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Raptors - In Depth Commentary And Analysis.

This team can be a player in the East next year, here are my thoughts:

Centre - Hakeem Olajuwon/Eric Montross/Mamadou N'Diay

Unfortunatley we lost Clark so expect to get killed at centre this year. We lost our main shotblocker when we had Clark looking to block the shot and Davis back on then blocks to rebound and clean up. A poor managerial move letting Clark go, maybe last years mass resigning was not as good as it was?

Hakeem is almost on his last legs. He showed some glimpses last season, but he has clearly lost his athleticism.I still have to wonder what the Raptors were thinking when they gave up the 15th pick in this years draft as well as a large contract for him. Anyway he has lost his speed and athleticism, so when he is in the game, go to work on him. Make him work on defense, by playing a quicker, more agile centre on him, and make him run and chase you. he is still smart player and will play the basics against the offensive player. You have to exploit his weakness. His reactions will not be that great, so I would advise the guards to drive at him, at all times and get to the hole. All he would be able to do, nowadays is just foul the penetrating guards.It is clear all of his unstoppable low post moves have deserted him and the defense are able to keep up with him as he can no longer do what he used to. I would like to play him 25 minutes per game max and have him at the clutch!!

Eric Montross - Just another big body as insurance, although he did start some games last year for the Raptors. However he is going to have to play because of our lack of big bodies. he is a load but he is slow.

Power Forward - Antonio Davis/Michael Bradley

Davis is a workhorse and a warrior for ther Raptors. he struggles when he has to play centre, and if they lose Clark, he can expect to play more there in my opinion. tries to take too many outside jumpers and gets his shot blocked moreso than any other players that I have seen. He has only been shooting about 42%, the last two seasons, which is a very low percentage for a power forward. Possibly he tries to do too much on offence. he should just focus on posting up and getting his points that way. Although he can hit the 15 foot jumper at times, when he gets hot. he is a solid rebounder and solid shotblocker. I would get him to defend the perimiter. he is too comfortable in the low blocks, so you need to get him out of his comfort zone. Play a power forward on him who can shoot jump shots. Make him come out and defend you, leaving only the centre in the blocks to rebound. Make Davis work on defence, make him chase you and run him through picks at every opportunity. he is strong, so posting him up may not be the best passage of play against him. he is 6"9 but has great athleticism and reaction. Expect him to play some huge minutes, if not start at centre this year due to our lack of rebounders. he is undersized and there is no question about that. But he will work his a'ss off and that is all we can ask of him.

Michael Bradley - A great college player and has a chance to contribute this year. He has a solid outside jump shot and is an adequate rebounder. I just think that he needs the minutes to develop his game. I mean Davis will play close to 40 minutes a game with Yogi and Hakeem taking the centres minutes.

Small Forward - Vince Carter/Jerome Williams/Chris Jeffries

What to say about Vince Carter. One knock on him is that he is too comfortable shooting 3 point jumpers all day. I believe that his injury this year allowed him to take the easy option and just shoot from outside, instead of driving and dunking on everyone. Cannot really be stopped one on one due to his speed and athleticism and this is his main advantage over defenders. In last years playoffs he showed that the big time does not scare him and that he can score whenever and whatever the situation presents itself. Can get lazy on defence but he has improved in that regard. Once again the key is making him work on defence. Make him run through screens and make him chase your offensive player. Bang him through some picks and give him a hard time. Be active on offence against him. he is not an instinctive defensve player so you can score on him. Throw lost of fakes and spin moves on him to make him lose some concentration.Make him guard you and force him to over comitt on defense giving away some cheap fouls in the process. Make him give up the ball. he is often the first option on offense, so let them go to option two, which is throw the ball into the post, or fire the three point jumper. Make him pass out of double teams. Deny him the ball, as he needs the ball to create his offense. Do not play him close up as he will just wheel by you with ease and get to the whole. You need to play an athletic long defender on him, to crowd his space and block his vision.

Jerome Williams - A fan favourite, but at $6 million a year, to play about 20 minutes a game?? he is a great rebounder that can guard the threes and twos of the league. Is a hustle kind of player, who crashes the boards with a passion. cannot shoot and gets cheap buckets through dunks and drives. Is a great stealer on defense and plays the passing lanes and gets steals in this regard. I just think that the Raptors paid him a bit too much for a role player. But he does give the team the energy that it needs, to get it going. Leave him open on offense and use his defender to double team Carter. He will play more minutes at the 4 this year and this can hurt the team. One, because he will be forced to play against bigger players and he has only a small frame for a 6"9 player. Two, he is more suited to defending quicker guys whereby he can use his quickness and athleticism to defend them.

