Raptors 10-11 training camp preview

Today is media day for the 10-11 Raptor squad.  No one said anything remotely interesting, basically you hear the same thing like:

“Our goal is to make the playoffs”

“I like to prove people wrong”

So again, nothing we haven’t heard of in 100 years.

I will just do a preview of the Raptors 10-11 season instead of repeating those lines.

PG: Jose vs Jack, who cares…neither of them should be a starting PG on a good team.  Jose can’t guard a chair, and watching Jack running a half court offense is often painful.  It’s not like Jack is a great defender either, he has a lot of issues guarding quicker PGs.  Who will start?  My guess is Jose, if he gets a decent camp.  Jack does have a history of getting off to a slow start.  The coaching staff (Triano) seems to like Jose running the point.  And if Jose gets off to a good start, maybe he can be used as a trade bait.  Marcus Banks will be the waterboy for this team, I do think he should get some playing time (he is a good perimeter defender on a team that can’t play D, maybe he could help???).

SG: It’s going to be DeMar DeRozan to start, though I think he is better suited as a SF.  The Raptors better hope DeRozan is an impact player, because right now the Raptors are selling hope and he is the feature presentation.  We will see how much he improves in his second season.  A sophomore slump could be a killer.  Leandro Barbosa is a great guy to have off the bench.  He should never ever start though.  He is an excellent scorer who had a really bad season last year.  He is young enough to bounce back and have a good season.  He will score, and probably play a lot of minutes.  If he has a good season, there is a chance of him opting out or the Raptors could move @ trade deadline.

SF: It’s going to be Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza for the starting spot.  Weems is much better defensively and Kleiza could stretch the floor more.  With Ed Davis’ injury Kleiza maybe better serve as a backup SF/PF though.  I have said many times how much I like Sonny Weems’ game.  So he should start.  I am kind of interested in seeing how Julian Wright will perform, Byron Scott did him no favors in New Orlenas, this is a fresh start for him.  He has talent and he can play D.

PF: Amir Johnson by default.  Davis is hurt, Kleiza + Bargnani would be the worst rebounder front court tandem in NBA history.  I don’t like Amir’s contract, it’s way too long and he can’t possibly earn it because he is so foul prone.  Part of the reason he is so foul prone is because he is weak.  He can be a valuable contributor because of his athleticism, energy and effort.  He is good at running the floor, getting rebounds and make the hustle plays.  It’s just that he can’t stay on the floor.  I feel bad for Ed Davis, missing training camp will hurt his development, and it will take a lot more time for a rookie to jump into the rotation when he’s healthy.  Reggie Evans will fight and battle, but please don’t run any iso plays for him again.  Joey Dorsey looked impressive in summer league, so he might get a good look here.

Center: Andrei Bargnani will once again be the starting center for the team, a role that he is really miscast as.  Rebounding is a huge problem but also he isn’t strong enough nor a good enough help defender to play this position.  His defensive instinct is horrible.  The team will look at Bargnani as the #1 option on offense as well.  He is a good player on offense, but can he be a#1 option?  It’s his chance to shine for better or for worse.  David Andersen will be the backup center for this team, a player who is as soft as Bargnani on defense and rebounding, but nowhere near as good on offense.  Solomon Alabi is hurt, but will probably play in the D league anyway.  Unless the Raptors can find another big man, this is what we have at center *depressing*.

Goal for this year: John Hollinger @ ESPN posted his prediction and he had the Raptors winning 22 games; the worst team in the league.  I have them winning 25 games, so it’s not too far off.  Getting to the playoffs will be a pipe dream.  With winning pretty much out of the question, what should we be watching this year?

I will be watching how the younger players such as DeRozan, Weems, Amir Johnson, Wright and Davis progress as the season goes along.  Also, I want to see if anyone can emerge and be a legit starter in the NBA.  Let’s face it, there isn’t a player here that can start on a good contending team.  Can anyone in a Raptor uniform start for the Boston Celtics?  The answer is no.  I am hoping it will be a yes by the season ends.

As for the veterans on the team, well…I am hoping for good seasons and getting decent trade values from them.  I am hoping to see Jay Triano can actually motivate his team to play defense.  And held these guys accountable when they don’t.  When I mean accountable, I mean they shouldn’t be on the floor if they play no defense.  If they are still ranked dead last or near dead last on defense  in the league by December, Triano should be fired.

I will be tweeting during the Raptor games  this year (at least the ones that I watch on TV or live), it will be at http://twitter.com/pchu1234.  See you there.



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