Inside the Paint: Toronto Raptors Could Be a Surprise Package of the East

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IJuly 11, 2009

TORONTO,ON - APRIL 24:  Chris Bosh #4 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates another basket against the Orlando Magic in game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on April 24, 2008 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

You have to admit that Bryan Colangelo is by far the most popular sports executive in Toronto, and perhaps throughout the National Basketball Association.

The amazing trade that he pulled off with Memphis, Orlando, and Dallas was simply pure guts and instincts.

Colangelo has done the impossible, and now, the Raptors find themselves with perhaps one of the best starting lineups in the league with Turkoglu, Calderon, Bosh, Bargnani, and Antoine Wright on the perimeter.

Not to mention the fact that the Raptors have not one, but two mid-level exceptions that they can utilize to bring in a couple of quality players.

The Raptors suddenly find themselves with a formidable starting lineup of Bosh, Bargnani, Calderon, Turkoglu, and DeRozen.

Their bench would comprise of Reggie Evans and Deavon George, Roko Ukic, and Marcus Banks, Carlos Delfino (a possible signing by the Raptors) and Antoine Wright.

Mensah Bonsu would provide the spark and energy he's shown flashes of during his time in Toronto, and Patrick O'Bryant would still be a work in progress.

Colangelo still plans to add in at least two more bodies to round out the roster, and players such as Rasho Nesterovic and former Atlanta swing man Josh Childress or Boston's Mikky Moore would provide a good cover on the bench as well.

However, the questions that still linger for the Raptors is whether the improvements that Colangelo made would help the Raptors get over the hump, and develop a more defensively sound style of play that can help compliment their new-found offense.

Newly appointed assistant coach Mark Iavaroni, a defensive guru, would help provide his expertise and mechanics to the Raptors in hopes of improving the team's defensive capabilities.

Alex English returns as the offensive co-coordinator, a role in which English would thrive in, considering that during his time he was one of the most feared scorers to have played in the league.

Former Raptor Alvin Williams returns as a first time assistant, this time to provide his experience and knowledge in the field of player development.

It surely is going to be an interesting Fall for Raptor fans, and Colangelo now feels he's set the foundations for a Raptor squad aiming to challenge for higher honors in future seasons to come.

Stay tuned.