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Old 09-28-2008, 02:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
Dr. J. Naismith
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Default The Bleacher Report: Raptors Season Preview

Probably the most optimistic review I've read to date so far regarding this season. But, this review also comes with alot of "what ifs" which are based on Jermaine's health (nooooo, you don't say) as well Bosh and Jose and if they can remain healthy throughout the year too.

Originally Posted by The Bleacher Report
With the Raptors back in town preparing for what looks to be a season of high expectations, one might take the cautionary route by first asking if what needed to be done was in fact done.

Is it reasonable to expect this team, as it is, to give Boston and Detroit something to worry about?

Bryan Colangelo has a reputation for keeping his affairs in-house and his cards close to his chest. After all, this is the man who labeled a blossoming Charlie Vallanueva one of the key pieces of the franchise two days before shipping him off to Milwaukee.

Having seen him rise into one of the better general managers in the NBA, it's getting quite obvious that this isn't a man who has any tolerance for losing. The Raptors were eliminated from the playoffs in 2007 due to the fact that Bosh couldn't move against the Nets' traps, and because when he found shooters, they weren't consistent enough to make defenses pay. Enter Kapono.

As Colangelo saw Dwight Howard tear up the Raptors interior—as the whole league had done last season—one couldn't help but wonder who Colangelo was going to bring into town to help Chris Bosh.

The thought of Jermaine O' Neal was automatically followed by laughter at a dinner conversation, and the realistic option seemed to be a move for players like Ben Wallace, AK47, or perhaps Corey Maggette.

It certainly seemed odd at the time that MLSE would agree to tie in nearly 40 percent of the cap on one player. What seemed even harder to comprehend was the fact that the Lakers attempted to get O'Neal a year earlier, but talks were halted because Bird wanted too much for his oft-injured star.

What could the Raptors offer that would beat a package like Lamar Odom and young prospects? Apparently, a PG to replace Tinsley, an $8 million expiring contract, and a draft pick was enough. Lamar Odom sure looks good now, doesn't he?

If Jermaine O'Neal is as healthy as he claims and seems to be, this trade redeems this organization of the Vince Carter blunder on some levels. Raptor fans know that they probably gave up more on paper for O'Neal than the Nets did for Carter at the time—but in a way, even the loss of TJ Ford can be seen as a positive for this team as it solves a chemistry issue, and rids the team of an injury hazard who had a lot of time left on his contract.

With Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh, and Jermaine O'Neal, the Raptors are ready to take the next step and become an elite team in this league.
Originally Posted by The Bleacher Report
Projected Record: 51-31

Atlantic: Second

Playoffs: Eliminated in Second Round (six games)

Match-up problems to avoid: Cleveland, Miami, Boston, Atlanta
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