This week on The Doctor is In with Phdsteve, I ask why are TFC fans the lucky ones? They get the real rebuild, they get the lower ticket prices, they get free scarves and away game tickets for season seat holders, and they get a product of hope that fans can believe in (or perhaps I’m still a little giggly from a weekend in Montreal at the Toronto/Montreal derby).

As for the Raptors, in a season where the team has played .500 since the Rudy Gay trade, fans are left to try and feel optimistic about a team that is building character and chemistry with each win as it aims for 35 wins to help sell fans on a 2013-2014 Raptors team that will be headed by Colangelo, coached by Casey, and led by Gay, Lowry, and insert favorite player here _____. And for those of you who continue to argue for this team to blow it up and follow the OKC model, I once again explain why this model is a myth- like unicorns, leprechauns, and Andrea Bargnani hustle.

Grab the iTunes feed or the plain old feed. You can also download the file (24:46, 24 MB). Or just listen below:

  • Vestige

    “a myth- like unicorns, leprechauns, and Andrea Bargnani hustle.”

    Dies…..

  • monocled_gentleman_scholar

    Why won’t Casey experiment with offensive sets and strategies? They’re playing tic-tac-toe on offense.

    • raptors phdsteve

      he doesnt own a clipboard.

  • theswirsky

    So OKC model is a myth because Presti was able to ‘hit’ on picks the masses or other so called ‘experts’ didn’t see or predict?

    Thats the EXACT REASON why its not a myth. Presti (and others) have an ability to identify not only talent and but whats valuable in the league and for his market, and do so over and over and over despite what ‘the experts’ thought and said. He found an inefficiency in the market and has exploited it.

    “If everyone knew manu would be manu…. everyone would have grabbed him” LOL thats the point!!!! Not everyone does! Thats why the draft is so valuable! Thats why people who understand this ability some teams have. Why teams aren’t ‘lucky’ but skilled. (by the way, does anyone know how Presti started to rise to fame as a NBA executive – he convinced the Spurs to draft Tony Parker….. hmmmm…. )

    Its ridiculous when people talk about the OKC model, then build the strawman that the model is a precise systematic approach. Draft 3 superstars in a row and profit. No. Its called a ‘model’ and not a ‘to scale replica’. Teams may take a few more years, or a few less years, sign a few more FA, sign less FA, trade for more players etc. Its Tanking and BUILDING THROUGH THE DRAFT around your star(s). There is no set timeline. Its collect draft picks, draft, and keep drafting. If your management is a failure, your team will fail. If you management is skilled, your team will be skilled.

    As for the building through FA… look at the teams mentoned. LA? The 2nd biggest market in the NBA (by far I might add), and one of the wealthiest. Or other teams – Miami, NY, Boston. These are all big, wealthy markets that are either teams that have a deep history and/or have huge tax breaks. So you want to talk about luck? How may small market teams and unattractive teams have built by getting a superstar through trades or FA? I’ll wait…… (insert jeopardy music)….. having problems yet? Yeah thought so. You know why? Becaues they aren’t giant markets, in states that offer huge tax breaks, have great weather, or have a team with 24 names of HoFers hanging in the rafter. The reality is teams like Toronto would be lucky to build a contender using any method OTHER THAN through the draft.

    All the people who call it luck spend too much time reading draftexpress or nbadraft and think they have a handle on who and what are the good picks. Then can’t understand why teams who go a different route are successful. The only explanation possible is ‘luck’. It couldn’t possible be “I’m not as skilled at knowing what and who will be great draft picks and players as I think I am” Thats just silly right?

    • raptors phdsteve

      I agree with all of your points. But first and foremost: drafting a superstar like Durant or Duncan or Lebron, or Howard or Rose etc is really what separates successful teams from unsuccessful. You need to “hit” it big at the top of the lottery in order to compete for championships. Then, and only then, after you have a legit superstar (ie top 7 player) can you hit and/or miss on the players to surround them with. Right? think about it, if Presti doesnt get Durant in that draft and instead gets only Jeff Green is OKC still a title contender even with Westbrook and Ibaka and Harden. Durant is the straw that stirs the drink and the rest is a combination of good scouting (you are right), bold drafting (taking some chances), and pinch of good fortune.

      its easy to look back and say- ofcourse that was the right move, but just check out what was being said the day after they drafted Westbrook at #4 (and remember- Im a UCLA guy!)

      http://seattletimes.com/html/nba/2008020313_soni27.html

      • sleepz

        Maybe, but the point of the matter is you only start moving forward with your core once you have ‘game changers’ in place. Maybe Durant or Rose aren’t the best examples because everytime the talk about building through the draft comes up it all becomes about ‘luck’.
        First of all, no matter what way you approach it (trade or free agency) luck is needed and I would argue with the rookie deals there is less financial risk going the route of the draft.
        Secondly, you can take examples of Minnesota (Love, Rubio), Cleveland (Kyrie, Thompson, Waiters), Golden State (Curry, Thompson) and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Washington next year (Wall, Beal) as teams who will be ascending soon enough. Even New Orleans (Davis, Vasquez) realizes they are probably one good young player away from trying to now stop buidling through the draft and add pieces to their core. I would rather be in any of those teams current situations then the Raps. They aren’t committing to long term high salary contracts to players who aren’t stars (like Gay, Lowry, Derozan, etc) and they have financial means to get better.
        And to answer your question: Would OKC still be a title contender with Harden, Westbrook, Ibaka, Green (and of course there might be further players that they would have obtained but i’ll play along)?
        Absolutely. They still would have 3 top 20 talents in the league and would have a bright future.
        Those Rap fans that argue against the draft route only need to look back at the only time there was any success and optimism (VC and McGrady) around these parts to see how the draft can work for the franchise and neither of these guys were top 3 picks, but you still had the TALENT to actually build around them and not question it’s merit cause they were that good. This ‘core’ BC has assembled is not going anywhere and as much as I’ll be called a pessimist or ‘hater’ 2-3 years from now we will be right back at square one.

        • DumbassKicker

          Life in the NBA, just like real life isn`t linear. Without KD, we have no idea what draft positions they would have had and what decisions they would have made. Replace KD with Oden, and their decision making considerations are very different.

          • sleepz

            Fair enough. They could be better than they are now.

      • theswirsky

        “but just check out what was being said the day after they drafted Westbrook at #4”

        exactly! Look at what was being said and how things turned out. Yet we should assume those experts knew better and therefore Presti just got lucky? What happened was Presti was right, and the ‘experts’ were wrong. Presti had the foresight, patience, skill and ability to take advantage of the resources (draft picks) available to him. That is evidence of Presti’s skill and ability.

        As for the rest, I’ll just be repeating sleepz for the most part.

        Luck is relative. You can tell me all day and night that drafting Durant or any superstar is ‘lucky’, and I’ll point to it being alot less lucky than Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Chris Paul, Shaquille O’neal or any other superstar being:

        1) available for trade or as a FA

        2) Toronto simultaneously having the resources to trade for that superstar vs any other suitor

        3) that superstar wanting to sign with or be traded to Toronto vs the dozens of other teams that will want him.

        No one passes up the opportunity to sign or trade Chris Paul. But they sure do pass up the opportunity to draft him. And thats why the draft is less ‘lucky’ than any other model the Raptors could follow.

        Besides that, the draft offers alot less downside risk. You still have a cheap valuable asset who is under team control for atleast 4 years, and after that still limited control for 3 to 5 years (due to RFA rules). And thats not only valuable for the team, but valuable to the league.
        I’d much rather see a team like Toronto take the road that requires the least amount of luck, while having upside potential, and simultaneously the least downside potential. Like all forms of team building it takes skill. But the real difference lays in accepting it takes time and patiences. And thats hard to find in this league and thats why its still an inefficiency to exploit.

        • DumbassKicker

          So, even with hindsight, how many poor draft choices have the Raps (BC) made in the past 4 drafts. Let`s have a look at the next b5 players taken in each:

          2009 DeMar DeRozan 9
          10: Brandon Jennings
          11: Terrence Williams
          12: Gerald Henderson
          13: Tyler Hansbrough
          14: Earl Clark

          2010: Ed Davis, 13
          14: Patrick Patterson
          15: Larry Sanders
          16: Luke Babbitt
          17: Kevin Seraphin
          18: Eric Bledsoe

          2011: Jonas Valanciunas, 5
          6: Jan Vesely
          7: Bismack Biyombo
          8: Brandon Knight
          9: Kemba Walker
          10: Jimmer Fredette

          2012: Terrence Ross, 8
          9: Andre Drummond
          10: Austin Rivers
          11: Meyers Leonard
          12: Jeremy Lamb
          13: Kendall Marshall

          Can you really say the Raps made bad choices, considering what was available. We have no idea how Ross & Drummond are going to turn out, but even with hindsight, how many players drafted after them make the Raps`choices bad.

          • mountio

            Im with you 100% on our drafting. I actually think its been pretty good .. even including (gulp) AB, who outperformed the rest of the top 5 in his draft by leaps and bounds (outside of LA). To me, the question about luck vs skill in the draft context comes as much down to philosophy as it does to actual drafting.

