One more game to go for this dreadful road trip to end.

The Raptors hung around for 3 quarters, but once the final deciding quarter rolled around, the Clippers simply stepped up their defensive intensity and the Raptors could not respond.

Now, the most interesting event of this game didn’t take place on the court, but was an appearance by the President/GM Bryan Colangelo. He spoke with Matt and Jack for a few minutes. Likable guy, really. He complained about a moving screen, commented on a turnover by Terrence Ross. Self-deprecating, well-spoken and always equipped with an answer delivered with oodles of confidence. There were two main points that stood out for me.

1. This team is talented. They just lack focus.
2. This team is talented. They are just really young right now.

They lack focus? Sounds so simple. But does it make any sense? Look no further than this game, which is actually quite similar to the pattern of other games this year.

What pattern, you say? The Raptors seem to fall apart a lot in the fourth. So they start losing focus in the final, deciding quarter of the game? Or is it that the Raptors might have been overachieving for a good portion of the game, and when the other team decides to step it up, the talent level is too much to overcome?

Majority of NBA games are somewhat close going into the fourth. That’s just how it works. It’s a long distance race that turns into a sprint around the final bend. The more talented teams win that final sprint, more than any other sport. This issue of closing games is a talent issue, nothing else. Andrea Bargnani isn’t that guy who you can rely on to score in these situations. DeMar DeRozan is not. You would hope Kyle Lowry would be for the kind of draft pick he was traded for, but he hasn’t shown he can either.

The Clippers have three guys who have the talent to score in crunch time situations. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and even this year`s Jamal Crawford. This team lacks the talent to create offense in the fourth quarter. If they do manage to, it’s usually at home against one of the weak sisters of the Association.

Quit blaming the coach. He could have tried 100 different things and the end result would more or less be the same. In fact, his mixing up of defensive schemes, to zone, actually confused the Clippers for stretches. You don’t see other teams doing that, maybe they don’t really need to against the Raptors. Casey avoided the two point guard lineup, but fans will always find a way to justify that the COACH lost them the game, rather than accept the more sobering reality that the team itself is just not good enough.

That’s where we are. The team is not not good enough. Not good enough to contend, not even good enough to be average, which is exactly what gets you into the playoffs in the Eastern conference.

This team is still young? Let’s look at the age of our team, and since we played the Clippers, let’s compare again.

Kyle Lowry – 26
DeMar DeRozan – 23
Linas Kleiza – 27
Andrea Bargnani – 27
Jonas Valunciunas – 20

Chris Paul – 27
Willie Green – 31
Caron Butler – 32
Blake Griffin – 23¸
DeAndre Jordan – 24

The “core” guys for the Clippers are Paul, Griffin and Jordan. 27, 23, 24
Our “core” guys are Lowry, DeRozan and Bargnani. 26, 23, 27

I don’t see much difference in ages there. Good players peak fairly quickly. You don’t have to wait on them for long. There isnt much of a “process” as Colangelo is apt to say.

The Raptors are a relatively young team, but their main players have amassed a lot of playing time at the NBA level and are likely not to improve much more. Valunciunas is the obvious exception, but how much better will Lowry, DeRozan and Bargnani get.

Andrea might actually be on the way down. It’s been researched that most NBA players peak at the age of 25. After that, some maintain their peak, some even appear to get better, but for the most part players decline. The ones who have good work ethic generally tend to fare better. We know where Bargnani stands here.

Talent needs to be added to this team for it to get better. It’s not going to happen organically as Colangelo wants you to believe. Sure, the schedule will become favorable in a week or so, and some home cooking will bring in wins. But the reality is that this core can’t perform against some of the better teams in this league, and beating the Washington Wizards is not going to change that reality.

This time around, the game was pretty much over before the starters came back in during the 4th quarter. DeMar and Jose Calderon could not get any offense going early in the fourth. Just a lot of outside jumpers while Eric Bledsoe and Jamal Crawford carved up the Raptor defense. It was over before Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had a chance to get back in the game.

The Raptors`response?

9:06 DeMar DeRozan makes two point shot
7:03 Amir Johnson makes free throw 1 of 2
7:03 Amir Johnson makes free throw 2 of 2



0:19 Linas Kleiza makes 26-foot three point jumper

Nothing for the last 7 minutes of the game. Dissect it any which way you want to, that’s a lack of offensive talent. We’ve seen it time and time again this year.

Our General Manager thinks the team can fix it by focusing harder. Right.

At this point, as a fan, you want to see the shit hit the fan. Let the losses pile up so we can hopefully see some changes right at the top, starting with the dismissal of Bryan Colangelo.

  • Daniel

    It is quite shocking how you and the other writers on this blog keep repeating the same stupidities from the off-season. I didn’t expect an apology colelctively from all of you for the off-season debacle however some introspection and analysis would have been fine. You contributed in created a narrative that was the opposite of facts and reality. I understand this is the modus operandi for the media however I expected better from the alternative media. If you spew the same fantasies as ESPN, the Star and the Score, then what good are you?

    • voy

      delusions of grandeur, anyone?

      • voy

        all i’m saying is, I’m pretty sure a certain german douche felt the same way about his art as daniel feels about his basketball opinions.

    • Truthkiller

      75-79 Raps down 4 with 9 minutes left in the game, Casey left starters on bench far to long… Clippers go on 21-4 run to close out game.
      Analysis:
      Bargnani played stupendously crazy good defense all-nba performance by him on that end, griffin 19 & 9 on 7/11 shooting

      Oh and BC threw Ross & Casey under the bus 
      anymore analysis?

