The Toronto Raptors will start the season off at home on Halloween vs the Indiana Pacers. This is a big first game for the Toronto Raptors as they face a team that had the Miami Heat in trouble in the playoffs a few months ago. The team will have a new look to it with the addition of several new players following the Steve Nash Lottery that Bryan Colangelo didn’t win.
Looking back on the 2012 NBA Draft, General Manager Bryan Colangelo had what I would call a solid draft. The pick of SF Terrence Ross with the 8th overall pick was a big surprise to a lot of Toronto Raptors fans. However if you haven’t been following the NBA Summer League (Which most of the Raptors fans who consistently bash the team probably never watch) you would realize this kid was a solid pick for the Raptors organization.
Watch this Summer League Highlight video of Terrence Ross:
In addition to drafting Terrence Ross 8th overall in the 2012 draft, Bryan Colangelo managed to get a very solid 2nd round pick in Quincy Acy. Quincy is a 6-8 Forward out of Baylor who brings a ton of athleticism and energy to the defense that hasn’t been seen since Reggie Evans or Pops Mensah-Bonsu played for the team. Being tough on the defensive end has never been a Toronto Raptors trait since Chris Bosh was named the Captain of the team. Bosh is easily one of the softest big men in the league and his strength lies in his speed. Quincy Acy is a player that the Raptors fans will appreciate when he is on the floor, always working hard on every possession.
The Toronto Raptors will also benefit from the arrival of last years 5th Overall draft pick Jonas Valanciunas from Lithuania. Jonas Valanciunas is a 6-11 Center who has all the potential to fill the Center position for several years to come. Getting talented center’s aren’t easy to come by and if he pans out to be as good as Zydrunas Ilgauskas then it could pan out very good in the long term. The addition of Jonas Valanciunas will allow the Toronto Raptors Dwayne Casey to put Andrea Bargnani in the 4 spot. This is something that has plagued Bargnani since he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors with Chris Bosh playing the Power Forward position. With that being said Jonas Valanciunas still has a lot of work to do and has to put on some size to compete with the NBA bodies of Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka, Andrew Bynum and company.
If you break down the three new draft picks the Toronto Raptors will be getting this year in Jonas Valanciunas, Quincy Acy and Terrence Ross, I’m sure many teams in the league would love to be getting 3 talented new young players to bolster their roster.
The 2012/2013 Toronto Raptors will also feature some new faces in the likes of a free agent signing in Landry Fields who I see filling a similar roll to that of former Raptors Anthony Parker. The three position is something the Toronto Raptors have always had issue with since Mo Peterson left the franchise. Landry Fields is a player who can help handle the ball and provide solid transition basketball on a team that may rely heavily on getting transition points.
Over the past couple of years Jose Calderon has lacked the same skill, drive and passion he had when he came into the league fighting for a job against TJ Ford. Sometimes players get complacent and you don’t see any progress. Well now it’s time for Jose Calderon to earn his $10.56 Million he has on the final year of his contract. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see Jose in a Toronto Raptors uniform at the end of the season. He could easily be traded away to a team looking for depth in the PG position going into the playoffs. For a guy who looked like he has all the potential to be a very efficient NBA PG, has changed very quickly.
The Jose Calderon Saga shouldn’t have Raptors fans worried as he is aging and Kyle Lowry is just waiting to play with a team of young guns like himself. Kyle will be a fantastic addition to the existing group and I expect him to work well with Demar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross, Landry Fields and Andrea Bargnani. I believe Kyle Lowry offers a more offensive driven option at the point guard position. Kyle is a player that can drive and score on his own, as well as make the defense collapse so guys like Andrea Bargnani will have more wide open Three pointers.
Fact is Jose Calderon and the Point Gaurd position has lacked in Toronto the past few seasons. With no direction at point guard… frankly your team has no direction at all. Kyle Lowry gets paid half of what Jose Calderon does and produces twice as much. Bryan Colangelo did a fine job in scooping up Kyle Lowry in the off season.
The Toronto Raptors have a chance to make playoffs and see the Miami Heat in the first round. It’s not saying much but making the playoffs will be a solid step in the right direction for the Toronto Raptors organization.