Report Card Time

Taking a cue from the ESPN Sports Guy, we at herohill have decided to give mid-season grades to the Raptor lineup. Overall, the Raps have played to a level indicative of their talent. The biggest plus of the season was unloading Vince Carter to the Nets. He was a team cancer and the uncertainty was killing the squad.
But overall, they are doing better than expected, and are tearing it up in 2005.
Record - 17 W, 23 L - 11th in the East


Rafer Alston (PG) - First things first, Rafer is one of the only Raps that you can count on to give you 100% every game. He is averaging 13 pts and 7 assists per game, with only 2.26 turnovers per game (9th in the league). Not bad for a guy who was a change of pace guard straight from the AND1 leagues. He still gets abused by bigger PGs but that will happen when your PG is shorter than the space between Shaq's ass and nuts. His other big problem is that he has a little too much of the Jordan back at you for someone 6 feet tall shooting 35% from the field. You need your PGs to hit open jumpers, not go 0-12 in OT losses. On the plus side, he pushes the ball, and aside from his recent cold streak, he is doing more than any PG in TO has done for while.
-Ack

Grade: B+

Matt Bonner (F) - If you've watched the Raps at all this season you know who's been their most pleasant surprise: Matt Bonner. The man now known as the Red Rocket came off the slopes in New Hampshire to not only make the Raps roster, but to become a rotation player who's actually contributing. No small feat for a guy who was a second-round afterthought by the previous Raps management and spent last year on a last place team in Italy. He's gone from joke to legit fan-favourite in half a season. No one works harder than Bonner; he plays defence and isn't afraid to mix it up down low (ask Garnett). He is absolutely cash on the mid range jumpers and can step out to make threes. He also has a nice touch around the basket and only needs to work on his handle to have a well rounded offensive. You can read my post on Bonner for all kinds of other info on the guy, but he's had a great year so far.
-Shane

Grade: A

Mo Peterson (SG) - Two ways to grade his season. Before Vince left and after Vince left. Before Vince left, he hovered in the Mo-ssian Spot (the three point line, in the corner, ten feet further out than the Russian spot), jacked threes, flopped around on defense and hoped MuchMusic picks him up to do a Canadian version of "Pimp My Ride". He still rocked a headband and prayed for the day Vince got hurt or finally left. He also led the teams in chest bumps and unnecessary high fives with Vince.
After Vince left, Mo has been living it up. Giving Herbie pounds, running Vince's plays and dropping a career high 37 against my Celtics. He gets the crowd hyped, he uses his left hand more than a teenage boy in the can, and he still rocks accessories like he shops in Pat Ewing's closet. He's 14th in the league in 3 pt%, but his PPG are low (11.1) and he doesn't exactly pound the glass, or pass. His grade could hopefully sky rocket now that he has shaken off the fact he was Vince's whipping boy and he will get more looks at the basket.
-Ack

Grade: B

Jalen Rose (G/F) - I must say this in advance, I love Jalen. I've been a Michigan fan since junior high and was all about the fab five when they were doing their thing. So I'm biased. But that doesn't mean I've loved everything Jalen's done with the Raps. My main beef with Jalen is his defence, he really has none. Jalen's become a scorer, that's what he does now and he's very effective at it, but he doesn't give much effort on the D. He's also become way too concerned about the refs, berating them almost every time he goes to the net and doesn't get a call. He's even taken to throwing his headband into the crowd from time to time. But that's small potatoes really, he's given the Raps a legit scoring threat that teams needs to double team, and he can find the open man if the double comes. One other thing about Jalen, he always plays hard. He's pissed about not starting anymore and there's tons of trade rumors swirling around him, but he's never stopped giving a full effort. Some people could learn a thing or two from that. Just my opinion, but I hope Jalen sticks around.
-Shane

