Home > NBA > Toronto Raptors: Is There Anything to Look Forward to in the 2011-2012 NBA Season?

Toronto Raptors: Is There Anything to Look Forward to in the 2011-2012 NBA Season?

Is this the future for the Raptors? I think we could give him a chance.

When first looking at the Raptors roster for the 2011-2012 season I had a feeling the team would struggle to win 10 games in this lockout-shortened season. Now, after the free agent signings of Rasual Butler, Anthony Carter, Gary Forbes, Aaron Gray, and Jamaal Magloire (the first Canadian to every play on the Raptors) I still think it will be hard for them to get double-digits in the win column this year.

Most of the NBA media types who are currently putting out season preview columns are focusing on a few specific team aspects that they think will translate into success this season. These include established stars, a deep bench, and a coach/system that has been in place for a number of years; none of these are owned by the 2011-2012 Raptors.

The starting line up for the Raps is going to look something like… Calderon at PG, De² (DeMar DeRozan) at SG, James Johnson at SF, Amir Johnson at PF, and Bargnani at C.

First thoughts here are that James Johnson should not be starting on any team in the NBA, Amir Johnson may be serviceable this year after he exceeded the extremely low expectations I had for him last year, and this better be the last season of Calderon starting at PG.

I think the real story of the Raps is told when looking further down the depth chart. Behind Amir Johnson at PF is second year Ed Davis who had a solid rookie season and is gearing up to be a great poor-man’s-Chris-Bosh. If Amir continues to have foul/scoring troubles this year and Davis continues to improve at the pace that he was last year, I can see Davis grabbing that starting role not too far into the season.

Behind Calderon at PG is Jarryd Bayless whom the Raps picked up from the Hornets last year in a trade for Jarred Jack. Bayless finished strong by starting the last 14 games of the season last year for the Raptors and put up respectable numbers. Calderon is 30 years old and is not going to be the answer for the Raps in the coming years. Bayless if 23 and has a lot of room to grow. When Kevin Love was asked which player from his draft year he felt was underachieving and was due to break out soon, Love named Bayless as that player. He is young and I am looking forward to new head coach Dwayne Casey looking to the future this year by eventually handing the reins over the Bayless. I want to see what he can do with in a starting PG role. If there is a season to take a chance test him out, this is it for the Raptor.

The other prospect for the Raptors is currently way down the depth chart. So far down, he is in Lithuania right now. The Raptors’ first round pick in the 2011 draft, Jonas Valanciunas, was drafted with the knowledge that he will be stuck in Europe for one more year. It’s probably not the worst thing for the team right now since they aren’t going to be contending anyway, they can get some big contracts off the books next season, and from what it sound like Valanciunas needs another year to develop before he is ready for the NBA.

The way I see it the Raptors, and GM Colangelo, are really looking past this season already and gearing up for 2012-2013 where they will most likely have a good draft pick from a strong 2012 draft. Luckily for Raptors fans it is going to be a shorter season than usual. If this was a full 82 game season it could be painful, but now a single-digit win season can always have an asterisks beside it due to the shortened season. I love looking at the bright side of things!!

When first looking at the Raptors roster for the 2011-2012 season I had a feeling the team would struggle to win 10 games in this lockout-shortened season. Now, after the free agent signings of Rasual Butler, Anthony Carter, Gary Forbes, Aaron Gray, and Jamaal Magloire (the first Canadian to every play on the Raptors) I still think it will be hard for them to get double-digits in the win column this year.

Most of the NBA media types who are currently putting out season preview columns are focusing on a few specific team aspects that they think will translate into success this season. These include established stars, a deep bench, and a coach/system that has been in place for a number of years; none of these are owned by the 2011-2012 Raptors.

The starting line up for the Raps is going to look something like… Calderon at PG, De² (DeMar DeRozan) at SG, James Johnson at SF, Amir Johnson at PF, and Bargnani at C.

First thoughts here are that James Johnson should not be starting on any team in the NBA, Amir Johnson may be serviceable this year after he exceeded the extremely low expectations I had for him last year, and this better be the last season of Calderon starting at PG.

I think the real story of the Raps is told when looking further down the depth chart. Behind Amir Johnson at PF is second year Ed Davis who had a solid rookie season and is gearing up to be a great poor-man’s-Chris-Bosh. If Amir continues to have foul/scoring troubles this year and Davis continues to improve at the pace that he was last year, I can see Davis grabbing that starting role not too far into the season.

Behind Calderon at PG is Jarryd Bayless whom the Raps picked up from the Hornets last year in a trade for Jarred Jack. Bayless finished strong by starting the last 14 games of the season last year for the Raptors and put up respectable numbers. Calderon is 30 years old and is not going to be the answer for the Raps in the coming years. Bayless if 23 and has a lot of room to grow. When Kevin Love was asked which player from his draft year he felt was underachieving and was due to break out soon, Love named Bayless as that player. He is young and I am looking forward to new head coach Dwayne Casey looking to the future this year by eventually handing the reins over the Bayless. I want to see what he can do with in a starting PG role. If there is a season to take a chance test him out, this is it for the Raptor.

The other prospect for the Raptors is currently way down the depth chart. So far down, he is in Lithuania right now. The Raptors’ first round pick in the 2011 draft, Jonas Valanciunas, was drafted with the knowledge that he will be stuck in Europe for one more year. It’s probably not the worst thing for the team right now since they aren’t going to be contending anyway, they can get some big contracts off the books next season, and from what it sound like Valanciunas needs another year to develop before he is ready for the NBA.

The way I see it the Raptors, and GM Colangelo, are really looking past this season already and gearing up for 2012-2013 where they will most likely have a good draft pick from a strong 2012 draft. Luckily for Raptors fans it is going to be a shorter season than usual. If this was a full 82 game season it could be painful, but now a single-digit win season can always have an asterisks beside it due to the shortened season. I love looking at the bright side of things!!

Follow Matt on Twitter: @Matt FOTB

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  1. malefax
    December 21, 2011 at 10:32 am

    hey, if it isn’t worth saying once, why not say it twice? Nice editing.

  1. December 21, 2011 at 5:49 am

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