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Old 05-07-2012, 12:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
jeffb
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Raptors David Aldridge: I hope the Raptors win the lottery

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1. I hope the Raptors win the Lottery and get Anthony Davis.
Toronto is like that ex-girlfriend you haven't seen in 15 years. You lost touch with her, and then you heard she got fat and you were secretly happy about it, but then you heard a year ago that she had a lousy boyfriend who treated her bad, and you felt sorry for her and hoped she was doing okay. (If you're a woman reading this, just substitute "boyfriend" for "girlfriend" where appropriate, "him" for "her" and "he" for "she.")

The point is that that the Raptors are positioned to be relevant again in the Eastern Conference. First and foremost, they have a really good coach in Dwane Casey, who has already put his stamp on the team. The Raptors improved significantly on defense this season, rising from dead-bleeping-last in the league in defensive efficiency a year ago (110 points allowed per 100 possessions) to 12th (101.5 points allowed).

DeMar DeRozan is a capable guard. Andrea Bargnani will never live up to being the first pick in the 2006 Draft, but he isn't a bust by any means; I don't recall Kwame Brown ever averaging 19.5 per game, as Bargnani did this season. (I would be concerned about Bargnani's field goal percentage trend line the last three seasons, however.)

Toronto has pieces, but it doesn't have that centerpiece around which you can build a real contender. Imagine a frontcourt of the 7-foot Bargnani, the 6-foot-11 Davis and 7-foot-2 center Jonas Valenciunas, whom the Raptors took in the first round last season and expect will come over to the NBA next season after spending the year playing in Europe. Imagine what Jose Calderon and DeRozan could do with Davis swatting shots and igniting the fast break.

And imagine what a defensive guy like Casey could do with one of the best defensive prospects in a generation. Casey was new to the NBA when he was on Seattle's bench in the early 1990s, and George Karl unleashed the ferocious Gary Payton on unsuspecting point guards. Another Sonics assistant, Bob Kloppenburg, designed diabolical halfcourt defenses. With Payton attacking, the Sonics became a lethal unit that harassed opponents all the way to the 1996 Finals. If Casey got his hands on Davis, watch out.

Most importantly, Toronto's a great city, with great basketball fans. I miss going there for meaningful games.
Finals solve one question of season, but many more remain | NBA.com

Last edited by jeffb; 05-07-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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