The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Lots of things need to go right for us to be good

Posted by Arsenalist on October 6, 2008

Captain Jack’s predicting 48 wins but at the same time says that 7 things need to go right for us: 1) We stay healthy 2) Unheard of second unit provides consistency 3) O’Neal plays 70+ games 4) Two of Humphries, Bargnani and Kapono have career years 5) High level team-defense and rebounding 6) Consistent effort and quality of play (no bombing 1st quarters at home against the Clippers) and 7) Great coaching.

And what lies at the end of the season according to Jack? A second-round appearance with an outside shot at the Conference Finals. That’s a lot of things that need to happen if we want to have our best ever season. It’s an optimistic article but keep in mind that this is the time to be optimistic and in fairness to Jack he did bring up the major question marks on the team, I just wouldn’t bet on us delivering on the 7 points. I think hoping O’Neal plays 70+ games is expecting too much and I don’t think Sam Mitchell is the coach that anyone can have a career year under nor is he a coach that is able to mask our lack of depth by “hiding” weaknesses.

Jermaine O’Neal’s being honest with himself these days and gives himself a D- when asked how he handled the leadership role in Indiana. He also says that early on this pre-season the Raptors spacing in scrimmages was terrible (*shudder*) but is getting better (*whew*). O’Neal sounds like he’s into playing defense and calls out previous Colangelo Raptors teams as being great on offense but shitty on defense. So given that we’ve gone back to the basics of mastering techniques like “defensive slides and close-outs”. I like this, our perimeter, close-out and rotational defense was so bad last year that in order to fix something so flawed you first have to completely tear it down. Hopefully there’s enough time before the season for Jamario Moon to learn how to force a guy baseline.

Speaking of overhauls our man Roko Ukic needs one, apparently he can’t shoot and his mechanics require a complete overhaul. The technician is Gord Herbert who’ll be trying to replace the great, great Dave Hopla (who did wonders for the 2006-07 team) in trying to teach the Raptors how to shoot. Says Roko:

“Basically, I never worked on my shot. In Europe I came too young with the first team when I was 15. I wound up skipping parts of my development. In Europe you work on your development until you come into the professional ranks. Once you are with the first team you are just working on the team stuff, the technical stuff. They don’t work so much on individual stuff so I’m missing some of the fundamentals, especially on my shot.”

I hope we actually help this kid and hot f*ck him up completely.

Kris Humphries and Andrea Bargnani were the two best players on the court in the inter-squad scrimmage in Ottawa. Humphries is getting a lot of attention and is delivering in the playing time that he’s getting. He’s a resource that wasn’t tapped properly last year and this year it’ll be even harder for Mitchell to give him proper, consistent minutes. With Andrea Bargnani likely to play the 4 or 5 when Bosh or O’Neal are resting, Humphries’ role diminishes. There’s 96 minutes to be had at the PF and C positions. If Bosh, O’Neal and Bargnani play say 30 minutes each, that leaves 6 minutes for Humphries. You’d think the Raptors would want to feature the Bosh/O’Neal combo so if Humphries were to get any more minutes they’d be at the expense of Bargnani. Either way he’ll be the second guy off the bench at the big positions unless Sampson or Jawai (still injured) usurps him.

Those sniveling little rotten c*nts at The Bleacher Report have shit out another article and this one’s a doozy. Here’s how they analyze the Raptors in their season preview:

Toronto is very interesting, because it has a very strong backcourt and are good at every position, but don’t have any strong players who can really take over a game. Anthony Parker had a very nice rookie season last year and should do even better, although he likely won’t get as many touches with such a strong presence in the post.

You know, every time I think I’m doing a poor job of running this blog I just browse over to that site and instantly feel better.

There are some clips from the scrimmage here and here. Can’t really tell much except that we’ll need to wait till the first game of the pre-season against Cleveland on Tuesday to know anything worthwhile about the team. Training camp in Ottawa is over and everyone’s giving their thoughts on how it went including Sam Mitchell who says that “the main goal of the pre-season is to come out healthy”. I think he misspoke there, surely there’s got to be more than just that. There’s tons of video on the official site.

Grab the feed for this blog. Trust me you’ll need it with the change I’ll be making soon :)

18 Responses to “Lots of things need to go right for us to be good”

  1. […] – The Arsenalist […]

  2. khandor said

    As I’ve said for a long, long time … the Raptors’ trade for Jermaine O’Neal is not something which SHOULD have happened at this time, IMO, in the development curve of this season.

