Raptors and Bucks

TORONTO RAPTORS

Record:  27-55, 4th in Atlantic Division, 12th in Eastern Conference

Statistical Comparison:

Noteable:

4th in the league in scoring (101.1ppg)
29th in opponent scoring (104.0ppg)
25th(tie) in ppg differential (-3.0)
30th in opponent field goal %
29th in rebounding
26th (tie) in steals
28th in blocks
2nd in turnovers

Others:

15th in the league in field goal %
7th in three-point %
21st in assists
17th in opponent turnovers

Additions:  
T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Anthony Parker, Fred Jones, Kris Humphries, Andrea Bargnani (R), Jorge Garbajosa (R), Uros Slokar (R), P.J. Tucker (R)

Subtractions:  
Mike James, Charlie Villanueva, Matt Bonner, Eric Williams, Rafael Araujo, Loren Woods

Key Players

PG:  T.J. Ford, Jose Calderon, Darrick Martin
SG:  Anthony Parker, Fred Jones
SF:  Mo Peterson, Joey Graham, P.J. Tucker
PF:  Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Kris Humphries, Uros Slokar
C:   Rasho Nesterovic, Jorge Garbajosa, Pape Sow

Comments:  Toronto continues to re-make its team in the quest to become Phoenix East.  I love the backcourt additions of Ford and Jones.  Both should be fantastic in the running game.  After years of trying out other people they're back to Mo Pete at small forward for the last year of his contract, but if you just ask him to play offense Peterson is still pretty good.  Andrea Bargnani may get some serious run at small forward once he gets used to the league.  Chris Bosh is already scary good and may get better.  They have a bunch of centers whose names you can't pronounce, and if you can't get Amare Stoudemire that's not a bad thing in a running, passing system.  Now for the bad news.  The Raptors were just HORRIBLE defending and rebounding last year and I don't think names like Nesterovic, Ford, and Bargnani help them in either area.  They were very good at taking care of the ball but that may change with Ford at the helm.  One of the big drawbacks with the Phoenix system is the wear and tear it puts on bodies.  With Ford already fragile you start looking down the PG depth chart.  It ain't pretty.  But you know what?  Nobody else in their division did anything significant in the off-season and Brian Coangelo has earned a little leeway, so I'm guessing their win total will go up some.  I don't think they make the playoffs yet, but maybe 34-36 wins might be possible?

MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Record:  40-42, 2nd in Central Division, 8th in Eastern Conference

Statistical Comparisons:

Noteable:

4th in three-point %
30th in blocks

Others:

13th (tie) in the league in scoring (97.8ppg)
19th in opponent scoring (98.8ppg)
16th in ppg differential (-1.0ppg)
18th in field goal %
24th in opponent field goal %
16th in rebounding
8th in assists
12th in steals
22nd in turnovers
11th in opponent turnovers

Additions:  
Charlie Villanueva, Ruben Patterson, Brian Skinner, Steve Blake, Ha-Seung Jin, Lynn Greer, Ersan Ilyasova, Damir Markota (R), David Noel (R),

Subtractions:  
T.J. Ford, Jamaal Magloire, Joe Smith, Toni Kukoc, Jiri Welsh, Jermaine Jackson, Ervin Johnson, Reece Gaines, Josh Davis

Key Players

PG:  Maurice Williams, Steve Blake, Lynn Greer
SG:  Michael Redd, Charlie Bell
SF:  Bobby Simmons, Ruben Patterson, David Noel
PF:  Charlie Villanueva, Brian Skinner, Ersan Ilyasova, Damir Markota
C:  Andrew Bogut, Dan Gadzuric, Ha Seung-Jin

Comments: The talent Milwaukee gave away this off-season was at excess positions, but they did lose a lot of it.  T.J. Ford and Jamaal Magloire may not be superstars, but you know their names.  The Charlie Villaneuva pickup was solid, as he should contribute without getting in the way of the big guns.  Ruben Patterson should add some much-needed physicality and defense on an otherwise finesse-oriented squad.  I think Milwaukee fans will love him and he'll finally find a place where he can play unrestrained.  Redd and Bogut are the centerpieces of the team.  I'm a little concerned about the latter's ability to step up, but if you're the Bucks I guess you have to bank on your #1 pick.  I like Dan Gadzuric, but I think he might be better on a running team.  If the Bucks do win, it'll be because of pretty plays and shooting.  They'll be depending heavily on their point guards to set up the floor. While less flashy than Ford, Williams and Blake should fit perfectly: passing first, shooting smart, and not killing you on defense.  While it may appear that the Bucks came out on the short end of the talent exchange, I find it hard to fault the pieces they're putting together as a whole.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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