A Raptor Season of Hope, Questions and Expectations

Yesterday was a busy day. Had an interview with Jack Armstrong in the morning and then wrote a piece on why everyone is so excited about Jonas for the folks at the Bleacher Report. If you would like to go and check that out please do. Also I encourage DNB readers to leave your comments there. I try to respond to folks where ever it may be in terms of the DNB. So I have never pushed the comments section here. For the stuff on The Bleacher Report they value comments on their articles so feel free to chime in there about anything I do for them.

Everyone is starting to get really excited for the Raptors’ season and I am personally excited to be going down for my first media day since starting to cover the team back at Training Camp in Ottawa. I think with the number of new faces and the general excitement around the Raptors it was a good year to be a part of media day.

I will do my best to gather some good material for the Dino Nation Blog while in attendance. It is perhaps the last major event in a season that I have yet to experience, so I am not fully sure how much or how little I will end up with. In any case it has been a great experience having access to the Raptors going into I think the fourth year for me. Maybe it is the third. In any case this is the first season since Chris Bosh left town that there is actually some hope and expectations for the Raptors.

I wanted to expand on a point that Jack Armstrong made in our interview. The Atlantic Division has become a lot tougher as a division. The challenge for the Raptors to compete in such a division will be a tough one for the Raptors. The 16 games that Raptors will play in their division could be a defining of their season and how much they actually improve. In the long term the Raptors are going to face a challenge of if they are willing to spend money to compete. I don’t think there is any question that the Nets, Knicks and Celtics will all be willing to go above and beyond the tax threshold on a regular basis. The Raptors and the new ownership group will have to decide if they expect to compete in this division on heading in that same direction eventually.

For now the Raptors are hoping and banking on a lot of young talent to mature and grow into a base for this roster for the long haul. Vital seasons for a number of players on this roster like DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani, Kyle Lowry, Landry Fields and Ed Davis. An even younger wave led by Jonas with Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy will try to establish themselves.

Raptor fans are so eager for success. I am too, but I just feel that it is further away then most.  I am encouraged by the admission that Jose Calderon was not the answer at point guard. It is the first of many looking in the mirror moments the Raptors will have to make decisions about. They need to once and for all establish if Bargnani is capable of night in night out being a star in this league. If he isn’t than you need to at least consider your future with him long term. DeMar DeRozan needs to take his game to the next level and if he does the Raptors will have to decide on what he is worth in terms of the future. If he doesn’t they still will have to decide if they keep hanging on hoping for him to reach his full potential. If they are not willing to do that what there long term plan is with him.

Jack Armstrong called it a “Moment of truth” for those guys and it is for some others as well. Dwane Casey working with Bryan Colangelo are bringing in players that fit Casey's mindset as a coach. The players that were here prior to his arrival need to show they can be part of the program moving forward.

As crazy as it sounds the Raptors could finish fifth in the Atlantic Division and miss the post-season but still be on the right path. What the Raptors need out of this season is answers to questions. In the past this franchise has held out hope to long in certain cases and it has cost them. If you correct a mistake sooner rather than later it is for the best. In some cases Bryan Colangelo has been willing to do that. In others he has been far more stubborn.

What is great, regardless of all of that, is we have a season to look forward to which is a far cry from what we had last year.  


Jack Armstrong Weighs In On Raptors 2012-13 Season

Jack Armstrong is getting set for season number 15 covering the Toronto Raptors. Jack will be covering 48 games this season for the folks at TSN and also doing his things for NBA-TV Canada. It has always been our pleasure to have him as a guest here in the Dino Nation Blog's Starting 5 for going on 4 years. What we love most about Jack is his realistic and honest opinions on the Toronto Raptors. How does he feel about this upcoming season. Does he see this team heading back to the post-season as some folks have been saying. What is his take on the Raptors new point guard situation and how would he handle it as a former coach? What does he think about the Raptors first round pick Jonas Valanciunas and his impact on this roster? Have the Raptors improved at the small forward position? His thoughts on Landry Fields, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, Demar DeRozan and others all get covered. It is an in-depth look at your Toronto Raptors with training camp fast approaching. We go for almost 40 minutes covering all these topics and a lot more.

