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ESPN Insider: Johnson to breakout, worst-case 26 wins

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  • ESPN Insider: Johnson to breakout, worst-case 26 wins

    ESPN did their thing again:

    The Raptors have a potential star on the roster, but they will need much more time before they're ready to compete with the rest of the conference.


    “[DeRozan] can average 15-17 points this year and put himself in the conversation with his classmates, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings.”

    "All you need to know is in their first name -- they're a foreign team. They're like a team in Europe with a few good American players, and that won't cut it in this league.

    "I do love DeMar DeRozan . He can be a superstar and reach the Vince Carter level. He's a freak athletically, a terror in transition, he can guard, he's competitive and he's got toughness and swagger. He can average 15-17 points this year and put himself in the conversation with his classmates, Tyreke Evans , Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings .

    "[Andrea] Bargnani is a nice big man who can stretch defenses, but Jose Calderon is nothing more than a really nice backup. If [Leandro] Barbosa plays like he did two years ago, he could be a nice addition. He's got to get his confidence back."

    Best-case scenario: "DeRozan emerges as a future star they can build around and they win 32 games."

    Worst-case scenario: "26 wins."

    -- As told to Chris Broussard

    Thorpe's breakout player: Amir Johnson , F

    The Raptors have a number of young players who will get ample opportunities to step forward and become serious contributors. But much is expected of Johnson, thanks to his five-year, $34 million deal signed this summer, and with lottery pick Ed Davis recovering from knee surgery, Johnson will have as many minutes as he can stomach to start the season. He looks to be a guy who can average 10 and 10, and while those numbers seem pedestrian when compared to Chris Bosh , they would be welcomed by the Toronto coaching staff and front office.

    Haberstroh's salary spotlight: Andrea Bargnani , C

    Age: 25 | 2010-11 salary: $8.5 million | Projected PER: 14.3

    The jury is out whether Bargnani will ever live up to No. 1 overall expectations, but the long-awaited verdict should arrive at the end of this upcoming season. Bosh has left Toronto, which shifts the spotlight squarely on the Italian big man who averaged 17.2 points last season.

    Bargnani can hit treys and block a few shots in the post, but he struggles with just about everything else. In fact, he had the lowest steal rate among qualified players last season, one of the lowest assist rates for a regular center and, to top it all off, his rebounding numbers measure up more closely to those of a shooting guard. With five years and $50 million left on his contract, the Raptors will need to see some improvement from their franchise player.