Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Raptors Look Ahead To Next Season

As the Raptors season winds down to an end, and with their playoff hopes fainted in late February, the focus of the team now shifts to assessment of the current team and what pieces they can add in the summer to make the post season next year.

What do the Raps Have and What do they Need?

As of right now the Raps do have an abundance of young talent on their roster that will be crucial in their quest to the playoffs next year. They have added a franchise player prior to the trade deadline, in Rudy Gay, who will be instrumental in getting the Raptors over the hump and into the post season. So far they have their wingmen in DeRozan and Rudy Gay, who will provide valuable scoring and in Rudy Gay the team will benefit from having a two way player that is a menace on the defensive end. The Raps have reliable point guard in Kyle Lowry, who really needed some experience this year and controlling the team, and with the trade of Calderon it has given him the chance to run the team, and its exactly what he needed.

What the Raps need to address for next season, can be broken down into two areas, the center position, and bench scoring. The Center position is occupied right now by Amir Johnson, who has played well, no doubt, but he doesn't matchup well with opposing teams big men. The Raptors are among the leagues worst in rebounding on the defensive end, and the Raptors have to bring in a experienced Center who can help out on rebounds, and be a threat to opposing teams on the offensive and defensive ends.
 Bench scoring has been a problem for the Raptors, it has been inconsistent throughout the season to say the least, and must be addressed in the off season. Alan Anderson, who is a key player who comes off the bench for the Raps, will most likely sign else where at the end of the season, so it is important for the Raps to bring in some role players, with experience, who can also score on a consistent basis.

It will be a very interesting and busy off season for the Raptors as they look ahead to next season.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks Pre Game Analysis

Saturday night will bring a game that features teams going in different directions, the Toronto Raptors who are planning for next season and the Milwaukee Bucks who are getting ready for some playoff action, which will most likely see them face the dangerous Miami Heat in the first round.

Both teams will be finishing up back to back games, where the Raptors faced the Timberwolves on Friday and the Bucks faced the Knicks. The Bucks are slumping heading into the playoffs, losing nine out of their last 13 games, while the Raps are three and seven in their last ten games but won their last game against Washington with ease. The Raptors will look for some redemption on Saturday against the Bucks, as they have not had much success against them this season, going 0-2 in the season series. More importantly the Raps lost their last game in overtime against the Bucks in early March, which proved to be a huge blow to the teams confidence and fainted any Raptors playoff hopes.
The Milwaukee Bucks enjoy playing Toronto, and will look to turn a new leaf as they head into the playoffs, as they have won the last nine games against the Raps.

Key Match-Up
JJ Reddick vs Rudy Gay
Reddick is a streaky scorer, that comes off the bench for the Bucks and can put huge numbers from behind the arc. Reddick is one of those players who really enjoys playing against the Raps, during his time with the Magic and now the Bucks. Rudy Gay has played more effectively for the Raps in the last week and was a key component in the win for the Raptors against the Wizards. Look for either one of these players to be the crucial factor, in a win for their team.

Probable Starters

Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas
Milwaukee: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Marquis Daniels, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders

Predictions
Tonight's game will be an interesting one between two teams that are heading in different directions, but both have poor records over the last 10 -12 games. Look for the Raptors to come out with the win on Saturday and snap their horrible record and losing streak against the Bucks. I would touch the over/under for this game, but would take the Raptors to cover the spread.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Raptors vs. Pistons Pre-Game Analysis

Tonight the Toronto Raptors will look to end their five gaming loosing streak as they visit Detroit to play the Pistons. Tonight's game will also have another featuring story line, as it marks the first game Jose Calderon will play against his ex team in the Raptors.

The Pistons are on much of the same path, as they have lost 11 out of their last 12 games, with their last win coming in a point win over Charlotte. Despite this free fall by the Pistons they are still only two and half games behind the Raptors in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have secured a victory against each other in the season series, and Greg Monroe has been huge for the Pistons in this series, averaging over 27 and 10.5 rebounds. Look for the Raps to limit Amir's playing time tonight as he banged up his leg against Atalanta on Wednesday, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to make sure he is alright.

Key Match Up
Lowry vs. Calderon
A key match up for tonight's game will be between former teammates in Jose Calderon and Kyle Lowry. The two battled for starting positions in Toronto, until Bryan Colangelo made the big trade to land Rudy Gay. Look for this match up to be intense and competitive.

Probable Starters
TorontoKyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas
Detroit: Jose Calderon, Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe
Game Time : 7:30 pm on Sportsnet One
Up next for the Raptors is the Washington Wizards followed by another meeting with the Pistons on Monday. Look for the Raptors to go on a little bit of a winning streak and ending their season on a positive note.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Toronto Maple Leafs Trade Rumors

This post is a little out of our usual elements but since there are some major rumors out their, we figured why not report on one of the other franchises under the MLSE brand, The Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Leafs have been subject to many rumors over the last two weeks, due to their inability to collect points over the last 5 games, posting a record of 0-4-1 over that time. There has been signs of worry from leafs nation and because everything is under the microscope in this city, it starts the talks of possible trades the Leafs could make to secure themselves a spot in the post season. With 19 games remaining in this short season, the Leafs have found themselves in a little bit of a tail spin, one we have see before, that ends up costing them a playoff position, but what pieces do they need to get them over this slump. The Leafs according to numerous reports are still in the hunt for a center and a top four defense-men, which is kind of bland, as most teams are looking for the same. A rumor that has surfaced over the last couple of days, is that the Leafs are eyeing Rebeiro from the Capitals, who has played well this season, scoring 9 goals and adding 19 assists in 24 games. But the problem is Ribeiro is much like Nazem Kadri of the Leafs, who is already playing well and could just be given more ice time.  To get Ribeiro the Leafs would have to part with a second round draft prick and a prospect, which is much of the same of what the Capitols gave up to get him from Dallas. Now Ribeiro is a good player, has veteran experience, and can help with scoring and play-making, but in my opinion, the Leafs should not make this move, as they not only have a similar player on the team right know who playing well in Kadri, but it goes against their philosophy of having big players.

In terms of a top four defense-men there has been no players named but a few players that could help them and that could be available are Jay Bouwmeester and Robyn Regehr. If their respective teams continue to fall these players could be assets that the Flames and Sabres are willing to part with.

The last 5 games for the Leafs have been disappointing, however their next two games against the Lightning and Sabres should be games that they win. These next two games are also crucial for the Leafs as they have two games coming up against Boston.      

Being a player in Toronto means that when things are going well the media praises you, however when the team goes on a little slide the team is under the microscope and the rumor mill is created. But rumors are just speculations and we have to wait until something actually happens.