We continue our 2007/2008 NBA Preview with a look at the Toronto Raptors.
Projected Starting Lineup:
C Andrea Bargnani
PF Chris BoshSF Jason KaponoSG Anthony ParkerPG T.J. Ford
Coach: Sam Mitchell
The good news: Their international squad has balance. Call em the United Nations Raptors.
The big surprise of the Eastern Conference is back a year older, a year wiser, and a year hungrier for respect. Superstar forward Chris Bosh and Co. are coming off winning the Atlantic Division title, though they lost in the first round to the New Jersey Nets in six games. The talent is there, thanks to GM Brian Colangelo. While keeping the core of Chris Bosh, T.J. Ford, and last years #1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani intact, the Raptors made a splash in free agency landing former Heat sharp shooter Jason Kapono and guard Carlos Delfino from the Pistons. Perhaps one of the better moves of the offseason for any team was keeping 2006/2007 Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell, once on the hot seat, back for another run. Lastly, Jose Calderon. The Spanish point guard turned some heads last year with his solid play and ability to not turn the ball over. The Raptors will be very deep with Calderon, T.J. Ford, Joey Graham, and Carlos Delfino leading the reserves.
The bad news: In a division that made many moves, the Raptors didnt do much.
The Raptors fell back and watched as the Celtics grew stronger via trade, the Nets gained strength via the draft, and the Knicks bulked up in both areas. The Raps are relying heavily on the current group of players to lead the way. It's not necessarily a bad idea, but at this point its perfectly justifiable to sleep on this club again. Personal growth may be a strength, but it also gives other clubs an idea of what they are facing ,which means this could be a year where they get figured out.
5th seed in the East, 2nd in the Atlantic. They'll be out in the East Semi-Finals.