BR: Raptors season preview, roster projections
Old 09-26-2013, 12:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors BR: Raptors season preview, roster projections

Toronto Raptors Training Camp 2013: Full Preview and Roster Projections | Bleacher Report

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Key Statistics: The Good and The Bad

One of the team's biggest strengths last season was their ability to maintain control of the basketball. The Raptors' 13.7 turnovers per game were third-lowest in the league. That number coincides with their 12th-best (tied with Orlando Magic) assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.63.

They also made the most of their attempts at the charity stripe, shooting 78.8 percent from the free-throw line, which was fifth overall.

The Raptors couldn't rebound to save their lives. They ranked 28th in rebounds per game (40.2), 26th in defensive rebounds (29.6) and 24th in offensive (10.6). Amir Johnson was the only player on the roster to average better than 7.0 boards at 7.5.

Their three-point shooting was also a major concern. The team only shot 34.3 percent (tied for 25th with the Denver Nuggets) from behind the arc. Attempting 20.3 shots from that part of the court, which was the 12th-highest n the NBA, didn't help matters either.

It's one thing to shoot from long range when you have a proven track record, but chucking up shots with little accuracy going around isn't the wisest decision to make.
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Biggest Storylines Entering Training Camp

Is Rudy Gay the man to take the Raptors back to the NBA playoffs? For a majority of his career, Gay has been looked at as a fringe All-Star that would be a No. 2 or No. 3 option on a championship-quality roster.

What's new? That's been the case with this franchise for years. Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani are examples of two players who were given the go-ahead to lead this team, only to falter in the end. Gay has every opportunity in front of him to prove his doubters wrong. If the ship looks like it's about to sink, he could find himself on the way out sooner rather than later, insane contract or not.

Will the real Terrence Ross please stand up? His rookie season is better yet forgotten at this point. A majority of fans are ready to give up on the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, but that's too easy.

He struggled shooting the basketball (40.7 percent from the field) and his defense was close to non-existent, but there is still time to salvage things. He's far too athletic and far too motivated to keep this "early bust" label for much longer. It's going to take some work, but good things come to those who bust their tail. There's a world of untapped potential in Terrence Ross, and hopefully next season he gets a chance to show his stuff.
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Key Additions and Losses

Key Additions: PF Tyler Hansbrough , SF Steve Novak, PG D.J. Augustin, PG Dwight Buycks, SG Austin Daye

Key Losses: PF Andrea Bargnani (traded to New York Knicks) , SF Linas Kleiza (amnestied), PG John Lucas III (signed with Utah Jazz), PG Sebastian Telfair, SG Alan Anderson (signed with Brooklyn Nets), SG Mickael Pietrus
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Biggest Addition: Tyler Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough isn't going put the Raptors on his back and take over games by himself, but what he is going to do is help change the culture and bring his winning attitude to this team.

From his days as member of the North Carolina Tar Heels to his recent four-year stint with the Indiana Pacers, all Hansbrough has known throughout his basketball career is success. You can never have too many guys on your roster with that kind of background.

This past season, Hansbrough averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 16.9 minutes for the Pacers.

The Raptors didn't land themselves any major free agents in the open market, but sometimes it's the little, under-the-radar pickups that can make a world of difference.

"Psycho T" will attack the boards, defend the paint and score around the basket. Not bad for a guy playing under a cheap two-year deal worth roughly $6 million.
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Training Camp Battle to Watch: D.J. Augustin vs. Dwight Buycks

Augustin is coming off a dreadful 2012-13 season with the Indiana Pacers, having averaged career-lows in minutes, points, field-goal percentage, rebounds, assists and steals.

On the other hand, Buycks comes to the Raptors with zero NBA experience to his name. He had a terrific stint with Toronto's Las Vegas Summer League squad, averaging 23.0 points and 7.0 assists. It was a short stretch of games, but he still showed quite a bit of promise.

Now with the arrival of Augustin, Buycks falls down a notch in the pecking order of Raptors point guards, but that shouldn't be a death sentence for the 24-year-old.

Training camp will give Buycks more of an opportunity to further impress the coaching staff and perhaps secure some more minutes in the rotation.

