First impressions can be created, conclusions easily reached for those inclined to panic, but Wednesday nightís pre-season game must be viewed in its proper context.
The occasion represented the Raptorsí home exhibition debut, the first time the home faithful, at least for those who bothered to show up at the Air Canada Centre, had an opportunity to watch this yearís revamped team.
Perspective must be maintained because so many questions remain unanswered, so many roles have yet to be determined and so little time to address areas of deficiency.
A back-to-back set is hardly conducive for entertaining basketball, which is precisely what unfolded during most stretches between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Raptors, who won by 119-116 in double OT.
Neither team will threaten the likes of a Boston, Miami or an Orlando when the painful reality is that both the Raptors and 76ers will be hard-pressed to even challenge for a playoff berth.
More than anything, Wednesday was a chance to see which combination of players worked well under head coach Jay Trianoís system, which players showed glimpses and who is more likely to ride the pine than get meaningful minutes.
There will be more nights such as Wednesday when the Raptors will struggle to score, create and make enough stops to give themselves a chance to win down the stretch.
At no time in the recent history of the franchise is so little being expected from a team following years when so much was expected, a bar that was set so high that 50 wins were once being projected.
What the fans saw on Wednesday was a big question mark, an uncertainty that isnít likely to provide any more clarity when the Celtics visit on Friday or when Hedo Turkoglu makes his return on Sunday with his Phoenix Suns and Steve Nash.
All that is known is that Triano is drawing closer to naming his starting unit, a group he hopes will begin to take shape by the end of weekend.
Against the 76ers, Triano trotted out Linas Kleiza, Reggie Evans, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan and Jarrett Jack.
The unit looked okay and it did help the Raptors forge a 24-19 lead after the opening period.
Jack pushed the ball and DeRozan wasnít shy in getting his shot off, though his jumper remains very inconsistent, Evans hustled, Kleiza wasnít as aggressive and Bargnani once again struggled.
At this point, itís anyoneís guess which direction Triano decides to take.
Whatever Triano does, there will be areas that cannot be disguised, given the various shortcomings that exist.
Bargnani is a lot better shooter than the stand-still perimeter-happy seven-footer heís seemingly content to adopt this pre-season.
If this were the regular season and if shots hit iron with the frequency Bargnani was hitting his, then the alarm bells would be sounded. For now, he gets a free pass.
ďNot at all,íí Triano said when asked if he was worried in the wake of Bargnaniís shooting woes. ďThereís no doubt he can score and heíll get his 17 to 25 points.Ē
Bargnani will get plenty of touches when the regular season begins, but he has learn how to react better to the added attention that is sure to follow.
Whatís alarming, though, is how unwilling Bargnani is to plant himself in the paint, especially when the 76ers didnít have anyone to match up, when post-ups were being presented.
Whatís disconcerting is how Bargnani has yet to establish himself as a rebounding presence, one of many areas that will somehow have to be addressed by a team committee approach.
One has to love the way Leandro Barbosa attacks the hole, but when he isnít using penetration to score or isnít spotting up in a catch and shoot sequence, his game has flaws.
Itís now four games into the eight-game exhibition experiment and very little is known.
On this team, very little will be known until the games turn real.