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Old 10-11-2016, 03:53 PM   #1
Senator Clay Davis
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Default 2016-17 Toronto Raptors and General NBA Thread

Two weeks away from opening night so figure it's time to get this going again. After unquestionably the most successful season in franchise history, the Raps are bringing almost everyone back and have done a nice job of filling in the losses that they did have. But with that said the path to winning the division figures to be much more difficult with the Celtics improving themselves with the Horford addition. I still think the Raps are deeper and that will help them hold off the Celtics, but it'll be a race that comes down to the last couple weeks instead of being

As far as the roster goes, to me it's more or less the same question as last year: How much further can JV take his game? Ideally we'll see them actually giving Valanciunas more looks and run more offense through him, but I remain skeptical it'll come through. But as we saw in the playoffs last year when JV is rolling, he elevates the Raps to being a legit threat to win the East rather than "best non-Cavs team".

The bench to me could be one of the best in the league, especially if we see some development out of Delon Wright. But a second unit of Joseph, Ross, Powell, Sullinger and Poltl offers a bit of everything, but is strong on defense and can score well too. A major weakness a few years ago appears a big strength now. And that doesn't even include VanVleet who's looked good or Bebe who I think deserves more minutes this year.

Won't make a playoff prediction but I do think we see them win the division and win 52 games. Still view them as the second best team in the East.
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Old 10-11-2016, 04:01 PM   #2
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As far as the rest of the NBA goes, obviously it's feeling a lot like 2010-2014 where we had our supervillain team. The Warriors probably won't see as much hate as the Heat did, but Durant in particular will be pretty well disliked across the league. Like the Heat in their first year I expect we'll see the Warriors struggle in the first 20-25 games trying to adapt to the new normal over there. Obviously Klay is most likely to see his role reduced, so we'll see if he accepts the Bosh role as good as Bosh did. But by midseason they'll probably look as frightening as they do on paper. My only major concern is they can be abused by bigger, stronger teams, but those same teams could also be run out of the gym by the Warriors.

As far as MVP goes it seems the overwhelming consensus is Russell Westbrook will walk away with it, and it's hard to disagree. I don't see it happening but if anyone is taking a run at averaging a triple double in a season, it's Westbrook. If there's a sleeper MVP it's gotta be Kawhi, after working with Kobe all summer he might be even more devastating on offense to pair with this world class defense. Someone needs to take over as team leader after Tim Duncan, and I think Kawhi will step up into that roll.

Other players I'm watching: Really excited to see Giannis running PG full time for the Bucks, such an amazing talent; Joel Embiid has shown everything that made everyone so high on him in preseason so hopefully he stays healthy. And of course can't wait to see more of Karl-Anthony Towns, the guy who will be the #1 player in the league sooner than later. League is absolutely loaded with talent right now, so it's an exciting time to be a fan.
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:40 PM   #3
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Two weeks away from opening night so figure it's time to get this going again. After unquestionably the most successful season in franchise history, the Raps are bringing almost everyone back and have done a nice job of filling in the losses that they did have. But with that said the path to winning the division figures to be much more difficult with the Celtics improving themselves with the Horford addition. I still think the Raps are deeper and that will help them hold off the Celtics, but it'll be a race that comes down to the last couple weeks instead of being

As far as the roster goes, to me it's more or less the same question as last year: How much further can JV take his game? Ideally we'll see them actually giving Valanciunas more looks and run more offense through him, but I remain skeptical it'll come through. But as we saw in the playoffs last year when JV is rolling, he elevates the Raps to being a legit threat to win the East rather than "best non-Cavs team".

The bench to me could be one of the best in the league, especially if we see some development out of Delon Wright. But a second unit of Joseph, Ross, Powell, Sullinger and Poltl offers a bit of everything, but is strong on defense and can score well too. A major weakness a few years ago appears a big strength now. And that doesn't even include VanVleet who's looked good or Bebe who I think deserves more minutes this year.

Won't make a playoff prediction but I do think we see them win the division and win 52 games. Still view them as the second best team in the East.
I haven't been very impressed with Poltl this pre-season. That said, i'm bitter because they should have taken Sabonis.
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Old 10-11-2016, 07:37 PM   #4
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One year under the Raps' relatively young belt, so I think they'll be more or less around where they were last year. Only real major change has been losing Biyombo, which may hurt them at times. Having said this, I don't know what to think of the NBA. Too many pretender teams with superteams. Kinda depressing that no matter how good the Raps are, they'll never beat a superteam in a 7 game series.
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Old 10-11-2016, 09:33 PM   #5
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Only way I see an improved team is IF JV gets more usage. Doubt that happens so onto Option 2 Ross and Carroll give them more than last year / Carroll just has to stay healthy but he still isn't 100% and Ross well we have been waiting for years on end but hey who knows. Option 3 is Sullinger gives them a boost like Biyombo / he is likely only around for a year and either gets a big payday from a good year or starts learning Chinese.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:52 PM   #6
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Love the direction of this Raptors team. Love the way they're going. Oldest player on the team is 30 and thats Lowry. Masai has done a masterful job of building a team will strong veteran players and youth.

