Raptors aim to buck the odds this season | The Globe and Mail

Not everybody is convinced that the Raptors, 23-43 a year ago during the lockout-shortened season, have improved enough to be a player this year in the Eastern Conference.

DeMar DeRozan, James Harden and their peers have to look out for themselves in contract negotiations | National Post

On Saturday morning, DeRozan got a call from Harden. “He had actually called me asking me for advice and everything,” DeRozan said Monday. “I was just talking to him, I’ve known him for a long time. Just trying to be on his side, whatever he did.”

RAPTORS DISPLAY QUIET OPTIMISM FOR UPCOMING REGULAR SEASON | TSN

A year after Bryan Colangelo preached patience with a young, building team that was all about gaining experience, the Raptors made several key moves in the off-season that — on paper at least — have Toronto looking significantly better.

RHQ’s Toronto Raptors 2012-13 NBA Season Predictions | Raptors HQ

With the Toronto Raptors kicking off their 2012-13 NBA campaign on Wednesday, the HQ team gets together to preview the season, and make a few predictions…

Jonas Valanciunas Is Starting, and He’s The Closest Thing To Untouchable the Raptors Have | The Score

Don’t get me wrong, he’s not fully untouchable, as that distinction should be reserved for either just LeBron James or at most, a handful of NBA players. But on this Raptors roster, Valanciunas would unquestionably carry the biggest trade value (again, Lowe’s Grantland piece insinuates that Valanciunas is one of a select few “sure-thing players in the beginning stages of his rookie deal” that the Thunder would have considered in exchange for Harden), and is the closest thing to untouchable.

Toronto Raptors 2012-13 season preview | CBC

With a great defensive coach in Dwane Casey and a healthy amount of talent, the Raptors could easily be considered a sleeper team. Kyle Lowry and Andrea Bargnani should be an impressive 1-2 punch on offence, while rookie Lithuanian centre Jonas Valanciunas looks to build upon an impressive pre-season and become a sorely needed defensive anchor.

Toronto Raptors: Why They Should Sign Recently Released Terrence Williams | Bleacher Report

Still only 25 years old, Williams could definitely still help a team, and I think that team should be the Toronto Raptors.

Raptors Enter Season with New Hope | Sports Interaction

It’s been four long years since the Toronto Raptors qualified for the NBA season. They say this year will be different and there are some things to be optimistic about, but Raps supporters have been down this road before. They’ll want to see major changes on the court after the club saw a major facelift last offseason.

Atlantic Division preview: Toronto Raptors | CSNPhilly.com

Every team in the Atlantic Division improved during the offseason. Exhibit A for this fact is the Raptors as former Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski added some impressive pieces. The biggest of those is Villanova alum Lowry, who plays with a ferocity that was sorely lacking from the Raptors over the past few seasons.

This Week in Raptorland- Raptors and NBA Season Previews | Dino Nation Blog

Today we are doubling up. Your regular This Week In Raptorland with myself and Josh Lewenberg from TSN 1050 preview your Raptors season. We also here from Ed Davis and Amir Johnson.

  • sitnonDfence

    Hear that guys!? its been four long years since we’ve qualified for the NBA Season! Congrats Raptors on a job well done. I wonder if we qualified for the East or the West…

  • Destro

    Anybody catch Caseys interview on the radio this morning ?
    Completely disagree with his idea that the teams success this year is not based on if they make the playoffs…
    I dont wanna hear anymore about this core group growing,at some point ur core has to make the playoffs..if your core is growing for 4-5 seasons and they still aint made 40 wins at least to get IN then THAT core aint shit and wont amount to shit…

      

    • unknown guest

      It’s better than guaranteeing a playoff spot. He probably wants to dampen expectations, especially as the only game in town. The team will be under a microscope. I’d like to count this a year 1.5 since I can’t really count the “core” group pre-Casey, that was just a terrible mess.

      • Destro

        Well i disagree with his statement on air but i dont think he believes what he said…He cant come out and say its playoffs or bust…but no way do i believe he really believes this team can have a successful season by missing the ‘offs again with all the “upgrades”…

    • Nilanka15

      It depends on who the “core” is.  Should Bargnani and DeRozan be considered part of it?  If we miss out on the playoffs, then I would lean towards no (actually, I’d lean towards no right now, but Colangelo ain’t doing anything about that yet).

      Then going forward, the core is basically Lowry and Valanciunas.  Everyone else are moving parts.

      • unknown guest

        Agreed with Lowry and JV. However, as long as BC is here, AB will be considered as part of the “core”.

