Toronto Raptors: Steps for Next Season's Potential NBA Playoff Qualification

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Toronto Raptors: Steps for Next Season's Potential NBA Playoff Qualification

The season is coming to the end.  For another season, the Toronto Raptors are finishing their games in mid-April. Disappointing outcome, but at least for that season, an expected one.

We’ve seen enough:  Trades, injuries, great games, poor games. But now we must concentrate on the preparation for the next season. 

In the following lines I'm writing my opinion of how the Toronto Raptors can improve in order to become at least playoff contenders. I believe that the potential exists.

I'm starting with the key players, and what they must work on in order to become much better next year, and then I'm writing a general opinion on what the Raptors must do. 

James Johnson: He must improve his quickness, mid and long range jump shots and in my opinion, he must lose few pounds. Whenever I watch him play, I see a very talented but also a somehow unpolished player. If he wants to work, as his fellow player DeMar DeRozan is doing, he could become a great piece of the Raptors roster.

DeMar DeRozan: He’s the Raptors next best thing. He may be an All-Star if: he improves his three point shooting and his defensive play.  My opinion is that he needs to add some bulk.  If he improves his stats in the assist category as well, we may be dealing with a potential All-Star. I believe in him. He will be much better next season.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Jerryd Bayless:He must stay consistent, as he’s playing the last games. He must improve his long range shooting a bit.

Ed Davis:He must get more self-confident and more aggressive offensively. He should improve his mid-range and free-throw shooting, but mostly he must not fear to “fight” into the post.

Andrea Bargnani: He must work really hard in his aggressiveness, defense and rebounding. And he should play as a PF. He’s not a center. Period.

Jose Calderon: If he stays, he must work on his defensive play and his aggressiveness. I’m not sure if he stays; the NBA Draft pick will show the team’s thoughts about that. If the Raptors go for a SF, there is a chance for him to stay. Otherwise, if they pick a PG, Jose will be history.

And now some general thoughts:

Beware of European players. There are few players that may be worth playing in NBA, and fewer that are good both defensively and offensively.

One is Dimitris Diamantidis, one of the best PGs in Europe, way better than Ricky Rubio. He’s excellent defender, clutch but also unselfish player and a very good three point shooter. But…he’s 31 years old and his body is not NBA-oriented, he’s not a free agent this summer and he’s not so interested in making the big trip overseas.

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Another interesting player is Ksistof Lavrinovic, the 6’10’’ PF-Center of Montepaschi Siena. He's a good defender, good three point shooter, rebounder and post player.

There are other interesting players like Mirza Teletovic (6’9” SF/PF) or San Emeterio (6’6” SF); both of them are excellent three point shooters but poor defenders. Another interesting player is Carlos Navarro, the former Grizzlies player and one of the best European SG.

Bargnani and Jose Trade: Many fans want Bargs and Jose to be traded. Right now, Toronto has a large amount of money to spend for new players without needing to trade some of the existing ones.

The most difficult part is to persuade potential star players to come. I’m not so sure that they’re going to trade Bargnani. I believe that they will use him as a PF; he has improved his post-game and has an excellent mid and long-range jump shot.

As far as Jose is concerned, the possibilities of seeing him traded are many, as it happens every preseason.

Keep Leandro Barbosa

Draft Kemba Walker and trade Jose Calderon

Draft Perry Jones(?) and trade Amir Johnson

Bring a true center

Bring a three point shooter

Head Coach: Move Jay Triano at the position he deserves to be (Assistant Coach) and bring a good Head Coach. We’ve seen enough from him.

He’s not Tom Thibodeau, someone who took a .500 team and made it tops in Eastern conference. It’s not Carlos Boozer who lifted the Bulls; it’s Tom. And of course, Derrick Rose, but Raptors’ Rose is DeRozan. Jay is not Tim, unfortunately.

Thank you for reading.

 

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