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Lunchbox Links - Valanciunas, NBA Season Previews and Playoffs for Raptors?

We're only a few weeks away from the start of training camp for the Toronto Raptors unbelievably, and that means the season previews are starting to come forth in bunches.

We'll start with a look at the Raps via the eyes of the enemy, as SB Nation's Atlanta Hawks' blog, Peachtree Hoops examines the Dinos. (Feel free to disagree with their assessment. After all, they DID beat the Raps' 3-on-3 entry in a toss-up.)

Next up, Hoopsworld previews the Raptors as their NBA experts give their thoughts on the club's potential this upcoming season, Rant Sports asks if the Raptors can contend in the East this year and's Tim Chisholm wonders if the Raps are a playoff team this season.

Moving on to other Raptors' news,'s Jay Satur beats us to the punch and sits down for a chat with the Raptors' Director of Analytics, Alex Rucker. (Our chat's coming in a few weeks.) It's an insightful read and reinforces the notion that it's taken a while for Toronto's upper management to become comfortable in this realm. Part II digs more into individual players and Alex's take on them from an advanced stats perspective, also a very interesting post.

Next up, is Ed Davis barely hanging onto NBA relevancy?'s Zach Lowe believes so.

Terrence Ross gets a so-so grade compared to fellow rookies, when examining ESPN's #NBARank initiative. Ross was drafted eighth overall, but was ranked as only the 16th best rookie by the ESPN panel of 100 basketball experts. Later picks like Jared Sullinger and Royce White lept ahead of him in this analysis.

Jonas Valanciunas wasn't included in this breakdown, but he's the focus of a recent Raptorblog piece by Joseph Casciaro. Much like our post on the topic a few months back, Joseph cautions patience for Raptors' fans in Valanciunas' first season.

And could Andrea Bargnani be used more effectively? Wages of Wins looks at the idea of coaches playing the correct players.

Finally, if you're on Twitter and you aren't following these NBA scribes...well...I don't know what to tell you.