October 27, 2010
It begins tonight, the post-Chris Bosh era. And without a lot of -- any? -- bloody optimism. But the show, horrific as it might be, must go on. The Maple Leafs went through it when Mats Sundin skipped town. The Blue Jays when their relationship with Roy Halladay ended, albeit amicably. It's now the Raptors' turn. A right of passage, in a way, to what is a new and youthful era -- and hopefully more goddamn successful -- for Toronto's big three sports teams.
And as is always the case before tip off, this is the season.
The season Andrea Bargnani realizes he's seven feet tall, averages nine rebounds a game, and becomes a premier help defender.
This is the season of The Young Onez ...
The season DeMar DeRozan, after learning the ropes, proves that he does indeed "got us." The season Amir Johnson sticks it to all of us who said he'll never live up to his massive contract. The season Sonny Weems proves March and April 2010 were no fluke.
This is the season Leandro Barbosa, only 28 years old next month, returns to form.
The season Linas Kleiza, fresh off his European sabbatical, important for any 25-year-old, makes the most of an opportunity, and thrives.
This is the season Reggie Evans is healthy, and rebounds. Until he's traded.
The season Jose Calderon learns how to play def... Nevermind. Let's not get crazy.
This is the season Jarrett Jack becomes a legitimate starting point guard in the NBA.
The season Jay Triano figures it out.
I know what you're thinking. I agree; that's a whole lot of "this is the season." There's only so much "this is the season" to go around.
But there's one more. The most important one. This is the season the Toronto Raptors, to a man, take their team's projected 26.5 wins personally. And win 30. Bet the over. I did.
This is the season. Until it's not. Then it's the season after.
Image of the chosen one courtesy The Associated Press, via Yahoo! Sports.