It kind of goes along with what I have been saying in the Dino Nation Blog for most of the summer. The Raptors are heading in the right direction, but to be a playoff team will take a lot of things going the Raptors way. Thanks to Jack as always. Also I am very excited about starting a weekly podcast called "This Week In Raptorland" and it starts October 8th. Myself and Josh Lewenberg from TSN 1050 the beat reporter on the Raptors. It should be fun and Josh will be co-hosting with me for most of the episodes as well as clips from our interviews and some things with our DNB Staff. We hope to keep you entertained through out the season in both The Starting 5 and This Week In Raptorland.

In addition we have a new sponsor here on the DNB. Seat Crunch.com (Check the link at the top on the right hand side)  Order your tickets with them for the Raptors, NBA and other sporting events and concerts. Just click on the link TICKETS and check them out and get some great tickets. We will be doing some promotions this season with them for some gift vouchers to help you get even greater deals. DNB will be down at Media Day so look for lots of content coming from that as well. A new season is almost here and the DNB this season is looking to step up are game just like we hope the Raptors will.


Trainning Camp Promises to be Different this Year.

The Raptors will be heading to the East Coast for training camp this year. That is nothing new for a team that has had camp in Italy, Vancouver, Ottawa and even their first right here in my hometown of Hamilton. What is different this year is the number of guys that will be there to start. The Raptors currently have 18 people on their roster. The NBA League maximum is of course 15. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand that at least 3 people will be getting cut.

While it does not have any of the Raptors main players on the roster feeling that they could be that guy to be left off the roster. It does send a message of competition even before that first official whistle blows at the official practice to take place on October 2, 2012. It says that nothing for anyone is guaranteed. It also brings in hungry players trying to defy the odds and make this roster. That pushes the group as a whole to work harder.

Dwane Casey really didn’t have time last season to go through this exercise in team building. There was a limited amount of time with the NBA Lockout and only two pre-season games. This year the league is back on a regular schedule and that makes a process like this possibly.

One down note already in the Raptors plans for training camp has been the injury to Jonas Valanciunas. It is vital he sees the floor as soon as possible. He has a great deal of learning to do and adapting to the NBA game. The more time he misses the harder and steeper that learning curve becomes.

Ed Davis will finally get a full training camp under his belt in year 3 of his NBA career. In his rookie season he was forced to sit out with a knee injury and as mentioned last season’s training camp was anything but normal.

Jose Calderon will enter training camp officially or un-officially as second on the Raptors’ depth chart at the point guard position. Kyle Lowry will be the guy at the top of the list and he will be looking to show everyone why. It is going to be a strange dynamic between the two for as long as Calderon is on this roster.

While I did say that all the main players on this roster can feel fairly safe in making the roster. They may just not be safe from trades at some point. Deals that happen during training camp are rare. The last one the Raptors made I believe was for Mike James bringing him in for his one season with the Raptors. Still the possibility looms for guys especially if one of these guys that no one expects to make the roster shows the Raptors something.

It also should allow Casey to fully implement his defensive system. Something that he had to do in bits and pieces over last year with great success. The Raptors identity has changed quite a bit but expect that change to be even more so now. The extra number of bodies also allows for Casey to quickly give some one a seat in practice or pre-season games. Messages can be delivered.

Outside of the Raptors franchise there is a lot of excitement and anticipation for what this team can do. Expectations that may be to high and maybe out of whack. That said the Raptors have expectations which are something that was lacking since Chris Bosh took his ball and went to South Beach. While these group may not meet the lofty expectations of a return to the playoffs they now have some pressure from not only within the organization but from outside of it to achieve some things. It is all part of a process to building a better team.

Tomorrow will all get some thoughts on what we can expect from this group? From the guy that will call 48 of their 82 games, the one and only Jack Armstrong. It is always interesting to get Jack’s thoughts on the direction of this franchise. It is a true privilege for us to have him as a guest.


DNB Top 10: Over Reactions

It is almost time for another Raptors’ season. Just like every season there are lots of people saying lots of things. Today in the DNB Top 10 we look at the top ten over reactions for the upcoming Raptor season. Some are funny, some are true and some should not be taken seriously. But here we go ready or not.

