good assessment of the raps and our yearly rejuvenated hope. My hope this year lies in the fact that while the cynics are correct, so are the optimists. Don’t think we’ll make the playoffs. Looking at that 20 game schedule and expecting anything more than 6-7 wins is definitely on the optimistic side (for the fun of it id say 7-13 or maybe 8-12).

    But the bright side of it IS the development. Thats what Il be excited to watch, not so much cuz Im expecting a 40 win season. Valenciunas is a big question, but so much potential how can you not be excited. He will have foul trouble issues and will most likely be the last offensive option on the floor, but it doesn’t mean he wont get better, convert alleyoop plays in transition, be a pick and roll option with jose, and help anchor the defense. He’ll make the rookie squad at the break. Im not as high on Derozan as others, but it doesn’t matter as much as last year cuz theres other young talent to look forward to. Lowry IS an improvement on Bayless for the simple fact that hes more proven and has more experience running the PG in a starting role. And even if Bargs doesn’t make the allstar team, if he can put up similar numbers to his pre-injury self of last year itl make for some close games this year. On top of all this, we do have a great defensive coach as another positive.

    Looking forward to the season, just like every other. So what :)

  • KaioKev

    Its hard to predict what the how the Raptors will do this year its fair to say that they’re an better team on paper than last year and with a full training camp should be a better team on the floor. However, its blatantly obvious that the Atlantic division is much better (Boston may have slipped slightly). I really want to see Dwayne Casey’s team make the playoffs ASAP but I think they’re gonna need another season until they get there. I do believe that is years team will be the most exciting Raptors team to watch in the last 5 years. Enjoy the basketball this year Raps Fans! Might be the only game in town this fall/winter!

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    A polished turd is still a turd…

    Btw ABargnani is called ‘No Star’ for a very real reason do the- ‘I Hope That This Is BC’s Last Season In Charge’ math.

  • Shi

    Great post as always… I say that if we manage to beat Indy on halloween, we could play 500 after those 20 games. All our home games are very winnable except maybe San Antonio. Then we win at Charlotte, at Detroit, and at Sacramento, and that’s 9 games. We only need to get one of the Utah, Houston or even Denver road games and that’s 500! Then we’ll also have 6 home games to catch up… The competition will likely get tougher though as these don`t seem like tough teams in general.. Anyways, that first game is big.

  • NyAlesund

    Butler, Barbosa, Forbes, Bayless e Johnson are no longer with us. I don’t want count Dentmon and the others ten days contracts.

    We add Lowry, Valanciunas, Fields, Ross, Lucas, Acy……

    I know we didn’t get Nash (39 years old) and a big name, but honestly these addictions are good. The roster is improved compared with the last year. We add both defensive minded players and offensive talent.

    I not crying for Bayless and even for Barbosa, two good guys but nothing special.

    Someone said that Lowry is a pain in the ass. Maybe yes, maybe not, considering McHale. Yes, the Rockets’ coach that have had a different “points of view” with him, Kevin Martin, Scola and Dragic. Is it a case that three of four players left the team? I don’t think so. Infact the “dear” coach is not famous to be a nice fella.

    So, I don’t understand why we have to be “scared” about Lowry and depict him as a troublemaker.

    Talking to the team, we improved in pg position with the trio Lowry-Calderon-Lucas that can give us defense (Lowry), leadership and points. I’d say that Calderon as Lowry’s back up is a luxury expecially when we will have the second unit of the floor, and I will expect to see the two guys on the floor at the same time in certain situations. Lucas is a proven scorer useful as an offensive threat.

    Field is a defensive player, I don’t really expect a lot of points from him but he is more “educated” than JJ.

    Valanciunas is a big question mark. My concern is about his tendency to commit fouls that can limit his impact on the floor. But despite this, we are talking about a proven professional players with two full seasons as starter in a professional team. He doesn’t have remarkables offensive movements but his mobility, his ability to run the floor quickly and the ability to defend are qualities interesting to seal the paint area. In addition Gray, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson are good pieces in position 4 and 5.

    Bargnani and DeRozan are the most hated and appreciated players of the team. If we want to grab or at least to fight for the po spot we can’t do without their performances.

    Bargnani healthy is a huge offensive threat, despite some haters, because this is the truth. The only thing I want to see from him is how he is going to play on D. I am not talking about rebs (more than usual is better), but the ability to “read” the situation and act consequently. I mean to shift on the penetration line, double players and use his body to block some shots (I remember a good numbers when he played alongside Bosh). In a few words play a good D in a D system.
    Exactly for DD. I am sure he worked hard to improve his jump shot because he is not stupid expecially if he wants to have a career and money in this league.

    I am curious to see Ross and why not Acy. I think Terrence is a good acquisition despite some perplexity.

    The last consideration is this: last year we missed a several occasions to win down the stretch. The defence was excellent but not the offense. Horrible offensive plays with terrible shots and tournovers. Partially for injuries and partially for lack of talent. Now in a hipothetical situation we can put on the floor Lowry, Bargnani and DeRozan. This is an advantage because we have more options than a classical play on AB with a pick and roll or and pick and pop. In fact the opponents can afford to double AB but they keep an eye on Lowry and why not on DD. That is a big thing that can pay a lot of dividends.

