Very excited for the Association to start up. This year we will be treated to a full season with the strike of last fall behind us. My teams are the Celtics and the Raptors. Living in Canada I have become very interested in and follow the Toronto franchise closely. The Raps are a team void of a true superstar but might be able to contend for the final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference this season.
Seems like Miami, Boston, Indiana, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York are givens to snatch the first 7 seeds. That leaves Milwaukee, Toronto, Detroit, and possibly Cleveland to duke it out for the eight seed.
The preseason means nothing but I like what I've seen from the Raptors so far.
The starting five:
Lowry: love the trade that brought him to Toronto, a gritty defender, a true gamer, plays hard and is willing to take the big shot
DeRozean: stats geeks are not in love with Demar, however he seems to have developed his game a bit, he know goes to the rim looking for contact. he could surprise this year with his production
Fields: overpaid perhaps, seem to be an intangible guy who makes the smart play, good defender
Bargnani: has his limitations with rebounding and defense, a scorer
Valanciunas: impressed me so far with defense and rebounding, can score, not polished, makes mistakes, hustles, high potential
Calderon: great backup point guard, possible trade bait later in the year
Lucas: another point guard, might be used at shooting guard because he can flat out score
Johnson: energy big man
Davis: make or break year for the former lottery pick
Ross: the rookie lottery pick has been injured this pre-season, supposed to be good defender and shooter, will see how long it takes him to make the rotation
The Raps do not have a star but the roster is comprised of solid players. Depth is also good with this team. Casey is a defense first coach. As long as the Raps can score, which they should be able to at this point with the depth they have, Toronto could get to about 38 to 40 wins. That total might get them in the playoffs. The ceiling for the squad is a poor mans version of last years Pacers. A team with a bunch of solid players that overachieves. What you say? Yeah the analogy is a big reach. The Raps don't have the talent of a Granger, George, or a Hibbert. I did say poor mans version.
Hoops. Love em and the boundless optimism that comes with every season till the results come in.
Next time I'll run down the Celtics.