Getting ready for the Raps
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on November 10, 2008
I know the next game is vs Utah, but I did this interesting Q&A session with Dave from Raptors HQ and this is the result:
1) Toronto 4-2, Sixers 2-4. Which is the most surprising record? I admit I ranked the Sixers higher than Raptors in the offseason, and our slow start is pretty disappointing for me and all Sixers fans. Our first L, just with the Raps, was a sign of more troubles to come.
(Raptors HQ): I actually don’t think either record is surprising. The Sixers adding Brand changed everything about that team. It changed the pecking order, it changed the style of play and it changed expectations. For all the questions surrounding Toronto’s acquisition of JO I had more questions about the Brand signing. His injury was serious and that’s a ton of money to give a guy coming off season ending surgery.
It is going to take this team a while to develop its new identity. Anytime you have three solid players in Brand, Iggy and Miller yet the guy carrying the offense is a second year swingman you know things are not where they should be. It will take the Sixers some time.
For the Raps expectations are also high but the pecking order has not changed. Bosh is still the man, followed by Calderon and then O’Neal. The Raps have one glaring deficiency right now and that is perimeter defense. Their wings can’t stop anyone, it’s like the guys in front of Bosh and JO assume they will be bailed out on blow-byes. This is not the case and eiher the swingmen need to step up the D or Colangelo will be looking for some help. 4-2 is about right for this team as it has some elite level talent but also some glaring holes.
2) How is the insertion of Jermaine O’Neal in Raptors’ system progressing? Is the combination with Bosh working well?
It’s a work in progress. The addition of O’Neal has really changed te way the Raps want to play. For JO he is still building his confidence in his knee, every game he shows a little more and the best is yet to come. That sentiment also applies to his relationship with CB4. Anytime you add a significant member to your frontcourt it takes time to work things out and develop the required chemistry. Things are definitely not perfect right now but there are glimpses of greatness. JO’s interior D is something that this team has never had. At the same time however the lack of perimeter defense is killing JO. He is left having to bail out his teammates and as a result has sometimes gotten into early foul trouble.
3) my site is a guido site. How is fellow guido Bargnani (in the pic, playing for Guidoland Italy) doing, and what do you expect him to do this year? Does he have any chances left to become a borderline All Star like he was projected to be, or we should better lay down the pipe and expect him to remain an italian version of Keith Van Horn ????
He is defintely no KVH. Bargs looks completely diffferent that he did last season. Right now he is playing the best he ever has. His defense has been solid and at times stellar. His offense still comes and goes and sometimes he forces the action but on a whole he is a much more confident player. Sometimes I question how Mitchell uses the big italian (AKA playing the three) but for the first time ever he seems confortable with what he is being asked to do. I don’t expect anyone to mention Bargnani and Al star in the same breath this season or for the next couple. He is a bit of an enigma at this point and it’s hard to determine what his ceiling is. There really is no comparable in the NBA right now.
Thank you, it means we (= guidos) can still hope. But really, you gave us some good news, about Bargnani but o not only… Let’s hope Cheeks reads S4G again and finds a way to beat you guys.
Seriously, though, Raps fans are teaching us a lesson in terms of being patient, give the team some time and let things adjust. My answers to their questions about the Sixers will be up tomorrow, if anyone is interested.
It will be a tough game definitely.