Grade: B+

Eric Williams (SF) - Chompers. This guy has been a favorite of mine for years. He has huge, messed up teeth. He started a charity for ghetto kids with messed up teeth. It's awesome. He also declared himself the "Prince of Newark". He was reppin Jersey more than Jay and Silent Bob. He came to the Teedot in the Vincenzo deal. His minutes have dropped, along with his numbers, but he isn't Vince, so I like that. He is also missing a huge marketing chance. He should declare himself the "Prince of North York". He tries hard, and he doesn't offend anyone so I guess I can't give him a bad grade, but he doesn't really do anything except have huge teeth. Seriously, inmates better hope he never goes to jail, because he could eat your ass from the next cell.
-Ack

Grade: C

Milt Palacio (PG) - No other NBA player of Belizian decent plays as hard as Milton. There is also no other player who gets to the more than Milt but can't make the layup. Milt does the best with what he has. He's quick, strong and does a good job d-ing up both guard positions. He has a decent mid range jumper and is solid from the charity stripe. Unfortunately he's woeful from the 3 point line, in fact he is 0-4 from deep this year. 0% from the 3 point line is not what you want from your pg, but he's only taken 4 of them, so he knows his limitations. I also don't think he's a great passer for a point guard, but he is averaging a career-best 3.3 assists this year so maybe he's improving that part of his game. Milt is one of those guys who Rap fans love to complain about, but like I said, he does the best with what he has.
-Shane

Grade: B-

Rafeal "Hoffa" Araujo (C) - The Raps picked him pretty high overall, for his skill level, but the Raps needed a big body. All they had at centre was Loren Woods and Bosh, both of whom could take a shower in the barrel of a gun. He has crazy tats, like a Brazilian Tupac. I can honestly see him jamming to hip hop and talking about his bling in broken English. He went to BYU. Seriously, picture this huge Brazilian hard-ass walking around the campus of a Mormon school. That is gold.
When the season started, he was completely lost. He has horrible hands. He has stepped over the line inbounding the ball and obviously has trouble on defense. No one should ever get taken backdoor by a 7-footer who has undergone knee surgery (Raef LaFrentz). When he got his first start, he actually requested a sub. Hoffa, when you are as likely to get a DNP-Coach's Decision as you are to start, play until they drag you off.
That being said, he is HUGE. He mashes people. His crazy banging style compliments Bosh well. Now that Mitchell has given up on Loren Woods, he is getting some actual minutes. He gets rebounds, and is not afraid to foul the hell out of anyone. These are all things the Raptors need. What they don't need is him trying jump hooks and thinking he is cash from 15 feet. Hoffa would be wise to get to know the paint well. Right now he is averaging about 11 minutes per game, and that is climbing, however he is as likely to play well as he is to come out, mash people in the first two minutes and sit the rest of the half.
-Ack

Grade: C- (but showing much improvement)

Loren Woods (C) - The way Loren's been rooted to the bench in recent weeks, he might want to think of another career. Perhaps he could try magic, as he makes his 7'1 frame disappear on a regular basis. Loren started out the season with an impressive game against the Rockets, playing solid d on Yao and being active on both offence and defence. But that didn't last. He started 28 games and became less effective each time out. Eventually his teammates stopped passing him the ball so he was a non-factor on offence. You can be a non-factor on offence if you're Ben Wallace, but averaging 5 and a half boards isn't gonna keep you starting at center. So he's lost his starting spot to the Brazilian Beast, a guy who can hardly go 30 seconds without fouling someone. So he's gone from the starting center to being lucky if he gets 5 minutes. Not a great first half for Loren.
-Shane

Grade: C-

Aaron Williams (PF) - Another throw in the Vince deal. I actually thought he'd get some run and produce in Toronto. He is a banger, and he is bordering on albino. He is pretty good sized, has decent finishing skills, but Sam Mitchell doesn't let this guy get a sniff. He is averaging 0.4 PPG and 4.2 minutes a game. How is that possible on this squad? Everyone plays, like House league hockey. Pape Sow even averages a deuce a game.
I think he could actually contribute. I also think he has a sassafrass red moustache. That being said, how can you really grade a guy who has played 21 minutes?
-Ack

