Raps can't live down loss

Raptors rookie Charlie Villanueva is all business as he drives past James Lang of the Utah Jazz...

Raptors rookie Charlie Villanueva is all business as he drives past James Lang of the Utah Jazz during the pre-season opener for both teams. (Craig Robertson, Toronto Sun)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:03 AM ET

Those non-glowing reviews of the Raptors just keep surfacing.

In its latest NBA power rankings, ESPN places the Raptors 30th and last in the league.

That's exactly where the Raptors were in the training camp edition of the power rankings.

"Raps' outlook isn't that bleak," ESPN's Marc Stein writes. "Most staffers agree that they'd rank as high as second if we did power rankings for the Israeli league."

The Raptors, of course, lost 105-103 against Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel in a pre-season game.

WAIT TO SEE WHAT DEVELOPS

Rob Babcock doesn't sound like a man sold on the merits of developing Raptors players in the NBA Development League.

While you can make an argument Rafael Araujo or Pape Sow would be better off playing major minutes for the Raptors' affiliate in Arkansas, Babcock wants to take a good look at the RimRockers organization before making any decisions.

"We've got to go down and observe the Arkansas team, get to know the coaches, get to know the philosophy and see how it all fits," Babcock said.

The D-League schedule begins Nov. 18.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks also can feed players (only first- or second-year players are eligible) to the Arkansas team.

MO PETE WILL PUMP YOU UP

Morris Peterson really is a team player.

Mo Pete, now dubbed Mo Pipes after adding some serious muscle in the off-season, approached Raptors director of media relations Jim LaBumbard after a recent practice and said, "I've got to take you down to Flint (Mich, Peterson's hometown) in the summer and make you the buffest PR guy in the NBA."

With help like that, LaBumbard might be on his way to wearing the Mr. Universe crown.

BRIEFLY

Matt Bonner won the three-point competition in the Raptors' annual fanfest yesterday at the Air Canada Centre ... The York Lions won the men's portion of the annual Raptors Invitational (a pre-season tournament for Canadian university and college teams) beating the Brock Badgers 68-58. The Cape Breton Capers beat the McMaster Marauders 63-52 in the women's final.


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