Indiana Pacers open season without Danny Granger

The Indiana Pacers were hoping to enter the 2012-13 NBA season with improved depth after shaking up their roster considerably during the summer.

What depth they do have took a hit Tuesday and will be tested early and often.

Pacers forward Danny Granger has been dealing with pain in his left knee and will be out indefinitely, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. That leaves Indiana without its top scorer each of the past five seasons for now, starting with tonight’s season opener at Toronto.

How will the Pacers look to compensate for Granger’s loss, however long it might last?

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Toronto Raptors should be one of most improved teams in NBA

raptors cheerleaders

The Sports Bank will be counting down to the opening tip of the 2012-13 NBA season with team by team previews starting with the worst and working our way to the title contenders.  There is no lockout this time around so let’s get going.

The Toronto Raptors added four quality pieces in the off-season and should be one of the most improved teams in the Eastern Conference; certainly possessing enough talent to earn a spot in the playoffs.

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What the Toronto Raptors can do to improve this off-season

raptors dancers

Year two of the Toronto Raptors’ post-Chris Bosh re-building effort yielded a similar result as year one.  The Raps once again finished well out of the playoff picture and now enter the off-season in need of an influx in talent.  They will Lithuanian big man Jonas Valanciunas, their 2011 first round pick, but what else can Toronto do to improve their roster and get themselves back as a relevant Eastern Conference team?

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Did Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo Save his Job with Jay Triano Firing?

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to Toronto Raptors fans when the club fired head coach Jay Triano on June 1st. In fact, many of them were probably celebrating after their brutal season ended with a 22-60 record.

Raptors’ general manager Bryan Colangelo actually praised Triano for the dismal season and left fans scratching their heads in April when he said the coach did a great job, deserved a lot of credit, and would probably be back next season. Now it turns out all three statements are untrue.

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Indiana Pacers Fire Jim O’Brien; More Change on the Way?

The Indiana Pacers fired coach Jim O’Brien on Sunday midway through the fourth year of O’Brien’s contract and named assistant Frank Vogel interim coach for the rest of 2010-11.

O’Brien went 121-169 as Pacers coach and began this season 17-27 before being relieved of his duties.

The first thing to take away from Sunday’s news is that the Pacers are doing the right thing in parting ways with O’Brien. He wasn’t getting it done at a point in his contract when Indiana should be a solid playoff contender in a weak Eastern Conference. I’ll have more on that later, but O’Brien’s dismissal presents an opportunity for the Pacers to start fresh.

The question is, is it just the first one?

By Drew Allen

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Free Agency hypes start of NBA season

lebron_bosh_wade

After one of the most publicized off-seasons in NBA history, the league’s landscape seems to have gone through a bigger face lift than Joan Rivers.

The anticipation for the start of the season has been building since Lebron and CBTV reporter Blane Harrington lit up expectations in the sunshine state, seemingly anointing the Heat the most hated team in the NBA. With Bosh and Lebron departed, the season looks bleak for former contenders Cleveland and Toronto. Dan Gilbert has made statements claiming his new life goal is to ruin Lebron James, and the mere mention of the former king of Cleveland within the city has caused riots at Indians games.

Miami’s big three will open up the season against Boston’s big three on Tuesday in a game that will feature two of the most elite teams in the Eastern Conference.

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International Shoe-Tying Incident, Jarret Jack EMBARASSES Bulls

Turkoglu Bringing More Euro to Toronto

hedo_turkoglu

By: David Kay

In recent years, Toronto has become the “Euro” team of the NBA.  That transformation began in 2006 when the club hired former Benetton Treviso general manager Maurizi Gherardini as the first European to hold a senior management position in the league.  With his knowledge of overseas basketball, the Raptors began to stock their roster with unfamiliar names like Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, Jorge Garbajosa, Carlos Delfino, and Roko Ukic.  Now, Hedo Turkoglu is continuing that trend by bringing his Turkish roots to the Raptors.

After he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Magic that would have paid him about $7.3 million, everybody expected Turkoglu to join the on-the-rise Portland Trailblazers this off-season since Orlando already moved on by trading for Vince Carter.  Once the free agency period began, Blazers head coach Nate McMillan wasted no time in courting the Turkish star and a deal between the two sides seemed imminent.  Instead, Turkoglu spurned an all but done deal with the Blazers and agreed to a five-year, $53 million with the Raptors.  This decision was reportedly made because Turkoglu and his wife preferred living in Toronto where there is a larger Turkish population.

This is a huge get for the Raptors who were desperate to land an impact wing player.  Turkoglu proved to be a go-to scorer with the Magic this past season, especially during their run to the NBA Finals.  His size and shooting ability make him a difficult match-up for opposing teams.  Combine his versatility with Bargnani’s capability to step out and knock down the three-pointer and Calderon’s three-point range, and Toronto should be one of the most dangerous outside teams in the league.

hedo-and-wife1His signing is even more crucial with the likely departure of Chris Bosh, who is entering the final year of his contract.  If the Raptors decide to trade Bosh during the season (which they are likely to do as to ensure they don’t lose him to free agency and get nothing in return), Turkoglu can help fill the massive void he would leave.  If somehow Bosh ends up staying in Toronto past this season, the Raptors suddenly have an effective one-two punch of Bosh and Turkoglu with productive players like Bargnani, Calderon, and first-round pick Demar DeRozan who is loaded with potential.

The one major down-size that results from this signing is how thin Toronto will be on their bench.  Assuming they trot out a starting five of Bargnani, Bosh, Turkoglu, DeRozan, and Calderon, their bench will consist of Reggie Evans, Patrick O’Bryant, Kris Humphries, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Nathan Jawai, Quincy Douby, Roko Ukic, and Marcus Banks.  None of those eight projected bench players averaged more than 6 points per game last season.  And by signing Turkoglu, Toronto’s cap space shrinks making it more difficult to land any other free agents to strengthen their depth.

By the way, if you are a Blazers fan, you mind as well start referring to Hedo’s wife, Banu, as Yoko Ono for breaking up what could have been the missing piece in launching Portland to contender status in the Western Conference.

More NBA Offseason Analysis

Want to see our plans to fix your favorite NBA team’s roster? Follow these links below

Boston Celtics

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009bos.php

Phoenix Suns

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009phx.php

Portland Trailblazers

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009por.php

Toronto Raptors

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009tor.php

NBA Offseason Analysis Bonanza

 

For all your draft grades, free agency questions, team needs, check out these links where we break down all everything you need to know about every NBA team

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason.php

Toronto Raptors

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009tor.php

Utah Jazz

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009utah.php

Oklahoma City Thunder

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009okc.php

Miami Heat

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbaoffseason2009mia.php