After 65 games, this Raptor season hasn’t left that disappointing taste in my mouth that the last few seasons have. Win or lose tonight, we’ve had a few questions answered for us:

  1. We know what a real coach can do for a basketball team. Dwayne Casey has easily been the Raptors MVP this season; having lost Bargnani, Calderon, Bayless and Kleiza for stretches of the season, he’s had the remaining squad (Solo included) playing with determination and pride. He’s basically had the same team as Triano did, but managed the same amount of wins (unless they win tonight) in 16 less games while playing defense. This isn’t something to shake your head at; Bargnani even turned it around for crying out loud.
  2. Bargnani and DeRozan are secondary options on a winning team, at best. There are no two ways about it. You can’t help but wonder how they would have turned out if they played under Casey from the moment they came into the league. I’m going to put my nuts out on the line and say each of them would be 10-15% better than they are now.
  3. Calderon should retire a Raptor. His value will never be higher than it was at this past trade deadline (we’ve seen the value of expiring contracts), and his next contract of $6-8mil/year will be great value as he hands the reigns of the point to whomever is brought it to the PG of the future. I’m fully in the camp of not trading Calderon unless we can bring back a 1st rounder or a Brandon Jennings type player who’s on his way out the door.
  4. James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Ed Davis and Jerryd Bayless should not be starters for this or any team in the league. You could make a case for James Johnson (for a few teams) because of the offense/defense balance he has, but it’s a stretch. With JV coming in, and whoever we draft this summer, if any of these four guys starts, something went wrong somewhere.
  5. Next season will make or break Bryan Colangelo’s tenure in Toronto. He’s had plenty of hits and misses, but this last season has seen the semblance of some sort of plan that not too many of us can really poke holes into. If this team doesn’t make significant, positive strides next year, the MLSE board should immediately replace him and Stefanski

As for the Nets tonight…fuck it, lets finish the season with a win. I realize this is a flip-flop from my tanking stance, but a comment from Berry got me thinking about being in the 5-7th spot heading into the lottery (more often then naught, they’ve won over the last 7 seasons). Since picking in the draft is more art then science (wrapped in a ton of luck with how the ping pong balls land), I for one would be more than happy to see the Raptors finish this season with a win, have a solid offseason, and come into next year with a young, well coached team to get behind.

The Raptors are 6 point favourites, and I tend to agree. I have no idea who is going to be “injured” for tonight, but you can bet your ass that Prokhorov wants to move to Brooklyn with a bang next season (trade for Howard, resign Williams); a higher pick would go a long way in amassing assets to make all that happen: 104-91 Raptors.

For those of you interested in tanknation ramifications, Blake has updated his reverse standings for implications on winning and losing tonight for the Raptors; to answer his question…yes, it is worth watching tonight’s game; could be the last of the mediocrity we’ve become accustomed to seeing in TO.

Just want to take a moment and thank you guys for another amazing year at Raptors Republic. As tough as it’s been to get through the last few seasons, this thing of ours here at RR wouldn’t be possible without your fanatic/psychotic support.

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Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

  • albertan10

    Meta are only dressing 8 guys. That is the definition of tanking

  • Nilanka15

    The only way I can see JJ starting on any good team is in a Tony Allen type situation in Memphis.  He’d have to be surrounded by 4 very capable players in order to mask his offensive ineptitude.

  • Raptorboy

    Nice article. Finish with a win…I like it. Definitely keep Calderon. His best years are still to come. Put some talent around him and he will make it work.

    • Destro

      lol @ his best years are still to come….

      • c_bcm

        Show me where he has regressed this year that would lead you to believe that he is getting worse?

        • Nilanka15

          I don’t think anyone is saying that Calderon regressed. 

          Instead, the question is what reason is there to assume that a 30-year old (injury-prone) player will get better with age?

          • Destro

            lol lol @ this guy c-bum using an illogical argument to try to counter the obvious..its RR way !!

            What 30 year old slow footed player with limited athleticism and now injuries on his body starts improving into his 30s in his 7th season…..lol lol lol

             

            • yeye

              Grant Hill

              • Destro

                FAIL

                Grant Hill was not better after his injuries…you must be young,cuz Grant Hill mid 90s with Detroit was supposed to be the next Jordan…look up the stats  27/8/6…He became sericeable after his injuries but he did not improve on what he once was….Dayum shame what injuries did to his ankles….he coulda been a top 10 all time player easily….

