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Old 09-11-2008, 09:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
Dr. J. Naismith
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Hoopsworld: Toronto Raptors 2008-09 Preview

Good read

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopsworld
Five Guys Think...

Travis Heath - There's no better person in the league today than Jermaine O'Neal. How much he has left in the tank as a basketball player remains to be seen, though. HOOPSWORLD caught up with him this summer in Las Vegas and he looked ready to go. If he is, a frontline of O'Neal and Bosh will be very formidable. With T.J. Ford now gone, Jose Calderon will also have to continue his solid play and show he was worth all that jack the Raptors gave him. The Raptors will be better this season than they were a season ago but still aren't a championship-caliber team. 3rd Place, Atlantic Division

Jason Fleming - With new stability at point guard and former All-Star Jermaine O'Neal in the middle, the Raptors are going to be a very good team. But wait what happened to Andrea Bargnani? This is the year when he has to step up or be prepared to step out. 2nd Place, Atlantic Division

Tommy Beer - After capturing the Atlantic Division title in '06-'07, the Raps took a step backwards last season. But with Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon, and new addition Jermaine O'Neal leading the way, Toronto is ready to climb back towards the top of the heap. 3rd Place, Atlantic Division

Wendell Maxey - Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal will gel, but Jose Calderon is the key to the Raptors season. Although they'll finish behind Boston in the Atlantic, the Raptors have enough talent to sneak into the second round, but only if O'Neal can remain healthy. 2nd Place, Atlantic Division

Yannis Koutroupis - The Raptors have never won more than 47 games in their franchise's history and with the Atlantic Division getting tougher this summer, they will need their key pieces to stay healthy to approach that number. 3rd Place, Atlantic Division
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopsworld
Strengths

This will not be Shaq's favorite team to play against. If you're not ready to run, don't bother taking off your warm-ups. With steady point play and Bosh's insane athleticism, Toronto has their one-two punch. What they need is a supporting cast. Jason Kapono can hit threes, O'Neal patrols the paint and Moon plays defense. The good news is this was a second place team a season ago . . .

Weaknesses

but the bad news is they were 25 games out of first. There are so many holes to fill on the Raptor's roster. Any off guard would be an improvement on what they already have. They lack depth at every position and are one major injury away from landing an early lottery pick.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoopsworld
The Burning Question

Will Toronto be able to add a perimeter scorer by the trade deadline?

Their starting five seems more like a starting four right now. Kapono can hit threes but not much else. For Toronto to take the next step in the playoffs, they will have to trade for an athletic two who can fill it up and play defense. Too often last year the Raptors were beaten by more athletic shooting guards. Another important question: Will the real Andrea Bargnani please stand up?
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