I know there is a large contingent of Raptors fans that desperately want their team to tank, but I got news for you: Tanking ain’t easy.

Being really really bad is easy – just strip a roster of all its talent and put an incompetent coach on the sidelines – but that’s not the same as tanking.

Tanking demands a certain balance of savvy and luck, because (in theory) you are tanking now so that you can win later, which means that getting that balance right is essential. Yes, you want to be bad; bad enough to ensure a really high draft pick because high draft picks are the reason you’re tanking. However, you don’t want to be so bad that you can’t pull yourself out of your tailspin when you’ve acquired the assets that you wanted (right Detroit?). You don’t want to be so bad that you stunt the development of the young players you already have (right, Sacramento?). You don’t want to be so bad that the fan base doesn’t care when you decide that you’re ready to win again (right Charlotte?).

Then there is your competition. Yes, there is legitimate competition nowadays when a team decides to tank. It’s become widely accepted that it’s better to be bad than mediocre, so teams that are facing mediocrity are increasingly looking to strip their roster bare in the name of tanking. That means that you can’t just be bad, anymore, you have to be worse than the teams that are trying to tank alongside you. Going the tanking route and ending up with the 7th or 8th pick in the draft is sort of a lose-lose proposition: you threw away a season and didn’t even get a noteworthy pick as recompense. Much like the teams vying for titles at the top of the NBA, some teams are just better equipped to win (or lose) based on their personnel and circumstances. Try as they might, some teams just can’t make themselves bad enough to justify going the tanking route.

Then there are the picks themselves – remember how they’re technically supposed to be attached to real, living people? Well, those prospects sometimes don’t play ball with a team’s tanking strategies. Sometimes a blue chip prospect doesn’t pan out in college like everyone thought they would (Adam Morrison). Even worse, sometimes a prospect does enough to get themselves into the top-five conversation only to decide to stay in school (Perry Jones) or overseas (Dario Saric) and bypass the draft for a year. Suddenly that deep draft pool that got a team interested in tanking is a lot shallower by draft night, and you don’t get that lost season back on draft night just because you’re facing a group of unremarkable players that won’t help eradicate the memory of a season of embarrassing losses.

Of course, sometimes you get a nice high pick in a nice deep draft and still lose out because playing the draft is a gamble, always has been and always will be. Sometimes players don’t develop like you think they will (Sebastian Telfair). Sometimes injuries derail a career before it has even started (Greg Oden). Sometimes the player is everything you’d hoped for but he doesn’t want to play with your franchise after a couple of years (you know who). Sometimes they are good-but-not-great but to avoid losing them you overpay them (Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay), crippling your team’s salary cap and preventing the roster from improving enough to challenge for more than a Playoff spot.

It’s funny, too, when one looks back at oft-cited of high draft picks that  turned into franchise-altering success stories. Two of them, Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant, came about because of injuries, not tanking. Derrick Rose went to Chicago because the Bulls jumped eight spots at the lottery. The Clippers were awful for decades before they landed Blake Griffin, and he didn’t turn the franchise around so much as he made the franchise palatable for Chris Paul two years ago.

In fact, looking at the 2013 Playoff picture, I can only count two instances of successful tanking breeding success. The first is Oklahoma City, who didn’t tank to get Durant but opted to tank once they had him so that they could secure guys like Russell Westbook and James Harden. So, in their case they tanked not for their game-changer but for his support system. The other example would be Golden State and, like OKC, they only tanked at the end of the 2011-12 season to ensure that they were bad enough to keep their draft pick (it would have gone to Utah) and they landed Harrison Barnes as a result. Before that they were going for it and were just bad, and they lucked out at getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson with the 7th and 11th picks, respectively.

On the other side of the coin you have a lot of examples of Playoff teams that rebuilt on the fly, without every completely committing to a tank-job (San Antonio, Indiana, Houston, Denver, Memphis, Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers), and their successes cannot be ignored in any discussion about merits and demerits of stripping a roster bare and tanking.

Tanking is simply one strategy. One of many. I’d argue it makes as much sense as any other strategy, and as far as strategies goes if you have the personnel to pull it off. If you aren’t set up right for tanking, though, you have to go a different way.

For the Raptors, I’m just not sure that they have the right personnel to successfully pull off a tank job. Firstly, you have Jonas Valanciunas locked-in as the closest thing the club has to a young franchise player, and he’s probably already better than any young assets in Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix and Milwaukee. Secondly, you have a club that appears motivated to at least start the season with Rudy Gay flanking him, and despite his warts Gay is more talented than anyone on most of the expected tanking candidates. Thirdly, you have a coach on a one-year contract that you would have a very hard time convincing to make tanking-based decisions, especially if 2011-12 is any example. Then if all that wasn’t enough, you have an organization that has been bad for so long they are starting to lose relevancy in their home market, which makes tanking an unappetizing proposition from a managerial position, too.

I’ve used this word a lot since Masai Ujiri took over the club, but I think his philosophy, both generally and with the Raptors specifically, is to be opportunistic. He doesn’t lock himself dogmatically into one way of doing things, he keeps himself in a position to be flexible, to make moves when the right moves make themselves available and waits patiently until those kinds of moves are there. I don’t think that he’ll ever commit whole hog to tanking because it tends to kill flexibility and the odds are too long that you actually get a payout at the end worthy of the sacrifice. He’ll acquire picks when he can because picks have value no matter what a team’s strategy is. He’ll try and avoid large, onerous, multi-year contracts unless the player is both truly worth it and can still be moved later. He’ll make moves that allow him to accomplish his immediate goals while also retaining the flexibility to change course down the road because that affords him the luxury of being able to shift when something isn’t working and going all in when something is.

For those that think this draft is worth tanking for, though, I offer this: no less than seven teams appear to be down for a tank job this season (Orlando, Charlotte, Phoenix, Sacramento, Philadelphia, Boston and Milwaukee) and more could be added to that list if injuries derail another team’s season. I also submit that at least one of the highly-touted prospects this NCAA season won’t live up to his potential and that every year at least one lottery prospect decides to stay in school, so let’s play the odds and say one stays next year, too.

Now let’s look at the Raptors. They’d need to unload Gay and Lowry, for sure, in order to plummet to the depths of some of those aforementioned teams, and they couldn’t take legit talent back because that might help the team win. Since neither Gay nor Lowry guarantees you great draft picks (their respective contract situations make it hard for teams to surrender picks for them), you’d probably lose value in any transaction that respects the hopes of being bad enough next year to ‘compete’ with the league’s worst teams. Losing value in a trade is almost never a good management strategy, and it certainly runs counter to Ujiri’s history as a team GM.

If they did trade Gay and Lowry for pennies on the dollar, though, they’d still be at the mercy of the lottery balls. Charlotte had one of history’s worst-ever seasons two years ago (in theory, a tanking victory) while trying to land Anthony Davis and they missed out on him by one pick. Yes, 2014 offers more potential franchise-changing talent than 2012, but there is also much more competition vying for it. How much would the Raptors really need to sacrifice in order to get in on the tanking game in a real way, and if one is thinking dispassionately do the rewards really outweigh the risks in such a scenario?

I guess that’s a decision that each fan must make for themselves, but I don’t think those that favour the risk will be enamoured of Ujiri’s strategy. He had some real success building opportunistically in Denver, leveraging assets to make the team a little better after every transaction. You have to figure there is a reason the Raptors were willing to throw all that money at Ujiri to bring him back to Toronto, and I have to believe one of the biggest reasons would be Ujiri’s dexterity at building a competitor in Denver without resorting to tanking.

Tanking is an ugly business, and despite the strategy’s growing number of supporters, it guarantees nothing and hasn’t exactly proven to be a more viable path to rebuilding than any other route. Like I said, it’s a strategy, one of many, and not one that I think the Raptors would benefit from employing in the immediate future.

  • DanH

    One note about trading Gay and Lowry – they could both potentially walk for nothing at the end of the year. So pennies on the dollar is not always the worst outcome.

    • DDayLewis

      It comes down to a question of what MU thinks is more valuable; cap space, or the assets acquired through trade.

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

        Colangelo favoured cap space. I never thought that was a good strategy. I hope Ujiri doesn’t.

        • DDayLewis

          Cap space is an asset. Colangelo mismanaged that asset. It doesn’t mean that it’s useless.

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

            It’s not that I don’t think cap space is an asset, especially if you’re not focused on signing free agents. But considering 22 other teams are projected to have cap space next summer, I don’t see it being very valuable, quite frankly.

            • DDayLewis

              Good point. It’s still a question of what’s more valuable; the cap space of letting Gay walk, or his return in a trade. Ironically, a return like an expiring + a young prospect would be excellent.

              • Toronto Tanks

                Chisholm’s article is well written but I still agree with Tim W. We need an elite player to contend and we can only accomplish that through the draft bc our best free agent draw was Hedo Turk.. Then we have to retain that pick beyond the rookie contract.

                The NBA is crooked. Crooked refs, crooked drafts. If we tank and put ourselves in the mix of the worst teams then the NBA will magically make it happen that we get the 1st pick and Wiggins. He’s are only chance in the 20yr history of the franchise to get an elite player that wants to stay here and make Toronto relevant. Then the Beibers and Drakes will get courtside tix. I Don’t see us going to Seattle bc the fan base is strong but season tix and corporate boxes could decline like the Jays. The NBA is very determined to expand into the international market to rival soccer and baseball. Not that they could compete with soccer but other than the WNBA they’ve reached saturation in their domestic market. Yes, the NBA wants competition and the opportunity for organic stories like Jeremy Lin but it is a business and they exploit and manipulate where needed.

