Will the Raptors make the playoffs?

Point - Counterpoint

Point

The reason many people are disappointed with the Toronto Raptors so far this season is because
when Bryan Colangelo took over as general manager, people expected Toronto to become the Phoenix
Suns of the North.

What many don’t realize is that all the Raptors’ new parts will require time to build chemistry.
And all the parts are there for the Raptors to succeed. Winning teams can be created with different
formulas, and the Raptors have an interesting one.

Trading fan favourite Charlie Villanueva landed Toronto a young, quick, pass-first point guard in
T.J. Ford.

Chris Bosh speaks for himself. After seven games this year, he sits top in the NCA in rebounding and is on his way to becoming one of the top five players in the league. With a quick point guard and a solid big man, the Raptors clearly have the foundation to become a winning team for many years to come.

As for this year, the Raptors need to rebound quickly. In the early part of the season, the Raptors have had a number of problems, indicated by their 2-5 record.

Poor shooting, especially from beyond the arc, has hindered their run-and-gun offence.

Defence has also been a major concern for the Raptors, often allowing opponents to shoot close
to 50 per cent for the game. But Raptors fans needn’t worry about the season just yet.

Though it wasn’t the kind of start most fans were looking for, there are some positives that can be
taken from their first seven games. Chris Bosh has been playing like a man possessed. When he’s on his game, no one in the league can stop him. He gives the Raptors a chance to win every game.

Many of the games that they’ve lost have been close heading into the fourth quarter. If the Raptors
can learn to finish down the stretch and play better defence, things will turn around quickly for this
young team.

Drafted first overall in the 2006 entry draft, Andrea Bargnani, has shown brief glimpses of brilliance.
Fred Jones, the 2004 slam-dunk champion, has added energy and a scoring touch off the bench and has become a solid sixth man.

Those strengths, combined with the consistent weakness of the Eastern conference, means the Raptors should have no problem finishing .500 and securing a playoff spot.

--Adam Bercovici

Counterpoint

Only seven games into the 82-game NBA season and already the Toronto Raptors don’t look like
a playoff team.

Coming into the season, fans and experts were aware that the new Raptors general manager,
Bryan Colangelo, had spent the .off-season trying to build a run-andgun style team, looking to run an
upbeat offence and win high-scoring games. If you can’t make shots, you can’t win games—especially if you are weak defensively.

The Raptors’ offence simply hasn’t been able to make shots so far this year. They have shot at
a very low percentage from the field, and to top that off, have been getting constantly beat on defence.
If at least one of these doesn’t change soon, neither will their 2-5 record.

This off-season, Colangelo acquired several players he hopes will support the team’s star forward
Chris Bosh, and hopefully lead to many great seasons of Raptors basketball in the future.

As the former general manager of the Phoenix Suns, Colangelo built a very strong team down there.
With hopes of doing the same in Toronto, Colangelo acquired many young, fast-paced players. He
went out and traded for a relatively unproven point guard with loads of potential in T.J. Ford. He got one of the best international players in Anthony Parker.

In his previous stint in the NBA, Parker was unsuccessful, but it looks like he has rounded into form overseas.

With the first pick in the draft this year, Colangelo drafted Italian Andrea Bargnani—the first ever
European selected first overall. Colangelo also picked up former first round pick Spaniard, Jorge
Garbajosa; exciting but unproven guard, Fred Jones; and second-tier center Rasho Nesterovic.
Colangelo ultimately wants to build a team with a strong bench that can out run and out score its opponents, with the hope of eventually being able to play some defence.

As far as this year is concerned, however, it’s going to be very hard for the Raptors to finish with the
.500 record they need to make the playoffs.

It takes more than a few games for a team to gel, especially a team with unproven, young players.
Though Brian Colangelo knows what he’s doing, it would take a near miracle to make the playoffs
this year. But, if the team is able to gel over the next couple of years, we could be seeing a owerhouse in the NBA for years to come.

--David Orlan

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