Things had gotten pretty stale around the Raptors lately. Once Bryan Colangelo finished with his offseason makeover, all we could do was speculate and look forward to the start of training camp. Well, it’s here, and two days in there are plenty of fresh stories in each local paper. At this point, nobody really knows what the team will look like on the floor, or how the new group of players will perform. Still, the local media has given the team plenty of love this week, and that’s an understatement.
Put it this way – After reading the stories from the start of training camp, I can’t find anything negative about anyone. From what I’ve read, every single guy is ready for a huge year, while Bosh and Turkoglu’s injuries are being glossed over. And now before anyone accuses me of being a “hater,” (a term I can’t stand), I should add that I expect good things from the Raps. This is more of a commentary on the media than on the players themselves – Again, nobody really knows how this team will play.
But check out the coverage:
From Doug Smith, this piece is yet another article raving about Marco Belinelli’s upside, while ignoring any and every fault in his game…. “General manager Bryan Colangelo raves about the kid, coach Jay Triano thinks he might be one of the big surprises of training camp, executive vice-president and Italian compatriot Maurizio Gherardini said “there’s something about him that’s different.”
Or this article from Frank Zicarelli on Antoine Wright. In case nobody realized, Wright was brought in for his defense. And he hopes to do a good job…mind blowing stuff.
Or this, from the National Post’s Eric Koreen, on Andrea Bargnani… “All signs point to continued maturation for the Italian seven-footer, whom the Raptors selected first overall in the 2006 NBA draft. In the off-season, Bargnani signed a five-year, $50-million US contract, so his mind should be at ease.” Well, I’m sure Bargnani’s mind will be at ease, but he sure as hell better perform. In case nobody realizes, the rest of the league has questioned Bargnani’s extension to no end, considering very good restricted free agents like David Lee have found the market pretty tough this year. In Toronto, though, everything is gravy.
And you don’t have to look far to find glowing first impressions of Reggie Evans and Jarrett Jack, along with pretty much everyone else.
Again, I’m not trying to say any of this is untrue. My point is that whatever you read during training camp needs to be taken with a grain of salt. This is the time when anything seems possible, when every team has playoff aspirations, and when new players are seemingly filled with unlimited potential – Remember the Jermaine O’Neal lovefest from last season?
With an entirely new roster, this was predictable, and a little enthusiasm never hurt anyone. Just remember to stay realistic – Until the team loses, nobody ever gets ripped.