It would certainly be a shocking turn of events if Buycks entered the season as Kyle Lowry's backup, surpassing Augustin in the process, who is still a battle-tested NBA guard with 147 starts under his belt. A combination of Buycks' strong play and the further downfall of Augustin would lead to that outcome.

Jose Calderon is no longer in the equation. The yearly controversy that always loomed over the team for that position is gone. Now, it's just a matter of who guard gives the team more of a chance to win when he's on the court.

It's Augustin for now, but will that last the season?
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Best-Case Scenario for Valanciunas: He uses his second year in the league to establish himself as one of the up-and-coming big men in the game today. With more playing time, Valanciunas sees sizeable growth in his point, rebound and block averages. Toronto fans know just how effective Valanciunas can be, but by the end of the season the entire NBA will be talking about his potential to be a future star.

Worst-Case Scenario for Valanciunas: Bottom line, the are only two things that can derail his progress. The first would be injuries. Valanciunas missed 20 games last season with a broken ring finger. Bad luck can always befall the most in-shape of individuals, so there's no way of knowing if something like that will happen again.

How about those fouls? His 4.6 fouls per 36 minutes were ninth-highest in the league. If Valanciunas is on the bench due to foul trouble, that means Aaron Gray will be playing at center, or someone like Johnson or Hansbrough will be forced to defend a much larger big. That's a scary thought.
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Final Prediction: 41-41 (.500), 8th in Eastern Conference

The top five seeds in the Eastern Conference are locked in with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers. Barring any major injuries, those aforementioned teams will surely be playing postseason basketball come May and June.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Washington Wizards are all in the mix for those final spots, so the Raptors' journey back to the postseason won't be an easy one.

Then again, why should anyone discount this team just because of the moves everyone else was making? Sure, the Raptors didn't land a Josh Smith or Andrew Bynum, but they're still in a better position now than they were at this point last year.

Gay has a full training camp to get further acquainted with his teammates, Valanciunas is looking better than ever and the overall depth of the rotation has been shored up.

As one of the lower seeds, the chances of Toronto knocking off one of the juggernauts of the conference are slim to none. It would be silly to think otherwise.

Making the playoffs in 2013-14 will be the start of something much greater. It will help put the franchise back on the map as a place where winning basketball is a staple, and not just a passing dream

Last edited by jeffb; 09-26-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good read, but Daye isn't a SG, just sayin'
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Old 09-26-2013, 02:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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3.7 turnovers per game were third-lowest in the league.
Well.. allot of those turnover stats had to do with the fact that Caldy was still running the offense
Lowry takes more chances
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Key Statistics: The Good and The Bad

1) One of the team's biggest strengths last season was their ability to maintain control of the basketball. The Raptors' 13.7 turnovers per game were third-lowest in the league. That number coincides with their 12th-best (tied with Orlando Magic) assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.63.

They also made the most of their attempts at the charity stripe, shooting 78.8 percent from the free-throw line, which was fifth overall.


2) The Raptors couldn't rebound to save their lives. They ranked 28th in rebounds per game (40.2), 26th in defensive rebounds (29.6) and 24th in offensive (10.6). Amir Johnson was the only player on the roster to average better than 7.0 boards at 7.5.
1) These stats are a bit skewed considering we had Calderon

2) Hence a need for a real backup Center. The heck are we inviting a 4th PG and a 4th PF for?
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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2) Hence a need for a real backup Center. The heck are we inviting a 4th PG and a 4th PF for?
That's what I said.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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2) Hence a need for a real backup Center. The heck are we inviting a 4th PG and a 4th PF for?
Is it really worth it? I mean a good center costs a lot. Especially if we're talking about someone who can score. On the other hand Amir and TH should be enough to guard most of the big men and they will get a lot of rebounds anyway.
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Old 09-26-2013, 05:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
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When they finally started to get stops, the rebounding numbers came along as well. They need to focus on getting those stops, and having a good number of potential perimeter defenders will help with that as much, if not much more, than a cheap center.
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Is it really worth it? I mean a good center costs a lot. Especially if we're talking about someone who can score. On the other hand Amir and TH should be enough to guard most of the big men and they will get a lot of rebounds anyway.
is it really it worth it he asks...

