The queen bee (no, not Lorde nor Lil’ Kim) has spoken. Now what say you in this hive of worker bees?

Every summer, the fine execs at ESPN try their best to fill the haunting void between the end of free-agency and the start of the preseason. For the most part, their solution is all-NFL, all-the-time, but they do cater to die-hard basketball fans as well. For those of us who prefer the elegance of putting leather balls through 10-foot hoops rather than the savagery of watching 300-pound humans smash into one another without reproach for humanity, the mothership offers Summer Forecast, which aims at predicting team standings, award winners, etc etc. As is the rule of sports media, if you can’t break news, generate discussion. This is the latter (though ESPN is just one Woj away from corralling the former).

An esteemed panel of 210 writers and analysts were polled, and their responses were aggregated to generate the forecasts. Laying our cards on the table, Raptors Republic’s very own Blake Murphy’s vote was counted, so direct your ire towards him. Without further ado, here’s where the Raptors ranked (full post here).

Overall Record: 47-35, First in Atlantic Division, Third in Eastern Conference

Feel free to discuss below. We’ll have our own write up on how the East will shake out next season in the coming weeks. The Raptors Weekly crew of myself, Andrew and Zarar touched on the subject a few episodes back. We also ranked the Raptors third.

[crotch grab: RaptorsHQ]

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  • Slap Dog Hoops

    Personally, I don’t think that Raptors will make third in the East because I think the Knicks will overtake them. Yeah, I said the Knicks, a team which every NBA analyst has barely making the playoffs. They have upgraded their lineup with some very low key, yet major moves addinv the likes of Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Quincy Acy, and Sammy Dalembert. If healthy, the Knicks will be my dark horse for not only winning their division, but also coming second in the East. Remember that prediction, everyone.

    • Matty Rosales

      if you somehow think calderon, larkin, acy and dalembert are the reasons that the knicks move from 9th in the east to 2nd in the east, stop watching basketball. You’re embarrassing us all.

      • BOHM

        9th to 3rd, not 9th to 2nd

        • Abused Raptors Fan

          “If healthy, the Knicks will be my dark horse for not only winning their division, but also coming second in the East.”

          Initially the original poster said they’d overtake the Raptors for third, but obviously changed his mind to second in the end. If you’re going to correct other people online, at least make sure you’re right.

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        I forgot to mention the drafting of CleAnthony Early and Giannis Antetokoumpo–two players that were expected to go in the first round, but went to the second. The Knicks are far deeper than they were last season. During the off season, Phil Jackson addressed three of the Knicks’ primary weaknesses–poor lack of ball movement, shooting and defense . In Calderon, he got a wise and crafty veteran point guard who is smart with the ball, knows when to shoot and always able to find an open man. Acy and Dalembert give the Knicks two solid rim protectors and physical defenders in the paint. Shane Larkin is a bit of an X factor because he spent most of last season injured, but from what I watched in the Vegas Summer league, he’s a diamond in the rough with plenty of upside.

        Add a healthy Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnarni. and Iman Shumpert with a returning Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks will be a force to be reckoned with. And frankly it does not matter what you think because I am usually right about these things. Check out my site and see for yourself all the predictions I have made have either come true otr have come close to it.

        • johng_3

          First of all, it is not Giannis it is his less talented brother. They still suck on defense losing Chandler. If you think Acy and Dalembert are better solid defenders and replacements, then your kidding yourself. And even a healthy Amare and Bargnani still suck and can’t play defense or rebound.

        • Matty Rosales

          I don’t know how you can believe they addressed their defensive issues when their starting PG and C are calderon and bargnani. Maybe you forgot that this is what you get from Bargs.

          I don’t know how you jump to any of your conclusions actually. A healthy Amare? As in a 20-8-2 Amare? Believe me, that Amare is never coming back. A healthy Bargnani? There’s no amount of sports psychiatry that can rebuild the broken confidence of that man. Shumpert? Man, quit making your judgements based on NBA2K upside stats.

          And on a final note, I have absolutely no interest on reading up on any of your other “predictions” (judging by your knicks pick, it seems more like a game of bingo than any sort of basketball scouting).

          I’ll give you one thing though. No wait, I can’t, you didn’t get anything right.

