For a while, Toronto did okay without Vince Carter. It was in 2001-2002 that Toronto won 9 in a row and advanced to the playoffs without Carter. Nowadays it's hard to tell if they're better off.
Yes, Carter was biding his time in Toronto. But now the Raptors are the worst team in the league and are looking for another franchise player.The Raptors are in a rebuilding direction, and so far the future looks bright.
While the present is meek to say the least, they do have good young players. Charlie Villanueva is performing extremely well for Sam Mitchell with 12.7 PPG and there have been no chemistry issues to this point. A dark horse for Rookie of the Year is backup PG Jose Calderon averaging 6.2 APG 17th in the league. Rafer Alston's replacement Mike James has had 2 30-pt games so far, and is shooting well outside.
He and Calderon play well together and Toronto is actually outscoring teams in the 4th quarter. Chris Bosh isn't doing it by himself like we all thought and is playing great himself.While their offense is average, their defense is a wreck; they're giving up a 103.6 PPG, second only to Seattle.
Jalen Rose and Morris Peterson are having off years, especially Rose- who is averaging just 10.2 PPG, his worst total since 97-98. Toronto is 26th in the NBA in rebounding, mainly because Aaron Williams, Loren Woods and Rafael Araujo haven't been standouts.
Defensively they have a lot to work on, something Sam Mitchell is sure to improve.Rose was supposed to be the leader, but more often than not it's been Bosh, James and Calderon. The Raptors have a history of not being shy to make trades: last year it was Carter, before that it was Jerome Williams for Mark Jackson, before that it was Charles Oakley for Marcus Camby. It's dubious that Toronto will keep Jalen for much longer; most likely they'll trade his giant contract for someone else's giant contract like Stephon Marbury or Austin Chroshere.I have to say that I was surprised seeing Toronto's youngsters playing this well this early.
Yes they are a young team, and yes they commit a plethora of rookie mistakes. That should change in a year under Sam Mitchell. Mitchell is tough but that's the kind of personnel you need for rebuilding team. And when Rose is traded, they should have some fresh blood in to help. They have practically no shot at the playoffs, but don't be surprised if they wind up within 3 or 4 games of the Atlantic division leader..
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By: David Pincus