Thursday, August 12, 2010

Toronto Raptors Offseason Review

From my top three teams I will now move to bottom three.

Starting with the bottom - my beloved Raptors.

It is going to be a very long year north of the border. There are some things to be excited about, that would be the future. As far as the present go the Raptors will compete for the worst record in the NBA amongst the likes of the T'wolves, and Cavaliers. I would have added the Nets in that group but I feel the addition of Murphy puts them above the bottom tier.

Here I am, overseeing the Raptors game against Washington in 2008

Even when looking to the future it is very uncertain. We have nobody we can really build around to be honest. This is not a slight to Demar Derozan, I really like him and believe he will have an impressive sophomore campaign. On the other hand it will be hard for him to become a go to guy on a championship team. He has a world of potential but the sheer amount of improvement he has to make to reach that level is immense. I feel his best case is somewhere around Brandon Roy (in terms of overall effectiveness - I am not saying he plays similar to Roy) and his worse case would be Dahntay Jones.

Other then Derozan we have some other nice young fellas. The notorious 'Young Gunz' of the Raptors consisting of Amir Johnson, Clarence 'Sonny' Weems, and Jarret Jack (I am not sure if he is an official member, he appears to be the overseer / parental figure of this group of rascal) These young guns are very talented and have a great attitude. They both have a great deal upside (although I suspect Amir and Sonny do not have all star potential - sorry guys >< ) and will end up being nice pieces on this team.


There is also Raptors young big man Ed Davis. Again, he looks like a decent player who will have some impact even as rookie. However his upside (based on limited sample size) is all star at best. I was impressed by his shot blocking during the summer league, other then that his game seems solid. As stated earlier (implied by view on his upside) nothing else really blew me away though. His most impressive play came when he caught the ball in the post, faced up and made a hard drive right, spinning back left and finish against a second defender plus the foul. This is a classic and deadly move on the block and the fact that he can pull it off fairly gracefully at this stage is a good sign. He showed a nice feathery touch on his face up mid range jumper as well. Those were the highlights though, and a majority of the time his baskets were garbage points or him finishing off a pass (where he showed decent hands and a good touch) I would of really liked to see more intensity from him and assertiveness, he has a fairly calm and collected demeanor on the court (or perhaps that is a good thing, I have been a KG fan for too long I guess)

And then there is Brian Colangelo's prized gem - Andrea Bargnani. By no means is he a bust, but he has not been good either. Statistically he has been decent, but his effect on winning has been minimum. The main problem is his lack of basketball IQ. He needs to get some popcorn, kick his feet up, and watch a bunch of game tape so he can see exactly what he does that is effective / ineffective. Example of effective moves include catch and shoot threes, and offensive low post into hook shots and layups. Examples of ineffective actions are compromised by sudden out of rhythm low post fadeaways, and pull up mid range jumpers lacking any elevation (honestly he does not jump at all on his pull up) I really don't know what to expect from this guy next year, he could average 20 PPG, but what will his effect be on winning? I think his weaknesses (poor IQ) will be less evident if he is not playing with Jose Calderon. Think about it - A point guard who can't keep Darrick Martin in front of him, and a center who has no clue when to rotate. A lethal combination and a potent mixture if you're interested in sucking. That being said breaking up this duo of darkness will result in a more effective Andrea Bargnani (in all honesty this is based on my own instinct. The statistics don't really back up that the particular combination of Bargnani and Calderon equates to losing. I am not intelligent enough to devise a way to analyze statistics to isolate what we need to find an answer)

Statistically Bargnani probably missed this rebound

Antonio Daniels beats Jose off the dribble with his 'blazing' speed

Financially Toronto made a solid deal getting rid of Turk. Barbosa will likely not do well, his production has been falling for awhile now, but again that wont make the deal a failure. I suspect Turk will have a semi bounce back year in phoenix. I am expecting an awe inspiring 14/4/4 from Mr. 'ball'

Colangelo made a very Colangelo'ish deal (that is it epitomized his refusal to acknowledge that sometimes to become a great team you have to not be a great team for awhile) in signing Linus Kleiza to a 4 year 18 million dollar deal (Approx.) A solid deal in terms of value, Kleiza is a serviceable player who would be welcome on most teams I imagine. If we still had Bosh I would of liked this signing, as it would have propelled us from mediocrity to a slightly higher level of mediocrity, which is a good thing. However going from crap to slightly less crappy is not a good thing. It takes away from development of our youth and hurts our draft stock. The concept of making decisions based on draft stock makes Colangelo feel as if he is ****ing a brick.

The Raptor's future is shrouded in mystery. With the varying potential in our players, and most having ceiling not incredibly high we really need only one thing.
A superstar. When you suck, you get one from the draft, and that is what we need to do. I don't know who it will be, Harrison Barnes? Kyle Irving? But we need that one guy who has 'it'. So fellow raptors fans, we have hope, and it stems from the fact we will suck, suck mightily. We will have a great chance of landing the number 1 pick in the NBA draft. That is our hope - and that is pathetic sadly :P

Good Night!

Offseason Grade - C- (Lost Bosh and made weird FA signings but dumped Turk and got
good value at 13 with Ed Davis)
2010/2011 Regular Season Record - 25 - 57 (Fifteenth in East)

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