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  #21  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2016, 6:36 AM
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I'm not used to following a top five team. The Raptors are legitimately one of the best teams in the league, and are better than they've ever been in their twenty-year history, including that halcyon 2000-01 season. This is heady stuff. They're not championship contenders, and may never be, but at this point anything less than getting through to the conference finals would be a devastating disappointment.

Comments below to a post I made in the sports thread back in October that really belongs here:

Quote:
Raptors preseason thoughts:

1. Kyle Lowry is in awesome shape, but I don't think his poor man's imitation of Allen Iverson will work. He proved last year that he can't dominate opposing teams night in night out for a whole season, as it wears him down physically and mentally. I wish he'd focus more on passing.

2. DeMar DeRozan is now a seasoned veteran who has reached the limit of his development. His game is now carved in stone, but unfortunately it consists of not much more than killing ball movement while trying to create a jump shot in predictable ways. When he isn't half-heartedly dribbling toward the hoop in predictable ways. I don't like his game.

3. Jonas Valanciunas is a solid presence. It's great that he's worked on his low post jumper to make the pump fake an actual threat. Nobody went for it last year because they knew he couldn't shoot.

4. Terrence Ross will bounce around the league for a while, and eventually end up in Europe or China.

5. DeMarre Carroll is an awesome addition. Really like everything that he's shown so far.

6. Cory Joseph. Love, love, love his game. What an outstanding addition to the team. That he's a hometown boy is the icing on the cake.

7. Patrick Patterson? Meh.

8. I want Anthony Bennett to make an impact and turn his career around purely for nativist reasons. It would be really sweet to have two TO boys playing significant roles on a winning Raptors squad, so I feel really protective and sentimental about him, but I fear that he's going to flame out. You can tell he's willing to do the "stretch four" thing by shooting three-pointers, and he's not all that bad at it, but he's phreakin' lazy and uninvolved on defence. He should be banging those boards and terrorizing the paint like a proverbial bull in a china shop, but he's too soft. He also looks totally gassed after running up and down the floor a couple of times. I get the feeling that he won't last long, but I'd like to be proven wrong.

9. Bruno Caboclo has one year on an NBA roster under his belt, and he still doesn't understand the game. However, he's only 20 years old, and he has actually improved to the point where he can score a bucket or two when he's on the floor. He's got the body for the game, but you can tell he didn't grow up in a basketball culture. He's either going to spend the next three years turning into a near superstar, or he's never going to get the hang of it, and will end up back home in Brazil in some pro league or other.

10. Bismack Biyombo is a pouncing lion who gives the defence a much-needed shot of adrenaline.

11. I wish that James Johnson was a better player, because he's built in the Lebron James mould, and is really reminiscent of James when he's on his game. But he's not good enough to force himself into the Raptors system. His style doesn't really fit with the team, so once again it will be a struggle to find minutes for him.

12. Luis Scola is a dependable veteran who is an asset to any team.

13. They'll probably keep one of the rookies and send the rest to the D-League. I don't really know who's who yet.
I'm wrong about a few things. After a disappointing season last year due to injury DeMar DeRozan has turned into a fully fledged elite all-star player who can create and make shots consistently. I think he must have the best midrange game in the league, and his jumper is silky smooth and unstoppable.

I still worry about Kyle Lowry. He started hot, but he's cooled off now, and I still have my doubts about his ability to sustain the effort the whole way. When he and DeRozan are in the domination zone this team can compete with anyone, but the Raptors are vulnerable to better teams when Lowry isn't in take-charge mode.

Terrence Ross has become confident in his sorely-needed three-point shooting. It looks like he's actually a valuable contributor.

Luis Scola is a revelation. "He out-slows you," as Jack Armstrong like to joke. He's been a joy to watch, and is taking and hitting more three-pointers this season than in all of the previous years of his career combined.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2016, 12:43 AM
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^The DeRozan discussion is starting to heat up a little. The discussion, of course, revolves around what he 'is' i.e. is he an elite player/ game changer or is he merely an all-star who can contribute to a winning season? Either way, he's gonna get max money next year...
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  #23  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2016, 1:47 AM
GernB GernB is offline
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The problem with the Raptors is that they haven't addressed the fundamental lack of talent upfront. Their three best players are in the backcourt. Valanciunas is adequate at best, Carroll has been a disappointment and Scola is too inconsistent to be anything other than a stopgap. Ross has been playing well of late, but Patterson is also inconsistent, Biyombo has hands of stone, and I don't know what to make of Bennett. The odd time he makes it into a game he stands around watching the action, seemingly lost at times.

