Toronto Raptors: Nets-Raptors postseason preview

In the third edition of the ‘Toronto Raptors Heat Check’, we get you set for the Toronto Raptors’ opening postseason series against the Brooklyn Nets.     The Toronto Raptors are set to open the 2020 NBA playoffs with a date with the Brooklyn Nets, a longtime Eastern Conference Foe. Gone are the days where […]
Toronto Raptors: Nets-Raptors postseason preview – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Gavin Axelrod / Raptors HQ

Five things we’ve learned from the Toronto Raptors first half

Shocking to some, the Toronto Raptors sit third in the Eastern Conference halfway through the 2019-20 season. Here’s what we’ve learned. The Toronto Raptors ended the first half of their season with a 29-14 record and the second-best defense in the NBA despite being healthy for about 10-percent of their games. I was joined by […]
Five things we’ve learned from the Toronto Raptors first half – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Hunter Surphlis / Raptors HQ

Trash-talk Toronto Raptors: All aboard the Pascal Siakam for MVP train

Welcome back to the third edition of Trash-talk: A Toronto Raptors gossip column! Here we discuss everything that happened with the Toronto Raptors outside the actual game of basketball. Week 2 came and went and the Toronto Raptors are in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race with a 4-2 record. While it’s a […]
Trash-talk Toronto Raptors: All aboard the Pascal Siakam for MVP train – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Andrew Hughes / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: What are the odds OG Anunoby makes an All-Star team?

Former first-round pick OG Anunoby is now entering his third season with the Toronto Raptors. What are the odds he ever makes an All-Star team? When it comes to NBA All-Stars, the Toronto Raptors don’t exactly have a rich history. Most recently, the likes of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Kawhi Leonard have all been […]
Toronto Raptors: What are the odds OG Anunoby makes an All-Star team? – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Let Vladdy play third base until he can’t

From the moment Vladimir Guerrero Jr. set foot at third base during his Major League debut on April 26, the countdown started towards his eventual shift across the diamond. It’s not a question of if the Blue Jays will convert him into a first baseman; it’s when.
Vladdy’s had his fair share of difficulties at third base this season. His spectacular arm has been on display for many throws across the diamond, but his footwork could use some work.
After his latest lower body injury, the masses have already started calling for Guerrero to change positions and shift to first base. A 20-year-old third baseman, abandoning the position where he’s spent less than a full season so far? Right.
It’s a tad premature to pull the parachute on Guerrero’s native position before he’s barely played it. I’m not debating whether he’ll move to first base (he will), but much like giving a young starting pitcher every opportunity before converting them into a reliever, the Blue Jays need to apply the same philosophy here; let Vladdy play third base until he can’t.
Admittedly, Guerrero’s defensive numbers at third base aren’t …

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Author: Ian Hunter / Blue Jays Nation

Nicknames revealed for Player’s Weekend jerseys

Coming up on the third Player’s Weekend, the nicknames for the current Blue Jays roster, that will appear on their jerseys from August 23rd to the 25th, have been released.

#BlueJays jersey nicknames for Players’ Weekend (Aug. 23-25)
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 6, 2019

This will mark the third consecutive three-day period that all of Major League Baseball will be participating in the event that allows players to sport nicknames on their jerseys and put on some stylized equipment, to show some personality in the game.
Other than having some colourful look as years previous, the league decided to go for the “white-out” look and display a very bland and blank template for jerseys. If player’s take advantage of this and take out the Sharpies like they’re unsheathing some creative sword, that would make it a whole lot better.
As for the Blue Jays, an infinite amount of kudos to both Derek Fisher and Jacob Waguespack going with their own names, it takes the true creative spirit to abide to the original.
Some of the more obvious nicknames include Danny Jansen going with “Jano”, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. having something related …

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Author: Thomas Williams / Blue Jays Nation

Hot Takes From the Farm: Week Fifteen

So. Ten days. We are in the midst of the third and final system-altering event of the summer (June draft, J2 signing day, and trade deadline) and while we await news as fans, a few players in the system do as well. For example, we’re all on Bo Watch including Bo. It’s fair to guess that the only thing in the way of a promotion is the continued productivity of Eric Sogard and Freddy Galvis. Within the next ten says it’s a near certainty one (at least) of those will be dealt (my guess is Galvis) in order to open a full time role for Bichette in the majors. In any case, the situation illustrates one aspect of why the deadline is a system-wide event, or at least has the potential to be. Sure you are acquiring (or dealing, depending on the standings) fresh talent but also, it has the potential to clear up blockages for promotions. For example, if Kevin Smith hadn’t struggled all year, a Bichette promotion would almost surely have led to a Smith promotion. Some of those things have not gone as planned (Sean Reid-Foley is a great example) so perhaps the …

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Author: Tammy Rainey / Blue Jays Nation

2019 NHL Draft Recap: Mikko Kokkonen’s calculated style gives him a good shot at an NHL career

This is my third of six 2019 NHL Draft Recap articles, in which I do a deep dive into every Maple Leafs selection from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Mikko Kokkonen, selected 84th overall in the 2019 NHL draft, was the Maple Leafs’ second pick of the afternoon. He was also their second good pick in a row. The Finnish defenceman may not bring high-end upside to the table, but Kokkonen is quite likely to become an NHL player, which is something that can rarely be said about any 3rd round selection.
Kokkonen was ranked higher than his eventual draft slot by many, as a lot of respected draft analysts had him pegged as a likely second-round pick. Here, I’ll dive into what Kokkonen does well, what he needs to work on, and what exactly the Leafs have in this player.

Scouting Report

Defensive Game

I’ll start out by breaking down an area where Kokkonen really excels: the defensive game.
Kokkonen is calm when defending in his own zone. He doesn’t chase the play, puck watch or leave his assignment. He knows where he has to stand and when he has to stand there. Kokkonen gets his stick into passing …

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Author: 51Leafs / The Leafs Nation

Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors NBA Finals HQ

Toronto is in the NBA Finals. The Warriors are looking for their third straight title. What will happen? Who will win? We’ve got it all here. It’s the NBA Finals — we made it! Catch up on all of our Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors coverage here. We’ve got everything from podcasts to in-depth analysis, plus our usual game coverage and more!
Now the big question: Can the Raptors win it all? We’ll find out.

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Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ

Siakam has looked unfazed this postseason — what does that mean for the Finals?

In his third season, Siakam has provided Toronto with some unexpected veteran poise nobody saw coming. And now, Pascal may be in line to complete his breakout season with a strong NBA Championship series. Pascal Siakam has spent the last six weeks providing the Toronto Raptors with some of the best performances of his career. We all saw flashes throughout the season — from his 44-point explosion in February against the Wizards, to his sustained Most Improved Player-level of play, right on up to his team-leading 30 points in a Game 3 victory over the Magic. In his first postseason as a key starter, Siakam is averaging nearly 19 points on 46 percent from the field, while starting all 18 games. And now the Raptors are in the NBA Finals.
This is just his third year in the league, and he’s arguably the Raptors’ second best player next to Kawhi Leonard, perhaps swapping places with Kyle Lowry in the odd game here and there. He’s not only been the team’s most consistent supporting option, he’s been a brick wall on the defensive end. Siakam has managed — despite incredible attention from defensive juggernauts like Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo — to post double-digit scoring …

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Author: Joel E Stephens / Raptors HQ