Toronto Raptors’ midseason report card: players need to play well against others

Toronto Raptors’ midseason report card: players need to play well against others

It’s the midpoint of the National Basketball Association 2010-2011 season, and that means it’s report card time for the teams—including the Toronto Raptors. The Star and the Sun both filed their grades yesterday, and Raps fans shouldn’t be too surprised. This term’s report isn’t going to be proudly displayed on many fridges in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Sun sums up the situation, in keeping with the province’s unofficial policy of never giving anybody an F:

For a team that is 13-27, stellar grades are not to be expected, nor will they be found here. But keeping the grading in perspective with regard to the expectations for this club, failing grades are also absent. Whether you had this team pegged for a 25-win season or a 35-win season, the reality is injuries have had a huge impact on this club as it reaches the official half way point of the season Monday. Of late, the prospect of a two or three-man bench to go with whatever five somewhat healthy starters can be found is this team’s daily way of life.

ESPN’s NBA gurus grade the Raps equally low. Senior writer Marc Stein ranks the Raptors 27 out of 30 teams, while John Hollinger slots them in one spot higher at 26. Both have the Raps’ position moving downward.

Sadly, Toronto’s troubles don’t stem from a lack of trying. Most of the Raptors give it their all night in and night out, especially role players, like Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson and the oft-injured Reggie Evans. They’re easy to like, and they play well with the other children. At parent-teacher interviews, they’d get a big, fat A for effort.

The problem is that their best just isn’t that great. The Raptors, aside from Andrea Bargnani (a B player at best) and on occasion Jose Calderon (a solid B-) and DeMar DeRozan (a totally inflated B-), are a team composed entirely of grinders. If they want to commandeer some of that exalted fridge space next term, trying really, really hard isn’t going to be enough. In the NBA, you can’t get the grades if you don’t have the talent.

• Toronto Raptors’ mid-season report card [Toronto Sun]
• What the Raptors need down the stretch [Toronto Star]
• Power Rankings [ESPN]
• 2010-11 Hollinger Power Rankings [ESPN]