As fans, we are all, by nature, irrational. Don’t pretend to argue otherwise. The amount of time, thought and emotional sway that we invest in the triumphs, falls and daily trivia of a group of men playing an organized game within reasonable driving distance of our homes is not normal, and it’s probably not healthy. But it can be is a lot of fun, it gives us something to insanely argue about connect with and discuss and it pleasantly fills in the void of boredom that so dominates our lives.

From a performance analysis perspective, the most problematic part of being a fan probably stems from expectations. Expectations greatly skew our perception of reality, separating us from objectivity. This can quickly muddy the water when looking at sports, where almost everything but the final score lies in subjectivity. Rarely do we watch a game and see what actually happens. Rudy Gay might go 8 for 27 from the field, but if he hits that clutch winning shot we expect him to, all we remember is his 22 points and the 3 that won the game. People watch Amir Johnson and long for a power forward who can shoot, not seeing how the Raptors defense is 8 points per 100 possessions better when he plays. Most people don’t know what good defence looks like because we’ve stopped expecting it from our stars. We filter each player’s performance through the lens of expectation that we’ve set for them in our mind. Speaking liberally for a group of basketball fan(atic)s whose day to day relationship with rationality is a little too Senor Changesque, this can be a problem.

To better explain the point, let’s look at a player who is more in the international media spotlight and use Rajon Rondo as an example. The expectations on Rondo coming in to this year had never been higher. Some were heralding him as a potential MVP candidate, while still more were saying that Rondo had to make this year’s Celtics his team. When he went down with a torn ACL, Rondo’s season was largely viewed as a disappointment. But why? Rondo’s numbers were actually up—almost unilaterally—with notable improvements in rebounds and points scored, and an increase in his shooting percentages from 3, the free throw line and the field. This improved efficiency comes while taking career highs in attempts as well. Rondo improved statistically in almost every single category, especially shooting, which had been his biggest weakness. How then, can the perception of Rondo this year be that he regressed, which ESPN’s recent NBA player rankings say he did, falling ten spots from #12 all the way down to #22, when his numbers improved across the board?

As I see it, there are two reasons for this.

1)   Because the Celtics underperformed when Rondo was playing, and the whole team has notably stepped up their game in his absence. I find it hard to blame Rondo for this. He is not responsible for Jason Terry’s bad defense, Courtney Lee’s cold shooting to start the season or the general lack of urgency and interest that the team was playing with. A veteran leader can try to motivate his team, sure, but on a veteran team to begin with this shouldn’t be a problem. As I see it, the problem was that the Celtics team as a whole was expecting Rondo to do everything for them and be an MVP too. When he went down, the team buckled down, with players like Avery Bradley and Jeff Green stepping up to fill the void and everyone now accepting that without Rondo, they really have to try.

2)   Because we expected Rondo to make a leap, and be a top 5 NBA player and MVP candidate. That’s asking for an awful lot, and Rondo didn’t quite make it there.

Rondo did not have an MVP level season, but he was a better player this year than he was last year by the statistical standards we look to for objectivity. So if he was the 12th best player in the league last year, how could he have fallen to 22nd best a year later? It’s possible that ten other players in the league made a giant leap. It’s also possible that Rondo wasn’t really the 12th best player in the league last year, but we bumped him up a few spots because of who we expected he could/would really be. But what I think is most likely is that despite his improvement, he did not prove himself to meet our expectations of challenging to be the best or near best player in the entire league. As a result of these disappointed expectations, we’re unable to objectively judge the season that he had, and we unfairly punish him as a result.

I’ve found myself guilty of the same impact of expectation in judging players this year when looking at the Raptors. Particularly when giving letter grades to each player to quite literally judge their performances for the post-game quick reactions. It’s unfair, but I acknowledge that I’ve been grading them on a curve based on what my expectations are for them. For example, I’m more than willing to cut an immense amount of slack to Terrence Ross. In part this is because he’s a rookie, but if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, it’s just as much because of the expectations of who I want Terrence Ross to become as a player. So I’m more than willing to go along with anything that will better enable me to believe that Ross is going to be something special. That isn’t to say that I objectively think he will or won’t be a very good NBA player, just that I subconsciously boost what I see from him so I can continue to carry a lofty expectation. On the flip side of that, someone like Kyle Lowry gets the short end of the stick. Instead of getting slack, Lowry gets criticized— and sometimes to a fault. No matter how well he plays, if he isn’t the best player on the floor, which is who we expect him to be, then he is simply a disappointment. That’s not fair. I’m not saying we shouldn’t hold our players with all-star potential to all-star expectations, but let’s at least acknowledge that it isn’t really fair, and that the truth gets lost somewhere in the noise.

