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Old 10-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #1 (permalink)

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2009-10 Toronto Raptors Outlook (Player by player analysis)

PG Marcus Banks ---> 2009-10 outlook: Banks can take solace in the ridiculous five-year, $20 million deal the Suns inked him to in 2006, which right now is the only thing keeping him in the league. He still has two years left on that turkey, which means he has time on his side while he tries to get his career upright.

Of course that hasn't helped him yet, and time works against him in other ways. He's depended entirely on his quickness so far in his career, but turns 28 in November and appears to have lost some of his jets. If he can't compensate by shooting better or playing smarter, he'll be stuck at the end of a bench for 24 months before his contract comes to a merciful conclusion.
C Andrea Bargnani ---> 2009-10 outlook: The Raptors gave Bargnani a $50 million extension over the summer, a huge and utterly unnecessary leap of faith for a player who has yet to post a league-average PER in three NBA seasons. While one can certainly take encouragement from his strong finish to last season, the fact remains that Bargnani is a terrible partner for Chris Bosh due to the former's disdain for defense and physical play. It's not quite clear how Toronto will stop anybody with those two paired together in the frontcourt.

Defensive considerations matter here since they could limit Bargnani's playing time. If he can't score in bunches, the Raps will be strongly tempted to play Rasho Nesterovic or Reggie Evans heavier minutes, leaving Bargnani in the high 20s or low 30s. As a result, I doubt his per-game averages will expand much beyond last season's, despite the Raptors' apparent confidence in what he'll accomplish over the next half decade.
SG Marco Belinelli ---> 2009-10 outlook: Golden State traded Belinelli to Toronto after the season in a salary dump, but he'll fit in well with the Raptors. Toronto plays a half-court, floor-spacing style that should benefit a deep shooter like Belinelli, and since the Raptors aren't exactly laden with wing talent, he should be able to find some minutes. He's had two years and hasn't played very effectively, and if he can't succeed here in a system tailor-made to his skills, he never will.
PF Chris Bosh ---> 2009-10 outlook: Bosh can opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the season. Oh, you've heard?

If the Raptors falter out of the gate, speculation about Bosh's future will only gain steam between now and the trade deadline. If they play well, it might happen anyway. The only way to quell the rumor mill is for Bosh to sign an extension before the season, and he doesn't appear inclined to do so.

Regardless of where he plays, he'll produce when he's on the court, and based on his youth and year-to-year history, his numbers could jump again. With the additional offensive weapons Toronto imported, the increases may arrive more in the form of higher percentages than in higher per-game totals, but don't be shocked if his PER lands in the mid-20s this season and he hears some mentions for first-team All-NBA.
PG Jose Calderon ---> 2009-10 outlook: I think we can safely say his free throw percentage will drop a few points, but otherwise Calderon could be poised for a career season. The new toys he has in the Toronto offense should make it easier for a low-volume, high-efficiency type like Calderon to succeed. In particular, having another ball handler in Hedo Turkoglu could give Calderon a lot more opportunities to spot up for 3s -- as well as he shoots, he tried only three triples a game last season.

If those opportunities come to light, his PER could bounce back into the low 20s, and if the Raptors experience a renaissance, he'll become a dark horse candidate to get into the All-Star Game as an Eastern Conference reserve. That's a best-case scenario, but expecting 13 points, nine assists and 50 percent shooting is not.
SG Demar DeRozan ---> 2009-10 outlook: DeRozan is one of the best athletes in the draft, with his leaping ability especially drawing raves. But he has miles to go before he converts those skills into production on the basketball court. He turned pro despite a very ordinary freshman season at USC and ranked only 53rd out of 94 prospects in my draft rater. His athleticism failed to manifest itself on the court, as his rebounding, blocks and steals numbers were nothing special.

DeRozan has a rep as a good midrange shooter, but I'm going to be a tougher sell on that front -- he shot 16.7 percent on college 3s and 64.6 percent from the line. His ballhandling numbers were another huge red flag, as his severely negative pure point rating is going to be a big problem if he's depending on slashing to the rim in the pros.

Basically, right now he's more athlete than basketball player. That could change in the next two years, which is what the Raps banked on when choosing him, but in terms of downside, this was the riskiest pick in the lottery.
PG Quincy Douby ---> 2009-10 outlook: Surprisingly, the Raptors retained Douby and he appears to have a roster spot, but he's unlikely to play much unless the team suffers injuries. Toronto is fond of floor spacers so if he can knock down some jumpers, he has a chance to earn a more permanent gig here. But if he can't improve his shooting percentages, his stint in Canada will be a precursor to more extensive international travels.
PF Reggie Evans ---> 2009-10 outlook: Evans was traded to the Raptors for Jason Kapono in a cost-cutting move by the Raptors, but he could have some use for them. The perennially soft Raptors have a need for somebody who can come in and bust some heads, even turning to ubergoon Jake Voskuhl for a while last season. Evans appears gifted by comparison, and if he can set a physical tone for 10-15 minutes off the pine every night, the Raps will be more than happy.
PG Jarrett Jack ---> 2009-10 outlook: Jack signed a four-year, $20 million offer sheet with Toronto that the Pacers elected not to match, and while he'll help the Raptors, they overpaid for what they're getting. Jack is a useful combo guard who can team with Jose Calderon in the backcourt because of his ability to defend 2s. Plus he can take turns playing the point for short stints with the second unit, and his tendency to dominate the ball won't be as much of a factor with that group.