    • 2damkule

      as a ‘hater,’ i’m going to focus on the part of your post re. andrea & defense/rebounding; my question is: why is it that you think that rebounding the ball (on the defensive end) isn’t part of this mysterious entity known as ‘defense?’  on D, a possession only ends when the ball is no longer in your opponent’s hands, and there are only a few ways this is accomplished – by giving up a score (note: bad), by forcing a turnover (note: good), or by securing a defensive rebound (note: good).  the inability/unwillingness to rebound takes away one of the only two positive ways to regain possession.

      • NyAlesund

         The point is not the numbers but the efficiency. You are focusing on them not me. If the team was able to win the rebs battle, to secure the paint area, to force bad decision and bad shot it would be the perfect recipe to win more games alongside a better offensive talent.
        If this create a spreading numbers among the guys why I have to be concerned about this? It really doesn’t matter have the big fella with 8 rebs instead of 6? For me is more important how the team act defensively than the numbers. The numbers that I consider is the point allowed on 100 possessions, the percentage of the field, the number of rebs conceded….. but all of these as team stats.

        Last year we saw the team trying to have a good D approach. But part of them AB and DD expecially, were struggling to understand their assignment. So I am expect an improvements on this side of the game.

  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    #NBArank 58: Andrea Bargnani
    Can’t be possible. “He is the worst defender ever in Nba” + “Got injured last year” + “inefficient volume shooter” + “trade him for a 2nd rounder or a pizza pizza”.

    Game 1 Indiana: I believe Ed Davis should start as PF, cos AB7 is stealing his minutes.Arsen-ic 2.0.

    Just got my nba pass, enjoy it

    • Matt52

      From ESPN Insider:
       
      “Andrea Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick back in 2006, has always had the
      reputation of being a versatile scoring threat. At 7-foot, 256-pound,
      Bargnani has proven himself as a post up player as well as a spot up
      guy, averaging 15.4 points through his first six seasons in the NBA.

      What Bargnani had never been is much of a rebounder or defender, and
      while he was the league’s worst rebounding center in terms of total
      rebound rate (percentage of total rebounds grabbed by a player during
      his time on the court) for the second-straight season, his defense
      improved dramatically in his first season under coach Dwayne Casey.

      Casey is known for his emphasis on the defensive side of the ball, and
      it’s remarkable how much it helped Bargnani in the 33 games he played
      last season. According to Synergy Sports Technology, Bargnani’s
      defensive points per play of 0.679 ranked him No. 27 in the league.
      Synergy shows that the Italian big man defended particularly well
      against the pick and roll, and against both the post up and spot up
      situations. He ranked out better than at least 88 percent of the NBA’s
      player in all three of those categories.

      It will be interesting to see if that continues through this season, and
      how Bargnani’s defensive responsibilities will shift with highly
      regarded rookie Jonas Valanciunas set to enter the rotation.”

      • Milesboyer

        Factual evidence carries so much more weight than biased opinion.  Thanks for the reference.

      • Nilanka15

        As an appointed Bargnani “hater”, I have to admit that he looked much more competent on the defensive end last year (prior to his injury). 

        Whether the Casey-effect remains will be one of the most interesting story lines to watch for this year.

        • 2damkule

          agree…though they seem to lump his games after he came back in with his first 13 games, and i don’t think i’m being overly critical when i say that he wasn’t the same player.  but hey, a 13 game sample in the same season he later reverted to his prior ways (at least to a large degree) is more than enough to convince me that he’s turned the corner…

          • Matt52

             I agree he wasn’t the same and I do hope that it was because he was not playing on a healthy calf.  It should be noted the stats from the ESPN Insider did cover the entire season…. including when he came back i.e. not just 13 games.

            • 2damkule

              i realize that, but i also think those 13 games skewed the overall results.  it’s like a guy getting off to an incredibly hot start offensively, putting up 35ppg for, just for example’s sake, 13 games.  then he gets injured, misses a bunch of time, and plays, oh, 20 more games the rest of the season.  in those 20 games, he averages 15ppg…for an overall season avg a shade under 23.  that’s still really damn good, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.  is the player in question more likely to replicate the 13 games, or 20, and how did either block of games compare to his career up to that point?

              • Matt52

                 So, essentially, Bargnani was the best defender in the league for 13 games and then became a top 40 defensive player over the last 20 games to finish at 27?

                He is a horrible rebounder/help defender and that label is well deserved.  With that said, I think he deserves credit where credit is due on his strengths.

                • 2damkule

                  yes, that is it precisely.

                • Destro

                  You really think he was the best defender for 13 games ?

                • Matt52

                  No.  It was an example of the numbers 2damkule used in making his point.  The stats used in the ESPN Insider article showed Bargnani was the 27th best defender in the league.  Based on 2damkule’s post about his ’13 games’ then he would have been much, much better than 27th given how it was obvious to everyone he was not the same player when he returned from the injury. 

                • Theswirsky

                  ESPN insider  DID NOT say Bargnani was the ’27th best defender in the league’

                  They said he was 27th in defensive points per game.

                  BIG DIFFERENCE

                • Matt52

                   Yes.  Thank you for clarifying that.  In the exchange that got forgotten.  We are talking about a specific statistic.

  • FAQ

    I think we can all agree that the Raptors roster is filled with no-name blue collar players trying to establish themselves in the NBA for a semi-successful career.

    Jose, Amir and Bargs have obviously cashed-out , or -in, and are set for life.  The others are striving to max out their career earnings.  It’s a business, and most are grateful they are even playing… for the TO Raptors.

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