Gameday: Raptors vs Nets – Apr. 26/12

Win or lose, Raptors can hold their heads high; Casey especially.

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.


Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images

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