Let’s take a look at the core Raptors who have been most affected by our expectations and see if that’s caused a gulf to form between our perception and reality.

Kyle Lowry

Lowry came to the team this summer as the big offseason acquisition that was supposed to solve the franchise-long search for an answer at point guard. That’s not an unreasonable expectation given Lowry’s skill-set and on-ball defensive prowess. It would have been worth noting at the time that Lowry was moved from Memphis to Houston because Mike Conley beat him out for the starting job, and that he wanted out of Houston after Goran Dragic beat him out for his starting job for the Rockets. Both of those things would warrant tempered expectations for a player who, despite his potential, has only been a good starting point guard for a couple of brief stretches in his career. The problem is that Bryan Colangelo traded a lottery pick in this year’s draft for Lowry, and since lottery picks have the potential to be star players, that’s who we expected Lowry to be.

Absent the first two weeks of the year, Lowry has not been a consistent star-level player. But then again, Lowry hasn’t really ever been a consistent star-level player. The perception of Lowry this season, which ballooned hyperbolically after the first two games of the season to MVP candidacy for Torontonians, has been disappointment. There are ways in which this perception has been justified.

Lowry’s numbers are either the same or slightly down from his career best numbers a year ago. Lowry has regressed defensively this season, as his gambling for steals and often unnecessary double-teaming has resulted in wide-open spot-up opportunities and cuts to the basket for his man. The kind of freelancing defense he has played pays dividends for some players in the form of steals and fast breaks. But Lowry’s steals per game are the lowest that they’ve ever been for him as a starter.

Offensively, Lowry’s points per game numbers are slightly down from last year, from 14.3 to 11.8. Now, that decline is attributable in part due to his reduced minutes after losing his starting job when Jose Calderon proved a worthy replacement after Lowry went down with injury. But Lowry has scored 20 or points 10 times this season and has single-handedly taken over individual quarters of a game at least as many times. The question is whether these games are outliers when Lowry exceeds his ability, or if they are the instances in which his focus and effort fall in line and reflect who he could be all of the time.

The conclusion with Lowry is that he has proved with his occasional performance that he is capable of playing up to the expectations we have for him. The lack of patience that we as Raptors fans have for him to meet those expectations is the result of the trade that brought him here and our long standing desire for a quality starting point guard and potential all star. While that might not be fair, the reality is that Lowry is going to have accept that those expectations will not go away as long as he is here in Toronto.

DeMar DeRozan

I’ve been harsh on DeMar over the years. My reasoning has been simple: I expect a starting NBA shooting guard to be better than 22% from 3. My expectations aside, the real problem for DeMar is that absent of a real star, the team has billed him as their franchise player and organized their offence around him pretty much ever since the departure of Chris Bosh. I can’t imagine that DeMar ever requested that. During that time span, DeMar’s numbers have not been efficient and have not even approached franchise player level. With DeMar getting top line billing, his limitations were under a magnifying glass. DeMar is a pure slasher with a career assist rate that’s identical to Michael Beasley’s—a player who goes in to anaphylactic shock upon passing the ball. As long as DeMar was expected to wear the mantle of franchise player, which fairly or unfairly is inherited by whomever the best player on a team is, he was going to disappoint. Even more importantly, that pressure really looked like it was wearing on him.

Expectations changed in a hurry for DeMar this season. What began with the addition of Kyle Lowry to start the season was completed with the Rudy Gay trade. With Lowry, Gay and two promising rookie players, the weight of the franchise’s future and their nightly scoring has been removed from DeRozan’s shoulders. The benefit of these reduced expectations has been two-fold for DeMar. On the court, he’s played a lot looser. Without the expectation of having to be the one to create a shot or carry the load, he’s settled for his shaky jump shot a lot less, either moving the ball along or forcing his way to the rim, where he has shot an efficient 64% and gotten to the line at a top 5 rate over the last two months.

In terms of expectations, DeRozan’s numbers were a let down when we expected him to lead the team. But, when he is the third or even fourth (given Valanciunas’ development) most important player on the team, his 4 rebounds and 17 points a game are all of a sudden exceeding expectations and casting a complacent shadow over the blights in his game. Perhaps the route to happiness really is through lowered expectations.

