Some topics:

  • What do Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have in common with what’s going on with the Raptors?
  • Examining the context in which the moves around the NBA are being made.
  • Reviewing the last three major picks – Bargnani, DeRozan and Davis.
  • Where do the Raptors stand in their division for the next few years? How many stars do you need to compete? Do the Raptors have a NBA Top 20 player? How many in the Top 50?
  • Draft Talk Speculation: If the Raptors somehow manage to get Kyrie Irving, what would be his development time and when can he actually contribute to an NBA team?
  • Trading the Miami pick: Did the Bulls overlook him and is he going to be the Raptors future three? Or did we just trade a first-round pick for another team’s garbage? The Raptors gambling with first-round picks is one strategy which can work, but has it in the past?
  • The future of the bottom teams in the NBA: Cleveland, Washington, Toronto, New Jersey, Sacramento, Minnesota. Analyzing their future and seeing who is likely to climb out of the bottom.
  • How many years away are the Raptors from being competitive?

Grab the iTunes feed or the plain old feed. You can also download the file (17:12, 16.5MB). Or just listen below:

  • WhatWhat

    So this is what’s going to happen: THAT team will get the steal in the draft, and regardless of how well JJ plays, we’ll hate BC for it. Because he COULD have had him. And you won’t give credit for BC drafting Davis because he fell in his lap? How about the other teams that passed up on him?

    A better question is what make YOU think you know better than BC and his scouting staff, whom have spent far more time looking at the players around the Miami pick more than you? BC did it because he felt that JJ was more talented than anyone else that would have been around that pick. That’s not a reasonable answer? You can always go “But you never know.” BUT you don’t. I KNOW that the odds of strike gold with that pick is low. And in such a reportedly weak draft, it should be far easier to trade for another late pick.

    Hasn’t BC done quite well with these small moves? I’d even so as far as saying that there’s a pretty good correlation with the size of the moves he’s made and his success rate. (Smaller move=higher success)

    It’s so freaking clear that BC is trying to stockpile assets and cap space, so he can finally make a move for one of those top players eventually. That’s what rebuilding is. That’s the first stage of rebuilding. It usually takes a long time, and SO FAR, despite myself feeling that he still needs to go, BC has done a good job of starting the process. We’re going to suck for awhile, that’s usually how it works.

    And is getting B-Diddy (who’s going to tank HARD now for the rest of his contract) worth a top 8 pick in a weak draft? How will the new CBA affect their cap situation? Will the Knicks ever play D? A Amar’e and Melo with Pringles coaching would give me a lingering worries in the back of my mind. Will the new CBA allow them to go after that 3rd star? Is Rubio even that good? I still like him A LOT, but there are many questionable things about his game. (Like a broken jumper, his shitty season in the Euroleague, average speed translating, playing under the rim…Him, like, even reporting there at all.) The T-Wolves have YEARS AND YEARS in the lottery and have nothing to show for it. Their team is still absolutely terrible except for Kevin Love. Iggy and Turner’s games conflict with each other on the court. Iggy and Brand are playing better, but they still will have to be moved; good luck doing that with those contracts. Reke and Cousins have huge attitude problems. The Wizards are a complete mess. The Nets have nothing else but D-Will, and Lopez who’s massively regressed. There’s still a moderate chance that D-Will signs somewhere else.

    In the end we’re going to have to draft well…very, very, well. That’s it.

    • Thales

      I agree completely. Phdsteve’s criticism of BC boils down to this: BC has done a poor job because the Raps won’t have a contender IMMEDIATELY, as opposed to some years down the road.

      DeRozan has doubled his scoring output from last year and Bargnani has improved his substantially. I don’t see any reason not to be optimistic about their chances of making it into the top 30 (if not 20) in subsequent years.

  • Phdsteve

    I was wondering what Raps fans think?

    Whats your top 50 players in the NBA look like?

    Any Raptors make your list?

    Bill Simmons weighs-in :

    and so too does Ryen Russillo on the Feb 28th podcast of “The NBA Today”:

  • 00

    After skipping the painful introduction, I briefly listened to the “review” of our last year draft picks. I stopped listening after hearing the suggestion that the Raptors should have drafted Jennings, Holiday or Lawson instead of Derozan. Keep up the good work.

