Raptors 99, 76ers 78 – Box

On a night where the MLB’s (North American) season opening game was on, as well as a LeBron-Durant showdown, I didn’t expect to stick with the Raptors game for four quarters. Out of obligation, I would pay some attention, but I definitely didn’t expect to be entertained. As it so happened though, the Raptors put in a spirited effort, culminating in an absolutely dominant fourth quarter, hanging an embarrassing 99-78 victory on the playoff-bound Philadelphia 76ers.

Sure, the Sixers have been struggling, and the Raptors are heating up at the worst possible time, but a good game is a good game, and as much as we all want ping pong balls, there are certainly positives that can be taken from wins at this point in the year.

Cue the commenters calling me an idiot and not seeing the big picture. I get it, we want more chances at a high pick. Of course we do, who wouldn’t? And the Raptors have played themselves from 4th in the lottery odds all the way to 7th (with only a game between them and the Pistons) with this stretch of four wins in five games. This is terrible news. But the good news is that, despite no significant additions in the offseason other than Coach Casey, this team has 20 wins in 55 games. Last year they had 22 wins in 82 games.

A lottery pick, especially one like Anthony Davis, would obviously help this team. But so has Casey. So will the culture change. So will the growth and development of DeMar DeRozan (turning it on since the start of February) and Ed Davis (14 rebounds tonight), and the re-establishing of Andrea Bargnani (24 points on 15 FG attempts) as the go-to scorer. Don’t forget that we already have one lottery pick entering the fold next year in Jonas Valanciunas, plus a wealth of salary cap space (approximately $16M before cap holds). The pick doesn’t have to be Anthony Davis for this team to improve for 2012-13.

And I know, it’s still a .364 winning percentage, and just .448 (13-16) with Bargnani healthy. But it was .268 last year with largely the same personnel, and at the very least that should show us that the team is moving in the right direction. Even their point differential has improved from -6.2 per game last year to -3.1 per game this year. The defense (102.2 rating) is significantly better than last year (110.0, dead last in the league), and while the offense has felt a slight decrease in output, keep in mind Bargnani’s extended absence (love him or hate him, he’s by far the team’s biggest offensive weapon).

You’re never going to win an argument with a member of Tank Nation. That’s not a criticism…they’re right that a higher pick improves the outlook for this team moving forward. But it’s not the only way for a young team to improve, as Coach Casey has put on display for us this year, especially lately. The wins are coming at the worst possible time, but the fact that they’re coming, and they’re not all against doormats (Philly and Denver are average or better), is a positive too.

As for tonight, specifically, the usual suspects lead the charge. Bargs with an efficient 24, DeRozan with an aggressive offensive game (don’t let the 4 FTA fool you, he attacked plenty) for 18-3-5, Jose with 13 assists to just 1 turnover, and Ed with 14 rebounds in 25 minutes. The Raptors also won the rebounding battle by a ridiculous 46-29 margin and were hot from long range (9/21), but the defense also really locked down when it mattered.

At half, the Sixers were shooting 58% and had 56 points. They managed just 15 in the third quarter on 6/16 shooting. Then they put up a ridiculous 7 points on 3/20 shooting in the fourth. No, seriously. And while some of the credit needs to be given to the Sixers for refusing to do anything but play one-on-one on offense, the Raptors also maintained focus and clamped down as individual and help defenders when it mattered. The Sixers bench, including microwave scorers Jodie Meeks and Sweet Lou Williams, shot 7/25 as a whole, while The Villain Evan Turner went 2/10. (An aside: Evan Turner is one of my favourite players to watch but was a monstrous disappointment tonight.)

3/20. 7 points. For an entire quarter. Damn. Well done.

Oh, and you may have noticed I’ve left out a pair of players to this point. Allow me some notes on each before I sign off.

Alan Anderson – the well-travelled pseudo-veteran looked great again tonight, pouring in 13 points on just 7 shots (5/7, 3/4 3FG). Anderson started for the first time since April of 2006, and the team didn’t miss a beat without Gary Forbes and James Johnson. Anderson plays adequate D and can space the floor, and his attitude and drive as a journeyman trying to make it can only help foster competition for playing time, a crucial element for maintaining motivation down the stretch. His 10-day contract is up, and I’m sure he’ll be given another audition after impressing. Jamaal Magloire certainly approves, as he could be seen doing the veteran-approval-nod-and-lip-pout throughout the game when AA made plays.

Ben Uzoh – Uzoh hasn’t looked as good, but he almost had himself a guaranteed deal when Jose went to the floor in the second. Luckily Jose returned with stitches and gutted it out, because without Jose, Bayless, Anthony Carter (ha ha), and even Forbes, this team would be horribly thin at guard. Uzoh does a bit of everything, though he doesn’t have one elite skill and isn’t terribly efficient. Still, I think he’s worth another 10-day look when his deal expires, because why not?