      😀

      • Jamshid

        I was very surprised on why he attacked Ross like that !!! 

    • c_bcm

      Nice. I too think its funny how everyone who contributes to this site is surprised how the season has started. As if this team got THAT much better in the off-season. The reality is we went out and got our ball-dominant pg like everyone wanted (this is a “point guard” driven league now right?) who also happens to be a decent defender (meaning he gambles for a lot of steals, but is fast so should be able to contain his man). We got 2 rookies who are logging significant minutes, making the inane assumption that a starting rookie center is going to somehow anchor our defense.

      The reality is that this season is a step along the path of developing this team. That’s it. Now, the record isn’t good. True. But, given the schedule I am not surprised. Nor am I willing to make knee-jerk reactions this early in the season. No, we won’t make the playoffs, but I don’t think we were ever expected to. 

      The coming weeks will be interesting to see if this team can start to put some wins together. But, can we all stop talking about how terrible this team is. We get it. Thanks for reminding me. I watch the games too. What I want is an intelligent basketball discussion. Leave the sensationalism to those who comment on the articles, and whose opinion I’d rather not respect anyways. 

      • Statement

        A voice of reason.  Well done.

      • Statement

        Which are the losses which likely shouldn’t have been losses thus far, Charlotte, Detroit, Sacramento.

        So 4-17 instead of 7-14, big deal.

        • c_bcm

          People just like to complain. That’s the conclusion I have come to. It much easier to mindlessly complain about the transgressions of the day than to think about where they stand in the course of history. If people thought about this team from the perspective of this simple analysis, they’d all be much happier. No matter what anyone does, this start to the season was always going to happen, unless they played waaaay beyond their means. Instead, they under-performed a bit. Par for the course.

          • Destro

            i get the point of this but i completely disagree with the message…Some people just want a team they can root for that wins a few games,the thought ppl take this teams misery home with them is kinda pompous…This season is quite a bit worse than most anyone with a level head expected,its not really par for the course,ppl had some faith this year was going to be different…

            Any type of dialogue even outlandish and over the top should be ok its a team msg board,some of yall lose of that…and this is just the front page you want to dissect at nauseum go inside….Im from the opposite side,i think passionate fandom is ok esp on a board…..team sucks fans should be able to respond in whatever way they choose…

            Raptors are no different than any other shitty team fanbase…I thknk too much is made of the dont be so negative simple analysis…teams 4-17 theres not alot of positivity in that as a fan even a raps fan *shrugs*

            • c_bcm

              Fair enough. My argument has very little to stand on.

        • what the

          plus the other 7 or 8 games this coach has cost us .

      • Copywryter

        Agree with paragraph 1, disagree with paragraph 2. This is not a ‘developing’ team. It is a rudderless franchise. It is a team without an all-star. It is a team with a four who doesn’t rebound or post up. A two-guard that can’t shoot the 3. A PG who doesn’t distribute. A merry-go-round (sad-go-round?) at the three. And a raw center who has a motor but who isn’t going to be the ‘future’ of an elite franchise. Outside of Toronto it is not a highly regarded bunch, and it’s why I have issues with your second paragraph.

        We’re 20+ games in, that’s enough time for some knee-jerking. We HAVE NOT had a difficult schedule. A few games ago we had the 7th easiest. We have lost to Minnesota, Indiana, Dallas, Boston, Philly, Charlotte, Detroit. None of those are elite teams and most are Delete teams.

        What’s sensationalist is assuming 1) this team has the foundation of a truly competitive basketball team 2) that things will improve if we just sit around and wait for the team to: ‘gel’, ‘put some wins together’, ‘get on the same page’ and 3) that all we really fucking need to do is …. focus.
         
        FOCUS IS FOR TEAMS THAT DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TALENT TO WIN GAMES UNLESS THEY PLAY 48 PERFECT MINUTES.

        This is the same tripe we’ve been fed since BC got here. You know who eats tripe? My dog. He really likes it. I don’t mind picking up his shit but I’m sure as hell not going to pick up Colangelo’s. The worst thing that could happen (and will happen) is that we put together a little mini winning streak and everyone forgets that we do not have the nucleus of even a ‘good’ team. We’ve got to shake the chronic mediocre-ism that kills sports in this town. Everybody in Toronto says ‘well, there’s always next year’. As constituted this team is looking at a lot of next years.

        • c_bcm

          What is funny is that you assume that I don’t want this team to be a contender one day and that I don’t think that this team has an unacceptable record. 

          The facts are that this team IS a developing team, and its was never meant to be contend for a playoff spot, although everyone said it would be nice if it happened (who wouldn’t say that?). It was expected to take a step forward, and i’m not ready to close the book on that possibility yet.

          Maybe its not as simple as “focus”, that could be true. Maybe its more of a trust issue. But I am not sure that I can figure out from your post if your expectations of this season were grounded in reality. The reality is that this franchise is transitioning out of a fast-fix, quick-transaction, plug the holes and hope for the best franchise and into one that will take its time and build from the ground up. We have young and talented players (JV, ED, Lowry, and DD) we have enigmatic players (Bargs, Amir, Jose) and we have fillers. Like all transitioning franchises, we will keep the good and get rid of the bad. Hopefully the good will accumulate with time. We may not have all-sat caliber players, but we’ve never been able to hang on to those anyways, so that point is moot, IMO.

