Published on: 15th October, 2009
2009 Toronto Raptors Season Preview by Vernon Croy
With the 2009-2010 NBA season only a short time away, many NBA fans are getting excited. Last season was an exciting one and this year should be no different. For the Toronto Raptors, last year was a mostly forgettable one. They finished the season with a 33-49 record and lot of disappointments. They tried several different combinations of players and trades with none of them working very effectively. At one point they had Shawn Marion and Jermaine O’neal on the roster, but later traded them away. Let’s take a look at free NBA picks to see if the Raptors did enough in the offseason to merit any consideration as a contender this year?
The Good News: The Raptors went out and made a pretty big acquisition in the offseason by picking up Hedo Turkoglu. Hedo was one of the best players for the Orlando Magic last year as they made their run into the NBA Finals. His ability to run the team from his “point forward” position is a rare skill that can help the team work well. His ability to find the open man and get the assist is a unique feature to get from a 6’10″ power forward. He was one of the biggest additions to any team this offseason and he should help the Raptors immensely. In addition to Turkoglu, they also added a talented shooting guard via a trade with the Golden State Warriors. Marco Belinelli should be able to add some scoring to the shooting guard position. Add him to Jose Calderon in the backcourt and you’ve got the makings of a pretty good guard combo.
Another thing that the Raptors have going for them is the emergence of Andrea Bargnani over the last half of last season. He shot over 40% from the 3-point line as a seven footer. Anytime you can get accuracy like that from a big man it helps out a lot. When you throw in a perennial all-star in Chris Bosh, you’ve got a fantastic frontcourt.
The Bad News: While all the moves sound good in theory, no one knows exactly how the chemistry will work out. Anytime you bring in two new starters to the team, you run the risk of messing up the chemistry with the existing players. In addition to that, Belinelli has never been a full-time player in the league and only averaged 8.9 points last year for the Warriors. How will he react when he’s counted on to start? Turkoglu only emerged over the last couple of years in Orlando. How will he play now that he’s surrounded by completely new players? He should be solid individually, but will he have the same effect on the Raptors?
The Outlook: If your looking for Free NBA Picks expect the Raptors to improve over last season. They have a lot of talent on the roster with Calderon, Bosh, Turkoglu, and Bargnani. They probably won’t win the division, but they will probably get to .500 or better this year. Expect them to make the playoffs and bow out in the first round.
Check out Vernon Croy’s Expert NBA Picks this season.