April 26, 2012
Raptors' final report card
By Ryan Wolstat, QMI AGENCY
With this lockout-shortened season now complete, itís time to grade the Raptors. The team lost a plethora of close games in the waning minutes (1-7 in games decided by three points or less) which caused their record to suffer. Still, the defence took a massive step forward, providing hope for the future:
Weíre marking them against our expectations of them coming into the season, not on the won-lost record. Hereís our take, in alphabetical order, on who has lived up to the hype and who has not:
Alan Anderson C+ Return to the NBA was a success. Provided strong defence and outside shooting, especially early and proved he can play in the league.
Andrea Bargnani B- Hard to grade considering all the missed games, but when healthy Bargnani played at his highest level yet and showed he had the ability to impact games defensively as well as offensively.
Jerryd Bayless C Excelled in a starting role, but injuries prevented that from happening often. Not the same player when coming off the bench.
Jose Calderon B Defensive deficiencies werenít apparent under Casey and his steady hand was exactly what the offensively-challenged team needed.
Ed Davis C Slow start, but showed flashes later on. Still has a long way to go offensively, but a solid rebounder despite slight frame.
DeMar DeRozan C Much-improved after putrid January left observers wondering what had happened to his game. Still unclear how good he will be but decent building block.
Gary Forbes D Had a tough gig since team tried him at a variety of positions, but struggled with his shooting and turned the ball over too much.
Aaron Gray C Rugged rebounder set hard screens and generally did his job as well as could be expected. Needs to work on the easy layups though, but should stick around.
Amir Johnson D Arguably best Raptor in 2010-11, Johnsonís advanced stats took a nosedive. Too many turnovers and less consistent. Future in Toronto is uncertain.
James Johnson C Best Raptor in the first half, ended up leading team in steals and blocks, but had blowup with the coach and at times played out of control.
Linas Kleiza D+ Played well after making his delayed season debut, but second half performance was dismal. Must get more consistent.
Jamaal Magloire C Did more for the team behind the scenes than on the court. Steady, veteran presence and tough-minded approach helped Casey change the culture.
Ben Uzoh C Late season addition had some nice games as the emergency starter at point guard. Good rebounder for his size and a strong defender.
Solomon Alabi (Incomplete) Finally got off the bench down the stretch, but speed of the NBA game still too much for him.
Dwane Casey B+ Successfully began process of turning around a franchise that has been seen as too soft and too defensively challenged. Got most out of what he had to work with and stern tone helped develop young charges.
Bryan Colangelo C Stayed the course, avoided making any panic moves, partly thanks to Ed Stefanskiís insistence. Got a second rounder in a deep draft for Leandro Barbosa. Will have an extremely busy summer.