Chris Jeffries - I think that the Raptors are going to play him. Possibly playing Carter more at the two and giving Jeffries time to split the three with Williams. He will play for his solid defense. Although Lenny Wilkins has not really liked playing rookies that much.There is no point letting him sit on the bench. If he is on the team just let him play for 10 minutes per game, let him learn by his mistakes now, so he can develop for next season

Shooting Guards - Morris Peterson

Has he improved and do the Raptors really need him?? I think that he should be used primarily off the bench as an offensive spark. Cannot defend the two's of the league just yet. Can get hot and cold at times. he needs to step up when carter is struggling. He needs to look for the open man more and not focus on looking to score all the time. he has upside and has not reached his full potential. once again when VC is cold he needs to pick up the slack and be aggressive!!

Point Guards - Alvin Williams/Lindsay Hunter

Williams is a combo guard. he looks to shoot more so than pass first. He is a big guard at 6"5 and that helps him on defense, but he is not that good a defensive player. I saw him get lit up by Miller, Davis, etc during the year. The reason why he only averages 5 assists a game, is that the ball goes to Carter where he goes to work and creates. It is not a flowing offense in the true sense. Can get to the hole well and adequate three point shooter. he is not that strong so hopefully you can match up a physical tough player on him and use this to your advantage.He can disappear during games and that is not what the team needs for a guy that is starting and playing big minutes on the Raptors!

Lindsay Hunter - Disappeared in the playoffs for the Pistons, the Bucks and the Lakers. he is just a backup, not a starter. looks to shoot, then shoot again. Sure he has great range on his jumper, but he has shot about 25% in the playoffs for the Pistons and the Bucks in recent years, just check out his stats. Does not even get to the hole on offense. he is just one dimensional in my opinion. He is a good defender and physical on defense. If he gets hot leave him on, but when cold, he needs to come out of the game. he struggles when the pace of the game slows down. This is why he has struggled in the playoffs. You are playing against quality defense, and you are hardly ever unmarked and you always have a defender in your face.

Michael Stewart - Played well about 3 years ago, has done nothing since. Overpaid but he will be on the active roster this year. Showed glimpses of being a class defender and shotblocker, at the Kings but once again, when he got his contract he has not been sighted since! I have already written Yogi off!!

I think the Raptors need a big scoring small forward. I would pull off the trade for Jerome Williams and Bradley for Marshall immediately. Marshall is just as good a rebounder than Williams, he is a better shooter, offensive player, inside scorer, outside scorer, he can shoot the three, get to the hole, etc, better than Williams. he can guard the threes and the fours at times. This is what the Raptors need. They can move Carter back to the shooting guard spot and Marshall is a 6"9 small forward, who can have a great impact in the east. This will leave Peterson, Hunter and Jeffries, and Hakeem, to come off the bench.However it seems like Marshall might sign with the Bulls or Wolves.

Overall I think the Raptors are in solid but not great shape. Carter has a point to prove and it will be interesting how he performs. Losing Clark means that we lose part of our interior defense, rebounding, shotblocking and athleticism. I feel the Raptors are going to pay for not being able to resign him. Hopefully the other players can pick up the slack and pick up where Clark left off. Instead of being satisfied with what they did last year in that semi final against the 76ers why not go one step further.

If you read this, please comment. It took me too damn long to write to get no replies. Once again the Raptors board needs to be more active like the Bulls board and lets get a solid discussion about the Raptors situation going. This is my part. Hopefully some other guys can read this in its entirety and we can get more posters into the Raptors forum.The Raptors are a contender so let us try and build this thing up. So post some damn replies!!!!

1,767 Posts
Good analysis as usual. I agree that the Raptors main problem is at center because they rescinded Clark; frankly I can't believe they did that. But, hey, you don't hear me complaining, right? :)

Anyways, I agree, the Raptors are still in ...OK... shape, but Carter's really gonna have to play his absolute best to get this team far in the playoffs.

20,141 Posts
Another great and well thought post man. :)

I agree mostly with what you said, but I think we need more help at center than we do at small forward. We already have Mo Peterson, Vince Carter, Jerome Williams and Chris Jeffries who can all play the 3, and who all aren't that bad. However at the 5, we lost Keon and that will hurt, so outside of him we have N'Diaye, Montross, Stewart, and Huffman. Basically 2 scrubs, one foreign player and a player who's always on the IR, but when he does play he's shown very good signs. However, I can't see N'Diaye starting consistently for us this year. I frankly don't see us surviving in the playoffs past the 2nd round with a lineup of:

PG: A.Williams
SG: Carter
SF: Peterson
PF: Davis
C: Montross/N'Diaye/Huffman

IMO the best lineup for us would be:

PG: A.Williams
SG: Carter
SF: Peterson
PF: J.Williams
C: Davis
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