The Toronto Raptors are having one of the best seasons in franchise history - in a year when nobody expected it. Colton Sceviour Jersey . Many believed sneaking into the final playoff spot would be a success for the Raptors this season, but even that wasnt guaranteed. But with only 11 games remaining in the regular season, Toronto (40-31) sits in third place in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for tops in the Atlantic Division and a postseason spot all but official. This will be the first time since 2008 that the Raptors will play in the NBAs second season. With all of the good fortunes the Dinos have seen this year, who has been most integral to the teams success? DeMar DeRozan is the face of the franchise and is one of the longest tenured members of the Raptors. The 24-year-old made his first All-Star Game this season and is leading the team in points scoring 22.7 per game. This is DeRozans fifth year in the Association and he signed a four-year deal last season to stay north of the border for the foreseeable future. Will the team only go as far as DeMar will take them? Kyle Lowry has quickly become a fan favourite in only his second season in Raptors colours. The rugged point guard has shown bulldog-like toughness on a nightly basis, playing considerable minutes and being the man the team has looked to when they are in need of a spark. Analysts and fans alike thought the 28-year-old should have been in New Orleans for the All-Star Game. Averaging 17.6 PPG (scoring over 20 points in eight consecutive games) along with 7.7 assists per game makes a good case for that argument. His future is uncertain in Toronto with Lowry hitting the free agent market this summer, but the Raptors are glad to have him for the time being. Is he the one to thank? Then theres Amir Johnson. At only 26, he can be considered a veteran, already playing in his ninth NBA season and is an important part of the Raps front court. He averages 11.1 PPG, 6.9 rebounds per game and is a strong force on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe the key success is coming from the sidelines. Head coach Dwane Casey is in his second year in charge of the Raptors and seems to have finally gotten through to his players. Toronto has gotten much better defensively only allowing 97.6 PPG, good enough for fifth in the NBA. Is the coachs defence-first mindset the reason the Raptors are headed to the post-season? The success could be attributed to General Manager Masai Ujiri. The Nigerian hasnt brought in a lot of highly touted talent since he took the job last off-season. Instead hes used the method of addition by subtraction to improve on the court. First, he shipped the much-maligned Andrea Bargnani off to the New York Knicks followed by sending Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings during the season. Toronto is 34-19 since Gay was traded out west. With the offence no longer going through Gay, the Raptors have been able to score more efficiently. Not to mention the players coming back to Toronto - namely Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez – have helped the Raptors to get where they are today. Do we have to look to the front office for the reason behind the sudden improvement? So, who do you think is the most integral to the Raptors success this season? As always, its Your! Call. Lawson Crouse Jersey . -- J.R. Sweezy was the one part of the Seattle Seahawks offensive line that had avoided injuries or having to change positions this season. Reilly Smith Jersey . Algeria led 3-0 at halftime, but withstood a stronger South Korean second half performance to claim its first World Cup win since 1982 and move into second place in Group H with one match left to play. Defeat for South Korea means it must now beat already-qualified Belgium to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stages. http://www.hockeypanthersofficialonline.com/derek-mackenzie-hockey-jersey/ . -- Damian Lillard couldnt believe when he got a clear look at the rim.DETROIT – Its the annual rite of the first week of June, baseballs amateur draft, where clubs take part in a three-day, 40-round marathon, selecting more than 1,000 players they hope will improve their fortunes in the years ahead. The Blue Jays had two picks in Thursday evenings first round – ninth and 11th overall – and used them to take a pitcher and a catcher. First, the club took right-hander Jeff Hoffman, a 21-year-old from Latham, New York, who attended East Carolina University. Two selections later, the Blue Jays selected Kennesaw State University product, 21-year-old catcher Max Pentecost from suburban Atlanta. Major League Baseball uses a slotting system – a recommended signing bonus value based on where a player is taken – and the Blue Jays, if they pay in full, will be on the hook for about $6 million for their two picks. Hoffman is an interesting case. He has a plus fastball, mid-90s miles per hour which can top out in the high 90s, a strong curveball and a developing changeup. But, just last month, Hoffman underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery. The procedure, now so routine its rarely flawed, was hardly a concern to Torontos front office and top scouts. "We just felt like the talent was too big to walk away from," said Blue Jays director of amateur scouting, Brian Parker. "This guy was going to go top three, top four picks prior to his injury and we just felt like even with the Tommy John, we felt this was a good gamble for us." Pentecost was a seventh round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 2011. He was projected to go higher but suffered a stress fracture in his throwing elbow, which dropped his stock. He didnt sign with Texas, choosing to go to school instead. The first catcher the Blue Jays have taken in the first round since, take a breath, J.P. Arencibia in 2007, Pentecost is a versatile player who projects to be a good hitter, although more gapp-to-gap than for power. Michael Matheson Jersey. A.J. Jimenez is the Jays top catching prospect, currently toiling at Double-A New Hampshire more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery of his own, and the Blue Jays have shipped out catchers like Arencibia, Travis dArnaud (to the New York Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade), Yan Gomes (to Cleveland for Esmil Rogers) and Carlos Perez (to Houston in the J.A. Happ deal) in recent years. "Taking Max had nothing to do with any of those trades or getting rid of any of those players," said Parker. "When you pick nine and 11, you just have to line up your board and take the best player and thats what we did. We like Max, we scouted him pretty hard from last summer in the (Cape Cod League) and throughout this spring. Hes an athletic, two-way position player and we like the bat. I think theres a lot of positives with him. Obviously, a guy at a premium position that can help out offensively and defensively is something that attracted him to us." In two of the last three drafts, the Jays have failed to sign their first round pick. In 2011, it was Tyler Beede, who instead chose to go to Vanderbilt University and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants 14th overall on Thursday night. Last year, the Jays failed to land right-hander Phil Bickford, who instead went to California State-Fullerton. The pick that landed Pentecost was compensation for missing out on Bickford. Going with two college kids, including one coming off an injury, increases the likelihood of the player being willing to sign. Neither has a full school ride to fall back on. Hoffman, who is pleased with the progress hes making early in his rehabilitation from elbow surgery, sounds eager to put pen to paper. Chris Kline, the Blue Jays area scout in the Carolinas, did most of the legwork on Hoffman. Mike Pidick, an area scout whose region includes Georgia, watched Pentecost. Wholesale Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Jerseys 2019 China Jerseys ' ' '