Quote of the night – “Without Bayless the Raptors don’t have that lockdown guy at the point.” – Leo Rautins
My response – “With Bayless, the Raptors still don’t have that lockdown guy at the point.”

  • K.J.P

    Best picture ever for this article, lol.

    • cesco

      Too bad Nilanka , Destro , Swirsky and co. were in it because they put up a valiant fight . Medal of honour to them .

      • Destro

        Nope im still here tossing enriched uranium at your boys neck and leaving bear traps through out this board for you and ya fag twin Lorenzo as part of Raptors Republic catch and release program…

        • cesco

           Foolish me , I was out buying the R.I.P tombstone in you honour .  It is unfortunate that you do not know when the battle is lost , stupid people are like that , give up before we finish you for good in the next battle . Do you have any tanks left or are you sending in the cavalry ? .

      • Nilanka15

        I can’t expect a newbie Raptor fan like yourself to understand what it takes to improve this team.

        • Theswirsky

          I just like the attention.

      • Statement

        Tank Nation FTW!, Drafting 4th > drafting 7th.  Of course, this depends on the GM and scouting staff doing good work leading up to the draft.

        BTW how does Jim Kelly still have a job.  This dude has been here since the beginning and has been part of some truly awful decisions.

        • Destro

          He has incriminating pictures of someone at MLSE with a stripper…

    • FAQ

      JELD…. RATS HAVE JELD….!!!!!!

  • Edvinaspuskorius

    The picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • WJF

    While I don’t feel any one player can “lock down” a PG in the NBA, Bayless does a pretty good job bringing strength and effort, if only he had longer arms he would be a bitch to play against. 

  • Milesboyer

    This isn’t just the Raptors beating a playoff-bound team, this is the Raptors with two
    D-leaguers playing somewhat significant minutes winning games.  That has to say something about the coaching.  I think Casey establishes a tone of expectation, professionalism and attitude that has huge positive implications going forward.

    • ckh26

       Never believe completely the first 10 games of the season or the last 15 games of the season (last 15 games are extended garbage time for the teams out of the playoff hunt).

      • Steve

        While that might apply to the games against the Wizards and Bobcats, 76ers actually are still in contention.

        • RapthoseLeafs

           As is Denver.
          .

      • Dan

        The last 10 to 15 games usually applies more to teams that either have a set spot locked up in the playoffs or are completely out of them. The sixers are a game and half back of boston whoever comes out on top gets hoe court in the first round and avoids Miami and Chicago until 2nd round. I would say more the last 5 games as very rarely do teams have their spot set with 15 games to go. Plus with the shorter season any team that made a trade still needs all the games to get used to the new players.

        • ckh26

          Guys. probably wasn’t as clear as I wanted to be. I was referring to the home side.. us. We are out of it in terms of a playoff spot. So while our performances are good they are slightly suspect as where were they in games 10 through 45…As an example but not to pick on someone…ED played well last nite with a pantload of rebounds but absolutely needs to find his way to the weight room this summer if he wants to play with the men from day one next year.

  • 511

    Breakdown of last night, analysis of what-all’s going on and flaming-tank pic: A +. 

    Having Dwane Casey here gives me more hope for the future than any other one thing. 

    • raps4eva

      exactly….it’s all about Casey

  • Ppellico

    thank god we finally get some TO baketball review without talk of tanking! I am sick of it. Its the anti of every coach and player. Its why we even have these discussions after the game. Its why Casey does interviews after the games and scolds players for poor performance.
    BECAUSE they play EACH game to win. Their next career stop depends upon THIS season and the LAST time on the floor.

    I agree 1000% the team can be rebuilt and can become a solid first round winner without the ping pong madness that is gripping the minds of these sights.

    Allready there is a supposed solid center coming. He, along with Gray, become an inside which IMO very few teams can dominate…in fact hopefully just the oppposite.
    Casey will have time to teach this summer and next preseason…WHAT a concept, huh?
    A preseason.

    And thgere still is the draft. Dpn’t tell me that there isn’t a way to find gold in this draft. Its up to YOU as a team to know what is available OTHER then the obvious that everybody knows and wants.

    Telling you…a great 3 point shooter, JV and a decent few other changes and the team will be extremely fun to watch next year.

  • cesco

    I agree , what if they find a new Rondo if they select between 8 to 14th ? 

    • Truthkiller

      Rondo wouldn’t be who he is now, if it wasn’t for Doc Rivers and the big 3. And we’ll see how good he can be with no jumpshot and no KG, Ray Allen next year.

      • Destro

        I used to have this opinion of Rondo esp considering his jumper is broke but you cant deny he IS the most integral part of that team..those numbers (triple dubs) arent just gaudy stats on paper…If you saw any of there games he is dominating and controlling games on both ends… 

        • Nilanka15

          Yes, but it’s still a question of how much influence Rivers and the Big 3 had in his development.  Would Rondo be the same player if he was drafted/developed by the Warriors?