  • Tim W.


    I have to say the whole “Bargnani’s not a #1 level pick” argument bugs me. NO ONE from that draft was. While my feelings on Bargnani’s game is well known, he wasn’t a bad pick. You talk a lot about context, but fail to look at Bargnani’s pick in the context of who else he could have chosen.

    Colangelo certainly can be criticized for a lot of things, but the one thing you can’t criticize is his drafting record, especially in Toronto. The pick of DeRozan is looking better and better all the time. He’s arguably playing at a level among the top 5 sophomores, despite being a 9th pick. That’s good drafting.

    And if you’re going to disregard Colangelo picking Ed Davis, does that mean you have to disregard RC Buford picking DuJuan Blair? Both guys were no brainers to a lot of people, but it didn’t stop other teams from not drafting them. I said at the time of the draft that several teams were going to regret not drafting Ed Davis. I’m glad Toronto was not one of them.

    As for the moves that happened before the trade deadline, the only one I believe really helped a team was Perkins going to Oklahoma. New York is going to certainly benefit from the trade of Carmelo, but when you’re two best players are Carmelo and Amare, two overrated players who don’t play defense and don’t make their teammates better, you’re probably not going to ever be a legimate contender. Carmelo was surrounded by much better talent in Denver and only once did they get out of the first round, and that was mainly due to Billups, who’s on the downside of his career.

    New Jersey made a good trade for Williams, but he’s going to be 27 by the time the playoffs roll around, which he will not be participating, and outside of Brook Lopez, have very little real talent. They made a huge gamble, especially considering that Williams may not even be on the team in a year and a half.

    As for the Raptors, there were a lot of unprotected picks being thrown around, which should tell you the value of them this year. I think there may be 6 or 7 good players in this draft, and the rest is a crapshoot. Neither New Jersey nor the Clippers wanted their pick because they don’t see them getting a good enough player out of it. And Miami’s pick is probably going to be around 27. In a VERY weak draft. I probably wouldn’t have done the trade for James Johnson, but I agree with Colangelo that it’s very doubtful anyone available there is going to be as talented as Johnson.

    The goal at the beginning of rebuilding is to acquire as many assets as possible, and the best assets are those that are valued low, but have a good chance of improving. That was the case with Amir, Bayless, Weems, Wright, Ajinca etc. Some of those guys will increase in value, some already have. But the point is that you try and buy low and sell high.

    And I don’t think anyone believes the Raptors are anywhere close to competing. You just have to watch the games to realize that. But what is reassuring is that it appears the team is on the right track. Colangelo isn’t trying to hedge his bets by getting veterans who are going to give the Raptors a few more wins, but not help the team long term. I’m willing to go through a couple of more years like this as long as I see light at the end of the tunnel. At this point, I do.

    • sleepz

      “Carmelo and Amare, two overrated players who don’t play defense and don’t make their teammates better”

      Won’t defend Amare but Melo…..overrated? I think not. Outside of Kobe you’d be hard pressed to find a better natural and clutch scorer than Anthony. He also rebounds great for a 3.

      “Colangelo isn’t trying to hedge his bets by getting veterans who are going to give the Raptors a few more wins, but not help the team long term.”

      How do you know? Maybe he just couldn’t get the players he wanted via trade. If the Chandler, Diaw deal went through would you feel the same way about BC’s plans? I think he decided to rebuild mid-year once he realized how little talent he has assembled.

      • Tim W.

        Carmelo is a great scorer, but he doesn’t raise the level of his team much. He’s not a good passer and not a good defender. The fact that Denver failed to get out of the first round in 6 out of the last 7 years.

        And I actually liked the deal for Chandler and Diaw, not because it helped the team immediately, but because it helped with the team’s rebuilding by giving them more cap flexibility.

        And I guess you never really know what the intentions of any GM are, but Colangelo seems to be focused on rebuilding. Every deal he’s done has made the Raptors younger. That doesn’t strike me as someone who’s trying to win a few more games.