                I know I sound like a conspiracy nut and i that have more skepticism than evidence, however, it is also naive to believe that the health and interest of the league is driven by the integrity of the sport and not by money.

                I dont agree that Miami can build super teams bc of their location and we get Hedo. Just like I dont like watching Mark McGuire or Lance Armstrong. However, if we finish bottom 8 and the lottery ball drops with the raps at #1 then there is some justice. Having said that, I am a big Julius Randle fan which is consolation but he’d probably bolt after 4 years.

                Lastly, if the raps want to re-brand their logo then I vote for the Toronto Tanks. We get Wiggins, try to contend and some 11yr kid grows up in Vaughn (or somewhere in GTA, Canada) watching, becomes a star and we tank for him. Sound crazy? Well, some Americans think that we ALL live in igloos. We’re a joke to them. Wiggins on home court with Drake in the stands would make them recognize. When Leiweke talks about culture, that’s is the LA culture that he’s importing (even tho the product was originally domestic).

                • ItsAboutFun

                  You lose credibility with “crooked drafts”. The way it’s conducted makes it impossible to fix, but I can’t be bothered to try and explain it again to someone that is so spooked.

                • toronto tanks

                  I know that the draft odds are pre-determined and i think they might use ernst&young to oversee the lottery so on the surface it seems fair and impartial. just seems odd the way the stars align for some teams on certain years and create story lines. Cleveland comes to mind. They get the number one pick they year that lebron enters the draft and its great for marketing bc he’s from akron. similar story to wiggins being from toronto. cleveland is a backwater nba destination just like toronto (arguably we are more so bc of the great white north stigma). now that lebron split seems like clevelend is being compensated with multiple first picks (against the odds). Why would the nba want their most marketable player to spend half his time in cleveland!?

                  raptors themselves couldnt retain any of their marquee talent (mcgrady, carter) in trying to establish themselves as an expansion team. Then bosh looks like he might be able to help us turn that corner and we get the exec of the year and the number one pick. Then bosh bolts to where else? Miami.

                  the argument about a team needing x,y, and z to land a free agent – one word response – SHazaam!

                  Shaq bolts on Orlando to play for LAkers and launch his movie career. the business of nba is entertainment. they need their players to be marketed and the best place to do that is in premier cities with a lot of media exposure. that’s why rogers and bell bought the sports francises in this city – modelled after LA and NYC.

                  i think in most instances the nba lets the chips fall as they may but they also intervene in opportunistic situations. i agree that my comments are “rash” but the same could be said if I had questioned the officiating 10 years ago and probably there was some corruption back then as well. its not that an official threw every game or play but it happens when the opportunity to gainfully exploit the system presents itself. corporations and governments are so corrupt but yet the NBA is a model on business ethics and all that is pure and righteous in the world? That naivete seems more delusional to me than the reality of the money-driven world we live in.

                  i’ve noticed many people on RR make simpsons references. in the Model UN episode, Canada’s is represented by Ralph Wiggum. That is what AMericans think of Canada. We’re their naive, stupid, a-social little brother. If the raps made the finals what would the tv rating looks like? terrible. if the knicks play the lakers – threw the roof. how many raps games are on nbc – 0. how many if they were a contender – still 0. if they won the champion – 1 the following year against the team they beat to win (maybe).

                  honestly, i know my skepticism is far-fetched but i am way more surprised at the reticence of most to accept the possibility. Corruption is everywhere. They’re not throwing a ball in peach basket with James Naismith anymore. They’ve crossed the rubicon, no longer peering down the rabbitt hole Alice. It’s a multinational corporation with intent to expand. Why do they send players to make pr in the four corners of the earth? bc the players want to go? dont’ worry will just clear cap space and lebron, wade and bosh will sign with us next. they’ll be drinking cocktails with the sun tropics bikini team on the lakeshore in december.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  That’s quite the rant, but however cynical you are about the business of the NBA (and I do share some of it, btw), going way beyond the use of Ernst & Young as auditors, the methodology of how the lottery is conducted makes it 100% impossible to fix, unless you think reps from the other 13 lottery teams, plus several media people present in the room, all go along with this conspiracy.

                • toronto tanks

                  Richard Branson will soon make Outer Space a tourist attraction but the NBA draft is 100% impossible to fix? Tell that to the Florida voters whom elected Al Gore. If you’re running a business are you going to base your decisions on random ping-pong balls? I’m not saying it happens at every turn but when necessary I think it is justified for the overall health of the league. For example, the Hornets move to New Orleans, which suffers the BP spill and Katerina and they get Anthony Davis to help them build the franchise. Conversely, we lose a coin toss to GSW and end up with Ross instead of Barnes. Small potatoes, no need to intervene, the league retains its impartially and maintains legitimacy. They pick their battles and maintain the veneer of integrity.
                  Even within a single game the black hand of the league is unveiled in small ways. the home team is gettting blown out by a stacked away team and all of sudden the away team gets 3 in key calls, chippy fouls, generally debatable calls that weren’t happening from the outset. the league is selling a product, not collecting scientific data on the evolution of the sport.
                  all im saying is that corruption is everywhere so why not in the nba? especially when i frequently see convenient coincidences that create dramatic narratives by someone trying to convince me to buy their product. I’m still a fan bc the athletes are phenomenal and Im happy to see great basketball regardless of the team but it’s bigger than that, otherwise I’d watch olympic sports year round instead of every 4. The league has successfully marketed the personalities of the players into a drama. That’s not an accident, that’s packaging. So why is the draft, the entry point for the raw materials, exempt? Why doesn’t the league allow the worst team to pick fist? bc the league imposes are measure of control to retain competition. Why did the magic draft number one overall two years in a row and then make it to the finals and then the league amended the rule so expansion teams couldnt draft first for several years into their existence? bc the old guard teams like the knicks bitched. so the league can and does pull strings. then nba execs are not benevolent gods of basketball, they’re business men.
                  all this is to say, if the raps fall bottom 8 then i think they will get Wiggins. MU puts on a good face when he says that he doesnt want to disturb the “karma” by tanking. he doesnt want to outright tank but if they flounder out of the gate then he’d get the “karm[ic]” ok to blow it up and salvage the franchise with wiggins. all raps nation would forget the past 6 years in an instant. it’s no coincidence that leiweke is here. the league is exported the LA/nyc model to bell/rogers. anyway, im exhausted by my own rant now and have a life. i dont have the answers but i recognize the questions.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  “Richard Branson will soon make Outer Space a tourist attraction but the
                  NBA draft is 100% impossible to fix? Tell that to the Florida voters
                  whom elected Al Gore.”

                  The methodologies are completely different, so your point is meaningless. Sorry. When you demonstrate even some semblance of understanding of how the NBA conducts the lottery, perhaps we can have a sensible discussion. Until then, it’s just a waste of time.

                  As for the rest of your rant, none of it has anything to do with what you feel is certainty that the draft lottery is fixed, but I feel sorry for you that you feel such anguish over a sport that you choose to follow.

                • toronto tanks

                  a certain number of ping-pong balls are assigned to a each lottery team based on their record (25% of the total for the first 4 worst team, 12.5%, 6.25%, etc – something like that). the ping-pongs are draw “at random” out of machine until the 14 lottery teams are assigned the draft order. more or less the jist? so it’s 100% impossible to rig that system? it’s way more complex to rig the US federal elections or go to the moon but it happened. but reality can’t stretch so far to entertain the possibility that the NBA could rig a ping-pong ball dispenser?

                  i dont anguish over it. i actually prefer NCAA even tho i know certain teams bribe their players and have an edge every year. sorry to let that cat out the bag for you too. quelle suprise! but the raps are my local and i want to see them do well but the reality is that elite players dont want to be here (vince and tmac could have dominated as cousins but would rather split to get more exposure and stay in america). draft is the only way and wiggins actually wants to be drafted here. better odds than building a championship around rudy or trading him for an elite player.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Snark warrants snark. You should try having a clue about how something is done before being so certain, never mind so smart-ass, about your conspiracy boogie man. But hey, I nguess reality would spoil your fun. From your obvious lack of desire to even investigate how it’s conducted, I doubt you have the grey matter to understand the implications of how it can’t be rigged, so I’m done with you. Enjoy, I guess.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Well, super moderator deleted a post with no notification of what the issue with it was,,, again. So I’ll try and treat you with softer kid gloves.

                  What you’ve demonstrated is that you really haven’t a clue how the lottery is conducted, so you can’t possibly understand the intricacies of how it’s impossible to fix. What can I say, except that I hope you find a way to eliminate the conspiracy boogie man from your daily life.

                • toronto tanks

                  Here’s the “intricacies” (aka Ping-Pong balls) straight out of the horses’ mouth:

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq-QVy7cBNw

                  I’m not saying that it is rigged bc there isnt any proof but I’m certainly not saying that it’s “100% impossible to fix”. It’s not a bogeyman, cheating happens at all level of sport, in every industry/government/religion, across the world, throughout time. Except the NBA is sacrosanct? Obviously you can at least entertain the idea bc you’ve made several posts so it can’t be 100% out of the realm of possibility. You can’t deny that Donaghy fixed games. Shady business went down with Kirilenko recently. There is corruption in the NBA – just like everywhere!. And there are convenient coincidences that happen in the draft. The NBA owned the Hornets and needed a buyer at that same they attached the #1 pick (A Davis) to the team. It’s probably a coincidence but im cynical bc corruption is a fact of life. there isnt any evidence but i wouldnt be shocked if it came out anymore than when the Donaghy story came out. shit happens. it’s not 100% infallible. absolution is a theory. we dont live in a bubble. although we occasionally burst someone else’s bubble on raptors republic :)

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Once again you bring in straw man arguments, like Donaghy and Kirilenko, that have nothing to do with how the lottery is conducted. Oh well, weak arguments are usually full of that.

