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(MARK BLINCH)
(MARK BLINCH)

Strong play from the point Add to ...

If you think back to 2006-07, the good old days, in other words, there was pretty much complete agreement on two truths in the Raptors universe.

The first was that Toronto benefited from remarkable point guard play - even in the absence of remarkable point guards - because they had a pair of very good point guards operating in a platoon.

Someone felt so strongly about this they started a website devoted to the cause of the Raptors two-headed point guard.

Flash forward a few seasons and it's like everything old is new again. As Chris Black points out in this post, the Raptors are once again the beneficiary of very good play from the point guard spot. Neither Calderon or Jack are Chris Paul on their own, but because they both play a lot and play well and usually while fresh, they generate point guard numbers that it would take someone like Chris Paul to produce.

I won't go too into all the details, but it's pretty clear that on a team where the two primary scorers don't exactly create shots and chances for other players, always having someone on the floor to manage the offence is critical.

Please read the post in entirety, and as a bonus there's some good stuff on Bargnani's development too, which brings me to the other issue that most Raptors fans would agree on: that the franchise's real upside potential is governed by the development of Bargnani. Bosh is Bosh, but for the Raptors to actually become really good, Bargnani would have to become pretty good. For them to be outstanding, Bargnani would have to become an all-star, or close to it.

He's even more important now because his contract - five years for $50-million - could actually be a bargain if he reaches his potential and would off-set the over-paying for Turkoglu.

Tom Liston at Raptors Republic has put together a nice post with charts and everything that shows that yes, Bargnani is continuing to improve. Definitely worth a look.

My own opinion is he's just scratching the surface of what he can be (Bargnani, not Liston). There is no guarantee he'll get there, but you can't look at the guy play and figure he's maxed himself out physically. Improving his strength, power and fitness by 10 per cent would have a massive overall benefit. And the better post-player he becomes the more lethal a match-up he can be. The game can still slow down for him more.

Anyway.

As this post proves there are some pretty dedicated and talented Raptors fans in the blogosphere. One of the first I became aware of was Scott Carefoot who launched Raptorblog well before I know what a blog was. It's been a good advertisement for the form. He's been running the digital universe at The Score for the past while and has done some good work there too. All of which to say is he interviewed me for a new feature on Nothing Easy, The Score's basketball blog so if you're interested in who my favourite Raptor is and what I was doing the night Iverson scored 54 points in the 2001 playoffs, it's all in there.

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