        • sleepz

          The Chandler deal might have indeed helped them from a financial perspective but from a future talent perspective (adding young talent through high draft picks) it would have been a bad development as they would have been trying to battle for 8th playoff seed.

          It would have also ensured Ed. D never got off the bench because they would have forced Andrea to the 4 and Amir would be fighting for minutes with Evans as back-up, not to mention Diaw as he is more 4 than a 3 at this stage in his career.

          I do feel Colangelo has now ‘refocused” on rebuilding becasue he has to. The holster is empty and there is no way to paint this picuture as a rosy one.

          • Tim W.

            I think one reason I liked the deal was because I felt it might make Bargnani expendable. I do agree about the development of players, which was one big reason I was against trading Calderon unless it really helped the team. By adding Chandler, and hopefully making Bargnani expendable, I felt it helped the team in the long run.

            • Michel G

              Unfortunately Tim, that’s only your wishful thinking. Maybe Colangelo deals Bargnani in a couple of years after Davis has developed into well-rounded NBA big man. Until then, Colangelo will look to acquire a player like Chandler to complement Bargnani, not replace him.

              • Tim W.

                Stop confusing me with facts and logic!

            • John

              it is quite pathetic seeing a grown man obsessing like a teen girl with a player. Your life must really SUCK pal seeing AB making 10 Million a year while you type these lines from the basement of your house.

              • Michel G

                John, what’s pathetic is your childish response.

              • Tim W.

                Actually I’m typing them from my kitchen. We’re currently renovating our basement where we’re putting in a kickass home theatre and big playroom for the kids. It’s going to be sweet.

                And I’ve got nothing against Bargnani, personally. I just don’t want him on a team I cheer for. Thanks for your concern.

      • Bendit

        His ex coach had this to say (after the trade):

        “Melo is the best offensive player I’ve ever coached, but his defensive focus, his demand of himself is what frustrated us more than anything,” George Karl said in his brief sideline comments.

        I dont think it was sour grapes. Its been said before but Karl has always been a straight shooter.

    • Theswirsky

      “New York is going to certainly benefit from the trade of Carmelo, but when you’re two best players are Carmelo and Amare, two overrated players who don’t play defense and don’t make their teammates better, you’re probably not going to ever be a legimate contender”

      better tell that to the Miami team they just beat with…. get this… defense.

      • Bendit

        It was Billups stirring drink the last 5 mins. and before half time when NY was down by 16 (or thereabouts). He is not given enough credit.

      • Tim W.

        Any team can play defense for a game or two. Even the Raptors. But New York doesn’t have the personnel or philosophy to play defense on a consistent basis. And as Bendit pointed out, Billups simply doesn’t get enough credit. Without him, Carmelo would never have gotten past the first round once. Unfortunately, Billups isn’t the player he used to be.

  • Timo in Waterloo

    Welcome back PhD Steve. Always provocative podcasts.

    The context of the “new NBA” has me rethinking my commitment to being a fan. I stopped watching NFL years ago after being a diehard fan. The NHL lost me after the lockout. Seeing the NBA move to five or six favoured franchises, the biased refereeing, the “me first” attitude of far too many players….

    It is a combination of factors… Stern has undermined the actual legitimacy of the game played at the pro level.

    Basketball can be a beautiful game to watch when you have players who realize the team nature of the sport… the new NBA really doesnt resemble that…

    I think it is time to cancel the cable subscription, stop going to the ACC and focus my attention elsewhere.

    • Paps

      I hate the new NBA too. It’s very hard to stomach. Miami is overrated to watch, there are just too many free throws in their games. I will still watch the Raptors though.

    • joey

      this is pro sports not amateur basketball circuit.
      franchises are generate entertainment with big names, big bucks – everyone knows that from stern, players, gm, coaches, owners and media. in a culture of an over saturation of entertainment nba are competing for $ especially in a shifting economy.
      like your name: waterloo. you should understand the concentration of IT businesses the the tri-city due to several factors, mainly generating $ amongst circle of corporate actors.

      same thing with sports, better to together to maximize profit, lonely sharks are a thing of the past.

  • Bendit

    I regret to write that that was a weak start to this season’s Phd podcasts. Hope it wasn’t a regression as per the Raps.

