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Five Thoughts On Some Raptors So Far

Jack Armstrong
October 15, 2010 -- 10:34 a.m

HELLO!!!!!!!!! Half way done with the preseason! Thank goodness. Lets get to the real games. Intrigued by how things will develop now these final four preseason games with the playing rotations and roles that Jay Triano will start to institute. Time to start tightening things up now and find out who will be the guys to define the identity of the team this year.

Here are five observations on Raptors players so far.

1. LEANDRO BARBOSA: Love what I see. Outstanding pickup. Wish the team had him last year instead of Hedo Turkoglu. Would have been a playoff team and then who knows how things look now? He is a dynamic scorer who is jet-like fast and can create his own offence. Something the Raptors haven't had from a wing player in a while. I'm confident in this guy. Proven professional player who will compete each night and give you a lift. Defence is a bit iffy, but as he gets more accustomed to what's expected, that will get better.

2. DAVID ANDERSON: Pleasantly surprised by him. Liked him as a role guy in Houston and the more I see him, the more I Iike the fact that he gets what he can/can't do as a player and plays hard. He gets after it on the glass and keeps balls alive and plays with great energy. Good face up player and will be a solid guy off the bench for the Raptors.

3. ANDREA BARGNANI: Chill Out! Yes -- he's not playing well so far. Totally agree. I know that he will make shots over time -- he's too skilled for that not to happen. If this was four regular season games I'd be concerned. He needs to get deeper post position and demand the ball and be decisive and assertive in his game. Need to see more fire and aggressiveness on the boards and with the 'D'. He can do it and I fully expect him to get it together. He has to -- the moment of truth has arrived for him as a pro. He can be as good as he wants to be -- now it's time to be that.

4. SONNY WEEMS: Want to see more from him these final four preseason games. Not necessarily the scoring but the playmaking and making teammates better and be a terror on the defensive end. Many times, young guys think all they need to do is just score. I want to see a well-rounded 'player' on both sides of the ball who can make an impact in many areas, not just an athletic, run up and down scorer. He can be a good 'player' and I believe he has it in him to be just that. Only time will tell if he understands that concept.

5. JOSE CALDERON: Another 'Chill Out!' He hasn't shot it well yet and hasn't had that burst that I'm used to seeing. Remember, he was banged up this summer and missed the World Championships so he's still rounding his way into shape. He's also being asked to play a whole lot harder on 'D' which is an adjustment overall for him. I think in time he will find his level and be a good player overall for this team. Starter/Reserve? That's up to Coach Triano. I know one thing -- he'll play significant minutes and they need him.