          • FLUXLAND

            Of course he would. You can’t teach that hear/hunger or those teardrops, mini-hooks, floaters, banks shots, fakes behind the back, vision, certain passes, that “I’m the best player on the court at all time” game.. etc. The Big 3 or Doc didn’t develop that.

            Jose is what happens when you take an average pig farmer and teach him basketball. Rondo is the embodiment of a born baller, and since I know you love “facts”, look at his high school and college numbers and records, same game since day one, across the board. The Celtics or those Big Three didn’t take a 6 foot stick and turn into a triple double machine who got the starting job and won a ring in his second year.    

            • Nilanka15

              I wasn’t referring to his array of moves.  I was referring to his ability to find open players, and make good decisions.  He didn’t excel on those areas at Kentucky.

              Between the 2006 draft and today, Rondo has become one of the game’s premier point guards (something that nobody thought he’d become).  It’s hard to say with any certainty that this was destined to happen no matter which team drafted him.

              • FLUXLAND

                He didn’t excel in those areas at UK? Did you look at the “facts” over the two years? I’d say he developed those skills enough to get to the NBA. “premier” –  Doc and Co may have helped him tweak it at a faster rate, in the NBA; and plenty of people believed he could become one. Otherwise how do you pull of that second year?

                It really isn’t a long shot, even based on the rest of his game, love of football, and bball IQ, that he would become who he is and figure out the ridddle of “open players and good decisions” in the NBA. Again, you don’t pull off a playoff triple double average because 3 years prior you were clueless about those “areas”. 

                • Raps4Ever

                  20 NBA GMs and their staffs passed on him before being picked in the draft. Are you saying you’re qualified to have judged him better than all those people? Have you passed your resume around yet? Because 30 teams would love to hear from you.

                • Destro

                  So NBA GMs dont routinely fuck up in the draft and FA now ?
                  GMs get passed around because its an old boys club not necessarily cuz they know what they’re doing…GMs dont know anything more than most educated basketball do… 

                • Bendit

                  Who are the GMs in the NBA who got “passed around”. Grunwald, BC, Thorn and King are ones that come to mind immediately who have had GM jobs at other teams. BC & Thorn were relatively successful in their previous stints and there are a bunch of newbies currently as well as fixtures at the historically good teams. There isnt an epidemic of recycling. Owners dont like to lose money.

                • demar10

                  Get lost.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I am definitely more qualified than you as are a lot of the other posters on here. You on the other hand are the Master Fan Cop /BC minion.  Anytime you are ready to talk about basketball and not how someone supports the team or who is qualified for what – we are all waiting.

                • Raps4Ever

                  As the expression goes, I’ve probably forgotten more about basketball than you’ll ever know, fn clown.

                • Raps4Ever

                  PS. Pretty much all you do is talk stats, what you read in the media to support your “original” ideas, and your perfect hindsight management abilities. You want to talk BASKETBALL, let’s have it and we’ll see who has some things to learn.

                • Nilanka15

                  3.5 apg as a freshman.
                  4.9 apg as a sophomore.

                  Nothing eye-popping there.

                • Destro

                  You’re using college stats to judge a players NBA probability…tis a fools errand my dude…

                • Nilanka15

                  Lol, good job jumping into a discussion where you have no idea what’s being discussed.

                • Destro

                  False again…but thats RR code for im looking like an idiot please let me deflect…

                • FLUXLAND

                  Nilanka,look game by game year to year numbers. You don’t see development.  He popped eyes during his under 21 USA run

              • Destro

                ^ smh @ this captain obvious post…..you post like magic johnson speaks…you say the most obvious bland points and use them to formulate an opinion….So you remmeber Rondo at KY NOT making good decisions and finding ppl…FOH!  

                • FLUXLAND

                  He doesn’t remember. All he saw was under 5 assists per game and figured Doc and the Big 3 turned him into a PG God.  Are they responsible in the share of his success? Sure. Entirely responsible for his development and making claims he would be a nobody without them… obviously haven’t watched the game long enough. 

                • Nilanka15

                  Now you’re just putting words in my mouth. But if it makes you feel better, be my guest.

      • fk

        Bayless wouldn’t even get starters minutes on Boston.

        • guest1

          Who on this team would?

  • Nilanka15

    It was encouraging to see how pumped the bench was after the Kleiza draw-and-dish to Amir.  With all the losing that we’ve witnessed this year, I like the chemistry that’s developed with this group.  You get the feeling that they genuinely root for each other, regardless of who’s battling who for minutes.

  • Nilanka15

    Seems like there’s been a noticeable uptick in DeRozan’s aggressiveness over the past 2 games.  He’s playing with a little swagger now.  I like it.

