1. VANCOUVER: You know this is coming if you ever listen to me chat NBA hoops. This is an awesome city and I have no doubt that in 2014 and beyond this area could support an NBA team. It makes too much sense to me if there is ever team movement and/or expansion that this city along with Seattle (they would rightfully get the first shot) deserve NBA hoops back in the Pacific Northwest. The last time it was here it was poorly run and with the proper ownership and management I have every belief that it would work really well here. Likely wishful thinking on my part--but why not dare to dream?? 2. CONFIDENT TONE: Its nice to be around a Raptors team for a change that is calmly confident and optimistic that they can compete with folks around the NBA. No boastful cockiness or attitude just a focused and professional environment. In my 17 years as a Raptors broadcaster, there havent been too many teams that had a true belief that they could be pretty good, thats for sure! Nice change and Raptor fans hope that this group continues to improve over the next few seasons. 3. GREIVIS VASQUEZ & LOU WILLIAMS: Ask yourself this question. How do you like your backup backcourt? Guard play is paramount to success at any level of basketball and when you have this kind of depth backing up your starters it allows your team to function quite well at the other three spots because your guards set the proper tone for the possession by possession personality of your team. I look around at the other 29 teams in the league and Id say that the Raptors have as solid a backup backcourt duo as you can find out there. Theyll both make an impact this season. 4. PATRICK PATTERSON: All business approach. Really mature young man who goes hard all the time and has excellent basketball IQ. He will play significant minutes at the power forward spot and his ability to make the shots as a Stretch 4 as well as defend for you are critical. His rebounding numbers can improve and thats an area for growth but when I look at the option of having him coming off the bench versus what the Raptors used to get from Andrea Bargnani as a starter in the same kind of role--I take this option. 5. AMIR JOHNSON: When you reflect back on the contract (five years/$30M) that Bryan Colangelo gave him and the criticism that it received, Id say most fans now would agree that this has been good return on investment for the organization. His contract expires at the conclusion of this season and Ive admired his work ethic, commitment to the team, leadership, impact in the community and productivity like most folks. Will be interesting to see how hes able to perform in his contract year. Hes laid it on the line and is quite popular with passionate Raptors supporters because of that. With greater depth, talent and internal competition this year, his numbers might not reach what hes done in the past, yet his steady influence and savvy will be a huge boost to them. Hell be heard from. Yangervis Solarte Jersey
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