Friday, October 26, 2012

The Raptors Turf: 2012-2013 Raptors season preview

       Today is the last preseason game for the Toronto Raptors as they will play the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tennessee. In this blog post, I will talk about my predictions and thoughts for Toronto Raptors 2012-2013 regular season.

2012-2013 Toronto Raptors Win/Loss record

       The Toronto Raptors have had a great preseason as so far, they've compiled a record of 5-1, one of the best records in this years NBA preseason. With the way that the Toronto Raptors have played, I expect the Toronto Raptors to carry that momentum into the regular season. If they continue that momentum, I expect the Toronto Raptors to have a record of at least 43-39 and make it to the playoffs as a 7th or 8th seed if Raptors key players remain healthy.

       Now, I don't know if you guys heard, but John Hollinger of ESPN predicts only 33 wins for the Toronto Raptors and many other media outlets expect between a range of 33-39 wins for the Raptors. Demar Derozan and Dwayne Casey fired back about Hollinger's thoughts as they felt that the team can win more than 33 games and I've post those videos to my Facebook page. It might be true that the Raptors might win only 33 games as these media outlets did their calculations and such. However, I, like many of the Toronto Raptors players and staff, feel that the Raptors can win more than 33 games if players remain healthy throughout the season and put in work. I also think that the Toronto Raptors can win more than 33 games because of the off-season moves that the team made and you can check them out on my earlier post in case you forgot what moves the Raptors made.

       It actually might be the year that the Raptors make the playoffs because TSN's blogger Jack Armstrong said that the last time time the Raptors made the playoffs were when they had winning records in preseason which was in 2006 and 2007. It just might happen with their current 5-1 record.

Line up for Toronto Raptors 2012-2013 (bold are the players that will be starting)

Kyle Lowry/ José Calderón/ John Lucas III
Demar DeRozan/ Terrence Ross/ Alan Anderson
Landry Fields/ Linas Kleiza/ Dominic McGuire
Andrea Bargnani/ Amir Johnson/ Ed Davis/ Quincy Acy
Aaron Gray/ Jonas Valančiūnas/ Jamal Magloire

       I think this is a pretty accurate line up that we can expect on opening night. I'm pretty sure that all you are thinking why would Valančiūnas back up Aaron Gray. I think this sounds reasonable and I'm pretty sure coach Casey would make this decision maybe for the first couple of months to get Valančiūnas accustomed to the NBA playing style. As the season progresses and if Jonas Valančiūnas plays well, I think coach Casey might put him into the starting line up. Also, this line up might even change because of injuries and any trades. 

2012-2013 Toronto Raptors Player statistics

       Below are my statistics for each Toronto Raptors player for the 2012-2013 season and that's if players remain healthy. (PPG= points per game, RPG= rebounds per game, APG= assists per game, BPG= blocks per game SPG= steals per game)

Starting line-up 

Kyle Lowry - 15.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 7.5 APG 1.9 SPG
Demar Derozan - 19.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 SPG
Landry Fields - 6.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG 3.2 APG
Andrea Bargnani - 21.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 BPG
Jonas Valančiūnas - 10.5 PPG, 10 RPG, 2.5 BPG


José Calderón - 12 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 7.2 APG
Aaron Gray- 6.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 APG
Terrence Ross - 10 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.1 SPG
Amir Johnson - 8 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.5 APG
Linas Kleiza -  3 PPG, 2 RPG, 0.5 APG
John Lucas III - 4.0 PPG, 2 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.3 SPG
Alan Anderson - 3.5 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.4 APG

Other notes

- I think we can expect Andrea Bargnani to make it to the All-star game if he can remain healthy

- I expect Jonas Valančiūnas to be in the race for the Rookie of the Year

- I expect José Calderón to be traded as he is an expiring and might not be satisfied with being a back up

- I expect John Lucas III to give the team a much needed boost on the bench

- I expect Demar Derozan to attack the free throw line this season and get most of his points from there

- I could possibly see JLIII backing up to Kyle Lowry

- I expect Toronto Raptors offence to be improved than last season with the acquisition of Kyle Lowry running and making plays for the team, John Lucas III, Landry Fields and Terrence Ross

- Toronto Raptors play 16 games in November, 10 games away and six back to back games

       After tonight's game, the Toronto Raptors will open the regular season at the Air Canada Centre on Halloween against Indiana Pacers. Please feel free to comment on my post, talk about you're expectations on the Raptors season, who you guys think will start on opening night and whether or not you guys agree or disagree about what I wrote! I will have a new post next week on my thoughts about the Raptors first regular season game. Stay tuned!