Grade: INC

Chris Bosh (PF) - No one has turned it up more since the Carter trade than CB4. He has just set the franchise record with his 9th straight double-double. His confidence has skyrocketed in the last month and he's starting to realize that there's very few people that can guard him. He scores inside and out and has turned up his intensity on the defensive end, crashing the glass harder and getting some key blocks. Bosh had a bit of a fuzzy stretch around Christmas and it looked like his confidence was shook, but that passed in a major way. I can't stress how much he's come on in the last few weeks, he looks like a younger, more athletic Jermaine O'Neal. And he's only 20, so right now I think the Raps and their fans feel like they've found their new franchise player. VC can go pound Jersey sand.
-Shane

Grade: A

Lamond Murray (SF) - Where my dogs at? I think I may be the only one who thinks he looks a lot like DMX? All in all, Lamond has played well this season. He has stepped up and played like the Lamond the Raps hoped would be a productive bench player instead of the Lamond that spent most of his night in warm up gear. There have been some games that Lamond has won for the Raps down the stretch, so that is good. So is using Lamond's name 5 times in 5 sentences. He is shooting 44% from the field and 47% from behind the arc. That isn't too bad, but there are just too many nights where he shows up and does nothing, but 7 PPG in 16 minutes isn't bad. If you did that "per 48 minutes played" stat that people love to use (but makes no sense since he isn't good enough to play that much) he'd be averaging 21 a game. Think about it.
-Ack

Grade: B-

Donyell Marshall (PF) - D-Marsh is just a solid, veteran NBA player. He's a pro and conducts himself with class. He's 6'9 and routinely finds himself guarding dudes way bigger than himself. I can relate to guarding ogres, so I have respect what Donyell's been able to do on defence. The only beef I'd have with Donyell's game this year is that he's become only exclusively a perimeter player on offence. He mainly looks to get his shots from 3, rarely venturing inside. Which is ok in the sense that he is a decent 3-point shooter, but it does make the Raps a little one-dimensional and takes away a rebounder. But the way he's been shooting lately who am I to complain? Plus he looks like Ludacris, so he's got that going for him.
-Shane

Grade: B

Pape Sow (PF) - Pape 'Pop' Sow has played all of 6 games for the Raps. He's a big active body that looks like he could be an effective NBA player if he figured out how to play the game. But as of yet I haven't seen too much of him, so I really have no opinion of him yet. The Raps seem to like him as they've kept him on the roster, and NBA analyst Leo Rautins "likes his game". I have no idea what he's basing that opinion on, but hey, I'm not going to disagree with NBA analyst Leo Rautins.
-Shane

Grade: C+

Alonzo Mourning (C) – He's like Ben Hill's head. He's a cap-filler. He let the Raps get rid of Vince and chances are that he will never play north of the border. So let's just talk about him. Remember at Georgetown he had that awesome box cut, and he wore those crazy sweatbands? He and Dikembe were twin towers! What about his awesome brawl. He looked like he was trying to punch a swarm of bees. Shaq mentioned him in one of his raps. That was cool at some point wasn't it? He opened up a barbershop called CUTZ.
-Ack

Grade: INC

Vince Carter (SG) - What more is there to say about the man formerly known as Air Canada? Vince finally got his wish in December and was dealt to the New Jersey Nets. Not a contender, but the Nets, the one team in the horrid Atlantic Division with a record worse than the Raps. And by all accounts he's overjoyed to be there. The move has also helped his game as he averaged 15 ppg here in Toronto, but is averaging over 22 ppg since the trade. He was obviously dogging it here this season and has since gone on to admit he wasn't trying during an interview for TNT. He's a douche, there's nothing else that needs to be said.
-Shane

Grade: F-


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