Sunday, March 29, 2009

T.O. Sightings

The Toronto Raptors showed up again versus the Chicago Bulls and they are tearing it up. As a Raptors fan this has to have been one of the abnormal seasons since the franchise came to T.O.: 1st the head coach gets canned, then players start to go down like flies, then the effort becomes laxed (Defense, Rebounds, Steals, Efficiency all goes down) and then J.O (and Moon) were shipped off - thankfully - and Marion was acquired (Pops Mensah-Bonsu also acquired). In the process the Raptors went from Contenders to Pretenders but have now finally put it all together to become a Cinderella (Spoiler) team. They might not be Playoff bound but they are tearing it up right now and coming together well as a team. Challengers beware.

Here is the rub:

3 of the games in current winning streak has come at versus sub-par non-playoff teams. The win over Chicago was the only one over a Playoff team; and, all 4 games have been home games.

The team roster is somewhat uncertain for the near future. While the Raptors are not exactly a rebuilding team and should be able to retain players, there might be a player or 2 that is not brought back. The biggest question mark is what will Chris Bosh do? With the much anticipated 2010 free agent frenzy looming, the Toronto Raptors and Bosh have to come to an agreement soon (hopefully, this offseason so it does not become an issue next season). CB4 is a Raptor. I know I pick on his defense but Jose Calderon needs to be a Raptor too; same as Marion (although that huge contract is scaaaaarrry), Pops, Bargnani and either Parker or Kapono.

The city of Toronto is absolutely ready to get behind a team. It has been a while since we had a serious contender in Toronto and you can just feel the anticipation in the air. T.O. is a big city, a beautiful and an exciting place to live; it is about time we have another great team. Hey, even the Buffalo Bills are embracing T.O. and there was a T.O. (Terrell Owens! Popcorn and all) sighting at the Chicago game today. Sweet! Last year there were rumours floating around town about the possibilities for the Bills to move to Toronto (imagine if that happens!!! This city would go nuts!!!). Despite being a Steelers guy the thought of the Bills (NFL) moving to Toronto is too sexy to not get excited about. The Raptors have the fans attention right now and really should take advantage. This upcoming NBA offseason should be fun.

The Raptors really need to have a great draft this year. They can not afford to draft a "project". Whoever they draft has to be ready to come in and contribute right away. One area they need to address is the Small Forward position but the main emphasis should be drafting the best guy available (regardless of position).

Andrea Bargnani, Andrea Bargnani! This guy is showing flashes of being a really good NBA player and I think he really needs to work this offseason to polish his game (a la Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash a few seasons ago). This should be part of the agenda. I really like this guy's potential despite his lack of a defensive presence.

All in all the Raptors are extinct no more and, if they keep playing like this, should be exciting to watch down the stretch. The next game is in Orlando versus the Magic (a road game) and it should be a good test for the resurgent Raptors.


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