#10- With the Leafs out of the way the Raptors will take over the city.
#9-  Anything Jose Calderon says will be evaluated and tested to see if he is showing any signs of being angry and upset about losing his job. Duh…of course he is as would anyone be.
#8- Demar DeRozan’s future and how much the Raptors will have to pay him or should they trade him….Relax it is a long season.
#7- Jamal Magloire’s relevance.
#6-  Landry Fields Contract
#5- Landry Fields Girlfriend.
#4- Andrea Bargnani will be an All-Star this year.
#3- Injury issues for Jonas Valanciunas. He hurt his calf….OH NO…BARGNANI ALL OVER AGAIN
#2- In general the expectations for Jonas Valanciunas.
#1 The Raptors will be a playoff team this season.

Everyone is excited but make no mistake the Raptors still need a lot of things to go right for this season to be as good as some people are expecting. Relax and take heart in the fact the Raptors will or at least should be better than they were last year. It is a slow climb back to relevance for the Raptors.


Raptors Release Info On Jonas Injury

News broke on the weekend that Raptors' rookie Jonas Valanciunas was seen walking around town wearing a medical supportive boot. Monday the Raptors released an explanation for this. Jonas apparently injured his calf in a voluntary workout on Saturday. Here is the official release.

Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas sustained a left calf strain during a voluntary workout Saturday afternoon. The injury is not thought to be serious and he will be treated as symptoms require.A timeline for a return to full basketball activity has not been established.
This may just be a bump in the road as were still a week away from the official opening of training camp. Although Raptor fans maybe skeptical as it was a calf injury that was the cause of much problems for Andrea Bargnani last season. Clearly the indication is this is far less in nature than that. That said, Valcanciunas can use all the training camp he can get, as he was not part of Las Vegas Summer League. 

It also takes a little air out of the hype balloon. Which actually might not be a terrible thing. Still, this is not the type of news Raptor fans wanted to hear on the verge of training camp.

On a different note the Dino Nation Blog will be covering Media Day for the first time a week today. We continue to do our best to cover more and more events connected to the Toronto Raptors. Obviously going out to training camp in Halifax is out our budget. Still will keep on top of things best we can. Also Jack Armstrong is scheduled to join us on Thursday for a one on one chat about all things Raptors in The Starting 5.


Raptors Roster Continues to Grow.

Raptors roster continues to expand adding two more players to the roster that now stands at 18. Jerel McNeal who had a 10 day contract last season with the Hornets and Chris Wright who split time between the Warriors and the D-League. McNeal is a guard and Wright is a forward and both would be long shots to make the Raptors 15 man roster you have to figure. The message for this training camp seems to be competition. That it is not just assumed anyone has anything for certain. Something I personally like.

Here is what the Raptors had to say on the signings:

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed guard Jerel McNeal and forward Chris Wright. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

McNeal,6-foot-3, 205 pounds, played last season in Italy with Fabi Shoes Montegranaro. He averaged 10.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals in 32 outings. McNeal signed a 10-day contract with New Orleans in March 2011 but did not see any game action.

He appeared in 47 NBA D-League contests with Rio Grande Valley, averaging 19.4 points, 4.4 assists and 34.4 minutes. A 2009 product of Marquette University, McNeal finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in points (1,985), steals (287) and games played (130). He was named to the All-Big East First Team as a senior averaging 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals in 35 games.

Wright,6-foot-9, 230 pounds, participated with the 2011 Raptors’ NBA Summer League entry. He started in all four of his appearances averaging 9.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. Wright split last season between Golden State and the NBA D-League. He was signed by the Warriors as a free agent December 10. He appeared in 24 games with Golden State where he averaged 2.9 points and 1.9 rebounds. He posted season highs of 25 points, 11 made field goals, eight rebounds and 46 minutes in his lone start in the season finale April 26 versus San Antonio.

Wright also appeared in 13 NBA D-League games with Maine and Dakota where he averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.38 blocks & averaged 13.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 123 career outings at Dayton. He earned third-team All-Atlantic 10 honours as a senior, first-team as a junior and second-team as a sophomore.
So don't expect to see these guys in the line-up when the season starts barring something truly extraordinary happening. However you might see some of them in the pre-season who knows. One thing is for sure Raptors' Training Camp will feature some cuts for the first time in a long time.

Raptors Already Hard At Work

Officially the Raptors do not have to report for duty till the end of the month. Things have already got underway though with everyone in town working out together. The unofficial start to training camp has already begun. DeMar DeRozan put out a photo last night from the Raptors practice facility with some of the guys working out on the court.