is it really worth potentially having 4 PGs or 4 PFs?
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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is it really it worth it he asks...

is it really worth potentially having 4 PGs or 4 PFs?
the real question is if there was a decent center prospect out there, my guess is they didn't see anything of interest. There's barely an outside chance for most of these players to make the team anyway. Chances of finding a rotation player out of them are basically nil, except for stone.
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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the real question is if there was a decent center prospect out there, my guess is they didn't see anything of interest. There's barely an outside chance for most of these players to make the team anyway. Chances of finding a rotation player out of them are basically nil, except for stone.
i'd rather fill our 15th spot with a another C just as good and cheap as these camp invitees we're bringing now

redundancy is a b***h imo
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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1) These stats are a bit skewed considering we had Calderon

2) Hence a need for a real backup Center. The heck are we inviting a 4th PG and a 4th PF for?
1) I totally agree. Jose is very good when it comes to turnovers.

2) If we get a 4th PG it's more of an insurance policy for a trade to follow since Klow is expiring.

Call me crazy but I don't see MU brings Lowry back next year.
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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They should've taken Bernard James to be the 3rd center when he was available for the minimum, all they had to do was pick up a phone, call the league office and say "we'll take him."
I don't know how he could clear the waivers.
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:22 AM   #13 (permalink)
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It's confusing, sad, and even a little exciting for me ... I really feel it's a coin toss on whether we will stink or actually going to be competitive this year. I've never been this indecisive ... not to say that my views in the past have been accurate on a consistent basis.

Ross and JV are critical to whether we are moving on up, or moving on down
Will Gay be a better 3 point shooter and take better % shots
Will DD play defense and at least become a respectable 3 point shooter
Can Lowry stay healthy, play team defense, and run the offense efficiently
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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i'd rather fill our 15th spot with a another C just as good and cheap as these camp invitees we're bringing now

redundancy is a b***h imo
That's why they are not going to be likely to fill that 15th spot just for the sake of filling it. Someone is going to need to really stand out. And if that happens the redundancy can be dealt with at some point with a trade.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:33 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Got to love articles that ignore pace entirely. The Raps were 20th in ORB% and 17th in DRB%. Rebounding was slightly below average, not terrible.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:53 AM   #16 (permalink)
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That's why they are not going to be likely to fill that 15th spot just for the sake of filling it. Someone is going to need to really stand out. And if that happens the redundancy can be dealt with at some point with a trade.
I hope you're right
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Old 09-27-2013, 01:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Got to love articles that ignore pace entirely. The Raps were 20th in ORB% and 17th in DRB%. Rebounding was slightly below average, not terrible.
pace is generally only considered when it suits the argument you're trying to make. That's the beauty of non-standardized stats and why the field itself is so distrusted. I bet if the page would have placed us last, he would have mentioned, it's not like there's a writer that isn't at least aware of their existence
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Old 09-28-2013, 01:40 PM   #18 (permalink)
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is it really it worth it he asks...

is it really worth potentially having 4 PGs or 4 PFs?
Yes if those PF are actually better at playing center than any real center that you could buy for a minimum contract.
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Old 09-28-2013, 02:59 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yes if those PF are actually better at playing center than any real center that you could buy for a minimum contract.
Meh. What's the point of having another PF or another SG that will never see the floor. Even if they are better at their position than a potential 3rd center...they wont get playing time anyway.

The OVERALL team impact of a good 4th option PG or PF is less than the impact of a decent 3rd center.

I'd rather have insurance with a 3rd center. As long as its the right center.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:13 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Meh. What's the point of having another PF or another SG that will never see the floor. Even if they are better at their position than a potential 3rd center...they wont get playing time anyway.

The OVERALL team impact of a good 4th option PG or PF is less than the impact of a decent 3rd center.

I'd rather have insurance with a 3rd center. As long as its the right center.
It's actually common sense. If we sign a SG one of our SGs is going to be moved. DD, Ross or Fields I am guessing. if we sign a PG one of our PGs will be traded. Most likely Klow since he is expiring.
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