      • voy

        exactly. who is part of a core group of players you want to contend with that have been here for 5 years? 

        making the playoffs or not will have little to do in determinng if this season is a success.

        – lets see what we have, over the course of the season, in JV and T.Ross

        – lets see if derozan has figured out how to dribble

        – lets see if Lowry is a point guard we can move forward with

        I’m not saying I dont want to make the playoffs.  All I’m saying is if Lowry looks like he can be a starting point guard on a good team, T.Ross and JV come on strong during the last part of a year and have a solid rookie season overall, and derozan gets an offhand, it’ll be hard to be disappointed regardless of playoffs or not as long as we continue to add pieces towards our goal.  If the young guys develop nicely this year, next year, in my opinion, is when we can use the playoff criteria in determining success or not.

        • Destro

          Completely disagree…THIS seasons success is playoffs PERIOD…
          You upgraded at PG you brought in Fields and a productive rookie…
          None of that core group is rookies all been here MIN 3 seasons…at some point you have to get results or it just becomes a collection of underachieving or bad talent…IMO no reason to delay the idea of making the offs,whats going to change next year or year after ? Your two prominent core guys are vets now (AB,DD) Same 8 teams in front THIS year will be in front NEXT year and the year after that theoretically…For all intensive purposes this is your roster for the next couple of season add/minus a few spare parts here and there…

          Why shoot for the playoffs next year or 2 years when really RIGHT now is as good an opportunity to make it as any year…

          BC and Casey wont admit it but they both i think believe its playoffs or bust this season esp Colangelo…To miss out again after he made MORE tweeks to the roster i think would basically spell destroy and rebuild…  

          • voy

            I agree with you. sooner or later you need to see absolute results.  however, I think its a year too soon with t.ross and jv being in their rookie year and lowry in his first year as the #1 pg.

            I think this year the plan is to have the young guys develop and use either jose and or bargs as trading chips, late this year or early next year, to fill out the most pressing need in helping the team move forward.

            I can understand your thesis if you thought dd and bargs could be 2 out of the top 3 players on a good team.  I’m not sure if thats the case. 

            either way, I’m looking forward to the start of the season and more conversations/debate here.

            enjoy, boys.

          • p00ka

            “None of that core group is rookies”…. you don’t think the rookie starting center is part of the core group? What does that say about the relevancy of your opinions?

            Success for young developing teams isn’t always defined by making the playoffs. For teams like Miami, LA, OKC, Boston, NY, Nets, IND, not making the playoffs is disaster, but for a young team like the Raps, who are on the bubble to fight for a lower playoff spot, there are far too many factors, out of their control, that can knock them out. Other teams’ records for instance, injuries etc..

            This team is still a very young team, with a rookie and two other new players in the starting unit. For Casey, or anybody else to think, never mind say, that it’s playoffs or bust would be as crazy as you come across on here. What Casey is saying is that the goal is to make the playoffs (while being at least semi-realistic, you’ve got to set goals high), successful could mean significant player development and just missing the playoffs. With young teams, forward steps are what’s truly important.

            In KD’s 3rd year, OKC didn’t make the playoffs, with Westbrook as a running mate. Was that year a total failure for OKC? Not. In KD’s 4th year, Westbrook’s 2nd, they had Ibaka in the mix, and were nothing more than 1st round fodder with their 3 headed core in place. Was that a failure?

            Young teams need to set high goals, but taking significant steps forward can make the year a success, even without playoffs. Remember JV and Ross are rookies. DD and ED are only 23, Fields 24. Lowry is only 26 and in his first year with the team. AB, despite this being his 7th year is barely (Oct 27th) 27.

            Casey is simply not being a hot head thinking “playoffs or bust” and is recognizing that there’s lots of measures of success this year, besides making the playoffs. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PLSEA7SEL5KM2YHY3JWZACTI6I keith warren

         Keep Lowry, Derozan (sign him to a cheaper contract than max), Ross, Val. Trade Bargs, Davis and Calderon for a decent SF and some junk.

      • Destro

        Bargs,DeRozan,Davis,Amir,Jose,Kleiza

        This is the the core group that gets referred to by the GM and coach…

  • Guest

    The Raps should NOT sign Terrence Williams!   The fact that this makes no sense just points to the fact that writers on Bleacher Report are looking for any kind of hits on their blog (these bloggers get paid per pageview, hence why there are always lists you must click on multiple times to read in entirety).   Terrence Williams…ha!

    • Nilanka15

      It’s best for the entire sports community to completely ignore Bleacher Report.  It’s the National Inquirer of sports journalism.