Wow. Where to start on this one? I had a hard enough time putting together enough coherent thoughts on what was one of the weirdest, and worst, Raptors games I’ve ever seen to do a Quick Reaction piece last night, so please bear with me if this one’s a bit shorter than usual and veers away from traditional analysis – I’ll do my best to do most of my commenting on the game and the team in general, as I directly commented on each player individually in the Quick Reaction. And honestly, that game messed with my head in ways I didn’t know a basketball game could.

This one started like you’d expect a game between a road-weary team and one missing two of its best players to: both teams were struggling immensely offensively – the Raptors, by taking an unbelievable amount of long shots early in the shot clock (and missing nearly all of them), and Portland through a nice mixed-bag of futility. The only person on the Blazers who seemed to have any success offensively whatsoever was LaMarcus Aldridge, and though the Raps weren’t exactly blowing the doors off the place, you had the feeling that if they slightly altered their game plan, they may have finally found an opponent they could beat with ease (I mean, the Blazers were starting Sacha Pavlovic and Victor Claver, for God’s sake!).

That didn’t really happen, and both teams struggled through a first quarter that resembled my days on my high school’s B-team. The strangest part about the opening stanza for the Raptors was the inexplicably avoidance of DeMar on the offensive side of the ball: not only was he being guarded by the aforementioned Pavlovic (and later by Will Barton), but this kind of game screamed for someone, anyone, to get to the rim and start creating points the old fashioned way, especially given Portland’s seeming inability to score in any way.

Ironically, the first Raptor player to attempt to do this was the much-maligned Andrea Bargnani, who received an offensive foul and a hard knock to the court for his troubles that put him out for the game. X-rays were negative, but as of writing this I haven’t heard an update on the injury – as I wrote last night, no matter what you think of the guy, I hope it isn’t anything serious. It did look like he was in some serious pain and he didn’t come back to the bench, so

In any case, the end of Bargnani for the night also meant the entry of Ed Davis, who was, by and large, the biggest reason the Raptors entered the half only down 4. Davis shone in the second quarter, continually taking the ball to the hole while the other Raptors forced shot after shot from the perimeter, and even bailed out a few broken plays with putbacks. Davis may have had a difficult time with Aldridge on the defensive end (everyone did), but his hustle and heart were key to the Raptors first half, and he essentially cancelled him out in the box score, winding up with 12 points and 7 boards entering the break to Aldridge’s 12 and 6.

That said, for every other Raptor save DeMar and Jonas (who certainly wasn’t lacking in the “hustle points” department, either), the shot selection in the first half was both inexplicable and atrocious. Lost in Portland’s historically futile night from downtown was the Raptors’ almost equally ugly performance from long range – they finished the half 1 for 12 from three point land, ending the game a paltry 3 for 21, with one particularly ridiculous shot by Kyle Lowry in which he was actually out of the TV cameras’ view due to his proximity to half court. The feather in the cap was how quickly the Raptors seemed to be willing to throw caution to the wind and toss up shots; most of them came early in the shot-clock and directly resulting in me yelling at my TV on numerous occasions.

Finally, though, the Raptors seemed to come to the realization that they had stronger personnel, even sans Bargnani, and began taking the ball to the hoop, leading to 4 straight possessions to end the half – all scores – that were either putbacks off of drives to the basket, directly scored on drives, or shots in the low post. As the Raptors went into the half down 4, the game seemed to be turning a corner: even though the Raptors were down, it looked like they had control and were still in good shape to win this one.

But boy, how wrong that was. The sheer ridiculousness of the second half is almost too much to attempt to break down in any coherent fashion, so here are a lot of bullet points, followed by my summarizing thoughts at the end.

In the second half, we saw:

  • Lowry walk off the court and straight into the locker room after injuring his tricep. He did return to the bench, which is a good sign regarding the severity of the injury, but it was a strange moment in that that there didn’t seem to be any specific play that precipitated his leaving (we later learned it was due to a fall in the first quarter). Like Bargnani, hopefully he’s alright – though, like I said in my Quick Reaction, he was having a dismal game pre-injury.
  • Amir Johnson’s bizarre ejection, beginning with the referee’s refusal to allow his ball-touch-after-free-throws ritual and culminating in what will henceforth be known as MouthguardGate. It was a play that was very out of character for Amir, and will likely result in a reasonable suspension/fine – the league doesn’t tend to take kindly to actions against its referees, and after watching this post-game video, you almost have to feel bad for Amir, who was likely swept up in the emotion of what’s been an extremely rough stretch for the Raptors, coupled with an emotional first half. Regardless, behaviour like that isn’t acceptable, he’ll serve his time and pay his fine, and life will go on.
  • Sacha Pavlovic and Nolan Smith taking turns driving through the lane on the hapless Raptor players. Without Lowry and Amir, the Blazer wings were running through the lane with impunity, which eventually led to what seemed like an endless array of alley-oops to put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
  • Aaron Gray entering late in the third and providing solid minutes, sparking a Raptor run with a good defensive effort and even converting a reverse layup on the other end that helped cut the lead to 5 heading into the fourth. Make no mistake, though – even at this point, this was a game that smelled like a blowout.
  • Ed Davis, he of the immense first half effort, inexplicably being sat during Portland’s rush to the lead in the third quarter (and early in the fourth as well) due to having four fouls. In a close game, with a full complement of bigs, moves like this make sense, but Casey’s reluctance to reinsert Davis into the game as it was slipping away seemed like yet another “safe” coaching decision, even if it wasn’t necessarily the correct one.
  • Mickael Pietrus throwing up shots in the fourth like they were going out of style – after a made 3 cut the Blazer lead to 7, he didn’t make a shot for the rest of the quarter, but continued to shoot away, stopping the ball and leading to wasted possessions that brought the first half back into mind. I’m not sure if Pietrus was looking to take more of the offense because he sensed a decline in DeMar, who was clearly playing on spent legs at the end of the game, but his gunslinging in the fourth certainly didn’t help matters.
  • The spent Raptors getting dunked on from every angle and player, including an almost inconceivable and-1 dunk from the immortal Luke Babbitt, who turned Ed Davis into one of the most obscure NBA posters anyone’s ever seen.

After all the chaos and confusion had cleared, the Blazers had won the game by 18, and the Raptors ended their five game road trip with two injured starters and another key player facing what should be a sure suspension. No, what we saw last night was not acceptable, by any stretch of the imagination. But the sheer insanity of the second half, coupled with the multiple losses of player personnel, the team being clearly fatigued to close the game, and the fact that even while depleted, Portland still boasted one of the game’s top players in LaMarcus Aldridge, means that there may not be too much to take from an analysis of what exactly happened.

Yes, the Raptors have some major issues – the fact that a team like Portland could double their points in the paint being the reddest of red flags. But what we saw last night was no lack of effort, save for some lousy shot selection and a couple of lazy passes. It was simply a tired, depleted team, in the midst of turmoil and at the end of a long road trip, and things like that add up. As weird as it sounds, I’m almost glad the game played out the way it did: I’ll take a wacky outlier of a performance like this one over the team playing at top capacity, energy, and skill, and still getting blown out of the building any day of the week.

So, my advice to Raptor fans? Rip this one off and throw it in the garbage can like one of those page-a-day calendars – the road trip is finally over, and the Raps now head home for 13 of their next 19 in the ACC. Yes, things are bleak right now: but this is about as bleak as they can get – things will get better (even if that’s a subjective term). They have to.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

  • GDWotS

    That game was clearly one of the signs of the apocalypse.

    I would not at all be surprised if we had a locust sighting against Brooklyn.

    • Bill

      #rapocalypse

    • FAQ

      SURPRISE!!! USA Today, on hoopshype, report that Jose has asked to be traded and Bargs is being dangled as trade bait.

      Apocalypse Now..!!!!

      • what the

        GOD is good and GOD is great thank you sweet JESUS…Ask and you shall get it make so BC he hee he.

      • Valit

         The article in hoopshype is nothing new at all. It is the same rumor
        that appeared in the summer when he was mentioning ( thru his agent) that he would like to be traded if the Raps go into a different direction. So…it is NOT something that happened in the last days. I really have no problem with dealing him and AB in case we get something better in return, but I would not agree with the move just for the sake of saving BC chair. More than that, just looking at the players faces last night, Pietrus and Jose seem the only ones not to have those panic glares that are so common with the Raps these days. I feel these days we really need people you can count on to stabilize the ship. it’s not anymore about losing or winning the games , it is the saving of a negative perception about the Raps throughout the NBA

        • GDWotS

          I don’t disagree with the above post. I just want to chip in that I like Jose as a person and a player. I almost hope that he goes to the Lakers and gets a taste of some winning. (in spite of D’Antoni, whom I can’t stand. What the (&*#$* were they thinking?)

  • voy

    from a micro perspective i can understand the “judy clutch your pearls the world is ending” sentiment.  However, nothing happening to the raps, today, isn’t anything other elite teams today haven’t gone through yesterday.
     
    the worst thing we can do now is sign a bunch of pietrus’ in hopes of squeezing out 20 wins instead of 13.  those extra wins we got last year as a result of overachieving and attempting to create a “winning culture” isn’t doing anything for us now or wont do anything for us in the future.  rock bottom needs to be hit in order for a chance for the team to become elite. 

    this being, a loss is a loss, however a series of blowouts is much more difficult to digest than the heartbreakers earlier this year.  I think there is a danger, if the blowouts continue, we could have a knee-jerk reaction trade rather than a strategic trade with a view to the long term.  my thoughts.

    • Atothe

      Guess what not gonna until BC is fired he refuses to tank intentionally. What happen to Ed stefanski saying he gonna keep BC on the right path fire him too. Dwayne needs to know this is mediocre offensive team. They need to play 89-85 games not 99-97 plus winning games to just miss playoffs should be mandated as the antithesis of their plan.

    • Scott

      In what way are the Raptors experiencing the same struggles that Oklahoma City went through? Or Miami? Or Boston?

      We are a bottom 5 offense and defense team. We have the worst margin of victory in the league. We can’t use the excuse that we’re young because our average age falls in the middle of the league.

      Sorry, but if you actually think that the Raps are just cutting their teeth like every other team on the way to success, I’m not sure we’re watching the same league.

      • The Truth

        OKC didn’t get three top 5 picks in 3 years by playing amazing basketball. The year they got Westbrook they started 4-29 and sacked the coach mid-season.

        I’m not saying the Raptors are going to blossom into OKC, but acting like they were always amazing is a tad revisionist.

      • voy

        okc didn’t have a series of piss poor seasons before they landed durant, westbrook, harden, all with high draft picks?  they had 4 seasons in a row where they won less than 35 games before performance on the floor greatly improved.

        in contrast, raps have had 2 seasons (the 3rd being this one) with fewer than 40 wins.  the season prior to that one we won 33 and the two seasons before that we won 42 and 47.  its not an excuse but its hard to build an elite team when you are winning 35 to 45 games a year.  i’m not saying its impossible and i’m not saying bc should get a pass but i am saying this season for the raps is not anything other good teams now haven’t gone through.

        lac – 4 seasons of 32 wins or less before they turned it around last year.

        gsw – 4 losing seasons of 36 wins or less before and now they are reaping the benefits

        our average age may land somewhere in the middle of the league but guys like jose, guys like anderson, guys like grey and lucas aren’t going to be on the team when we have a chance to get good.  so the average age of the team means little.  all the guys who have a chance to get better on this team and potentially stick around for the long haul are under 26.  thats what counts.

        • Scott

          @c12cb61c574166211677d1f4235baedb:disqus you’re right, OKC wasn’t always great. I misunderstood what Voy originally said and thought he meant that the elite teams, as they are currently constructed, struggled in similar ways to Toronto. I get what he’s saying now.

          Voy, honestly I’m okay with the losses if they net high picks. But we’ve traded away one of our picks now.

          The examples you use, (and The Truth used), are teams who actually used the draft. We can’t tout the awful record as part of the process, if we aren’t really using the process.

          You’re completely valid in your points, you’ve got to suffer in order to actually become an elite team. But we’re suffering without that prospect really. Raptors’ brass is benching Valanciunas for struggling to learn the game, not giving guys like Davis the minutes he deserves, and refusing to admit that this is not a good team.

          I guess I’m just wondering if you guys think we are actually doing this the right way. Personally, I don’t think we’re even close.

          • The Truth

             I wouldn’t necessarily say that we aren’t using the draft, Demar, Ed, and Jonas all appear to have been good picks relative to where they were picked.

            None of them are a Kevin Durant type talent but you simply can’t expect to get that with picks on (in JV’s case) or outside the top 5 in all but the deepest of drafts.

            Even the pick we’ve traded away in my opinion isn’t an example of us not using the draft because ultimately at this point the only two scenarios for 2013 are:

            1) We lose enough to get a top 3 pick (finally!) and OKC probably end up with our pick the following year instead.

            2) We get a pick in the 4-15 range and OKC take it but even in a deep draft how many picks in that range do we want to keep adding?

            The only way we are getting an all star calibre in their prime here is via the draft but once you are fishing around outside of that top handful of picks there really are no sure things.

            For every example of a gem someone has dug up from the back of the first round or even in the second round there are 30-40 guys from that year who were never seen nor heard from again.

            Now I am not saying I am thrilled to see us in this deep a hole this early in the season, but I do think I’d like to see what we could do with a really high pick in one of these next two drafts (no problem at all if the GM picking is not Colangelo, in fact that is preferred) and to achieve that the absolute worst thing that could happen is for them to turn this around at some point after Christmas and end up winning ~25-30 games.

            • Scott

              Kudos, I agree that relative to their position in the draft, BC has gotten some good players.

              I see your point. Both scenarios are decent. But I’d like to use the pick sooner than later, so we have more of an opportunity to grow as a team. I think the situation the team is in and the moves we’ve made (i.e. signing Pietrus) don’t help that movement.

              And while nothing is a sure thing, it’s better to have a player with potential than no player at all, right? That’s where I think we’re doing the draft really wrong.

              But regardless, if we’re already this deep in the hole, pull chute. Give young players a friggin’ chance. It’s my No.1 gripe with Bargnani.

              • The Truth

                The problem with this team is constructed is it is built on “potential”. That is why Andrea has survived as long as he has, because there is still this belief that he is going to blossom until an all star calibre stretch four.

                As it stands I feel we have plenty of potential in guys like Demar, Ed, Ross, and JV. I’m not convinced any of them will end up being all stars but they all appear to work hard and you can at least see improvement in them (or at least Demar and Ed) to the point that they could be important players on a winning team – just not the centre pieces.

                That’s why I think we still need a really low pick to get a franchise changing talent, unfortunately this got away from us last year when we managed to win too many games that meant nothing down the stretch.

                As far as stuff like the Pietrus move I really don’t feel like it’s here nor there. He obviously isn’t part of the long term plan but he’s also not a long term obligation nor did we give up anything tangible to get him other than a roster spot and the absolute minimum amount of cap space. As an added bonus shooting the way he did last night he’s not going to get us away from the low lottery picks either ;p.

            • voy

              this is one of my favorite responses I’ve read on this site.

        • FLUXLAND

          “other elite teams”  Oooh, so now this is an elite team? SMFH like Destro.

          Just like to know who exactly on this team is our KD? Regardless of record, the entire L had zero questions about him and his talent.  Who is our Blake Griffin? Who is our Curry? 

          Your argument fails on so many levels, it’s sad really. Dear Jah Jah man, even during those losing seasons, those teams were playing in a manner that indicated growth, maturation, determination and more importantly they play TOGETHER. On what planet can you even remotely claim what you are seeing here is that same scenario?

          Do you recall the GM and coach firings and ownership changes that went on, as well?

          Yeah, for sure, average age is what really counts. The cornerstone of every chip team.. average age baby!!

          Where is BCG2G to hand out the stuck on stupid badge?!

          • p00ka

            “during those losing seasons, those teams were playing in a manner that
            indicated growth, maturation, determination and more importantly they
            play TOGETHER.”

            Really? Yet with all that growth, maturation & determination, they went from a 31 win team, to a 20 win team in KD’s 1st year.

            In KD’s 2nd year, with Westbrook as a new running mate, they started the year 3-29, and had a second consecutive 20 win season. Yeah, amazing growth, determination and togetherness to do that!

            • FLUXLAND

              Umm, because I was referring to their records as an indication of those things?

              Selective reading, or are you `making connections` for us again?

              1st year? 2nd year? Do you wanna talk about how PJ was using KD?

              Maybe you are going to tell us again how the Titanic Division Title is an indication of what is going on with the Raps?

              Nothing like talking about records and stats to show how much you understand what is going on. And while you were there, did you look at the players stats changes during those years? Clearly, they were all taking steps backwards and regressing.

              Amazing post, really stellar stuff there.

              • p00ka

                LOL, 3-29, ending in 20 wins. You’re imagination is something else. Yeah, they were much more together than the Raps are though, LOL.

                • FLUXLAND

                  *hardy har har, chuckles chuckles*

                  Again, with the record. I wrote “during those losing seasons..” and you litter the forum with their record. Thanks for the obvious.

                  Did you just get jealous of the stupid badge and decide you will post something more deserving of it? There’s plenty to go around, calm down.

                  But since I’m here anyway, they started 3-29 and ended up with 23 wins, not 20. What my imagination does recall is how well they played during that 20-30 stretch and that a coach got canned, what were you watching? Curling? Bob Vila re-runs?

                  Do you EVER know what you are talking about or just look at stat pages while “making connections”?  Or senility kickin in a little early?

                • p00ka

                  Oh, you remember what you saw! Well then, let’s all rejoice in what you remember about a 3-29 team 5 years ago. In your own mind, or is that hand, you da man FuxHand!!!

            • Sam Holako

              Yes, but it was clear they had very special young players playing their heart out. That isn’t the case with the Raptors

          • voy

            fluxland, I thought it was pretty clear. my point was you have to hit rock bottom in order to get a chance at players like durant and griffin.  you are not going to land those guys by winning 37 games a year.  

            I’m sure you were looking at the sonics when they were winning 30 games a year and thinking “yeah, I really see a future with ray allen and danny fortson going forward”.  I’m sure the year the sonics drafted durant you were all over message boards saying “we are on our way to the playoffs, I can just see it now – earl watson running the show, wally szczerbiak and donyell marshall playing well with our rookie superstar”. end result 20 win season.  so save me the posturing, brother, how you could see guys, who wouldn’t survive to see the good times, playing as a team.  like anything other than the development of durant and drafting well mattered to that franchise that year.

            it doesn’t really make a difference how john lucas plays.  it doesn’t really matter how grey or pietrus plays.  just like it didn’t matter to the future of the franchise how luke ridnour played on that sonic team.  and you are bring up franchise stability?  Thats funny considering the sonics/thunder moved to a different city in durant’s second year.

            and even with westbrook the next year, 23 wins.  but I bet you think that during all the 55+ losses that year the thunder players performed as a cohesive unit. like it even mattered to the franchise if that was true. like they cared if desmond mason was a good fit with durant and westbrook.  all they cared about was durant and westbrook developing and drafting well.

            understand? if not I’ll have my 6 year old explain it to you.

            • FLUXLAND

              Bet away friendo, I did. Regardless of record, KD clearly made his teammates want to play for him and made it easier for them to draft. I don’t recall anyone talking about lack of focus or paying attention to details. But sure as f I wasn’t claiming they were going to the playoffs, do I strike you as a thf?

              You are right, the record didn’t matter, scrubs playing meh didn’t matter –  creating an atmosphere where other players would want to play with a future HOF was far more important.

              This still doesn’t change the fact you think this in “another elite team” going through growing pains, while lacking any semblance of an elite player. 

              And you argument only sorta holds water if you are under the impression that you can draft anyone to your city, so implying that hitting rock bottom is how to go about things, when the organization is viewed as undesirable is amusingly naive.

              Ask your 6 year old, I’m sure he’s not even as naive as you.  

              • voy

                i would never argue the raps are an elite team.  approaching what is hopefully rock bottom and being an elite team are obviously at opposite ends of the spectrum. 

                perhaps i could have been more clear if i wrote “nothing the raps are going through now isn’t anything teams like okc and the clips haven’t gone through before they became good”.  its not a unique situation toronto faces. 

                how may draft picks have refused to play in toronto? 

                the “way” kd played i suspect had nothing to do with making it easier for okc to land westbrook or harden.  if kd played in a different manner, still putting up good numbers, but in a different manner, do you think westbrook or harden wouldn’t have signed with the thunder?

                99.99% of the time, players go where they are drafted.  what was the draw for kd to go to the sonics in the first place? He liked the way delonte west played with ronald dupree and johan petro?

                • FLUXLAND

                   “nothing the raps are going through now isn’t anything teams like okc
                  and the clips haven’t gone through before they became good”. …and while certain fundamental changes were made?

                  OKC is the old Sonics, they’ve had former glory days and the Clips have had many rock bottom situations, sometimes drafted better players than any Raps and still failed at creating a winning culture.

                  Refused to play? I’m sure after the Francis debacle, the process has essentially eliminated those situations. FAs are a better indication of that “issue”.  Players do go where they are drafted, didn’t say other wise; point was, certain ones (elite) have a larger input on where they get drafted and then go to.

                  I don’t think it hurt the situation at all, the way he played/s. It had nothing to do with putting up good numbers, but his willingness to be a leader and shoulder the blame, his willingness to share the ball and play as a TEAM, ability to hit game winners..etc.

                  His draw may have been his own franchise, but the point was more about TO and it’s ownership/track record, rather than KD.

                  Ultimately, you said “okc didn’t have a series of piss poor seasons before they landed durant, westbrook, harden, all with high draft picks?” and sucking does not imply the ability to drafti the “right” players, last I checked.  Then you went on about comparing losing seasons while ignoring a discrepancy in talent and something about average age. *insert dig about making sense and a 6 year old*
                   

                • p00ka

                  Good ol’ back peddling Fuxhand.

                  “Players do go where they are drafted, didn’t say other wise”

                  Well you’re a bit of a master at getting very technical about what you do or don’t say with your ambiguous statements that imply what anybody but a sleazebag who does this shit would understand. What is supposed to be understood from:
                  “And you argument only sorta holds water if you are under the impression that you can draft anyone to your city”

                  Fn squirrel backs away with “oh, did I say that those specific words?” for the umpteenth time, but then goes on to say “certain ones (elite) have a larger input on where they get drafted and then go to”, LOL

                  Please tell us some stories, not some olden day tales, of what elite player influenced where he was drafted and how. The kids love a good fairy tale.

                • FLUXLAND

                  *yawn*

                  Why does everything have to be explained to the demented old man talking about squirrels?

                  He said: players go where they are drafted.

                  I said:  “get drafted and then go to”

                  drafted and go to as in, (and using these examples so you can understand) : Kobe, Vince and say Hibbert so you don’t think it’s superstars.

                  But now you want answers about “where he was drafted and how” when that is not even being discussed.

                  And just so you are clear, my “”Players do go where they are drafted, didn’t say other wise” was in agreement to his 99 percent, but still made the distinction of where they go to.

                  The only back peddling is going on in your mind.

                  Seriously, get a clue Sheriff Lestrade.

                • p00ka

                  lmao, “get a clue”, hahaha. FuxHand is yet another confirmation that adolescents think they know it all.

                • voy

                  well, of course being young doesn’t mean anything if you are not talented.  i never said it did.  to someone else’s point “woe is us because the team’s average age is in the middle of the pack”, my response is team average doesn’t mean a thing because scrubs who are older have just as much weighting in the equation as younger players.  when the players who have a chance to stick around and contribute to a half decent team are all under 26, thats the key point, not that the team’s average age is whatever it is being influenced by lucas, jose, alan anderson, etc etc.  my point never was the team has enough talent.  never even approached saying so.

                  these are all essentially self evident.  I am surprised you are having difficulty understanding.  less surprised you are backtracking on what you previously said.

                  anyway, i’m gone.  i’ll see you on the newer posts. 

  • Johny

    I really hope the Raptors don’t fire Casey and keep Colangelo. Colangelo’s talk on the Fan 590 yesterday was some pretty low-class shit – dumping most of the blame on the coaching while refusing to clearly endorse Casey. Colangelo owns the blame as much or more than Casey, and claiming this “is not a talent issue” is insulting to anyone who cares about this team.

    • GDWotS

      I think Matt52 said it in one of the forum posts recently, fire BC and then if Casey still struggles then he can go too. This is gotta start at the top. 

      I personally don’t blame coaches first. Phil Jackson wouldn’t have a much better record with these guys under-performing this badly. That’s why our situation is distinctly different than the one in LA.

      • FAQ

        … you mean the bottleneck is usually found at the top of the bottle..??!!!

        … and yes, the players do make the coach… like the Celtics  coach.

        • KJ-B

          Obviously not familiar with Doc winning coach of the year with a woeful Orlando Magic team that starred Chucky Atkins, a young, inexperienced Ben Wallace and I think McGrady…awful team that he willed to the Playoffs–Doc’s been there and his players <3 playing for him — Stick to the "facts" "FAQ"…

          • GDWotS

            A very valid point. Excellence can be mustered out of a combination of ramshackle parts. Been done before and will happen again. I think the really shocking part is that almost the entire TEAM is underachieving right now. 

            Just as you can catch lightning in a bottle and take a bunch of crappy scrappy players much higher then their station, you can also catch donkey piss in a bottle where even with the best players you go nowhere.

            My only major issue with Casey right now is his substitution patterns don’t really make sense from a basketball point of view. He’s not an idiot, which is why I’m wondering why its happening.I’m not too much in to conspiracies but I DO make a mean tinfoil hat…..

            • FAQ

              When interviewed, Casey reiterates that he is trying to find the hot hands on that day and during the games.  Don’t blame him if most everybody develops cold handitis …!!!!

          • FAQ

            Yes… but he was on the verge of being fired by the Celtics… and then they acquired Garnett and Allen.. et voila, he magically became a great coach.. again.  Your selective memory is soooo obvious..!!!

    • 2damkule

      agree.  sad part is, BC isn’t talking like that in an attempt to save his job, he’s just trying to maintain his (largely unearned) rep as an effective GM…basically, he’s trying to protect his image so he can get another good GM job (i.e. one with the same – or similar – autonomy as his current one affords).

      admit publicly that the team built entirely by you lacks the talent to compete = i stink at my job.

      throw the coaches/players (that you hired) under the bus by claiming the talent is there, but effort, ‘focus’ is not = hey, not my fault.

      • FAQ

        … is it only me, but don’t the TRaps players lack NBA bodies… you know, solid physiques and nasty looking killah faces ….??!!!

      • sleepz

        Dead on observation.

        Verbally beating down whoever is in his path, just to get a rep! lol

        We know who the culprit is no matter what jibberish he continues to spew. It’s actually refreshing to see the bloom off that rose and him now having to act defiant because everyone is calling for his head.

  • Aaron

    For all you freedavis and ross people.  We suck with them playing even worse then we do with barni.  This team might be one of the dumbest basketball teams I’ve ever seen.  Bad shot after bad shot,  outside jumper after contested outside jumper.  No rotations on defense ever.    Why do we suck so bad in the fourth quarter.  Its very simple contested outside jumpers get pretty hard when your legs get tired.  How many times do I have to see Derozan take long distant jumpers instead of passing to the open big guy rolling or maybe to the open player period.   This team plays like a 12 year old rep team. Its all about my own stats because we will be rewarded with big contracts for playing bad team basketball.
           You combine an unbelievable low Basketball IQ with low to moderate talent and you get the Craptors.  Everyone in this organization has to accept blame because ever player or staff member is to blame for how disorganize this organization is.  Finally rock bottom has hit and the raptors only have up from here.  Tanknation please reignite because that is our only hope for a future.

    • FAQ

      “…low Basketball IQ…” you say???  I suggested this at the start of the season and all the beady-eyed, furried little, t.h.f.’s (aka  Ratpor fans) attacked me with their sharp lil’ teeth… assuring us the TRaps were positioned for at least 8th place and into the playoffs.  I suggested they were only a bandaid team that hadn’t “jelled” yet.

      Now most of the t.h.f.’s have scurried away (withdrawn into non-stop masturbation, I suspect)… and those that stayed are screaming to fire BC, fire DC, trade AB, trade Jose, keep Kyle (mancrush I suspect), DD  is near-All Star…. etcetra… sooooo pa thetic….

      Killah karma  plus  schadenfreude …. LOL

      • Dan

         DD has improved on shot selection and his rebounding is up. But he is still only 18th when it comes to per among two guards. Everyone sees the points and thinks he’s great. He will never be a true lead guy. His ball handling and shot are too poor. Plus his defense is terrible. Ross actually seems to have a good feel for the game. The problem is his shot is terrible and he is supposed to be a shooter. When his shot is missing he gets pulled.

        • FAQ

          Actually, I find DD entertaining as he tries his utmost to support the team effort with his scoring and to stay competitive.  As for his defense, it may be problematic but what can one player do on his own on defense which requires a collective team effort?  Even Bargs tries his best on defending one-on-one, but fails on team rotations possibly because he is thinking too hard and in athletics, conscious thinking slows you down… you’ve got to be instinctively correct… without thinking about it.

          Conscious = time-consuming… Non-conscious = instinctive = fast

        • NyAlesund

           DD? Same AB’s issue. The  D.

  • Hit rock bottom

    This unintentional tanking has got to continue in order for us to hit bottom and then rebuild.  No pain, no gain.

    • FAQ

      But ACC attendance and TV viewing market will drop,  revenues will tank, and BC’s annual bonus will shrink … gotta put bums in seats and eyes in front of tv screens …. it’s just business, and TO fans are suckers for shitty performance and keep on coming back.. masochistic-like … ya think??

      • sleepz

        Thats what is needed, I think. Viewership is already bottom barrel low.
        Attendance should be dropping. In what other market would the team be 4-18 and still have the building half full?

        Ownership and management (hopefully a new management team) should realize by now that the talent that has been trumped up on this squad is exactly that, hyped up to get fans excited.

        The team ‘depth’ that BC accumulated by stacking assets is proving to be weak. The roster needs to be exposed for what it is, which is exactly what is happening on the court right now.

        Time to break it up and start again, cuz this ‘accelerated rebuild’ thing is not panning out.

    • c_bcm

      No more pain. So many years of pain. When does this whole gain thingy kick in?

      • Copywryter

        Sorry. It’s only a groin thingy that kicks in.

        • c_bcm

          baaaahah

  • c_bcm

    Great write-up. Keep the faith. I’m glad this road trip is over. I’m looking forward to a more competitive team playing at home the next couple of weeks. If nothing changes after our schedule lightens a bit, then i’ll be on the apocalypse band-wagon. But not until then. 

    • Destro

      Im being honest here but when does the schedule lighten ?

      Its a mythical talking point,go look at Jan and Feb when does it lighten ??

      Keep in mind this team is second worst in the entire league…How does a 29th place team schedule lighten ?

      Fans bit on that media driven narrative hook line and sinker…

      • c_bcm

        possibly. We’ll see.

        • Destro

          I got them going max 5-10 in January and 4-8 in Feb
          Miami twice Knicks twice Philly Boston Indy Lakers Memphis Golden State…Which of those do you like in the W column ?

          Outside of 2 dates with the Wiz and Cavs i really dont like the home or road against anybody that includes the @ ATL and @ ORL games…
          Some of these fans gonna be in for a rude awakening come March when this losing was only extended with more home losses…

          • c_bcm

            I haven’t a leg to stand on, only hope and a belief that this team CAN’T be this bad. No way. Casey will make some change, at some point, that will help the starting unit (my vote is to move the Rookie Center to the bench) and hopefully Bargs will be moved. These things will likely happen at some point, and i’m hoping that it will have a major impact on the way the season unfolds.

            But again, its all hope. You are most likely right. But we’ll see.

            • FAQ

              Denial is just  one of the stages of grief …. classic example …!

              • c_bcm

                I’ll work through it on my own, thank you very much. 

                • FAQ

                  Your “hope” springs eternal… or you are just naive and “don’t have a leg to stand on”…. but continue with your self-diagnosis … or as they say “lawyers who try to defend themselves have an idiot for a client”.  Cheers….

                • c_bcm

                  You seem quite offended by my attitude. Good for you.

                • FAQ

                  Amusingly offended … because you dared question my diagnosis of your terminal condition.

            • Copywryter

              then we win a few more games and get a lousy pick which we promptly hand over to OKC while BC gets a handhold that might save his job? I’ll take the losses. 

      • Dan

         exactly how is a utah team without jefferson or a blazers team without Matthews and Batum not light enough to get a win. If washington had Wall all year this would be the worst team. If they haven’t won most of the winnable games yet I don’t know why the media thinks they will start soon.

  • FAQ

    Watching the replay my heart skipped a beat as Bargs tried to foolishly barge his way to the basket, got submarined and he flipped over with his legs flying akimbo… sorta like a Cosmo Cramer pratfall … and I had a Garbajosa flashback….{{{{shudder}}}}

    I can just envisage the locker room discussion… Bargs: “I dona wanna play basketbool no more…!!!”

    Me?? I dona wanna watch dis baskebool no more…!!!

    • Destro

      Its kinda funny to me even with his elbow potentially exploding he still lay on the floor emotionless…Most emotion i have ever seen this guy exude is pasta commercials and im not sayin good or bad just observing…

      • FAQ

        Very tall people tend to have mental problems because they feel like freaks… so they compensate in many strange ways.  Bargs is likely struggling with his emotions and fights to remain placid and composed no matter what. 

        Look at Amir with his strange, almost obsessive-compulsive behaviour to massage the b-ball after foul shots and his childlike outburst when he was denied by the referee … these tall guys have to suppress their anger, or they become a … Kevin Garnett..!!!

        • Destro

          Meh the Amir thing was just a frustration thing hes usually a compsed guy so thats nothing to even analyze…

          • FAQ

            Amir had to be heavily restrained by fellow players.. and it even looked like he might go berserk while walking to the locker room and come back for more mental anger and physical confrontation with the ref…. just saying….

            • CJT

              ever notice that all big men rub the ball after a free throw.  doesn’t make Amir odd.  ritual.

              • FAQ

                They should rub their own balls to get worked up and play with some verve … ya think??!!!

                • Jebediah

                  I am a farmer and we rub our bulls’ balls all the time in preparation for their mating…with other cows. Gets em going, makes em agressive and focused ..maybe BC/Casey should do the same with the Raptors?

                • FAQ

                  What do you do with ‘gay’ bulls… neuter them for baloney???  TRaps do play like neutered bulls…!!!

                • Jebediah

                  We do not have any homosexual bulls. But we do have homo(genized) milk.

                • FAQ

                  I only drink 1%.. and the girls mostly drink skim, without the cream.. guess they really don’t like cream …

  • 511

    I’ve been a big fan of Dwane Casey but this season, he has not done the job of a good (or above average which is where I thought he easily was) NBA coach. 

    I thought yesterday’s Colangelo interview with McCown was cheesy, BUT, I’ve gotta say, Colangelo has a point when he mentions recent games that absolutely should have been won … and could’ve been, had the right decision (on the floor, but that’s gotta come down to the head coach) been made. 

    Add to that the confusing messages (seemingly) sent last season, when they had some games apparently won but pulled defeat from the jaws of victory (I easily remember a few), which at those moments, I thought was simply good, hard-nosed (and necessary) tank strategy … and then (but then), later in the season, the team went out there with D Leaguers and pulled out wins that did nothing except for hurt lottery odds. 

    To me, that’s gotta be on Casey. 

    Not saying BC should be kept around (not close to saying that) but if and when he is let go, the new guy should (and I suppose would, anyway) have free rein on who the head coach is. 

    Hate to say it cuz I loved what Casey seemed to bring last year but … I’m not at all there anymore. 

    • FAQ

      Not to defend Casey’s game decisions, but surely the players are at fault for not playing effective defense.. which is the sign of lack of teamwork and low b-ball IQ … not to mention physical inferiority.

      What can any coach do with this bunch of incompetents?  Dwayne just sits there now, just like Sam did in his final days.  Somebody at MLSE has got to join BC in a sepukku ceremony… and soon because the rot starts at the top.  The franchise is flopping… soooo obvious.

    • lloyd

      What coach would be stupid enough to take on this roster AND BUY Bryan’s insistance that this is a playoff team?

      …at this point you are looking for suckers.

      • FAQ

        I’m sure there are many on this fine forum who would take the job for min wage … and think they can do a better job of it ….LOL

      • what the

        It’s easy guy look, first we were the SUNS calderon/nash next we were MAVS bargs/dirk now we are OKC kl,dd/rw,kd it works for me.

  • lloyd

    HEY I have a idea.    How about we fire the GM!!

    We have been changing coaches, players, maybe the problem after 8 years of the same results, is the guy on top?

  • Jamshid

    “you almost have to feel bad for Amir”
    Maybe you feel bad for Amir as his fan boy but I don’t. He is professional basketball player making 7 million to play and not act like a 5 year old. His team was short handed, his team needed him and he let them down.
    He should have kept his cool. My theory is this: He just did not feel like playing. He does on routine, take 4-5 games off after a one good game anyway. Last night, he just did not feel like playing and pulled this circus act so the fans in toronto talk about his love for the team and …

  • RM

    If and when Dwayne Casey gets fired, which of course, he eventually will (this is the Raptors people!) I would hate to be the new hire, for the very fact that coaching the Toronto Raptors probably means you will never head coach another NBA team. Jay Triano is now relegated to assistant status for the rest of his career (although he well should be); Brendan Malone never got another head coaching job aside from an interim gig; Sam Mitchell, is now a shitty analyst; Kevin Oneil went back to assistant coaching; Darrell Walker saw the light for half a season in Washington, but is now back to assistant coaching; Butch Carter fell into the Bermuda Triangle for all we know. Lenny Wilkens also coached half a season with the Knicks before resigning. 

    Attention all head coaches: stay away from the Raptors.

    • Dan

       Would Jay Triano ever really gotten a shot at head coaching somewhere else. He was only on the coaching staff to begin with because Bryan requested it. Same with Kevin Oneal before. Bryan was saving him  as a pr move to be the first Canadian coach of Canadas only team. Oneal never trusted him and then after firing Sam and stating you need a new direction you hire one of his assistants. I see why Spurs assistants get promoted but to promote from a losing team just doesn’t make sense. You were part of the staff that was the problem.

    • FAQ

      Mike Brown maybe…??!!!!

  • KJ-B

    Why Defend Casey, MLSE??? Lawrence Frank took the Nets to two straight NBA Finals and was fired some seasons later for starting 0-18 or something…THIS IS PROFESSIONAL SPORTS!  

    The brightest thing about Casey this season has been the beautiful gold watch he keeps flossing on the sideline…if you wanna sway like Pat Riley, you betta coach your butt off like Riley who was infamous for his killer practices–which it’s been opined as the main reason there was not a player revolt against Spo for Riles!

  • Kujo

    Thank God I fell a sleep, and missed most of yet another debacle.  I saw the video of that Amir Johnson ejection.  That has to one the weirdest ejections I’ve ever seen.  That was so out of character for the mild mannered Amir Johnson.  Unacceptable behavior.  No doubt the frustration of the season/game boiled over in those moments, but still, whole sequence was just weird.  

    This season has turned in a complete joke. What a mess.

  • canuck_eh

    I used to be a fan of Doug Smith’s but his arrogance and condescending lecturing of the faithful for over-reacting has long since become tiring (full disclosure: before this abysmal road trip I was still in the wait-and-see camp.) Just last week he was mocking Star readers who were calling for scalps, today he writes this:

    “Gotta do something 

    I’ve been around this team for a very long time and know the misery of some bad seasons and horrid stretches. This is close to the worst I’ve seen in many a year…

    I don’t know what it’ll be but something’s gotta give before people start punching each other.”

    So we’ve gone from “nothing-to-see-here” to gotta do something before they come to blows? Guess a lot can change in a week, or, Doug Smith = Frank Drebin:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNOrp_83RU

    • FAQ

      Many weeks ago, I called this the worst Raptor roster ever… and now we are witnessing it’s disintegration… with Jose now asking to be traded and Bargs actively dangled as trade bait.  Who would want to be part of this disaster now?!

  • Statement

    Re: Bargnani’s injury.

    Somewhere in his own little corner of the world, Cesco is sobbing quietly in the fetal position.

    • FAQ

      … so is Mr. Primo, now faced with yanking his al dente tv commercials…!!

      • Copywryter

        Now it’s Elbow Dente

  • Canadian Paul

    Expect a trade on Sunday (December 16). Who? Don’t care. This team can’t score, can’t defend, can’t close out games, etc.

    This reminds me of 2008-09, when we had Hassan Adams, Will Solomon, Jake Voskul and other luminaries on the bench, and Colangelo called it “disappointing”. At least, we still had Bosh and we won 33 games.

    I hope and I pray that we don’t break 20 wins, which means Colangelo is finally out, Bargnani and Calderon are finally out, and we keep our pick for at least one more year.

  • p00ka

    ED “inexplicably being sat during Portland’s rush to the lead in the third
    quarter (and early in the fourth as well) due to having four fouls. In a
    close game, with a full complement of bigs, moves like this make sense,
    but Casey’s reluctance to reinsert Davis into the game as it was
    slipping away seemed like yet another “safe” coaching decision, even if
    it wasn’t necessarily the correct one.”

    HUH? Yet another piece of writing on here that makes me wonder if you guys actually watch the game, understand it, and pay attention to anything other than preconceived notions. Here’s the reality of how it played out, which is VERY different than what you apparently saw:

    – Raps enter the 2nd half down 4.  23 seconds in, DD bucket makes it down 2.
    – In the next 1 minute, ED picks up 2 fouls on made shots by LA and Pavlovic, giving ED 4 fouls, and Raps down 7. Hmm, seems Blazers are making a run WITH ED on the floor, not inexplicably off, but let’s carry on.
    – If for no other reason, time to bring him back to the bench and get him focused on what he needs to do, without fouling, and he’s subbed for Amir
    – This pays early divedends as just over 1 minute later, they’re only down 3, 2 minutes later, down 5. No great shakes, but it appears the bleeding has been stemmed, with ED inexplicably off.
    – Things go bad for a few minutes and they’re down 11 when Amir goes nuts, but there’s still 5 minutes to go in the 3rd
    – What does the coach do? Bring back ED with 4 fouls and 17 minutes to go? That was one option, but could that have turned out better than putting Gray in and getting back down to a 5 pt by the end of the 3rd, with the difference having been made up while Casey played small ball, with 4 guards (Pietrus incl) and Gray? Highly doubtful.
    – Seems like a wise move to start the 4th with that line-up, as it’s working
    – 3.5 minutes into the 4th, they’re only down 2 more, but Blazers are defending better, and Davis is brought back with 8.5 minutes to go, down 7
    – ED has such an impact, that 5 minutes later, they’re down 15 and ED draws his 5th foul. 2 minutes later, he has his 6th and Raps are down 16.

    Does that spell out the “inexplicable reason”? Fact is, they did most of their damage in the 2nd half while ED was on the floor, not off. Considering how this actually played out, what evidence, or should I say theory, is there that letting ED play out his fouls earlier would have helped, seeing as they did better in the second half with him out, and Gray in?

    • FAQ

      Hey, pOO… give Dwayne a break… after all he’s watching the game from the bench sorta like Sam did in his final days… just enjoying the cheer leaders  flaunting flesh and associated parts.

      I suspect Dwayne has a bench calculator which randomly generates lineups … makes coaching and life a lot simpler…. ya think??!!!

      • FAQ

        p.s. … and we know it’s time to retire him when he has Kyle, Jose and Lucas on the floor at the same time … the Dwayne Casey 3-Guard System to confuse the opposition and to showcase our dribbling skills to the cheering Moronto Raptor fans…!!

    • Destro

      This is more agenda based drivel…I guess you’ve given up defending so now your writing min by min logs of everyones minutes and +/-

      This post is akin to the classic 42% losing is better than 29% losing….

      -7 is better than -12

      Ed committed 4 fouls and they went on a run bla bla…Oposition has been on a long ass run that started since opening night ASSHOLE….

      • p00ka

        Destroll babble never ends with such a reading comprehension problem. A thought was presented in the article, I responded to that specific statement about last night’s game, not the season, fool. Go read some Dick and Jane books and learn to grasp what you read.

        • p00ka_is_a_fish

          Go suck primo pastamans dick fanboy.

          • John

            What a contribution to the message board.  Pooka is right, its just tough for all you free ed faggots to accept.

            • what the

              hell somebody giving free head ?

  • Canadian Paul

    Playoff odds are out, with Raps already down to 1.0% of making playoffs. As Borat would say: Very Nice!

    • Nilanka15

      So you’re telling me there’s a chance!

      • FAQ

        YES… and rejoice with the positive t.h.f.’s … who once told me I shouldn’t be posting on this Raptor fan forum …. so where are they now… wandering in Ikea in overcoats …??!!!

        • cesco

           LOL

    • FAQ

      … or 99% of NOT making the playoffs … if you are a pessimistic t.h.f..

  • gizzly73

    Bargnani looks out of shape after rehabbing his injury last year probably didn’t go after it in the off season ala Steve Nash. I believe his fine start last year was due to better conditioning, simple as that. DDR the opposite; I’m really impressed with his improvement, his fitness level, maturity, confidence, patience and decision making; still has improvement to go for all star but may get there one day.

    I believe the team needs to bottom out. This year you can stick a fork in. The painful thing about last night against the Blazers was realizing how devastating a wrong draft pick can be. LM Aldridge is everything we wish Bargs was, and that one wrong pick has set the franchise back 6-10 years imho. Therefore, goodbye BC

     TRoss instead of Drummond may turn out the same as T Ross struggles to even hit the basket at times.

    • FAQ

      OH, let’s give TRoss a chance to learn how to play b-ball at the NBA level… because  only 2 seasons ago he was a high school phenom, and his 1 year of college b-ball was only to showcase his skills and potential… according to BC.

    • Copywryter

      Portland knows how devastating the wrong draft pick can be too : )

  • Jamshid

    Should we fire BC and hire Phil Jackson and make him the President and the GM of basketball operation ? 

    • FLUXLAND

      You mean Nellie, right? 

      • sleepz

        Lol, that sounds like more the Raps speed.

    • Sam Holako

      I’d do that in a second, but it’s unlikely he comes out of retirement for this job.

      • Jamshid

        If he gets 100% control of the basketball operation, a good salary ( BC is getting 3 million a season, so Phil should be at least 5) and little stock in the franchise, then we might be able to bring him down here. 
        The price is high but what do you expect when you are dealing with one of the greatest Basketball minds of our era.

        • c_bcm

          Allow me to correct you, he’s “THE” greatest. Good luck with that. Even my fantasies can’t imagine this happening.

    • FAQ

      But Phil will want a contract that would pay him $1 more than the highest paid Raptor player… and assuming it’s Pau Gasol …!!!!

    • c_bcm

      I don’t think the double duty thing is working. BC is probably a good president, but clearly a crumby GM. Need to focus on 1 thing at a time.

      • Jamshid

        How is he a good president ?? What did he do ??
        I don’t understand the soft spot that fans have for him !! BC needs to go.

        • c_bcm

          The Raptors are still profitable. That’s on him. The product has been a miserable failure, an indictment of his GMing.  But if the team is making money, he gets the credit as president.

          I agree with your comment otherwise.

  • NyAlesund

    My concern now is BC tries to cover his ass doing the stupid thing. I didn’t appreciate what he said during the Clippers’ game………..expecially about T-Ross (a rookie). It wasn’t normal blaming the rookie.

    I am not against the trade that involve both Bargnani and Calderon, what concern me most, are the players we can get. I don’t know but I have bad feelings.

     

    • Jamshid

      You are not going to get quality back.
      Jose, AB, Fields, Amir, Kleiza and to some extend DD, are all over paid !! For the first 5, you are doing a salary dump :)

      • Matt52

        Very much agreed.  Definitely not getting quality for those.  Only way it happens if it facilitates a trade for another team (read: Lakers/Gasol to Houston or Minnesota). 

        Only way the Raptors get anything of value, in my opinion, is taking back much worse contracts from really bad teams and getting unprotected draft picks – preferably in 2014.

  • ckh26

    We are not on the bottom. We have to reach up to touch bottom. Something stinks in the room itself. No one .. not a single soul…. showed up to give Lucas a hand when he started shoving with Barnes the other night. When you let the smallest guy on the team get shoved around that speaks volume about your collective will to compete. There is no heart left in the corpse that is the raptors season.

    With 25% of the schedule done they are 4 and 18. They are what they are. All I need to read is Doug Smith telling us now is not the time to panic. Its time to panic.

    Bargnani’s not going to get any better on defense. Derozan is not going to be able to handle the ball in tight spots any better than he does now. Davis is not going to magically gain the fluidity that he needs to be an offensive threat close to the basket. Ross seems to be lost on the offensive end of the court. All the young and fast guards in the league, and there are lots of them, salivate at the prospect of lining up against Jose on what they think is going to be stats night. 

    Colangelo has for all his efforts over the past 7 years not amassed much talent nor been forward looking. He lost Bosh for nothing and when he trades Bargnani he will get a nickle more than nothing for him.

    My summer of optimism has turned to the winter of mass discontent. Its time to blow it up;all of it, and start over. This is not harsh. Its a reality of sports as a business.  To continue to trot out the same players with the same strategy and think you will get different outcomes is hallucinatory.  Stop this before we become the Clippers of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s.

    • FAQ

      Ever think that what you see is the best you will see… for a long long time??!!!

  • Samsquench

    Primo Pasta and sauce……………

  • LiseFYI

    I think the problem is Colangelo – he obviously doesn’t know how to put a team together… How many players do you need to swap and trade and hire and let go before the team is ‘ideal’? Time to go, Colangelo