The blog has been having some technical issues that came up over the weekend. I am not sure if the problems are fixed yet or not. But if they come up again I will get them all ironed out before the season gets going. Let's hope they will not resurface. I am far from a technical genius here. If you signed up for the Mock GM league the draft goes tomorrow at 7:15 pm (Toronto Time). Just wanted to say thanks to all that are taking part in the league. It seems that folks are really enjoying it. We will also have a more traditional fantasy games coming later as the season approaches.
Most Raptor fans are like kids who have seen all their gifts and can't wait for Christmas to come. Santa Colangelo has come through in a major way for all the good little boys and girls that support the Raptors. Let's just hope when all the presents get unwrapped they all work. Just like every Christmas there will be the odd gift that you will want to return. But no indication that Marcus Banks can be returned to the store. Hopefully Bryan Colangelo kept his receipt.
But to be serious there is a ton of expectation for this basketball team and it should be interesting to see how it goes. Hedo Turkoglu had 19 points playing for his native Turkey on the weekend. He is the Michael Jordan of Turkey after all. So the fact he is playing on the national side makes sense. Canada will be taking on Hedo and the U.S and all the rest next summer. After qualifying Canada lost to both Brazil and Argentina in the Semi and Bronze Medal game.
I can't stress enough how important this camp will be for the Raptors and the Pre-Season. When you look at the schedule you will only find the odd easy game. If there is such a thing as an easy game in the NBA. It is going to be vital for this team to be on the same page off the start. If they are going to live up to the lofty expectations of being a top 4 team. Under normal circumstances for a team coming off missing the playoff and only reaching the 30's in the win column that would be crazy. However, this is pretty much a brand new team beyond it's core of Bosh, Bargnani and Calderon.
Demar Derozan is heading for Toronto according to his twitter account(@demar_derozan). He could be the real wild card in this whole thing. He is very young but if he could have a break out rookie season it would really be a huge bonus. There is a camp of folks that think Demar will end up in the starting line-up and get to play along side the best players this team has. The idea behind that is he can focus on just his defense and rebounding and get his scoring from hustle and effort. It makes sense. It will be interesting to see what he looks like come the new year and see if he can be able to do more offensively. Time will tell but based on his work ethic, my expectation is a guy that will grow and get better each game, each week and each month.
The other 2 guys that could perhaps surprise and rise might be Marco Belinelli and Amir Johnson. I think it is safe to say both see this as a huge opportunity and are looking to take advantage of it. Belinelli fell out of favour with Nelly and things did not work in Golden State. While Johnson was on of a young core of players that had to sit and watch a lot in Detroit. Belinelli will be a guy that could find open looks and be the 3 point gunner that Colangelo had envisioned Jason Kapono to be. Why Johnson could add some defensive punch along with a Reggie Evans. Johnson can be a shot block and a game changer if he is able to play at his best. Also getting on the boards will be a key part of his job description. He is one of the last of those high school kids that was able to crack into the league. So he still has a lot of room to grow and develop.