The pregames around these parts have something along the lines of matchup analysis followed by an ‘edge’ decision. I don’t dig that for two reasons, 1) It’s too much work, and 2) It requires me to give a single f**k about who Rasual Butler is matched up against. Sorry, I’ll pass.
As you might’ve noticed over the last week or so, the “true” season has started. It’s the season we all expected at the outset, and after being briefly derailed it’s finally here. The injury to Andrea Bargnani (out for tonight) has been too big of a blow to overcome, and DeMar DeRozan’s regression has only made matters worse. Despite the 0.286 winning percentage and 4-10 record, there have been positives. Some of them are:
– 16th in the league in defense (previous year – dead last)
– 22nd in three point shooting (previous year – dead last)
– 16th in opponents three point shooting (previous year – third worst)
These are three areas that we can all agree the Raptors got hammered in last season, and all three have improved. The offense has taken a hit (from 21st to 28th), but what good is an offense if it’s not keeping you in games. It’s obviously better to be in games while having a lowered paced and less dynamic offense, than having a mediocre one which results in poor defense, thus never giving you a shot.
The Raptors margin of victory this season is -5.86, compared to -6.28 last season. That in itself is an improvement, but if those numbers themselves don’t sound like an improvement, consider the strength of schedule which is harder than last season up to this point. Statistically, if the Raptors continue to stay in games and lose over the next two weeks when they’re primarily on the road, it’ll be considered quite an improvement.
I acknowledge that drumming up statistics to make ourselves feel better is a little pathetic, when the larger issue is the questionable talent level on this roster, or more specifically, the assets the Raptors have to boost said talent. As much as I feel warm and fuzzy about not being blown out on a nightly basis, this can’t be a permanent thing, at some point we’ll have to start, you know, winning.
If you believe that a “core” of Jonas, Bargnani, Davis, Johnson, DeRozan, and Bayless is going to get us anywhere, I envy your optimism. Contrary to popular belief, I think the 2012 draft class is extremely over-hyped, and this Anthony Davis talk doesn’t hold water. If you got a guy who still has a unibrow at 19, you know he doesn’t listen to feedback! Seriously though, the more I reflect on this, the more I think a trade will have to be made to inject talent and quality in this roster.
The logically tradeable assets on the roster stick out like sore thumbs – Barbosa, Calderon, umm….that’s kind of it. Whether it’s stockpiling picks to be used on draft day to get a player over, or a parlay trade at the deadline to add some foundation to the material we currently have, something needs to be done, because “waiting it out” for these guys to find themselves is a high-risk project. I’m not saying abandon the rebuild, the rebuild is great, I’m saying kickstart it with something. The Zach Randolph trade for Memphis is probably the best example of a team pulling a kickstarter trade.
These are just musings. That is all.
The game tonight has the Raptors in Boston, and we haven’t won there since the war of 1812. I happened to see the Boston/OKC game from a couple days back, and I can safely report that Michael Pietrus would’ve been a 1000 times better starter that Rasual Butler. The Celtics have lost five straight – Indiana, Dallas, Chicago, @ Indiana, and OKC, by an average of 10 points. The Raptors have lost their last five – @ Washington, Sacramento, Indiana, @ Chicago, and @Atlanta, by an average of 9.8 points. Something’s got to give.
After this one, the Raptors come home to face the Blazers and then go on the road for the Clippers, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, and New Jersey. This could very, very easily be 4-16.