Friday, October 9, 2009

We FINALLY Get to See the New Guys Play!

The summer has finally ended, and Raptors basketball is back! You can paint me every shade of excited right now.

This isn't my official season outlook post since we are only 2 preseason games in, and I still haven't had the chance to actually watch Hedo and Bosh play. I'll be posting every couple of preseason games as we get a better understanding of how the Raptors training camp battles shake out.

For now, here are my VERY early impressions of how the Raptors have done so far:

1) Andrea Bragnani seems to be building on last season

Andrea Bargnani is without question the best Raptor out there right now. I don’t know if this makes me very afraid or very excited, but I do know it’s good to see that he doesn’t look completely lost on the court anymore.

I have really liked how he has taken advantage of Sammy D’s over eager defense in the first 2 games, and really attacked the basket off his mid range pump fake. Barney also looks like he is making quicker decisions with his passing, and he isn’t in love with the 3 ball anymore. I am very impressed with the way he is playing so far into the preseason.

2) Jose’s defense is still atrocious.

Apparently, Jose took the summer off to rest his body to get ready for the season. I think this story was a lie to coverup Jose’s secret training as a matador. It’s the only reason I can think of to explain how Lou Williams has torched Jose over the last 2 games. I mean, Jose isn’t even close to stopping Williams off the bounce. I am hoping that this is more a product of Sweet Lou’s skills rather than Jose being more pylon-like then I suspected. I blamed his poor defense on his injury woes last year, but I am worried that he really is this bad.

3) Where’s Demar?

I went out and bought this guy’s jersey the day after the Raptors drafted him! What the hell, he’s been almost invisible the last 2 games. Right now, I am going to chalk it up to a rookie trying to get his sea legs, but I am really hoping he starts to assert himself more. I don’t want to be too harsh, so there were a few nice things that I saw out of Double D. I especially liked the one handed tomahawk over Sammy D off the break, but Demar has to be more aggressive in traffic!

4) Reggie Evans has to stop shooting!

I have loved to watch Reggie’s hustle the last couple of games. His ability to get after loose balls and generate steals is definitely something NONE of us have seen around these parts since, well, never. However, Reggie’s gotta stop trying to be actually score after he gets the ball. I have always been a big believer that players should go up with the rock when they are close to the basket, even if it is just to draw a foul, but in Reggie’s case, every time he takes a shot, it’s like a turnover. I really hope this is Reggie thinking that it’s preseason, so he has to get all of his offense out now because once the season starts, he better not be hoisting up any ugly jump hooks!

I am going to hold off on comments about Marco since I want to see him off the bench rather than as a starter. As for Sonny Weems and a few of the other the end of benchers, I need to get a better understanding of where they will fit in overall before I start to make any definitive decisions.

The season officially starts in 3 weeks, so I really hope we start to see Bosh and Hedo start to run with the starters. With this many new guys in the starting lineup, practice time together will be key!

My Views from Above the Tunnell series will be back this year as well. As you can all tell, I am super excited for the season!!!!!!!!

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