That said, the Raptors paid a lot of money for a player with middling production by focusing on the final two months of last season and ignoring the pedestrian half-year stretch that preceded it. Jack is likely to produce about what he did the past two full seasons, with a PER in the low teens and about 15 points per 40 minutes. That's worth having, but there are other players who provide it for a lot less than $20 million.
PF Amir Johnson ---> 2009-10 outlook: Johnson went to Milwaukee in a salary dump by the Pistons, who then conveyed him to Toronto in the Carlos Delfino trade. He could work out very well as a backup 4 in Toronto. While Johnson has his warts, the Pistons also lost patience with him alarmingly quickly last year, especially given the promise he'd shown in his first three seasons since turning pro out of high school.

Toronto should slot him behind Chris Bosh at backup power forward, with the only drawback being his skinny build worsens the team's existing lack of muscle up front. While his obscene foul rate should limit him to 15 minutes a game, his rebounding and shot blocking can be a major asset with the second unit. Look for him to shoot near 60 percent, and don't be surprised if his PER recovers to the mid- to high-teens.
C Rasho Nesterovic ---> 2009-10 outlook: Nesterovic signed a one-year, $1.9 million deal with Toronto, which has to be one of the biggest bargains of the summer. No, he won't average 20 and 10, but he's a productive big man in a league where such players normally command a premium, and because he can shoot a little, he fits in with the Raptors' mantra of spacing the floor offensively. He'll play 15 to 20 minutes off the bench, and while he may not match last season's offensive output, he should shoot in the low 50s with a PER in the low-to-mid teens. Considering what Toronto received from its backup centers last season, he represents a massive (and inexpensive) upgrade.
C Patrick O'Bryant ---> 2009-10 outlook: O'Bryant showed enough in his brief stint in Toronto to stick around as a third center, and given the Raptors' general lack of size, he has a chance to earn some minutes if he plays well. Of course, that seems a pretty huge "if" based on his career trajectory, but he's only 23 and has shown he can score at this level. If he gets the other stuff figured out, he might produce enough to be a decent backup center.
SF Hedo Turkoglu ---> 2009-10 outlook: Turkoglu inked a five-year, $52 million deal to join the Raptors, a signing that technically became a sign-and-trade after the fact when Orlando agreed to cut a deal. His acquisition should be of some benefit to the Raptors in the short term but a horror in the long term. Turkoglu is 30 and he's not even that good; last season he ranked below the league average in PER and it's not as if he's out there for his defense. In that sense, his deal is reminiscent of the Hornets' signing of Peja Stojakovic, providing immediate help but becoming a massive liability toward the end of the contract.

For now, however, we're in the "help" portion. Toronto badly needed a shot creator on the wings, and Turkoglu fills the void. His ability to shoot and pass will help all the other floor spacers the Raps accumulated too, with the net result being a similar one to Orlando's where he plays point forward for much of the game. Therefore, his numbers in Toronto probably won't be much different than they were a season ago.
SG Sonny Weems ---> 2009-10 outlook: Weems was traded to Milwaukee in the offseason and then sent on to Toronto in a second trade. The Raptors might find occasional use for him as a backup wingman, but the more likely scenario is that he'll endure another extended turn in the D-League with the Raptors' affiliate in Erie, Pa. While there, he'll need to show improvement in his offensive skills for his career to gain much traction.
SG Antoine Wright ---> 2009-10 outlook: Wright traveled to Toronto as filler in the Shawn Marion trade, where he has a better chance of becoming prime minister than he does of starting 53 games again. He holds some value as a deep reserve because he's willing to defend, but that's about as strong an endorsement as I can muster.

He's basically a 12th man who produced D-League-caliber output every year of his NBA career, and he has to consider himself fortunate to have stuck around for this long. If DeMar DeRozan isn't ready and some injuries hit, Wright may be able to squeeze into the rotation for 10-15 minutes a night, but otherwise he'll sit.
I took these from different links and you guys wouldn't be able to see them because it's from ESPN Insider so here it is anyways, all written by Hollinger, your favourite writer (...I lied).
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