This is a positive thing to see that the team is making the effort to get to know one another and work together on their technically own time. Now is this all their idea? Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Technically speaking coaches and the organization can not be involved in this workout. No one is technically required to be there. It kind of is like those non-mandatory workouts in the NFL to a degree. While you’re not required to be there it is in your best interest to be there.

Despite that it is good to see regardless of why. This team will need time to gel and work in a number of new pieces to the puzzle. A guy like Kyle Lowry can learn things like where all his new team like the ball in certain situations. Little things like group dynamics start to come together. What it does is allows the Raptors to be ready to get to work and focus on learning the systems and x’s and o’s that Dwayne Casey will start putting in place in a couple weeks.

Athletes get a bad rap at times for a variety of things. Would the average person do what they are doing right now? Could you imagine a school teacher deciding to come in two weeks prior to the end of summer vacation to their job? Would the average person come in for two weeks of unpaid training before they started a job? Some exceptional people might but in general we wouldn’t as a society.

It also speaks to all of those people that in the past have clamored for this team to tank. This shows the dedication and desire of these guys to win. DeMar DeRozan could be on a beach in California right now. Ed Davis could be having a vacation in Las Vegas. Andrea Bargnani could be spending time with his model girlfriend. Maybe even go on a double date with Landry Fields and his also highly attractive significant other.

None of this is the case though everyone is here and working to the goal of winning basketball games. These guys care about their job. They care about the team’s success as well as their own personal success.

As you head into your weekend do it with a smile as the Raptors are already working towards trying to do the best they can to provide you with some exciting and entertaining basketball and hopefully some more wins.


Playoffs? Really? Maybe Not So Fast

I just wanted to expand on an article I wrote for the Bleacher Report on the Raptors season and what would be considered a success? I am not trying to be a wet blanket on everyone’s playoff party. I just have seen the Raptor fan base get excited before only to be met with disappointment. The Raptors have taken positive steps to become a playoff team in the future. I just question if that future is now? I referenced in that article when Bryan Colangelo first arrived on the scene in Toronto. He made a bold move to acquire T.J Ford and part with Charlie V. That at the time was considered risky as Villianueva was considered a guy that still had upside. It was one of a series of moves that would lead to Colangelo changing the fortunes of the Raptors in dramatic fashion.

That was then and this is now. The NBA has changed a lot since than. So has the Atlantic Division as referenced in the article. The quick turnaround that Colangelo pulled off may not be possible for any team in the NBA currently.  In an NBA that is becoming more a case of have and have not teams it is not easy to rise from the basement to the penthouse.

Many folks are extremely high on what the Brooklyn Nets have done. I think they are obviously much improved but predictions for them to rise to the top 4 teams in the Eastern Conference are also out of whack. They also are taking a different path from the Raptors in terms of spending. You can understand why they are given the resources their ownership has and the fact they are entering a new market in Brooklyn. They should make the playoffs but I am not convinced they will be hosting games one and two of a playoff series at their new home The Barclays Center.

The Raptors have taken the slower road to success by trying to establish a young core of talent. Many would call it the OKC approach to team building. The Raptors still are lacking that main star in that theory. Andrea Bargnani be he the good one or not is never going to be confused with Kevin Durant.

Rogers Communications one of the new owners of MLSE has taken a similar approach in baseball with the Blue Jays. They had all of the same excitement the Raptors currently have now. If you check the baseball standings these days it has not worked out as well as people hoped. Some of their top players have not come through as expected. A lot of injuries have become a problem.  Still despite the disappointment the direction the Blue Jays are heading seems to be a positive one.

The Raptors are in a similar circumstance in my view. They have a solid direction and foundation that has the organization heading in a positive direction. Not unlike the Blue Jays they would need a number of things go right for them to meet some lofty expectations. To expect all of them to happen in the same season is expecting a lot.

The main point is the ship is steered in the right direction and some major things have been accomplished. The Raptors finally accepted that while not without skill Jose Calderon was not going to take this team to the next level as the starting point guard. They hired Dwane Casey to address a long standing probably of a team that was defensively challenged to say the least. They have brought back an accountability that has been long overdue. They have added to the pool of young talent they have.