    • sleepz

      Everytime I am ready to cast him aside, he will do something that makes me wonder how much better of a player he can be than he is currently.

      • Destro

        Agreed and makes me think if its not the role,coach and system here…What im afraid is they’ll deal him and then he’ll start beasting…

        • Nilanka15

          If the trade helps the Raptors win games, then I wouldn’t lose any sleep if DeRozan starts “beasting” elsewhere.

          • Destro

            If DD got dealt to became a 20/5/5 perennial all star you certainly would…

            • Nilanka15

              If the Raptors were winning 50 games a season without DeRozan, no, I wouldn’t.

            • Nilanka15

              Do you think the Grizzlies care that they don’t have Pau Gasol?

              • sleepz

                Good point. But if they did they can say they still gotta Gasol.

              • Destro

                No because the deal landed them the better Gasol and made them a better team…Pow was there best player and No1 option had proven stats but couldnt lead them anywhere….DD is neither of those things,he is only potential at this point,cant make that comparison…

                • Lorenzo

                  Pau > Marc

                  Don’t let this year fool you, Pau is one of the few players in the league that will actually ease their game to let another young upstart get the stats and recognition. But then again, you’re a fucking idiot so I’m not surprised.

                • Destro

                  Stop preotecting every euro player that ever existed,ur so feminine its disgusting…Pau doesnt ease his game for anybody,hes a bitch who doesnt show up all the time or when hes physically tested..Bynum leaped ahead of him in the pecking order because hes better and helluva lot tougher…

                  you fuckn euro loving faccot…

                • Nilanka15

                  Looks like you’re moving goal posts dude.

                  It makes no difference what the Grizzlies got back. The assumption is that if DeRozan is traded, it’s a trade that benefits the Raptors. Again I say, if the Raptors are winning games without DeRozan, I wouldn’t give 2 shits about what numbers he puts up with his new team. Only a fanboy would…

                • Destro

                  NOOOPE you just made a shitty comparative as usual aint my fault…

    • Statement

      Do you think he can improve his rebounding if he gets stronger in the offseason?  My view is that yes he could, but only marginally.

      I think partly rebounding is a talent and mentality that you develop early in your career (see Kevin Love)

      Also, do you think his defense will ever improve?

      • Nilanka15

        Tough call.  Strength would help, but he doesn’t seem to have that knack for the ball (in terms of rebounding).  It’s not like he’s in the trenches now, and is simply getting out-muscled for the ball.  We see more effort from Forbes and Uzoh on the glass.

        Same with defence.  Not sure if DeRozan has good natural instincts.  There’s only so much Casey can do to mask defensively weak players.

        If DeRozan was a stud offensive player, his shortcomings might be easier to accept….but he’s not.  His ceiling looks to be Corey Maggette.

        • sleepz

          I think what he could do to make himself more valuable is increased smaller contributions in several categories, i.e 5 boards a game, 3 assists, and 1 steal. If he can get to those levels and get his fg% back to where it was last year but maintain the ft attempts from this year, they have an efficient player that you want to keep.

          • Raps4Ever

            If you look at his last 21 games, he’s less than 1 RB and less than 1 Ast, and .5 STLs away from being exactly there. Not a great leap to expect he can get there under this coach and a better team next year.

            • sleepz

              If he can average that for a season that would be a step in the right direction for him as a player no doubt

        • Statement

          What about James Johnson, his defense is solid, he rebounds and is a capable ball handler (teehee) but he makes questionable decisions sometimes.

          What do you think the ceiling is for that dude?  The first name that sprang into my head was Iguodala.  That is obviously insane but I’m having trouble remembering great defense, below average offense SFs.

          • Nilanka15

            Tony Allen?  lol

            A less offensively-skilled Josh Smith?

            I’m torn on JJ.  I like how much he’s improved compared to last year.  But on the other hand, if we magically draft MKG, then JJ immediately moves to the bench (I don’t think there’s enough minutes to develop 2 “project” small forwards).

            In that scenario, maybe JJ gets dealt, and Kleiza backs up MKG.

            • sleepz

              I’d take my chances developing Johnson than spending a high pick on MKG at this time at the 3 spot.

              That being said the Johnson-Allen comparison is a good one, other than Allen is a 2 and Johnson a 3.

              Won’t get much for Johnson in a trade however he has a skill set that could be valuable as a utility guy that defends and contributes in several categories.

            • Statement

              I hear ya, though I’d rather keep James Johnson because he appears to be an elite defender.

              It would be boss if we could pick up Dragic in the offseason.  If not, then we should extend the QO to Bayless.

              Also, gotta believe one of Amir or Ed goes, unfortunately. 

              Also, I would keep Gray as a backup as he will be the cheapest of the bunch and is pretty serviceable.

              So combining what we’ve said.

