Last year's record? 40-42, missed playoffs
Projected record, as predicted three months ago in time to publish in Yahoo! Sports' NBA Preview Magazine? 31-51
Why I think that sounds about right?
I don't think that sounds right at all. Even with Leandro Barbosa and Kleiza looking pretty "right" during the preseason, something in me had the Raptors working at least at 75 percent of where they were last season. That now seems terribly optimistic to me three months later.
How can they get there? Well, Andrea Bargnani(notes) has to stop being the player he's been his entire career. Which is pretty impossible to do this late in the game, even if he is still young, and even if he supposedly will be allowed to flesh things out and explore the studio space with Chris Bosh in Miami.
He'll have to become a lights-out shooter in order to justify how much he shoots from outside. He's good, no doubt, but not money enough to make the lack of interior points or free throws worth it. He'll have to find his teammates more often -- and it's not like those opportunities aren't there when he pump fakes, drives and has a big man or guard come over to take a charge while a teammate waits wide open underneath the basket or in the corner. And he'll have to not be one of the worst rebounders in the NBA, again.
After one of the more miserable make-good preseasons we can remember (Bargs is currently shooting at a 23 percent clip), things aren't exactly looking up.
Why I think I could be terribly, terribly wrong?
I think I'm completely wrong here. This team certainly has a chance at 31 wins, but quite a bit has to go right.
Coach Jay Triano and GM Bryan Colangelo will have to take some sort of responsibility for the way things have gone pear-shaped. Jose Calderon(notes) has to become the all-world offensive player he once was in order to make up for his terrible defense. Jarrett Jack(notes) will have to make sound decisions consistently. Not just as a bit of gravy. Kleiza will have to take more charges than he gets whistled for on the other end, Barbosa will have to put up a ton of points and Julian Wright will have to stop acting like Julian Wright.
This is not a 31-win team.
You know who was, though? The 1974-75 Indiana Hoosiers. Perhaps the Raptors need to hire a chair-thrower to sit behind that bench.
Dan Devine's Corner Three
Mark Eaton rhymes ...
Made-up limericks about "going for it" in the NBA and in life, from the 7-foot-4 former Utah Jazz center and current celebrity motivational speaker.
A poet like Julian Wright
Is for nerdier fans a delight.
Most won't look his way
If he can't shoot the J,
But his verse may improve from the slight.
Let's take a closer look at David Andersen
This has been a closer look at
Jay-Kay David Andersen.
We'll be missing you