Friday, October 19, 2007

Thoughts around the web

Same deal today as wednesday. The preseason game vs Chicago is on tonight at 11. I will give some thoughts after that, although the Raps did win and it sounds like they looked good in doing so.

But until then, I was reading a season preview on the Raps. Everyone is pretty much putting them behind the Nets and the Celtics in the Atlantic. I want to repeat, that I don't care that there is little respect given towards the Raps. But just for fun, let's look at what some other people are saying...

Here we have CBS sports giving some respect to the Raps. They believe that the Raps are here to stay as a tough competitor, although they still have the team 3rd in the Atlantic. One of the potential reasons given is...

"A rough start gets in everyone's heads and Toronto starts believing that last year's success was a one-year deal. The team's nucleus is still young and therefore fragile."

A couple notes about this:
1) Bosh, Graham, Jose were all together during 05-06 when things were not as rosy. Bosh even went as far to mention that after the 2-8 start last year, they were not worried at all. They had been threw worse, like 1-15, that 2-8 just wasen't that bad. If the Raps for example go 500 in November, or a few games below, they had seen worse. They won't though think that the success was a one year deal.
2) Parker/Garbo/Kapono/Delfino/Jose/Rasho/Bargnani have all had success playing basketball around the world. This team is not as young as some people think.

This guy on the other hand pretty much gets it exactly right. Here is what they say about the teams weaknesses...

"The main weakness for Toronto is most likely its interior play. The team doesn’t have tremendous defensive footspeed or rebounding ability, though they do have excellent stretches of team defensive play and don’t make many mistakes in terms of communication and positioning."

"The team’s interior defense has similar problems. While both Bargnani and Bosh have had moments, neither has shown great ability as interior defenders. Rasho Nesterovic and Jorge Garbajosa are not the type of complementary frontcourt players that help to elevate the team’s interior play either. The addition of a defensive-oriented big man who can intimidate in the lane and clean up the glass would drastically improve the team’s chances of success against opponents with dominant big men."

Bargnani is going to be looked apon to step up with his defense. If he is capable of doing some effectively, the Raptors will take that next step. But this guy also thinks that...

"Raptors fans and players are justified in feeling somewhat slighted this off-season. The team won the Atlantic division title and was improving by the week leading up to the playoffs. Their opening round loss helped to dampen some of the enthusiasm for the club outside of its own fanbase however, as did the roster changes from teams within their division. "

"Look for the team to compete heavily with Washington, New Jersey, and Cleveland for playoff seeding with the potential for bigger things if Bargnani breaks out big in his second season. A little more playoff seasoning and Toronto will soon take its place amongst the Eastern Conference elite."

BUT let's remember, that the Raps were 2nd best in the East since New Years and that is with a rookie Bargnani. This is why I feel that the Raps are already in that Elite class, because of the success in the 2nd half of last year and the fact that all players should come out stronger this season.

Well well well, another positive vibe. 3rd overall in the East. I can dig that.

"Bottom line: Toronto will win a playoff series and be a tough out but the Raptors are not quite ready to make a trip to the NBA Finals."

Only thing I will say, and it's the same thing everyone else says, is that if Cleveland can make it, so can the Raps. You can not tell me that Cleveland has anywhere close to the depth that the Raps have.

This one mentions a game I will always remember.

"On March 23, Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony led the Denver Nuggets into Toronto. As well as the Raps were doing up to that point, no one expected them to put the ungodly smackdown that they put on their guests. The Raps came out of the gate with a fourth quarter intensity and instantly blew the game open. The game was decided after the first half, and they went on to win 121–94."

I was at the ACC for that one, and I remember being somewhat nervious for the Raps since the Nuggets had been playing well at that point of the season. What I saw was the biggest ass kicking ever! It was 10-0 at the start, then 22-7 or something, then 33-11, then 45-18. That is not exactly accurate, but something like that. The only reason that the Nuggets got it to 27 was because the second half was completely garbage time. It was GREAT.

"Prediction: Progress takes root in different forms. If they don’t win another banner or get that franchise-best 48th win this year, the season’s not a wash. A healthy Bosh and an improved Bargnani will drive this team forward in the season that matters. I’m guessing 45–50 wins and a trip to the illustrious Eastern Conference Semifinals. If Chuck Swirsky never says “Oh my Bosh!” again, even better."

This guy gets on Chuck a little too much though. I agree, the "oh my Bosh" or "Bosh pit" has to go, but the guy has alot of legit passion for the team. That is something that is respectable about the guy.

Woah woah woah. Come on now. This is just silly...

"Also they're already experiencing a ton of health problems to their top players. You wonder how much the grind of the regular season will expose their bench. They need more rebounding. "

EXPOSE their bench? He almost answered that with the line before. The Raps did see a ton of health problems to their top players. And they needed the strong bench they have to get over it. When Garbo and Bargnani went down, it was Graham and Humphries who stepped up in a big way (and got boards), and the team actually went 12-2 or something to that nature down the stretch. That Denver game...that was the first game after Garbo went down and without Bargnani.

This is more like it.

"hey showed last year that they can play for stretches no matter who is in the lineup. Ford was unstoppable as Toronto went 6-6 while Bosh was out. Calderon stepped up in Ford’s absence. Different Raps made big time plays when Bargnani, Parker, and Jorge Garbajosa were injured... the list goes on and on. The key to this team is that they likely have the most depth in the Eastern Conference and no one really needs to play heavy minutes."

He also mentions something that I completely agree with and something that will be an issue next off-season.

"I’ll take a different route and say the best move was keeping Calderon. GM Bryan Colangelo declared Ford as the point guard of the future when he signed him to a long-term deal before last year’s campaign. Although several teams would love to have Calderon as their starting point guard, Colangelo continues to stockpile assets like Calderon, Kapono, and Delfino in order to make a blockbuster deal down the road. Colangelo likely received many offers for the Spanish guard who had a breakthrough year, but Calderon’s value on and off the floor while being signed at a great price (thanks Rob Babcock!), was too much to part with."

Keeping Calderon now is huge and I think keeping him long term will be huge also. Forget blockbusters. That is like the Bulls dealing for Kobe right now, the pieces are there. Don't need to mess it up. The Raps have the pieces to be a top team for the next 6 or 7 years just with these pieces! Parker at 32 is the only player that might not be around long term. Jose is a huge part, no reason to mess around.

I would love to add the ESPN preview that has the Raps at 8th in the East, but I don't wanna pay for that crap.

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