The Raptors solved the Charlotte Bobcat riddle last night. And that, my friends, was the only story line of this night. That’s it.

You can say that Andrea Bargnani is starting to click offensively like he did to start the season, and that he played an almost perfect post game to seal the victory. You could even say that DeMar DeRozan looked like he could score at will.

But then you look closer.

Almost everyone looked bigger and better. That’s what happens when you a play an undersized and undertalented (not a real word) team that may have challenged for the worst in history had they not been given the mercy of an asterisk-worthy 66 game schedule.

It makes you wonder how they lost those other two games. But team speed does tend to give this team problems, more so in previous versions of the team, when guard penetration basically meant an open layup for the other team.

Byron Mullens, should be playing a lot more for such a god awful team. Dude is Bargnani without the ball-handling, but with the rebounding. Very polished offensively. Maybe it’s that haircut that’s holding him back. Money will fix that problem, I’m sure.

But let’s talk about another Charlotte big.

Bismack Biyombo or Jonas Valunciunas? Both are still question marks, although if Biyombo is his actual listed age, he just had an excellent season, with nothing to dispel his potential as a Ben Wallace-clone in a few years.

But, by all accounts, “Val” has been earning rave reviews since the draft and has met very new challenge with success. But the unworldy length and athleticism this kid has is undeniable. Check out his block against Dwight Howard earlier this year. It isn’t one of those “gotcha” blocks from out of nowhere. Dwight tried shooting over Boiyombo like he does every player in this league and Bismack simply went up and got it. That alone makes you wonder how good he could be.

We’ll see. It’s the theme of this season.

  • cesco

    Every time I see Gray attempting a shot from near the basket and missing , I keep thinking ‘ what if it was JV taking that shot ? ‘ . With JV and Andrea  not getting the second injury ( which was Casey fault , IMO ) , we would be fighting with NY and Milwaukee  for a play-off spot . I know that tank nation HATES comments like this .

    • Nilanka15

      Yeah, but if Lin played the whole season, and if Bogut never got injured, blah, blah, blah.  We could play the “what if” game until we’re blue in the face.

      The reality is that every team deals with injuries (not just Toronto).  We’re exactly what our record shows….a shitty team with or without Bargnani.

      • cesco

         You are right about injuries which can happen to every team but JV ( as compared to Gray ) would have made the fight for 8th spot more interesting .
        If we get a decent pick which can help out the team , maybe a FA point guard like Dragic + Jonas we won’t be shitty for very long .

        • sleepz

          It’s hard to compare Biyombo to Jonas as JV has never played an NBA game.

          Valunciunas could turn out to be a good player, however I think the expectations around these parts are getting out of hand. 3 part mini-series on the Raps channel profiling him taking fitness tests back home? This team spends more time promoting players not in a Raps uniform than those players in one.

          Raps are going to need a few more seasons of losing and drafts or a huge hit in the FA market to begin to be a consistent competitive team again. Watching that game last night and witnessing the players we put out on the floor that managment call ‘assets’ or ‘core pieces’ are code words for players not good enough to be more than role players.
          I can’t believe the Bobcats roster is actually worse.

          • Destro

            If you’re like me you notice the exaggerated JV predictions are coming from a certain group of fans lol….

            • cesco

              And there is a group of fans that think that a top 3 pick will be a requirement to move the team forward or else it will remain a shitty team , lol .

              • Nilanka15

                Talent-infusion is a necessity for this team.  A top-3 pick isn’t the only way to obtain talent, but it certainly helps the odds.

              • Destro

                How else does the team improve IF not for lottery picks ? People that are excited about a top 5 pick because it could be a useful piece WHEREAS ppl like you exaggerate what Valunciunas is going to be in his rookie year and his impact on the team….TWO different things…NOBODY is predicting T-Rob or Beal or whomever to lead this team to a playoff spot next year….BUT you and a few other from the AB defense fund say the dumbest things about playoffs and accolades for the guy next year…  

                • cesco

                   Lol , of course EVERYONE want a top 5 pick . The outcome of such luck will likely be a much stronger team , we all want that to happen .

                • CJT

                  You do know that JV was a top 5 pick right?  So is it wrong to be excited by that one and the one we will hopefully get this year? 

