Hoopsworld: Raps Poised to Be a Force
Old 07-22-2008, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
convinced that Raptors fans are only happy when they're unhappy.

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God I hope next season isn't a huge letdown.

There's too much to look forward to at this point.

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Originally Posted by Hoopsworld
Over the course of the 07-08 season the Raptors outscored, out-assisted, out-shot, and out-just-about-everything-elsed their opponents – except rebounding. At 40.07 boards a night the Raps finished 28th in the league in that category. Their rebounding differential of -1.54 was 22nd in the league.

With Jermaine O'Neal starting in the frontcourt alongside All-Star Chris Bosh, it would stand to reason they will definitely improve those rebounding numbers. O'Neal averaged just 6.7 rebounds a game last year, but he told HOOPSWORLD in Las Vegas he played the last season and a half on a torn meniscus. After taking the second half of the season off, getting healthy, and dedicating himself to getting in the best shape of his life, O'Neal is looking forward to a rebirth.

"I knew that to get back to the level people are used to seeing me play at I had to really take the time off, have a great summer, and then go into the season with a different physical focus and a different mental focus," said Jermaine O'Neal.

"I'm going to come back in a major way next year."

That sounds like good news for Raptors fans. What also sounds like good news is O'Neal's realization of how good he can be when he's healthy and how he can help this team.

"When you look at my stats from last year, people say okay he averaged 13 points and six or seven rebounds a game. That was on one leg. And also, I came off the bench for ten games and only played 20 minutes, so my scoring averages went down. Overall, my numbers have been some of the best in the league the last seven years."

But what about that Bosh and O'Neal combination? Very few teams in the league have the ability to matchup with a frontcourt as athletic, versatile, and explosive as a healthy Bosh-O'Neal duo. Even the world champion Boston Celtics don't seem to have the frontcourt depth to handle both of those players.

"It can be scary," O'Neal said of playing with Bosh. "Teams haven't seen that in a while, where you can throw two guys on both boxes who can shoot the 15-foot jump shot, post up, put the ball on the floor... I don't really know who you can double off of because we have three-point shooting on the perimeter so teams are going to have to really roll their sleeves up."

"Chris makes all of our lives so much easier, then you add a guy like Jermaine O'Neal who is the exact same kind of presence - he's going to open things up," said Parker. "You have got to honor him, send two people at him the same as with Chris, and that opens it up for guys like me and Jason Kapono from outside. Beautiful."

It's not just that Bosh and O'Neal make everything else easier on their teammates, but with their experience and leadership abilities they have the young guys juiced as well.

"I'm definitely excited because I learn a lot from Jermaine and Chris in my next two years with the Raptors," said Australian rookie forward Nathan Jawai.

Making Jose Calderon the full-time point guard isn't going to hurt either. Last season he dished 8.3 assists in 30.3 minutes a night while scoring 11.2 points on 51.9% shooting from the field (and 42.9% from three-point range). Being the undisputed starter should push his minutes into the 35-39 per game range, so expect his assists to hit double digits as Bosh and O'Neal give him plenty of options in the post.

While everyone around the Raptors seems excited because of the changes , O'Neal is still going to be cautiously optimistic.

"We're going to have to roll our sleeves up also. We look good on paper, but we gotta get the chemistry. We gotta get that swagger about ourselves that we're one of the better teams in the league. As soon as we get that I think we can be really good, but the work is still yet to be done."

The Boston Celtics have that swagger and it's well-deserved, but the Toronto Raptors don't plan on letting Boston enjoy it for too long.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Getting JO was the best thing for the Raps man.

He'll definately make everyone work on defense, and the teams offense was already very good.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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swagger.
its all about the swagger.
The raps have never had it... we lack that confidence... that machizmo.
if we can get that... its game over baby!
game over!
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
saying too many dudes are Tyson Chandler, trying to lead their teams and went nowhere

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They should bring in Scott Hall for that... "Hey Chico...."
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
"We're going to have to roll our sleeves up also. We look good on paper, but we gotta get the chemistry. We gotta get that swagger about ourselves that we're one of the better teams in the league. As soon as we get that I think we can be really good, but the work is still yet to be done."
I like that.
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LyRrAd_Nation View Post
They should bring in Scott Hall for that... "Hey Chico...."
they should all get toothpicks and throw them in fan's faces!
that would be sweet!
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:54 PM   #7 (permalink)
saying too many dudes are Tyson Chandler, trying to lead their teams and went nowhere

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Quote:
Originally Posted by INSIDER View Post
they should all get toothpicks and throw them in fan's faces!
that would be sweet!
I'd pay top dollar to see that. That was the shit back in the day.
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
is pounding the rock!

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Hopefully the team doesn't get into too much pressure will all this talk.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
Pondering if these are BCs last days

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All i want to know is if JO is clutch? Cause our 4th quarter play last season blew ass, every player was double dutching with the ball in there hands and the clock ticking away, that includes Bosh, if we can get over 4th quarter meltdowns, and play alittle D, theres no reason why we can't be one of the best teams in the porous eastern conference
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Old 07-23-2008, 07:55 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, there is no real reason to think otherwise,

The addition of JO means that teams will have a harder time to double down on Bosh in the post making for more single coverage. Defense is definately going to be better at the end of games because of JO as well. He is a winner and just having another leader of his nature on the court will help keep the team calm and collected.

JO is not really considered clutch but having him on the team will allow for Bosh, AP and Kaps to be clutch.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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His attitude his the shiznit. I can't wait to see him and Bosh together on the block!!!!!!
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Me to, to quote Jose "they will make for great inside couple"
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