Toronto Raptors 2010 Fan Jam, Pictures & Season Preview
U Be the Critic recently attended the Toronto Raptors Fan Jam at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors hold it yearly. They give out free tickets to the event as a way to hype fans up for the beginning of a new season. The event featured a pre show where b-ballers did tricks for the crowd, an inter squad scrimmage, a skills competition, and tons of prize giveaways. This was much needed for the Toronto fan base after losing superstar Chris Bosh to the Miami Heat in the off season. This was a way to get Toronto fans excited about the Raptors again. Fan favorites like Andrea Bargnani, Jarett Jack, DeMar Derozan, and Reggie Evans threw shirts, jerseys and banners to fans. Jarett Jack even autographed his size 14 Nike's and threw them into the crowd for some lucky fans. The event drew about 12,000 people, and the atmosphere in the arena was great. Fans cheered on the Raptor mascot, and the Raptors Dance pack. The coaches split their team into two. With "Toronto" facing the "Raptors". The "Raptors" ended up winning the scrimmage with Jarett Jack, Andrea Bargnani and Linas Kleiza leading the way. It was obvious that the players were not going full out, but the game was still very entertaining. Linas Kleiza looked fantastic out there, and was easily the best player on the court. He confidently hit his shots regularly, and looked in fantastic NBA playing shape after playing all of last season in Europe. After the game, there was a skills competition. The Raptors brought 4 lucky fans on to the court to have a 3 point shootout. Each fan was teamed with two Raptors. The fan who won resembled Andrea Bargnani. He must have been 7'0 feet tall, and had the same hair style. He was paired with Jarett Jack and Bargnani. The Raptors are facing a rebuilding year after losing their superstar power forward, Chris Bosh. Many people are predicting the Raptors to be one of the worst players in the league. They have effectively lost 24 points and 10 rebounds a night. Those who are optimistic about the Raptors chances are pointing at Andrea Bargnani as the Raptors go to guy. If he can come close to Bosh's production and provide 20 and 8 consistently, the season may not be a wash after all. The Raptors do have some solid veterans to help Bargs out. Jarett Jack looks solid again, and Brian Colangelo did everyone a big favor by trading Hedo Turkoglu and his gigantic contract to the Phoenix Suns for Leandro Barbosa. Barbosa has looked great in the pre season, with his lightning quick slashes to the net, and could be the NBA's 6th Man of the Year. Bringing Linas Kleiza into the fold helps to take the defence's attention away from Bargnani and will allow him to be productive as a second option. Kleiza has lit up the defences so far in the pre season and should be the Rap's leading scorer in the regular season. With him drawing the primary defence, Bargnani will have to pick up his shooting and stretch the defences with his 3 pointers. Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson will need to have big seasons if the Raps want to have any shot at a playoff appearance. If DeMar Derozan, Sonny Weems and rookie Ed Davis can be all productive scorers, the season will not be as bleak as many predict it will be. As a Raptors fan I have my fingers crossed, but I am not confident in their chances. I think that everyone below us has improved. The Knicks got Amare, the Nets have a lot of young talent, and the Heat are obviously monsters. What do you think of the Raptors chances? U Be the Critic!