Although Joseph has great hustle, can fill in ably for Lowry and could start on many teams, this team's lives or dies with its starting guards, just as it did last year. If either one of them gets injured for any amount of time, the season will be a wash. As it is, they'll win their division, but on the slim chance they make it out of the east, they'll get schooled by whoever comes out of the west.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2016, 3:00 AM
GreatTallNorth2 GreatTallNorth2 is offline
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Originally Posted by GernB View Post
As it is, they'll win their division, but on the slim chance they make it out of the east, they'll get schooled by whoever comes out of the west.
What's your point? Cleveland got schooled the other night by Golden State and they are first in the east. I'm not sure what people expect, but there are probably a lot of cities that would envy Toronto's position and talent right now. They are an exciting team to watch, agreed that they can be inconsistent, but hey, they are winning lots of games. And I for one am pleasantly surprised by Joseph's game as of late - when Lowry was struggling, I thought he really stepped up his game.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2016, 3:57 AM
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Originally Posted by GreatTallNorth2 View Post
What's your point? Cleveland got schooled the other night by Golden State and they are first in the east. I'm not sure what people expect, but there are probably a lot of cities that would envy Toronto's position and talent right now. They are an exciting team to watch, agreed that they can be inconsistent, but hey, they are winning lots of games. And I for one am pleasantly surprised by Joseph's game as of late - when Lowry was struggling, I thought he really stepped up his game.
My point is that the Raptors have not solved their basic problem, that is, they are weak up front and will likely find themselves in the same situation as last year. There had been some mention of them trying to sign Gasol, but he seems set to stay in Memphis for years.

No doubt Joseph has played well, and is underrated IMO. As I said before, he'd likely be starting in another city. Personally I don't think he shoots enough, but who knows what his instructions are. And I agree that the Raptors can be exciting to watch, but they've also been a very frustrating team to watch this year as well
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  #26  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2016, 5:28 AM
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Apparently Kyle Lowry has been voted starting PG for the Eastern Conference. Congrats and well done!
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 22, 2016, 7:10 AM
yaletown_fella yaletown_fella is offline
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It will be tough to trade DeRozan but he's likely reached his peak and he'll probably pull a VC during free agency. He's been pretty instrumental lately.

Also, I think the competition in the east is understated. A lot of the crappy opponents the Raptors play seem to get pretty lucky and start draining 70% of their 3's (or at least it seemed that way with Boston the other night) It seemed every player on the Raptors had to show up to beat -500 teams. Compare that to when we almost beat Golden State (questionable reffing) when we didnt have Valanciunas.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2016, 4:27 PM
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Originally Posted by GernB View Post
The NBLC is a bush league, about on par with the old Southern Professional Hockey League. Still, surprising.
Basketball was an established mainstream sport in the Maritimes long before the Toronto Raptors came to be. They know they're far too small to ever secure an NBA team so they did the next best thing: they formed their own leagues. The NBL is just the latest incarnation.

The NBL wouldn't exist without Maritime (and Halifax) passion for basketball. It may be based in Toronto, but Toronto has little to nothing to do with this league. It's in Toronto because that's where corporate Canada and our media firms do the deals.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2016, 4:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
You guys are slow off the mark. There's been an NBL (Canada) thread in the Atlantic Canada section for the last four years.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=190591

In any event, a reborn Halifax franchise is coming into the league this year (the Hurricanes) and it is backed by a number of business people in the city, so it should be stable. There is also a new franchise in Niagara Falls this year, and Sydney NS will likely be joining the league next year.
Well in typical central Canadian fashion, things aren't relevant unless they're relevant in Toronto (perhaps Montreal) first. They assume that basketball is relevant out on the east coast due the Toronto Raptors (and Vince Carter).

The NBL may be bush league but saying that basketball was a fringe sport nationally before Toronto got hooked on the sport is a massive inaccuracy. Halifax is a city that got 11,000 to watch Acadia University play Saint Mary's in 1978. Things have dropped off in NS a little the last 10-15 years, but basketball has long been a mainstream sport there.