              Calderon/Dragic
              Derozan/Forbes
              MKG/Johnson
              Bargs/Amir (or Ed)
              JV/Gray

              I personally would attempt to replace Derozan with Alonzo Gee or Danny Green (as if San Antonio would give the guy up) but I would be looking for upgrades at SG this offseason too.

              • sleepz

                I like Dragic as well. He’s played solid this year.

              • Destro

                I was with you until you said Dragic and Gee for DD….Hell nooooooo.

            • Statement

              Actually, I was reading up on MGK and he doesn’t seem like a good shooter but is a good rebounder and defender…kind of like James Johnson.

              In that case, maybe we keep Kleiza.

          • Bendit

            Ariza, Battier, Barnes???

          • guest1

            I like Johnson but why did he get a DNP coaches decision?

      • Destro

        I think both things could improve…He’s a great athlete no excuse for him not to be able to defend at a high level…defense and rebounding is about hustle and i think he has picked up lazy habits being on this team…. 

        • Nilanka15

          I’ll bring it up cuz I’m bored.

          Other than leaping ability, tell me again what DeRozan does that makes him a great athlete?

          He’s not the fastest guy on the team.  He’s not the strongest.  He’s not the best shooter.  He’s not a rebounder.  He’s not agile (can’t change direction quickly).  He doesn’t have court-vision.  He doesn’t have any “break your ankles” moves.  And he can’t finish through contact.

          For a guy who hates all the apparent Valanciunas kool-aid, you have no problem drinking the “DeRozan is a great athlete” kool-aid.

          • sleepz

            Sorry to interject but it’s funny, when I was watching the Charlotte game in the first half  I thought to myself that DD’s not quick enough and defensive players can telegraph what he is going to do when he has the ball.

            In the 2nd half however his moves (driving to the rim or setting up his jumper) all had purpose and he looked like a different player to me.

            There is nothing in his game that stands out as you have indicated, however there are other pieces of his game that make me wonder if he could make these areas of strength (mid-range game, assists, steals, getting to the line,) at times?

            The weaknesses you’ve pointed out are all valid so it’s a tough one for me sometimes. 

            • Nilanka15

              I saw what you saw in the 2nd half.  DeRozan’s definitely got potential (I know I come across as a hater, but I’m rooting for the kid to improve).

              I’m just not buying all the “great athlete” talk.  That should be reserved for Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, etc.

              • Destro

                because you dont know what athleticism IS and you have shown this in previous posts…

                • Nilanka15

                  All you’ve suggested is that jumping equates to a “top 5 athlete”. Hilarious stuff dude.

            • Destro

              The weaknesses are not from his athleticism tho,its from his mental mistakes and lack of ball skills and tbh his lack of b-ball IQ….I have heard top scouts,execs and NBA players all co sign he is a top 10 athlete..if you see the dunk contests and look at specific things he can do at the rim and in the air…

              This guy nilanka said Amir Johnson was a better pure athlete to me the argument and discussion ends there,you cant anaylyze or assess properly what ur watching making comments like that…

              • Nilanka15

                Lol, wow he can twist in the air! (How well does that help him in basketball???). What a tremendous athlete, lol. Gimmie a break dude.

                • Destro

                  Why do you bother replying with stupidity,such a female trait to further a convo when you make stupid retorts based on ur feelings being hurt…

                  YEa dumbfuck agility has alot to do with ones athleticism…then again ur the same dummy that typed hand eye coordination was athleticism….

          • Destro

            You read what you want to read out of my posts to form an agenda…Valanchoonas is a euro rookie big man those have always been projects so i need to see it first…DeRozan is a great athlete but a much better athlete then he is basketball player at this point,i dont see what your contention is if you know what athleticism is…jumping ability,ability to maneuver in the air w/contact and adjust your body (agility) speed,lateral quickness are all things he has…his problem is he has bad mechanics and bad habits and hasnt developed his ball handling skills which makes him look clumsy and slow BUT dont confuse that with athleticism..If he had a decent handle and first step,his  athleticism would be a lot more fluid and apparent…

            Some of these things he can do most NBA players cannot do…Go look at some of the past dunk constests…those show what he does have but doesnt put on display enough….       

            • Nilanka15

              Dunk contests are your evidence, eh? Nice.

              Brent Barry was a top 5 athlete, wasn’t he…

              • Destro

                lol you cant dissect info thats given to you…skust.
                Brent Barry did a foul line dunk,the fact ur stupid enough to reach and use that sums up ur lack of knowledge on this…

      • Bendit

        I dont think DD was ever asked to rebound during his formative years as a bb player primarily because of his talent to be the quickest down the floor in transition. He has to learn to pick his spots and time of game when he gives up one assignment for the other…cant do both (when on defense). I think he is learning though with good coaching.

