The rebuilding Wiz are welcomed to the ACC. It’s our first look at a team which has high expectations for a playoff appearance, meaning that the Raps will need to bump them aside if our guys are going to squeeze into the postseason.
- Coach Casey’s shiny new toy is ready to be taken out for a spin. Yes, fans, Kyle Lowry will be unveiled to us. Our anointed #1 PG has been held out of games thus far because of a strained thigh, but Coach says it’s Showtime. I’ll be watching for rapport with his teammates – can he find them with a crisp pass at the precise “right” second? Turnovers will be important. Is everyone on the proverbial same page with the plays being called? I won’t be fussing about shooting percentage or defense; those skills are baked in to Kyle, and will return if they don’t show up tonight.
- “My rebuilt team can beat up your rebuilt team.” Both teams’ top suits, Colangelo & Ernie Grunfeld, will be on display with their players. The Wiz flushed out what had been a severely dysfunctional locker room by trading Javale McGee & Nick Young, & amnestying Andray Blatche. Their frontline has been rebuilt with Emeka Okafor & Nene, & Trevor Ariza has checked in as the SF. Whether John Wall (who’s hurt, but is a superstar in waiting) and #1 draft pick Bradley Beal can make all of this change translate into wins is problematic. Returnees like Kevin Seraphin, Jan Veseley & Trevor Booker are still establishing themselves, so team depth is questionable.
- What about BoB? Our third line guys (McGuire, McNeal, Wright, Acy) must be getting antsy, as they’ve been glued to the bench. C’mon Coach, it’s preseason – let’s see what these guys bring to the table.
- Jonas still merits his own bullet point. The big Centre on whom so many hopes are pinned has looked solid thus far, and his ability to connect with Lowry will be closely scrutinized. Speaking of exciting rookies, Terrence Ross needs a bounce-back game after too much iron/not enough net against Detroit.
- Several of our projected rotation players (Davis, Johnson, Kleiza) have been inconsistent & Landry Fields has shown little. None of these people project as All-Stars, but their contributions need to increase if the Raps, rather than other ambitious squads like the Wiz, Pistons or Bucks, are going to sniff the postseason.
- Jose Calderon has a nagging injury, and John Lucas III has looked terrific to date. Is it conceivable that JL could bump Jose to BoB status? If so, the Calderon trade-talk volume button will be cranked up to 11.
- It’s getting close to cut-down day. We’ll be watching with great interest, & issuing our post-game report.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.