    What should have happened instead?

    There’s a 13 item plan available for your enjoyment … if you choose to click on this link.

    If not, Hakuna Matata … :-)

    Have a terrific day, everyone!

  3. FAQ said

    Captain Jack should have added to his analysis what must happen to other high ranked teams in the Conference to allow the Raptors to win all those games and then get into the second round of playoffs.

    It seems that fans never learn or remember history. This edition of the Raptors now has 6 new players, and some of them are expected to produce instantaneously. Lets not get too besotted with the Raptors and reserve our final judgement until we get to January in the schedule .. unlike Jack who is expected to help fill the seats in the ACC in November.

  4. fluxland said

    Fantastic stuff from 82games regarding JO ( I was looking up clutch FT shooting)

    “The worst shooter under pressure in terms of a drop-off from regular non-clutch shooting is Jermaine O’Neal.”

    I feel so much better about our clutch play.

  5. GipFace said

    Your blog is great! There’s no need to continually trash Bleacher Report in order to defend your writing.

  6. Dave said

    48 wins is a good ball park for this Raptors team

    The Humphries issue is an interesting one for the Raps. I can’t wait to see how Sam slots the minutes between JO-Bosh-Bargnani, and if Bargnani plays any three, and then where Humphries fits in.

  7. khandor said


    Let me ask you two hypothetical questions.

    1. If you and me were to place a real life wager with one another … Would you be willing to bet me, say, $100,000.00 of your own hard-earned money that the Raptors will win at least 48 regular season games during this campaign?

    [with whatever injuries may or may not happen this season irrelevant to wager]

    2. If not 48 games, then … How many wins would you be willing to wager your $100,000.00 on for the 2008-2009 Toronto Raptors?

    IMO … the answers to these two questions is more relevant to the Raptors’ actual prospects for W’s overall this season, in comparison to a simplistic query like, “How many wins do you think the Raptors will get this season?” :-)

  8. FAQ said

    fluxland Says: “I feel so much better about our clutch play.”

    Have ya bought yer JO jersey yet …???!!!!

  9. fluxland said

    FAQ… never bought a jersey in my lifetime.

    I have 2 that were given to me as gifts. Francesco Totti and (Leite Ribeiro) Adriano .. neither one basketball players.

  10. khandor said


    No Marco Tardelli?

  11. fluxland said

    Nice khandor… oddly enough that’s a bit of a heartbreaker for me. : ) When it comes to World Cup play, I have always found myself rooting for Germany. Something about the way they play. And the legends, on any of those national teams, are countless.

  12. khandor said


    Speaking of World Cup heartbreaks …

    You have no idea just how difficult that 1982 Final was for me to have to endure … given my personal preference. :-)

  13. Dave said

    Nope I wouldn’t, because it’s not a certainty and secondly I’m not a gambler. But 48 wins is the ball park Toronto should be aiming for and it’s very much achievable.

    The second question leads a worst case scenario rather than a reasonable target for the club. I’m not that interested in thinking what that could be, but it’s pretty awful in comparison to 48 wins.

  14. khandor said

    As always, thanks for your input Dave.

    I think it’s important for the majority of Raptors fans to realize that there’s a big difference between (i) the realistic target number for Wins this team should be shooting/aiming for this season, and (ii) the number of W’s an informed NBA Observer like yourself would be willing to say categorically this team, as is, is most likely going to end up with this season.

    Given the improvement I see in other teams in the EC, since last season, it is actually quite possible for the Raptors to go even further backwards in overall W’s, in comparison with last season.

  15. fluxland said

    Did the Rossi hat trick hurt? : )

    Random guess Raptors win 32-36 games this year.

  16. khandor said

    re: Did the Rossi hat trick hurt? : )

    Unbelievably so … like a dagger straight through the heart of a then young fan, beginning with the 1970 title in Mexico City.

  17. khandor said

    BTW … the nine-pass goal sequence which begins at the 6:58 mark of the clip for the 1970 Final is simply one of the GREAT Goals of ALL-TIME! :-)

  18. fluxland said

    That’s pretty amazing… there were quite a few great ones in that package. Good stuff!

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