          But let’s not get caught up complaining about how bad this team is. It’s in the middle of a rough patch on its path of development. Maybe they could use a little support from its “fan”-base to show them that we are with them through their struggles. 

          • johnnys

             That’s all fine, but if we take the basic premise of culturing and the improved defense last year, how has this year not been a step backwards. Or was very little realized last year and those wins came mostly from teams not trying and therefore a false sense of accomplishment prevailed.

            • c_bcm

              At this early stage in the season, i’ll concede, the team has been disappointing. But we have a rookie anchoring our defense and a pg that likes to gamble on defense. I think these are reasonable explanations (but not excuses) for the porous defense. I also think, that it should come as no surprise. I also also think, that because of these explanations, its too early in the season to condemn this team.

              • johnnys

                 Okay, so then when the rookie stars to look like he’s catching on (next season maybe), then you tell KL how it’s gonna be, in order to get back to the mindset which prevailed last season. KL is gonna buy in at that point?

              • johnnys

                *start*

                And likewise DD will suddenly be motivated on D when he sees all this going on around him.

              • black angus

                …”we have a rookie anchoring our defense and a pg that likes to gamble on defense.” and let’s not forget a power forward that can’t spell defense (or defence)

                • johnnys

                  That is not a difference from last year.

          • Copywryter

            ED, DD and Lowry are talented. Thing is, almost every NBA starter is talented. See the Clippers? They are young too. Younger and much, much better.

            You have to separate your myopic desire to cheer for the team and look dispassionately and even critically at our guys. With ED, DD and KL we are never going to be a ‘good’ team. Never. They are talented, not good. The blueprint is bad. The model is flawed. 

            JV is an enigma right now too. It will not make me popular here, but he looks to be ‘ok’, potentially good, not a wow.  He’s young in the sense that he’s both 19 and a rookie, so he gets the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully it isn’t as much rope as we gave Bargs. 

            ED is a third-year player, he’s not going to get too much better. Lowry and DD are what they are. They are young only in the sense that they are in their early 20s. Professionally they are pretty much set.

            The reality is that we have been transitioning out of the ‘fast fix’ for years. You’re drinking the kool-aid. We traded a draft pick for Lowry, who wasn’t our first option anyway.  A team that was, as you say, “building from the ground up” would not have acquired Lowry, or pursued Steve Nash. Again. The blueprint is bad, the model is flawed.

            I’m not complaining about the team. I’m railing against the paucity of talent, at our long-term prospects, at our low ceiling, at the marketing spin. 

            I’m a fan, but I’m not a fool.

            • c_bcm

              I’ll assume you are not calling me a fool. I respect your opinion, and I can see where it is coming from. I happen to take a different view point.  I think your are buying into the burning house mantra a bit too much.

              The record is what it is, no debate there. But I can see where this team is going, I like the direction, and I don’t think this losing will continue all season. Time will tell if i’m right or not. In the meantime, I choose to continue to support my team and its players.

              • Jamshid

                I think time already told you if you are right or wrong. It has been 7 years and your team has the 2nd worst record. The ONLY team with worst record than us is missing their star PG and believe me when I tell you, if he was healthy, they would not be where they are now.

                • voy

                  the team hasn’t been rebuilding for 7 years.

            • Dan

               Even Bryan admitted they went from rebuilding to building. From everything he said and the moves he made his goal was clearly playoffs this year. Although the move for Nash I think was more marketing and him doing his usual trying to recapture past Phoenix success. I think Bryans dad and Nash helped him a lot before and it was Wayne Embry that set him up to have immediate success here. Once he was left on his own you are finally seeing who he is. A gm who is great on the business side but very poor on the basketball side. The team record and talent of the roster over the past 5 years backs that up. Indiana had more success with the Raptors 17th pick than Bryan has had with any of his picks so far. His two best under the radar picks of garbajosa and parker probably had more to do with Gheradini then his own scouting.

            • Jamshid

              Nicely Said. Lowry is a god player but I don’t think he is top 10 in this league in his position. DD is a good player but he needs to become a lock down defender if he wants to be star in this league. I also don’t think DD is in top 10 in his position right now in the league. You are 100% right about Ed as well. By the 3rd year, players in this league will be almost as good as they are going to be. However, he missed some of his first year and his 2nd year was a short season and … so I am willing to give him more time. Right now, Ed’s ceiling is a solid bench player in this league. Overall, it is either bad scouting and drafting or bad player development or combination of both that has put us here.

              • Jamshid

                Good Player :)

          • Statement

            c_bcm

            I agreed with you regarding this year.  However, looking at the bigger picture, other commenters are right, IMHO.

            This is a “developing” team, like Minnesota and the Clippers were “developing” teams. 

            There are younger teams in the league than us, but they are much better because their talent is better, period.

            That said, I don’t think this team has gelled, but once they gel, the maximum upside is a 1st round playoff berth, because of the lack of talent. 

