Music to listen to: Subdivision by Rush
I really, really wanted to go with some Drake since he is also from Toronto but shoot, since the NBA has only one Canadian team, I can pick anyone from the country and I’m taking Rush. Sorry Brian Adams.
Last season: The Raptors finished the year 40-42 despite being as high as the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference during the season, particularly in the second-half of the year. This also connected with the injury of former star player Chris Bosh so you can start the conspiracy theories here and you may not be far off.
In the offseason, Bosh left for the Miami Heat and now the team is in rebuilding mode especially if you include the departure of Hedo Turkoglu to Phoenix.
Strength: Its tough finding the strengths of a team that may finish with one of the two or three worst records in the East. One thing that you can see is the potential of former first-overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani. He has shown moments of looking like an All-Star player but has also disappointed during his time in Toronto. However, he is their best player and that counts for something.
The Raptors also feature a solid point guard in Jose Calderon but also have a reliable backup in Jarrett Jack.
Weakness: With the departure of Bosh, the already below-average post defense for the Raptors just got worse.
The overall power forward/center unit is weak on the squad. The Raptors will probably come into the regular season with Linas Kleiza and Bargnani as the two starters in those positions and neither one is known as a physical player.
Best player: Bargnani teases you with his height, ability to shoot from the perimeter and even drive to the basket. All of those things look good during an open run in your local gym but doesn’t translate to a consistently good NBA career. However, the physical talents are there. There aren’t too many players in the entire league that are 7’0’’ tall and have the attributes he has.
Most important player: If the Raptors expect to have a respectable season, guard/forward DeMar DeRozan has to become an elite player for Toronto. He has the potential and the skills to do it but that may be too much to ask of a player entering only his second year.
Celebrity crush from the city: I’m going to pick Melyssa Ford and for her fans out there that read this, I know that there are better pictures of her but this is a family Blog and I can’t have the pics of her in darn near no clothing. Besides, you can google her and that should take care of that.
Coaching: I don’t know much about Jay Triano and I’m not sure that the Raptors do as well. He took over as head coach during the 2008-09 season and has been the main man ever since. We have to see what he can do now that the Bosh distraction is finally over.
This section must also include general manager Bryan Colangelo, who is in the last year of his deal and is under pressure to win as well. He has had an OK track record but has also struck out with some long-term deals, especially the Turkoglu situation.
First memory of team: I can go as far back as Damon Stoudamire but the Raptors really entered the basketball mainstream with Vince Carter.
I can’t deny to you that I thought he was going to be a bust in the NBA and you can argue that he still hasn’t filled his potential in the league. Many were expected him to be a superstar in his prime and he just didn’t get there.
However, we can always remember the All-Star dunk contest in 2000 in Oakland.
Best case: The young players like DeRozen, Ed Davis and even Bargnani mature and the team reaches 35 wins.
Worst case: Worst record in the East and that’s actually possible. Ok, Indiana and New Jersey have the potential to be terrible but still.
Overall outlook: Its going to be a long season for the Raptors but this year will be all about the developing the young talent.
2010 Backdoor Cut Previews: