With Canada and the USA gutting it out in a WBC classic on the other Sportsnet, it was tough for me to change the channel over for beginning of the Raps/Cavs game’s 6PM EST start. When it comes down to watching your country in a do-or-die game against their biggest international sports rival, or watching two sub-500 NBA teams duke it out in a late season game, well… you probably have an idea of which one I’d most often choose.

That said, my interest was piqued when I heard the Raps would be starting not one, but two of their rookies after Rudy Gay joined Andrea Bargnani on the bench with an injury prior to tip-off, and I’m certainly glad it was, as what followed was one of the more memorable “meaningless” Raptors games in recent memory, featuring the aforementioned rookie starters, a major first-half deficit, a dramatic second half comeback, a major injury on the other side, and a balls-of-steel Kyle Lowry shot that would have gotten him eviscerated in this column had he missed.

But we’ll get to all of that. Click here for player grades, and then let’s talk about the rooks.

It was absolutely refreshing to see Casey respond to the criticism regarding his minutes-distribution by giving Terrence Ross a start in place of Landry Fields. Sure, Fields is slightly more accomplished as an NBA player at this point in his career, but only one of these players could figure significantly into the Raptors’ long-term plans, and if tonight wasn’t the night for Ross’ first career start, then, honestly, what could be? As for his play, I thought Ross responded reasonably well from a basketball decisions standpoint, hitting a few 3s and tightening up his defence as the game went on, but where the shift was obvious was in his attitude on court – no longer worried about the quick hook, he played the game with far more patience and seemed much more relaxed on the court, a thread that’s become common over the course of the season. With luck, those minutes and reps will turn into patience no matter the amount of minutes Ross is afforded over the coming games/seasons, and, admittedly, it’s not the best quality for a player to be guaranteed minutes to become comfortable on the court, but the Raptors are in a position to give them to him for the rest of the year, so they might as well keep doing so.

We all knew what to expect of Jonas, and that’s just what he delivered: a tough, tenacious game inside and some excellent post-moves on the offensive end. He had a few defensive lapses early, but for the most part, he was solid on both sides of the floor, and complements Amir very well on offense – his size and length means that his back-to-the-basket game can be played 5 feet away from the hoop, instead of directly underneath, and that frees up Amir for offensive rebounds or a quick rotation to his block.

Speaking of Amir, waxing poetic about him is quickly becoming my schtick, but my full-fledged man crush on him was in full force tonight. He’s the understated MVP of this team, and kept the Raps in it early when it seemed like our wing defenders were whole-heartedly committed to playing little to no help defence and let the Cavaliers into the paint or with open 3s at will, which they took advantage of. Whenever a game is into that near-blowout territory, that’s when Amir shines – he simply won’t let the game get away from his team. It’s one of his most unique intangible qualities, and one that sets him apart from other bigs in the league at his level. I don’t know if he’s the future starter for this team, but you could certainly do a hell of a lot worse in the meantime, and in the future as a sixth man.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the first half was a case study in poor wing defence by the Raptors. The Cavs built their lead with a slash-and-kick game that dramatically exposed the lack of defensive effort by Toronto (I speculated aloud if the entire team had been out partying last night at one point), and the Raps seemed to attempt to counter by shooting mid-range jumpers (DeMar) and 3s (everyone else) – a strategy that’s become far too prevalent given our personnel, and one that I was hoping would take a night off given the loss of Bargnani and Gay. Not so, however, and it was only due to some hot shooting and the effort levels of Amir and Kyle Lowry (who was stellar last night) that they found themselves stuck just 9 at the half.

Halftime, of course, was when everything turned. People pointed at the Kyrie injury late in the 3rd quarter as the turning point of the game, and of course, they have reason to (we’re talking about one of the best players in the league, here), but the game had been brought back prior to that (it was tied when Kyrie went down) due to a renewed effort on defence and some great ball distribution on O, as well as the revelation that taking the ball to the hoop not only creates higher percentage shots, but also frees up space for your lower percentage ones. The defence in particular turned this game, as the Raptors’ agressive defence on Cavalier switches left them playing a much more iso-heavy game – difficult for their offensive personnel, especially when Kyrie went down, and turning some matchups (the post, in particular) from Cavalier advantage into clear ones for the Raptors.

Of course this is a Raptors game we’re talking about, and Cleveland was bound to heat up eventually, taking advantage of a few Dion Waiters makes to briefly take the lead back in the fourth and make the Raptor players work for the win in front of a sell-out crowd. A few words on the crowd while we’re here, actually – how great were they? To sell out a game of this (lack of) magnitude this late in the season, and have the home fans really bring the energy – I mean, you can criticize Toronto as a sports city all you want, but these fans genuinely care about their players, and it’s great to see. Kudos, ACC.

Now, to Lowry’s final shot that ultimately sealed the game for Toronto: I didn’t like it, you didn’t like it, Dwayne Casey didn’t like it, Brian Burke didn’t like it, and I’m pretty sure that Stephen Harper put out a press release that simply said “WTF” on it immediately after it left his hands – but it went in. Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes and say “Kyle Lowry Over Everything,” and once in a while, the basketball gods answer your call.

Sure, the shot selection was bad, but the Raptors won a game they deserved to win, the rookies got a lot of run, and the home crowd got pizza in the waning seconds. In Raptorland right now, that’s about as good as it gets.

  • Daniel

    The fans ARE the problem in Toronto. Sell-out at the last game? Colangelo will never be fired. Had they been 8-10,000 as they deserve there would have been no Colangelo and a real plan in place.

    • Dan

      Go away.

    • truth be told

      there is some truth to these observations

    • unknown guest

      welcome to MLSE life, good sir

      • unknown guest

        could be worse. could be the La king or pits pengs, they win, no one gives a shit in their city

    • j bean

      Yes what are we gonna do about these fans that just like to go to an entertaining game of basketball with their friends and family? Don’t they know that if they would just stop going to the games like they have in the cities with the worst attendance that it will force the ownership to put a championship caliber team on the floor. I can’t think of any place this idea has worked but I’m sure Daniel could enlighten us.

    • RobertArchibald

      This statement holds no merit. Anyone who has worked for a business owner realizes they are never satisfied. You don’t think MLSE wants more out of this franchise? I can assure you they’re not happy with regular season sell-outs while the team still struggles. Playoffs bring more games, pricier tickets and higher attendance overall. All of which lead to increased merch sales, food sales, parking, tv viewers, advertising etc. MLSE wants to win, simply because it makes them more money. The fact that fans still attend games of a team that dominates the lower half of the standings year after year just makes them realize what they could have should the team be a success. So much opportunity in T.O. Winning makes all that a reality.

      • FLUXLAND

        You can assure us?  Really? How so?

        “The fact that fans still attend games of a team that dominates the lower
        half of the standings year after year just makes them realize what they
        could have should the team be a success.”

        Or one could argue that because the fans keep coming, there’s no reason for them to spend more money and take on more risk, when it doesn’t guarantee the playoffs.  Maybe you need to look at some of their available financial data…they are doing fine, they have zero incentive to take on more risk.

        You gotta spend more to make more. And plenty of teams have spent more without making any back – Dallas, Boston.  Some owners are not in it to make money, they want to create a legacy or get themselves in the history books.

        It’s your statement that holds no merit, or is a simplistic one to say the least.

        • Sig

          What is ‘risk’ to a bunch of successful entrepreneurs? The reason they’re billionaires is because they take risks.

          The fact that they could get more scrilla and please the fans at the same time, gives them a reason. Isn’t this why someone would even buy an NBA team? To eventually not suck in your tenure?

          Or you could choose to believe to opposite and live in an eternal shit pit of darkness, perfectly fine with knowing that your favourite team has zero chance of winning a championship while still continuing to post on their fan site. I call it the FLUXHOLE.

          • Twinhype

            LOL… or you can still call the eternally shitty place FLUXLAND!

          • truth be told

            The reason they are billionaires is more likely because they take calculated risks.

            • FLUXLAND

               He doesn’t understand that.. did scrilla and pleasing the fans not give it away?  He think these people are in it for the fans.  Yikes.

              • Sig

                 Haha, you sicken me

          • FLUXLAND

             Son, get an education.

            • Sig

              Nice one.

        • RobertArchibald

          @FLUX at no point did I say anything about MLSE willing to risk more to make more. I was arguing the original post that states that BC and co. aren’t going anywhere because the fans keep showing up. I don’t work for MLSE but people with that kind of money don’t invest just to stay the course. They will make personnel changes they feel necessary to increase the value if their company. That doesn’t just mean players. It’s everyone involved. Also hard to argue with the current financial future of the team and the deals they’ve allowed BC to make that they aren’t already taking big risk in hopes of winning. Why else would they trade for Gay?

          • FLUXLAND

            “I was arguing the original post that states that BC and co. aren’t going anywhere because the fans keep showing up.”

            I think you are still missing the point; he was saying they won’t go anywhere because fans are happy with an inferior product; and that answers your RG question.

            Ask yourself why a team that has a legit shot in the playoffs got rid of RG?

            BC makes changes to make headlines and to regenerate hope.  And he’s not a risk taker, he’s a gambler… a very big difference between the two.

        • RobertArchibald

          Also should add, there is no way Mark Cuban is losing money in Dallas. He may have made some errors in judgement (Raef Lafrentz) but he is an investor. He gambled and put it all on the line for a championship. I find it hard to believe it was solely for a legacy as you put it. Winning a title ensures ticket sales alone for years to come. You can’t simply look at numbers for one year and use that as justification for your argument. THAT would be simplistic.

          • FLUXLAND

            No arguing that the value of the teams in the NBA has increased. So yeah, he’s not losing money.  The point was that both Dallas and Boston lost money the year they won it. So to simply say more of everything brings more money is ignoring cost realities.

            And to say the least, it’s not as simple as making playoffs = more money. Or should I say it doesn’t guarantee profit. It’s a little more complicated than that.

            P.S The Boston ownership clearly stated when they bought the team, that for them it had nothing to do with money, they wanted to bring glory days back to Boston and they did.

    • Sig

       Ho-lee shit. Now I’ve read it all.

    • Alex Lai

      It depends on your POV on things. If i’m a savy business owner and i see us selling out on even pointless games such as these, think about the revenue i’ll be generating when we host post season home games. Then there’s also post season related merchandise. 

    • BCBargnaniFieldsCaseyGots2Go!

      Casey to AB- ‘pound the rock’.

      AB to Casey- I thought you said ‘pound the cock’, I hurt my elbow again in my pre game ‘pounding the cock’ ritual…………..

      Casey to AB- ‘just box out’

      AB to Casey- I thought you said ‘just cocks out’ (Bargnani chasing a laughing smiling Gheradini around the lockeroom in a game of naked duck, duck, goose)…..

      Come hell or highwater………

  • Roarque

    If I could be the “GM for a day” and could change three things about the current Raptor paradigm?

    1. Get Jonesy (JV) a great coach for this off season so he can come back with a higher NBA IQ
    2. Get Dwane a more creative offensive assistant coach to help in the 4th Quarter
    3. Trade Il Mago for a former all-star Power Forward to back up Amir

    I think those three things could add 5-8 wins next season.

    • unknown guest

      1> who’d you pick? Hakeem?
      2> who? maybe somone with heach-coaching experience?
      3> easier said, sir. easier said.

  • onemanweave

        A while ago, when a lot of posters were getting on fans for booing AB — I kind of had mixed feelings.  I understand that people are right that booing your own team might be negative, maybe even a little bush unless you live in Philadelphia.
      On the other hand, you have a player who a) isn’t giving full effort; b) isn’t in condition to give full effort; c) is being used in a manner that his lack of effort and conditioning stand out.
      On one hand you have a professional athlete making millions of dollars with the best training/support staff and facilities money can by at his disposal.  On the other hand, you have working stiffs paying the kind of prices asked to attend a live, pro basketball game.  Sometimes they might feel at bit, uh short-changed by our Italian Stallion.
      I feel a bit bad for AB but a lot worse for the guys shelling out good money to watch some of the basketball I’ve watched on TV over the past few seasons and AB would be the poster boy for that kind of basketball.
       I mentioned it before, but DC has had them playing hard over the past couple of years.  Schemes can and should be improved, but if they don’t put their heart in them, play selection doesn’t really matter.  Hope Bargnani buys in; Rudy, too, for that matter.

    • unknown guest

      Good points. Very good points. I am not sure anything will ever change. You have two players who have been touted as franchise cornerstones and paid as such. One of them, has never had the, uh, ability? decency? pride? or something to come into camp in shape. The other has never been able to get past the mold of being a “Melo-light”-type player.

      • CJT

        AB is about 10mil short in being paid like a franchise player.  he is paid like a second or third option, which he is.

        • What the

          you do mean 10 mil too early for a 2nd or 3rd option don’t you? of which the guy you’re talking about is neither and I think we tried him as the 6 man and the boos rang out so shut up and go join Cesco

  • Jamshid

    The love for the Scrubs :) . That is what is wrong with this team.
    10 point and 7 rebound and he is the MVP of this team !!! My bad, Amir does things that stats sheet does not show.Let me ask you this question Garrett:

    Do you think Amir Johnson can be considered our FUTURE Staring PF ?
    Do you think you can compete in this league wit having Amir Johnson as your starting PF ?

    In my opinion, Amir Johnson, is a good big off the bench. He is a good hustle guy that can produce when coming off the bench. He was over paid for what he was brining to the table the last 2 season but makes a reasonable money now with the improvements that he made. 

    • Garrett Hinchey

      It’s your opinion, and you’re certainly entitled to it – it’s no less legitimate than mine.

      Do I think he can be the starting power forward on this team going forward? I think it depends who you surround him with. Obviously he can’t be an offensive focal point – but I do think we can do a lot worse. 

      I think you’re right in that he’s more suited to be a strong big off the bench – hence why I qualified my comments with the “6th man” remark. Thanks for the feedback though, I think you do have a point and have hit on a big argument surrounding people who follow the Raps right now.
      I totally agree with you about his pay scale the last few years. 

      • Jamshid

        Thanks for your reply. As far as personnel around him,  I think the current guys are pretty much what we will see next season for Raptors.  The team will be Lowry, DD, Gay and Big Val +/- Amir …
        For me that is not good enough to make any serious noise in the play offs.

        Anyways, I agree about the 6th man off the bench. Amir has made the strides to suit that role very well and can be a first big off the bench.

    • j bean

      Since Amir received a boost in playing time with the trade of ED his impact has been tremendous. There was talk of him missing Jose because of the chemistry they had but Amir is playing the best ball of his career since the trade. I’m not sure what stats you’re referring to but the last couple of games I think he’s over 15 rebounds a game and scoring around 20 pts. Those are numbers that get you starting all over the place. 

      • Jamshid

        My numbers are his average over the season. I think you are falling victim to what Arsenalist pointed out few weeks ago after Bucks game. The numbers now do NOT translate to next season. There is no pressure and urgency anymore. I know fans love to that in Raptor land but that is not the reality.
        Anyway, these are his points and rebound the last 6 games ( Starting from the most recent):
         17 and 16
        8 and 2
        14 and 6
        23 and 15
        19 and 9
        2 and 3

        That is an average of : 13.8 and 8.5  which is not close to 20 and 15 you mentioned. That even being said, I don’t think Amir can do 14 and 9 as a starter with this team.

        • j bean

          Don’t remember what happened that 6th game [2 and 3] but I think we can throw it out as an anomaly. Average the last 5 games and he is 16.2 pts and 9.6 boards. That puts him in elite company, definitely starter material as far as this team goes.  The outstanding thing is the potential the two games of 17 and 23 pts and the rebounds of 15 and 16 point to.  At 25 years old  but a seven year vet he looks to be coming into his own. If he can add some leg strength a combo of Amir and Jonas will dominate the post for years. 

          • CJT

            and that is without any plays being run for him.  He gets those point with heart and hustle.

    • RaptorFan

      Sorry to ruin your usual HATE on Amir….BUT Amir actually had 17 points and 16 rebounds , 3 blocks, 2 assists and a steal.  He was the MVP for us last night and pretty much the whole season!  Did you even watch the game??

      Maybe you should actually watch the game before you post so you don’t seem like such a clueless poster.

  • vino

    Good summary overall,
    thanks!

    A few points:

    1.      “but where the
    shift was obvious was in his attitude on court – no longer worried about the
    quick hook, he played the game with far more patience and seemed much more relaxed
    on the court, a thread that’s become common over the course of the season” – was
    there any shift in TRoss attitude? I mean you’ve really noticed it?? Was he
    much more relaxed than usual; I mean does he always look tense? The guy got the
    minutes we all think/hope he’s going to get, even if it is for Gay’s injury…
    but don’t make stuff up.

    2.      “complements
    Amir very well on offense – his size and length means that his
    back-to-the-basket game can be played 5 feet away from the hoop, instead of
    directly underneath, and that frees up Amir for offensive rebounds or a quick
    rotation to his block.”  Jonas does
    not have a developed back to the basket game yet. He made one awesome move last
    night that got me really excited… hopefully he develops his post up, back to the basket moves (not just one) further this summer.
    I truly hope those fundamentals they instill in Lithuania shave off a year of a
    usual development of typical bigs in the NBA. Oh while we at #17… someone here
    has recently written Jonas has poor basketball IQ (and was skeptical about his
    potential to develop it further) – nonsense. His basketball IQ is well above average
    bigs his age.

    3.      ACC crowd was
    silent in the first half. I hate to see all these people jump up and down for
    free T-Shirts during timeouts and being quiet, completely unemotional while your
    team is playing like shit, or the refs miss a call not in our favor. Yeah, they
    woke up in the second half and there were some emotions, other than me losing
    my voice… (typical). I’ve been to so many games when these 19+ thousand people
    are just sitting there… having a sold out game is meaningless unless the home
    team is really cheered/the visiting team booed, chanting goes one… or any other
    emotions +ve or –ve (in the right context). I was fortunate to being in sold
    out games in Europe – smaller crowed, but so much louder! Oh, while I am at it –
    there is no swearing rule at the ACC. What a BS. I mean, they sell alcohol and
    the emotions kick in…. where else I am supposed to swear?! In the office?? At
    home?? Seriously…. I had to make a deal with the security last night – they
    allowed me to swear all I want in a foreign language. What a relief it was :)

     

    Good summary
    paragraph. Again, thanks for the write-up.

    • Garrett Hinchey

      All good points. I’ll do my best to address them one by one.

      1. I know for a fact (anecdotally, but still) that Terrence Ross has been nervous about getting the hook at points this season, and has played tense because of it. The result of that play is not always entirely evident on the court – you can see it in the way he throws up shots when he doesn’t have to, overcommits on defence and gets blown by – it’s ironic, in that when he’s more worried about his PT he actually makes more errors. 

      2. I agree that Jonas doesn’t have a great back to the basket game yet. But I do think that what he has and the potential he’s shown makes him a good complement to Amir. He definitely needs to work on his post game in the offseason.
      3. Very good point. I don’t go to many games live, but what I wanted to touch on was the way the crowd reacted during the Raptors comeback – you don’t see it in a lot of losing teams’ crowds very often, particularly when their “best” player isn’t playing.
      Thanks for the feedback!

    • The Truth

       How strictly they enforce the no swearing thing varies widely based on the game and how obnoxious you are being – there seems to be a fair amount of discretion involved. Personally I think it’s a bit rich to be surprised by this particularly given this was a Sunday game, which are invariably marketed as “family fun days”.

  • marz

    I was at the game. It was full, but it certainly wasn’t a sell-out crowd. There were several empty seats available. So it may have sold out tickets wise, but not everyone showed up.

    • smh

      :) it has to be said that a lot of games/shows/etc. are “sold-out” with sales going to “re-sellers”.

  • DumbassKicker

    “It was absolutely refreshing to see Casey respond to the criticism
    regarding his minutes-distribution by giving Terrence Ross a start in
    place of Landry Fields.”

    You don’t seriously believe that playing Ross big minutes was about Casey responding to fan criticism, do you?

    • mountio

      Criticism in general .. yes I do think so. I wouldnt suggest he reads RR or anything like that .. but he has certainly been criticized by the media, fans in general (and presumably BC .. although who knows) for not playing the rooks enough. His entire post game presser post the game before this one was focused on why JV didnt play in the 4th last game. I do think this lead to him starting TR (in combination with the fact that maybe he has finally given up on the playoff hopes). 
      If not, why would you suggest that he didnt start AA or LF (which would have been his go to earlier in the year)?

  • FLUXLAND

    I’m guessing the Cavs are not crying over “missing out” on JV and not pairing him up with K.I.

    • DumbassKicker

      RR’s resident “guessing” gossip boy at his best!!!

      • Jvr45623

        Does anyone know where Herbie Kuhn Is?  For years he never missed a game.  Then all of a sudden, I have gone to 5-6 games in a row where he is not the PA announcer.  It just doesn’t feel the same.

        • Sig

           I’ve noticed that he’s still at the games but he isn;t announcing anything just sitting there. The new guy beside him probably took his job, although they sound really similar.

          I’ve also noticed that nobody even does the announcing anymore, it’s all on playback. Back at that Pacers game which i attended I noticed that every single call sounded awfully perfect and exaggerated. Even on regular layups, the call made it sound like someone got dunked on. Really weird.

          Then there was this one play where Rudy scored back to back buckets and I swear the playbacks sounded identical with the raspy “Gaaay” part at the end…

          Sounds a little silly, but im confused as to what’s going on. Conspiracy theory lol?
          I don’t care at all though, never was a fan of Herbie’s voice and style. I hope they get a new guy.

      • FLUXLAND

         Sarcasm, Dumballs.  Geez you are dense.

  • Statement

    So what’s on top for next season.

    Right now, the Raptors need better defense and some 3 point shooting if they are going to be better next year.

    The hilarious thing is that they (theoretically) have the answer already on their roster in Landry Fields.

    I’m not a big Landry Fields guy, but IMHO he fits MUCH better alongside Gay than Derozan does, not to mention being a much better defender, rebounder and (potentially) 3-pt shooter than Derozan while making less money.

    I might get flamed for this, but if the Raps are looking to shore up their front-court production (might be needed depending on Valanciunas’ development).  Derozan is probably the best piece that they have to trade.

    You can start Fields at the SG position, have Gay at the SF position, Amir at the PF position, a veteran centre (again, depending on Vals’ development) and Lowry.

    All while keeping Lucas/Telfair/Ross/Gray/Val/Anderson

    • Statement

      Just to add,

      People talk about Ross as being the future, which is good because defense and 3-pt shooting are very valuable. 

      However, people forget that while Ross is 22, Fields is only 24.  Fields also has some track record of good performance in the NBA.

      If we plan to make the playoffs next year, the keys to the offseason are to get Fields’ his shot back (corner three, please) and to assess whether Val can be a good interior defender.  If he can’t, then a short-term interior presence should be acquired. 

      • j bean

        I confess to not paying attention to the play of LF his rookie year when his shot was falling but at the moment he reminds me of S Marion which has to be one of the most awkward looking things ever. I can’t imagine relying on him to knock down the 3 with any consistency. That doesn’t mean I don’t value his game but it would be a surprise to see him becoming a long bomber.

        • Statement

          He did shoot 39% from 3 in his rookie year.  I don’t know if he is that good but you have to have at least SOME talent to take 219 3 pt attempts and hit at a 39% rate.

          I don’t know if he can come back to that level, but he’s got to be better than Demars 22% career rate.

    • Jamshid

      What has LF given you in the last 2 season that makes you think he can start in this league ? 
      Are you still going based on his rookie year under DA’s system ?
      Plus, do you think you have any taker for Demar at 10 million a season ?  
      I think you will be surprised how little value DD has with that price tag at this market.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Van-Grungy/100000069253213 Van Grungy

         DeRozen’s ability to draw fouls and play consistently guarantee Demar’s value at $10 million per season.

        http://espn.go.com/nba/team/stats/_/name/tor/toronto-raptors

        Look at the comparison between DeRozen and Gay.  Rudy Gay better get awesome really fast, I think Gay is worth less than Demar DeRozen

      • Statement

        I agree that Derozan is overpaid at 10 million.

        The reason I think landry can start is because he hit at a 39% 3-pt rate in 219 attempts in his rookie year, indicating that he has long-range skill.  Compare that to T-Ross who shot 37% in COLLEGE in his best 3 pt shooting year.

        But beyond his (theoretical) three point ability, he is a much better defender than Derozan and a far superior rebounder.

        Think about it, he won’t occupy that many offensive possesions, but will be active off-the-ball, which is perfect as Gay is a ball dominator (note: lol).

        Right now with Derozan and Gay, the offense is too iso-heavy with two inefficient scorers taking the bulk of the shots.

        Remove Derozan, insert him with Fields and give the shots to Gay if you must, but also Lowry who can at least hit three and get to the line as well (4.9 attempts / game vs 5.4 for Derozan this year) and a big man.

        So to sum up, Fields is a good fit as starter for THIS TEAM, because he is a good defender, rebounder, plays off the ball, doesn’t need touches and can shoot the three (though it would be very important for him to rebuild his shot in the offseason, and this would be one of the conditions of him starting).  Also, by removing Derozan, you take away one inefficient iso-player and replace him with somebody who is more efficient offensively (Lowry) and hopefully a big man.

        • sleepz

          Good observations as usual.

          The issue with Landry is you have to go back to his rookie season to find him hitting the 3. Last year he shot poorly as well and his shot mechanics just look uncomfortable.

          I agree with him being a better pairing for Gay with his skill-set. Issue with that is do you want the ‘ball dominator’ taking even more shots?

          I think I’d prefer Lowry taking up some of those shots (minus Derozan) than Gay. Rudy has no conscience taking those midrange shots but he’s not a good mid-range shooter.

          • Statement

            Thanks for the compliment.

            I agree with you that Lowry should take more shots.  By virtue of his ability to shoot threes, he is a more efficient offensive player than Derozan is.

            Also he gets to the line at a pretty hefty rate as well.

            Ideally, Rudy Gay would reigned in on his shooting.  That’s not going to happen, but he could cut his shot total by 3 per game and still be at his career average of 15.  Give those shots to Lowry and Johnson or Val.

        • mountio

          I agree with everything you are saying .. except for the shooting part. LF shot 25% from 3 last year and is shooting (gulp) 8% this year. When he puts up a jump shot, I cringe. 
          However, about being a good defender, not needing touches and playing off the ball are all true. Im just not sure his total lack of offense is enough to make up for it. 

    • Roarque

      I am a LF fan and I still admire your big onions for making those statements on RR – release the jackals!!

    • Nilanka15

      There’s no denying that DeRozan is out biggest trade asset (next to Lowry and Jonas perhaps).  But assuming the latter two aren’t on the block, flipping DeRozan might be out best opportunity to improve/balance out the roster.

      As for Fields, his shooting mechanics from his rookie season were completely different from what he’s doing today.  I’m OK starting him as long as his shot is reconstructed in the offseason.  He obviously has it in him.  He just needs to find it again.

      Also of note is Ross’s development.  If he takes a couple of big steps forward next season, just insert Ross as the starter instead of Fields.

      • Statement

        I understand what you are saying about sub-ing Ross in for Fields, as Ross’ calling card is supposed to be defense and 3-pt shooting.

        However, Fields IMHO is a better defender and can be a better or equal 3-pt shooter to Ross.  There appears to be no comparison between the two when it comes to hitting the boards, as well.

        To me, Ross and Fields have the same upside, which is a good role player.  It’s possible that there is more potential in Ross. However if you want to make the playoffs next year, go with Fields.

      • Statement

        Also, it appears that Ross has next-to-nothing in terms of B-Ball IQ beyond get-ball, shoot-ball.

        Man what a chucker he is.  Of course, we don’t know how much of this is coaching, but it still appears that Fields is a smarter player than Ross, in my opinion.

  • JHP

    Nice win ! The fans realize this season is done and why waste the energy.  I think management is probably looking to maximize return and have maxed out on payroll. So BC has laid the groundwork to be extended but if I was management I’d want him to take a pay cut. If he refuses let him walk and promote someone to the position in an acting capacity.  You have no draft picks or pieces to trade.  Next time your in a position to make meaningful 
    decisions is at least a year away.  Why pay BC to hang out.

  • Slick_r1

    I think people need to realize, it doesn’t matter what gm or coach you bring in toronto. Bryan and Dwayne is doing good! Yes be had some trades that didnt workout or signings. But he fixed then, but tried to make the team better. What coach wants to come to toronto and be the coach? Or gm for that matter. Dwayne does make some mistakes on his rotations but really who is our bench? Nobody. He tries too find solutions. Yes he should ok jv alot more and I think you will see that now! Bc made great draft picks yes ab was terrible. But in the draft they’re all lotteries picks no one ever knows how they will become. But since then he’s made great picks. Sign some decent players and tried to put a team together with players who actually want to be here rather than all the rest who doesn’t! Not even Nash. So the team is in the rite direction. They need some a pf but not far off from being a playoff team. That’s what these guys need playoffs to gain experience.