Gameday: Raptors @ Nets – Mar. 14/12


I hate the Nets. I hate how they raped us in the VC trade. I hate how that trade bit us in the ass, time and again. I hate how they got a billionaire, playboy owner who doesn’t care what he spends to make this a championship team. I hate how they got Deron Williams for a song, and will probably get Howard in the summer without raping their team in the process (unless Otis Smith does his job and pulls a miracle out of his dead carcass). The loss against the Nets (and also the  Wizards) earlier this season really hurt, and forced me to pause and reassess my addiction to the Raptors and game of basketball.

This team needs to pull an OKC, and it can only be done through the draft; if you really think the Thunder would have been able to lure Durant and Westbrook to Oklahoma from other big markets in free agency, you’re fooling yourself. Get them young, get them vested and pay them more than anyone else can; that’s the key to building a team. I wont say I’m on board with tank city, but I am. This is where I start feeling conflicted: I hate losing. I’m a hyper competitive person, and need to win more than I lose, but we need young talent to rebuild. Rebuilding this team means:

  • Adding quality players through the draft by getting a good draft position
  • Getting a good draft position by losing as many games as possible, and having some luck with the draw
  • Drafting for the best talent that satisfies the most gaps in your roster in one shot

To their credit, BryCo have done a fantastic job of fielding a team that is seemingly building towards something, but losing lots of games in a fashion that has different camps debating whether they should be tanking or not. You see what they did here, right? We have a brutal team that’s on the fast-track to the lottery, no chance of winning games that matter, yet people still think we need to actually tank so we actually get a top 3 pick. Genius. So, yes I’m for tank city, but I like this 66-day BryCo diet better, appeals to my competitive sensibilities.

Tank city and The Nets

Currently the Raptors and Nets are a half game apart in the standings; having split the first two matches of the season. Imagine the Raptors win tonight, then this series of events occurs:

  • Both squads lose more games then they win the rest of the way
  • Dwight Howard tells the Magic that he doesn’t want to get traded, and wants to play the season out because he has a good feeling about this year, and that the Magic have to roll the dice (raise your hand if you believe that he isn’t bolting in the summer, and the only reason he asked not to be traded is so the team he ends up on, the Nets, don’t have to trade Lopez and picks to get him; yea, that’s what I thought as well)
  • He plays hard for the rest of the season, but nothing comes of it
  • The Nets do whatever it takes to clear cap space
  • Deron exercises his player option, and commits to a long term contract
  • Lopez resigns long term
  • The Nets get a top 6 pick in a very deep draft
  • Howard signs with the Nets

How livid would you be if the Nets drafted higher than the Raptors AND resigned Williams AND signed Howard AND kept Lopez (the Magic can’t be blind, and hopefully see through this for the sake of their franchise)? I’d be really pissed; hate the Nets.

This brings us full circle to tonight: HOW THE HELL CAN YOU TANK WHEN THE NETS ARE MISSING THEIR BEST TWO PLAYERS?? Or better put, how can the Raptors tank against a D-League team without looking like they are tanking? I do have a solution, though, and it doesn’t require much finagling of the roster to do it.

I didn’t sign up for Baylesstricity, and I don’t see it happening, but this match-up could work itself out. Say what you will about Farmar, but the guy has good pedigree (UCLA, Laker’s), and has shown that he can be a force from time-to-time when the stars align. Now suppose you give Forbes a bit more run than any of us would want; say 22-24 minutes. After contributing a tightly curled lump to the effort last night, Casey could try to ‘breathe new life’ by giving Rasual Butler a 14th chance at resurrecting his career, and giving him about 15 of DeRozan’s minutes. Both these two moves should give Farmar and Brooks the edge they need to really shine. Unfortunately, the rest of the Nets suck, incredibly. To counter, I’m seeing a mix of D’Antoni ball, where Farmar and Humphries play the high pick-n-roll, leaving Stevenson, Brooks and Morrow to hit their open jumpers on the wings…I know I know…

Given the perfect storm of the Nets rising to the occasion, hitting all their shots, and hoping the Raptors don’t have much left in the tank after beating the Cavs last night; the Raptors could still walk over this team since without Deron, they are a D-League level squad. The degenerates, stunningly, have the Nets as 1 point favourites. The line must have come out before Deron was said to be a scratch for the game.

I’d feel much better calling for a Nets win if Blake was covering the game, but as things stand, the Raptors should take it down by 8; I really can’t see any other outcome, sadly.

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