      • Daniel

        Knee-jerk reaction after 7 years of this GM? After not missing one freaking game for 7 seasons? After paying for at least 10 games a season for myself and my family for 5 consecutive seasons (until 2 seasons ago when I decided not to go to the games as a protest for the bad GM?) I expected better for the alternative media and the fanbase than to fall back on their backs and take the shit in form of 2 rejects by other organizations and propagated as gems by the said media and the fanbase. I expected better than to believe the hype that we are “accelerating the rebuild” and fighting for a play-off spot with 2 rookies in the rotation. i expected better than to accept the offense will be better with a 3rd high-usage player added to the existing two in the starting line-up. i expected better than to buythe defense will be the same by replacing a few competent defenders with 4 below-average defenders. I expected better than to accept the idea that Lowry was a “natural choice” after going after Nash: the two have nothing in common. It had been so obvious that the pieces don’t fit with each other and with the coach however the gullible kept giving Colangelo a B grade for the off-season and expected 38-47 wins.
        I used to live in a communist country with a servile media. It pisses me off big time to see the same attitude in a free country. Nobody “dared” to be different and to interpret the facts as they were and not as they were embellished.The media was writing science-fiction and not critical thinking analyses. Now they have the guts to say that nobody saw this coming and that it is the worst-case scenarion, as if we are stupid but, hey, everybody else was stupid.
        The question now is are weeven learning from this experience? I haven’t seen anything lately to tell me we are. The articles are using tongue-in-cheek statements (“Lowry played bad but it must be the injury or he is still the man”, “Jonas is only a rookie”, etc) to justify the unjustifiable.

      • what the

        so if we stop talking about how bad this team is will that make BC fix it ? 

    • 00000

      What are you talking about Daniel??  You need to continue taking your meds!

  • voy

    what bc, or any gm or coach, says in public is just for public consumption and I think has other purposes other than to just give the public his objective opinion. 

    what really surprised me is how bc threw t.ross under the bus.  i mean, you are going to take a look at this team’s performance as a whole and the first thing you are going to do is be critical of ross!?!  i gotta think there is an ulterior motive behind what he said.

    whats been shocking to me is how seldom this team punches the ball in the post.  if bargs is incapable of approaching the opposing team’s basket because of an apparent invisible forcefield then give it to demar or give it to lk when advantages exist.  dont continually make it easy on the other team to defend you by perpetually taking deep jump shots.

    lastly, I have no idea why the raps are trying to run.  when the other team has more talent then you, you dont want to increase the number of possessions in the game by trying to force running opportunities.  fine, if you have the numbers advantage then run.  however, if you have the ball and 4 or all 5 guys on the other team are already back why are you asking your guys to accelerate the pace?

    • sleepz

      Because running and dunking and scoring is a better brand of basketball to watch.

      Because fans appreciate these things more then wins or watching a team play strategically based on their personnel.

      • voy

        i respect your opinion, but I have a hard time believing this can be true.   no one wants to see their team lose by 25 points and be down 10+ from the 3rd quarter on.  i think people would much rather see a closer game even if it meant minus the dunking.  its not even like the running is leading to easy baskets or highlight reel dunks.  its just lead to more possessions for the other team.  I think its just a really bad calculation in strategy.  its too bad too, cuz I think casey did a terrific job last year.  even though, i have said many times playoffs, this year, should not be the measuring stick for success, I am still disappointed in how casey has managed this team so far.  I’ll give him the year though as long guys work hard.  its hard to keep a coach around if we see utah revisited many more times this year.

        • sleepz

          I actually agree with you completely.

          The GM of this team see’s basketball in a different light however.

        • tweed8

          I hear man. The problem is that guys won’t keep working hard as long as we keep losing.  I want this team to do well, so badly that Friday’s game actually depressed me for an hour or so.
          I think the worst feeling is that we may never be able to convince any all stars to come here and play. I don’t believe that we have some roleplayers but, we are still lacking true leaders.

          • Dan

             If the team is winning then they will have a chance. Vince and Bosh both re-signed when they were all stars. It was losing and the teams lack of direction from the gm’s that caused them to leave. Glen Grunwald is the best GM this team has had. If given the chance he probably could have turned things around.

            • tweed8

               I meant to write *has roleplayers.
              Man, if woke up tomorrow and heard that Butch Carter wanted to be GM and work with Casey I would be a happy man. #Pipedreams.

        • NyAlesund

           This team has two souls. KL, DD, TR….and AB, AJ, JC………two different ways of playing basket. Untill Casey won’t find the right recipe we are going to see a lot of painful lost.

          It’s enough to see how many times Bargs receives the ball in the post. Few, because most of the time he is standing far beyond the arc.

          • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

            I recall a trining camp photo wee the team was sitting down to eat and all the black US players sat at one table and the Euro plus Gray & Fields (yeah he’s considered to be black but he is mixed) at another.

            AB spends around 90 percent of his time on offense hovering between the 3pt line and ft area even on a fast break he rarley goes into the paint preferring to stop outside of the contact area.

            I remember Bayless and AB on a fast break when Bayless gave AB the ball instead of attacking the rim AB pulled up for a 8-10 foot jumper and bricked it out of bounds with Bayless yelling at him to drive to the rim with AB staring into space ignoring Bayless.smh

      • NyAlesund

         Well the fans can see the Globetrotter instead……………if they want smile……and enjoy.

    • c_bcm

      I think the lack of post play is a deliberate attempt to give room for the slashers to get to the rim. They keep Bargs lifted so that Lowry and DD can drive, and either kick or try to score. This is probably intended to get the defense to scramble freeing up a roller or a jump shooter. However, its hasn’t been entirely effective so far.

      Just a thought.

      • Daniel

        Good observation. The problem is that our slashers have tunnel vision and don’t dish the ball to the corners or the trailers. There is a huge difference between attacking the rim as a means to an end (see Parker and Harden) and attacking the rim regardless of how the play develops. I don’t know if it’s low IQ or bad offensive sets or lack of trust in teammates however it’s clearly not working. When you add the inability of our starting PG to run PnR then you understand the poor spacing, continuity and offense in general. 