  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com/ JT’s Hoops Blog

    Disagree w/ you on all points except the first concerning Dwane Casey

    1. Demar may have not, but AB certainly has proven that he can be an elite top tier player in this league.  just look at the Raptors’ win loss record in the league.

    2.  It’s time for Jose to go.  With Bayless blossoming and the Raptors essentially not going anywhere for much of his tenure, JC needs to go to greener pastures–perhaps sending him to a playoff team.

    3. Maybe not Amir or Ed, but Jerryd and James Johnson have proven that they can both start in the NBA.  how many players do you know have led their team in blocks and steals in the limited minutes that JJ played?  And do you forget that stretch where JB scored 20 and dished out 8 assists while filling in for JC in the starting PG spot?

    4.  BC has done a great job for TO and is still one of the best front office guys that the NBA has ever had.  It should be Toronto that should worry whether or nor BC will stay or go, not the other way around.

    • Nilanka15

      Not sure if AB’s proven anything.  Considering he’s played 400 career games, I don’t think 13 games this season is enough to hang one’s hat on.  We still don’t know if he can maintain that level of play consistently.

      We know what he’s capable of.  We just don’t know if it’s a permanent transformation, or simply a blip on the radar.

    • Destro

      Wow so you spew some of this non sense in a blog and sign ur name to it huh…
      AB was elite for 13 games bruh..the winning record thing is beyond exaggerated because they were and ARE a losing team WITH him….(last years record)

      and your BC cuckholding is just borderline stanning nothing more,you cant be an unbiased observer and take that opinion of him unless you have something to gain from it…teams missed the playoffs 4 yrs in a row 4/6 yrs he’s been here..he has repeatedly made personnel mistakes to cover up his shit with band aids and that basically forced him to where he is now having to lie about why he has no choice byt to re build….That last sentence is enough to not take your opinions seriously…

      TO should worry about him leaving maaaaan GTFOH !

    • Statement

      I couldn’t disagree more with most of what you said.

    • RaptorFan

      I somewhat agree with #2 & 3 above…..except i would love to see Jose stay and Mentor bayless for a few more years (or our point guard of the future).  Sam Holako is no Arsenlist….thats for sure!  I don’t agree with most of the points Sam made above!  I think its still too early to tell whether Ed or Jerryd can be good starters in this league…. they have shown at times that they can definately do a good job…. *Ed needs to bulk up this summer and have a complete training camp, then we can truly judge him*  I really like Bayless as our point guard (he’s very young, can get his own shot, and is improving his playmaking skills).  I love his competitive nature, i think you cant teach or mold that in a player.

    • Truthkiller

      Wow!!!! To show how flawed your arguement is, if 13 games is the sample size of games we’re taking into consideration, then by your definition Jerryd Bayless “can be an elite top tier player in the league”, just look at his stats and win-loss record.

      • guest

        But there are no stats that say he can’t either.  There is more evidence of him being able to play as a starting point guard than there is evidence that he can’t.  Whenever he did get that role he played well.

        • Nilanka15

          He can put up decent stats as a starting PG, but he can’t run an offense.

          • Destro

            False….

            • Nilanka15

              You actually see Bayless as a capable floor general?

              • guest

                Yes

    • RapsM

      What?! Is this a joke? Smh especially at #4.

    • pran

      Does this guy suck at making an argument or what! (no offense dude)

  • Puffer

    Great wrap up Sam. I agree with pretty much everything. While clearly Bargs would be an important offensive piece on almost any team he played for, he definitely shouldn’t be the FIRST option.  Maybe share the first spot with another talented big who can patrol the paint (nudge, nudge) but not the acknowledged 1st.

  • sleepz

    AB and Derozan are a 3rd and 4th option on a winning team imho as they do very little else than score at an average clip.

    AJ, JJ, ED and JB as starters? Not feeling JB but all of the other could be as role players in the appropriate situation. If R. Brewer can start, these other guys could.  If J.Anthony could start for a team that went to the Finals last year, these guys are possibilities in the right situation. I think sometimes the same way we ‘enhance’ some of the abilities of the players on this team that get the majority of the shots and the minutes is the way we completely dismiss (and sometimes rightfully so) players on the squad that maybe haven’t received the same opportunities for whatever reason.

    Colangelo has had more hits than misses in his tensure here. The only thing I wonder is what can be interpreted as positive strides for next year? Thats quite ambiguous.