The thing they don’t have yet and will take some time to develop is chemistry. It is a very positive sign that for the most part the entire roster is already in town working on that. It is however a process that will only truly happen when live bullets start flying in the NBA Regular Season. It will take time and patience. Something a Raptor fan base that has been disappointed for a long time will find hard to accept. This is a world where we want and crave instant results.

The Raptors still have work to do and really need someone to emerge as the leader of this team. That guy might not even be on the current roster yet. They also at some point with have to accept the reality that it is going to take spending money to reach the ultimate goal. In a Division that will have three teams that will not have issue with going over the NBA Tax Threshold the Raptors will eventually need to go there as well. OKC just to keep what they have is learning this lesson. James Harden is going to push the Thunder to a place beyond the tax threshold.

The Raptors before they worry about that have to focus on making the hard choices of who are the guys that are on this ride for the long haul. That is why what guys like Andrea Bragnani, DeMar DeRozan and Ed Davis do this season will be vital for all of them. The Raptors have hit rock bottom and are taking the steps to dig out of a giant hole that has been created. It started before Chris Bosh decided to go to Miami. When he left it caused they to fall even deeper.

Raptors fans should want more than band-aid solutions at this point. A team that is build not just to make the post season once in awhile but a team that will be there consistently and challenging to win series and advance forward.


DNB's Fantasy Guru: Atlantic Division Depth Charts

Atlantic Division

Each team in the Atlantic Division has seen its fair share of roster changes, with the rebranded Brooklyn Nets leading the charge. How do the roster changes affect the depth charts and distribution of minutes?  Let’s take a look:

Brooklyn Nets

B. Lopez
R. Evans

K. Humphries
A. Blatche
M. Teletovic

G. Wallace
J. Childress

J. Johnson
M. Brooks
K. Bogans

D Williams
C.J. Watson

The Nets have re-upped Brook Lopez and traded for Joe Johnson.  Their starting line-up is as set as any team in the Atlantic.  Lopez should get back to producing for fantasy GMs and could get back to his 2010-11 form.  Wallace has always been a steady fantasy player and can be a strong and reliable mid-round pick. 

Deron Williams should see a boost in his assist average.  He will be running the best line-up that he has had his entire career this up-coming season.  Watch out for second year player Marshon Brooks.  His minutes have been hampered by the arrival of Johnson and his production and growth may be affected. 

Humphries will always be a good source of rebounds.  However, the Nets have recently signed Andray Blatche and, if Blatche can get back to his old form of 16ppg and 8rpg then Humphries may see a decline in minutes.

Sure Bets: Williams (early), Johnson (early-mid), Wallace (mid), Humphries (early-mid), Lopez (mid)
Sleepers: Brooks, Blatche
Pass-on: Childress, Watson, Evans

 Philadelphia 76ers

A. Bynum
K. Brown

S. Hawes
T. Young
L. Allen
A. Moultry
E. Turner
D. Wright
T. Young

J. Richardson
N. Young

J. Holiday
R Ivey
E. Turner

The Sixers made a significant trade that had Andre Iguodala leaving and Andrew Bynum coming in.  Bynum instantly becomes the best player on this roster.  His production value in L.A. was regarded as a sure-fire #1 center option and should stay the same in Philadelphia.

Jrue Holiday took a step back in his progress last season and was, at times over shadowed by back-up guard Lou Williams.  Look for Jrue to have a better year of production and get back to being a reliable guard option in the league.

Second year player, Evan Turner, still has many question marks surrounding his value and role.  He was touted as a great versatile and big-bodied guard who can handle the ball.  Look for Turner to receive a larger role in the offense with Iguodala out of the picture.  If he proves the doubters wrong, he could be a solid stat line stuffer.

A good battle should come out at the power forward position between Spencer Hawes and Thad Young.  Doug Collins has suggested that he likes the pairing of Hawes and Bynum to start the season.  However, Young has been vocal about his desire to start.  Young has the talent but has lacked consistency at times.  I’d definitely take a chance on him for his rebounding in the mid to late rounds.