      • Dan

         Demar and Andrea both struggle with this type of game. They can do the drive part but not the kick. Neither are fluid enough with their ball handling to make a play other then to shoot it. They decide what they want to do first then force it weather it is there are not. That is the problem. How often do we see the other team drive then kick it to an open guy or dump it off to someone under the basket. Rap just go all the way or settle for the shot to begin with.

    • c_bcm

      But, yes I agree that they should mix it up more often and try some traditional post play every once in a while. But I just don’t think we have the players for that to be very effective.

      • voy

        i have to disagree. i would love to see andrea’s shot chart for the last few games.  from memory i would say at least 70% of his shots have been further than midrange jump shots.  there is no way, regardless of how good a jump shooter he can be, that can be by design.  no one is saying “andrea keep out of the post so kl or dd can drive”. 

        this is not to blame andrea for anything. this is just to point out the imbalance this creates when no one on the floor wants to play in the post.

      • tweed8

        Last year when folks thought we were seeing a new Andrea, it was because of his mixing it up.  He was especially good when he was forcefully backing guys down… It was in those moments I was really shocked at how he could physically move some big men around. ah well.

        • c_bcm

          Agreed. Bargs CAN play in the post, he just doesn’t. Not sure if its in the game plan to keep the lanes cleared or if he chooses not to. Like in all things, i’m sure its a combination of the two.

          • RaptorFan

            if its the game plan, then Casey should be fired!  I recall a certain song (and truck commercial)

            “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”…..

            I reckon in basketball – the SOFT takes long range jump shots….

            Nothing gets me more frustrated than watching our players continualy jacking up long range jump shots in the final quarter of every close game…… while i’m screaming

            “GET IN THERE – DUNK ON THEM!!!”  “DRIVE” “NO MORE SHOTS!” 

            We need a post player!  PERIOD …and we do not have clutch shooters on this team…..our shooters usually disappear in the 4th Quarter (does anyone remember the indiana game where we scored 5 points in the 4th Q)???

        • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

          AB came into last season in shape from working out with the Italian team while most NBA players were out of shape mixed with a shortened training camp AB’s 13 games (which weren’t all good games ie Washington) was a mirage as we have seen this season.

          This season AB came into camp out of shape and BC, Casey were covering for him saying he was much bigger-stronger….lies. smh

          A team is a direct reflection of their best player and AB is lethargic just like Raptors basketball under BC post Sam & CB.

          • tweed8

            Honestly, I can look at Casey and believe he thought whatever connection he had made with AB last year was still there. I that moment as a -new- coach I would cover for him too. Give him the benefit of the doubt and believe okay, he’s fat because he was injured.  Clearly that connection is/was gone because he’s the same plodding, emotionless giant once again.

            Right now, I can’t even imagine how this team will be relevant anytime soon.  I feel for the guys that have worked hard. All stars or not, hard work deserves more this crap.

          • what the

            AMEN

      • Dan

         Jonas in time should get better. Right now he has a hard time seeing the second defender and is not great at passing.

        • Dan

           Even when they do pass it to him the post the floor spacing is terrible. Instead of having a guy in the corner they have two guys near the top so when a defender is left to double the other guy has an easier time defending two offensive players

    • black angus

      “whats been shocking to me is how seldom this team punches the ball in the post”… I couldn’t agree more. It is amazing how many sets these guys have with four players STANDING outside of the three point line. I even saw a couple of “plays” where all five guys were above the foul line. Although I would agree we need a domiate wing player I think a greater need is a 4 or 5 who is at least a threat to score in the post. If one can’t be acquired I think they have to start looking for JV down low. I feel pretty bad for the guy… he works is ass off to set screens and get position in the post, but is rarely rewarded with even a look from his teammates. If these keeps up I am afraid his passion on offense will dwindle.

      • tweed8

         I feel for JV too. Part of that is due to his inexperience. He and the PG’s should be talking often. He needs to understand when to move with them to create better passing angles… especially with Kyle Lowry.  I’ve noticed his pick and roll is a little more effective with Jose… And AB should be taking this kid by the freaking hand and helping him out I doubt that’s going down.

    • Dan

       Probably because the Coach knows this team lacks talent and realizes you won’t win many games playing against a set defense with this team. These guys are not good enough to execute half court plays. Kyle Lowry right now is the only guy on this team who can get by his defender using the dribble. Teams easily force this team to shoot threes and long twos. They need a playmaker and Kyle and Jose are not that. Kyle can do it when he wants to but it’s not often. Jose is is a good passer but not much of a playmaker.

  • KJ-B

    A guy who does not blame the coach does not understand elite level professional sports… Look at the “good” teams and you’ll find “good coaches”–bad teams, “bad coaches”… Raps have only had 3 “good” coaches in their history.  Wilkens, Carter, Mitchell–all 3 got to the Playoffs…all three left too soon except for maybe Wilkens…

    MLSE nor do Raps fans understand winning because there is not enough experience with it–if you think the wrong tone wasn’t set from game one with Casey screwing up and -7 doing whatever, whenever…you shouldn’t be writing a column Mr. Murphy; although I enjoy it from time to time.  Raptors have talent everywhere except at the Head Coach.  The decisions or lack of a pair to make the hard calls is what is splintering this team–whether on “command” of GM or not…GROW A PAIR DWANE!!!

    They should be at 7-9 wins without coaching error. PERIOD.  Start ED he earned it–that’s the way it works…it’s about competition!

