2017-18 Raptors preview, aka, “just read these guys”

I had intended to lay out my thoughts on the 2017-2018 Raps ahead of the Raptors season opener tonight, but, I’ve run out of time. Instead, how about a quick roundup of the top Raptors writers you should follow throughout the season to get the best insights, game recaps, features and more?

I’m gonna give some mini-breakdowns below, but the simplest answer here is just to buy a subscription to The Athletic. It’s cheap; $5/month, and they’ve got lots of promotions for first-time subscribers. (Yes, people, sometimes the internet makes you PAY for good content!) They’ve got two of the best Raptors writers around—Eric and Blake, read more below—and a third up-and-comer, Seerat. They produce a lot of Raptors material. You get access to all The Athletic sites, which currently means NBA coverage of the Warriors, Bulls, Cavs, Sixers, Pistons and—oddly—the Timberwolves, as well as the Raps. And of course, all of their non-NBA content, as well. Here’s their 2017-2018 preview panel.

It’s worth it, trust me.

On to the peeps (in no particular order):

Who: Doug Smith, Toronto Star

What to read: His game recaps. Doug’s a classic newspaperman and his game reports are sharp and concise to give you the detail you need, and with just enough analysis and post-game quotes to give you the color you want.

Samples: His recap of game six against the Bucks; his 2017-2018 preview

Where to follow: www.thestar.com/authors.doug_smith.html

Stray thoughts: Doug’s the grandfather of TO hoops coverage, having covered the Raps since day one… and he kinda acts like your crusty old grandpa, too, especially on Twitter, complaining about the volume level in games, twitter trolls, etc. Just follow the game recaps at the Star and avoid him on Twitter and you’ll be fine.

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Who: Eric Koreen, The Athletic

What to read: All of it, but especially his features; Eric’s longer features are like a Chris Paul floater—the stories unfold slowly, and finish with a soft touch.

Samples: His Norm Powell profile; his search for the truth about Patrick Patterson

Where to follow: www.theathletic.com/raptors; www.twitter.com/ekoreen

Stray thoughts: Eric’s a fun Twitter follow; he pulls back the curtain to reveal a real human being and it’s nice to see something so genuine. If he’s not the best overall Raptors writer yet, he will be soon.

Who: Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star

What to read: His features. Great prose style, sees the big picture but keeps the heart of the story in focus.

Samples: His look inside the Raps’ new offense; talking about racial tension in America with DeRozan and the Raptors

Where to follow: www.thestar.com/authors.arthur_bruce.html; www.twitter.com/bruce_arthur

Stray thoughts: Bruce writes about all sports, but I think he’s got a special touch on his Raptors stories. He isn’t for everyone on Twitter because he doesn’t “stick to sports” but that’s one of the reasons I think he’s a great follow.

Who: Blake Murphy, Raptors Republic

What to read: His analyses. Blake goes deep enough that he’ll help you see the game beyond the shots and assists—but not so deep you start to feel lost.

Samples: His analyses of the DeMarre Carroll trade and PJ Tucker loss; his post-game report after the Raps dropped game 1 to the Cavs

Where to follow: www.raptorsrepublic.com/author/blake; www.twitter.com/BlakeMurphyODC

Stray thoughts: Blake’s the managing editor at Raptors Republic, but he also contributes to The Athletic, to Vice Sports, and to a few other places as well. Oh, and anything you want to know about the Raptors 905—he’s your man there too. He’s not just prolific—he’s a good writer and a great basketball mind. If you wanna catch it all just follow him on Twitter! By the way, Eric and Blake do a podcast, the Raptors Reasonablists, which is pretty darn entertaining as well.

Who: Scott Stinson, Ryan Wolstat and Steve Simmons, The National Post

What to read: All-around coverage

Samples: Stinson on offseason insanityWolstat’s season previewSimmons on Kyle Lowry

Where to follow: http://nationalpost.com/category/sports/basketball

Stray thoughts: I don’t think too many people think of the Post as a great sports paper, but they’ve put together a solid basketball group, and they’ll pick up additional stories from the postmedia network as well. The Athletic would still be my choice, but this is a solid backup plan!

All-in-all, that oughtta have you covered for the year!

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