    • Martin

      wow! eye test

  • voy

    I think most of the citizens of “Tank Nation” dont WANT the Raps to lose.  We just want teams like Detroit, Cleveland, Washington and Charlotte to win more (when they are not playing the Raps).  

    There is a difference between wanting the team to lose and not going bonkers when they do lose. 

  • NyAlesund

    We need a winning mentality. We have to win more and more games. Doesn’t matter Davis, doesn’t matter a bunch of PF coming up to the draft, the most important thing is add a good rookie and a good FAs. We have Val but I don’t know why people are forgetting this. F@ck Tank Nation.

    • Nilanka15

      How do you develop a “winning mentality” when you miss the playoffs?  Next year, is anyone going to remember that we won the first two games in April 2012?  We’re still going to finish this season as one of the worst teams in the league. 

      I want to see this team eventually play in June.  That won’t happen without solid draft picks.  Valanciunas is a great start, but he’s not enough.

      • NyAlesund

         The point is: we lose the games and…..? If you think about Davis you are wasting your time. We need a SF, first, and two/three good players to improve the roster. Considering the draft most of players are PF, but we have one, AB. Win now, is useful for getting trade if is necessary. If BC wants to trade someone the best option is increase estimators around the team. Also, if you want to win the NBA title, I remember you, that is not always necessary to have the 2 of the best 10 players in the world, but a right organization and the deep roster with talent. The Pistons showed us how is possible to win and remain competitive for a long time without Jordan, Kobe, Duncan…………

        • Truthkiller

          Anthony Davis is literally a class of his own, if your picking first your getting him. 

          Everyone says a team can be built the same way as the Detroit Pistons but nobody remembers that defensively that Pistons squad was a beast, at PG Billups and in the frontcourt Rasheed, Ben Wallace, and Prince. They blocked shots (averaged nearly 5 blocks a game), they rebounded (frontcourt averaged 25 reb a game), they were tough. Look up their stats in their championship run. 

          • sleepz

            +1. Many fans pull up the Pistons as a model to follow and it is just as hard if not more difficult to duplicate the success of that team (lack of a true superstar, but a collection of really good veteran players committed to defence, playing with one another)

          • NyAlesund

             You’re right about Pistons. My point is simply: why we are quite sure that Davis is going to be an All Star? Why we are quite sure that Davis will change the future of the team? Also, why we don’t think that players like Barnes, Lamb, Beal,Kidd-Gilchrist, Rivers… are going to change the future of their team too? This draft, on the paper, is full of talent. There are plenty of young players very interesting and potentially All Stars and the Rapts are going to pick one between the 6th and the 9th. I don’t see the drama. I see one pick very interesting for us, add Val and good move in off season. Too much confident?

          • FLUXLAND

            Nobody remembers? 

        • Nilanka15

          Winning doesn’t make trades “useful”  Wins have little-to-no impact on a player’s trade value.

          The Pistons are the only team in recent memory to win without “elite” players leading the charge.  It would be best if Colangelo doesn’t try to duplicate that strategy.

          Drafting top talent doesn’t mean you have to keep that player.  If we draft a stud PF, he can be traded to acquire a SF.  The point is, the higher you draft, the easier it is for Colangelo to improve this team, period.

          Winning now does nothing to help this team going forward.  If we turn into a powerhouse one day, it will be DESPITE these meaningless wins, not because of them.

        • voy

          davis will improve this team much more than any sf we can get. 

          doesn’t matter how many pf we have.  you always gotta go best player available, even if it is just to accumulate the most valuable assets.

          regarding winning mentality (whatever that means): more than 60% of the current raps are gonna be gone by the time we start hitting 42+ wins.  Gary Forbes feeling good about a win in Charlotte, in 2012, isn’t gonna do anything to help this team win in the future.

    • j bean

      This season has been hugely successful no matter what happens draft night. There is now a new mentality and that is not an easy thing to accomplish. It is more valuable than what a top five pick brings unless that pick is the next superstar who alone can change the mentality of a team. I would rather see winning results that validate the coaching and to an extent the whole organization than see a team that can only question the direction they are headed.  
       JV could very well turn out better than a few of the selections that went before him. Who from last years draft has made a big impact on the league? Maybe in a couple of years we’ll be looking at a superstar from this draft, maybe not.       

      • sleepz

        Depends on what happens in the future that will determine if that ‘ new mentality’ is worth anything.

        Portland not but a few years ago was seen as a rising team with excellent young talent and a coach who had installed a ‘new mentality’. Can’t control players getting hurt obviously but that same coach was fired this year. Where did that mentality that he instilled go? Why had the players tuned him out? Coaching and team identity can only last as long as the talent that is on the court. Sometimes it can carry a team further than it’s collective talent, but at some point the true talent is going to rise especially if you are talking about contending for a Championship. Chip teams are more about talent than they are about team identity. Both elements combined are important to team success, but the talent eclipses everything imho.