    • KJ-B

      The way that a coach manages his teams talents and expectations of fulfilling a game plan post practice is through minutes–playing time… It seems that Casey NEVER has a plan “B” except if that b stands for “Bargnani”…

    • Dan

      I still feel like Bryan puts pressure on the coaches to play the guys he has been presenting as core players regardless of how well they play. With Dwayne I think he struggles a lot on the offensive end so he tries to duplicate what they did in Dallas. That offense was designed around Dirk and Andrea is the only similar player they have with that skill set.

  • Rjak27

    “At this point, as a fan, you want to see the shit hit the fan.”
    I’m a fan, and I’m tired of getting hit by shit.

    The Raptors need to tear the team down, start drafting higher, and wait a few years until a young core starts winning on their own, then supplement that talent with vets to turn them from a playoff team into a contender – it’s the NBA formula to success, and it’s no secret.

    • Valit

       The problem with your idea ( which is a pretty good one) is that organizations in general do NOT have patience, because they need fast results, more people in the stands, more money. Listening to Colangelo, I was trying to put the puzzles together and I came up with this: I think that BC had a plan in his mind that was supposed to be achieved in 3-4 years; At the end of last year, MLSE management demanded results and winning and …playoffs. He knew that this team will NOT make the playoffs in any shape or form but if you tell a lie 1000 times, people will believe it. He got into some sort of panic mood and tried to impose a different approach to a team not prepared for something like this. The Nash pursuit was a combination of a PR move and the fact that BC believes this league is a PG  driven league ( I argued for a long time now, that AB draft was a combination of BC’s inflated ego, PR move Gherardini influence). Anyway, I digress… Once Nash signing did not materialize , the signings of Fields and Lowry were panic signings to appease the bosses and the fans. I bet he impose on Casey the new approach which was to fail right from the bat. Casey is not an offensive coach, Euros can not play helter-skelter basketball and from here to the debacle it is a short jump. The whole identity of the team went to gutter and everybody is playing to their own little agendas. I was very surprised to hear him talking about Casey and Ross and I have no doubt he will sacrifice anybody in order to keep his job. I will also would not be surprised if he will get 2 more years. MLSE cares for money and not winning. As I said before, these are the actors who will finish the year ( more or less). IF I am Casey, I would grow some balls, stand up to BC and forget about the new experiment. Find the right combinations with no lock in starters and reserves (honestly, they are all average) and play the basketball I know how to coach. Bring back some kind of organization and go from there.

      PS. Just for fun, I’d throw once in a blue moon all Euros at a time ( JC, Pietrus< LK, JV and AB) a la Red Wings; Cant be worse than what we have now and it will be fun.

      • c_bcm

        I’d agree with some of this. However, you are mistaken, IMHO, about the Fields signing. Its as simple as it was laid out. A player who they had some interest in, but offered an above-market contract for to dissuade NY going after Nash.

        I’m not sure if there are competing interest on this team as far as coaching is concerned. But you are right, a coach should always play to his own game-plan. I do think Casey has a lot of freedom on this team, given BC’s comments last night about winning too many games last year. That’s all Casey.

      • Rjak27

        An organization that doesn’t have patience is going to be a late lottery treadmill team.

        Patience is not a problem with the approach, it’s a problem with the people implementing it.

        There is no alternative to this approach for the Raptors (except being a late lottery treadmill team).

      • Dan

         lowry was on the table for a while they were just waiting to see if the could get Nash first. I don’t think it was to appease fans so much as Bryan recognized Jose is not the pg that is going to lead this team to any success. i’m sure they had some interest in Landry already but they over paid him in hopes it would block a Nash trade to New York

    • Matthew Nelson

      ROTD in my opinion.

      We’d have to play north of .650 basketball for the rest of the season to make the playoffs.  That’s not happening with this group, or with a group BC patches together through bandaid trades.

      In that case, it’s time to throw the season away and eye next year’s draft. 

    • Dan

       That way doesn’t always work. Had the Raps had the number one pick in a year where there was a Lebron or Duncan this team would be different. They got the number one pick in a year where every pick was a gamble. Even though Gay, Aldridge and Roy for a few years all turned out better it could have been worse with a player like Tyrus Thomas. Plus you need a GM with a good eye for talent like Sam Presti. Bryan is not that guy. Both for drafting talent and for signing it. Any time he has money he throws it away. Kapano, Hedo even Amir to a degree when you consider what he is paid for what he brings. Landry could fall under this category too. I really hope they use this season to find a new gm when bryan’s contract hopefully runs out.

      • Rjak27

        If a draft pick doesn’t work out, the organization should continue with the same patient approach.

        Bargnani, DD, Ed, JV, Ross have so far failed to turn the Raptors into a winning team, so we should still be drafting highly.

        I’m not saying it’s their fault as individuals, it’s just that they don’t have the talent as a group.

        For example, none of our recent draft picks have good court vision, which in my opinion is required from at least a couple of positions on a good team. Also, the level of defensive awareness as a group is low, though there are a couple of bright spots.

        It was the Lowry/Fields/Pietrus/Kleiza acquisitions that were the mistakes, because the team wasn’t ready to take the next step. All those moves accomplished was reducing the likelihood of acquiring more talented players in the draft.

        I would also argue that extending Bargnani, DD and Amir were mistakes. If the team were intending to build through the draft it would make more sense to trade those assets for more picks and prospects. Like OKC did with Harden, for example (which was a smart move).