    • Destro

      I dont think it is….its playoffs or fail…Next year is 5 seasons since….7th and 8th seeds have been .500 teams..He has cap and has picks,no more excuses for this overrated clown..he’s been living off them since 2008….He was forced to re build because of his own damn mistakes….Next year should be make or break…If its not MLSE is as incompetent an entity as very team itself… 

      • sleepz

        I can’t see them making the playoffs next year. For all the talk of how weak the East is, this was a year where at least the bottom seeds are playing over .500. Can’t see the Raps making that kind of leap next year.

        • Destro

          Yes well target of .500 would put you in the vicinity,some years those lower seeds will be lower than .500 and some years a lil higher but generally speaking playing .500 ball would put you in the neighbourhood of competing for a playoff spot…

    • sleepz

      Sorry more misses than hits for High Collars. I need to set the record straight on that one

    • Sam Holako

      J.Anthony starts on Miami because they don’t have anybody else; necessity, not validation of how good he is.

      • sleepz

        Maybe but the fact remains the coach thought he was good enough to start at the 5 for all of last year and much of this year for a team that went to the Finals last year and a team that is once again a contender this year.

        I agree that Anthony is nothing to promote but the point I was trying to make is I can’t unequivocally state that these guys are not starters in this league. Matt Barnes was a starter in this league, Jason Thompson, Chandler Parsons, Samuel Dalembert, Marvin Williams, Mahini, Brendan Haywood, Randy Foye, and the list goes on and on. No one special in that list but they are or have started in this league for an extended period of time.

        • Sam Holako

          Sorry, again, the coach didn’t think he was good enough to start, he was the only person able to start. The other option was Eddy Curry; you see where I’m going, right?

  • jeffdg

    You like Jennings and his disgusting shooting %’s? Yikes. Maybe if he were big and distributed the ball better, but, err, well, he isnt and doesnt. 

    • Sam Holako

      I just like Jennings; bit of a man crush.

      • jeffdg

        You are not alone, and ‘i cant for the life of me’ figure out why. All i see is a totally inefficient PG who makes horrible decisions and has shown no progress or willingness to change his game. 

        But seems to be a likeable guy, which might be why people talk positively about his game.  

        • Destro

          Yes but a big upgrade over what we have starting right now…

          • jeffdg

            Really? You must not watch the same games i watch. I just don’t see it. Sub 40% shooter and he shoots way too much. 

            • Destro

              You dont think hes better than Calderon ?
              How you wanna break it down by numbers ? by PER ? by team record ? All adv Jennings…

              Calderons FG % and 3pt is slightly higher but negligible in terms of how greatly is impacts the team he plays on…My biggest argument against Calderons numbers are they greatly overstate his worth because he doesnt shoot enough or look for his offense enough WHEN and IF he is suposed to be one of our best players on the floor…

              Like how people say 90% Ft shooting is great but its not that great if its only based on 10 FTs…..

              I have watched Calderon here for 6 seasons,i jsut dont see a high impact high calibre point guard capable of leading a team and carrying a team on his back..i see a good back up point guard the end….

              • sleepz

                I would like to see Jennings harrass the ball more.
                 When he does it he is a defensive menace but he doesn’t do it often enough for my liking.

                • Destro

                  I agree but how much of that do you think falls on the situation hes in over there in Milwaukee….You know alot of nights playing in front of 11000 no atmosphere,nobody cares about the team,team doesnt win..you know that affects players focus in some games..thats not an excuse but a fact of life on losing ass teams…I think alot of all star players would struggle to maintain high level play for 48 mins/82 games in a situation like that…

                • sleepz

                  I agree about playing in Mil, but he could take his game to a whole new level if he ignored those things and just focused on ballin’.

                  I remember a game last year that he really impressed me with the pressure he put on Jose and had Jose worrying about the pocket picks all night.

              • CJT

                Who is asking him to carry the team on his back?  It has been said too many times to count on this forum, but I am going to say it again just for you.  The type of player you are talking about hasn’t won a championship in well over a decade.  Period. 

                • Destro

                  Tony Parker didnt win a ‘ship ?
                  Chauncey Billups didnt win a ship ?

                  If he is one of the top 3 players on the team he should carry more of the offensive load then he does…if he such a fantastic shooter he should shooting more and dont defer to inferior players who cant finish…You can keep saying w.e you want,its bullshit because you have an agenda…He’s underwhelming,Period….

