Pre-season is around the corner and the HQ has five burning questions they hope to see resolved early on...
The NBA season is back!
Well...not quite, but with the receipt of yesterday's invitation to the Raptors' annual media day, in the words of Trent in Swingers when he sees Mikey talking to Heather Graham...
"Dude, it's freaking on!"
Media Day for us each year represents the start of a new season in many ways, and considering Media Day this year falls on Monday the 27th of September, that means we've got essentially a week to go before we get back into the swing of things.
Recently on the site we've talked a bit about the upcoming season in terms of previews and the like, but this morning I wanted to build on those with five questions that keep popping into my head. These are questions that may transfer over to the regular season, but really, they're more grounded in the pre-season and I'm sure will at least be partially answered by the time things really start in late October.
Let's start with maybe now the most obvious one...
1) How fragile is Ed Davis?
Last night the Raptors sent us a mini press release speaking to the extend of Ed Davis' recent injury. They made it sound as positive as possible, but the bottom line is that Davis underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear to his right knee, and will be out at least six weeks.
Not exactly how you want to start off the former Tar Heels' NBA career is it.
The concerning thing to me is that this makes two straight fairly tough injuries for the Dino's top draft pick, and seeing him in person, he's not exactly the second coming of Shaq.
2) Who starts?
Right now I've got a Jarrett Jack, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson group. However it's quite possible that Jose Calderon and Sonny Weems get in the mix at some point, as well as maybe even Julian Wright.
3) Who fills out the rotation?
Related to the first point, I'm extremely curious to see how Jay Triano uses the rest of his rag-tag group. Does Reggie Evans get minutes? How about Solomon Alabi now that Ed Davis is hurt? Will Triano look to go with a very broad rotation for now until Davis returns and we get deeper into the season?
All of these queries are related and similar to last season, with so many players of similar talent levels, it's going to be interesting to see how Jay uses his personnel.
4) Who steps up in Bosh's absence?
Right from the get-go it's going to be interesting to see who looks to takeover the main scoring role for CB4. The assumption is that it will be Andrea Bargnani, but I'm wondering if Linas Kleiza isn't a close second. As well, guys like DeMar DeRozan showed in Summer League that they were ready to lead a team's offence so we'll see if that transfers over to pre-season and the following regular season schedule.
5) How bad will this team be?
Yikes, a bit of a negative slant on that one. However considering Vegas is saying Toronto is only going to win about 28 games, the pre-season should give us an idea of just what's to come. Does pre-season predict regular season success? Hardly. It's the time of the year when scrubs get extra run, and players and coaches are still feeling things out. However like Summer League, I'd argue that pre-season is a good predictor of failure.
What do I mean by that?
Well simply that in past years, when the Raps have struggled in pre-season in certain capacities, those same capacities show up over and over as their undoing in regular season.
The best example of this I think was a couple seasons back when Bryan Colangelo had Roko Ukic and Will Solomon backing up Jose Calderon. Right from the jump you could see this was an issue as the Raps even in pre-season got killed when these two stepped on the court. The drop-off from Jose to both was quite large, and it was quite evident that early that it was going to be a problem come regular season.
I'm betting that in a similar way, the pre-season this year will throw out some "regular season red flags."