                • Destro

                  Thats irrelevant to what i said duke…I said nobody is suggesting THIS years pick is going to be a corner stone next season and lead this team to a playoff spot and contention as a rookie,but the same Bargnani folks are saying thats what JV is going to do next year….

                • CJT

                  ya, and?  I said is it wrong to be excited by the prospect of two top 5 picks?  I for one am excited by that.  I didn’t mention anything about either one of them being the franchise etc.  but I am still happy to have 2 top 5 picks coming.  Who knows what they could be. 

                • Destro

                  and….its rooted in biased and blatant dishonesty…and wanna know why because they’re both euros…OOOPS ! i told an ugly truth…

        • voy

          fuck the 8th spot.  this building a “winning culture” by squeaking into the 8th spot with crappy players or barely missing the playoffs is a surefire way to suck longer.  you can chose to try and build a winning culture with guys like Gary Forbes.  I’ll elect to try and build a winning culture with high draft picks.  If they dont work out, I’ll try again with another high draft pick and we’ll see who contends faster – your team with a bunch of average scrappy players or my team with elite talent.

          I heard Paul Jones yesterday say something like “for those who believe in ‘tank nation’ all I have to say is only 2 times (I think it was 2 times) has a team with the worst record landed the number one pick”.  And to that nonsense all I have to say is how many times has the 8th seed landed the number 1, 2, or 3 pick?

          • voy

            I mean, its one thing to land the 8th seed with a young team, its another thing to land the eight seed with aaron grey as your starting centre, a shooting guard who cant dribble or shoot, a 30+ year old point guard, your best perimeter shooter being your pf/c.  Lots of holes on this team.  no reason to rush into the 8th playoff seed.

            • Nilanka15

              I completely agree.  I’ve said this many, many, many times this season:  How is it possible that fans still don’t realize that importance of tanking in a lost season??? 

              I guess the past 16 years isn’t enough evidence 😐

              • voy

                its like the leafs. people expect to contend with guys like grabovski and hoglund.  and when things dont work out they bitch about sundin like he’s not fit to be on the team. 

                you cant rebuild and contend at the same time.  and you cant say you want to rebuild but then whine when the team only wins 20 games. 

            • Lorenzo

               Speakin the truth

          • Theswirsky

            thats one of the problems with the media around the Raps.  Always willing to accept mediocrity, have no interest in considering #s.  They all live by the eye test… and the eye test conviently matches exactly whatever BC happens to be doing at that time.

            The top pick isn’t the only pick that can net players.  BUT the higher the pick the more likely they are to be good.  The worse the team the more likely they are to net a higher pick.  Doesn’t mean you can’t bomb with a high pick or come out with a steal with a lower pick, but, in general, higher picks tend to mean better players.  At the very least, the higher the pick the more options a team has when drafting.

            The worst team may have only won the lottery twice, but they still have the best chance to win the lottery every year.

            • Raps4Ever

              Your a guy who likes facts and real stats. If one looks no further than odds, it’s impossible to argue that worst = best chance. On the other hand, factual reality over 22 years says otherwise.

              1. The 3 worst records won the lottery 11 times
              2. The 5th to 11th worst records won the lottery 11 times
              3. Statistically, the 5th worst record won the most- 5 times
              4. The last 7 lotteries were won by the 8,5,2,9,5,6,5th worst records. Not a single “best chance” winner among them, but 2 5ths, 2 6ths, and 8th and a 9th.

              It’s a lottery, man, and reality says you’ve got as good a chance at winning the lottery with the 5th to 11th worst record as you do with the 1st to 3rd worst record.

              • Theswirsky

                when rolling the die you have the exact same chance of rolling any combination each time.  What you previously rolled has no bearing on what you will roll next time.

                So if I’m rolling a single die I have a 16.6% chance of rolling 1.  If I previously rolled 2, 3 ,4, 5, 6, 4, 5, 3, 2, 4, 6, 4 that doesn’t change that I have a 16.6% chance of rolling 1 this time.

                “reality says you’ve got as good a chance at winning the lottery with the 5th to 11th worst record as you do with the 1st to 3rd worst record.”

                no it doesn’t.  It says worst record has the best chance, 2nd worst team the 2nd best chance, 3rd worst team has the 3rd best chance and so on.  None of that means any single position WILL win the lottery, but rather they have the best odds.

