picketfence

First of all, I want to thank everyone for all the welcomes in the comments section for my premier article on the Raptors Republic. My goal is to create some good, intelligent conversations here, so I’ll do my best to respond to as many comments as I can. Emphasis on “intelligent”.

In my last article, I put forth the argument that the current path the Raptors are on was not one destined for anything but mediocrity and disappointment (so basically, the Raptors’ status quo). Keeping Colangelo and the current roster is simply not a good option for anyone with Championship hopes for the team. And with the Raptors going 11-17 since the Rudy Gay trade, it’s becoming more and more evident that staying the course might not even get the Raptors to the playoffs, in the near future. You can make all the excuses you want, but the fact remains this is a poorly constructed, massively overpriced team with too many “core” players who rarely play to their potential and have been too willing to roll over in games they should have competed.

Even PhdSteve changed his mind about staying the course on his latest podcast.

Of course, it’s easy to criticize and not offer solutions, so in this article, I put forth my argument of what they SHOULD do.

Now, before people start assuming this is going to be an article about tanking, let me reassure it’s not…completely.

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Again, taking inspiration from PhdSteve, on one of his previous podcasts he talked about the myth of the Oklahoma model. That you couldn’t copy it because of the luck involved in drafting guys like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka, as well as being able to land Kevin Durant. Well, it was certainly luck that they were able to land Durant with the second pick, but where I disagree completely is the luck he says was involved in drafting Westbrook, Harden and Ibaka, and especially when he talks about the Spurs drafting Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Oklahoma and San Antonio were able to draft their star players not due to luck, but because they have great GMs who make great decisions and have a great scouting department.

What both organizations have in common, apart from their excellent scouting, is good management. You can have great scouts, but ultimately, it’s up to management who to draft. Now I already discussed in the last article that the Raptors need new management, but they also need something else that both Oklahoma and San Antonio have: Elite players.

Rudy-Gay

I don’t think anyone can seriously say that Rudy Gay is an elite player. Not with the mountain of evidence that says he’s not. A word of advice for Bryan Colangelo. Making your announcers say over and over again that Gay is an elite player doesn’t actually make it true, no matter what Joseph Goebbels says.

Again, it’s not that Gay is a bad player by any means. I think he gives too inconsistent an effort on both ends of the court, which causes problems, but if he’s your third guy, I think that’s okay. But he’s not getting paid like a third guy. Unfortunately, on the Raptors, he’s the Raptors #1 option.

On my own blog, I’ve already written why the draft is the best way for a team like Toronto to acquire an elite player, so I won’t go over it again here. I recycled enough of my old material in my last article.

Obviously, there has been a lot of talk among Raptor fans of wanting to try and get Andrew Wiggins, and rightly so. If he comes close to the potential that many are giving him, he’d be the saviour the Raptors have been desperately needing since Vince mentally left town. If you’re a Raptors fan, and you don’t know who Andrew Wiggins is, then I suggest watching this:

The problem, of course, is that you can’t bank on landing the top pick in the draft, no matter how bad you are. Ask just about any of the last place teams that have missed out on winning the lottery and landing a franchise player. The best example of this is Boston, who had the best chance to land Tim Duncan in the 1997 draft, but got the third pick, and drafted Chauncey Billups (who went on to a Hall of Fame career, but that career didn’t start for another 5 years in Detroit) instead. What followed were four more years in the lottery.

The 1997 draft was a one man show. After Tim Duncan was Keith Van Horn. I think you get the picture. That’s not, however,  the case with the 2014 draft.

After Andrew Wiggins, the drop-off isn’t nearly as big if the Raptors miss out on the top pick. In fact, the beauty of the 2014 draft is that it can be compared in a lot of ways to the 2003 draft, one of the best draft classes in the last 20 years. Now, I’m not suggesting that Wiggins is the next LeBron, so let’s not jump to any unfounded conclusions.

But it wasn’t just Cleveland that made out big in that draft. Miami got themselves the second best player in the draft, an All-NBA First Teamer and lead Miami to it’s first Championship in 2006. Denver got a 4-time All-NBA player and Toronto got Chris Bosh.

2003 NBA Draft Class

Teams that miss out on Wiggins still have a chance at Jabari Parker, who has a similar game to Grant Hill (when he came out of Duke) and is even going to Hill’s alma mater. Parker might end up being better than Wiggins, although Wiggins has more upside. If you miss out on those two, there’s still Julius Randle, an athletic and strong power forward with NBA ready offensive skills and a willingness to compete on defense, and Andrew Harrison, a Russell Westbrook-clone who is a more natural PG. And Aaron Gordon, who has a Blake Griffin-like game and body, now is being looked at on the same level.

Now, some will argue that lots of guys have been high school phenoms and never made it big in the NBA. Felipe Lopez was one of the most highly recruited high school players in history, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated before playing one NCAA game. He played four years at Seton Hall St. John’s before being drafted 24th in the 1998 draft and lasted only four years in the league.

The difference is that those five would probably go be the top five in the 2013 draft, if they could, and both Wiggins and Parker could probably start for most of the teams in the league right now. These guys aren’t Kwame Brown. They have skills most NBA players don’t have.

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Basically you’re looking at, at least, four to five potential elite players from this draft, and possibly more. If you’re going to tank to get an elite player, next year is the time to do it. And that’s exactly what I’d recommend the Raptors do.

I can understand the argument not to tank if there’s only one franchise altering player in the draft, or if you’ve already got that player or your team is in a good situation. But the Raptors are a mess. They are a lottery team without an All Star, yet starting next season the team’s top three scorers, and also three of the team’s most inefficient scorers, will be making a combined $37.3 million. If the Raptors sign a player to the MLE this summer, it will put them into the luxury tax.

Of course, it’s easy to gut your team and tank. The difficult part is figuring out how to do it well and what to do next.

Gutting the team obviously doesn’t mean getting rid of everyone, because you still need players. And the idea is not to get clear salary, because that’s pointless when you’re rebuilding. So who stays and who goes?

THE UNTOUCHABLES

In part one, I said Jonas Valanciunas was the Raptor’s most important player, and he’s the only player who’s in this category. Legit 2-way centers who can run the floor and play hard are such a rarity in this league that you’d have to be nuts to trade him away. While he’s an untouchable, he’s not good enough, at this point in his career, to make much of an impact in the win column and hurt your chances of getting a top pick.