         

        • j bean

          McMillan did an excellent job in Portland as far as winning % goes but his downfall was defensively they were getting worse for the last four years. In the playoffs they couldn’t get past the first round because they couldn’t get stops. In theory I like Casey and the teams’ defensive priorities but you’re right the proof is in the pudding. 

          • guest1

            McMillan did not do shit …..they never got past the first round.  They talk of players being overhyped but McMillan is one of the most overhyped coaches ever.  Portland use to be one of my favorite teams but I got sick of watching McMillan’s boring ass brand of basketball.  What constitutes excellence?

            • j bean

              Coaching has a lot to do with it when young guys start winning 50 games a year.

  • fk

    Al that winning culture stuff is bogus. If you don’t have top level talent that comes from the draft lottery, you’re going nowhere.

    • j bean

      There are a few teams making a run for the championship that don’t have top level talent that came from the draft.

      • fk

        Yeah like Miami, who drafted Wade at 5. Or Dallas who drafted a gem like Nowitzki. Or Chicago.

        Don’t be delusional and pretend the draft isn’t a big part.

        • j bean

          Of course the draft can play a big part in a teams success. 
          If you’re saying teams that have one star from the draft then I suppose almost everyone qualifies as a team built through the draft. I’m saying there is a lot more to building a championship team than developing a top five draft pick. If you think developing all of the other things aren’t important then you aren’t looking at the top tier of teams very closely. 

        • Destro

          Milwaukee drafted Dirk…

          • fk

            Same thing, they traded for him. OKC drafted Westbrook and Durant, and dadada

          • Bendit

            And traded him immediately because they thought Robert Traylor was the no-miss player. Dirk was as much a draftee of the Mavs as anyone.

    • Steve

      Sure, but having the best shot in the lottery is hardly going to turn the Bobcats into contenders next year either. It’s about balance.

      • fk

        What Balance? If you get a couple of star players through some drafts just throw in a bunch of role players and minimum contracts and voila, you got a contending team right there.

        If you want to go for middle of the road guys in free agency good luck having any sort of success. It’s a stars league.

        • Bendit

          …and a good coach

        • Steve

          Let me know how the Bobcats go with that #1 pick (that they probably wont get anyway).

  • guest1

    J bean is correct. It is so ridiculous but every season it is the same dream.  The Raptors had a number one pick, it did not make a difference in turning this team into a great team.  This team has improved exponentially this season, the wins are not reflecting that because the pace of the season has caused so many injuries.  They have never had a stretch with everyone healthy.  This team will not become a winner through a lottery pick this season.  They have a much better chance developing some team chemistry and doing a trade or two.

    • Nilanka15

      What good is a number 1 pick in a draft in which there isn’t a single player worthy of a number 1 pick?

  • Raps4Ever

    Whatever weight one puts behind the need for a higher draft pick, it’s pretty twisted when people who proclaim themselves to be fans get so upset when the team plays well, shows progress, and wins.

    I have to admit that there have been games that the team has played well (not when they stank) but lost down the stretch, and I’ve whispered that I’m cool with the loss due to more ping pong balls, as guilty as that felt. On the other hand, to actually get enraged enough when the team plays well and wins, to bash those that cheer for the positives as short-sighted, newbies, or not true fans??? There’s something just a little too twisted about that.

    It’s every fan’s hope to get a great draft pick, but to cheer for nothing but more ping pong balls, and look down noses at, or even bash, those that express reason for optimism in other areas is simply sick. Nobody here knows any better than I how this future draft pick is going to work out, wherever he’s chosen, nor how JV will work out, nor the future prospects of this organization. To say the team is doomed for years to come unless the team gets a top 3 pick this year, then bash those who feel otherwise, is nothing short of sanctimonious idiocy.

    • Yup!

      +1 preach!

    • Yup!

      +1 preach!

  • hateslosing

    This was a good win for us and to the tankers I say this: a high pick is not what this team needs. We have lot’s of young talent and adding another “future franchise” is not what we need. I might even trade the pick if I was BC and get someone with a bit more experience. The truth is, when Andrea and Demar both show up and we play defense like we did last night, we look like a playoff team. I think the having one franchise altering rookie come in next year is plenty.

    • Statement

      I high pick in tandem with better players is what the team needs, but lets start with the high pick.

    • voy

      i love andrea but no one with any credibility is going to argue he is a “franchise player” (unless you want to change the definition of “franchise player”).

      • hateslosing

        I wouldn’t want to make that argument either, at least not now. He is a great scorer but he has a long way to go, particularly in terms of his end of game play, to be a franchise type guy. Maybe JV can be that guy or maybe Bargs has another step forward to take. 

