Secret Up North

Secret Up North


Following a hectic few weeks post fantasy football, I’m back to deliver daily content. Everything now shifts to a quantum level in sports. Some may say it’s a down time but I beg to differ. College basketball offers up some of the premier highlights and recaps on a day to day basis. Comebacks, injuries, player issues, etc. all come to the forefront in conference play.

The NBA is a bit different but it has been for the last decade or when stability went awry amongst franchises. Development from the front offices seems to be without regard. Teams are pulling the plug on pieces worse than how NFL coaches get axed. Unlike the NFL, teams that have made drastic moves in the NBA have seen some success. Miami did it in an extreme way by grouping together megastars Chris Bosh and Lebron James. On a smaller scale teams like the Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, OKC, and Memphis have done it with solid draft picks and adding high quality free agents that don’t break the bank.

This year’s team that has shocked many has been the Phoenix Suns. They’ve been steady for the first two and a half months of the season. Eric Bledsoe was their main acquisition in the offseason and he is proving to be worth every penny. Up north though there is a team that is cracking the relevant radar over their last eight games. That would be the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors had a strong west coast trip in which they narrowly defeated Portland, and upset Oklahoma City on their home court. That sparked a win streak of seven of eight games until last night’s loss to the Miami Heat. A game they hung neck and neck with the Heat for four full quarters but just couldn’t muster a better fourth quarter than the Heat.

No one could have seen the current stretch the Raptors are on coming. When the trade was announced to send Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings it figured to be the coup de grace to the Raptors 2013 NBA season. After all they had let Andrea Bargani, a key player for the Raptors, sign with the Knicks in the offseason. Plans to build for the future seemed to be the main signal from the front office.

Instead it has allowed the team to play better team basketball, as Rudy Gay isn’t taking the bulk of shots on the offensive end. Kyle Lowry, Demar Derozen, and Terrence Ross have been stellar. But the key player to their team has been Amir Johnson.

He isn’t the go to guy offensively every night, which means he may be the forgotten one on the scouting report. Last season he showed flashes but this season he is looking more like an NBA starter on a nightly basis. He is aggressive in a good way on the offensive end of the court. Using his foot speed and nimbleness he is becoming one of the better interior scorers in the NBA.

He is one of those players that does his best with an adequate amount of shot attempts. Around eight to ten a night suits him well. For a fantasy basketball team I’d consider trading for Johnson. He has more upside to come as he seems to be hitting that time frame in a young athletes career where more blossoming occurs. Remember, Johnson was the last player drafted out of high school. Even though his career tenure in the NBA is listed at eight seasons, the first four were spent honing his skills as a Detroit Piston.


You must be logged in to post a comment.