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This is a video that will probably get you PUMPED for opening night. Take a look!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Preseason thoughts Part 2

       My apologies for the late post as I wanted this post to include last nights game when the Toronto Taptors faced the New York Knicks.  Toronto Maple Leafs fans should be prepared to watch Toronto Raptors games this season everywhere as there is no sight to an end to the NHL lockout. However, let's get to business as I should have posted this blog earlier in the day.

       The Toronto Raptors have played 5 games into preseason are currently have a record of 4-1 tied with the Philadelphia 76ers with the best preseason record in the Eastern Conference and both teams are tied with the Golden State Warriors for the best record in the league. The Toronto Raptors currently have a 4-0 record at home (Air Canada Centre) and 0-1 on the road. Preseason is looking very good and many fans are going to expect the team to play good as the regular season begins.

      Last night, the Toronto Raptors won against the New York Knicks in Montreal at the Bell Centre with a score of 107-88 in front of 22,114 fans and there were many things that I liked and probably you guys liked many things as well. I've also posted highlights at the end of the post if you missed the game!

Thoughts about the game:

- It seems that Andrea Bargnani who left the game when Raptors were facing the Washington Wizards with a calf contusion, seems to have woken up from his slump as he scored his preseason best 20 points. He also played good defence as he posted two blocks and 7 rebounds. Hopefully, there will be more good news in sight for Bargnani as there are two games remaining and the regular season a week and a half away.

 - Jonas Valančiūnas is showing fans and the Raptors management that he is able to adapt to various situations as he was in foul trouble early in the game against the Knicks. He is showing that he is a competitor as he was preventing himself being fouled out in the 4th quarter. Valančiūnas finished with 4 points and 10 rebounds.

- Kyle Lowry seems to be getting into shape after dealing with his injury as he had 17 points(5-6 from 3 point range), 4 assists and 5 rebounds. He also had a couple fiesty moves where he crossed over Raymond Felton and got a three pointer which is in the video at the end of the post if you missed it. He also took it hard to the paint with a point and a foul. Now I know why people call Kyle Lowry a bulldog as I saw that mentality in him last night.

Thoughts of Raptors preseason as it progresses:

        There is going to be competition in the point guard position and I could see José Calderón
being traded as he is good expiring asset because John Lucas III has been performing coming off the bench especially against the Knicks where scored 12 points in 9 minutes. With the previous game against the Wizards with Lowry's return, him and Jose Calderón combined for 26 points, 14 assists and five steals while John Lucas III added 5 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds.

Jonas Valančiūnas: There were many people who grilled Valančiūnas as I mentioned in my other post that he didn't play well in his first game. However, I think these people probably have changed there mind. Although he does have rookie moments as he commits turnovers and fouls, Jonas Valančiūnas has definetly impressed me as he's been playing aggressive in the post as well as protecting the post. He's also made to the highlight reel a couple times including his pump fake dunk that he had against the Washington Wizards and he's probably averaging a double double or near that line.

Landry Fields: I hope my opinion doesn't change about him, but I think Fields has been playing well especially when Lowry returned as he scored 15 points. Fields is also doing the little things that are unnoticed such as his hard-nosed play and agressiveness.

Other notes:

Ed Davis: Injured because of a sore hip and the Raptors want to make sure he is fully healed
Terrence Ross: Sore knee but was back in the line up againist the New York Knicks

       The Raptors have two more preseason games left as they have play once again at home on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks and then play their last game on Friday away from the Air Canada Centre facing the Memphis Grizzlies. These two games are going to be crucial for the Toronto Raptors players as coach Casey is going to determine the roles for each player as well as the starting line up for at least the early part of the regular season.

       I will have one more blog on preseason thoughts and will also post my predictions for the starting line up on Toronto Raptors opening night on Halloween sometime next week. Also, if you like what I post about, please check out my social media websites with the links above on the side. Feel free to share this article with others by using the share buttons at the end of the blog and also suscribe to my blog to recieve updates on my blog. Happy reading!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Preseason thoughts

Raptors preseason is here and it is kicking. They've already played two teams where one was against Real Madrid at Air Canada Centre October 8th which they won  and Detroit Pistons in Detroit October 10th which they lost. I saw a lot of interesting things in the two games which I liked and disliked about the Toronto Raptors.

What I've liked:

Demar Derozan: So far in two games, Demar Derozan has been consistent and I've liked his effort he has put in scoring as he lead the team in scoring against Detroit with 17 points and 18 points against Real Madrid. He also made a lot of free throws against Detroit making 9 out of 10 in 27 minutes by being aggressive and attacking the paint. Altogether, he's made 19  free throw attempts in 2 games.

John Lucas III: I'm surprised with how good he has been in two games. I expected Lucas III to be a scrub and wouldn't get any playing time unless there were injuries at the point guard position. With the way he is playing, I think he could definitely back up Kyle Lowry if Jose Calderon gets traded. I've been surprised as he had 16 points in each of the two games and also has the ability to make 3 pointers reminding of Mike James.