                  Your video presentation doesn’t even come close to describing the intricacies. A little research would help your education, but since I now have a little time to kill, and you’re so determined to attempt to legitimize your bogeyman, allow me.

                  There are 14 ping pong balls used. A winner is not determined by the drawing of 1 ball, but by the combination of 4 balls drawn, of which there are 1001 possible results. Teams are assigned “x” number of combinations, dependent upon their lottery position, ranging from 250 down to 5.

                  So there are 14 balls in the drum. Though it’s done behind closed doors to the public (all about TV drama bullshit), representatives from ALL 14 lottery teams are in the room, as well as several media invitees, along with the auditors.

                  There are not 1, but 3 draws to occur. Note that these are all done using the same balls. So 4 balls are drawn from the machine to determine the #1 pick. Those balls are then returned to the machine, to be used in 2 more draws for the #2 and #3 picks.

                  Now answer this: if 4 balls are somehow rigged, wouldn’t those same 4 balls keep coming back up, over and over? And if so, would you really think that the other bottom feeders would accept such suspicious behaviour of the balls, year after year? The thing is, the same four balls DO NOT keep coming up. In fact, they have no problem executing 3 different draws of 4 balls, using the same balls, in the same simple machine, without being submitted to rigged balls coming up over and over again.

                  Since you continuously scoff at my statement that it’s impossible to fix, tell me how you think it could be, and nobody would be blowing the whistle. How strong is your bogeyman “bubble”?

                • toronto tank

                  It’s not a bogeyman, it’s exploitation which is embedded in capitalism and fueled by greed. Donaghy is relevant bc it proves that real people involved can cheat the system and that corruption exists in the nba – not bogeymen. also, the league didnt blow the whistle on Donaghy, the FBI did.

                  i have no idea how they can rig their ping-pong dispenser but any system of security can be re-engineered. i dont know bc i dont design these systems and this particular one is carried out behind closed doors. but i do know that anything is possible and nothing is impossible. especially when so much money is on the line. vegas makes similar claims that their systems are fair and infallible but those machines are often rigged too. if they control the machine to make random draws then that is a form of manipulation (to produce random results) then its also possible to manipulate the system to produce controlled results. you can set your ipod to random or select a particular song. i know you will say that’s “different methodologies” but it’s really just computer engineering and software design. not an earth shattering revelation. it happens and it’s not a matter of the perfection of the machine, it’s a matter of the will of the operator and many people are corrupt or make corrupt decisions.

                  i think you’re misinterpreting my argument. i never said that all the teams are in on it. i never said that every pick is determined. i never said that it happens every draft. i simply said that there are convenient coincidences in isolated incidents that are suspicious bc the circumstances typically involve money. I have already conceded that the draft is probably not fixed, probably not even for one pick, but your contention that it’s impossible is not a sustainable or a realistic argument bc nothing is impossible. it’s just a ping-pong ball dispenser – it’s not a time machine or a bio-engineered god particle. it’s a machine that drops ping-pong balls down a chute.

                  “if 4 balls are somehow rigged, wouldn’t those same 4 balls keep coming back up, over and over?”

                  You assume it’s the balls and not the machine (even tho the balls can be rigged like weighted dice – far fetched but it happens and therefore not impossible). I’d just be speculating bc I don’t even know what the machine looks like bc it all done behind this wizard of oz shroud of secrecy. do u have a pic? why do you think it is impossible? if it’s possible to build the machine then why is it impossible to manipulate it? you cling to this absolute idea as if the nba (of all places) were the last bastion of moral and ethical practice left in the world. if someone did blow the whistle would you cry? there is a possibility both bc it’s a machine that can be manipulated and more so bc the operator has a vested interest in the outcome and therefore a motive. it’s not the same as a public lottery, it’s an internal lottery that can decide the next decade of their business and an unfathomable amount of money.

                  We can argue about this for the rest of our natural lives but I will never submit to an absolute idea, particularly when that argument pertains to the possibility of manipulating a ping-pong ball dispenser. Human kind has accomplished many greater feats but to your mind it is impossible. Perhaps your brain is a ping-pong ball dispenser?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  “Perhaps your brain is a ping-pong ball dispenser?”

                  I’d respond in kind, but unlike you, my posts get deleted.

                  *shaking head*. I hope he gets help.

                • DDayLewis

                  Seriously? What factors have to conspire to sign a free agent? You need four things;

                  1) The GM wants to sign him

                  2) The player wants to sign with the team

                  3) The team needs cap space

                  4) Ownership needs to okay the signing

                  The fact that our biggest free agency signings in the last 7 years has been Kleiza, Turk, and Fields, rather than Lebron or Howard, does not necessarily mean that Toronto can’t sign a free agent of note. How often has Toronto had 1, 3, 4? If Toronto consistently has cap space, the desire to sign a player, and ownership approval, and they still can’t draw a free agent, then we can suggest that Toronto isn’t a draw. Otherwise, how on earth can we come to such conclusions? Aren’t we being a little rash?

                  The NBA is crooked? How so? I’m not saying that it isn’t, but to what degree is it crooked? How can we be sure it’s crooked? You understand that the NBA draft lottery is just what it is, right? A lottery. Your odds are predetermined, and they weren’t wrong if the balls drop out of order.

                  Guys like Bieber and Drake sit courtside all the time.

                  Drake:
                  http://amumag.com/images/2013/03/Drake_Attends_Toronto_Raptors_Game_.jpg

                  Biebs
                  http://cdn03.cdnwp.celebuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/29/7Justin-Bieber-Raptors-Game-122811-600×450.jpg

                  And there’s no way that Toronto will lose the Raptors. We have an adequate facility, stable (and rich) ownership and a loyal fanbase who always attend games, irregardless of team performance.

                  http://espn.go.com/nba/attendance

                  Miami didn’t build a superteam because of their location. Miami built their superteam because they had enough cap space and offered Bosh, Wade and Lebron the exclusive opportunity to play together. Nobody else had that. See points 1-4? 1) Reily wanted these three, 2) bosh and bron wanted miami because Wade and the three of them will likely win multiple championships 3) they had cap space and 4) Ownership grew tumescent at the idea of three superstars enriching his product.

                  How the fuck does moving from 8 to 1 equate to justice? It’s just probability. Remember when we won the first pick and got Bargnani that one year? We had the 7th best chance to get the number 1 pick. It’s a simple case of probability. If you play craps and bet on 1 six times in a row, and 1 doesn’t come up even once, are you suggesting that the dice is rigged?

                  You really don’t understand that tanking does not equate to Wiggins, right? It’s a lottery just to get to the number one pick (at best your odds are 1/4), and then you can get Wiggins, or whomever you want. Yes, the idea of getting him is great; I’d love for the hometown boy to take up the charge and bring Toronto to the promised land, but a lot has to break out way to make that happen, even if we do the best tank job in the world.

                  Lastly, people need to stop with the idea that these players are idiots and misinformed. The majority of NBA players have wise council and shrewd business agents handling their clients. They’ve all been to Toronto and they know it’s not a shithole of a city because it isn’t. They’re not all after strip clubs and beaches, and it’s generalizing, borderline racist to suggest that is the case.

                • What the

                  welcome to Leiwekes world

          • jeffdg

            +1

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        Cap space is simply ridiculous because the Raptors are in no ways able to entice marquee free agents. Lowry is both inexpensive and over rated. DJ Augustin will most likely upstage him the same way Jose Calderon did last season, or Goran Dragic did while Kyle was in Houston. So trading him won’t be TOO much of a loss.

        As for Gay, I think that we will be able to keep him because huge will finally have a team that is 100 percent behind him unlike Memphis. I think that we can keep him for at least an additional three years giving the Raptors at least three solid playoff runs with the team they currently have.

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

          Of course, the question then becomes, do the Raptors WANT to keep Gay, especially for what they’d have to pay him? Is he really worth the $15-$20 million a year they’d probably have to pay him? I certainly don’t think so. And I don’t think keeping him guarantees the playoffs. They very well could miss out on the playoffs next season. Are you going to want to pay him, then?

          • ItsAboutFun

            ” Is he really worth the $15-$20 million a year they’d probably have to pay him?”

            Where do you come up with these numbers? You constantly present flawed opinions as facts. Iggy, an all-star, got $12M, Josh Smith got, what $13M, so what’s “probable” about Gay getting so much more than them? You think he’s that much better than them? Or you’re just throwing out outlandish numbers to fit your argument?

            Perhaps you’re better served sticking to regurgitating what you read on the internet. Any more choice quotes from that NY DJ that specializes in writing about fashion?

          • Slap Dog Hoops

            Yes he is. you folk really do not know how basketball works, do you? Or even professional sports in general. You have to pay to play. Rudy Gay is a bonafide star who can play both sides of the floor very well. He’s a career 20ppg scorer and have verage more than 6 boards and a steal per game. There are players who are not nearly as good as him and they get way more money. Just look at Carmelo Anthony–yes I said it!!! Rudy Gay is BETTER than Carmelo Anthony. Carmello is simply a gun who offer little if anything else wheras Gay is a more complete player on both ends of the floor.

            • Rap fan 2

              I like Rudy Gay. I think he can play on par with Lebron and Carmelo as long as he keeps working to refine, expand and become more efficient offensively. He can definitely guard them effectively. Most NBA players keep working to get better. Carmelo skill set currently leans towards the offensive side of things. Both Lebron and Rudy are more two way players. Lebron is currently a more tenacious defender. He’s is also a better facilitator. Carmelo is a ball hog.

        • DDayLewis

          Are you serious? You think DJ fucking Augustin will overtake Lowry? The guy who couldn’t get more than a 1 year, 1.3 million dollar contract? Look, Calderon and Dragic are very good, basically just as good as Lowry. Trading Lowry and handing the keys to Augustin would be disastrous. Augustin couldn’t even get minutes in Charlotte. Don’t forget, he was the PG of the 7-win Bobcats.

          Oh, so Gay just hasn’t gotten support? Memphis definitely wasn’t 100% behind him. That’s why they signed him to a max-extension and let him use up ~25% of all possessions. If you can get Gay for the right price, you get him. But he’ll likely command a big contract because teams love “stars” and guys who can score (inefficiently, or efficiently, it doesn’t matter). Gay is talented, meaning he can do a lot of things, but he’s never been a very productive player (in terms of helping a team win).

          And finally, cap space is stupid. Oh boy. You understand that cap space is good for things other than free agency, right? You understand that it’s financial flexibility. You understand how with cap space, you can help make trades happen? Financial flexibility also allows you to sign players to extensions, too, right? And finally, from a business prospective, are you really suggesting that businesses shouldn’t care about how much expenses are involved?

          • Slap Dog Hoops

            Yeah, DJ Augustin can certainly overtake Lowry. Like I said, Lowry is overrated and he has shown that plenty of times. He was not that great last season averaging just 11ppg on .400 shooting. Heck Agustin can do the same thing plus take care of the ball better. And I have to disagree with you saying that Lowry us Just as good as Jose Calderon or Goran Dragic. Look at their numbers, you can see that statement you said is completely ludicous.

            As for Gay, you are way off base on that too. He has not been that inefficient as you claim–in fact he’s probably more efficient than a whole lot of players playeing the same minutes–certainly more efficient than Loul Deng, Andre Igoudala, or Paul George. The Raptors would be wise to keep him and it looks like he may even stay as he is the perfect environment to flourish in and Toronto can probably pay him the most thanks to Larry Bird rights.

            As for my cap soace comment, think about this? WTF is the use of cap space if no one wants the money that you are willing to offer? The biggest name that the Raptors had been able to attract in free agency ever was Hedo Turkoglu and we all know how that ended up. Ubless you can attract superstar talent–ie Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, etc–having oodles of cap space is essentially useless. And finally, on your argument of caring how much expenses are involved, what the use about caring about things like that when you are not winning. .

            • DDayLewis

              You are aware that Augustin averaged 4.7 ppg last season, right? He shot 35% from the field and was basically exclusively a three point shooter. Lowry’s TS% (that’s factoring 3 pointers and free throws) has been higher than Augustin’s in every single season of his career (except Augustin’s rookie season). They’re roughly equal in turnover percentage (16.8 for DJ vs 17.7 for Lowry), but Lowry handles a much higher offensive load (Lowry had a 5% higher usage rate last year). Finally, I have looked at the numbers for Calderon, Dragic and Lowry. You can look over them as well:

              http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=lowryky01&y1=2013&p2=caldejo01&y2=2013&p3=dragigo01&y3=2013

              It’s pretty clear that Calderon and Lowry are better than Dragic (.135, .121 WS/48 for Calderon and Lowry, .091 WP/48 for Dragic), although if you take out Dragic’s first two seasons, he’s right up there. Each point guards produce in different ways; Calderon shoots efficiently, passes well and avoids turnovers, Lowry rebounds very well, steals and blocks excellently and Dragic is above average across the board.

              I also looked at the numbers for Gay, Deng, Iggy and George. They are here:

              http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=gayru01&y1=2013&p2=iguodan01&y2=2013&p3=denglu01&y3=2013&p4=georgpa01&y4=2013

              As you can see, Gay is clearly the odd one out (0.80 WS/48 vs 1.22 for Deng, 1.35 for George and .1.23 for Iggy). However, you are correct about their shooting efficiency being approximately the same (Gay is last with a career TS% of .525, followed by Deng at .526, George at .540 and Iggy at .550). However, the other players each produce more because they contribute across the board.

              I have no idea what you mean by the perfect environment to allow Gay to flourish here in Toronto. Memphis gave plenty of opportunities for Gay to produce, and he never was able to justify that contract (which isn’t his fault). In his brief 32 game stint in Toronto last year, he averaged a career low .68 WS/48. I’m not sure if you remember, but the stats remember. He took 4.1 shots per game from 16-23 feet (the least efficient shot) and only made 27% of those. You can weep over his shot chart/efficiencies here:

              http://www.hoopdata.com/player.aspx?name=Rudy%20Gay

              Again, you completely ignored my rebuttal. Cap space is not just money to spend on free agents. It’s financial flexibility. It allows you to facilitate trades, extend players, and sign players. The Raptors haven’t had enough money to woo bigger name free agents, so how can you be sure that they can’t attract one in the future? I posted this in response to a similar argument:

              eriously? What factors have to conspire to sign a free agent? You need four things;

              1) The GM wants to sign him

              2) The player wants to sign with the team

              3) The team needs cap space

              4) Ownership needs to okay the signing

              The fact that our biggest free agency signings in the last 7 years has been Kleiza, Turk, and Fields, rather than Lebron or Howard, does not necessarily mean that Toronto can’t sign a free agent of note. How often has Toronto had 1, 3, 4? If Toronto consistently has cap space, the desire to sign a player, and ownership approval, and they still can’t draw a free agent, then we can suggest that Toronto isn’t a draw. Otherwise, how on earth can we come to such conclusions? Aren’t we being a little rash?

              Finally, your argument is that management shouldn’t care about costs because the raptors are losing? Really?

          • Rap fan 2

            If it were me, I would play Dwight Buycks more than D.J.. Try to develop him more. If the Raptors get a great trade offer for Kyle then I would want to start and develop the more rookie players like Dwight and Quincy Acy and Terrance Ross.

            • Slap Dog Hoops

              It’s not about development. That ship has already sailed. noe it is time to focus on winning.

            • Slap Dog Hoops

              In terms of Àugustin’s numbers, last season was certainly not his best, but I’m not l;ooking at just one season, but over an entire career and statistically they have been even. Who is to say that given the same amount of minutes, DJ would not produce just as much if not more than Lowry. Like I said, Lowry is not as good as the Toronto media gas him up as being. The way you guys in the TDot talk about him, you would think he was this big All Star acquisition when the fact of the matter is that he is not.

              As for Gay, I will stick by what I said about him and deserves far way more credit than you or those in Memphis gave him. He is certainly among the best small forwards in the league and certainly better than certain player who the media like to tab as “superstars.” And although he averaged a career low in WS/48, you cannot argue with the result of Gay’s effect in Toronto has been. Upon him arriving, the Raptors went 18-18 after starting the season 16-30, and those numbers to me are probably more important than any other numbers you can throw at me.

              And he was certainly at face more efficient a player than Deng, George and Igoudala–people who shocking still carry the undeserved title of marquee players. Both Deng and George shot under .420 from the field, and Iggy played sickeningly average posting just 13,5, and 5 in Denver–no wonder the Nuggets chose to pass on resigning him long term. They saw as many that he is not as wonderful as everyone believes. If anything, I think Gay deserves more credit than he has been given because despite being overlooked for the All Star game every year thus far, no one can argue that he has certainly played like one.

              And I do believe that Toronto will be the perfect place for Gay to thrive as he will become the center of the team’s offense and his leadership on both ends of the floor along with his playoffs experience are the perfect blend to lead a young up and coming team such as the Raptors. In Memphis, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place in ZBo and Marc Gasol and they played a slower grind it out game which did not really play to his strengths. In Toronto, it looks to be a more open court style that will best complement his abilities thus making him a candidate for breakout player of the year.

              As for the salary cap space issue, I still stand by what I say–if Bryan Colangelo, one of the most respected executives EVER in the NBA was unable to bring marquee talent, to Toronto how do expect someone else to? BC tried his best, but he simple could not cross over the hurdle of: a: Toronto being outside of the continental US; and b the sad fact that no one really pays attention to the Raptors south of the 48 degree parallel. It’s a sad fact, but its true. In fact the acquisition of Rudy gay can be considered as on of the best ever n Franchise history. They certainly would not have been able to get a player of that caliber with cap space alone so a deal like that HAD to be made to get Toronto in the right direction–towards playoff contention.

              As for worrying about costs, that in itself is very shortsighted. Name a team that has won an NBA title and remained within the salary cap–not a one. And Toronto is not some small stick town like a Cleveland, Milwaukee, Indianapolis or any of those God forsaken cities. It is truly a World Class city and as a world class city, it should have a World Class team and that cost money. No one has been able to build a playoff team, let alone a championship team on the cheap and I doubt that it ever be done. For the Raptors to be a greater factor in this league than being a simple novelty, the team needs to open its purse strings and start doling the dough out.

              • DDayLewis

                Look, I appreciate debating back and forth with you. That’s the beauty of having a forum like this. However, when I present arguments, especially with regard to player performance, I present evidence. If this discussion is going to be productive, you should likely do the same.

                Speaking of evidence, I compared Augustin and Lowry’s 2011-2012 seasons (because you didn’t think Augustin had his best year last season).

