The Toronto Raptors have had a wildly inconsistent start to the 2009-10 NBA season.
After going 5-5 in their first 10 games, the Raptors went 2-8 in their next 10, and finally 6-4 in the last 10.
Those kind of wild swings were bound to have ended in change, and change we got!
In the stretch between 20 and 30 games, Raptors fans witnessed some new faces in the starting lineup and in the regular rotation.
Jarrett Jack made his first starts of the season. Sonny Weems cracked the rotation on a regular basis. And Antoine Wright has found himself a spot on the end of the bench.
At the 30-game mark, here's how the Raptors players are doing.
After a tough start to the season, Jose Calderon was putting up some decent numbers, not as good as last year, but very respectable none-the-less.
Currently, Jose is averaging 11.7 points on 51.5 percent shooting and 39.7 percent shooting from three. And while his 6.2 assists are tied for 11th in the NBA, it is well below his last season’s average.
But in game 22 of the season versus Chicago, Calderon injured his hip and is currently out of the Raptors rotation.
Jose has only played in three of the past 10 games. His return date is unknown.
After 20 games, the Raptors were on a five-game losing skid and had just surrendered a season league-high 146 points to the Atlanta Hawks. There were calls from the media to shake up the Raptors starting lineup and the player most mentioned was DeMar DeRozan.
Fortunately for DeRozan, Jay Triano didn’t believe the team started games poorly and saw no reason to make any changes.
After 30 starts in 30 games, DeRozan is averaging 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game. He is shooting 44 percent from the field and 33 percent from three. His 0.6 blocks and 0.5 steals illustrate his active defense.
DeMar DeRozan is developing into a solid young player who looks to have a good career ahead of him.
Toronto's big free agent acquisition appears to have been slowly working his way back into form as the season progresses.
Averaging 14 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in 33.5 minutes, Turkoglu is playing over three minutes less per game than in his last two seasons in Orlando and getting about three fewer shots per game.
While Turkoglu's productivity may be disappointing to some, he is averaging about the same as in his five seasons in Orlando and in recent games Triano does appear to have figured out how to use Turkoglu’s skills more effectively.
Special note: Turkoglu is averaging a career high 0.5 blocks per game with the Raptors.
CB4 continues to put up All-Star worthy numbers this season, but his productivity has not been consistent and the Raptors fortunes have followed it up and down.
In the first 10 games, Bosh averaged 27.7 points and the Raptors went a surprising 5-5 in a tough opening schedule.
Then he averaged 20.4 points in the second 10 games and the Raptors sunk to 2-8.
For the past 10, Bosh’s averaged bounced back to 23.3 points and the team was 6-4.
Interestingly, Bosh is averaging his lowest number of minutes played per game since his rookie year. At 34.6 minutes per game, Bosh is playing 3.4 minutes less than last season.
But his averages of 23.8 points and 11.1 rebounds are the highest of his career. Hopefully he can keep this up.
Maybe it’s the contract year effect?
The Big B is on track for his best season in the NBA. So far, Bargnani is averaging career highs in: points (16.2) rebounds (6.2) blocks (1.2), and shooting percentage (46.5).
Bargnani’s scorching start in his first 10 games has tapered off as Andrea’s shooting has gone a little cold recently. But as everyone should have noticed, his defense and rebounding have improved as the season has moved along.
When a player changes teams, it can take some time for him to adjust to his new surroundings. And over the past 10 games, it can safely be concluded that Jack has made the adjustment.
Just in time too! Jarrett was thrust into a starting role for the Raptors eight games ago when Calderon went down with the hip injury.
On the season, Jack has averaged: 9.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 0.8 steals, and 27.3 minutes per game.
As a starter, Jack has stepped up to provide: 12.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.4 steals in 33 minutes a night. And he has shot an efficient 52 percent.
Those are the type of numbers that generate discussions about who should start for the Raptors!
To start the season, Triano had nothing but positive comments about Wright’s abilities and most nights it was Wright who was first off the bench.
Then the highly touted defensive specialist appeared to have found himself a place in Triano's doghouse in the Raptors 20th game in Atlanta.
But Jay Triano re-inserted the veteran back into the rotation for the next five games before re-nailing Wright’s butt to the bench.
On the season, Wright is averaging: 4.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.1 blocks, and 0.8 turnovers in 17 minutes off the bench.
He is shooting just 33 percent from the field and most of his offensive plays feel like turnovers even if they aren’t officially listed as such.
One of the few veteran wing players on the Raptors, Wright has yet to find his game this season. Now Wright is going to have to fight for minutes with the “young guns” off the Raptors bench.
We were warned! Marco Belinelli can be a very frustrating player. When his shooting is hot, it looks like he’ll never miss again. When his shooting is cold, nothing wants to drop!
Over the past 10 games Belinelli has gone cold, shooting just 31 percent from the field and averaging just 5.3 points.
But that’s nothing compared to his last five games where Belinelli has shot at just a 19.4 percent clip. And Marco hasn’t been taking bad shots, they just aren’t falling.
On the season, Marco is averaging 7.6 points in 18.7 minutes and is shooting at 39.7 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from three.
Belinelli will find the range again and it will likely be soon. He isn’t afraid to shoot and will likely average 40 percent from three at the end of the season.
But fans should expect a wild ride all year long.
Johnson’s play has been a very pleasant surprise for the Toronto Raptors.
Expected to be trapped behind Rasho Nesterovic and Reggie Evans on the depth chart, Johnson has made the most of his opportunities. Playing in all 30 games, Amir has averaged:
5.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.6 steals, and 0.7 blocks in 17.2 minutes.
Johnson at just 22 years young and only 210 pounds still faces challenges from the bigger post players in the NBA. But the heart, hustle, and potential has been evident all season.
In the past five games, Sonny Weems has found himself taking the pine-riding Antoine Wright’s minutes in the Raptors rotation.
Prior to this, Weems was finding himself mostly playing garbage time minutes in the Raptors all too frequent blow-out loses. And he wasn’t always doing himself any favors as his shot selection and his decision-making was too often reflective of the game he was playing in.
But things changed once Weems found himself playing when it mattered.
Over the past five games, Weems has averaged: 8.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.6 blocks while shooting 50 percent in 24 minutes per game.
Sonny has been effective and disciplined since inserted into the rotation.
And paired with DeRozan, the two have provided an exciting, up-tempo, athletic lineup for fans to cheer.
No one really anticipated Marcus Banks to ever see serious floor time with the Raptors this season. Barring injury that is.
With Calderon unavailable and Jack starting, the Raptors needed a backup point guard and Banks has stepped in to provide effective minutes off the bench.
In seven games with Jack starting, Banks has averaged: 5.4 points on 47 percent shooting in 14.6 minutes per game. He hasn’t looked too bad on defense either.
Now no one expects Banks to remain in the rotation after Calderon returns from injury. But Banks has shown that he can be a very effective third string backup point guard and Colangelo made the right choice keeping him on the roster.
Rasho Nesterovic continues to be used in spot duty and remains effective when called upon. He just isn’t seeing much playing time.
Pops Mensah Bonsu has played in 13 games for the Raptors. He is averaging 2.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, and half a block in 7.5 minutes per game.
While Jay Triano has given Pops some burn lately, it’s hard to see how the Raptors can justify guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season.
Reggie Evans remains out with a foot injury. His return date still shrouded in mystery.
Patrick O’Bryant has played in four games this season and seems destined to watch from the bench.