          • Slap Dog Hoops

            Joke all you want, but I assure you that I will have the last laugh once April arrives

            • Matty Rosales

              I can’t take assurances from someone who thinks the Knicks are gonna be a better defensive team by replacing Tyson Chandler with Samuel Dalembert. You have to face reality. The Knicks are implementing a triangle offence on a team that has no experience with it, using a coach that has no experiencing teaching it. The triangle offence needs a low post threat as it’s focal point who can score with his back to the basket and find cutters with solid passing, along with a strong wing player to initiate the movement. The Knicks have absolutely none of these ingredients, and you have them finishing 2nd in the East above all but one of the Bulls, Cavs, Raps, Wiz and Hornets. I wish you were a betting man so you could put your money where your foolish mouth is.

    • stupid prediction

      hahahaha those arent major moves

    • Junior

      What world are you living in.. THE KNICK.?? The KNICK aren’t going even make the playoff much less third place.. Your truly delusional!!!!

    • Saskatoon Raps Fan


    • Trini

      Do you know what other ‘famous predictions’ of yours I remember? ‘Trading Bargnani would be a mistake cause he’s a very good player.’

      Oh and the other day, how we should ‘trade T-Ross’ cause he’s 22, has plateaud and won’t get any better.

      Do you even basketball bruh?

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        Well, he is a very good player and you will see this upcoming season, when Derek Fusher enacts the Triangle Offense in NY. I still think T Rioss has plateaued. I doubt he will do any better than he did last season. He’s not that good a driibbler, does not get to the basketball nearly as much times as he should have and there is little room for him to grow as a player, especially playing behind Demar DeRozan, Greivis Vasquez, James Johnson, and sooner or later, Bruno Cabocolo.

        • johng_3

          How has T Ross plateaued in his second season??? Do you even watch basketball? I guess dropping 51 points on the Clips showed little to you.

          • TheSpiceTyrant

            TRoss has indeed plateaued in the following :
            -slam dunk contests
            -moving his head side to side while talking

            But at basketball, no

        • Kate C

          I don’t understand why some people feel that T-Ross “is what he is” after 2 years, but DeRozan is praised for working hard in the off-season and getting better every day. That even going into his 6th season he is getting better. I don’t see why T-Ross can’t also get better year over year. Didn’t LeBron get better in the off-season during his Miami days, even later in his 20s than T-Ross (and DeMar) are now? Time will tell if he has the work ethic, but I think it’s too soon to judge T-Ross’ ceiling.

    • Ds

      Dude, if you don’t remember how other teams used to press the Calderon/Bargnani oranges on every possession, you haven’t watched enough Raptors games.

      With Tyson Chandler gone, they might just have a crack at ranking as the worst defensive team of all time by the end of the season.

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        Actually I have watched a lot of Raptors games–too many to count and I have seen how wellboth jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnarni work when there is actual structure in the offense. When healthy, Andrea was rather impressive on the offensive end. I can see him being a Toni Kukoc kind of player in the Knicks’ new triangle offense. Jose won’t be the ball facilitator that he was with the raptors, because the triangle has no need for a “traditional” point guard, so to speak, but leave him open, and he will make you pay with the three. It will all make sense once the season starts, I assure you.

        • elbow

          I totally agree with you. I mean Derek Fisher is going to blow the effing pants away from all of the Knicks, especially Carmelo. In fact, the key to their unhindered success will stem from them playing with just their compression shorts. I know Phil can make it happen with the NBA. He can make anything happen. In fact he acquire certain players, like Acy and Larkin that were such hot commodities, he had to give up two of his starters. I don’t know why these guys are doubting the veracity of your argument.

          I see Carmelo cramming one on Kevin Love, you know nutsack to face sort of thing all the while Lebron is just convulsing on the floor, foaming at the mouth from Melo’s sheer unbridled talent that just hemorrhaging every time he remembers you only live once aka a jump shot. I see Andrea finally learning how to take a second dribble after his first at same time keeping his head up – if you know Andrea, you should be proud. Who could forget about JR Smith? I think everyone who’s a Knick fan probably would.

          Knick’s suck, get real.

          • Slap Dog Hoops

            When April comes around, remember what you said and how stupid you will feel once my prediction comes true.

    • Dr. Scooby

      Pretty good guess that even the Knicks don’t agree with your assessment… thanks for the laugh though.

