Tonight at 10 pm the Raptors hit the road. No, they're not going to Phoenix though, they're in Vancouver. The Raps are opening up the preseason in Western Canada as they take on the Phoenix Suns. You can catch the game on TSN or, as always, on the Fan 590.
As we've written about extensively in our "Year One A.B." segment, you are about to see a new Raptor team. Andrea Bargnani now steps on the court as the leader of Canada's team, complimented by a crop of unproven players. While he and Leandro Barbosa are on the court, look for the offense to run through their hands.
Linas Kleiza was as hot as anyone in the FIBA World Championships this summer, leading Lithuania to a third place finish overall. Kleiza (playing the power forward position for the Lithuanians) put up 19 points per game on almost 58% shooting and almost 38% from three. This guy can shoot. This will be his first appearance sporting a Raptor uniform, so it will be interesting to see how Jay Triano will use him.
The Suns themselves are at a crossroads, looking for a new identity for their team. The Turkoglu-Barbosa swap seems to be an indicator that the Suns are looking to play more half-court ball this year. Last night they fell to the Kings 109-95 in Sacramento. All I have to say to them is good luck with Hedo.