Sure bets: Bynum (early), Holiday (mid)
Sleepers: Turner, Young, Richardson, Wright
Pass on: Young, Ivey, Brown

Boston Celtics

K. Garnett
J. Collins

B. Bass
J. Sullinger

P. Pierce
J. Green

A. Bradley
J Terry

R. Rondo
A. Bradley

The aging Celtics have off-loaded one hall of fame guard, in Ray Allen, for another.  As Jason terry comes to this team, he will fill the void left by Allen’s departure.  Terry has been a career 6th man with Dallas and should see the same type of minutes in Boston.

Avery Bradley has improved significantly with this team and his defensive abilities should get him back into the starting line-up once he comes back from injury.

Garnett and Pierce will both need plenty of rest throughout the season and Rivers may push the younger Celtics a little harder this season.  Sullinger will surely get a chance to show what he has got with a thin Celtic frontcourt.

Look at Jeff Green as a solid sleeper option.  He should be fully healed and ready to show the Celtics that they can invest in him for their future.  He can hit the long ball and also get a decent amount of rebounds.  Folks may pass on Green due to his absence for an entire season and for the fact that he is playing behind Paul, but the Celtics will heavily depend on him to bolster the second unit and also give Pierce some much needed rest.

Sure bets: Garnett (early), Pierce (early), Rondo (early), Terry (mid)
Sleepers: Bradley, Sullinger, Green, Bass
Pass on: Collins

New York Knicks

T. Chandler
M. Camby

A. Stoudamire
K. Thomas

C. Anthony
S. Novak
J. White

J.R. Smith
I. Shumpert
R. Brewer

R. Felton
J. Kidd
P. Prigioni

The Knicks have a similar situation with their starting lineups as the Nets.  Chandler, Stoudamire, Anthony, Felton are all but locks to start.  The real question mark on this team is at the shooting guard position. 

J.R. Smith has always been a decent source for threes and points but this season, he has a real chance to be productive.  He has the potential to be a legit sleeper and late round steal.  However, Iman Shumpert is sure to give him a run for his money once he is fully healed from knee surgery.

It would have to be advised to pass on Jason Kidd this upcoming season.  Kidd struggled last season as the starter for Dallas.  He is on the serious decline and all signs point to his best days being behind him.

Raymond Felton should get some fantasy players decent assists and points this upcoming season.  His previous tenure in New York had him producing at high rates.  However, Felton does come with a warning: his fitness level came in to question in Portland.  It would be beneficial to see what type of shape Felton shows up to camp with. 

Sure bets: Anthony (early), Stoudamire (early), Chandler (early)
Sleepers: Felton, Smith, Shumpert
Pass on: Kidd, Thomas, Brewer

Toronto Raptors

A. Gray
J. Valenciunas

A. Bargnani
A. Johnson
E. Davis
Q. Acy
D. DeRozan
D. McGuire

L. Fields
T. Ross

K. Lowry
J. Calderon
J. Lucas

Here at the DNB, we hold a special place in our hearts for this depth chart.  Your Toronto Raptors certainly improved over the off-season.  Unfortunately, their depth chart is one of the more difficult to decipher. 

The only sure locks for a starting spot are Andrea Bargnani and Kyle Lowry.  The rest of the line-up is filled with rookies and uncertainties.  Casey will have a difficult time managing minutes at all five positions.

Sleepers abound on this roster.  DeRozan is going into a contract year so look for him to put up shots and this should raise his usage rate.  He also has some serious competition for the starting spot for the first time in his career.  This is a make or break season for DeMar and he could be a great mid round gamble that could pay off.

Calderon’s efficiency should be considered when looking for a late round option at guard.  His FT% is high and turnovers are low.  He may slip far down the draft due to Lowry being in town but he should still get significant minutes as a leader on this team.

If the playoffs are out of the picture come mid-season, Valenciunas will see plenty of minutes.  You may want to pick him up and stash him away for the chance to utilize the rookie.

The frontcourt is too crowded for Ed Davis at this point.  It would be easy to assume that Colangelo will trade either Davis or Amir Johnson this season.  Both players seem to create redundancy.  Davis has never really had a chance on this roster.  This may be a make or break training camp to getting some minutes.  Look at what is coming out of camp to see which one of Amir or Ed will be getting the most minutes in the rotation.  But frankly, both are risky picks due to the competition and future direction of the team. 

Sure bets: Bargnani (early), Lowry (early)
Sleepers: DeRozan, Fields, Ross, Valenciunas
Pass on: Davis, Johnson, Lucas, Gray