                The two point guards aren’t even close:

                http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=lowryky01&y1=2012&p2=augusdj01&y2=2012

                Look, Lowry isn’t Chris Paul or anything, but he’s pretty good. Guys like Lowry don’t grow on trees and they certainly aren’t available for 1-year 1.3 million like Augustin is. The NBA market isn’t always reflective of player demerits, but nobody wanted Augustin, that’s why he came so cheap. He’s not supplanting anyone.

                I really don’t see how anyone can believe that Memphis didn’t give Gay an opportunity to shine. The man was drafted by the franchise, handed the keys to the offense, and a bloated max contract. What more could Memphis have given him? His usage rate routinely exceeded 25% in his numerous seasons in Memphis. You can’t say he wasn’t getting touches. He is paid like one of the best small forwards in the league, but he does not produce like one.

                Actually, you can argue with those results. Correlation does not equal causation. In addition to small sample size problems, many other factors could have conspired. Not playing Bargnani helps a tonne, Lowry getting healthy/fit was great, difficulty of schedule, sheer randomness. On the surface your stat looks good, but there is very few demerits behind it. In fact, Gay’s shooting numbers actually decreased in his stint in Toronto.

                Also, you know, 18+18=36, and Gay only played 33 games for Toronto last season. That might be a problem.

                But fine. You can believe that Gay is a great player. I hope he can be, but he’s rarely shown that in his 8 seasons in the league. Maybe the 9th will be different.

                Your arguments against Deng, Iggy and George are getting tiring. I already linked to their player comparison pages. These three wings get more love than Gay because they produce more than he does. Deng and George shoot better (again, because these players shoot lots of threes and free throws, the correct number to evaluate shooting efficiency is not FG%, but TS%). Beyond shooting, Deng, George and Iggy all collectively contribute more than Gay does.

                If he keeps getting overlooked for All-Star consideration, is that because he’s underrated by everyone, or just overrated by you? Occam’s Razor rules: you’re probably wrong.

                And please, if you have to use the phrase “no one can argue” to support your argument, you might need to rethink how sturdy your argument really is.

                Your claim that Toronto will be the best place for Gay to flourish is based on him being the center of the offense? Memphis did that for 5 years before they decided to give possessions to guys like Conley, ZBo and Gasol. Why? Because they gave the Grizzlies a better chance of winning (as evidenced by Memphis’s ascension in winning percentage over the last 3 years).

                Your narrative of him being squeezed in Memphis’s offense is simply not true. He was given the reins (25% usage rate) for 5 years before Memphis decided to redistribute touches to ZBo, Gasol and Conley. Why? Because they were better off.

                Oh, and the free-flowing style will suit him more? Like more transition plays? He ranked a dismal 1.19 ppp (points per play), good for 114th in the league last season. Or perhaps you mean giving him the ball more and being the pick and roll ball handler. Only, he averaged .74 ppp on these plays last season (110th). Simple math; the league has 30 teams, so 110/30 means he should probably be the 3/4th option on these offensive plays if a team is distributing their offensive plays correctly.

                Btw these stats are courtesy of synergy sports. Go to their website and look up Gay’s numbers. I can’t like them here for some reason.

                Yes, BC is so respected that nobody has hired him to be their GM. Maybe it’s because he handed out ridiculous contracts to, I don’t know, EVERYONE? Bargnani, Derozan, Hedo, Kleiza, Fields, trading for Marion, trading a draft pick for Jermaine O’Neal, Jason Kapono, the list goes on and on.

                And how many times did his Toronto Raptors make the playoffs? 2 in the last 6 years in a weak East. He left the Raptors in shambles; capped out and with very few assets.

                Again, you cannot say that Toronto cannot attract top free agents because Toronto has never had max cap room + GM initiative + ownership’s OK to do so. I’m not saying that Toronto definitely can’t. I’m saying that I don’t know, but it’s not a certainty either way.

                Very few of the things you say are facts. Facts can be backed up with a combination of history, evidence, or well-reasoned logic.

                I give up on explaining why financial flexibility is good. I’ve already done so twice and the idea is just lost on you. Remember how much you love JV and think he’s the next great center in the NBA? Remember that you’ll need money to sign him.

                Does that explain it a little?

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  Actually you are right Gay did play just 34 games and from the moment he arrived at Toronto, the Raptors went 18-18. In the games he did not play, the Raptors were 1-2, however in the games that he did play the Raptors were 17-16–still far better than their 16-30 start. So no matter what numbers that you throw at me, but the facts remain the same–Gay had been good for Toronto and will possibly will continue to be good for Toronto for years to come.

                  As for you version of Bryan Colangelo’s tenure, I think you are way off because Bryan Colangelo was an exceptional GM for Toronto. In the case of his free agents signing, Bargnarni’s and DeRozan’s contracts were rather reasonable considering their value. Bargnarni recieved about 10$ million per year for 5 years and so did DeRozan–and for two guys that have averaged 15-20ppg over the course of their careers, that;s not too bad.

                  I will give that signing Hedo to that ridiculous sum of money was a mulligan, but BC still managed to unload him the following and got a rather solid and productive player in Leo Barbosa in return. As for Kleiza, BD did not sign him for a big set of money–just 16$ million for four years which again is not THAT much in terms of NBA standards. Had he not been injured, he would have probably been an excellent addition for the Raptors. He had the size and strength to play both the 3 and four, he could score of the dribble, shoot threes and bang in the post. It;s aonly a shame that his injuries held him back.

                  As for Landry Fieldzs, Colangelo did not sign him for a big set of money either signing him to a three year 18$ million deal–a very fair amount for a player of his caliber. In New York he provided excellent perimeter defense, was a clutch shooter and one of the best rebounding shooting guards in the league averaging about 5-7 per game. He was never meant a big time player, but more of a solid role player who could either provide solid minutes as a starter or off the bench; plus he was injured for much of the season thus could not get in a good rhythm. Your analysis of the Marion/O’ Neal trades also misguided as well.

                  Sure Colangelo gave up a first round pick for O’Neal, but it was not a very high pick to begin with, just the 17th, and although it ended up to be Roy Hibbert, he was not expected to anything great because if he were, he would have been picked much higher You also forgot to mention that BC also unloaded a gimpy and disgruntled guard in TJ Ford and although O’Neal’s play had certainly declined, he still provided a solid post presence for the Raptors despite not being able to play to his All Star level. As the season wore on, the Raptors then flipped him for Shawn Marion, trading a contract that had 2 years and roughly 40 million for Marion’s expiring contract. If I remember, the Raptors made the playoff that year too.

                  In terms of Jason Kapono, I would not also call that a mistake because he played pretty well for the Raptors where he led the league in three point FG percentage at .514 in the 2007 season and even won the All Star weekend three point shooting contest against the likes of Diork Nowitzki and Gilbert Arenas. The following year, he also led the league in three point field goal percentage and was the only player in the NBA to ever do that in two consecutive season. Even better, BC also managed to flip him again for one of the league’s best rebounders in Reggie Evans who as a Raptors led not only the team, but league in rebounds.

                  So with all your evidence, it simply goes to show that you were absolutely wrong when it comes to the tenure of Bryan Colangelo. Lets not forget his ability to find diamonds in the rough and undiscovered talent such as Amir Johnson, James Johnson, Jerryd Bayless, Sonny Weems and Alan Anderson. And just remember who was the one who drafted Jonas Valunciunas in the first place and if it were not for Bryan Colangelo, the Raptors would not be in the position where they are in now–namely in a good spot to make the post season.

                  It only shows what little understanding you have of the NBA and the game of basketball when you along with many in Raptor Nation have been misguided in criticizing the tenure of Colangelo. In fact, He did not leave the team in shambles at all as you claim, but stronger than it has ever been in years. Look at the how strong the roster is now–that was because of Colangelo, not because of anybody else. He could have done more, but just like you, the ownership are also just as short sighted worrying too much about the bottom line and not about winning. Thus Colangelo had his hands tied in most respects.

                  Last but certainly not the least, I have to correct you on one last thing. Even if the Raptors were over the caps and the luxury tax theshold, they can still sign Jonas Valunciunas for anything they want and that is because of a little thing called the Larry bird excemption that allows an NBA team to still be able to resign their own free agents despite being over the cap. I hope this has been very educational for you as it is rather clear that with all you stats and number, you know absolutely NOTHING about the Raptors or the NBA.

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

                  On Gay:

                  The team was playing .500 ball before the Gay trade. From the time Bargnani went down with injury, and stopped having a negative effect on the team, the Raptors went 13-12 until Gay’s first game.

                  And if you take out the meaningless games at the end, where teams were either resting their players or had stopped caring, the Raptors were below .500.

                  Is it just cheating to take out the first 22 games and the last handful? No. Bargnani averaged 30 mpg before he got injured and his combined on/off stat was -6.2 ppg. That’s horrible.

                  And no one who watched those last games can honestly say they were meaningful. I wish I remembered who wrote this, but I cut and pasted it into my notes because I figured it would come in handy later.

                  “They won 7 of their last 8 games.
                  Two wins came against Boston and Atlanta when they were resting their best players.

                  Two wins came against the Bulls when they were sitting Deng/Noah/Gibson (and Rose obviously) in the first game and Gibson/Noah in the second. Malcolm Thomas played 25 minutes in one of the games (averaged 5 for the season) and Nazi Mohammed logged 43 minutes at centre in the other (after averaging 11 for the rest of the regular season). Of course the Bulls weren’t explicitly trying to lose but I wouldn’t be using those games as a true gauge for the Raptors potential either. Some of their top players were out of the lineup and they used inferior players for many more minutes than they normally would.

