Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

As some of you may be aware, I recently started a new gig here at theScore that sees me write/talk about the NBA as a whole on a full-time basis, so while I won’t be able to provide RaptorBlog posts and general Raptors commentary with nearly the same regularity, I hope you’ll continue to read/listen along with me this season (You can read my season preview here and my predictions here).

As for the Raptors, what I’m going to try to do is take some time every weekend to post my wide ranging thoughts on the week that was in Raps Land, in a similar fashion to how I usually wrote my “Thoughts On the Game” posts. Again, I’m hoping you’ll stop by on weekends to get the little bit of Raptors ranting I’m still able to do on a regular basis.

Other than, most of my Raptors thoughts and observations can be found through twitter, where I’m prone to my fair share of passionate Raps-related tirades.

As for the coming season, I’m predicting a 40-42 season for Toronto that results in a No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, though if Cathal Kelly’s Toronto Star report proves correct, Masai Ujiri and MLSE may blow things up before such a mediocre finish is allowed to fully take rot.

For what it’s worth, Kelly’s source indicates a 45-day deadline for the Raptors, which would take us to December 13. The Raps play Philadelphia in the 21st game of the season that night, and I’ve got them as a 10-11 (7-14 worst case scenario, 12-9 best case scenario) team at that point, so the question is really what will Ujiri find acceptable to continue with, and what’s his line in the sand of ‘we can’t go on like this’?

I also feel like with the Honeymoon period that exists between Raptors fans and Ujiri, he wouldn’t have lost any support had he decided to blow things up as soon as he got here to put this team in a better position to properly take a strategic step backwards this season, so I don’t quite understand the point of now reportedly setting a hard deadline on whether to tank or not if that’s they’ve wanted all along.

In any event, a Raptors season opener wouldn’t feel quite right without at least a little drama (last year it was DeRozan’s extension), so let’s get this intriguing season of questions under way, shall we?

I know Stripes and Drake are ready…are you?

With confirmation on Monday that Toronto’s rebranding will not include a name change, I thought this was as good a time as ever to post this, given the ‘Raptors’ name-hating that’s been going on for too long now…

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How’s this for a random bit of Raptors-related off-season news?

In a Tuesday evening post for ESPN.com, Brian Windhorst wrote that no teams are for sale as what is sure to be an insanely lucrative television deal looms for the NBA.

No big deal, right? And surely not Raptors-specific at all. But here’s a paragraph from that writeup:

Several teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, have been pulled off the market recently. The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors had also been rumored to be available.

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Just Photoshop Alan Anderson out

Dwane Casey’s coaching staff is all but set, free agency and a trade have addressed the team’s needs of three-point shooting, a third big man, a backup point guard and the longstanding need to rid themselves of Andrea Bargnani, Summer League is already behind us and the Raptors have even bought a couple of players out.

Assuming that Quentin Richardson is dealt with as Marcus Camby was and if no major trades are in the cards for the remainder of the off-season, we seem to have a pretty good idea of what this team will look like when they take the floor in October.

On that note, here’s how I see things shaping up right now in terms of Toronto’s depth chart…

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Toronto Raptors v Atlanta Hawks

The Raptors have closed out their disappointing 2012-13 season in seemingly impressive fashion, as they head into Wednesday’s season finale against Boston on a four-game winning streak and winners of six of their last seven games. In addition, the last four victories have all come against Eastern Conference playoff teams seeded fourth to sixth, and April 2013 now marks just the second winning month for the franchise in the Post Bosh Era (February of this season was the first).

With a win against the Celtics tonight and a Milwaukee loss, Toronto will finish just three games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which would mark the closest they’ve been to eighth since early January. Regardless of tonight’s events and how the standings finish, the Raptors as an organization (except for Dwane Casey, who told it like it is on Tuesday night) will likely spin a tale of how encouraging the season ending streak was, how indicative of how good this team can be it is, how if only the season was a little longer they could have caught eighth or how if a few of those early season losses had gone their way, they’d be getting ready for the playoffs.

And I really hope that true Raptors fans aren’t naive enough to believe it all.

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