Toronto also has it lovable underdog for this season as well. If I had told you that Sonny Weems would be one of the best players on the floor after 2 exhibition games...what would you have said? I am sure a lot of the answers would not be fit for print. People did not know a lot about him and it was Amir Johnson that got all the attention when the trade was made. Well we now know this much. Sonny can jump and dunk and get people off there feet. Comparisons to both Joey Graham(On non-guaranteed contract with Denver) and Jamario Moon (Cleveland Cavs) have been tossed out there. But let's just wait and see. Weems is proof of at least this, the Raptors are indeed a lot deeper. If Sonny Weems is this good that can only be a good thing. I will push the other 13 guys in front of him on the depth chart to play well.
If you are concerned about the Raptors offense...don't be. Jay Triano even admitted that the team has not even come close to having the entire offense in place. It is also missing perhaps it's 2 biggest weapons in Hedo Turkoglu and Chris Bosh. As for the other side of the ball there are flashes of better play and still some of the same old issues. I dream of a day when the Raptors can play solid perimeter defense. It still is something that to this point seems to be an issue. However there is still lots of time and the Sixers are trying to bring in the Princeton offense that does use that aspect as a weapon.
I also am to the point of complete frustration with the defense of Jose Calderon. No more injuries and no more excuses it is time to man up and play some defense. It seems that new fellow Jarrett Jack can do it and if Jose can not it may not be long before we see two starters from Georgia Tech in the Raptors starting 5. Any defense worth anything needs good on the ball pressure and that comes from your point guard more often than not. Jose must improve in this area if the Raptors are truly going to get to the next level as a defense. If he can not eventually a choice is going to have to be made. Jose also for whatever reason looks tired out there. He did not play for Spain this summer but I don't think the message was not to play basketball at all. Calderon needs to pick it up. He has a legit option behind him this year. So be you a Calderon fan or not it seems clear that Jose needs to pick it up. That being said I am happy to see the ball being pushed and the team getting out and running with Jose in there as well. Jose Calderon may not lead the league in assist to turnover ratio this year and the Raptors may be better for it.
Demar Derozan has 2 games under his belt and I think the second was better than the first. That is all we are asking for from Demar is to be just a bit better every game and everyday. He even made a few shots from 3 point range which is nice to see. Demar needs to show he can make that shot because it is safe to say that early teams are going to play him to drive the ball. He also has shown some good skills in passing the ball. He has held his own on the defensive end and that is great to see. He was matched-up against Andre Iguodala and did not look out of place at all. It is going to be a process for Demar but it seems everyone with the organization seems happy with his progress and I have no reason to disagree.
Special shout out to Amir Johnson who had his lip split and came back to play after that in a pre-season game. Marco Belinelli had a nice night at the office as well as he scored a dozen. Andrea Bargnani had yet another jaw dropping drive and dunk. Offensively Andrea is showing signs of taking his game to a new level. Still looking to see consistency and will he keep this up when Bosh returns. I have always noticed that Bargnani seems to pick his game up when Bosh is not in the line-up. He needs to play the same way be there a Bosh out there or not.
So those are some thoughts throw 2 games and there are 6 more to go.