            • Nilanka15

              Jennings’ biggest knock is his shot selection, which probably contributes to his poor percentages.  But assuming he matures over time, he could learn how to run an offense efficiently.

              • Destro

                His percentages are not that much lower than Calderons and they are on a much higher volume of shots because he knows he has to score where as here Calderon still hasnt figured out he has to be more of a scorer for this team to have a chance at winning…

                Also Jennings was a bubble all star this season,when has Jose ever been that highly regarded ?

                I would take brandon easily over the spaniard wouldnt even think about it….One guys is close to being a legit AS guard with high calibre skills and the other is from spain….

              • hye hye

                Too bad JB couldn’t learn to run an offence. lol flip flop

      • guest

        After reading that I have absolutely no reason to put any value in anything you write about point guards.

  • TheR3dMenace

    Consider the preposition that the top 6 players in most mocks are surefire NBA impact players. Personally, the top 6 players in the draft I can see good players/assets for the raps. After that it gets dicey. Finishing with a 6th worst record the raps have almost a 70% chance at top 6. If we win tonight, our odds of drafting in the top 6 is 15%. Never has a game that meant so little, meant so much

    # 1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thh12500.2500.2150.1780.357          21990.1990.1880.1710.3190.123         31560.1560.1570.1560.2260.2650.040        41190.1190.1260.1330.0990.3510.1600.012       5880.0880.0970.107 0.2610.3600.0840.004      6630.0630.0710.081  0.4390.3050.0400.001     7430.0430.0490.058   0.5990.2320.0180.000    

    • Nilanka15

      That’s a lot of numbers.  I thought I was Neo…

    • sleepz

      I can guarantee you that out of those top 6 only 2-3 will be players we talk about regularly 5 years form now as all-stars.

      Not all 6 will be NBA impact players and we typically see this every year in the draft.

  • TheR3dMenace

    Sorry for numbers gibberish, Here is a link instead: 
    http://www.mynbadraft.com/nba-draft-lottery-odds

  • jeffdg

    MyNbaDraft.com has Raps taking Barnes (ok) and Sullinger dropping to 11th (i think thats crazy). 

    • sleepz

      Sullinger reminds me way too much of Corliss Williamson.

      • jeffdg

        I think you are focused on height. Might look similar, but totally different players. 

        • sleepz

          Not really. They both were physical 4 or 5’s that scored on the blocks in college. Because of their lack of height and athleticism Corliss had to play more of a 3/4 much like Sullinger will have to in the NBA.

          Why do you think an All-American would be slated to go 10+ and up if they weren’t concerned about the fact he won’t be able to over power players in the pros and will need more of a face-up game”? Just ask Big Baby and Milsap about this if you don’t believe me.

          • mountio

            Agree 100%. Sullinger is going to be a HUGE bust. Imagine if he went top 5 last year? Wow
            He even lost a bunch of weight and is still not athletic enough to finish at the rim in college! All he can do is draw fouls, which he gets as a result of his strength advantage and the fact that his defenders usually arent much taller than him in college.
            He will get eaten alive in the NBA on the block. His only hope is to develop a big baby 15 footer (which he sort of has) .. but hes a liability outside of that, both on D and O

            • jeffdg

              He is nothing like Big Baby. Go back and watch Glen Davis’s games at LSU — They are nothing alike. 

              • jeffdg

                Although, i will admit….when i was at the Final Four that year in Indy, i was sure that Tyrus Thomas would become a significant contributor in the L. I was wrong. Tyrus just hasnt figured it out. 

          • jeffdg

            Sullinger will not be playing the 3 in the NBA. 

  • Destro

    Whys that crazy ?

  • Phat AlberG

    The GM is brutal the team is brutal! Shed the fat Power Foward and Point Guard and I would like to see a shooting guard that can stretch the defensive and who is able to create his own shot.  

    • SR

      Let us know how that works out for you.

  • c_bcm

    I agree with pretty much everything in your article except the Jennings thing. I would rather watch team basketball that is orchestrated by a true point guard instead of a one man show. It may win you some games, but it is awfully boring to watch. A point guard’s job should always be to quarterback the team and control pace. Sometimes that involves shooting and scoring, sometimes its a drive and kick, sometimes its deferring at half-court to a break-down SG, but always it should be to make the right basketball play. I just don’t like to watch Jennings run a team, it hurts me.