Expectations play a huge role in how we interpret the performances and value of who we watch on the court. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Aaron Gray or Lebron James. The narrative of Lebron’s entire career has been dominated by the impact of expectations. We’ve always acknowledged his ability. We’ve been in awe of his physical size, power and speed and we’ve watched his highlights over and over again in amazement. But this is the first year when both we as the sports media and we as basketball fans as a whole have stepped back and celebrated Lebron James. For the first time in his entire basketball career, Lebron is no longer saddled by expectations. We don’t argue about whether he chokes in crunch time, whether he’s an alpha dog or whether or not he’s in the same class as Jordan, Magic and Kareem. We just ask each other if you’ve seen his numbers or demand to rewind and re-watch what he just did. Instead of expecting, we simply appreciate. Lebron has gone from this, to this.

Over the next little while, I’ll continue to run down the Raptors roster and talk about how expectations have affected our feelings about their game, and where that may have led us astray. Expectations are bound to be a thorn in Kyle Lowry’s side for some time to come. Hopefully that drives him towards greatness. For DeMar DeRozan, the burden of expectations has taken a quick turn from archenemy to staunch ally. And for us fans, expectations will turn in to argument and obsession all summer long as we diagnose the season that was and prognosticate the upcoming season that should be.

Andrew Thompson


  • Roarque

    2012/13 was always destined to be a step on the ladder towards the Raptors becoming a contender in the East. Remember how the year began? Jonas was playing single digit minutes, Kyle was allowed to play street ball for 10-15 minutes at a stretch, Andrea was getting 30-35 minutes per game and providing casual reults at both ends of the floor? Remember?
    I do.
    When Jose and Amir (and Ed Davis ) were handed the team by default and before the competition woke up to the new team in Toronto, we had a fabulous December – Merry Christmas Toronto! And then Brian found a way to extract a star player from Memphis and Rudy Gay showed up – at the cost of the aforementioned Calderone and Davis. So where are we now? Now and only now are we ready to build a winning team – which takes time a la Miami (three years) San Antonio ( 6 years) and OKC ( #&* years). Next year 2013/14 will get the Raptors into the play offs on the back of our twin towers ( Amir and Jonas)and with the first round pick from Seattle ( for Andra Bargnani and Terrence Ross) the addition of rookie of the year Wiggins should set the team up well for a year of contention in 2015/16
    Fasten your seat belts.

    • Tim W.

      You almost had me until the Bargnani and Ross for Andrew Wiggins comment.

    • What the

      that shit sounds good to my ears

    • Paul

      You are seriously delusional buddy

    • Paul

      The Raptors are in the worst possible position. Crappy product on the floor, no draft pick and no flexibility for the next two years. Do you really think that this team is going to magically put it together next year? If so, why are we not seeing any signs of this now?

      Sure Valanciunas is a piece, but I expect him to suffer the sophomore jinx.
      The rest of the team are a bunch of overpaid losers that other teams didn’t want (with the exception of Derozan, who has yet to EARN minutes in the NBA)
      This team is two years away from the START of another rebuild, which, I can only assume management will also fast track, thereby landing us in the same position a few years down the road.
      Honestly, at this point, I only cheer for this team because I’m happy there’s NBA basketball in Toronto and we get to see the best in the world play every year (mostly they are on the opposing teams).
      If your expectations are this high, you haven’t been following this team long enough.

    • Paul

      To underscore my point about how bad the Raptors situation is, look at the following list of team salary commitments.

      There are teams with higher payrolls moving forward, but almost all have better records and better talent.

      Teams that have less salary committed, all have cap space to sign players, or legitimate prospects of improving in the draft.

      The only team on the list that might be worse off than us is Orlando, and at least they have a high pick this year and a slightly more favorable cap situation.

      Other than that, I would take any team’s payroll on this list over the Raptors.

      Colangelo has f$$cked this team over for years to come.

      But as long as fans like you keep swallowing the b@llshit, the ACC will stay full, and MLSE wont give a damn.

  • wigginsfan


    • Nilanka15

      Why would anyone give up Wiggins?

  • smh

    ” It would have been worth noting at the time that Lowry was moved from Memphis to Houston because Mike Conley beat him out for the starting job, and that he wanted out of Houston after Goran Dragic beat him out for his starting job for the Rockets.”

    Dear Colangelo, please choke yourself on Kyle and Rudy. Thank you.

  • Truth

    Truth is this team is in a terrible position for the next 2-3 years. Best Case scenario we duplicate the Hawks model of being a treadmill first round playoff team.

    Derozan has been great, but it`s clear that he isn`t a franchise caliber player.

    Rudy Gay is inefficient.

    Lowry is hustle and grit, but not enough to take us to the next level.

    What this team needs to do, in this order;

    Fire BC
    Ship Bargnani out
    Development Val
    Draft well (and do NOT overpay for a Fields/Kapono type again)
    Most importantly, find a shrewd GM who can take advantage of any inefficiencies in the market. From our current position we`re gonna have to rebuild on the fly (ala Pacers) and maintain some sort of balance between competiting today and having a long term vision/identity.

  • robertparrish00

    I think some of Lowry’s defensive woes ride with Casey. I honestly believe that it is Casey sending these ridiculous double teams at the opponent. It’s part of his defenisve scheme. Players know running 20 ft out of position to double team an nba player on the perimeter is stupid. So why do they keep doing it? Lowry isn’t the only Raptor attempting these lame double teams.

    • Tim W.

      The problem with Lowry (as well as Gay) is that he gambles too much and just doesn’t play consistent defense. That’s not on Casey sending hi to double. That’s on him.

      • robertparrish00

        Seems like Lucas and Telfair do the exact same thing. To me, it looks like Casey’s fingerprints are all over that. Pound the rock is probably code for double team.

        • Tim W.

          Both Lucas and Telfair have always done that. Neither have been known for their defense, over the course of their career. Probably a reason for that.

          • Nilanka15

            Shouldn’t Casey be able to discipline his players from deviating from his schemes?

            We’ve seen him bench his rooks for making defensive mistakes. Why not treat the whole team that way?

            • Tim W.

              The whole notion of holding players accountable only seems to be that way for the younger players, from what I’ve seen. If you can score, like Bargnani, Gay, DeRozan or Lowry, that goes out the window.

            • FLUXLAND

              It’s pretty funny how people who claim they have been following the NBA prior to 2010 or pay attention to what DC says, completely fail to understand what is going on.

              If you want to attract veteran FAs, do you think the way to go about that is to give rooks playing time; not bench them when they f up but and have guys that have paid their dues ride the pine? Really? How do you think that looks across the NBA other than this continues to be a developmental team?

              Seriously, people need to cut out the HS mentality BS.

              • Nilanka15

                The flipside is that the younger/talented players are alienated simply because of their lack of experience.

                IMO, when it comes to improving this franchise, the development of Jonas (for example) is more important than attracting mediocre FAs….without any cap space to boot.

                • FLUXLAND

                  They are alienated due to lack of impact, not experience. Continually getting minutes and not producing should not allow for ad infinitum “development” minutes.

                  You are given a window to execute as asked in the minutes allotted, at some point that window needs to close when you are not contributing in a positive fashion. Where have the days of having to prove yourself in practice gone?

                  Not seeing much talent here. Again, let’s not confuse working hard with limited skill as talent.

                • Nilanka15

                  That’s the downside of drafting players so young. Very few are NBA-ready. Court time needs to be “gifted” in order to learn the game.

                  It’s the way the NBA has gone. Most young players are projects, and projects require minutes to develop consistency.

  • Tim W.

    Great article, Andrew. Expectations play a huge part on how fans approach the season. The big problem is that Colangelo is such a master salesman, that he makes fans (and I’m assuming his bosses) believe the team is going to be better than it ever is. He tried to sell Turkoglu as the missing piece to get the Raptors back to the playoffs. He wasn’t. He tried to sell Bargnani as the next Dirk Nowitzki. He wasn’t. He tried to sell Lowry as the future at the PG position. He isn’t. And he tried to sell Rudy Gay as an elite player, which he obviously isn’t.

  • WhiteVegas

    Cool article. You definitely see a ton of unrealistic expectations on RR. Not just on the players, but on things like tanking leading to success. It’s pretty unrealistic to believe that, so when we tank and it doesn’t lead to success, the loud few say it’s because we didn’t tank hard enough, not because tanking leading to success is an unrealistic expectation.

    • Darien

      Are your expectations that it’s ok to be out of the playoffs for 5 years and counting and then out of the playoffs for another year while the core of the team changes year after year and with no blue chip prospects coming into the system to show for losing seasons? I hope so, because that is what is going to happen next year too.

    • Tim W.

      Tanking doesn’t lead to success, and I’m betting no one who is for tanking has ever said that. I know I haven’t.

      • Amigo

        google:” Tim W. tanking success”

        Tim W.
        “I don’t LIKE the fact that a team like Toronto needs to tank to build a Championship team, but that’s the way the NBA has made things.”

        That’s you isnt it ? Tim bla bla bla W.

        • Tim W.

          I’m guessing you missed the point of my comment above. Actually, I know you did.

          By the way, you didn’t really have to Google it. I’ve written a three part series on the subject on this site.

          • WhiteVegas

            “The raps need to tank to build a championship team.” – Tim W.
            “Tanking doesn’t lead to success.” – Tim W.

            How are these two statements not contradictory?

            • Tim W.

              The point I was making was that any team can tank, but that isn’t going to automatically make them successful. For many teams, like the Raptors, tanking is the best way to acquire an elite player, but simply acquiring an elite player doesn’t guarantee anything. You need a successful plan in order to build a Championship contender. Minnesota had Kevin Garnett but only got out of the first round once with him. Cleveland had LeBron, but only got to the Finals once. Both teams had that elite player, but a poor plan and a GM who was not very good at his job.

              If the Raptors were somehow able to draft Wiggins, in 2014, but Colangelo was still in charge, it’s doubtful the Raptors would win a Championship.

              So tanking doesn’t NECESSARILY lead to success, but it’s definitely the most viable way for a non-prime destination team to acquire an elite player. What you do after that is just as important, though.

              • WhiteVegas

                Who do you consider elite talent? That definition entirely dictates how you could acquire them. Some would argue Gasol is elite talent, and he is gettable for the Raps via trade. If you just mean the top 10 players in the league, then you’re gearing up for an exercise in futility. You have to combine the odds of getting a top lotto pick, with the odds that pick turns out to be elite, which makes the odds astronomical.

                When was the last time an elite player, by your definition, was drafted?

                I don’y see Anthony Davis ever being an elite piece you build a championship team around. Maybe Kyrie Irving, he is elite by my standards at least, but it still hasn’t resulted in many wins for the Cavs. John Wall has shown himself to not be elite. I wouldn’t call Blake Griffin elite. Harden is starting to get to elite status. DRose is elite, but no one else in that draft was.
                I’m all the way back to 2008, that’s 5 drafts, and only 1 surefire elite player, with 2 most likely since I believe Irving will be elite, but probably still not enough without several near elite players around him. Some simple probability analysis shows how bad of a gamble it is to go into the lottery thinking you’ll get elite talent. Much better to go into the lottery thinking you’ll get good talent and a useful piece. Hardly anything to build a franchise around though.

                Hopefully we luck out and JV becomes elite. He has a much better shot than any hypothetical player we’d draft the next few years outside of Wiggins.

                • FLUXLAND

                  “I don’y see Anthony Davis ever being an elite piece ; John Wall has shown himself to not be elite. I wouldn’t call Blake Griffin elite.”


                  “Hopefully we luck out and JV becomes elite.”

                  That’s some amazing scouting work and conclusions. This is the same line of thinking that had people claiming things like: “This bench is DEEEEEP, bro!” or “NY and BRK are garbage and effed for years to come” or “JV plus 1st round pick = Playoffs”

                • Tim W.

                  I consider an elite player someone whose presence alone will turn a team around. A good indicator is the All NBA teams, and that’s what I used in my post. Now, not all elite players are created equal. Carmelo Anthony is elite, but I don’t see him ever winning a Championship, whereas I see Durant eventually winning one.

                  As for players drafted in the last few years, I would definitely include Anthony Davis. I’m not sure why you write him off, but this Valanciunas could be one. Davis is almost a year younger than Valanciunas, and has better stats across the board, including advanced stats, than Valanciunas.

                  You mentioned Kyrie Irving, from the 2011 draft.

                  And considering how well Wall has played and how much of an impact he’s had on the win column with Washington, I also wouldn’t say Wall has shown himself NOT to be an elite player.

                  Derrick Rose obviously is, but from that same draft, you have consider both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love, if he wasn’t injured probably would have lead Minnesota back to the playoffs.

                  That’s 6 players drafted in the last 5 years. And next year, outside of Wiggins, I see Jabari Parker being a probable elite player. Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and Andrew Harrison also have pretty good chances at becoming elite players in the NBA.

                • WhiteVegas

                  Kevin Love has been in the league 4 year and made the playoffs 0 times. How can he be considered elite by your standard? If making the playoffs isn’t a pre-requisite to elite status then the distinction doesn’t mean all that much, as the Raps could add elite talent and still be a lotto team.

                • Tim W.

                  When Love isn’t injured, he has a very big effect on the record of the team, but he does need a modicum of talent around him. THis year he played only 18 games. Last year the third and fourth leading scorers on the team were Luke Ridnour and Michael Beasley. I think that’s enough said right there. Oh, and Darko Milicic started 23 games.

                  And Love didn’t come into the league as an elite player. I’d say he only hit that level last season. And remember who he played with.

    • Nilanka15

      Depends how you define “success”. If we’re talking about one day competing for a championship, the draft is the only way to obtain elite talent. And the higher you pick, the higher probability of landing an elite player.

      If you define success as the Atlanta Hawks, you don’t need “elite” talent. Just a decent group of players, and pray they overachieve in the playoffs.

      • DumbassKicker

        “the draft is the only way to obtain elite talent.”

        A common refrain around these parts, but simply not true. I’ve no idea what you define as “elite”, but the following players have all been obtained by their current teams via trade or free agency: LeBron, Kobe, Dwight, Dirk, Chris Paul, Melo, KG, Ray Allen, Pau & Marc, Z-Bo, D-Will, Bosh, Al Jefferson, Harden, Iggy, Lee, Ellis. I’d guess you’d question “elite” status of a few of these, but that depends where one draws the line.

        “the higher you pick, the higher probability of landing an elite player”

        There’s certainly no denying that, but aside from it mostly being a crapshoot beyond the first 1-3 draftees, a team has to rely on lottery luck. Some of the other “elite” players currently in the league, and the “Xth” best lottery odds those teams had in obtaining them:
        KD………………. 5
        Rose……………. 9
        Irving……………. 8
        Curry……………. 7
        Anthony Davis…4
        Paul George…..10
        Parker………….. zero (picked 28th)
        Pierce………….. 10
        Nash…………….. zero (picked 15th)

        Over the past 4 drafts, the Raptors have had the following “Xth” best odds of winning the lottery:

        9th – didn’t have the lottery luck the Bulls had the year before to get Rose, retained the 9th pick and got Derozan. Not much to argue that pick.

        13th: again retained the 13th spot and picked ED. Not much to argue that pick

        3rd: couldn’t even keep a top 3 pick, while 8th best chance got Irving, and Raps wound up 5th, picking JV. Nothing to argue that pick

        8th: retained 8th and picked Ross (success to be determined), Too bad we didn’t have LAC’s or Cavs luck and get top pick from 8th best chance.

        How many years do you think the Raps should tank and hope for lottery luck, and what “Xth” best chance should they target? 1-3 isn’t having much lottery luck, but we’ve tried 8/9 and weren’t able to land a Rose/Irving/Griffin like their teams did. The facts are that the draft lottery has not been kind to the Raptors at all, and us fans need to stop dreaming of such luck being “the answer”.

        • WhiteVegas

          Great job. What’s your response Tim?

          • Tim W.

            Well, the comment was not a reply to me, but my response is this…

            • WhiteVegas

              Your response is a long winded article? Never saw that coming……

              • Tim W.

                Intelligent discussion requires depth. Sometimes that means long answers. If you really want to understand my point, I suggest reading the post. It makes a very good case.

              • morons

                lmao I gave you a thumbs up for that, wish i could give more

                • Nilanka15

                  That’s because you’re a moron.

        • Nilanka15

          I should’ve footnoted my “the draft is the only way to obtain elite talent” comment with “unless you’re a desirable market”. I didn’t do so because I assumed it was universally understood.

          Miami, New York, LA, Boston, etc. are desirable markets, and can attract elite talent via free agency. Toronto isn’t in that category.

          You’ve demonstrated that the draft isn’t a sure bet to win you elite talent, but I never made that claim. My claim is that the Raptors’ only realistic way to acquire elite talent is through the draft (when compared to free agency or trade).

          • WhiteVegas

            How about Houston, which just acquired an elite Harden. Houston is not a desireable market in even sniffing distance of Miami, New York, LA, Boston, yet they did it.

            • Tim W.

              It’s not impossible, to be sure, but you’re pointing to one example. I can point a dozen examples of teams that got their franchise player through the draft.

              Just because you heard a guy survived jumping out of a plane without a parachute, doesn’t mean it would be a good idea to do it yourself.

            • Nilanka15

              Sure, I’ll give you that. But relying on a small-market team (with 3 star players) choosing to not pay one of them seems like an even longer shot to improve the Raptors, than the draft.

          • morons

            you should’ve footnoted that you’re a fucking retard.

            • Nilanka15

              Bargnani still sucks.