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8 Toronto Raptors
Chris Mannix
October 29, 2007
If the Euro vet has a good leg to stand on, playoff hopes will be just as strong
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October 29, 2007

8 Toronto Raptors

If the Euro vet has a good leg to stand on, playoff hopes will be just as strong

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Although Garbajosa is showing no ill effects from the injury--he averaged 7.8 points in 21�minutes per game at the European Championships-- Toronto will remain cautious. The team has an insurance policy through November that covers the remaining $8.5�million on Garbajosa's contract, and coach Sam Mitchell declared an open competition at starting small forward between Garbajosa, Joey Graham and Jason Kapono, a free agent who signed a four-year, $24�million contract with the Raptors in the off-season.

Starter or not, Garbajosa is happy he can get back on the floor. "I'm not worried about starting," he says, "and I never think about minutes. I just want to be useful."

ENEMY LINES

An opposing team's scout sizes up the Raptors

The Raptors' identity as a team was founded on the strength of Chris Bosh and their two excellent point guards, T.J. Ford and Jos� Calder�n. . . . Bosh is one of the best young players in the league and also one of the best character guys. . . . You pair him up front with Andrea Bargnani, and you're really on to something. He and Bosh can complement each other offensively and space the floor, which prevents opposing big men from playing centerfield around the basket. . . . I don't trust coach Sam Mitchell as a tactician. His energy and passion are his strengths, and it's to his benefit that he keeps things simple. . . . Adding Euroleague veteran Anthony Parker was their most underrated move last year. He helped change the team dynamic by bringing toughness and a winning attitude that Toronto had lacked. . . . My only worry is that Bosh has suffered from nagging injuries. If he goes down for an extended time, the Raptors will become a cellar team.

FAST FACT

The Raptors had the best bench production in the East last season with a franchise-high 36.3�points per game. That output, second in the NBA behind the Spurs' reserves, was an increase of seven points per game from '05-06.

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