Last Years Record: 47-35
Key Losses: Morris Peterson
Key Additions: Carlos Delfino, Jason Kapono
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason? The Raptors stayed relatively still during the off-season as far as transactions are concerned and without a first round draft pick they aren’t bringing in much new young talent either. The Raps did however manage to steal Carlos Deflino away from a frustrated Pistons squad and threw some money at Jason Kapono. Whether the additions of Delfino and Kapono will make the Raptors significantly better is still in question. At the end of the day, I think losing Morris Peterson to the Hornets will come back to haunt them.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths? In a nutshell: Bryan Colangelo. Ever since he came to the Raptors at the end of the 2005-06 season, Colangelo has done no wrong. Now the Raptors greatest strength lies in their new-found identity. With his most recent masterpiece, BC has created a carefully structured run-and-gun offense that revolves around the increasingly international team’s speed and sense of fundamentals. The successful blend of American talent with European finesse has been the major reason the Raps have pulled themselves out of the Eastern Conference basement.
3. What are the team’s biggest weaknesses? It’s obvious that Chris Bosh is this team’s leader. And it’s obvious that Andrea Bargnani is only going to improve and emerge as one of the best young forwards in the league. But what isn’t so obvious is who will convince this team to legitimately think of themselves as the title contenders they want to be. We can hope that Sam Mitchell will prepare the team, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a number of players step up and help enforce the frame of mind.
4. What are the goals for this team? After last season’s disappointing loss to the New Jersey Nets in the first round, the Raptors have got to be thinking of ways to make the jump from Atlantic division surprise to Eastern Conference contender. Whether it be due to a lack of experience or preparation, there was absolutely no point in last season’s Eastern Conference quarter-finals where the Raptors looked like the favourite to win that there home court advantage would suggest. The Raps goal for this season has to be to toughen up and prove last season was no fluke.
5. Is Sam Mitchell the long term solution at coach? Just weeks after being crowned the Atlantic Division champions, questions arose as to whether or not Bryan Colangelo would stay with, or part ways with the reigning NBA Coach of the Year. I think this was a great decision. I believe Mitchell is a better fit for this team now than when he first came on board. The Raps have the talent, they have the skills, but in order to cement themselves as one of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference it’s going to take a tough, gritty frame of mind that I feel Mitchell will have no problem instilling.
Predicted Record: 46-36