    A couple of quick points…just how many late drafted rookies are helpful to an already very young and inexperienced team. And does having another pick (in the 2nd round) a few picks later not factor into the JJ trade descision (non guaranteed contract)?

  • AwesomeGuest

    Holy shit, you sound creepy as hell.

    • Thisguy

      hahaha i was thinking the same thing. Make that intro 5 secs long and speak up. Sounds like you recorded this in a library. BTW, the JJ trade is proving to be a good decision. Who can they get at 28? wtf.

  • Michel G

    Awful podcast! From arguing that Cleveland is better positioned for the future to trashing BC for his drafting record. Aren’t you the one that was lobbying for the Raps to draft Avery Bradley last year? And I’m supposed to take you seriously?

    • Amen!

  • Mediumcore

    Phdsteve, not holding anything back are you? Well it’s a harsh pill to swallow, but there is plenty of truth to what he is saying.

    I don’t think it’s quite as much doom and gloom as what the doctor is predicting though…Boston is going to get old real quick especially with Perkins now in OKC. They’re one re-injury to KG away from being out of the the picture. Just saying the words Clevland Cavaliers gets me bored, and I think Toronto has a better chance attracting players than they do.

    We might be years away from contending, but being able to compete isn’t that far away if BC makes the right moves. And after this season, competing sounds real good to me.

  • voy

    (1) How can this season be deemed a disappointment? Unless, of course you expected this team to contend without 20+/10+ ball stopper Bosh?

    This year’s success should be judged by the development of DD, Amir, ED, Bargs and Weems, in my opinion.

    (2) I dont understand the surprise why we dont have a top 20 player in the league. We are in year one of rebuilding. year one, as in starting off barely above zero.

    (3) NJ, even with DWills, currently is certainly not in a better position than the Raps.

    (4) Did you just say Verajao is a top 50 player in the league?

    • Nilanka15

      I’d add the development of J.Johnson to the list.

  • hateslosing

    Main thing I took away from this podcast: Raps are in a bad situation right now and it will take some time to get this team competitive. My question is:what do you expect when your franchise player leaves, you acquire several borderline all stars (Hedo, JO, Shawn Marion) over the course of two years and NONE of them work out at all and leave you saddled with their awful contracts, and worst of all, before any of those things happened, you sucked anyway? BC has made a butt load of mistakes with this team but one thing you have to give him is he has done an excellent job fixing those mistakes and giving us a fresh slate going forward.

    The drafting to date has been fine, BC may not have hit any home runs but all of our first rounders have been solid picks.

    • Nilanka15

      It seems like all of BC’s mistakes were derivatives from one single decision. That is, deciding to build around a finesse big man in Bosh.

      Since Bosh left, I like everything BC’s done. For a man without an official contract next year, he hasn’t put himself first. Every move he’s made has been with the team’s future in mind by collecting young, inexpensive players and draft picks. You gotta tip your hat to that.

      • KJ-B

        Well, if you reconsider the evidence you’ll realize he was actually building around #7–who is softer than soft… IF he was building around CB4 he’d never had have such a weak center as his running mate…In fact it was 20-10 CB4 that did the heavy lifting in these parts-my how time and circumstance doth change perspective!

  • BigChris

    The arrogance of trading a near useless pick for a player you’d need a top 13 pick to get if he was going in this years draft? You can take it to the bank that a pick, better then Miami’s will be sold for cash with no picks or players going back in return. 4 picks in the 20 – 30 range wouldn’t surprise me.

    For the same reasons teams will be looking to sell those picks, there are serious questions we’d have to ask ourselves about whether we actually want them. See a guy we like falling? Just phone around and buy the pick instead of getting locked into that position pre-draft. Picks are available to be sold 20 – 30 in drafts that are considered strong. Weak draft, weak economy, potential lock-out, teams possibly having a hard cap to think about…. There might be a line-up of teams wanting to sell picks, or trade their late 1st rounder for early 2nd rounders

  • Raptor4Ever

    Great Rapcast Steve

    It is good to have you back here. This Rapcast is for all those BC supporters who are excited about a future without looking at the past.