||12-22-2011 11:05 PM
Sportsnet Raptors preview
Courtesy of Mr. Paul Jones
NBA preview 2011-12: Atlantic Division - sportsnet.ca WAP
It was a long season for the Toronto Raptors in 2010-2011. They started out with something to prove and at the quarter pole had the same record as the team that barely missed the playoffs in 2009-2010. But then injuries hit and the focus shifted to the development of young players where DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis were the main beneficiaries. DeRozan improved his scoring average and developed a dependable mid-range jumper. After missing the early part of the season Davis came on strong and probably should have been on one of the All-Rookie squads at the end of the season. Jerryd Bayless and James Johnson also received some of those "developmental" minutes.
New head coach Dwane Casey has put the emphasis on defence and he may be just the right guy at the right time for Andrea Bargnani. The former first-overall draft pick put up good offensive numbers but his rebounding and defence often took a back seat to his scoring. The comparison is always made to a guy that Casey had in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki, and it remains to be seen if Casey can instill the same type of attitude in Bargnani.
Look for veterans Jamaal Magloire, who will become the first Canadian to play in a regular-season game for the Raptors, Jose Calderon, Aaron Gray, Rasual Butler, Anthony Carter to provide leadership. Amir Johnson will look to improve on last season's solid output.
Burning Question: How quickly can Casey infuse a true defensive mentality in this team? Toronto finished 26th in opponents scoring, 28th in opponents three point percentage, 29th in opponents field goal percentage, and last opponents points in the paint.
Prediction: It will be a season of improvement in Toronto but they are still in a transitional phase trying to build a viable contender. (4th or 5th in the Atlantic Division and 11th or 12th in the Eastern Conference)
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