                  Two more of the wins came against the Wizards and Wolves respectively, two lottery bound teams who had it in their best interest to actually lose at this point. The Raptors, coincidentally enough, were on the complete opposite end of this spectrum as they were motivated to win meaningless games so they wouldn’t have to give up a higher draft pick to OKC. Wizards played with no Beal. Wolves started Rubio-Ridnour in the backcourt. Raptors should be beating these teams under these circumstances.

                  The one legit win was against Brooklyn.

                  Oh, and the team went 5-15 in the 20 games prior to that.

                  I really don’t think you can use those last 2 weeks as an accurate predictor of what’s to come.”

                  On Colangelo:

                  He was relieved of his GM duties. That’s how well he performed.

                  I already went into detail on why Colangelo was not a good GM here:
                  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2013/04/26/an-open-letter-to-tim-leiweke/
                  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2013/03/21/what-the-raptors-shouldnt-do/
                  http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/2013/03/the-state-of-the-raptors/http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/2012/12/seeing-through-colangelos-reality-distortion-field/

                  There are possibly seven people outside of the Colangelo family that thinks Colangelo did a good job.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  They weren’t playing .500 ball before the Gay trade–they were 16-30 before Gay arrived and had previously started the season 4-14 before Dwane Casey wised up and placed Calderon back into the starting lineup and even then, the raptors were not playing .500 ball although they improved to 12-16 with that roster change. And I don’t know where you come off trying to diminish the Raptors rather noble performance in the last three months of the season.

                  From my and almost every single person standpoint–a win is a win and it does not matter against who or whatever circumstances. Finishing the season winning 8 of the last ten ten in fact showed a lot of character on the Raptors’part because they did not even quit and even then they finished just four games from the last playoff spot. If anything it goes to show that there is even more potential for the Raptors to have a breakout season because you can see that the team gelled pretty well at that time. Add having a healthy Landry Fields along with a JVal who earned MVP honors in this year’s Summer League, the Raptors are quite poised to make not only a strong run for the playoff, but also a strong run for the Atlantic Division title as well.

                  And it was ALL BECAUSE OF BRYAN COLANGELO and I think I have already debunked any foolish argument on whether or not he was a good GM for the Raptors. In fact I will go as far to say that he was the very BEST because he took a team that had won just 28 games before arriving and made them a playoff team in two short seasons. They even won the Atlantic Division title. If he had many ANY mistakes it was replacing Sam Mitchell with Jay Triano which seemed more like a public relations move than anything else. Triano was simply a deer caught in head lights and that’s what hurt the Raptors in the next two and a half seasons.

                  They could have made the playoffs for a third time in 2010 as the Raptors had one of the best records in the East before falling hard after the All star break and had barely the playoffs by just one game to the Chicago Bulls. A playoff appearance could have helped Triano in terms of confidence because he simply let everything fall to pot the following season when Toronto won just 23 games the following season.. Save for his error in handing the team to Triano instead of a more experienced coach with better credentials, Bryan Colangelo in terms of building the roster and cap management did a pretty fine job overall as a general manager.

                  Your comment of Colangelo being relieved of his duties shows how dimwitted and short sighted the team’s ownership really is. If it were up to them the Raptors would be equally as shitty as MLSE’s even SHITTIER FRANCHISE, THE TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. It’s very obvious that they simply do not know how to run an NBA franchise because they have shown little or no effort in actually trying to make a truly competitive team. Colangelo finally does it and what do they do, they fire. That’s just dumb considering that BC has done more for the franchise than all off those assholes in MLSE have done put together.

                  Ans seriously with attitudes like yous, it’s little wonder why ALL of Toronto’s professional sports teams are COMPLETE SHIT!!!!! The Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since 1992 when they won their last World Series Title while the Maple Leafs, despite being one of the original six NHL teams, have only won the Stanley cup one in its colse to 100 year history. Toronto is supposed to be this world class city, but it’s really a city of loser and by reading the comments like yours and DDay, I can certainly see why.

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

                  You think my not believing Rudy Gay is as good as you believe and that Bryan Colangelo did a poor job as GM is the reason that the Raptors didn’t make the playoffs the last five years. Or that they’ve only made the playoffs 5 times in the last 18?

                  You think the fans have more power than the GM?

                  We simply have a different opinion than yours, so I’m not sure why you seem to be getting upset with us. All three of us want the Raptors to be successful, we all just have different opinions of whether this team can be successful and if not, how to make it successful.

                  DDayLewis and I had a complete disagreement on tanking, but neither of us took it personally, insulted and blamed the other person for the dire straights the team is in.

                  The fact of the matter is that the Raptors not making the playoffs 5 of the 7 years Colangelo was GM, the bad contracts he constantly doled out, his insistence on sticking by Bargnani despite the evidence he clearly wasn’t the player he wanted him to be, and the poorly constructed teams that never achieved what Colangeoo expected, is pretty overwhelming evidence for most people that Colangelo’s tenure in Toronto was not successful.

                  No one is saying that Colangelo didn’t do anything right. Drafting Valanciunas was a great move. Getting the team from 28 wins to 47, the year he took over, was good, but the Eastern Conference was horrible that year and the team’s record was not an indication of how good the team really was. Plus, their ceiling was pretty much a 47 win, first round team.

                  Being a passionate fan is great. Being a fan that belittles and insults those with different opinions is not.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  I’m not upset with you. I just do not like people who get shitted on that don’t deserve it. And BC does not deserve the shit that Toronto fans such as yourself give him. Yeah they did not make it for five straight years, but the team had virtually tanked once Chris Bosh left and Colangelo had to start all over again. And FYI, it was not five straight years, it was four and considering that the Raptors are not even 20 year old, five out of 18 years in the playoffs does not look too bad.

                  Also you really need a reality check on on what really determines a bad contract–and is one that you are virtually STUCK with and force to stick with during the course of its length. A bad contract is like a dead weight you drag around than is chained to you and you’re damned if you keep it or you damned if you don’t, because you still have to buy the contract out. Look at Michael Jordan or Scott Layden to see what bad contracts really are–like a 6 year 120$ million deal to Allan Houston or a five year 50$ million to Tyrus Thomas. Now Those ARE BAD CONTRACTS.

                  Bryan Colangelo did not do that; most of his contracts were rather reasonable as still maintained salary cap flexibility, therefore not making them BAD CONTRACTS. You have not given me ANY evidence of any incompetence whatsoever because I has basically debunked each and every one of your arguments. Yet you still keep this delusion that Bryan is such a bad GM when he wasn’t. In fact, when you see the Raptors make the playoffs, I hope that you choke on so much crow because you know that it was Colangelo that was the reason for it.

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

                  Again, YOU think Colangelo doesn’t deserve the flak he gets. I disagree. Was he a horrible GM on the level of Isiah THomas and others? No. But I don’t think he did a good job.

                  – He drafted Bargnani, which was a mistake from the get-go.
                  – Instead of taking a slow approach that would result in a possible contender down the road, Colangelo was impatient and built a team that would compete immediately, but had a low ceiling.
                  – He used the team’s MLE to sign a three point shooter who was a poor defender coming off a career season, despite the fact that the team was already a good three point shooting team and needed to upgrade their defense.
                  – He made a knee-jerk reaction trade, after getting beat by Dwight Howard in the playoffs, by trading a young player and first round pick for a oft-injured center who was obviously on the downside of his career.
                  – He signed a big name free agent who was a poor defender, was known to be difficult to motivate and was also on the downside of his career to a massive contract, adding him to a starting unit of three other poor defenders, and then proclaimed they were a 50 win team.

                  I could go on, but I think you see my point. They weren’t all bad moves, but I seriously have no idea how ANYONE could say he did a good job.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  How was drafting Bargnarni a mistake? In Andrea you had a seven footer who can score anywhere on the court, has soft hands, can run the floor, and probably one of the most skilled seven footers on the league. Add the fact that the 2006 Draft was not one of the best drafts in the league: most of the players that were selected are no longer in the league, it makes selecting Andrea an even more saavy move because he is one of the few that actually had staying power.

                  And speak about bad picks, picking Andrea was FAR from being the worst in that draft. How about the the Chicago Bulls picking LaMarcus Aldridge with the 2nd pick only to trade him away for of all players, Tyrus Thomas? Remember Charlotte passing over players such as Rudy Gay, and Brandon Roy, to pick Adam Morrison with the third overall pick? Atlanta also had a chance to get Roy or Guy who were still on the draft board, but who did they selected with the 5th pick? Sheldon Williams.

                  That’s not even the worst of them. Did you know that the Minnesota Timberwolves could have had Brandon Roy but chose to trade him to the Boston Celtics for of all players RANDY FOYE?! And the Celtics could have kept Roy, but Danny Ainge made the wise choice to trade him YET AGAIN to the Portland Trailblazers for who? SEBASTIEN fricking TELFAIR!!!!!!!

                  From looking at what transpired in that 06 Draft, Colangelo’s selection of Bargnarni looks far better. Sure he could have used it to pick Brandon Roy, but Roy probably would have been gone by the time his rookie contract expired and considering he was forced to retire at age 27 due to injuries, it’s probably a good move that BC did not pick him. The same went for Aldriidge who made it quite clear that he DID NOT WANT TO BE SELECTED number one overall by Toronto. The only other player who would have been a better choice over Andrea was ironically the same person that Colangelo traded for last season who is, yup that’s right. RUDY GAY.

