A foreign affair
It was a long, cold winter for the team north-of -the border. Long losing streaks, coupled with some uninspired play, had the Raptors staring through the playoff window on the outside looking in. That’s all going to change this season, as Toronto appears ready to challenge for the post-season once again. Toronto has one of the most diverse lineups in NBA history, sporting a squad with players of well-over a half-dozen different nationalities. This was just the type of league Commissioner David Stern had envisioned for the future of the NBA, and it has become a reality. Leading the way for the Raptors is U.S. Olympian and NBA all-star PF Chris Bosh. He is one of the most talented young superstars in the league that you can build a franchise around. Bosh sports the touch from the outside and the finesse around the basket. He can jam it in your face, while getting those tough boards. Bosh will continue to get his 20/10 this season, and in a contract year, the Raptors opened up the wallet to give him the best surrounding cast he’s ever had. SF Hedo Turkoglu comes over as a free agent from the Magic. Hedo played out of his mind a year ago, starting as the Eastern conference champs go-to guy in the fourth. He brings a wealth of experience and toughness to a team that sorely needs it. Point guard Jose Calderon brings energy to this Raptors lineup. His assist-to-turnover ratio is one of the best in the game today, and he’ll give rack up double-digit scoring, as well. Look for the athletic freak-of-a-rookie DeMar DeRozen (out of USC) to bring his above-the-rim-style game to the NBA this year and get those Raptor fans jumping out of their seats.
Prodigy’s take: The Raptors are going to do some damage this year in the East. They are one of the more complete teams, capable of beating you inside and out. Defensively, they are atrocious – but it’s the NBA, where defense is optional. Prediction: 2nd in the Atlantic.