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        I’m sure the Knicks do agree with me and they will prove it once the season starts and then you won’t be the one laughing.

    • GoingBig

      I think on the offensive side of the ball, the Knicks are not going to be shambolic. Having an ACTUAL offensive plan will get you going and at least feel competent.

      But unless there’s a turnover of players with nil defence to players with some defence, the Knicks will be roasted on defence. Come up with a triangle defence, some players who can play some defence, and maybe we can get serious.

      Not dead last or falling apart – Phil Jackson should be able to keep it together and patch it through until 2015-16 when they’ll have some money options – that will be the real start of the Knicks “dynasty”
      But until then, they will be lucky to make the playoffs

    • Will

      haha. If you really think you’ve figured out something that no one else has, you should put some money on it because you’ll definitely get some good odds with your prediction.

    • Fabe

      Your on wheels if you think the Knicks will be better then the raps. They have 3 players who played for the raptors when they were horrible can’t see barg Jose and acy helping them get 2nd overall. Only promising thing for the Knicks this season are Hardaway jr and Early developing

    • Hala madrid

      I always wanted to meet stephen A Smith

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        I have always wanted to meet him too.

    • Raps4life

      You call that an upgrade? Lou Williams is an upgrade.

  • TheSpiceTyrant

    I agree, but only if KL or JV don’t succumb to injury, In which case
    total #wins = 48- 0.5x(#days injured) (+/- 20)

    (Numbers are meaningless without error bars)

    • Lucas

      Plus or minus 20?! Dude, that’s like saying they’ll win between 28 and 68 games. Hard to be wrong with a range like that 😉

      I agree on the rest of the equation (or maybe bump it up to 49), but +/- 5.

      • It’s paired with a 0.5x multiplier based on the number of injuries… which, when you do that math actually makes it worse! I don’t understand the equation…

  • I’m interested to see how the regular season schedule shakes out, and then we can make better predictions than these. I’m kinda scared of the Wizards now…

    • IB

      Wizards have a better Bigs rotation then the raps and raps have a better wing rotation and the PG spot i think is tied. Wiz and Raps along with charlotte will be the cream of the east. Cavs and Bulls will be amazing teams but their positioning will be determined on how fast they gel. The Heat have high expectations with a Bosh led offence…been there done that….maybe a spot in the playoffs.

      • TheSpiceTyrant

        Agree. Gotta love that Gortat signing .. If JV reaches Gortat ceiling i will be content

    • johng_3

      I’m more scared of the Hornets then Wiz.

      • The Bobca…er… Hornets have always matched up well against our team.

        In the grand scheme of things though, the Wizards just have a nice mix of bigs and guards, as well as young guys and vets. Paul Pierce could be the type of locker presence vet who can help Wall and Beal fulfill their potential as a tandem, while also giving them another clutch player who can help down the stretch.

  • jlongs

    I would say the list is pretty accurate to what I would rank the top 8.

    The Cavs and Bulls are the only 2 teams I would put higher than the Raps. The Raps have a chance to be even better than the Bulls depending on the development of our young guys.

    Washington, Charlotte, and Miami can all rank higher than us though. Maybe even Brooklyn with a healthy and top form Brook Lopez and a new coach.

    Playoff seed would be anywhere from 3-6.

  • Truth Teller

    Duh. The Knicks suck. Nets are done. Boston is rebuilding. Sixers are rebuilding.

    Only Stephen A Smith would think the Knicks have a chance.

    • tonious35

      Bargs and Calderon on the team, we all knew how that turned out.

  • ezz_bee

    Sounds about right. Although I’d be happier if we cracked 50

  • Tee

    William FYI lorde is not the queen B

    Lil Kim is.

    The reference in that lorde song is referring to lil Kim.
    Thanks for the great work.

    • DDayLewis

      Oh word? You learn something new every day. Thanks Tee.

  • jakdripr

    Seems like a safe prediction, but I think we can make 50 wins next season. Sure the east has improved a little, but not by a whole lot tbh, Cavs, Wizards, Hawks and Bulls got better but Heat, Nets, Knicks and Pacers got worse. So while we didn’t improve significantly, I think the consistency plus the internal development can carry us to our first 50 win season.