Posts Tagged ‘Gary Forbes’

A new NBA season is almost upon us.

And in a tradition as charmingly Torontonian as bidding for (and losing) the Olympics, sports writers here are bursting with optimism at the prospect of a new campaign of Raptors basketball.

Well, maybe not bursting. But for the Raptor faithful, there are some good reasons to be hopeful this fall. Don’t laugh. It’s true.

Reason for optimism #1: Jonas is coming.

Skill? Check. Height? Check. Fashion sense? Hm…

In a headline straight outta 2006, the Raptors are hoping that a big man from Europe with loads of talent will have a positive effect on the team in the coming years. The anticipation around Valanca…Valcan……Valanaci…big V has grown all the larger since he missed what would have been his rookie season last year in Europe. The anticipation bubble will probably deflate quickly as he adjusts to the NBA game, but the consensus seems to be that this guy is (will be) good.

Reason for optimism #2: A legit point guard.

One of these guards was signed by the Raptors in the off-season. Can you guess which one?

Okay, so we didn’t manage to bribe Nash into playing here. But Kyle Lowry is solid, and after the parade of clowns we saw at PG last season, he might as well be Chris Paul. His perimeter defense, his scoring, his the-fact-that-he’s-not-Gary-Forbes-ness will all help.

Reason for optimism #3: We like Coach Casey.

Coach Casey, seen here giving a slow-clap after another ill-advised shot from Amir Johnson, was the main reason the Raptors won any games at all last year.

 A year of coaching the Raptors, and he hasn’t slit his wrists. That’s a plus. And let’s face it: he turned the team around last year. Well, maybe not all the way around, but he woke them up on defense and planted the seeds of success.

Reason for optimism #4: We’re not the worst franchise in North America.

“Remember”, Mom said, “there’s always someone who’s worse off than you.”

 A recent ESPN ranking of 122 sports teams on the continent places the Raptors at number 103, sandwiched firmly between the perennially mediocre Blue Jays (#79), and the belovedly horrible Maple Leafs (dead last at 122). It should be noted that the list does not include MLS, the continent’s soccer league, in which Toronto FC currently sits dead last.

In conclusion…?
Well, who’s to say what will happen over the next six months? The league is our oyster. This guy thinks the Raptors might make the playoffs this year. This guy puts them in the 7th seed.

Me? Well, I tend to stay conservative with my predictions. With that in mind, I’m forecasting the following:

  • The Raptors will finish 62-20, first place in the east. Bosh will be begging to come back, but Colangelo won’t return his phone calls.
  • Valanciunas will be the unanimous Rookie of the Year. He will pull down 18 rebounds per night and will be the toast of Toronto. He will get all the ladies, Bargnani will be jealous, and the two will come to fisticuffs in the middle of a game, prompting Bargnani’s trade to the Timberwolves.
  • Derozan will have a breakout season and put up 34.1 ppg through the all-star break, before a surprise marriage to a Kardashian and a subsequent messy divorce and downward spiral that will see him balloon to 270 pounds and disappear for a week-long bender in Niagara Falls.
  • Jose Calderon will win the dunk contest with a spectacular throw-down in which he does a backflip, followed by a barrel roll, followed by a mid-air high-five from Jerome Williams, who showed up because he thought he was still playing for the Raptors.

Go optimism! Go Raptors!

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Bargnani returned to the lineup, and resumed his patented defense, known as the "stop pushing yourself" method.

Record:  16-34 (3-7 over the past 10)

High point: Not falling apart in overtime against the Grizzlies.

Low point: Falling apart in the third quarter against the Bobcats.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

–          Solomon Alabi has probably played more minutes over the past ten games than his entire career before that.

–          I never thought I’d say the words, “Gary Forbes is on fire,” but then I said it. Two games in a row.

–          The only people who should wear camouflage are people who are in the military. And perhaps this man.

Memorable Quote:
“I think we just didn’t execute the way we were supposed to and we got a couple of turnovers in a row.”
-Jose Calderon after a 19-point loss to the Knicks on March 20th.

Note: “Couple” is apparently Spanish for “bagillion”.

So Deadline Day has come and gone, and although the Raptors may not have taken any of my trade suggestions, they do find themselves minus a couple of bench players. Anthony Carter and Leandro Barbosa are gone, and in return, we got…nobody. Hm.

Well, a second-round pick…and a trade exemption…Those are good things, right? And besides, now that Barbosa and Carter won’t be hogging bench minutes anymore, we get to see more of Butler and Forbes! Yay!

While I can’t say I’ll miss Anthony Carter (although it was fun to watch the old guy huff and puff his way down the court, only to get confused and pass the ball to the press table), I will miss Barbosa. He was an exciting player to watch; exciting in the way it’s exciting to ride an old wooden rollercoaster that is really fast, but a bit old, and might go off the rails and kill you at any moment.

Just for the heck of it, here’s my favourite Barbosa highlight, from his days in Phoenix:

All in all, it’s not really a bad deal for Toronto (go here for some more in-depth analysis), but just for once I’d like to see a trade where the Raptors trade a player and get an actual person in return.

So long, Leandro. We’ll miss you. If you make it to the playoffs, send us a postcard, ‘kay?

Calderon: Not worried about the Raptors' offence this year.


Record: 4-6

High point: As promised by coach Casey, the Raptors’ defence has improved; the Raps have kept opponents to 92 points per game, compared to 104 at this point last year. Which is great, except …

Low point: …the offence has disappeared. The Raptors’ offence is averaging 87.5 points per game, down from 100 PPG after ten games last season. The worst moment had to be that 62-point stinker against Philadelphia.

Stuff I’ve Noticed:

–          If all our games were against Cleveland, we’d be awesome

–          If all our games ended at halftime, we’d be awesome

–          Gary Forbes should avoid shooting at all costs

Memorable Quote:
“I think we’re going to be a more defensive team. We’ve got a lot of guys who can score points so we’re not really worried about that.”
 – Jose Calderon to The Globe and Mail, Dec. 26