Talking the talk, already … in Raptorville

The 2008-2009 NBA season officially opens today for the Toronto Raptors.

Together, Chris Bosh [PF/C, current All-Star], Jose Calderon [PG, current ‘almost’ All-Star] and, new arrival, Jermaine O’Neal [PF/C, former All-Star] form the core of a team with significant ambition this season … which includes a stable starting 5-man group BUT a plethora of question marks elsewhere on the roster. 

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O’Neal likes Raptors chances of ‘doing great things’ this year
The difference between the Raptors and the other contenders and pretenders is the level of excitement that goes with today’s official opening of the 2008-09 season.

They are talking great, not good, expecting success unrivalled in the franchise’s 14-year-history, the optimism based on the arrival of a new big man and the natural maturation process of a roster now dotted with experience rather than question marks.

“Me, Chris Bosh and Jose (Calderon) sat down after the scrimmage (last week) and it was like, ‘Man, we have a real shot here,’ ” newcomer Jermaine O’Neal said. “We’ve got a real shot.

“Obviously, we have the talent on paper and if we mentally believe that and bring that swagger every day, that we’re the best team on the floor every time we step on the floor, we’ve got a shot at doing some great things this year.”

O’Neal is certainly to be at the centre of any resurgence of the Raptors, who’ve bowed out of the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

Turning 30 during training camp, he’s been impressive in informal workouts and scrimmages over the last week, according to teammates and coaches. He brings experience – albeit having missed most of two seasons with knee woes – and a steadying force under the basket.

“Watching the guys work out, it’s just amazing how much more confidence they have, having Jermaine O’Neal back there,” said coach Sam Mitchell. “I’m telling you man, just watching them work out, he was blocking shots and talking.

“The thing I love about him, not one time has he talked about ‘Give me the ball.’ All he’s talked about is playing defence and rebounding.”

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Rebounding & Defense are crucial elements for a legitimate contender in the NBA but so, too, is QUALITY DEPTH throughout a team’s roster. 

Putting Anthony Parker [OG, 4th year] and Jamario Moon [SF, 2nd year] into the starting line-up, leaves a supporting cast of:

Key Bench Subs
Andrea Bargnani … C, 2006 NBA Draft No. 1 [overall] Selection, Yr/3
Jason Kapono … G/F, 2003 NBA Draft No. 31 [overall] Selection, Yr/6 
Kris Humphries … PF, 2004 NBA Draft No. 14 [overall] Selection, Yr/5
Roko Ukic … PG/OG, 2005 NBA Draft No. 41 [overall] Selection, Yr/1

Reserves
Will Solomon … PG, Undrafted 2002 Free Agent, Yr/1
Hassan Adams … OG/SF, 2006 NBA Draft No. 54 Selection, Yr/2
Joey Graham … SF/PF, 2005 NBA Draft No. 16 [overall] Selection, Yr/4
Nathan Jawai … PF/C, 2008 NBA Draft No. 41 [overall] Selection, Yr/1

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In the view of this corner, whoever sees this group of 8 secondary players for the Raptors as somehow being ‘good enough’ to get the ‘job done right’ in the Eastern Conference this year, Regular Season and Playoffs … is simply NOT being realistic, considering the potency of other teams in this half of the League right now, many of which subtantially upgraded their ‘quality depth’ this off-season.

2007-2008 Finish; TEAM; 2008-2009 Adds; [Number of Quality Depth Adds]

1 BOSTON – Giddens, Walker, Erden **, O’Bryant & Miles [3]
2 DETROIT – Michael Curry [new coach], Sharpe, Brown-KBynum-W [3]
3 ORLANDO – Battie [returns healthy], Lee, Pietrus, Johnson-A, Jones-Dw, Wilks & Richardson [4]
4 CLEVELAND – Hickson, Jackson-D **, Williams-M, Kinsey & Wright-L [3]
5 WASHINGTON – Thomas-E [returns healthy], McGee, Brown-DDixon-J [4]
6 TORONTO – O’Neal, Ukic, Solomon, Adams & Jawai [1]
7 PHILADELPHIA – Speights, Brand, Ivey, Ratliff, Marshall, Rush-K & Hill-H [5]
8 ATLANTA – Hunter, Claxton [returns healthy], Evans-M, Murray-R & Morris-R [4]

9 INDIANA – Rush-B, Hibbert, Ford, Nesterovic, Jack, McRoberts, Baston & Croshere [6]
10 NEW JERSEY – Lopez-B, Najera, Dooling, Simmons, Jianlian, Hayes, Anderson-R, CDRHodge [9]
11 CHICAGO – Vinnie Del Negro [new coach] & Rose [2]
12 CHARLOTTE – Larry Brown [new coach], Morrison [returns healthy], May [returns healthy], Augustin, Ajinca & Brown-S [5]
13 MILWAUKEE – Scott Skiles [new coach], Alexander, Mbah a Moute, Jefferson, Ridnour, Griffin, Jones-Da, Lue, Allen-M & Elson [5]
14 NEW YORK – Mike D’Antoni [new coach], Gallinari, Duhon, Houston, Ewing-P/Jr & Roberson [4]
15 MIAMI – Eric Spoelstra [new coach], Wade [returns healthy], Beasley, Chalmers, Diawara, Jones-J & Magloire [5]

** unsigned 2008 Draft Pick

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Instead of talking ‘Loud & Proud‘ at this point in the PRE-SEASON … on the first day of training camp, no less … it might behoove this version of the RapShow to simply try and ‘Walk the Walk’ properly, at first … for one of the few times in the history of this franchise … AND LEAVE THE TALKING OUT OF IT COMPLETELY, considering the fact that this team has advanced to the 2nd Round of the Playoffs only ONE TIME in its 13 year history.

