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Old 09-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 21,701
Default Toronto Raptors Offseason Report Card


Front Court: If Summer League is any indicator, Jonas Valanciunas is ready to take the next step toward being an anchor on both ends of the floor. Amir Johnson doesn't put up big stats, but makes big and little plays that help his team. - B

Back Court: You're not going to get a more athletic trio than Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, and the Raptors were strong defensively with the three on the floor together. But perimeter shooting is an issue. - B

Defense: After ranking 12th defensively in Dwane Casey's first season, the Raptors regressed last year. But then they improved after the Gay trade. If they can pick up where they left off, they can win games with their D. - C

Bench: The Raps will have plenty of shooting off their bench, but not much else. Still, except for Landry Fields, the reserves come cheap. Terrence Ross could develop into a solid, two-way player and give Casey a really athletic small lineup. - B

Coaching: Casey survived the front office shake-up and will be given the opportunity to get his team back to playing defense. That will be easier without Andrea Bargnani and with a training camp and full season with Gay on board. - B

Overall Grade: C

Summary: The biggest change in Toronto came upstairs, where Bryan Colangelo was replaced by Masai Ujiri. The new general manager immediately dumped Bargnani (and managed to get three draft picks in return), but has mostly stood pat, only adding some flawed bench pieces that don't affect the payroll long-term.

That doesn't mean that the Raptors won't be improved. They went 17-16 to close the season and got better defensively after trading for Gay. Most important, the 21-year-old Valanciunas -- a potential franchise player -- has a year of NBA experience under his belt and will be healthy in training camp this time around. His development should be the primary focus of Casey and his staff.

It's just a matter of time before Ujiri makes his next move and tries to build something similar to what he had in Denver. For now, the Raptors will be in that 8-11 range in the Eastern Conference.

Thoughts ?
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