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Lunchbox Links - Raptors Projections, Valanciunas in ROY Race and More

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We're long overdue for a good LBL session so figured we'd fire off an edition today.

Let's start with some rookie talk as SB Nation argues that Anthony Davis is not a shoo-in for rookie of the year. Could Jonas Valanciunas be a contender?

Most however seem to believe that Davis with indeed win the ROY honour, but Jonas' name has gotten some pub in the discussion. And how about Davis' peers picking the Raptors' two 2012 draft picks as the most athletic rookies in the class? In fact Acy, the top "athletic" pick, had a hell of a rookie photo shoot.

More prognostications?

How about ESPN.com picking the Raptors to finish 11th in the East next season?

That seems a bit low to me and my thoughts at this point in August are more likely in-line with Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus' take - a ninth-place finish:

9. Toronto Raptors: 41.8 | 10.8
The additions of big man Jonas Valanciunas and shooting guard Landry Fieldsgive Toronto a much more solid starting five. Head coach Dwayne Casey's team will stress defense, and if DeMar DeRozan's productivity starts to match his raw talent, the Raptors might be poised for a playoff run.

Moving away from projections we head to a few more Raptors-related topics.

DeMar DeRozan needs a big season this year, not just for his club's playoff hopes, but also as he's one of the class of 2009 looking for a contract extension. Will 2012-13 be the year DeMar breaks through? This Drew League DeRozan mix would seem to suggest yes but...well..I think each off-season we get one of these highlight packages so I'll wait till the real games begin.

Also in 2013? Free Agency starring a number of Raptors like Jose Calderon.

And finally, a few random Raps links starting with Jose Calderon's unusual trick shot routine, and um...apparently the infamous"Kobe dropping 81 on the Raps" game, was inspired by...pizza.