I hate to be the bearer of bad news and am doing this with a very heavy heart, here goes: The Raptors have a 0% chance of making the playoffs. I understand that this may come as a shock so I’ll give you a moment to gather yourself.

It’s a real tragedy this one, I went to bed yesterday thinking we’d have a real shot at the playoffs and then John Hollinger had to come along with his giant calculator and ruin everything. They say (and by they I mean nobody) that bad news is always accompanied by good one in some sort and here it is: Amir Johnson took 50 fans to the game and paid for their steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Heart-warming doesn’t do the deed justice, in fact, the only thing that could’ve made it better was if he had taken them to a real steakhouse, but still, a very nice gesture on the part of one of the better Raptors out there. Johnson didn’t even need an image-repair so this is totally nice of him, I mean, if he hadn’t done this would I have made a post titled “Amir Johnson doesn’t feed 50 starving kids”? No, I wouldn’t have, and that’s the beauty of steak.

I was in the dumps a couple months ago and after a hard night of drink, this guy I no longer talk to goes to me, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. I didn’t respond, I just forced a grin acknowledging his lame-ass advice and hoping he’d get his hand off my shoulder. Today I’m thinking he was on to something because the Raptors have 16 games left and the next game is first game of the rest of the season. Naah, it doesn’t work. In any case, the game is in Detroit where, if you recall, the Raptors overcame a 35 point deficit; after a week or so Tracy McGrady found the fountain of youth and in the face of the mental ACC boos, guided the Pistons to victory. I have it on good authority that some Raptors fans are traveling to Detroit just to boo T-Mac. I really don’t get it, if you work with these boo-birds and you decide to leave for a better opportunity, do they come to your new office and shower you with boos as you enjoy a sandwich at lunch? Pathetic. For completeness I should mention that the Pistons also beat us at the ACC again.

One of the dangers of having Chris Bosh on the Raptors was that the team would always be mediocre because he was a player that would ensure that your team wouldn’t totally suck, but would also not take you anywhere special. You can argue that that is still the case with Andrea Bargnani as a key building block, or even DeMar DeRozan, although it’s too early to say anything there. The Pistons are finding themselves in a very similar predicament, Joe Dumars has locked them in a state where this question is being pondered out loud. The link is a take on the Pistons by various media outlets and the viewpoints are diverse, definitely an interesting read. I think last year that article would have applied to the Raptors, but since then we’ve entered a genuine rebuilding phase (still don’t know what the **** Kleiza was) which is giving the losing a sweeter less shitty taste.

The Pistons have lost 5 of 6 and 8 of 10, the last one being a 30-point blowout in Denver. It probably had a lot to do with the altitude. For the Raptors, Amir Johnson is not travelling, he tweaked his other ankle too so Ed Davis will continue to start. I’m getting this information from this Jay Triano interview – have a listen and pay attention to the reporter asking the questions and tell me you don’t want to punch him in the face. Triano is also saying that Bargnani has increased his energy level every day for the past three days, so if you see a tall white dude playing with the hustle of DeJuan Blair, the intensity of Reggie Evans, and the doggedness of Ron Artest, that’s Andrea Bargnani.

Ed Davis on Harrison Barnes:

“I was there when he signed. Harrison is a legit 6-foot-8 player, someone I’ve played against in pick-up ball. I remember talking to my old teammates and all they kept talking about was how Harrison was always in the gym, always trying to work on his game. The season starts and he struggled. That’s when people started to jump off the bandwagon. And now that he’s picked up his game, people are getting back on the bandwagon.”

Sonny Weems is looking to buy his sixth dog. Insert your own joke here.

Steve has a podcast coming up at 9AM.

  • Statement

    Here are what some the “advanced” stats say about Derozan so far,

    Win Score = 0.052
    O rtg – D rtg = -9
    Wins Produced = below average
    Roland Rating = -2.4
    Net PER = -2.9
    PER = 12.7
    Adjusted +/- = -3.38

    Suffice it to say, these are not good. I’m just throwing this out there, but I would be weary on painting Derozan as the face of the franchise until he is at least an average NBA shooting guard. Please no magic extensions before his rookie contract is over either.

    If Rap those Leafs is right and there is a Canada-bias and we have to overpay to get players here or keep our players, lets at least make sure that the analysis is correct so we don’t waste above-market money on below market players.

