2013 Toronto Raptors Season Preview
The addition of Rudy Gay last season has given Toronto the firepower they needed, now can they parlay that into a playoff run in 2014? Andrea Bargnani was sent to NY for Steve Novak and draft picks, while they also brought in poing guard D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough. Novak might solve the outside-shooting problem, and they’ll hope Gay, DeRozan and Kyle Lowry mesh well in their first full season together. The Raptors will certainly be exciting this season, but can they be consistent? The Raptors will open the season in the Deep South, taking on Atlanta on Nov. 1. Their first home game will be against Lebron James and the defending-champion Miami Heat at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 5. Other key home games will be vs. Brooklyn on Nov. 26, vs. the Heat again on Nov. 29, and vs. the Knicks on Dec. 28.
2012 Toronto Raptors Season Preview
The Toronto Raptors started off the 2011-12 season with promise, but their year soon turned into one of the more forgetful in the team's history. The Raptors finished with a 23-43 record and ranked 11th in the Eastern Conference, continuing their playoff drought which has lasted since 2008. Hopes are high for second-year coach Dwane Casey, who brought a more tenacious form of defense and players slowly began to buy into his system. Over the course of the offseason, the Raptors made a series of trades to improve their team and believe that their draft could prove to be valuable to the long-term success of the franchise. The big departures from last year's squad include guard Jerryd Bayless who signed with the Memphis Grizzlies, and James Johnson who departed for the Sacramento Kings. In the draft, the Raptors picked up guard Terrence Ross and forwards Quincy Acy and Tomislav Zubcic. In free agency, the Raptors were bold with their transactions, signing Landry Fields to be the team's primary shooting guard. Last but not least, the team made one of the biggest trades of the offseason when they picked up All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry from the Rockets, who should provide a major ball-handling presence to the Raptors' front court. Lowry's arrival should help steady the team's point guard situation, with Jose Calderon moving to a change-of-pace guard which may be better for his style of play. At shooting guard, Terrence Ross will see plenty of playing time behind Fields. At center, the team's 2011 draft pick, Jose Valanciunas has great size for the position and will be backed up by Aaron Gray. The team also boasts a solid group of forwards, including Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozen. Unfortunately for the Raptors, their stellar offseason comes at a time when the Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference is as strong as its been in years. The Celtics, Knicks, Sixers and Nets are all expected to be playoff-caliber, so the Raptors will have to be strong out of the gate to avoid dropping in the standings. Ultimately, the Raptors' 2012-13 season will come down to how well the new additions will gel with one another and whether or not the team's younger players can get up to speed as well. What Raptors fans can take confidence in is that their front office is building something good and is certainly well on its way to contending for a title.
2011 Toronto Raptors Season Preview
The Toronto Raptors lost their two best players in the offseason when Chris Bosh jumped ship to join the Miami Heat, and forward Hedo Turkoglu ended up with the Phoenix Suns. Their absence creates a significant void in scoring, and leaves head coach Jay Triano in a difficult position to try to return Toronto to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Without a go-to scorer like Bosh, the Raptors will have to find someone new to provide the bulk of their offense. Point guards Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack proved they could run the offense, but neither are reliable scorers. Perhaps the most credible option is 7-foot center Andrea Bargnani, who averaged 17.2 points a game last season. While Bargnani may be a solid scorer, his defense leaves much to be desired and so does the team as a whole. The Raptors were 27th in points allowed last season, giving up an average of 105.9 points per game. It's not easy to recover from the loss of two franchise players, and Toronto will likely struggle as they attempt to rebuild.
2010 Toronto Raptors Season Preview
The Toronto Raptors head into the 2009-2010 NBA season with a great chance to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. The talented Raptors lineup includes young stars Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon. If those three can mesh with younger Toronto players like DeMar DeRozan and Antoine Wright, then expect the Raptors to make some noise in the East.
2009 Toronto Raptors Season Preview
The Toronto Raptors are a team to watch this season in the NBA. The absence of TJ Ford will be remedied with the exciting presence of Jermaine O'Neal. O'Neal and Chris Bosh will make scoring look easy, and should pave the way for the remaining Raptor defenders to put the pressure on. The Raptors have their work cut out for them in a tough division that includes the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers. Go to a Toronto Raptors game at the Air Canada Center and you can expect to see a fast paced young team playing in front of one of the league’s most loyal crowds at a state of the art arena.