                  I’ll give you that Bargnarni has not lived up to his number one pick status as his rebounding and his defense has never caught up with his already stellar offensive repertoire; nonetheless, he has played rather well for the Raptors filling the offensive vacuum that Chris Bosh left behind. If he had better coaching, his rebounding and defense would have been far better, and that I’ll agree was one of Colangelo’s handling of Bargnarni was not the best, but his sellection of him was not as terrible as you claim either.

                  As for the supposed bad moves you claimed that BC perpetrated that suppsedly hurt the team, I have already debunked those thus giving u little or no foundation to stand on. Like I said, nothing that you have put forward showed any incompetence on Colangelo’s part and once the Raptors make the playoffs next season you’ll be choking on a whole lot of humble pie because it will be because of Bryan Colangelo.

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

                  I was adamantly against drafting Bargnani even before the draft, and I had a lot of debates about that with Raptor fans at the time. To me, it was a no brainer. Bargnani had three big red flags.

                  The first is that he was supposed to be a great scorer, but rarely got to the line. If you’re going to depend on a player to score, he has to be able to manufacture points at the line, and Bargnani didn’t do that. It’s also an indication that a player avoids contact.

                  The second is that he was a poor rebounder, which is a bad thing for a big man. Players don’t learn how to be good rebounders after they reach Bargnani’s draft age. They either are good rebounders or they’re not. And big men who don’t rebound hurt their team.

                  The third thing is that Bargnani was a poor defender with poor defensive instincts. Like rebounding, you can’t learn how to be a good defender once you hit the NBA. You might become a passable one, but teams don’t win Championships with passable defenders at the 4 and 5 spot. Defense needs to be a strength, not something you need to cover up.

                  The drafting of Bargnani wasn’t a bad idea because he never became the player Colangelo projected him to be. It was a bad idea because he turned into exactly the player he was meant to, and if Colangelo didn’t foresee that, than that’s his fault.

                  As for what teams drafted more poorly, that doesn’t matter. If you hire a contractor to build a house, and he does a shoddy job, he can’t defend it by pointing to another house that is falling down and say, “well, at least I did a better job than that guy”.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  You’re just regurgitating the same bull crap like before. I already showed you how Bargnarni was probably the best choice Colangelo could have made given his other options. Is a great rebounder? No, but much of that had to do with also the Raptors inability as team to stop their opponents from scoring. If your opponent don’t miss shots, you can’t get any rebounds, allthough I do believe that with Barg’s skill set, he should have at least given a better effort on the board–I’ll at least give you that.

                  As for being a poor defender, that was Trianos fault because in his short tenure as coach, he did not emphasize it. Under Casey, however, Bargnarni’s defense actually improved, especially his help defense. You did not see it in the stats, but you saw it in his overall play and effort that does not really translate into personal stats, but aids in the overall team effort.

                  He may not have become the player Colangelo envisioned, but he still turned out to be quite a good player and as for the other teams drafting so poorly, it certainly matters because it completely debunks your previous statement that Colangelo chose badly. Now you just sound like a complete douche bag who know nothing about either the Raptors, the NBA and basketball itself.

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

                  You told me why YOU liked the Bargnani pick, but like Colangelo did, you ignored the massive red flags, which I already laid out. Bargnani wasn’t a poor defender because of Triano. He was a poor defender before even setting foot on an NBA court. And rebounding is part of playing defense. If you can’t secure the defensive rebound, which big men are supposed to do, then that’s not playing good defense. Bargnani was a poor defender under Sam Mitchell. He was a poor defender under Triano and he was a poor defender under Casey.

                  The fact of the matter is that there were better options for Colangelo to pick in the draft, and he chose Bargnani. The smarter choice would have been LaMarcus Aldridge, but Colangelo chose to ignore the red flags and pick a flawed player that had no real chance of becoming the player he envisioned. The fact that he never became that player kind of backs up my point.

                  “Now you just sound like a complete douche bag who know nothing about either the Raptors, the NBA and basketball itself.”

                  Let’s try and keep things civil. Our goal for the comments section is to create intelligent and respectful discussion. Unprovoked name-calling is neither intelligent or respectful.

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

                DDayLewis and I have completely disagreed on tanking, but I agree with him almost 100% here. I’m not a big fan of Lowry (his defense is overrated and he he makes too many poor decisions), but he’s miles better than Augustin. He’s a more efficient offensive player and a better defensive player.

                I’m also not really understanding why you’re so enamoured with Gay. I remember reading an article about the Rudy Gay trade where it said that people seem to be more in love with the IDEA of Rudy Gay than Gay himself. Gay certainly has the TOOLS to be a great player, but the knock on him his entire career, including college, is that he’s never made use of those tools.

                For one thing, Gay fans seem to drastically overrate his defense. I’m not suggesting that Gay is a poor defender or doesn’t have the ability to play good defense. His problem is that he has never consistently PLAYED good defense. Most scouts consider Gay to be, at best, a slightly above average defender.

                To suggest, after 7 years in the league, that Gay will somehow finally put it all together, after a career 25.4% USG reminds far too much of those who constantly defended Bargnani, convinced this would be the year he finally fulfils his potential. Obviously Gay is much better than Bargnani, but sentiment is the same.

                • Slap Dog Hoops

                  Just read my response to @DDayLewis right above your and it will respond to your rather misguided interpretation of the facts. Cheers.

    • ad

      Yep. That has been my point to all the anti tankers on this forum and others. What if gay and lowry leave for nothing? Then, you are already behind rebuilding when you can get assets for them. I think you could get mid to late 1st rounder for gay and lowry each, no problem. I dont want to keep repeating this but tanking is really in the best interest of the franchise long term to get another star to pair with val and get them off this treadmill of mediocrity. If MU doesnt believe this, im disappointed because I dont see how he can rebuild this team on the fly.

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        I wouldn’t mind Lowry leaving because he’s overrated to being with, but I hope the Raptors keep Gay–a player that can certainly lead a team to prosperity. Gay is the complete package–he can get up 20 to 25ppg, 6 to 8rpg, and is possibly one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. Who else would you want leading your team. If the Raps make the playoffs, which I believe they certain will, they’ll definitely be able to keep him considering that they can use the Larry Bird exemption on him to pay him the most money.

  • ItsAboutFun

    Yahoo!! Maturity and reason in a view of tanking.

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

      So an opinion you agree with is mature and reasonable, but one you don’t agree with is not? That’s pretty much what I figured.

      • ItsAboutFun

        I didn’t say that, but then you are good at twisting things to suit your agenda, as it doesn’t take much to figure out. Having a hissy fit over this post?

        • Guy

          Are you at all surprised that Timme ‘Picket Fence’ W took offense at your comment? No one should be.

          He’s ticked off for two reasons. First, of the two Tim’s now on Raptor’s Republic(Chisholm & W), the Picket Fence is third best. And 2nd, with this article, Chisholm used intelligence & reason to easily refute, if not demolish, Timmie W’s long held belief that tanking is what the Raptors need to do & anyone not in agreement has no championship aspirations. But you know what Chisholm didn’t use….? Several links to one of his own previously written articles. How refreshing.

          The dump Chisholm just took on Timmie W’s ‘Argument for Tanking’ was so big, I’m sure W is asking to have the article removed.

          The last paragraph states it perfectly…”despite the strategy’s(tanking) growing number of supporters, it guarantees nothing and hasn’t exactly proven to be a more viable path to rebuilding than any other route.’ My response to that would normally be… ‘Nuff said.

          However, we know that it wont be ‘Nuff said, because there is absolutely no shred of doubt that Timmie W is already working on his response. Also of little doubt, his response will be another example of self-plagiarism. It’ll be the same tired, speculative, unsubstantiated arguments we’ve heard over & over again. Maybe he’ll try to fool us by using a different font. Stay tuned…

        • Guy

          Someone deleted my earlier comment. And no explanation as to why. Gee, I wonder what supposed authority figure decided to delete a comment that contained no profanity or vicious name-calling. What it did contain was an opinion of how Chisholm easily refuted, & likely demolished, the argument for tanking & the what the expected response would be from the most vocal of the pro-tankers. I guess the truth sometimes hurts, & this authority figure chose to remove someone’s comment he didn’t like, without explanation, rather than allow his voice to be heard. I find that shameful.

          • ItsAboutFun

            Not the first time, sadly.

            • Guy

              Yup, &, In my opinion, it’s cowardly.

          • What the

            that would be the guy from the picket fence

      • Casey Sherman

        Mmm salty!

      • guest

        bitter much?

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

          No, thegloveinrapsuniform. I’m just pointing out the obvious.

          • guest

            hey!!! how did you know it was me?? im posting as anonymous!!! why you singling me out like this???

            • What the

              the power that this guy has wow!

      • CJT

        I think Tim has done a nice job of showing why tanking is not necessarily a viable option at this time for the Raps. I don’t think unloading Gay and receiving valuable assests in return is something that is likely to happen. Lowry is much more realistic. I am not a fan of tanking unless 2014 first round picks and prospects are included and that seems ulikely

        • Rap fan 2

          I think Masai will be allowing the season to play out a bit first. There is reason that both Rudy and Kyle will have better seasons barring any unfortunate injuries. The better they perform the more valuable a trade asset they become. The same goes for all our players. Also, they can underperform as well. So, we’ll just have to see. If players work hard in the off season and during the season trying to develop their games there is no reason why they can’t add more value. Hopefully, we’ll get a way better offer than the one rumored recently from Detroit.