                All assuming Stern is not rigging it ofcourse.

                • Raps4Ever

                  Awww, we’re arguing odds versus real results. Both have a point. Your logic is perfectly correct in determining “best chance”, but such best chance rarely translates to reality. Just ask the casinos.

                  I’m a logic freak, and used to swear by your reasoning. As a humbled former gambling addict, I’ve studied odds in numerous games of chance more than most. Just like my own experience, 22 years of lottery history are testimony to actual results kicking the logic life out of odds.

                  Nothing personal, but when it comes to games of chance, which an NBA lottery certainly is, continuing to hang ones hat on odds being best chance, even when actual results say otherwise, is a fools game more often than not.

                  For further example, the 4th worst record has better “odds” than the 5th worst, yet the 4th worst hasn’t won even once, while the 5th worst has won it 5 times, even more than 1st thru 3rd worst. What are the odds against that being true worth? It’s a lottery, a game of chance, and the odds get kicked in the groin more often than not. You get lucky, like the Bulls getting Rose with the 9th worst record, or you don’t get lucky.

                • Nilanka15

                  I guess the difference between “odds” and “real results” is that you can formulate a strategy based on odds, but you can’t using past results.

                  So in terms of the Raptors, saying that the lower we finish, the better our chances of a high pick, is fundamentally true.  Will it work out that way?  Like you said, who knows…

                • sleepz

                  Of course you can. It’s how I play the ponies!

                  Past performances baby.

                • Theswirsky

                  “I’m a logic freak” now thats rich.

                  the odds are still the ‘best chance’.  It doesn’t matter how you want to slice it

                  worst  has a 25% chance
                  2nd 19.9%
                  3rd 15.6%
                   and so on.

                  Yes it is a game of chance, but a game of chance built on odds.  Seeing how everyones cost to enter the draft is identical (ie. $0 – unless one wants to get technical and include the value of losing, which is a whole other realm of discussion) it makes no sense, if one wants the best chance to win the draft,  to want odds other than the best possible when entering it.

                  As I said before the previous results of games of chance have no bearing on the odds.  Choosing longer odds, does not give you a greater chance, rather the exact opposite.

                • Raps4Ever

                  Couldn’t stay away from making personal judgments, aye. Oh well, carry on with your versions of logic ruling your bball fan life.

                  Generally, what I am outside of sports is very different than within. Personally, I don’t think being a sports fan has anything to do with logic, and prefer to keep it that way. It’s about fun and finding relief from the black/white, serious world of logic. At least that’s the attempt, as is finding others who wish to share the same path.

                • Theswirsky

                  this has nothing to do with sports fandom but simple math.

                • voy

                  casinos make money because the odds are with them.  the odds are not in the gambler’s favour but somehow mysteriously the casino manages to fluke out a profit.

                  you’ve just given me an idea for a novel.  A gambler/tragic figure who does not understand probability.

                  Get a large enough sample size and a team with a 25% chance to win the lottery will win the loterry….25% of the time.  Funny how that works out. 

                  I hope you are doing well with your addiction.

                • Raps4Ever

                  Thank you for the well wishes. Have been doing quite well for a very long time actually. To return the favour, I hope you someday do well to enter the realm of abstract thought.

              • voy

                yes. worst = best CHANCE.  CHANCE.  As in “not a certainty but better statistical probability”.

                how are you going to argue 25% is not better odds than 20% (or whatever the difference is between worst and 2nd worst).

                Also you’ll notice that you are comparing the number of times the worse 3 teams won the lottery vs the number of times the next SEVEN worse teams won the lottery. 

              • Destro

                So the teams with the 5th and 11th most lottery balls have as good a chance as the team with the most ? and you say this in the same sentence with the term “reality” in it…smh.

                • Raps4Ever

                  Didn’t “say this”, but carry on demonstrating that reading comprehension contributes to your enjoyment of stupidity.

                • Destro

                  5th to 11th same chance as 1st to 3rd

                  save the bitchassness  

              • Trrruth

                damn, stuck on stupid badge for you today!

                • Lorenzo

                   No…. just no.

