Hollinger's Team Forecast: Toronto Raptors

Originally Published: October 3, 2006
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Go to: Offseason moves | Biggest strength | Biggest weakness | Outlook

Sometimes you don't judge the success of a season by wins and losses, and for the Toronto Raptors it was that kind of year. Though they went from 33 wins in 2004-05 to 27 in 2005-06, the team's future brightened immeasurably.

Chris Bosh
Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty ImagesChris Bosh is rarely sitting down on the job.

On the court, the cause was the play of Chris Bosh. The third-year forward is the forgotten gem of the star-studded 2003 draft, and he took another huge step forward by making his first All-Star team, averaging 22.5 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting.

Additionally, the team played much better after a horrific 1-15 start. Toronto's point differential in those first 16 games was a whopping -9.9 points per game, but for the rest of the year the Raptors nearly played their opponents to a draw at -1.3 per contest. For the season Toronto had 31.3 Expected Wins, so the team on the court was better than its 27-55 mark indicated. Had they not gone 1-9 in overtime games, it would have been more obvious.

But the real action was off the court. The Raptors made several smart moves to improve the team's long-term future, most notably by firing general manager Rob Babcock and replacing him with highly regarded former Suns executive Bryan Colangelo.