I am an optimist. I believe the Raptors have some solid young assets on this squad. Even though it feels like Bargnani has been on the team for years, he is ONLY 25 years of age!
I believe the main direction that this team needs to work toward is developing a culture similar to that of the Blue Jays. They are an easy going group who is young, very close and work extremely hard. They all push each other to improve while maintaining competitive balance. Three of the main building blocks of the Raptors are 23 or younger—Amir and Bargnani are both only 24 and 25, respectively.
Dear Raptors, make sure that DeMar develops into the go-to guy he has the potential to become and give Bayless the keys to the car and see how he runs that offense. Put those two big, young men (Amir and Ed) at the four and five and see how they develop. The average age of those four starters would be 22. Build around them.
Use Calderon and Bargnani as two big weapons off the bench where they can thrive. Just because they do not start does not mean they cannot play big minutes, but be very strategic on how you use them.
Raptors, don’t be afraid to use the zone in more circumstances. It can mask defensive efficiencies and help team defense as a whole. Communication improves, which can carry over to man defense.
Once Valanciunas arrives, we can reassess based on 2012 performances but the main goal is to put the young guys in a spot to succeed. As they develop so too do the Raptors and we could be back in contention before you know it.