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Old 10-30-2012, 10:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default CSNPHILLY.COM: Atlantic Division preview - Toronto Raptors

Every team in the Atlantic Division improved during the offseason. Exhibit A for this fact is the Raptors as former Sixers general manager Ed Stefanski added some impressive pieces. The biggest of those is Villanova alum Lowry, who plays with a ferocity that was sorely lacking from the Raptors over the past few seasons.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have a deep bench with veteran point guard Jose Calderon coming on to spell Lowry and No. 8 overall draft pick Terrence Ross expected to see significant minutes. Also, expect third-year forward Ed Davis to bounce back from a disappointing 2011-12 season.

More importantly, the Raptors finally lured Valanciunas to the NBA from Europe where the 20-year old center could be in the discussion for Rookie of the Year. With Valanciunas in the middle, the Raptors can move Bargnani -- the quintessential Euro perimeter player -- to forward.

The Raptors could be one of the surprise teams in the Atlantic and could even slip into the postseason. After all, for years Toronto had a lot of what rebuilding teams longed for -- high draft picks and young players. If they can play, too, look out.
Atlantic Division preview: Toronto Raptors
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