You should never read too much into stats when it comes to the preseason. Because coaches haven’t figured out rotations yet, players aren’t getting their normal minutes and quite frankly, they aren’t playing at 100 percent even when they do get in games. But there are still signs you can pick up by watching teams and players during the preseason. So far, the Raptors have been average at best coming out of the gates. Toronto is 2-3 in the preseason and have already displayed a couple areas of concern.
As I’ve mentioned plenty of times over the offseason, the Raptors have a chance to grab one of the last playoff positions. With the addition of Hedo Turkoglu, the emergence of Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh in a contract year – there are plenty of reasons for optimism north of the border. Even GM Bryan Colangelo expects this team to win 50 games. For that to happen, Toronto will have to do a lot more than what they’ve shown so far in the preseason’s first five contests.
First and foremost, the Raptors need to get better on the glass. They are 23rd in the league in rebounds (38.6 rpg) in the preseason and are being out-boarded by almost five per game. Bargnani is only averaging 4 rebounds (0.8 offensive) so far. The team has also been struggling defensively especially in the paint. In their 106-90 loss to the Celtics last night, Boston’s bigs shot 18-30 from the field. And in a game against Washington, the Wizards big men scored 52 out of the team’s 93 points. The Raps can’t be soft if they are expecting to steal Philly, Detroit or Chicago’s playoff spots.
On the offensive end, the team has been spreading out the points and minutes. Bargnani is the team’s leading scorer at 12.8 and most the starting lineup has only been playing half of the games. Because of injuries, Turkoglu and Bosh have sat out a couple of the games so it is hard to say how they are all meshing with each other yet. For the Raps to be competitive, I think you will need Bosh averaging around 22 and 10, Bargnani will need to put up 18 and 7 and Turkoglu will need to average 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists while taking a lot of the big shots down the stretch. In other words, they need to be beasts.
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