            For example, while we were busy “building a winning culture” at the end of last year by playing vets with no future on the raps vs young guys, we could have been a few spots higher and had Lillard (or even Barnes if we were one spot lower). Luck or skill? I think T Ross will turn out to be a good player .. but had we been a few spots ahead, we could have been in a much better position.
            Similar concept for the Lowry and Gay trades. Not to say they were necessarily bad deals, but they certainly didnt help our ability to draft. Lowry actually traded away a pick and the addition of Gay means we will be a borderline playoff team for the next few years.
            The Presti philosophy would never do this. He would deal with being bad (and even trade his best current players for more draft picks) in order to be good five years from now. BC has never had the patience for this. To me, this muliyear planning is what distinguishes good from lucky.

            • raptors phdsteve

              yup.

            • DumbassKicker

              “The Presti philosophy would never do this. He would deal with being bad
              (and even trade his best current players for more draft picks) in order
              to be good five years from now. BC has never had the patience for this.”

              The thing is, no two situations/set of circumstances that GMs deal with are parallel. We’ll never know, but how much of Presti’s philosophy was influenced by working for an owner who had ZERO interest in pleasing the ticket buying fans of Seattle, and had every intention of leaving town for his OKC home town. That’s a VERY big difference affecting what “philosophy” a GM can work with, and not a luxury that BC, or any other GM have to exercise unique circumstance “patience”.

              • mountio

                Sure .. that plays a role perhaps .. I would argue the largest factor might have been the owners unwillingness to spend, which does paint a different opportunity set than, say, BC has in Toronto, where owners will spend. Having said all of that .. its still the GMs job to make the best decisions for the franchise. BC didnt have to trade away a pick for KL. He didnt have to do the Gay trade. He chose to given his options. Presti did the same in Sea/OKC .. Presti’s choices just turned out better.

    • DumbassKicker

      “If everyone knew manu would be manu…. everyone would have grabbed
      him” LOL thats the point!!!! Not everyone does! Thats why the draft is
      so valuable! Thats why people who understand this ability some teams
      have. Why teams aren’t ‘lucky’ but skilled.

      You imply that the Spurs did know Manu would turn out to be Manu. If this was purely about the Spurs`drafting genius, being more skilled drafters than all others in knowing what Manu would turn out to be, why did they draft him 57th, while having wasted the 29th pick on someone named Leon Smith, who they immediately traded for someone named Gordon Giricek, who never saw the floor for them and whose draft rights they later traded to Memphis for a draft pick that they used on some guy named Romain Sato (a Presti choice, btw)

      “(by the way, does anyone know how Presti started to rise to fame as a
      NBA executive – he convinced the Spurs to draft Tony Parker…..
      hmmmm…. )“

      Certainly a great choice, which helped lead to his promotions through the ranks with the Spurs. He also drafted such notables as:

      John Salmons (immediately traded for notable Speedy Claxton!)

      Luis Scola (who never saw the floor for them and whose rights were eventually traded for notable Vassilis Spanoulis)

      Randy Holcomb

      Leandro Barbosa (who also never saw the floor for them. They traded his rights to the Suns for a protected 1st round pick which they later used in a trade sending Malik Rose out to get standouts Nazr Mohammed and Jamison Brewer)

      Sergei Karaulov
      Romain Sato
      Beno Udrih
      Ian Mahinmi
      Damir Markota

      I have no doubt Presti is a very smart man, but the draft is as much a crapshoot for him as most draft decision makers in the NBA.

  • beetlejuice

    Im still a student, I’ve never been to a game. Always watched the games at home, and Im fine with that, couldn’t care less what the ticket prices are

  • Guest

    I don’t believe in cultures of winning or losing. I believe in winners and losers. Andrea bargnani is clearly a loser who doesn’t work hard care or feel the need to play for anything else than money. Guys like Jose or demar leave everything on the court and work their asses off to get better in the offseason. Derozan especially has proven with his work in the offseason that he desperately wants to win and that type of dedication is a great example for all new acquisitions coming to town especially Ross and valanciunas. With regards to your comments regarding the okc model I partially agree. I think that you can’t reproduce it in Toronto because it takes a phenomenal gm which we currently don’t have but I certainly don’t think it comes down to luck except maybe with ibaka.

  • The Rub

    You take 5 minutes to make a 1 minute point.

    • raptors phdsteve

      Thats why I’m a Dr.!

      • The Rub

        You win this round Dr. Steve. But I’ll get you next time….next tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!

        • raptors phdsteve

          lol!