Jonas Valanciunas: As Valanciunas made his preseason debut, a 5th pick in the first round of the NBA draft in 2011, many people thought that he would put a double double. I didn't expect it and nor was I going to expect much from him against Detroit as he just came back from an injury and is still learning to adapt to the NBA playing style. However, Valanciunas did make a presence on the court and did the little things that people should have noticed who posted two points and 2 blocks in almost 13 minutes.

His size and length could be seen on the court and which allowed him to set up picks for Jose Calderon twice and even for struggling Andrea Bargnani who made two 3 pointers in the corner. He block Greg Monroe twice, who is an up and coming offensive centre.

What I've disliked:

Defence: With all the attention of focusing on offence and playing more uptempo this season, Raptors defence has been horrible at times and even coach Casey knows it. During there game against Real Madrid, Raptors allowed Real Madrid to shoot 44 free throws and 42 percent from the field. The Raptors also allowed the Detroit Pistons to shoot 70 percent from the field during the 1st quarter. Raptors also allowed Pistons to allow 60 points in the paint. I think that Raptors big men have to do a better job to protect the post.

Free throw shooting: Raptors free throw shooting hasn't been good at all. Raptors went 18/28 from the free throw line and 35/57 two games combined. Players to notice are Andrea Bargnani who is 4/11 from the free throw line in two games. On the other hand, Derozan has been attacking the free throw line making 19 attempts.

Andrea Bargnani: Bargnani has been lazy, looks uninterested on the court and hasn't really made a splash in preseason. Perhaps, he might be a little rusty from not playing in the summer and recovering from his calf injury. However, I hope he'll be much different when the season begins because he will be a part of Toronto Raptors success. What he's done for the Raptors in two games is not good as he only grabbed 5 rebounds in two games(only 1 rebound against Detroit). He's made only two 3 pointers in 8 attempts and only 4 free throws in 11 attempts. I hope he can step his game up and be the player he was last year before getting injured.

Other notes:

- Kyle Lowry won't be playing any preseason games because of a strained muscle in his thigh

- The Toronto Raptors next game will be tonight against the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre. After this game, the Raptors will have 5 days off and play on Wednesday October 17th against Washington Wizards.

       If you guys like what I'm doing, please check out out my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter. Links are provided at the end of the post or you can just click on the Facebook and Twitter icons on the top right. Also if you guys want to read, watch videos and find out more about the Raptors just click on the tab Raptors Related Content and it will guide to various websites. My next post will be coming soon which will talk more about Raptors preseason as it progresses. Stay tuned!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Training Camp

The Raptors training camp has begun in Halifax and have been practicing to prepare for preseason. I have been watching and reading stuff about the first couple days about the Raptors and found some interesting stuff which I want to talk about in this post and express my opinion.

Andrea Bargnani:

       Andrea Bargnani, who missed a good chunk of games dealt with a troublesome calf injury last season says that he's 100 percent healthy after spending his summer in Italy to recover from his injury. It seems to me that he is serious about this season because he never played for his national team either. Not only did he recover from his injury, he also came to training 15 pounds heavier which is very good news.

I think his gained weight is crucial this season because coach Casey and the team will heavily rely on Bargnani to carry majority of the scoring load score each night. The team cannot afford Bargnani to be out of the line up because it would definitely decrease the chances of the Raptors making the playoffs. Andrea Bargnani is also going to be the main anchor for this team and this young team will need presence each game to not only be a scorer, but be a mentor and leader to the younger players. I hope that his gained weight will allow him to be consistent throughout this long season, be a better rebounder and be that same player he was last year before his injury.


       Last season, coach Casey made the team focus more on defense rather than offence and "pounding the rock". However, last year, Raptors were 28th overall in points per game(90.7) which was horrible and Bargnani being out was a factor.  It's also important that coach Casey utilizes the teams potential in offense such as scoring and running for players like Ross, Lowry, Derozan, Bargnani and such.

Therefore, coach Casey is making the team focus on offense in training camp to make the team play more uptempo, attacking the paint and making three pointers. In my opinion, I think it's a good approach for the 2nd year raptors coach because last year, the team was 9th overall in points allowed per game, whereas the offense was not great. This team will need to be consistent both sides of the floor (offence and defense) in order to win games and perhaps making the play-offs this season.

Stay tuned, I will be talking more about Raptors preseason as it progresses and I will also make a post about my thoughts on the Raptors first preseason game. Please feel free to comment and talk about how you guys feel about the Raptors preseason so far.

Also, to find out more about the Raptors preseason and media day, you can find it all on the Toronto Raptors website at