  • Tee

    Very one sided, sensational article. A bit biased.

    It reminded me of the Bleacher Report.

    The players you were comparing to the raps are Superstars. Superstars reach their primes early, like Vince and Blake.

    You really think the Bobcats beat the raps because they have more talent?

    • Copywryter

      Do you really think we have that much more talent than the Bobcats? 

  • hateslosing

    I don’t think it is lack of talent holding this team back, I think it is a lack of leadership and as Colangelo said, focus. For stretches last night this team looked better than the Clippers, we played with absolutley fantastic defensive intensity in the second and you could see how this defense is supposed to work: swarm and rotate. Then something weird started to happen in the third and all the sudden the rotations were slower. we weren’t swarming, instead we were having trouble just staying with our men. Shots stopped falling and if it wasn’t for Demar scoring 11 in the quarter we would have been blown out way earlier. the problem grew to epic proportions in the fourth and then the Clips started hiping everything while we looked confused in our offense. And it wasn’t that the Clippers amped it up or anything like that, it was that our team could not get itself into a semblance of a rhythym and started jacking early threes. To me this doesn’t indicate a lack of talent because if we’d played every game the whole way like we did the second quarter, passigng he ball around and getting into the other team on D, we would win a lot of games. What is killing us is the teams inability to focus on doing that for more than a quarter at a time.
    If I take the optimistic view, I chalk it up to this being a learning season, that guys are figuring out where they fit in the system where other teams are already used to it. Of course

    • Copywryter

      You ever played rec sports against a team that you outclassed? It’s hard to really get up for ’em. You kind of go through the motions until it’s time to put ’em away. It holds true at the professional level (moreso, imho, because they have a marathon season). That’s what I saw yesterday: a team that was in a bit of a funk (Clips) against a team that was doing their level best (us)

      It is alllll about talent. The go-to players who have talent to make plays when you need to make them, to ‘amp up’ to the level that your team’s talent permits. Especially when you have off days against weaker teams. That said, sometimes a bad team beats you and you pound the hell out of whoever you play next. The Clippers did indeed look confused by the zone, and by Barg’s excellent iso post defence (jesus did I just write that?) and Paul had an off night so they had none of the penetration or cuts that break down zone rotations. But this is just one game. We have played mostly horrid defence all year, especially help defence and haven’t seen consistency from anyone but DD. 

      The focus argument is bullshit I say. Very few NBA teams can really focus consistently. If they could then b-ball wouldn’t be a game of runs, and fewer games would be decided in crunch time. The Celtics of a few years ago could focus. Phil Jackson’s teams could because he was the master at pulling levers. Doug Collins deserves a mention — until he wears his teams out. 

      • hateslosing

        Normally when I played ball we were the ones outclssed so when we played a bad team we stepped on their throats :)

        I don’t agree with your assessment, I think what we have seen in multiple games this year is the Raptors not executing and playing hero ball. That does not mean the talent isn’t there, it means bad decisions are being made. Now decision making is a skill in basketball so you can make the argument that we don’t have the talent from that perspective but i subscride to the view that the talent is there and we can’t figure out how to put it together. Take Derozen, he has a developping post game and a decent midrange game. His rebounding numbers are up and he’s starting to get some assists. This is a player that lots of team would be happy to have, a player that is a great offensive option and is only improving season by season. Yet for some reason we’ve seen several isos run for him at the end of games where he ends up taking a rediculous long two because he can’t take his man off the dribble and he isn’t that kind of player. That’s a bad decision. Every time Bargnani plays one on one and pump fakes and dribbles for a long two, that’s a bad decision. Every time Lowry takes a three with 20 secondes on the shot clock, that’s a bad decision. These sort of plays make the difference and are what make us to lose. If we start making the right plays, Derozen curling instead of isoing, Bargani passing instead of forcing, Lowry trying to get penetration instead of jacking shots…etc… this team will start winning games.

    • Dan

       The Raptors only won the 2nd quarter. They lost every other quarter.

  • 511

    What Colangelo said about winning too many games last year might be throwing Casey under the bus but … really, he’s not wrong and I sort of understand why he’d still be pissed at that. We all knew that last season was the season to go for the tank and at times, it sure looked like they were but then, when they really didn’t need to be winning games, they were pulling some out for whatever misguided reasons (imho) the coaches were telling each other. 

    When the dust settled after last season was done, I had the sense that BC and Casey weren’t on the exact same page re ‘tank/not-tank’ and while I (myself) was a bit pissed at Casey for seemingly not seeing the big picture (that seemed glaringly obvious to most), at the end of the day, I think it has to be on Colangelo, as the boss, for not ensuring that everyone understood what the big-picture game-plan was. 

    Still, odd to hear Colangelo saying basically, how it’s a damn shame they won as many games last season, as they did. Sounds very after-the-fact, like he’s shaking his head as he walks out the door. 

    • voy

      i like t.ross, but lets keep in mind the 8th spot last year vs something potentially much higher when the argument inevitably resurfaces “we have to win at all costs in order to develop a culture of winning”.  whats lost in this argument is the only difference between winning 20 games instead of 15 is a shot at drafting a top 3 pick. 

    • Dan

       He should blame himself then. Casey didn’t sign Alan Anderson or i’m forgetting his name the triple double guy. If his plan was to lose then let the injury plagued team keep going as is. If it weren’t for the d league guys trying to earn their next contract they could have lost the last game and got the 7th pick and had Harrison Barnes. BC is just playing the blame game because he knows after 5 years of losing he may struggle to stay in the NBA after this.

