Toronto Raptors 2011-12 Team Stats, Plus a Look Forward

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Toronto Raptors Team Stats

Toronto Raptors Team Stats
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

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The last time the Toronto Raptors qualified for the playoffs was the 2007-08 season. When looking at the current team we would not want to go back quite that far as this is a new regime now. Dwane Casey is entering his 2nd season at the helm. His rookie Raps campaign produced sure signs that this teams arrow is pointed upwards. Especially on the defensive end.

This slideshow article is a look at where the team was - statistically - last season, and where they have a chance to be this season with their new additions.

We will look at several team stats and how new Raps like Jonas Valanciunas, Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and Landry Fields can help improve certain areas.

We will also look at the effect that Andrea Bargnani and his return could/should have in certain areas.

As you flip through this slideshow article you will see info on...Team points per game...Team Field Goal percentage...3-point shooting...Turnovers...Defense...and then some.

Last season Casey tried to implement and improve as much as possible, but the shortened schedule made for sure limitations. No training camp, a 2-game preseason, plus only a handful of practices throughout the season.

I consider it a major plus that a coach like Casey has training camp time, plus in-season practice time to work on things this time around. The Raps have put themselves significantly behind the 8-ball to start each of the last 4 seasons.

2007-08 saw the Raps make the playoffs after a decent-enough 10-10 start after 20 NBA games. The next 4 seasons have started like this: 8-12, 7-13, 8-12, and last season 6-14 after 20 games.

The time Casey and his staff are getting to spend with this team is the reason I am optimistic that several of the team stats we look at in this article have a chance to get even better.

Click "Next" near the top right of this article to scroll through the slides/pages

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Raptors Team Offense

Raptors Team Offense
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

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The 2011-12 Raptors averaged 90.4 points per game (28th in the NBA). Andrea Bargnani led the team with 19.5 points per game.

While the Raps have done a lot of losing since their last playoff appearance, scoring has rarely been an issue. The past 4 seasons the scoring-per-game has gone: 99, 104.1, 99.1, then last season just 90.7 (which put the Raps #28 in the NBA). Only the New Orleans Hornets and Charlotte Bobcats scored less than Toronto last season.

Only 5 teams played at a slower pace than the Raptors last season.

Things are looking up, however.

For one thing leading scorer Bargnani returns from a calf issue. Since Chris Bosh left the offense is designed to feature Bargs. He is their go-to guy when they need a basket, and also the guy who gets the ball when the offensive-set has sputtered and there are just 5 seconds left on the shot clock.

I love Bargnani on offense. That height plus that release-point make him lethal.

While we know Casey is a defense-minded coach, he has acknowledged that the team-offense requires improvements. They get their individual play-maker back in Bargnani, but I expect the entire team-offense to improve this season.

New PG Lowry was a big part of running the Houston Rockets offense the past few seasons and they are in the top-10 regularly. I think his addition may be a tad under-the-radar. I see him as a complete package, and I love his bulldog mentality and his willingness to constantly push the tempo to create opportunities for his team on offense. If the 12-13 Raps do make the playoffs this guy will have a massive part of that.

New big-man Valanciunas will be able to add offensive rebounding and 2nd-chance points to this team. He is not really a low-post scoring threat yet, but he does have a few moves and his physicality will allow for offensive rebounds.

Prev page intro...Next page FG%

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Raptors Team FG%

Raptors Team FG%
Nicole Sweet-US PRESSWIRE

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The 2011-12 Raptors had a FG% of .440 (23rd in NBA). Amir Johnson led the team with a .576 FG%. The only other Raps above .500 were Aaron Gray (.516) and Ed Davis (.513). 3rd year now for Davis so we can expect good play from him this season.

New Rap Landry Fields saw his 3-point shooting plummet last season, but he is still a guy who shoots .480 from the field in his career.

Lowry is not a guy who shoots at a particularly high percentage, but he can set-up teammates and facilitate a high-speed offense which will benefit the athletes like DeMar DeRozan and Ross. Not quite Lob City, but there should be a lot available for the high-flyers on this team (dunks are remarkably high percentage!)

Alan Anderson is likely to get playing time this season. He shot a career low .387 last season, but he has a contract now so hopefully he can allow his game to flow more naturally. He was a 10-day contract player who is now signed for $885,000 through this upcoming season.

DeRozan needs to improve his shot selection, and improve certain areas of his game. His FG% has dipped every season in the NBA. He went from an impressive .498 to a good .467 to a career-low .422 last season. If Valanciunas and Davis can perform down low that should help the SGs get open shots more often. Add the fact that Lowry, Jose Calderon, and John Lucas III are going to run a more up-tempo offense than DeRozan has played in which should lead to opportunities for him to finish in transition.