    Here’s hoping Derozan improves his rebounding and defense. I remain skeptical of the latter I don’t think Derozan can develop into a good defender on the Raptors.

    If Derozan wants an example of how to defend, just study Dwayne Bitch Wade.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K6P275M3TOOLA35BJVH2TYUJAU Chris Daubeny

      You can look at all the advanced stats you want, but it will only help if you know how to use them.

      Derozan having a negative plus / minus would mean more if there was even one Raptors that’s in the regular rotation with a positive score.

      While it seems like comparing Derozan from this year to last in terms of efficiency will give you a picture of his progression, advanced stats are not able to take into account just how much his role on the team has changed. If Derozan was able to be a fifth option again, didn’t have double teams to deal with, went back to just finishing plays instead of having to create them, was allowed to vanish in the 4th instead of trying to carry us, then it would be fair to expect an across the board rise in all of things that measure his efficiency.

      That’s like somebody harping on Beasley for a drop in his rebounding numbers while completely ignoring the fact that he was a big man last year, and a SF this year. Going from a 5th option to a 2nd option is like jumping from the D-League to the pro’s in terms of the extra defensive pressure that will be put upon you.

  • C.d.G.

    1) Amir to be made a saint. NOW!
    2) “One of the dangers of having Chris Bosh … was that the team would always be mediocre because he … would ensure that your team wouldn’t totally suck, but would also not take you anywhere special”. It’s not the same case with Bargs and Derozan, since both of them are lesser players than Bosh. So, be assured: them and the team are bad enough to need a rebuilding.
    3) But … rebuilding how, exactly? We are getting (maybe) the fifth pick: high enough for a main player? Maybe not. And aren’t you guys convinced – yet – that American ballers don’t like to come up there, if they can choose? Yes, it’s true: Brian Colangelo is not Sam Presti (oops: another Italian mafioso!!??) but the cases of … everyone I can think of, refusing to come (at the right price) or willing to go, that’s what makes it very though to overcome. And that’s why Brian took the way of going Euro, not ’cause he’s a snob parisienne!

  • Scottbbaird

    What the hell do you need 6 Rottweilers for if you’re travelling all the time?

  • FAQ

    Ratpors are now at 18-48 … and coincidentally, the Bulls are now atop the Eastern Conference with a 48-18 record …. go figure ….LOL

    But what the hey … they are still entertaining to the tribal honking fans who only watch the ball.

    • Brain Colangelo

      I love your elitism.

      Only tribal honking fans can suffer through Raptor games at this point, Antoine.

    • Buschfire

      look what a team can do in one year, last year we were fighting for the bulls in that final spot in the eastern playoff race…this year the are #1 in the Eastern Conference. Look to the future and have some optamism… There is no way we could draft another Hoffa… or is there? uh oh.

  • KJ-B

    “Jerry Bayless is coming along well and starting to get a good grasp of the offense” is code by the brass for, “We’re not playing Jose as much because we’re really trying to tank over here.” … A top 3 draft pick is at stake, and I couldn’t agree more with “seeing what Jerry can do”!

  • KJ-B

    As per labeling player X or Y as a “Franchise Player” on the Raps, WHO are we kidding here? DeRozan should be a sophomore at USC trying to win it all but instead is averaging nearly 17 ppg in the League at 21 and #7, well…he’s just hanging around these parts taking and not making the $10 mil a year that they gave him– I guess it pays to be a 7′ tall + a 33% shooter in the T-Dot..?

    Let’s just defer our hope to next year around this time, when we’re heading to truly a “deep draft” with a 30-35 win total, w/ Harrison Barnes as ROY, and then hopefully steal the top draft pick with Austin Rivers from Duke!!!

    • Nilanka15

      This would be DeRozan’s junior year 😛

  • Employee

    I like your articles Arse, but honestly quit the complaining about booing. Don’t diss people for wanting to have fun at sporting events. Not everyone can be a hardcore fan.

    • RapsM

      The problem is it’s also fun for the players their booing.

  • Bendit

    That dog story is so heartwarming (Amir’s steak outing notwithstanding). I can just picture Sonny walking his Rotweillers with his doodoo pickup bags. No wonder his game has turned to poop…all that responsibility.