LOW-COST BUILDING BLOCKS

A team trying to tank obviously is rebuilding, and rebuilding teams need young players. That means guys on their rookie contracts who still have decent potential. On the Raptors, there are just two of them, Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy. If you need to package them in a trade to get something done, it’s not a big deal, but if possible you hold on to them.

LOCKER ROOM VETERANS

Just because you’re tanking, doesn’t mean you don’t want your young guys to have good influences around them that can give you some minutes. They’re good enough to play 15-20 mpg, but not good enough to make an impact in the win column. Plus, none of these guys have any trade value, so you might as well keep them. Aaron Gray and John Lucas are those guys for the Raptors. Both have contracts that go for one more season.

LOW VALUE-BIG CONTRACT

These are guys who are overpaid and who really aren’t worth trying to trade. Landry Fields isn’t worth his contract but would be perfect guy to start at small forward. He’s the type of guy who is more valuable the more talent he has around him, and he’s not going to have a lot of talent around him. But he could be a good role player down the road. Linas Kleiza may not ever player again, due to bad knees. His contract ends after next season, so it’s not a problem.

HATE TO SEE YOU GO

Amir Johnson is a guy you love having on your team. He’s a great teammate who will do anything to help the team and always makes a positive impact when he’s on the floor. And his contract is actually pretty good, despite what early critics said (I was not one of them). Unfortunately, if you’re trying to tank, he’s the kind of player that will not help your cause. If I was the GM, I’d sit him down, lay my cards on the table and ask him what he wants. I think you owe a guy like Amir that. Most likely, he won’t want to lose for another few years, and you find a playoff team who can send you a first rounder and/or young prospect for him. And then you see if you can sign him back when his contract is done.

HIGH VALUE-GOOD CONTRACT

These are guys who you don’t want to keep, but should have good value. Unfortunately, about the only guy that describes on the Raptors is Kyle Lowry. I doubt you’d be able to get the same value for him that you gave up (lottery pick), because he’s disappointed as a starter, but he’s definitely an asset. You might also need him to move one of the Raptors more difficult to trade players.

HIGH VALUE-BAD CONTRACT

If Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan’s contract were cut by a third, then they’d be good assets that you could probably get a lottery pick for. Unfortunately, their contracts make them difficult to move. Ironically, Gay is probably the more difficult player to move, despite him actually have a pretty good impact in the win column (decent, but not great). That impact makes him absolutely necessary to move for a team that wants to lose.

DeRozan has a negligible impact on the court, so it’s not necessary to move him if it becomes to difficult to find a taker. Plus he’s a hard worker, so that’s good to have around the young players.

DON’T BOTHER WRITING

Andrea Bargnani has one of the worst valued contracts in the league and he’s still owed $23 million after this season. Considering how little of a positive impact he makes, he could actually help a team that wants to lose. But with his history and how much of a dark cloud he is over the franchise, you have to cut ties with him. If you can’t find a trade partner that won’t make you take someone like Carlos Boozer back, then you bite the bullet and amnesty him.

What Now?

Now that you know who you’re going to keep and who you’re not, you need to figure out how you’re going to do it and how you’re going to fill back up the roster. While it might seem reasonable to suggest that if you want to tank, you should go out and get a bunch of bad players, that’s not necessarily the best move, especially considering you don’t want to create a toxic atmosphere for guys like Valanciunas, Ross and Acy.

Ideally, what you want is to find a good mixture of young, undervalued prospects who could be either good building blocks for the future, or assets whose value will go up, and semi-useful veterans who are good in the locker room and can give you some decent minutes, if need be. The trick is to not have too many veterans so that a coach will not play and develop the younger players, trying to win a few more games.

Now, it’s been suggested by some that it would be very difficult to trade Gay and DeRozan because of their contracts. I believe that depends on what you expect back. Gay’s contract is certainly cumbersome. But we’ve seen Atlanta trade Joe Johnson for expiring contracts and a couple of picks. And we do know that other teams were interested in trading for Gay before Colangelo swooped in and did it. Toronto might need to take back a long term contract or two, but since cap space is not the goal here, that’s not a problem.

First up, target some of the young players who haven’t developed as expected, and who may not be getting the chance they need. Players like Kendall Marshall, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, Alec Burks and even a guy like Evan Turner, who has been in the league a few years, but has never been in a system, or surrounded by players, that complimented him.

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An example of a trade I would try would be trading DeRozan to Minnesota (who apparently has coveted him) for Derrick Williams and Like Ridnour. Now, I’m not suggesting Minnesota would accept this deal (I’m guessing they wouldn’t, as is), but this is the type of deal I would be looking for.

As usual, I’ve gone a little long, so I will end it here and finish up in the next column, which will be posted later this afternoon. In that one, I’ll discuss how the Raptors should try and rebuild.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

– Am I the only one who couldn’t watch the Duke-Louisville game after Kevin Ware went down with one of the most gruesome sports injuries in television history? I remember seeing him lying on the side of the court, wondering why the announcers hadn’t mentioned it, and then when it became evident the extent of the injury, I couldn’t watch. I’m definitely not one of those who likes to watch injuries. I’ve had too many of my own and even a sprained ankle will cause me to turn my head, as if afraid to give my body any ideas.

I fast forwarded (I always DVR basketball games) until they started playing again but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I switched to watching the Raptors-Hawks game, an only slightly less gruesome experience.

– As someone who personally lived through the Vancouver Grizzlies years, saw first hand what he did to the organization and heard from an insider friend how he carried on while in charge of the Grizzlies, I think I’m quite qualified to warn every NBA team out there to stay as far away from Stu Jackson as possible, as he apparently becomes interested in moving back into a team’s front office.

– Truth be told, the Spurs have been one of my favourite non-Canadian teams since before Tim Duncan was drafted. And this article on how the Spurs improved their defense this year is incredibly interesting, but not just to Spurs fans. One of the interesting things is how open Gregg Popovich is to changing his coaching strategy based on stats collected through analytics. Considering how reluctant coaches like Dwane Casey and Doug Collins are to use analytics, it really makes you appreciate how progressive Popovich is despite him being so old school.

  • Ted

    Agreed. However, do u fire Casey? Clearly hes not a good coach period. Although he definitely will help increase the losses. Whatever is done the Raps need to tank. Wiggins is the real deal. Also if Gay or Derozan or gone I would retain Alan Anderson for 3yr deal. Hes a good player who under Casey was overused and given the green light which again falls on the shoulder or Casey.