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Although it isn’t quite the same as Ubuntu, the 2008-2009 Raptors would do well to embrace the following sentiment first popularized by acclaimed RoughRider, Theodore Roosevelt, over 100 years ago:

“Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”A West African proverb

There is still a long and arduous journey ahead for this team.

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6 Responses to “Talking the talk, already … in Raptorville”

  1. fluxland Says:

    Khandor… the voice of reason! Excellent work, Sir.

    The one thing MLSE is good at.. is selling false hope and unfounded optimism to Joe Average Raptors fan. The suckers are many…

  2. Joe Average Raptors Fan Says:

    So what you guys are saying is that what people say on the first day of training camp don’t mean shit. Damn!

    Guess I’ll jump on the Pistons, Suns, Celtics, 76’ers . . . which bandwagon is it we’re jumping on.

  3. fluxland Says:

    Joe, buddy, old pal!

    Yes, I at least am saying… a whole lotta yapping and saying what you expect every single player in the NBA to say prior to the season/training camp starting actually does mean KAKA! I mean c’mon… do you really expect anyone to come out and say… well, i don’t like our chances but we’ll see what we can get done.? And please don’t tell me you believe the “we are the best team on the floor every night” stuff? If you do.. don’t forget to order you JO jersey sometime soon.

    Talk is cheap… actions speak louder then words… put up or shut up… whole lotta talking not a whole lotta walking… all that jazz.. applies here.

  4. danny tanner Says:

    fluxland, as an educated n*gga from the bronx i am not normally at a loss of words when it comes to something like this…but the only word that comes to mind is idiot. your an idiot, simple as that.

    i can kinda see where ur coming from saying ‘its all talk’ when it comes to fans like ‘joe’ and players such as ‘JO’, but what u must understand is that ‘joe’ is a ‘fan’… thats what fans do, they get excited and they say stuff. doesn’t mean its gonna come true in anyway.

    im a buffalo bills fan, their 4-0 right now. im saying superbowl champions. deep down i know theres no way in hell that will happen, but thats just what im saying…cuz im a ‘FAN”…and im excited.

    as for ‘JO’ making those comments…same thing, hes excited, hes getting a second chance, a fresh start on a new team which is better then the last team he was on. he says there gonna be contenders, let him say that, dont stress yourself out about it, just understand were hes coming from. again, something thats probably not going to come true.

    from your comments it kinda seems like u think JO is trying to speak the truth, if u believe that then u probably think ‘Full House’ is real, and that im Danny Tanner… and if thats the case, u’ll probably come nock on my door asking hangout with my dog Comet so u can like out his *sshole… man your f*cked.

    really this whole blog was kind of stupid. the way it was written gives off the impression that it was done by an angry pre-teen pacer fan who is torn over losing their star(JO) and seeing the way it was put together, i cant help but think Khandor is either a very unexperienced sports writer, or maybe was just bored and came up with this sh*tty content, stupid examples and so called facts, with an even dumber opinion on the topic.

    i could go on forever, and i havnt even really gotten into the content of the blog as much as i would of liked to… and im not even a raptors fan, but im going to take your advice fluxland cuz i agree with you, talk is cheap.

    …fluxland, u should also take your own advice, shut the f*ck up, stop talking cuz u sound like a douchebag/dog *sshole licker and watch the nba season. if u make another comment about this you’ll only prove me right…. but please, for all of us, prove me wrong. show us all your not a douchebag and just shut the f*ck up and watch the season f*ckface.

    thats all for me….cuz im not a douche…

    EDITED: Note to ‘danny tanner’ … if you intend on contributing here, it will need to be in a differnt way than your first comment. Disagree with the style & content of the blog all you want; that’s your perogative. However, know that this is a non-vulgar/profane site … sorta like the ‘new’ Sam Mitchell, in a way … and language like THAT won’t be allowed to fly here. It’s a choice you make, plain and simple. 🙂 If it happens again, your entire message will be removed and your contribution here will be at an end. The best Basketball is played by those who consistently make the best choices, in a variety of different environments. What kinda playa are you … really, when the chips are down? Choose wisely, life is filled with interesting dilemmas.

  5. fluxland Says:

    WOW! Hi Danno!! Thanks for the comment and welcome. This is a great blog. You should stick around, check it out. Great content all around.

    First off.. I really don’t care where you are from or what race you are. Claiming you are educated is suspect since your language, grammar, punctuation are atrocious. Don’t let me forget your comprehension skills are sadly poor since you read this my comments and this post while coming away with the impressions you did.

    I don’t have to prove anything to you or anyone else, but thanks for the advice.

    I am fully aware of how fans think and where they are coming from, thanks for the lesson. I for one choose to be a different kind and I will do so as I please. And don’t worry or lose any sleep, I am not stressing out about anything.

    I would go on further, breaking down the rest of your, ummm… tirade, but I’ll refrain.

    Enjoy the Bills, the NBA and the rest your life. Hope whatever is wrong at home to cause you to a act like an internet tough guy and spit venom all over my comments, takes care of itself soon. Best of luck,

    FLUX.

    P.S. What do yo mean Full House is not real? 😦

  6. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    […] Talking the talk, already … in Raptorville The 2008-2009 NBA season officially opens today for the Toronto Raptors. Together, Chris Bosh [PF/C, […] […]

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