Prev is offense...Next is 3-pointers

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Raptors 3-Pointers

Raptors 3-Pointers
Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

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The 2011-12 Raptors did not really use the 3-ball as a weapon. They shot just .340 from downtown which was 19th best in the NBA. Jerryd Bayless was tops with a .423 percentage, but he is gone now.

This is one area where Bargnani really needs to pick it up. He shot .406 from downtown in the 2008-09 season, but check the decline: .372, then .345, and last season a career-low .296 for Bryan Colangelo's former #1 overall pick.

Another guy to watch here is Fields. This young man burst on the scene in 2010-11 and shot .393 (86 for 219) from downtown, but last season that went alllll the way down to .256 (31 for 121...yikes).

Ross is also an interesting 3-point threat. The rookie can shoot, and much like Bargnani he has a very high release point which allows him to get a shot off in rhythm and uncontested more often than not.

Colangelo wanted improved play from the wing and part of that was improved shooting. Fields and Ross have a chance to address that.

Calderon had back-to-back seasons north of .400 3-ball percentage so he is capable. The past three seasons he has shot .398, .365, and .371 so he is pretty consistent.

Lucas III and Linas Kleiza are wild-cards in this category. Both are capable of being effective 3-ballers, but both have a "we'll see" feel to them for me currently.

Casey had the teams 3-point defense looking good last season. The Raps held opponents to .328 percentage from downtown which put them in the top-5 in NBA. Lowry and Ross are bulldog defenders, and Fields can be solid too so we should expect that the Raps will be strong on the perimeter defensively.

Prev screen is FG%...Next screen is team defense

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Raptors Team Defense

Raptors Team Defense
Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

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The 2011-12 Raptors improved dramatically on the defensive end. That was surely expected with Casey at the helm.

Colangelo added several players who will have a chance to impress Casey and earn playing time for him through their defense. The Raps held opponents to a .435 FG% last season which was 7th in the NBA.

Valanciunas is a banger in the paint. This is a guy who initiates the contact, and is looking to be physical on every play. He has struggled at times with players who are bigger than him. We know the NBA is full of such players so Casey will need to work with the big-fella on technique. Saying that a 20 year old who is switching Continents will require work/improvements is hardily a knock on JV. More like the norm.

Ross seems to me like a Casey-type defender. We need to acknowledge that Ross requires additional weight ASAP, but his technique and attitude on defense are exciting for Raps fans. In college Ross was extremely good defending in one-on-one situations (opponents shot just 22% against him in 1-on-1's...wow). He will be in the face of whoever he is guarding.

Lowry is also a in-your-face defender. He may need to adjust a tad to the new flopping rule. I would not say he is a flopper, but he loves drawing charges and if any Ref mis-reads that as "flopping" then Lowry will pay the price.

I would think that Calderon may be pushed to improve his defense as Lucas III may have a chance to pass Calderon on the depth chart this season.

The biggest disappointment with Bargnani missing so much of last season is that Casey had him playing good defense. Bargs was even improving as a help-defender. It was impressive really, but the injury derailed the progress. Casey helped Dirk Nowitzki become a solid team-defender and Raps fans hope Bargnani will go that route too.

Prev is 3-pointers...Next is misc stats & look forward

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Raptors Team Stats, and Looking Forward

Raptors Team Stats, and Looking Forward
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

follow me on twitter @Raptors_Rap

Last season the Raps were involved in 10 games that either finished with a 3-points-or-less margin, or went to OT. The Raps won just 3 of those games. The intangibles should be in place to really improve that going forward.

Having a training camp to get the new players acclimatized is key, as is the return of Bargnani. 2 lottery-picks are in there too. Raps also added a promising new PG and SG to help the talent level rise

The Raps shot .770 from the free-throw line last season which was 12th in the NBA. If that can stay around that number it should help an improving team get much better overall in these close games. This is again an area that a returning Bargnani can help as he shot 87% from the foul-line last season, and he has a 87.3 career FT%.

Calderon is one of the best foul shooters I have ever seen. Question is will it be him or Lowry earning the crunch-time minutes?

The regular schedule returning this season also helps because of the in-season practice time the Raps will now have. Late-game scenarios can be learned from and improvements implemented this season, which was not available to Casey last season.

The past few seasons the #8 seed in the Atlantic Division has had a record of 39-43. The 2012-13 Raps are not going to get there by winning just 30% of the last-possession games.

Thank you for reading my work...I certainly hope it was a good read...Know a fellow Raps fan? Pass it on...

www.rantsports.com/nba/author/craigballard/ for all of my Raptors articles

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