  • jjdynomite

     Instead of Jennings, the Raps should go for Dragic: http://rotoworld.com/player/nba/1538/goran-dragic He really excelled for the Rockets in Lowry’s absence, and he’s a Euro so he’ll fit right in, er, he won’t care if he doesn’t sign with Orlando/Miami/Los Angeles, insert Southern U.S. City here.

    • Lorenzo

      That’s actually a stereotype, a lot of people say that but I doubt it’s true.

    • Nilanka15

      Rumours suggest that Dragic is indeed one of Colangelo’s targets this summer.

  • pran

    agree with every point that was made. I hope you’re wrong about Ed Davis though, next year when winning (along with interior defense and rebounding) becomes paramount I hope young Ed, can make strides this off-season offensively and defensively and become the starter w/ Bargnani being the 6th man. In the likely event (just for the record Im not delusional I hope he transforms his body along with his attitude)that Ed fails to make and impact, and we fail to draft anthony davis/thomas robinson/sign a defensively sound PF, I honestly believe this is a flawed team defensively for years to come.

    just respectfully stating my opinion, no need for bargnani fanboy hate, pls and thx.  

    • Sam Holako

      Figures the night I call Ed Davis a scrub he goes off for 24pts/12rebs

      • pran

        No ones gonna hold that against you man, I don’t know what to call what I saw yesterday, but it certainly wasn’t your average nba game. Of course several ppl just read box scores…..

  • Mantcore13

    DeMar won’t play tonight :(

  • CJT

    You tankers are in for a big disappointment tonight.  There is no way the Raps can lose this game.  The Nets have nothing, noone and no chance.  The Raps couldn’t possibly tank badly enough to lose to this team.

    • CJT

      Alabi, looks like an allstar compared to anyone on the floor for the Nets.

    • 511

      please don’t tell me you’ll be proud of this win. From what I could bear to watch (not much), the Nets jumped out to an early 10 + pt deficit and made it apparent they wouldn’t let that go without a hard fight. For whatever this piece of shit game is worth to you … losing it would’ve been worth more. 

      • CJT

        Nope, didn’t say that, after watching the first 5 minutes it was obvious that there was no amount of tanking that would be possible to make a game of this.  I am not a supporter of tanking, but it wouldn’t matter either way tonight.  Maybe if the Raps start 3 players in the second half. 

  • hyperdouche

    I seriously don’t understand why they didn’t play Solo more this year. He is a raw project, but what is this team if not a raw project? He’s been a hustling, rebounding machine when he’s played, how different has this been to all our growing pains with Amir Johnson? He could be so much further along in his development and we could actually have a better idea of what he can do next year.

    • Destro

      cuz they fuckn stupid thats why….They knew this was a 20 win team and still didnt play guys,and still dont know what they can do at this level….a waste of a season in alot of ways….

      • CJT

        BEN Uzoh!  The next Tony Worten Jr.  Triple double.  too funny.  First triple double in 11 years.  Now the Nets know how to tank.

        • 511

          It takes balls to tank that good. I’m very near jealous. 

          • CJT

            Ya, that is pretty serious.  It’s one thing to subltly tank, but that was an epic tank.  That was like watching a Mike Tyson interview after the rape charge, one where he eats your children or makes his prison bitch etc.  Epic.

  • Darien

    86-50 for the raptors. I can’t stop crying.

  • Craps

    Fucking shame. Raps philosophy= lose enough games to miss the playoffs and win enough games to miss a high draft pick.

    • Lorenzo

       It’s 2009 all over again, here we come Sullinger!

  • PBJake

    Let’s all hope, for the love of god, we don’t hear the word “tank” for many seasons to come.

  • guest

    All the times Bayless played as a starter dispute your statement that he should not be a starter….the stats don’t back your opinion Sam. Subjectivity should be kept out of assessment.

    • Nilanka15

      It takes more than decent stats to be a good PG/Quarterback.  A good PG should be your coach on the floor.  There aren’t many stats that display that.

      • guest

        But what supports what you say…I saw the team grab a couple of tough wins when Bayless started this season. I don’t feel like looking it up but I think they won two out of five. A pg should do a lot of things besides get a bunch of assists and yet the team always loses so if you think Calderon is a coach on the floor and yet for six years it has not shown any great results, then maybe it is time to look at another form of evaluation.

        • Nilanka15

          If Calderon was 5 years younger (and on a less expensive contract), he’d be our starting PG for many years to come.

          A win-loss record is never a good tool to measure the worth of a single player.

          • guest

            I guess that is why they tried to trade him last year…we can agree to disagree.