HW: Raptors season preview
Old 09-14-2013, 07:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
is praying Ross makes us forget Drummomd so people stop whining

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Raptors HW: Raptors season preview

2013-2014 Toronto Raptors Season Preview | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors

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After a dreadful, injury-plagued start to the 2012-13 season, the Toronto Raptors nearly snuck into the playoffs after acquiring Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in a midseason blockbuster trade. Gay joined Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson among others to form a talented young core. After last seasonís strong finish, the Raptors are hoping to pick up right where they left off and end their five-year playoff drought this season. Toronto hired general manager Masai Ujiri away from the Denver Nuggets, and he put his fingerprints on the team right away by trading Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks for a package that included Steve Novak and three draft picks. Now, Toronto is hoping to make the playoffs, and it seems like a realistic goal.

In & Out

Additions: D.J. Augustin, Tyler Hansbrough, Dwight Buycks, Austin Daye, Steve Novak
Subtractions: Andrea Bargnani, Alan Anderson, Linas Kleiza, John Lucas III, Mickael Pietrus, Sebastian Telfair
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Top Of The List

Top Offensive Player: Rudy Gay. Gay led the Raptors in scoring last season with 19.5 points per game. Thereís no denying that Gay can put points on the board either by knocking down jump shots or attacking the basket. However, the small forward isnít the most efficient player, as evidenced by his 42.5 percent shooting from the field and 2.8 turnovers per game in his 33 contests with the Raptors last season. If Gay can become a more efficient scorer, he has the size, length and athleticism to be a match-up nightmare.
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Top Defensive Player: Amir Johnson. Even though Johnson spent the majority of the 2013-14 season as a reserve, the 26-year-old led the Raptors in blocks per game with 1.4 and also managed to average 1.0 steal per game. During the 2013-14 season, Johnson should be the full-time starter at the power forward position so his minutes and production will likely increase. Lowry is Torontoís best perimeter defender due to his physical play and ability to disrupt the passing lanes.
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Top Playmaker: Kyle Lowry. For much of the 2012-13 season, Lowry battled back spasms as well as torn triceps, which limited him significantly on the court. However, he still managed to average 6.4 assists. This season, expect a huge year for Lowry since heíll finally be healthy and heíll have more weapons around him. During the final month of the season, Lowry averaged 8.6 assists, which is a sign of whatís to come this year.
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Top Clutch Player: Rudy Gay. Less than two weeks after the Raptors acquired Gay last February, the small forward showed why heís the top clutch player in Toronto when he hit two game-winning shots in the span of three games. After he beat the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets with last second shots just a few days apart, Casey declared Gay the teamís closer. The stats back up this decision, as Gay ranked 19th in the NBA in clutch scoring last season.
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The Unheralded Player: Jonas Valanciunas. Last year, Valanciunas had a strong rookie season in which he averaged 8.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 23.9 minutes. However, the 21-year-oldís best basketball came late in the year. Valanciunas won the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award in March after averaging 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks, and his scoring average climbed to nearly 15 points per game in April. Expect an increased role for him this season, which means he likely wonít unheralded for long.
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Best New Addition: Tyler Hansbrough. While itís tempting to list Bargnaniís departure due to the potential addition by subtraction or Ujiri since heíll rebuild Toronto into a winner, the Raptorsí biggest on-court addition was Hansbrough. He has career averages of 8.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in 246 games, and heíll be a significant reserve for Toronto. Hansbrough is a high-energy player whose hustling and toughness are contagious. Also, Hansbrough is a proven winner, winning a national championship in college and playing in 35 postseason games in four years.
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Strengths

Toronto has a very talented starting lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Johnson and Valanciunas, as well as a promising sixth man in Terrence Ross. The Raptorsí chemistry is one of their biggest strengths because many of their core players have been friends for years. Over the past few summers, Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Johnson and Ross among others trained together at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, and then they all happened to land in Toronto. With so many weapons, the Raptors have the potential to be one of the best offensive teams in the league this season.

- Alex Kennedy

Weaknesses

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey emphasizes defense, but Toronto must improve on that end of the floor if they want to make the playoffs this season. The Raptorsí opponents shot 45.8 percent from the field (18th in the NBA), scored an average of 98.7 points per game (17th in the NBA) and turned the ball over just 13.7 times per game (20th in the NBA). Toronto allowed 104.7 points per 100 possessions, which ranked 22nd in the NBA. The team needs to improve their shooting percentages as well since they shot 44.6 percent from the field (20th in the NBA) and 34.3 percent from three (26th in the NBA).
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
Ross will be..

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Great read getting me pumped for the season but still gonna set my expectations low for this one at best we slide in the 8th spot..
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