For those who saw Jose Calderon putting on a show in the recent Eurobasket tournament, his play so far in preseason, especially in the Raptors' recent win over the New Jersey Nets, shouldn't be a surprise. Apparently it's not only the local media that's taking notice as even his coach, Sam Mitchell, has been quite impressed with the young point guard. The Raptors' brass knew they were getting a pass-first point guard when they signed the 24-year old but they didn't expect him to pick up on things so quickly. His defence has been a lot better then anyone expected as well and while he's still learning the nuances of the English Language, his play on the court has spoken for itself. In fact it may no longer be a foregone conclusion that Mike James will be the starting point guard.
Another player who is looking to get some run at the point guard spot is Alvin Williams. Raptors fans were treated to Alvin's long awaited return on Wednesday night and while he only played about five minutes in the win, he is hoping that his minutes will increase as the season goes on. It's a marvel that Williams is even playing after numerous surgeries and hopefully his successful rehab continues enabling him to play a solid role with the club this season.
Finally, NBATV gave it's Atlantic Division season preview last night. The Raptors were picked to finish last in their division however anything resembling meaningful analysis was not forthcoming. Analysts Peter Vescey and Fred Carter spent most of the Raptors' time slot talking about how they had "changed their minds" during the commercial break and now thought the Knicks might indeed press for the 8th playoff spot in the East. In fact the Atlantic Division run-down should have just been called "Let's Talk About Larry Brown and The Knicks." Obviously neither Fred or Peter knew much about the current squad with the exception of Chris Bosh and therefore the time remaining for the Raptors' discussion was almost soley a Chris Bosh biography. However Vescey did admit that he simply did not know enough about the rookies Villanueva and Graham to comment on them but thought that the franchise was headed in the right direction...I GUESS that's a positive comment towards the team and compared to some of the other comments that have come out of the US media, we'll take it.
PS - The full RaptorsHQ staff will be out in full force at the ACC for tonight's game vs. Paul Pierce and the Celtics. We'll have a full analysis of the game tomorrow on the site. Unfortunately we won't be able to give you a breakdown of the Corey Williams/Tony Allen matchup...which would have been interesting as it would have pitted a player with the nickname "homicide" against a player perhaps facing charges of the same name.