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Dave Berri asks the multi-million dollar question: Can Toronto build a winner around Chris Bosh? Despite the significant roster turnover, the numbers presented in the Wages of Wins Journal suggest Toronto has taken a step backward. Berri also dispels the myth that Andrea Bargnani somehow improved in the second half of the 2008-09 season:

Fans of Bargnani, though, have argued that he played much better in the second half of the 2008-09 season.  If we compare Bargnani in the first 41 games of 2008-09 to the second 41 games (i.e. split the season exactly in half), then it doesn’t appear Bargnani got any better.  In the first half his Wins Score per 48 minutes [WS48] was 8.1.  In the second half he posted a 7.6 WS48.  To put that in perspective, an average power forward posts a 10.4 WS48; so Bargnani was very below average in both the first and second half of the 2008-09 season (for a power forward).

The good news is that, like several HQ members, the Toronto front office doesn't put all of its eggs in the advanced statistics basket. Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell recounts a conversation with a Raptors executive:

I asked her about the stats revolution in basketball and she just kind of shrugged and said, "It's interesting, and we look at those things, but you have to understand that for our purposes, it's all [about] character." The thing that separates players is that some have a work ethic, some don't; some are coachable, some aren't; some party all night, some go to bed early. From her standpoint, it's all those intangibles.

If the Raptors fail to rack up the wins this season, they're missing a golden opportunity to capture interest in a hockey-mad city that craves a winner.

Big money is hard to come by for the Class of 2006. Bargnani was one of the lucky few first rounders to receive an extension.

SI.com has a scouting report and roster analysis from an opposing team's scout for your 2009-10 Raptors. Ian Thomsen also predicts a return to the playoffs for the Dinos.

The Score's Holly MacKenzie checks in with notes and quotes from yesterday's Raptors practice.

You owe it to yourself to read Bill Simmons' account of meeting Isiah Thomas at a topless pool in Vegas.

Spanish point guard Jose Calderon plans to play for Spain in next summer's World Championships, and he says the Americans need to send their top players as well.

Sonny Weems is schooling rookie DeMar DeRozan... at Madden.

DeRozan also needs to look out for the injured Antoine Wright, who is healthy and planning to take the kid's starting job.

Coach Jay Triano keeps the team guessing.

Former Raptors Jake Voskuhl and Maceo Baston were waived by the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons, respectively.