THE PERFECT STORM?
I was thinking recently that implementing this new starting unit now could be a stroke of brilliance. With 40% of the starting lineup new, it might make it a little less predictable for opposing teams to figure out a gameplan against the Raptors. It might mean one or two stolen wins down the stretch, and possibly a couple in the playoffs, as well.
And yes, Cleveland is probably hoping to play Toronto since they are the weakest team defensively, but Toronto may pose a problem other opponents wouldn’t. Bargnani, however much his lack of rebounding and lack of inside play hurts the team (as well as his inconsistent defense), gives Cleveland a matchup problem they have had trouble figuring out this year, especially if both Bargnani and Bosh are hitting their jumpshots. A lot will depend on Bargnani, and it will be where he will have to earn his money.
And Shaq returning for the playoffs I think might be a problem for Cleveland, as they have played better since he’s been injured, and had trouble fitting in initially.
So the Raptors new starting lineup, the matchups and the return of Shaq all seem to play in favour of the Raptors against Cleveland in the upcoming (hopefully) playoffs. Now, I’m not predicting the Raptors will get past Cleveland to the second round, but the series may well be more competitive than it first appears. And maybe a competitive series against Cleveland (who should be favourites to win it all), might be enough to keep Bosh in Toronto, and wash the stench of the last part of the season away.
WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
While Toronto will be in Philadelphia, trying to get to win #38 (and another game closer to me winning my bet against Darren), Chicago will be playing Charlotte. The question is, who do you cheer for. If you’re an optimist, you cheer for Chicago, because you want Toronto to get that 7th seed and not have to play the best team in the league in the first round. If you’re a pessimist, you cheer for Charlotte, not wanting Chicago to have any chance of catching Toronto for the 8th spot in the East.
Me? I’m going for Chicago in this one. Maybe.
THE ROOKIE WALL
I read that John Wall has not made up his mind about entering this year’s NBA Draft. My question: When was the last time a consensus #1 pick went back to school? Answer: Tim Duncan, 1997. What do you think the chances are of him NOT coming out?
Of course, the bigger question is will he end up being the best player from this draft? That’s become the question.
THE SUN RISES AGAIN
It’s hard to believe the Suns are again a top seed, after falling out of the top 8 earlier this year, and looking like they might trade Amare. Fast forward a couple of months and they could end up with the 2nd seed for the playoffs (They’re currently tied with Dallas for the 2nd spot). Did anyone have them pegged as a top seed in pre-season? Especially with Channing Frye (he wasn’t that guy in that Dear John movie, was he?) as the starting center. They might go from missing the playoffs last year, to a top seed this year, and their biggest offseason move was giving Shaq away for nothing.
TRADE DEADLINE REVISITED
I kept meaning to bring this up, but are any of the people who HATED the rumour about Kevin Martin being traded to the Raptors the same people who thought Toronto needed someone like current Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, instead of Colangelo. For those that aren’t keeping track, Morey traded for Kevin Martin just before the trade deadline.