    Also why trade Amir? His game compliments Val and hes still young and improving. If hes gone you would have to replace him anyway with a player say Carl Landry who would demand a similar salary.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I don’t know about Casey. He’s definitely not the long term answer at PG, but he’s not a bad coach. I would probably let him go, though, based on my belief he’s not good at developing young players.

      As for Amir, I definitely wouldn’t want to trade him, but if you keep him, you run the risk of him giving you too many wins. In the article, I said I would sit him down and let him decide whether he’d want to stay, though. I think you owe that to him.

      As for who you replace him with, probably some replacement level player you’d get back in a trade. I certainly wouldn’t go out and sign guys like Carl Landry. No point in that.

  • valantime

    Great article Tim! couldnt agree more. JV is definitely the only untouchable at the moment, though Ross still has great potential.
    The raps have to scrap everything that Colangelo has ‘built’. Along the lines of your timberwolves proposal, i think management should go all in on getting Rubio. It would be near impossible to get him but i think trading anyone not named JV for him would be worth it. A JV/Rubio pairing would be pretty much perfect—imagine the pick and roll potential! Not only that but with those two as a core we still wouldn’t win too many games next year and be set up nicely to get Wiggins. Going in this direction would set the team up for extended playoff success for at least the next decade…

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      After the T-Wolves drafted Rubio (and especially when it was unclear when he’d come over), I was trying to work up the support for a Bargnani-Rubio trade, but most everyone thought that was way too much to give up for Rubio. I wonder what they’d say now?

  • dingismaximus

    The raptors should simply do what ever they can to acquire Demarcus cousins, forget the 2014 draft, if you can land Cousins while keeping some of your main players like Rudy, that is a serious run into the playoffs and maybe further. Also people will be more attracted to want to go to Toronto so it wont be as hard to get roll players. Further more we need to get rid of people such as Bargnani and Fields who are wasting some serious money for Toronto. To me that is a much better direction to go than to wait for another draft. Cousins is ridiculously talented and looks frustrated with playing for the kings. He is very athletic and probably runs the most fast breaks of any Center. He would fit perfectly into Toronto’s lineup.

    • RobertArchibald

      He looks frustrated because he’s a head case. How exactly does he fit perfectly into our lineup? JV gonna ride the pine? We are not a fast break team so how does his running help us? i dont get it. No thank you.

    • alucart999

      Getting Cousins is not going to have the impact you think it will have. Cousins needs to be on a team where he is clearly not the best player on the team with veterans willing to hold him accountable. Right now his combination of talent and attitude make him uncoachable and unreachable. He needs to be humbled before he will be the star everyone knows he can be.

      • Reed

        Why not get Cousins. Look at a JR Smith, McGee, Blatche, Zbo. These players struggled before being traded. A new scenario with a new outlook can be beneficial.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Smith was in the league 7 years before he started to turn it around.

          McGee now plays less than 20 mpg, which is how George Karl is able to control his stupid play. And I’m guessing he’ll be shipped out of town in the next year or two.

          And like Smith, Blatche was in the league 7 years and was humbled by being amnestied before he started turning things around. And his recent comment about basically wanting to screw the Wizards by not signing for a lot of money shows he’s still got a lot of growing up to do.

          And notice not one of the players you mentioned has ever played in even a Conference Finals game?

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I discuss going after guys like DeMarcus Cousins in the next column. In a word, no. He’s a head case and a poor defensive player. You’re asking for trouble if you start making moves like that, I think.

      • WhiteVegas

        He also plays the same position as JV, which is the biggest reason to not go after him.

  • Milesboyer

    The idea you’re proposing is completely predicated on the decision by MSLE as to whether or not they retain the current regime. If they do clean house then tanking is not only possible but maybe inevitable with all the changes likely to occur. It’s funny that for a couple of weeks after Colangelo had acquired Gay that people (writers and critics) thought he had secured his job with that trade. Now and with every passing game, it seems like he might be sealing his fate in the other direction.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      Yes, obviously Colangelo has to go to do. What I didn’t mention, but meant to, was that in order to secure a good, new GM, I think MLSE would have to allow the incoming GM carte blanche to do anything he wanted, including gut the roster. If you tell a prospective GM he needs to keep this flawed core, you’re not going to get a lot of takers, I think.

  • Andre

    This seems to be a good idea. (trading derozen for williams and ridnour would make this team better)

    Anyways, this team needs to do one step at a time. Fire BC. GET a REAL plan. Get BETTER scouts, then we can talk about the roster.

    • alucart999

      I know this article isn’t about the proposed trade, but they don’t need DeRozan anymore, they have Alexei Shved.

      A lot of teams in need of a decent shooting guard though, so the market should be pretty good for DeRozan. I would ask around to teams like the Trail Blazers, the Hornets, the Kings, the Suns, the Sixers, the Pistons, and the Bobcats. There simply aren’t many good shooting guards out there right now. DeRozan is definitely a commodity, even at his slightly inflated price.

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        Shved’s having a good rookie year, but I don’t think he’s the answer at SG for the T-Wolves. He’s shooting a HORRIBLE percentage and scoring (or shooting) is really not his strong suit. He’s more of a PG.

  • RobertArchibald

    While I don’t advocate losing on purpose, I could easily watch a young, hard-working team finish last in the standings to have a legit shot at Wiggins. Agree with basically everything except Amir. If the other changes mentioned actually happen, I don’t think he helps you win that many games. He’s a great piece with some talent around him but surrounded by rookies and past their prime vets, he won’t hurt the cause. Also, think AA should be kept in this scenario. Definitely won’t help the team win and isn’t a cancer in the locker room. Good example for young guys of how work ethic can pay off. All that being said, there is little to no chance any of this happens. MLSE put their cards on the table with approval of the Gay deal. They’re going all-out for first-round exits. Sigh.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I didn’t include Alan Anderson because he’s not signed past this season. I do agree, despite all the criticism of his shot selection, that he’d be a good guy to keep, though.

  • c_bcm

    Very nice article, especially: “Kendall Marshall, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, Alec Burks and even a guy like Evan Turner, who has been in the league a few years, but has never been in a system, or surrounded by players, that complimented him.” I like these players big time, especially Kendall Marshall, whom I would have drafted instead of Ross. Any of those other players don’t make a lot of sense with all the wings on the team, meaning DD or Gay would have to go, which i’d be fine with.

    How much of these ideas are based on a biased perspective? Are any of these players ACTUALLY better than our current players, or is this just the grass being greener…? A part of me tends to think that there is value in the Devil you know vs the one you don’t. To make any of these trades I think you have to assume that you know what DD will give you, and you’re not happy with it, and these other players, while not as hard working and dedicated as DD is (likely), still have more upside and would do well with a change in scenery.

    Risky business indeed.

    • robertparrish00

      Problem is Casey probably wouldn’t let any of those players off the bench. Just saying….BTW anyone know what happened to PJ3, thought he was the next coming.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I don’t think ANY of those players are better than the Raptor’s current ones, but that’s not the point. I think they all have the opportunity to get better and increase in value as assets. And I don’t think any of them are going to help you win, at this point. Even if they do get better, they’re all still too young to make much of an impact in the win column.

    • smh

      “I like these players big time, especially Kendall Marshall, whom I would have drafted instead of Ross. ”

      Thank you!!! He’d have been great learning under JC. FU BC and your PoS infatuation with PoS PGs

  • Madrugata

    Toronto was on a 4 year rebuilding program — and it started two years ago. It was actually a good program. THe problem is that they stopped that program with the Gay trade. Now we have another four years. Without Gay, without Lowry, without DD’s extension, we’d have won about the same number of games as this year, and we’d have good draft picks. I feel uninterested in a team with bloated contracts and a poor record. More fun to have hope, and that comes with draft picks

    • Marz

      Precisely. The acquisition of Lowry basically ended the rebuilding program.

      People keep talking about the Thunder Model, and they keep focusing on how they performed so well in the draft. Forget about that for a second, and look at their patience instead. For several seasons, Sam Presti did not rush to extend players or sign any big contracts.

      Colangelo has his strengths, but patience is not one of them. Perhaps this is MLSE’s fault, but his Phoenix track record has similarities. Had we stayed the course with a ‘shitty’ young roster featuring Ed, Jonas, Ross, and another potential lottery pick this year, we’d be in a fantastic rebuilding situation. This includes not extending DeRozan and waiting for him to become an RFA.

      Colangelo is not the GM for a rebuilding project, that’s not his fault though. If MLSE truly wanted a rebuild, they would have hired a rebuilding GM (and, hopefully, they’d do a little more research and get someone better than Rob fucking Babcock who set this franchise back more years than any GM in the history of sports).

      • alucart999

        I think it’s a lot easier to be patient when you’re going into a situation with a clean slate, and you have a shiny new contract. At this point, it’s hard to be patient if you’re in his shoes – he’s got to prove to his employers right now that he’s valuable. If BCo had been patient at the outset, drafted properly in 2006, this may have been a very different team today. Picking Bargnani really screwed the pooch for him and he’s never been able to recover from that colossal blunder.

        • Marz

          I disagree, there were several opportunities to be patient.

          For example, the Jermaine O’Neal trade was an impatient trade. You can argue that BC was trying to resolve the “PG Controversy” that Forderon created, but the subsequent trade for Shawn Marion was *definitely* impatient. Another season with J.O. and we would have had close to $40M in cap room (if I recall correctly), with Bosh and JO coming off the books, putting us in a strong position during the best free agency class in years. Not to mention, by taking Marcus Banks back with Marion, we were one of the primary reasons Miami had the ability to sign three all-stars and start their dynasty.

          Another example is Hedo Turkoglu. We had around $10M in cap space, but the FA class was pretty shallow, with the only “big name” being Hedo Turkoglu. Nevermind that I’m biased and hated Turkoglu back then, and never mind that hindsight shows that Hedo was a big mistake, a patient organization would not have gotten into a bidding war for no reason.

      • golden

        Actually, it was the ridiculous pursuit of Nash that ended the rebuilding processes and netting us Fields (i.e. swallowed our own poison pill.) In BC speak, this was framed as ‘accelerating the rebuilding process’. Lowry was the quick recovery from the Nash embarassment, and the Gay trade is accelerating the hamster wheel to warp speed.

    • morgan c

      Nailed it. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why effing BC scrapped the rebuilding plan and did the Gay trade. I mean, I understand it because BC is a certifiable idiot. But it made no actual sense and clearly has hamstrung this team; WHY CAN’T MLSE REALIZE HOW TOXIC BC IS?!

  • Lino

    Crazy Idea here but perhaps when Wiggins enters his first .. or wishes to opt for his first free agency.. Toronto will be his number one choice. You have to think there would be some desire to play for your home team, in front of your friends and family and I am sure he grew up idolizing Carter and watching the raptors. He would be groomed and ready by then.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I’ve heard other people make this suggestion. I don’t like the idea of waiting 5 years, and hoping that Wiggins rejects an extension, takes the qualifying offer for his team’s 5 year of his contract so he can become an unrestricted free agent and bank on him leaving his team. All the meanwhile you’re stuck in mediocrity wasting 6 years of having a guy like Valanciunas.

      • WhiteVegas

        This Wiggins or bust mentality is insanity.The odds of us getting him are so fucking low it’s not even funny. Even if we end up dead last next year, that has proven over and over and over again to not get you the 1st overall pick, only luck does that for you.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          From your comment, it’s obvious you didn’t actually read my article, or else you’d realize your comment makes absolutely no sense.

  • RapChap

    I agree that JV is the only true untouchable. But I would also keep Amir and Derozen because they are improving year over year, they care and they are young. Especially, I really don’t see the logic of keeping Ross, when Demar is only one year older and about 50 times better. Certainly keep Demar over Gay. I totally agree that the rebuild is over with Gay and Lowry, and unless they can learn to care it will be the biggest mistake the Raps have ever made.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I think if you keep Amir, you’re doing what Colangelo did after Bosh left. You’re not fully committing to the rebuild and then running the risk of not being bad enough to get a high pick. However much I hate parting with Amir, I think it’s necessary.

      As for DeRozan over Gay, Ross is actually 2 years younger, but one big difference is that ROss has the skills to be a better role player than DeRozan, because of his outside shooting ability and his defensive potential. DeRozan will never be a good defensive player, and you’re then stuck with an overpaid SG who isn’t good enough to be a star on a good team, but doesn’t have the skills to be a role player.

      • RapChap

        What I would do with keeping Amir is for his veteran character and hustle, as opposed to someone that you are building around. But if the right deal came along, then I would be sorry to see him leave.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          If I could convince him to sit half the season with an “injury”, then I’d love to keep Amir. But I don’t see him agreeing to that, and keeping him would effect the win column too much.

  • Reed

    Casey needs to go. For all the talk about BC’s inefficiencies Casey IMO hasn’t done any better. I cannot once say this season that Casey outcoached the opposing coach and his choices have lead to more losses than any player. His offensive plays have hurt this team not only on the offensive but on the defensive end too with long twos and iso’s which make it easy for the opponents to quickly attack the Raps from a miss.

    Why does Casey continue to be reliant on AA when Ross should given the minutes instead. Same can be said for Ed and Amir early in the season. Also recently with the use of Lucas over Telfair who is much more controlled and traditional point guard. With the raps talking about advanced stats its astounding to see the continued use of small ball when it clearly never works.

    His first season wasn’t something he produced it was Jose Calderon’s strong play at point on the offensive end with few turnovers and high quality shots which always allowed the Raps to quickly retreat back to the defensive end. However, this year with Gay, Ross, DD, AA and Lowrys poor shot selection which Casey never seems to change or criticize the Raps defensive has also taken a step back in addition to playing small.

    Also, why have lineups with Gay, Derozan and AA/Ross when instead someone like Gray/Acy can create space and openings for your wings. Instead now we usually have our wings each take their turn try to score from isos and usually late into the shot clock with no options.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      Casey’s not a good NBA head coach. I think he’s proven that. I don’t think he’s as bad as some fans think, but he’s definitely not the answer for the Raptors.

  • guest

    This is the most lucid thing I’ve read all year….please forward to the board at MLSE. Unfortunately, I don’t see Colangelo taking this route, and I’m doubtful the top guns are wiling to undergo the massive change that would result in finding a new GM for the team. One viable option might be for them to fire BC and give interim GM duties to Embry (I think he’s still around?), and let him release all these players over the summer, then begin the search for a new GM. I fully agree that this is the route the Raptors should be taking instead of wandering around somewhere in the woods trying to find our tail.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      Yes, this possibility would have to include COlangelo being fired and being replaced by a better GM.

  • golden

    Tim,

    If you’re trying to tank without being obvious, then why wouldn’t you just keep Bargnani and in fact, play him major minutes in a starting role? By the end of the 2013/14 season he would have only 1yr left, and his expiring contract becomes yet another trade asset come 2014 draft time.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I think the Raptors need to part with Bargnani to move on from that era, but also because you don’t want him influencing guys like Valanciunas.

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

        “you don’t want him influencing guys like Valanciunas.”

        Do you really believe that that is possible? Seriously? JV is already a Lithuanian superstar who is obviously focused on his own path. It’s pretty obvious to me anyways.

        If anything, Rudy Gay is more of a risk to retard JV development

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          I just think the Raptors should cut ties with Bargnani and move on. Asking people to go through another rebuild is one thing. I don’t imagine going into a new season and Bargnani being one of the few returning would go over very well at all.

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

            oh, I agree with getting rid of Bargs for the sake of getting rid of Bargs.

      • golden

        Well, like you even said, you can’t go half way with rebuilding. Playing Bargs would pretty much guarantee a top 5 pick. I don’t worry about JV – even Bargnani can’t mess him up.

  • sangaman

    Its truly amazing how the raps media and fans have given up on Bargnani who before his injury was flirting with stardom in the game. His scoring stats were solid and getting better every year as was his individual defense. Management and coaching have been responsible for bargs and the raps downfall. I would keep Bargs Kleiza and JV, get a Euro coach, more euro players like Rubio and former raptor Garbajosa and get rid of American home boys who dont pass the fucking ball and hate playing in Toronto

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      “truly amazing how the raps media and fans have given up on Bargnani”

      Are you kidding? I find it truly amazing that it took so long for the fans and media to give up on him. He had 13 good games where he was still rebounding poorly and had below average defense. Remember when Jerryd Bayless averaged 22.5 ppg and 5.6 apg for the month of April?

      The issue is not what Bargnani can do, but what he can do consistently. And after 7 years, we have enough evidence to know what he can and can’t do consistently.

      Besides, even IF he is able to play at that same “13 game” level, I don’t see how you can win with him. He’s a big man who’s a poor defensive player and a horrible rebounder.

      To blame Bargnani’s problems on anyone but Bargnani is utter BS. Bargnani never showed the desire or drive to become the player Colangelo wanted. But he ignored it.

    • p00ka

      truly amazing to who, dirty italians?

  • Taxes Please

    If Toronto loses Amir then you can count on a lot more lost games being lost. If you can read facial exspressions and body language you will notice that not one PF in the league likes it when they are guarded by Amir, not one. Anybody that knows about positioning, heart and hustle would understand.
    JV is about 3 years out from becoming solid and consistant. He will not be an all-star, ever!!! That is wishful thinking. We pay next to nothing (currently) for Kyle, yet we expect him to perform like he’s making Jose type money. We have one of the more effective line ups( JV, Amir, Rudy,Kyle and DD) in the NBA. Where we take a dive is with the bench. Alan Anderson plays hard defense and can create his own shot which is were DD is very deficient, that is why AA gets the playing time he does. Alan also makes the least amount of money on the team. He would be an asset to the bench if he could check his shot selection. After AA what do you have left coming off the bench? Not Much. We used to have one of the more potent benches, but since Kleisa has been broken and Aaron can’t move his feet our bench is just bad.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I’m a big, big fan of Amir and really would hate to lose him, but I just don’t see how you can keep him and at the same time try and lose games.

      I see Valanciunas one day becoming a 20-10 threat. He’s got the makings of a good post up game, can hit the jumper and keep in mind he’s only 20. I would actually be surprised if he never makes an All Star team.

      It doesn’t matter WHAT you’re paying Kyle Lowry. The fact of the matter is that the Raptors gave up a lottery pick, moved out Jose Calderon in order to make Lowry the starting PG. And considering the expectations people had at the beginning of the season, he’s been a disappointment.

      The bench certainly isn’t very good, but even with a good bench, this team is barely a .500 team.

      • Taxes Please

        I am not sure why we have to try lose games when our chances of success in the draft is essentially zero. My point is we have no toughness on the team except for JV and Amir. Trading Amir for who knows what (maybe a stretch 4 who can’t get a rebound or play defence…like AB) makes no sense. I still believe our issue is the bench since we have one of the best defensive lineups in the league…http://stats.nba.com/leagueLineups.html?MeasureType=Advanced&PerMode=Totals&sortField=DEF_RATING&sortOrder=ASC&filters=MIN*GE*100

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Why are the chances of success in the draft essentially zero? I don’t understand this comment at all.

          I wouldn’t get too caught up in the numbers about their defense with such a small sample size. Lowry, DeRozan and Gay simply don’t play consistently good defense to make me think they can come even close to those numbers over an entire season.

  • mountio

    I think people have somewhat said this in a number of ways .. but the biggest issue with this is that we are a year to late for it. If this was the philosophy (which btw, I 100% agree with), we should have never:

    – traded for Lowry (and still had our pick)
    – traded away Ed (young player that would fit into your high value/good contract)

    – taken back LT contracts for Jose .. instead we should have tried for picks (even shitty first rounders or 2nd rounders) + exprings

    – taken on Gay (both for the contract as well as ability to help us win at least some games)

    Now that we are where we are .. Im not sure we can push the reset button so easily (or at least it would have been a lot easier pre the Gay trade).

    Re: amestying Bargnani .. I know that you arent a fan, but how does anmestying him help our cause? We arent going to sign any big $ free agents – so the cap space is useless. If you think he helps you lose games, then arent you better to hold on to him? On the off chance he turns things around, maybe you have an asset in a year or two? Again .. I know you have a bias here .. but putting that aside, am I missing something?

    Also, I think you overestimate, even with your low expectations, the ability to move LF and RG. Im really not sure there would be many takers for these guys next year. The year after when they are a year away from expiring .. maybe, but I dont think there will be many takers now. For sure none for LF .. maybe a good team that gets hit with a key injury for Gay.

    So .. I guess in summary .. I agree with you in philosophy, but question how executable this is (and very much think we should have done this last year).

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      The Raptors will be a year late to tank for the 2014 draft if they don’t do something THIS summer. I agree it would have been much easier if Colangelo hadn’t made those moves, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late.

      As for the ability to move Gay, I do think they’ll be some takers out there. You might have to take back a bad contract, but Toronto wasn’t the only one trying to trade for him.

      If you reread, you’ll see I said it’s probably easier for the Raptors to keep Fields than trade him, and I’d be fine with that. I think he’d be a good guy to fill out the roster and could be a good roll player down the line.

      • mountio

        I reread on LF .. and yes, I interpreted the comments about LF being better with talent around him as suggesting that a team with talent might want him.

        On Gay ..maybe. It just seems that the list of teams that a) have cap space / willingness to spend it and b) are close enough to being in a playoff / contender position is light. We would qualify. Brooklyn would .. and Im sure we could get Humphries back (you might like that??) .. but might need to take Wallace too. To me these are the types of deals out there .. but does that really help vs Gay? I guess thats the part that I struggle with .. if you are taking back bad deals with a similar length to Rudy, then whats the benefit?

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Here’s an example of a deal that works, and that I think would be possible:
          http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=d9uvklr

          If Boston wants to continue to contend, this deal makes sense, and they’re not really losing much to get Gay. For the Raptors, it not only gets rid of Gay, it gives the Raptors two replacement-level players who aren’t going to have an impact on the the win column, and also a young prospect whose value should increase. You could probably also get a first round pick.

          While Gay is vastly overpaid, he still does have a positive impact on the floor. The trick is to get guys who don’t.

  • Matt52

    Toronto can’t even head down the path of figuring what to do next until the lottery is held. Hopefully pick obligations are removed, Colangelo is fired, Casey sent on his way, and Bargnani gone too.

    One thing Toronto has going for itself is this being a really undesirable draft and a team might actually look at DeRozan as a good return for a lotto pick.

    The raptors are really bad right now but I do not think they are as bad as the record indicates. Casey has done a horrible job utilizing the pieces he has to work with. Still can’t believe the mental screwing he has given Ross.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      I think on order to entice a good GM, you have to be able to say nothing is off limits, including gutting the team, as I am suggesting.

      I do agree that the Raptors aren’t as bad as they seem to be right now, but they’re also not very good. WIth a better coach, yes, they’ll probably have a better record, but this is still a mediocre team with almost no hope of doing anything with the players they have.

      • Matt52

        I am not against gutting the team except JV.

        The issue I see is deciding on any course of action when the 2014 pick is not guaranteed to be Toronto’s.

        If the lottery yields Toronto a top 3 pick in 2013, what do you do moving forward? Firing BC and DC while trading Bargnani would be my starting point for anything and everything.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Well, you can’t do anything before the end of the season, anyway, and by that time you’ll know the result of the lottery. If the Raptors do “luck out” in the lottery this spring, I’d try and work out a deal with Oklahoma, maybe getting a future pick or prospect back, to finish that deal. You have to get from under it first.

          • Matt52

            Yes but the dreaded word BUT…..

            But what do you do if the 2014 pick is not guaranteed to be yours?

            The only motivation I could see OKC relinquishing the pick is if Toronto took back Perkins. OKC do not need any young players at this time with PJ3 and Lamb sitting on the pine. Waiting a year for a stronger draft is most likely their desire, in my opinion.

            As you said we will know soon enough…. Mid late may I believe is when lottery is normally held. If the 2014 pick is going to still possibly be okc’s going down this path is playing with fire.

            • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

              But that’s what Im saying. You work out a deal with Oklahoma so that the deal is finished, whether simply giving them a top 3 pick this year outright, or making some other arrangements. I don’t see Oklahoma being a hard ass, because it isn’t in their best interests. You have to make sure that there are no restrictions for the 2014 pick.

              • Matt52

                The very same reasons Toronto would want the 2014 pick are the very same reasons OKC might not dance. GSW tried to do similar before coin flip last season but Utah was not interested…. Although that did bite Utah in the ass.

                Giving them he pick outright is pretty dangerous too regardless of how weak this daft is perceived to be.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Utah had a 50-50 chance of getting a lottery pick, so there was little incentive to do a deal. For Oklahoma, it’s the choice of a top 3 pick this year, or probable late lottery pick next year, if anything at all.

                  If Oklahoma doesn’t agree to a deal, then you HAVE to pull out all the stops to win now because you’ve got no choice. And Presti is going to realize that.

                  As for the danger of giving them the pick outright, I don’t know. If I’m choosing between a top 3 pick this year and having a good chance at a top 5 one next season, it’s a no brainer. Especially if keeping the pick this year means having to move forward with the roster and payroll they have.

                • Matt52

                  Nothing is certain though and that is where the gamble comes in. I am dismayed at how bad Toronto has been. What happens next year if gay/Amir/lowry/jjv go down? What happens if bc and dc are kept around? Presti might have the same thoughts on Toronto that many of its fans do.

                  This is all ass talk. Still have to wait to see what happens with lottery before any talk of the future is more than guessing lottoMAX numbers.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Yes, I agree this team is in a precarious position. It’s one reason I was a vocal critic of the Lowry trade. I felt there was just way, way too much risk for a player that Houston didn’t even want any more.

                  I ended up being pretty bang on with my assessment at the time of the trade…
                  http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/2012/07/the-future-is-now-lowry-to-raptors/

                  I will be crossing my fingers that the Raptors aren’t one of the last three names called at the Lottery.

                • Matt52

                  I would like to see Lowry play his game minus bargnani with gay and Amir starting.

                  Lowry has been disappointing but I don’t think he has had a fair shake in Toronto.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Lowry’s played plenty of games with Gay and Amir and without Bargnani. He has several major flaws to his game, though. His main one is that he simply doesn’t make good decisions on the court and isn’t an instinctual passer. Playing with different players isn’t going to change that. And the only time he’s really excelled is when he was allowed to dominate the ball and do really anything he wants.

                  I always thought it very strange that his issues with Kevin McHale were never really talked about. Especially since McHale is supposed to be one of the more personable guys you’ll ever meet.

                  I just think Lowry is another one of Colangelo’s bad judgements. I think he too often ignores the flaws in players even when they’re staring him in the face.

                • Matt52

                  Clearly we have a difference of opinion on this topic.

                  I agree Lowry has played minus Bargnani and with gay/Amir. What you either don’t agree with or failed to acknowledge in your response is the parameters Casey is putting on his game. I want to see Lowry play like the Lowry we expected in the trade….. Not the Jose knockoff Lowry Casey has subjected us to since his return from injury.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  I understand what you’re saying. I just don’t think that Kyle Lowry people were expecting can exist on a good team (I’m not suggesting the Raptors are a good team). I see a lot of Damon Stoudamire in Kyle Lowry. The more talent he plays with, the less useful he is. Sometime before the season started, I said I was almost feeling bad for Lowry because there would be no way he would live up to the expectations Raptor fans were placing on him. Yes, Casey hasn’t utilized him well, but I just don’t think he’s the player fans expected.

                • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

                  Keep in mind, also, that the Lowry that fans expected was the one who came out of the gate at the start of the regular season and then was criticized by his teammates in a closed door players only meeting.

  • Tee

    Thanks for the content & Great effort Tim.
    However this is one of the most misguided articles ive ever read.

    Start over? Trade our core for draft picks!? Sign cheap productive players!? haha
    I dont know man. OK lets say we do this rebuild again…. We trade our players aged 21-27 for younger (better) prospects?

    Tim how long do you think it would take to: A) make the playoffs B) contend for a title?
    Im guessing about 5 years bro.
    OK fine. But you realize that requires patience right?

    But what if that doesnt happen? Then what do you do? Blow it up again?

    My point is that BC started rebuilding about 5 years ago. We tried tanking for like three years in a row man! Everything you write might by correct in (mediocre ceiling) however, its too early to blow it up until after next year… The team has been together for like 2 fucking months!
    Remember when Melo first got traded to the Knicks?

    Patience Tim.

    Ok, ok, so you get your new GM- He rebuilds & it takes at least 3 years to assemble a team….right?
    You know what you will be advising the fans? Patience.
    Meanwhile the team won’t have been in the playoffs for like 9 years years!!!haha
    Wed be lucky if we still had a team.

    We have three rookies(2 top ten picks) this year what more do you want? Casey must improve, same with half the roster. You’re right: If they don’t make the playoffs next year then you think about starting over, before then I think you might be going on a marry-go-round. You dont do a five year rebuild then wait 3 months then start over.

    I really do understand your perspective. I really do, but you must admit its a huge gamble.

    By the way, I thought that Joseph Goebbels joke was trashy.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      A couple of problems with your argument.

      First, no Colangelo didn’t try to tank for three years. He tried to hedge his bets, while not making any big moves to improve the team. He kept all the players he had before Bosh left, it just so happened that that core wasn’t very good. You can’t tank and keep most of the players that you thought would make the playoffs the season before (Bargnani, DeRozan, Amir, Calderon).

      As for your “5 years”, yes, I agree it requires patience. But considering the alternative, watching a mediocre team fight for a playoff seed year after year without going anywhere, I don’t think it’s really that hard of a sell.

      I realize the team hasn’t been together for long, but you don’t need to pour water on a dog to realize it’s going to stink. I think I discussed pretty thoroughly in part one why this team isn’t going to work. I understand that fans, like yourself, WANT to be optimistic, but if you look at the roster, the way it’s put together and what you need to win in the NBA, there’s pretty overwhelming evidence that this team is going nowhere with the current roster or management.

      And personally, I think waiting and seeing what this team does, with the evidence at hand, and missing out on trying to get a top 5 pick in the 2014 draft is a MUCH bigger gamble.

      As for the Goebbells joke, each to his own. It’s pretty damn apropos, though.

      • Tee

        Yeah Tim keep making Natzi joke they are great

  • cdub

    The problem I see in blowing up the team now is how are we getting rid of all those contracts and not taking bad ones back? I just don’t see it happening. To me the worst contract right now is DeRozans. It’s the longest. DeRozan could be a guy that will land you a decent player in return. Gay and Bargnani’s contracts are both 2 years and I’d honestly rather keep Bargs just to have his expiring contract as trade bait in the last year than amnesty him or trade him for the sake of it. Gay will have a huge expiring deal and he is the best player on the raps so I don’t see trading him right now either unless the deal makes sense. I also think Gay is actually capable of being an all star caliber player, he needs the right coach and no injuries, but all the skills are there for the most part. I’ll be dissapointed if Casey is back after all his blundering…sitting Val all those 4th quarters to play AA…blown 4th quarter leads….his hockey shift substitutions…tonnes of isos and long twos…no inside out game at all…and no defense either and that was what he was supposed to improve to begin with. As for BC I could see him being back just because of all the contracts on the team right now, hes almost married himself to the situation and a divorce might be one more year away still. Hes also the team President and I’m pretty sure he does a good job there running that side of the operation, that may factor into the equation.

    Going forward into next year I’d like to see a new coach, it has to be a good coach though I don’t want to replace Casey with another scrub coach. Val is obviously going to be huge next year. We honestly just need a coach who can utilize these guys properly in a real offense and take it from there rather than a firesale next year…maybe the year after if required as we will be in a better position.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      Why does it matter that the Raptors would get bad contracts back? This is a point several people have brought up I don’t understand. To trade away Gay, you probably need to take back a bad contract. So what? The point is not to get cap space.

      I also don’t understand why people still think expiring contracts are worth so much. Let’s look at what other expiring contracts will be available the same time Gay and Bargnani’s expires. Amare Stoudemire at $23 million. Carlos Boozer at $16.8 million. Kendrick Perkins at $9.7 million. Tyrus Thomas at $9.4 million. Marcus Thornton at $8.6 million. And it goes down the list. And those are just the guys who are massively overpaid. Seems like a bit of a saturated market.

      As for Gay, I agree he has the potential to be an All Star. But I’m not sure why that is relevant. He’s still the type of player that needs “the right coach” to motivate him and that still doesn’t make the Raptors any better than a mediocre team.

      The problem with waiting one more year is that it doesn’t have a draft like the 2014 one. In the NBA timing is everything. If Miami had the fifth pick the year AFTER 2003, when they took Wade, the best they could have drafted is Andre Iguodala. A very good player, to be sure, take a look at Philly’s record and Miami’s record after that.

      • cdub

        I believe what you are suggesting is a virtual impossibility. Nobody is going to take our contracts and give us lottery picks in the short time you are suggesting. Every other GM has there eye on the draft as well. Tanking in the east isn’t as easy as you make it sound since half the conference tanks every year, we could suck and still get the 8th pick or something easily…then what? Also in no way is the board going to ever accept that kind of intentional tank whether it’s BC or someone else anyway. So maybe in theory what you suggest could work, it’s really more fantasy then reality. You can’t do what you are suggesting in the timeframe you are suggesting its not realistic

        What I meant by expiring deals is that is is obviously easier to trade a shorter deal for something than a longer deal if the player is overpaid. And I would rather do that then trade bad contracts for even worse contracts for some whimsical hope we tank enough and land an amazing player, because if it doesn’t all work out we would be royally screwed even more than we already are.

        So by all means if BC or whomever can turn anything on the raptors roster short of Val into a lottery pick next year let’s do it….it’s just not going to happen.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          I’ve never once suggested trading any of the current roster for lottery picks. Ever. Sorry, but it bothers me when people start arguing points I’ve never made.

          As for your comment about half the East tanking every year, that’s not true. There are certainly bad teams in both conferences every year, but few teams intentionally tank. Next year, the only teams I can see intentionally tanking are Charlotte and Orlando. The rest either have their franchise player, or have made moves to obviously try and get better.

          As for the timeframe, I’m not sure what you mean. Any roster can be deconstructed in a summer.

          I do realize that what I’m proposing guarantees nothing. The Raptors could, conceivably, be stuck with the 8th pick in the 2014 draft, and a bunch of replacement-level players around Valanciunas. Still, I’d rather that happen than watch this poorly constructed team fight for a playoff spot year after year. I’d rather see an actual plan than what I’ve seen for most of Raptors history.

  • morons

    a pile of shit from the picket fence.

  • Guy

    This is just another long-winded picket fence article about how tanking is the best, only option the Raptors should consider. Naturally, in these articles, everything always seems to work out rosy. The players they have can be dealt without having to take any kind of salary back, and for guys that will cleverly disguise a tank. With the fan-base fooled by this, the Raptors will lose & no one will care. Then, the ping-pong balls will drop perfectly allowing them to draft the elite, franchise changing player they desire. This will excite the fans, allowing the team to lose again the next year without any blow-back. And, not surprisingly, the ping-pong balls will drop perfectly again, yielding the 2nd future all-star they need. That’s just how easy it is.

    Except… it’s a point of view that is dependent, not on any kind of guarantee, but on a lottery. On luck. I think it can be generally agreed upon that tanking is suggested to get the top pick. But the worst team in the league has a 1-4 chance chance of picking first …. 25%. Tanking, at it’s absolute best odds, means there’s a 75% chance that team will lose out. The irony I find in this article is that the author offers it as THE option for anyone that has championship aspirations for Toronto, but as I look at the list of NBA champions over the past 15-20 years, I don’t see any team that tanked their way to the title. So how does the ‘Championship aspirations’ argument hold any water?

    I appreciate everyone has an opinion, which is why I believe the title of this article should be ‘What I THINK the Raptors should do’. But considering who the author is, it’s no surprise the 2nd/3rd words are missing.

    • guest

      I think this article also makes clear that there are other viable options beyond just the first pick of the draft. If Wiggins were the only bright star then yes it would be too much to risk. But he’s not.

      • Guy

        If you’re thoroughly convinced the other high schoolers mentioned in the article are going to be can’t miss, elite players because picket fence says so, good for you. Could they turn out great? Yes. Could they fail to meet the hype? Also Yes. It’s speculation. You don’t have to look any further than the Raptor’s current roster to find an example. Sebastian Telfair was a much-hyped high schooler, actually appearing on a magazine cover with fellow high schooler Lebron James I believe…. how’s his career panned out? Backup Pg in Toronto, his 8th teams in 9 years.

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          If you’re comparing Sebastian Telfair to any of the players I mentioned, then you need to look a little closer. Telfair was the 13th pick in a rather mediocre draft, and most considered him a reach at 13. If high schoolers were allow in the 2013 draft, AT LEAST 4 of the 5 I mentioned would go in the top five.

          • Guy

            The point is he was hyped enough as a high-schooler to be mentioned with Lebron James & he hasn’t become anything resembling a star. Hype is just that, hype. So whether AT LEAST 4 of the 5 you mentioned went in the top 5 or not is irrelevant because it offers no guarantee whatsoever they will become elite. Until it actually happens, all you’re preaching is speculation.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      It seems to me you didn’t read the entire article. First of all, I mention taking back salary in trades. Obviously you have to do it, but it doesn’t matter. The idea is not to get cap space.

      As for your second paragraph, you need to actually read the whole thing, not just assume what it says.

      • Guy

        Actually, I did read it all, & it was pretty easy to see that nothings changed. It always boils down to the same thing & I’ve seen enough of your wisdom to know you subscribe to the ‘I’m right & you’re not’ school of thought.

    • Louvens Remy

      You are 100% right but just from reading between the lines, I think Tim W. is saying the Raps should start over and build through the draft and make smarter decisions. The lottery is for lucky smart bad teams of which the Raptors under Colangelo are not.

  • Louvens Remy

    This article should be faxed to Colangelo and the brass at MLSE. This is the way to do it.

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