This year will be interesting because they will be missing Biyombo, that will hurt the Raptors interior defence significantly.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:41 AM   #7
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Love the direction of this Raptors team. Love the way they're going. Oldest player on the team is 30 and thats Lowry. Masai has done a masterful job of building a team will strong veteran players and youth.

This year will be interesting because they will be missing Biyombo, that will hurt the Raptors interior defence significantly.
This is where Sullinger and a healthy Carroll come into the equation. Heck even Bebe looks like he is finally starting to see the light. They are going to miss Biyombo's blocks but Sullinger is a very good rebounder so no drop off there. A healthy Carroll means less penetration inside and less pressure on the big men inside. I can see that being not that big a deal losing Biyombo if Sullinger is really working for a good payday next year. Bebe may be able to play more than garbage minutes this year which also would be helpful depth wise.
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Old 10-12-2016, 07:51 AM   #8
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The furthest they can get it East Final. That's just the NBA reality.

Jonas has to be made the focal point of the offence though. Team would be much better if DeRozen was #2. Who knows, this way Jonas takes another step and becomes the one of the top centers in the league so they have a legit superstar too.
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:29 PM   #9
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Anthony Davis expected to miss 2 weeks with a sprained ankle. Has all the tools to be the best player in the league but injures continue to hold him back.
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Old 10-13-2016, 08:51 PM   #10
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No Lebron or Demar and an easy win for the Raps over the Cavs. Bebe looked good again / Scary but I think he is the fourth big for now. Can't get over how he looks like he knows what's going on as opposed to the clueless stare he has always had in the past. But hey big guys do take more seasoning.
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Old 10-15-2016, 03:39 PM   #11
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So, is Fred Van Vleet going to make the final roster?
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Old 10-16-2016, 06:05 AM   #12
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So, is Fred Van Vleet going to make the final roster?


I'd say with Wright out to start the year he has a decent chance.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:49 PM   #13
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So I mentioned some non-Raps guys I was excited about seeing this year, and while it is preseason what I've seen in limited minutes from Joel Embiid is extremely impressive. Reminder he's only been playing basketball since he was 16. But check out the footwork at the 1:00 mark. He's got better footwork than John Wall. He needs to stay healthy obviously, but if he does I cannot wait for the Embiid-Towns matchups in the future. Because they are the future, big men with elite athleticism and skill.

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Old 10-17-2016, 06:56 PM   #14
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^ really interesting (the footwork). I'd have to see more of him overall to assess if he's a future superstar, because we've seen guys with fancy footwork who've not fully panned out (ie: Valenciunas).
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:02 AM   #15
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So because Casey can't coach an offence beyond letting his guards play a 2 man game, JV hasn't panned out?

I think you're mistaken there.
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Old 10-18-2016, 11:28 AM   #16
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The JV conundrum will probably continue this year, but they really should be running lots of pick and roll with him and Lowry. We know he can step out and hit that midrange jumper and he has good low post skills as well if he rolls to the basket. But will he get the touches? Can Lowry and DeRozan sacrifice 3-4 shots a game each to get JV more touches? We'll see, but at this point I won't hold my breath. Sick as it sounds to suggest this, an injury to either Lowry or DeRozan might end up being a blessing in disguise if it means getting the ball into JV more.
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Old 10-18-2016, 01:22 PM   #17
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So, is Fred Van Vleet going to make the final roster?
I've been pretty impressed with Fred Van Vleet, especially the game here in Calgary.

Not so much the guy with the man bun. I forget his name, and I fully admit the man bun affects my ability to see his contributions on the floor without bias.

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Old 10-18-2016, 01:29 PM   #18
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Towns was the biggest surprise for me last year. Man was he fun to watch.
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Old 10-19-2016, 10:32 PM   #19
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Raptors played pretty well against the Pistons. Bebe has seized the opportunity for some NBA regular duty. Don't know what got into his head but he looks like he actually gives a crap now. JP plays sound basic BB / can see him working his way into some playing time. Siakam is going to get time just for nonstop hustle. Freddy methinks is on the opening night roster(until Wright is healthy).

Only trouble spot is Sullinger missing most of the preseason.
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Old 10-20-2016, 09:19 AM   #20
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It'll be fascinating to see what the 12-man opening day roster looks like, but if I had to guess right now...

PG: Lowry, Joseph, VanVleet
SG: DeRozan, Powell
SF: Carroll, Ross, Siakam
PF: Patterson, Poltl
C: Valanciunas, Nogueira

Plus Wright and Sullinger on the bench in streets.
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