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Old 10-28-2008, 08:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
Dr. J. Naismith
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Default Today in Raptorland - 10/28/08

World according to Jermaine

No issue is too sensitive and no topic is too controversial for Jermaine O'Neal to offer an opinion.

O'Neal never went to college, but the school of hard knocks and self-education have allowed the newest Raptor to expand his horizons off the hardwood.
O'Neal aims to resurrect his career with Raptors

It remains to be seen what impact O'Neal will have on the court as he attempts to take the Raptors to the next level after back-to-back losses in the opening round of the playoffs.

What is certain is that O'Neal finds himself in the perfect situation and environment to resurrect his career and the Raptors have the perfect piece to complement franchise player Chris Bosh, a much coveted rebounding and defensive presence who brings a swagger to the floor.
Sun media writers' predictions

East darkhorse: Miami

West darkhorse: L.A. Clippers

Raptors MVP: Chris Bosh

Raptors will finish: Sixth
Raptors, Leafs share ideas

For his part, Mitchell said he and new Leafs coach Ron Wilson hit it off, laughing that Wilson shares his sarcastic streak where the media is concerned. But he liked it when Wilson told him how he's handled some of his players when dealing with their shortcomings.

"Your players come in (expecting) things to be sugar-coated," Mitchell said. "Then it's: 'You want the truth?' He gave it to them."
Walking a thin line

"There's obviously not a game-changer out there (who fits under Toronto's cap)," Colangelo said. "The problem is when the nagging injuries add up and there's so little time between games to practice. But the pros of doing it this way are not spending a lot of time trying out players who would might otherwise be cut."
Celtics eager to defend title

For the Boston Celtics, tonight represents a banner night as the franchise's 17th championship banner is raised to the rafters as the club gets set to play host to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As much as tonight represents a moment to reflect on last spring's title run, it also brings together what many believe as the two top teams in the Eastern Conference, perhaps a preview for what lies ahead.
Raptors roster



6-foot-8, 205 lbs; Age: 28

Strengths:Athleticism allows him to cheat on defence and block shots when he leaves his defender; runs the floor well; can knock down shots.

Weaknesses: Settles for jumpers and doesn't draw fouls because he won't put the ball on the floor; at times relies too much on his athletic gifts; his feel for the game is lacking.

What to expect: No one knows for sure, but one thing is certain: Moon can't live off of last year's laurels; if he moves the ball on offence, rebounds and defends then any offensive output would be a bonus.
Il Mago re-signed

As expected, the Raptors yesterday exercised the fourth-year rookie scale team option on forward Andrea Bargnani for 2009-10.

The club had until Friday to make the move, or the 7-foot Italian, the club's first pick and first overall in 2006, would have become a free agent after this season.

Bargnani, who is making $5.2 million US this season, will make $6.5 million in 2009-10.

Celtics, Lakers at head of the class

With Boston's new Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen still intact and the Lakers with Pau Gasol for a full season and an apparently healthy centre Andrew Bynum to add to the mix, the Celtics and Lakers have everything going for them.
Eastern outlook


Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey

Key moves: Raptors add Jermaine O'Neal, Sixers pick up Elton Brand, Knicks have coach Mike D'Antoni and president Donnie Walsh, Nets say goodbye to Richard Jefferson.
Starting Fives

Sam Mitchell, Toronto

After a breakthrough year of 47 victories and coach of the year, morphed into 41 wins and another first-round playoff elimination last season. If the Raptors start slowly, the questions about Mitchell's future will grow loud.
Parker flies under radar as strong, silent type

Anthony Parker is not going to beat his chest and flex his muscles and let out some primal scream every time he does something of significance on the basketball court.

He is not wired that way, not one to bring attention to himself.

He simply goes about his work in a business-like manner, quietly and efficiently, as he has ever since he arrived back in North America.
Raptors skip injury parade

The Raptors go into their 14th season – how time flies – with a few annoying minor injuries, but things could be worse. At least nobody crashed any mopeds.

Look around the NBA and which teams aren't limping to the starting line? Every club has injury situations, to some degree, and a few teams have major, season-altering problems.

"He got his knee banged (Sunday) so it's just precautionary," said coach Sam Mitchell. "He said he was sore, we expect him to be able to play (tomorrow)."

The Bosh-O'Neal factor

"There's a lot of anticipation and excitement," Colangelo said during training camp. "The presence that Jermaine has inside the paint, the factor of not only blocking shots but changing shots and being a presence in the lane. . . knowing that we have an improved interior presence, plus a reinvigorated mindset with Chris, it's exciting to see.

"There's a lot of excitement and just a good feel."
Sunshine Girl - 10/28/08

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