The Toronto Raptors kick off their NBA regular season tomorrow night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. I enjoy following the Raptors, and have been doing so since day one, but I don't know Raptors basketball the way Kic knows Raptors basketball.
Throughout this season, I've asked the Kicster to submit guest blog entries about the Raps. This is the first. Btw, at the time Kic wrote this, the Leafs were in fact winless.
To be a sports fan in Toronto these days seems to be a joke. The Blue Jays teased the city with a potential playoff appearance early in the MLB season but reality kicked in and they ended up finishing 4th (yet again) in the American League East. The Argos (I think some people in this city follow them) have been absolutely horrendous this season and even our rivals to the west have been better than us. The TFC were the one team where many Toronto sports fans thought they could root for and had potential to make their first playoff appearance, but low and behold they ended up choking in an embarrassing loss to the Red Bulls. Do I even have to mention the winless Toronto Maple Leafs? Nope, I've heard all of the jokes so let's move on.
Enter the 2009-2010 Toronto Raptors. In a city where many forget what it's like to watch playoff sports, the Toronto Raptors definitely have high expectations and maybe even some new fans because of the lack of winning in Toronto. A lot of new faces have been brought into the Red and Black Raps, in case you forgot they are:
- DeMar DeRozan
- Reggie Evans
- Jarrett Jack
- Amir Johnson
- Rasho Nesterovic (yup he's back)
- Hedo Turkoglu
- Sonny Weems
- Antoine Wright
The first thing many people look at is the pre-season record for the Raps, yes they went 2-6 and their rivals (see Vince and the Magic) were unbeaten, but, if we went by pre-season records the Leafs would have more than 1 point by now. People have to remember, Colangelo added 8 new players to the Raps lineup and it takes more than just 8 games to gel. Expect, Chris Bosh to have a monster season, he added 15 lbs, is in his contract year and continues to be the other guy in the class of 2010. Not only did the Raps address their bench issues, they now have a bona fide clutch play with Turkoglu, this guys is as clutch as it gets. Rebounding is still an issue that many Raps fans have and with Reggie Evans still nursing a foot injury, many feel that this is Toronto's Achilles heel. Many American as well as Canadian sports paper's have the Raptors finishing no better than 6th, but in a weak East things can change, quickly.
The Raps do however, have a tough schedule to begin the season, that and the combination of 8 new players may lead to a same old losing mentality in Toronto. However, I think CB4 is a man on a mission, Bargs is going to continue last year's late season success and a healthy Jose is going get things done.
The test for the 09-10 Raps begins this week when they face that Lebron guy with his new big man, and Dwight and Wince this week. But Toronto fans fear not, as I am predicting this will be the only Toronto team playing in late April next year. And that's one thing I am certain of.