  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    “Let’s see what type of game he has against Philly- a real quality talent level NBA team.”He just pissed in your mouth while dropping 24 against them on a W who takes the total at 13-16.Keep reading the CLOWN’s Roll Calls and see you next year. You troll 

    • Nilanka15

      Wow dude, there are 13 other players on this roster.  Not sure if you noticed.

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      I guess this team is the Toronto Bargnanis and only the games that he plays in matter.lmfao

      Bargnani is 13-16 everyone.lmfao

      AB, who is currently in his PRIME, still ain’t shit but an inconsistent half ass no star lazy mofo’er- point blank, he gotta get that ppg average back up to twenty points per game, rebounds and defensive rotations & recognitions be dammed.lol

      TRADE HIGH!!!!

  • RapthoseLeafs

    .
    The big question is, if we take Jonas out of the equation (ie. for the purposes of this argument – let’s say he’s not coming here), would Tank Nation be happy with the 2nd overall pick.

    Over-rated maybe, or overstated – choose your pessimism – if Jonas was in this draft, he’d probably be that 2nd overall pick. Some might say he’d give Davis a run for his money. Remember, he’s playing against the Big boys, not college opposition.

    Add to that, we’ll probably draft around 9th or 10th, in a draft that has some serious talent, and one has to wonder why all the griping. There’s only so much draft talent you can acquire. At some point, you have to move along in the building process – not continually start from scratch. We’ve done that over the years (with VC & Bosh), and how’s that been working out.

    IMO, Casey is like that extra draft pick, only he actually has demonstrated his potential. Jonas – who I’m worried people will expect instant results – is the equivalent of a top 3 pick. Plus, we have another high pick. Maybe not Davis, or MKG, or Beal, but were we really expecting to grab one of these guys. Add to all this is Bargnani, and a player on the cusp of what we imagined. Sure, it took 6 seasons to get here, but really … who f*#king cares. Are we gonna wallow in “did AB cause Mitchell’s firing?”, or do we hope he takes the next step. Can we allow our dislike, or hatred, or whatever you want to call it, to continue to blur our judgment for the future.

    Raptors still have needs, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. OKC may be some great model, but they also had some luck along the way. Rebuilding doesn’t mean you start a foundation, then blow it up every year. At some point you have to get beyond that phase. And even though I’ve always felt that our Canadian issue was difficult to penetrate, Casey could be the guy who changes that culture. 

    Aside from some genuine luck (like the Clippers pick landing Irving for the Cavaliers), getting a pick from 1st to 4th would’ve required a massive failure on our part. It would’ve meant the Casey culture was a bust. It would’ve continued that persona, that Toronto is a great place to visit, but meh …. I’d rather play in South Beach.

    Tanking goes against everything that Sports represents – play hard & competitive, and go down fighting. If we get lucky with our pick, then great. If we pick 9th, then we deal with it. If you want to lose all the time, and hope things change around, go watch the Leafs.

    .

    • Nilanka15

      If the Queafs understood the importance of draft picks, they wouldn’t have traded for Kessell, lol.

      • Troy

        Kessell is 5th in the league in scoring and is only 24 years old. What are the chances those draft picks would be better than him? The Bruins turned those draft picks into Seguin, Hamltion, and Knight, only 1 of those guys has a chance of being good, but probably not Phil Kessell-good. Bad example, stay away from a sport you know nothing of.

    • sleepz

      If JV went in this draft Davis would still be consensus #1 and there would be no debate about it.
      We’ll see who develops into what but the scouts would still have AD as by far the top prospect in this draft.

    • Raps4Ever

      +1, very well said!

    • cesco

       Andrea had nothing to do with Smitch firing , only members of the ‘anti-Bargnani’ gang are saying that . Good thing he was bad and JT was extra bad , otherwise Bosh may still be here , no DD , no Jonas , no JJ  and no pick this year and a lousy 7-8th place team .

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        Bullchit…..lmfao

        Was it just a coincidence then that AB played good for 2-3 weeks right after Smitch was fired before reverting back to his half ass wayz?

        AB can’t give it to you over 82 games every nite as a jump shooting big man who doesn’t consistently rebound nor get in the post/paint enough.

        Your attempt to rationalize the current state of Raptors basketball is feeble at best.smdh

        • NyAlesund

           You are obsessed by Bargnani……

      • Truthkiller

        The reality of it is and was Smitch got fired b/c he wasn’t giving enough minutes to Bargnani in the eyes of BC. The meltdown in Mile High that night was just the perfect time to fire him. The team was only 8-9, they didn’t even play a 2 months of ball, before he got fired. And every Raptor fan here knows that anytime this team goes out west for multiple games expect at least 1 blowout loss.

        • Raps4Ever

          “The reality of it is and was Smitch got fired b/c he wasn’t giving enough minutes to Bargnani in the eyes of BC.”
          Another one of the Raps urbane legends that some mouthy fool spouted on here and became “reality”?