I'm giving my age away, but when I grew up in Halifax in the 80s every kid wanted to play either football for SMU or make it onto one of the 5 university squads in Nova Scotia. Hockey was a big sport there too, but I never heard my class mates talk hockey. It was always about basketball (or football). Sidney Crosby changed the conversation considerably.

Btw, it's great to hear that pro basketball is returning to Sydney, NS. They're going to have a hard time luring fans away from the Cape Breton Capers basketball team though. They have a very strong following. I remember attending the Final 8 in Ottawa and they had 3 bus loads of fans that drove up for it. They almost drowned out the Ottawa fans in their own city. The announcer seemed shocked (but pleasantly so) by the level of support for NS teams at that event. It wasn't any shock to me.
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Last edited by isaidso; Jan 23, 2016 at 5:04 PM.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jan 23, 2016, 5:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MonctonRad View Post
The future of the league remains a little shaky however, ownership issues continue for the Moncton Miracles despite the fact the team has the second highest attendance in the league. Ontario franchises tend to appear and disappear with distressing regularity, with only Windsor and London being stable.

I hope the league survives. Secondary markets in the country deserve access to professional basketball too, and the quality of the play is actually quite good. With mascots and dancers, the game day experience can be quite festive.

What will really make a difference is expansion into western Canada. I know the league is looking into this as a possibility. Travel costs are the big issue I believe.
Basketball is a growing sport nationally but it's still really only a big deal in the Maritimes and southern Ontario. For the NBL to prosper the sport needs to grow substantially in Quebec and western Canada. When that happens the NBA will likely scoop the biggest markets for themselves like Montreal and Vancouver. The NBL will take the rest.

It's such a shame that there's no metro of 2 million+ in the Maritimes. If that existed the NBA would surely have set up there first instead of Toronto. Sadly the Maritimes will never have an NBA team of their own. No city is close to big enough.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2016, 5:27 AM
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If the Raptors make it into second round this year then there's no question in my mind that Lowry is the second-best Raptor of all time.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 4:23 PM
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The Raptors win a historic franchise first 10 wins in a row last night.

We now sit in first place in the Atlantic Conference, and second place overall in the eastern conference.

Also we're just two weeks away from the All Star game and already there seems to be contraversy about the choice of entertainment. It's Sting for the half time show. Personally I think that's pretty awesome. It's not like they chose Kanye West. I'm kind of surprised Drake didn't want to perform but I think he's coaching one of the teams during that game.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 5:25 PM
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Originally Posted by TorontoDrew View Post
Also we're just two weeks away from the All Star game and already there seems to be contraversy about the choice of entertainment. It's Sting for the half time show. Personally I think that's pretty awesome. It's not like they chose Kanye West. I'm kind of surprised Drake didn't want to perform but I think he's coaching one of the teams during that game.
I'm not a fan of Sting, but regardless of my taste - it was a poor choice.

About 45% of NBA viewers are 34 years old or younger... and a nice chunk aren't white. They should've gotten one of those hip-hop/pop artists that I hate - much better match with the age range. Sting is probably too young for the CFL audience, but he's definitely too old and too white for the NBA audience.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 6:31 PM
Mrs Sauga Mrs Sauga is offline
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The people who would tune in for those "hiphop/pop artists" that we all hate would tune in anyways. If you put Sting, you get people who are fringe basketball fans possibly tuning in.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 6:40 PM
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Sting appeals to people across age cohorts and ethnicity, the below 30 crowd will appreciate a live Sting show.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 7:30 PM
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Sting appeals to people across age cohorts and ethnicity, the below 30 crowd will appreciate a live Sting show.
Yea, that's not what basketball fans on the internet are saying.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 7:30 PM
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Sting? Wow, that's kind out of left field. I just had a quick look at the Wikipedia page for the All-Star game, and it seems like the halftime shows are either "urban" or hip-hop, or showcase local artists. Either of which Toronto has in spades.

Sting is just about the last person you would think of being linked to NBA basketball. Aside from Dame Edna, I mean.



What a weird choice.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 7:36 PM
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  #39  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 7:52 PM
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Ya I think Sting is a little to high brow for the NBA. Other then singing at an Olympic Ceremony or a possible Superbowl I think everything else is beneath him.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2016, 8:06 PM
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The celebrity game should be entertaining.

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