I hope those four Raptor wins haven’t led anyone to believe that the youth on this roster actually has the talent that can be fertilized over time to produce something respectable. I get that this is a transition year where most sins are forgiven under the justification of reconstruction; however, let that not convince us that the core that’s present isn’t highly questionable if the goal is to achieve long-term success.
The Raptors have been enjoyable to watch this season because they’ve been in most of their games, last night was the first time they got blown out proper. Let not the competitive nature of the games fool anyone into endorsing the aggregate quality of the roster, or any perceived growth that might have occurred. Dwane Casey has instilled some fundamental concepts in the team that were altogether missing the last few seasons, and what you’re seeing on the floor is a team that’s playing the right way with minimal talent.
Bargnani finally seems to get it. The rebounding numbers aren’t the best, but it doesn’t matter because he’s not a liability on defense anymore and actually has a positive effect – look at his on/off numbers this year and compare them to last year. The offense is also now coming in the proper manner with inside options being explored before settling for easier perimeter ones. DeMar DeRozan is struggling to adjust to a team-oriented offense, and this is where playing only one year of college hurts. If he had stuck in school longer, perhaps the concepts that Casey is preaching might be more familiar to him. Remember, Triano was a joke and I can’t imagine the players grasped much from him.
After those two the talent drops to the likes of Ed Davis. He hasn’t even played 82 games yet, so to judge him would be premature. On the surface he looks like a perennial bench player who you’d count on to provide some defense in matchup situations. The offensive game isn’t developing as fast as one would’ve hoped, but there’s time. Certainly, he can’t be considered the “core” of anything. As it stands right now he’s expendable. On we go to Amir Johnson, who is a player any team would want to have. I’m not sure if we can get away with him playing center, even in a shortened season. The guy will break down eventually.
James Johnson. Nice dude, spectacular plays once in a while, just don’t ask me to accept that our future rests on players with his offensive talent levels. Jerryd Bayless? I feel stupid for having hope that he’d figure out how to play PG. He’ll turn 24 this season, unless he has a Chauncey Billups type revival, this guy will end up being what he is right now.
This is not a reaction to last night’s embarrassment, only a gentle reminder serving the need to acknowledge that this roster is weak by any self-respecting standards.
Tonight it’s Sacramento at home, they got their ass kicked by 27 in Philly last night so there’ll be wounded hearts at the ACC. Here’s your chance to see DeMarcus Cousins do something stupid. James and I did a three-on-three thing previewing that game over at Cowbell Kingdom (don’t know if he posted yet). The “positive’ about last night is that the Raptors got a chance to reduce the minutes for Bargnani and Calderon. They had played 45 and 41 minutes, respectively, against the Pacers. Last night they clocked 29 each. Still a lot heading into tonight, we’ll see.
This here be my next ex-wife: