Here are the Raptors previews. 3 different blogs signed up.
5. Can Andrea Bargnani get it together?
When you take a player with the first pick in the draft, as a fan, you tend to have certain expectations in terms of his performance. So far Andrea has not lived up to expectations, and in many ways regressed in his second season. The pressure is on the Italian to make "the jump" this year. It’s hard to put your finger on just exactly what caused Bargnani’s struggles last year, but confidence and a consistent role undoubtedly played a big part. Instead of being forced into the starting center spot this year however, Andrea will be once again coming off the bench and hopefully used in a manner more akin to his strengths. He worked hard this off-season to round out his game and is as healthy as he’s ever been. Therefore "Il Mago" has no excuses left and must become a key component to this team and its success. If Bargnani is not in the discussion for sixth man of the year when all is said and done, then it may be hard to keep the "bust" talks at bay.
2. What are the team’s biggest strengths? As long as Bosh and O’Neal can stay healthy the teams biggest strength this season will be it’s frontcourt. The Raptors talented duo have combined to play in nine All-Star games over the past decade and look to become the prominent front court duo in the NBA. Throw Jawai, Humphries and Bargnani into the mix coming off the bench and the Raptors have moved from being a team challenged on the glass to possibly one of the top rebounding teams in the NBA this season.
1. What significant moves were made during the offseason?
The biggest and most significant move over the summer to me was bringing in Jermaine O’Neal (duh). This seems like an "all in" kind of approach by Bryan Colangelo where he is seeing the window for this current group closing. Bosh needs to be shown that this team is ready to compete now, so he does not look elsewhere when he is a free agent.
By bringing in JO, it not only added rebounding, shot blocking and toughness, it also fixed the drama at point guard. T.J. Ford is gone and as much as I was a T.J. guy I am willing to go with the move and say it was good (for now). That being said I am still not sold on Calderon being the man to run to team full time but we will see as the season moves forward. I already know that when Toronto plays Indiana, Ford is going to burn us. I do like the fit with Bosh and Jo though because Calderon will feed them as much as possible unlike Ford.
If JO’s knee holds up and he returns to the play that made him an All Star (or even close), the Raps have a killer front court. If the knee goes bust again, it will be another long season for the Raptors.