  • Halifax Raps Fan

    I would like to see AB play the post.  It seems this year with the addition of JV, he is being asked to play the 3 point line and move in when necessary (although we can see this has not been working…)

  • Gregast

    I must admit that I didn’t watch the LA game that closely but it seemed to me that the Clippers won because their second platoon sat on the bench for Q1 and watched what was happening to the starters ( they were being beat by the Rapter’s starters) then came in to feast on the Raptor’s bench ie regained the lead then they watched the Q3 and again came out to play a style of basketball that the Raptors could not defense. IT WAS THEIR BENCH THAT WON. So who is their bench? Former all stars led by a future all star ( the PG). This platooning system they’re using is working because the “bench” wants to show the “starters” that they can still bring it – amazing what professioanl pride can do when properly COACHED.

    Dwane didn’t have the talent on his bench to deal with the talent on their bench. The fact is their bench could start in Toronto.

  • FAQ

    Remember when the TRaps were tanking in the first quarter and trying to dig themselves out of the hole in the rest of the game???

    Now they seem to have solved that problem but another one has mysteriously surfaced… they collapse in the fourth quarter and lose badly.

    Methinks this is more of a coaching challenge than a player ‘focus’ problem…. but there are 60-odd games to resolve this puzzle.

    • Statement

      The bottom line issue is talent.

      It doesn’t matter how the losses come, just that they come.  No NBA team gets consistently blownout, so over the course of a game, a crappy NBA team will almost always have kept it close.  However, talent ultimately wins over the course of 48 min.

      • Destro

        BC showing his lack of leadership and cowardice qualities by trying to excuse himself of any blame (tried the same thing in 09-10)

        He thinks he can change the rules and take his work and separate it from the results,when it doesnt work like that for anybody in any line of work.

        You bare the brunt of your work thru the results whether good or bad…

        He comes off like such a coward,its really no wonder theres a lack of perceived leadership with this team and no accountability…it stems from the top…

  • Destro

    Im starting to think the best way out of this mess is to trade Lowry and bargnani this season….assure you tank and get in the top 3 this season and hopefully stay bad to stay in it in 2014 as well….and hopefully with new mgmt and cap and a ’14 pick you can shoot for that 2014-15 season moving forward…The more this season moves along you realize the Lowry thing is going to be another heartache waiting to happen…

    I think its clear well at least to me i dont think hes going to stay beyond next season and this seasons a wash now might as well package BOTH get as much youth or picks as you can and tank now and next and then come up after 2014 is really the best way to go…

    No point keeping Kyle to be a 20 win team,no point overpaying him to be on a 20 win team either….hopefully his numbers maintain and sell high…

    I thiknk thats the proactive best thing for this team is these losses keep piling up…

    • Nilanka15

      I can’t help but agree on Lowry.  This team won’t be competing for anything next season.  Knowing Lowry’s competitive personality, why would he stick around?  Stocking up on 2014 draft picks my be our best option.

      • Destro

        Yea and im also thinking you might need to use him to get anything back from a Bargnani trade as well….I read sumn over the wknd that got me thknking nobody is going to give you much value for AB..because nobody around the league values him like the raps do….Unless you want to give him away for junk and a bad contract back you might need to package Lowry with him….I was thinking along those lines… 

    • Copywryter

      I agree that Lowry is yet another imperfect piece. Despite the fact that he’s a top-15 pg it will be tricky to get prime value for a shoot-first, gambling player with a history of doing his own thing.  

      We’d have to tank hard AND get very lucky for a top-3 pick.  I’d trade either Amir or ED, too. Pick up a d-league or waiver-wire fodder to be second-string. You’d get more for ED given his play of late. Burn down the forest so that you can see real growth.

      • Destro

        Lowry is definitely the better player but id rather keep Ed over him right now if we agree were basically tanking for 2 seasons….PLus i dont think Ed brings you back as much right now….I want to stay bad but maximize a return on Lowry if that makes sense…

      • Jamshid

        I agree. We can beat every other team that wants Pau with offering Lowry and AB while taking back Blake or Duhon + draft picks. We can later trade Jose’s expiring contract on a separate deal or package it Amir’s contract. 
        This way, we really tank this year and next year and in just 2 years, we have around 30+ million in Cap space !!!

        If we want to really blow it up and start from zero, then this is the way to go. Get rid of the players who can get those few irrelevant extra wins at the end of the season for you and mess up your draft standing. 

    • RaptorFan

      GOOD POINT!  this may be the way to go

  • Theswirsky

    Wonder how it feels, when the bias agenda driven haters’ statements are coming true and smacking the unbias open minded optimists right in the face like a fat dick.

      

    • Daniel

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean however I do love the sound of your sentence. I wish I was capable of writing such a sentence.

    • Nilanka15

      That’s some serious salami and cheese, right there!

    • Ari

      I thought you already knew what it was like to be smacked in the face with a fat dick

      • what the

        no that was nilanka

    • p00ka

      I don’t care to wonder what it feels like having a small dick, and fantasizing about slapping guys with a “big” dick, but that might go a long way to explaining your personality disorder.

  • wes mantooth

    the one thing that all the most talented nba players  have in common is focus! 
    so i dont understand BC’s point.. 

  • Mike

    In Colangelo`s spiel, he forgot to criticize him self.  He was pointing out the flaws of certain players, even eluded to bad coaching. What he should have said was that the Raptors have players that are either too one dimensional or do not compliment each other.