Yahoo's Ball Don't Lie: Raptor Preview
Old 10-18-2012, 02:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Ball Don?t Lie?s 2012-13 NBA Season Previews: The Toronto Raptors | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports

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Kelly Dwyer's Kilt-Straightener
Because the squad seems to be eternally rebuilding, expecting what amounts to a (pro-rated, considering the shortened 2011-12 season) six win jump for the Raptors feels like a bit much. The Raptors are the league's supposed afterthought, at least according to the small cabal of martyrish fans that still treat NBA media as if it's stuck in the year 2001, and forever adding pieces instead of wins. Six wins seems like a lot, especially when we don't know how Kyle Lowry will react to being The Guy, if Andrea Bargnani can stay healthy, and what to make of Jonas Valanciunas.

One element will remain rock steady, though, and that's coach Dwane Casey's ability to think on his feet and adapt. Toronto willingly went into 2011-12 thinking of the campaign as a throwaway season, something to abide while waiting for Jonas and packing a few pounds of real coach muscle on Andrea, and yet the team still upped its winning percentage considerably (even threatening the near-.500 mark enjoyed during Chris Bosh's final year in Toronto) with Bargs missing more than half the season. Whatever typical storm and stress hits in 2012-13, Casey will be able to dodge gale winds on the fly.

On top of that, we've no reason to believe that Bargnani won't play most of the season again. Lowry stepped back somewhat as a defender in Houston last year, but that was at the overall cost of him playing near All-Star ball offensively (and, in great news to Bargnani, on the glass) before an illness set in. Adding Landry Fields won't serve as a massive upgrade at the wing, but it will act as a stabling sensation as he provides competent play amongst other features (rebounding, again, and solid entry and skip passing) along the way. And Valanciunas, despite earning the requisite amount of rookie whistles, will likely add around 1400 minutes of athletic play at a position that only a few teams can ably fill from year to year.

The depth is not to be admired. The team goes 10-deep only if you appreciate the chuck-first instincts of John Lucas III and Linas Kleiza, although both rank as solid-enough replacement-level players despite their rim-gazing. At this point, Bargnani's rebounding will likely never improve (decades of data tells us that steep rebounding misgivings never really round up as careers move along), but the team has acquired enough helpers to make Andrea's scoring work passable. And Calderon as a trade chip could be a fantastic thing the Raptors are set to acquire cap space should they hold onto or deal Jose, so they'll receive both high-end work in the passing department for more than half a season before taking either a solid draft pick, fine player making big money, or 25 more games following the trade deadline and eventual cap relief should they decide to keep him.

Of course, it will be another year of Raptor fans standing to the side and waiting for the months to count down until summer, frustrating in the sense that a postseason appearance is far from assured, and that both Bargnani and Lowry are just about nearing their primes.

Things will turn, though. The Raptor front office didn't exactly go great guns when the current regime took over in 2006, but in staying patient with two major assets in Casey and Valanciunas the Raps will eventually roll into the swing of playoff things.

Eventually.
Until then, enjoy a team well worth your time. And patience.
Projected record: 35-47
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good overall write-up of some of the storylines surrounding this year's team. The second guy has some interesting analysis of the DD contract situation - how much does he need to improve/show this year to get a deal from us, and should we even be offering him a deal at all?

The third reporter drops this:

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...the issue [of attracting talent] is greater for Toronto, a great city that, whether because of taxes or cultural issues, has yet to appeal to a considerable number of NBA athletes. The Raptors have had superstars in their past, but all have left via free agency or trade, suggesting that even the draft might not be the key to turning Toronto into a contender. It's perhaps too pessimistic to say they're doomed to irrelevance, but there is a sense that the Raptors are not playing by the same rules as everyone else.
Yeah, we gotta start winning some games.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Decent. I would predict 38-41 wins but this isn't far off from that. This is a better team than last season and as long as we improve year to year i'm happy. I think next summer/season will be the season we should be a bonified playoff team. We may squeek into the playoffs this season if we stay healthy, but we aren't a bonified anything.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think if they are a legit top 10 team defensively, then they hit .500. I'll be interested to see if they can get the emphasis there. I'd love to see them able to get stops reliably, without needing to foul as much as they did last season.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR1815 View Post
Good overall write-up of some of the storylines surrounding this year's team. The second guy has some interesting analysis of the DD contract situation - how much does he need to improve/show this year to get a deal from us, and should we even be offering him a deal at all?

The third reporter drops this:



Yeah, we gotta start winning some games.
Its an absolute fact.
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