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Raptors Need to Set the Tone

With the new season just under 24 hours away from now I can’t help but to feel pretty pessimistic. Without a legitimate star on the team since the pre-Vince Carter days, the team is forced into finding an identity for themselves. A long season is definitely ahead if Bargnani and crew can’t show what they are made of right out of the gate. This is actually a really good thing. Over the past few seasons the team has had the identity of being a bunch of soft whiners who can’t perform when it means the most. This years team can and needs to set the tone right off the bat against the Knicks.

Bluntly, somebody needs to knock Amare Stoudemire on his ass within the first 5 minutes of the game to begin the process of shaking the stigma of being easy.

If somebody does this (hey Reggie Evans, you reading this?) it will send the message to the others on the team, the rest of the league and the fans that this Raptor’s edition will be a doormat to nobody. In order for this team to be even remotely successful they’ll need to play hard and hustle – bottom line. As an ex-Toronto coach said, “Hard work is better than talent because when talent doesn’t work, hard work does” Obviously that’s not always the case but when it comes to the Raptors, they are not the most talented team so they will need a lot of hard work. Without it they win 20 games MAX – maybe!

Key Players:

Andrea Bargnani: We’ve all heard it and said it before, this year is THE year for the big Italian. He’s has to step-up and show that he is a number one overall draft pick. If Bargs is not good for 23 and 10 every game then sorry, he was a bust! If Bargs does well the Raps will be ok-ish – if not? Well…

Leandro Barbosa: He may have been a great sixth man previously but on this Raptor team he will be expected to be a lot more. He can be such a versatile player when healthy that can impact the game in so many ways. We need his scoring, energy, leadership and basketball IQ.

Demar Derozan: The kid has shown improvement in the pre-season. He needs to continue to be aggressive and attack the rim with no fear. He needs to try to dunk on as many people he can. Even if he doesn’t finish he’ll get fouled. He also needs to hit his jumper with consistency.

Linus Kleiza: As a newcomer to the team, he has to work hard at fitting in and providing consistent scoring. From what I’ve seen of him in the preseason, he should be able to pull it off. Hopefully he’s grown from his time last year in Europe. My only fear is that there was a reason he ended up playing in Europe last year!

Jarrett Jack: Every team needs a solid number 1 (point guard) and this is the moment Jack has been waiting for his whole career. The starting position should be his for the taking. That is if he plays under control and sets the pace for the offense as well as defend his position effectively.

Reggie Evans and Amir Johnson: Short and sweet – Reggie needs to set screens foul hard and NOT shoot. Amir Johnson needs to stay out of foul trouble and try his best to live up to that contract he signed a few months ago.

Opening night prediction: 95 – 88 Raptors!

Season Record: 30-52

Go Raps Go!

Categories: Basketball
  1. Sandro
    October 27, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Love the blog.

    I think this season could end up being even worse then the predictions. They want to be a grind it out tough team with Bargnani, Calderon, Barbosa, Weems and DeRozen set to see major minutes. Colangelo is started to look like the Mo Johnson of the NBA, changing philosophies every season.

    We had a coach for a tough grind it out team. We have had a few. Kevin O’Neil had the team playing really tough defense. Sam Mitchel apparently roughed up a player, and got fired because the team was .500. With the same team, Triano record was way worse, but they think he’s a better coach. I don’t get that. If you give 2 coaches roughly the same team, and one produces more wins than the other, there’s your answer on who’s better.

    I think Triano will find his niche as an assistant, and the Raptors have to stick to a concept, and get the players and coach to match.

    Reggie Evans is not enough to make this a tough team.

  2. Guru
    October 27, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    About to watch the Raps, 10 mins to Tip Off, i think the fact the Raps are predicted to be the worst team in the NBA is a blessing in disguise as we can only perform better than expected unless we are this year Nets. Given the line-up we have we very well could be. With our #1 Draft pick sidelined and forgot about its almost like we have the same line-up with no Bosh, No Turk-o-loser and some other guys. When your hope is that Bargnani and Weems will lead us to the promised land with Barbosa as the other main offensive threat then its pretty scary. On a team that previously at least could score to sometimes make up for their lack of defence to a team that now looks pretty offensively suspect, it will be a long long season. Bosh although he is not a post up guy at least gave us a viable post option now we have nothing down low and I predict the 3 point streak ends this year, which will be my only goal for the Raps this year.

    Only a trade or some surpirse super draft pick for next year will brighten the outlook for the RAps, hope I am wrong?

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