With NBA training camps getting underway, so begins another Toronto Raptors season. Each camp seems to start with so much hope and expectation, only to see injuries and a failure to execute combine to destroy their season before it even starts. This Raptors team enters the 2012-13 season with a new look team, but the new look won’t help Toronto this season.
Despite their efforts in the Steve Nash sweepstakes this summer, the Raptors got the next best option in Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets who should provide a spark in the backcourt. It’s an area that Jose Calderon has failed to provide in the many years he has donned the Raptors uniform. The Raptors also added Landry Fields, highly touted center Jonas Valanciunas, John Lucas III, and Terrance Ross to their lineup in the offseason.
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All these additions do not by any means prove that the Raps will be successful in 2012-13. A lot of people are excited about the Raptors entering this year, still high off of head coach Dwane Casey’s debut season of 23 victories in a lockout shortened season, and under the circumstances feel the Raps did do better last season. This season is different though. Casey must get both the new and old players to buy into his system, and respect him. Without this, the Raptors have no hope.
Further, the Raptors division is to not be taken lightly. As the Raps have added so to have the Knicks, 76ers, Nets, and Celtics. In the era of the “Super Team” it is hard to take the Raptors seriously. Sure, it may not be a super popular destination for players to come, or have a history of success, but Brian Colangelo is trying his best to make things work.
When it comes down to it, the depth of the Raptors will decide how they do this season. The Raptors will start the year with plenty of inexperience on the court and on the bench. Toronto averaged 31.4 points a game off the bench, high among the NBA’s teams last season, regardless, their bench played nearly 40 per cent of the minutes for the Raptors a year ago. If the Raptors plan to depend on their bench so heavily this year, it will be hard to progress to a playoff bound team.
All these factors taken into a whole, the Raptors could be an underdog playoff contender, but by no means are they a set in stone playoff team. One that on paper looks like a lock to win a series in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Inexperience and lack of true leadership looks to be a killer for the Raptors, and talent parity among fellow Eastern Conference teams and Miami Heat’s super team, don’t give the Raps a big shot this season. Just keep progressing, and Toronto, one day you will have a team worthy of being named a pre-season playoff team.