                • Trrruth

                  what he said, is similar to arguing: even though flipping a  coin is 50/50 because heads has turned up the last ten times it really isn’t 50/50.

                  that sound’s  pretty stupid to me.

                • Destro

                  Actually what he said is worse than 50/50 because what he is trying to convey as 50/50 is not at all…1,2,3 seeds are not 50/50 to 9,10,11…

                • Destro

                  Its funny how these dweebs continue to contradict themselves..

                  They will tell you limited results trumps the factual odds in a given year BUT arent willing to apply that same logic to the ol’ 5 seasons/13 games illusion…

                • Trrruth

                  Im fully aware of that, that was not the main point you should have taken from that example….

                • Destro

                  It is the main point because even the 50/50 thing is stupid but to believe a 10/90 coin is favorable to the longshot shows how much certain posters are willing to bend logic to make an argument…

                • Raps4Ever

                  I tell you what’s stupid, as my point was trying to make; hanging your hat on odds. This convo started with “I heard Paul Jones yesterday say something like “for those who believe
                  in ‘tank nation’ all I have to say is only 2 times (I think it was 2
                  times) has a team with the worst record landed the number one pick”. The point being it’s stupid to sacrifice other aspects of building a team to hang your hat on getting “the best chance” at a lottery win. Is that too much to wrap your head around?

                • Theswirsky

                  then why did you respond to me with

                  “It’s a lottery, man, and reality says you’ve got as good a chance at winning the lottery with the 5th to 11th worst record as you do with the 1st to 3rd worst record.”?

                  I think your ‘abstract thinking’ is coming into conflict with being a ‘logic freak’

                  Although it does seem which ever side is conveint at any given times seems to win out.

                • Raps4Ever

                  Gee, a person who uses both sides of the brain, adjustable to the application. What a freak!

                • Theswirsky

                  Is that your logical thinking or your abstract thinking at work?

                • Raps4Ever

                  Tough to wrap your mind around the concept, is it? As much sympathy as I have for dumb animals, I can’t help ya with your confusion….. awww, I know you’re just trying your best to be a smartass, but pretty lame, man.

                • Destro

                  1st seed and 11th have the same shot at the #1 pick…got it

                • Lorenzo

                   No no, you misunderstood, i was referring to what YOU said.

          • Nilanka15

            I believe the 2 times “Jonesy” was referring to were in 1990 with Derrick Coleman, and 2004 with Dwight Howard.

            • voy

              I remember the Howard draft.  Dick Vitale went bananas that orlando didn’t take okafer.

              • sleepz

                Me too. lol

                Dickie V didn’t get to watch Howard play regularly as he was fresh outta HS but he was accustomed to watching Okafor at UConn.

          • sleepz

            Listening to Paul Jones has become burdensome on my ears.

            You would swear by listening to both him and Eric that the Raps are one step away from greatness. They continually refer to a conversation with one of the Grizzlies assistants that said that the Raps remind them of how the Grizzlies were 2 years ago, so now that is some point of reference for Jonesy and Smitty about this Raps team. lol

            Not even close.

            • cesco

               So , if by luck they get Davis or MKG they are not close ? The Grizzly assistant must have been thinking of what the Raps could be getting in a stacked draft , it seems to me .

              • sleepz

                The assistant was commenting on the team that they have now unfortunately.

                With Davis or MKG what would they be close to? If they get Davis then they should try to get a good piece for Bargnani because Amir or Ed is not fetching anything worthwhile, he says he gets offers for Andrea all the time and the redundancy of bigs is pointless. If they can get a good swing man or pg for Andrea than maybe they are better off in the future but there is more scoring deficiencies. If BC is stubborn and retains Andrea (which will get him fired eventually) and tries to empoly a 3 man big rotation but can’t find a scoring wing who can defend and an upgrade at pg it also won’t matter as they are still years away.

                If they get MKG they are once again treading water. I like MKG but feel when he is asked to play like a true 3 in the NBA fans will begin to see his weaknesses alot more clearly. I like him as a player (hustles, rebounds, cares about the game and plays with passion) but I don’t like him as a #2 or #3 pick on a team devoid of any all-star talent. Kentucky kids make good pros but I am concerned about how his skills, or lack thereof, translate to the NBA game.

