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Early Thoughts from #Raptors' 2012 NBA Media Day.
For starters, I'm excited.
The Toronto Raptors officially kicked off their 2012-13 NBA campaign earlier today with the annual team media day, and while I wasn't present (damn real job), Scott and Vicious D were there taking my spot and by the sounds of it, we'll have tons of exclusive content from the event.
But back to the excitement.
Sure, the Raps aren't trotting out this starting line-up, but there's some definite optimism in the air as the team departs for Halifax, ready to kick off training camp tomorrow.
And it's not just from spinmaster Bryan Colangelo, although he did provide this money quote to Eric Koreen of the National Post today:
BC: "You go into a season excited what the prospects are. I cannot say I went into last season excited about what the prospects were..."
Frankly, I was actually slightly excited about last year, lock-out mess aside, because I was hoping for a legit shot at a top 3 draft pick. That didn't happen, but the team did a nice job in the off-season adding some, in my opinion, substantial pieces that should help this club take another step forward.
Yes, Bargs is still around, and Colangelo spoke of already being in talks with DeMar DeRozan's agent regarding a contract extension (AHHHH - more on this during the week), but Landry Fields, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross...hell, even Dominic McGuire - all reasons to smile a bit in my opinion.
I'm excited to see what this team can do with perhaps my favourite roster since we started covering this club nearly eight seasons ago.
With the injury to John Wall, and frankly, some very interesting chemistry questions surrounding the New York Knicks, there's indeed an opportunity I believe for the Raps to make a bit of a playoff push. They'll need to play a lot better offensively -something Casey spoke to the media about today, noting a big increase in use of the 3 point shot now that he has the personnel to take and make them- avoid injuries, keep up the tight D, and all the usual other caveats, but there's some interesting players on this team.
Put it this way, I'd rather be talking about Toronto's Media Day than New York's...or various other clubs like Charlotte, Washington and Milwaukee for that matter.
Anything else that caught my attention from the various tweets and notes on Media Day?
Everyone's in the best shape they've ever been in of course, are ready to take the next step in terms of their career development, aren't looking at personal goals but team ones, and can't wait for the season to get under way.
Yep, there were those usual Media Day staples but I do believe a few of the players are indeep in better shape than they've been in the past, either thanks to a lack of injury woes (Amir Johnson) or increased focus on diet/workout regiment (Aaron Gray.)
Other than that, it sounds like there's already some good chemistry between various teammates (Acy and Ross for instance) and many of the new Raptors are getting themselves acclimatized to their new surroundings. (A reader spotted Jonas Valanciunas examining potential wall art at a local Ikea on the weekend.)
Again, we'll have exclusive video interviews, photos and insight tomorrow but until then, let's all sit back and relish the fact that we're not lamenting Hedo Turkoglu's deal, wondering if Garbo will ever be the same, or scratching our heads over a signing like Will Solomon.