                • Destro

                  Honestly i do think he just likes to say he gets offers for Andrea all the time to manipulate both the market and fanbase…I do believe its possible he’s been talked about in trades but other teams are not offerig there frontline players for him which i assume is why it wouldnt go anywhere….He wants the fanbase to like AB and accept him as a something that he i think is realizing he isnt….a #1 go to player…

                • cesco

                  I don’t think BC is against trading Andrea . He never got an offer in the past that have him convinced he will have the right piece to go forward . A top draft pick may change his mind but he will wait at least a year to make sure .

                • Destro

                  I dont think he ever was going to consider until now…

                • sleepz

                  I don’t know. He’s invested a lot in Andrea and unless he is getting back something incredibly better (which is also remote imo) I don’t think he even thinks about trading him.

  • Theswirsky

    “undertalented (not a real word)” is fitting as the Raps were playing a “not a real NBA team” anyways.

  • OneLuv

    Man, am I tired of hearing from you Rap “fans.” I think the only way you will be happy is if BC spends a kazillion dollars and gets 5 all stars to start for TO.

    Me, I’m happy with the effort and progress my team made this year and enjoy seeing them being more competitive with the top teams even though they always seem to find a way to lose. But that’s all right; it’s part of their growth as a team. At least they are trying to play the game the right way, unlike the last couple of years. 

    I also think that what BC does with the $$ he has to spend is going to have more impact on the team next year than what position the Raps draft because JV is going to be a starter next year (even with limited minutes) and the Raptors are not going to have 2 rookies in their starting line up even if the other rookie is top pick AD. To take the next step the Raptors are going to have to find a couple of experienced NBA players who can shoot the ball, and they are probably going to have to do this through a trade rather than through free agency.

    And I don’t mind if we get the 8th spot next year and the year after and build on being a regular playoff team instead of being a lottery team. And I don’t think that we are that much “undertalented” than some of the
    2nd tier teams that are making the playoffs this year in the East
    (Indiana, Philly, etc.)

    • Nilanka15

      The problem is that we shouldn’t be using those 2nd tier playoff teams as our measuring stick.  Those teams aren’t good enough to ever compete for a championship (based on their current core players), and the fear is that the Raptors will end up as a “pretend good team” too.

      We just don’t have elite-level talent to get past that 2nd tier.

      • Raps4Ever

        I’ve seen enough of the folly of it already, so I hate to get too deep in a basketball forum, but “the problem” for fans is when “fear” rules the day, as it does too much around these parts.

        • Nilanka15

          You can’t fault the fear.  The past 16 years is cause for concern, and I would like to avoid making the same mistakes that led us to mediocrity.  Colangelo’s last 12 months have been encouraging, but it’s not enough (at least in my opinion) to be certain there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

          And by “light”, I’m not referring to a 7th seed ceiling.  I’m referring to a top 3 seed within the next 3-5 years.

    • CJT

      My favorite is the conspiracy theories.  How BC killed Jimmy Hoffa and then drafted AB just to put one over on the fan base.  Lonely people with too much time.

    • Raps4Ever

      +1
      I’m with ya buddy. There’s more reason for optimism than has existed for years, yet so many insist on having no part of it.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!

    Raptors finally signed Justin Dentmon after SA released him.lmfao

    JD should show & prove on the court- think Isaiah Thomas (Sac) like.

    BC is a follower not a leader of finding talent with his copycat ass.smdh

    • Vinny

      Remember last year you called Bismack Biyombo “Bustmack Biyombo” and lambasted BC for even entertaining the thought of drafting him.

      • Destro

        I still dont want him,he’s not a bust…

        • Lorenzo

           A coincidence that you happened to reply? I think not…

          • Vinny

            Haha, caught him! Nice try Dumstro, but you weren’t fooling anyone.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!

        And? What exactly has Bismack done in the NBA that’s so note worthy?

        Let’s see what time says about his game, impact.

        • Vinny

          Nothing, but you were calling him a bust before he even played a game, you took him for an Alabi-like benchwarmer. So far he has not shown to be a bust is all I am saying.

      • Nilanka15

        I would’ve been pretty pissed at Colangelo myself if we used the 5th pick on Biyombo.

        I admittedly didn’t know anything about Valanciunas pre-draft, but I was hoping for Kemba Walker or Kawhi Leonard.