          Tanking is not a word that Masai uses. I think he prefers the word rebuilding. One team that has been on a major rebuilding mode the last few years and has been able to win the lottery twice is Cleveland. They’ve been either really lucky or really setup for those who believe in some NBA league conspiracy theory. Just look at New Orleans getting Anthony Davis. I think the main thing about rebuilding is that you get potentially better pieces to develop and work with. Being mediocre you are kind of sitting in limbo. No man’s land. Just look at the Toronto Maple Leafs!! Things are getting better here too. I think getting a shot or two at drafting a great player in the upcoming draft is a good thing in addition to having great infrastructure in management, scouting, coaching and player development.

      • onemanweave

        The post you deleted was not profane or threatening, simply not to your liking. Again you would be better off attempting to address a mature and reasonable article rather than starting petty arguments with posters and deleting posts that simply don’t please you.

  • SR

    It’s ridiculous that tanking has become such a legitimate team-building option that it generates this amount of commentary in the offseason. There are several suggestions for fixing the lottery system, but my favourite is reversing the lottery rankings – give the top pick to the team closest to making the playoffs (17th seed), and continue in descending order (18th-30th seed) before ranking the playoff teams normally (1st-16th seeds) after that.

    Basically, reward teams for trying their hardest to get out of the basement instead of sending the best prospects to the most dysfunctional franchises, and/or rewarding intentional losing.

    Isn’t that an easy fix?

    • DDayLewis

      Do you really want teams on the cusp of making the playoffs suddenly tanking to get the top pick?

      Seeds 14-16 will try hard to “tank”. Would you rather have the top pick, or get destroyed by the Heat?

      • SR

        That is a problem and a great point. They would need some kind of consolation prize. Maybe Adam Morrison? (jokes)

        • DDayLewis

          What’s wrong with the idea of a completely random lottery (ie: 30 ping pong balls, one for each team). That way, there will be no tanking whatsoever.

          • SR

            The would work. I’d take that over the current system.

            It would be crazy though to see, once every decade or whatever, a top 5 title-contender suddenly land the #1 pick and add that to their roster on a rookie contract. But it would be kind of fun anyway, wouldn’t it? I’d rather watch that happen than watch the #1 pick go to a dysfunctional franchise.

            • DDayLewis

              Teams can still manipulate their odds by acquiring more draft picks. The Spurs + the first pick would be really awesome.

          • Nilanka15

            This strategy makes it really hard for bad teams to become good.

            • DDayLewis

              I think bad management is what keeps bad teams from becoming good. Look at the perennial bottom-dwellers; Toronto, Charlotte, Sacramento, Detroit and Washington. They all got great draft picks but never managed to crawl out of the basement because they didn’t manage their assets very well.

              • Nilanka15

                Right. But even with a restructured lottery, bad managed teams will still exist….and the league wants parity (it’s good for business).

                Based on this, it makes sense that the league would give bad teams the “opportunity” to climb out of the cellar, Whether they make use of the opportunity is another story.

                • DDayLewis

                  Are we sure the NBA wants parity? What do most fans remember? Dynasties. We’ll look back on this current era and remember the Heat, the Spurs, the Celtics and the Lakers, just like fans currently look back on the bad boy pistons, Jordan’s Bulls, Bird’s Celtics and showtime.

                • Nilanka15

                  Fans remember dynasties, yes. But if it’s known in advance that your home team has very little chance of competing, that’s how empty arenas become the norm.

                • DDayLewis

                  That’s true, but having good teams is how the league makes money. A winning squad with few stars is good for the franchise, but a dynasty allows the NBA to sell itself as a product.

                • DDayLewis

                  http://wagesofwins.com/2011/09/23/nba-parity-is-impossible/

                  A data-based argument against the idea that parity is even possible.

          • Casey Sherman

            That would be my ideal as well; however, I understand that some regulations are required to allow crappy teams a chance at moving up to compete with the likes of the Lakers/Heat etc. I think the perfect compromise is random lottery for all non-playoff teams. Wouldn’t this solve everything?

            • DDayLewis

              Teams could still decide to mini-tank and opt to miss the playoffs rather than be an 8th seed and get steamrolled (although this is unlikely; teams make a lot of money off the playoffs).

              I think the narrative of “small market teams can only succeed via the draft” is too narrow and inaccurate. Teams can get talented players in a number of ways, not just via the draft.

              • Casey Sherman

                You said it yourself, “mini-tanking” is unlikely. Is this not the perfect compromise then? I agree with you that there are other ways to improve your team but there’s no way people will accept such sweeping changes like getting rid of the lottery system

        • BadDinosaur

          I just think that the 14 teams that don’t make the playoffs should get exactly the same chance at getting No 1 pick, then No 2 pick and so on. (Only 14 tickets needed in the box!) Then after the 14 first picks come the 16 teams that made the playoffs and you distribute the picks by their record (worst PO team gets the 15th pick…).

          That way, everybody would try to compete as hard as they can, while the incentive for tanking would be eliminated. This would force teams to make very clear but also very smart strategies, like for exemple putting more thought into drafting (once you know your pick No.), developing your young players, letting them play as much as possible, avoid bad moves, avoid trading for or signing older (or simply unworthy) players to long and bad contracts. That way, salaries would naturally be held more in check too and only true superstars would get superstar money.

          Everything would need to be done in a more smart way. This would make the really good, smart and knowledgeable GMs standout. Right now most of the GMs (and franchises) deal more with luck than knowledge… at least this way luck would be exactly that – pure luck if you get the 1st pick, but you wouldn’t need to pay a GM or a coach or the entire roster of players for a succesful tanking job that may or may not result in a potential top 3 pick.

      • Kovalainnen

        It could be this way: 17-th seed gets the 1st pick, 18 and 15 seeds toss coin for 2nd-3rd picks, 14-19 for 4th and 5th and so on… 😀 What do you think?

        • DDayLewis

          That’s certainly a better idea than the current system. There probably will be some mini-tanking involved. Also, how would you determined who is 14th, 15th, and 16th? Just by team record, or by seeding? The Rockets were the 8th seed in the West, but would have been the 5th seed in the East.

    • arsenalist

      Fix: Relegation to the D-League for the two worst teams in the league, and promotion for the D-League for their best two teams.

      Bonuses: Double the excitement as you’re basically introducing two “races” – one for the championship, one to avoid the drop.

      Get ‘er done, Silver.

      • SR

        Add that to Bill Simmon’s end-of-season mini tournament, and you’d have a lot more to look forward to in the final 1/3 of the season.

        http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/070411

      • theswirsky

        Its incentive for a team to not be bad, but its also an incentive for a player to get out of that town as quickly as possible. Top players will just flee bottom teams quicker than ever, consistently leaving the same teams at the bottom and the same teams at the top.

        If the league really wants parity while eliminating the importance of losing (ie. the draft), it needs to incentivise the best players to stay with their teams, while also allowing those same teams to spend both equally and comparitively to their competition. (not just in terms of $s, but in terms of $s to match perks)
        The single greatest progression the NBA can make is to drastically improve and streamline revenue sharing.

  • thegloveinrapsuniform

    i think its funny that when a pro-tanking article is written, most of the comments are from pro-tanking posters, and when its an anti-tanking article, mostly anti-tanking posters comment. i would love to see pro-tanking posters rebutt this one.

    • SR

      Pro-tankers just see the odds differently. They prefer the odds of aiming for talent in this draft and 2014 FA over moving forward with the current roster and hoping for the best.

      Also, I think most pro-tankers are not opposed to Ujiri’s approach (summarized well in the post). In the end we want more talent on this team and a higher ceiling, and of course there are multiple strategies for moving in that direction.

      The most mind-boggling fans are the ones totally happy with the status quo, who for some reason think Gay, DD, Lowry, and JV are all on the verge of becoming all-stars and that minimal turnover is needed because this team is young, athletic, full of potential, etc.

      • Marz

        I wouldn’t say it’s mind-boggling. After the Colangelo regime, we’ve had 7 years of discontinuity. 7 years of major acquisitions and roster overhauls. Some of us are curious to see what happens if we actually stick with a roster, rather than trading everything and the kitchen sink every year while patching holes with the likes of Milt Palacio.

        • SR

          It is mind-boggling, especially since you’ve brought up Colangelo. If you want to see how this roster progresses, why in the world would you sack Colangelo? That’s exactly what he wanted and where he thought this franchise was at – time to let this group develop and see his “rebuild” grow through a couple seasons of stability and internal development. Lieweke adamantly disagreed with that take on things and sacked him, a dismissal supported by virtually the entire fan base. Now some fans want to stick with BC’s roster work after wanting BC fired for putting together said roster? You bet that’s mind-boggling.

          • Nilanka15

            By now, we should all know that what Colangelo says isn’t necessarily what Colangelo means 😉

            • SR

              This is true. Could you imagine a world where Colangelo actually sat on his hands for a couple seasons and let the team develop? Forget it. He can’t help but tinker with the roster/turnover half his players every year and hire a new head coach every second season.

              • ItsAboutFun

                “Could you imagine a world where Colangelo actually sat on his hands for a couple seasons and let the team develop?”

                He did, but shhhhhhhh, that’s not part of the tank nation narrative.

                • truth be told

                  Really, when?

          • Marz

            You sack Colangelo for the very reason you mentioned: Lieweke. He was brought in and wanted to do things his way, and Colangelo did not share his vision. That doesn’t mean Lieweke thinks we should do a fire sale and get rid of all our dollar-inflated “assets” so that we can tank. What it does mean is making sure Colangelo does not repeat some form of an overhaul midseason.

            Let’s look at it this way: With the way the roster looks, and its respective salary, any GM is pretty much handcuffed to it unless they’re willing to part with players for nothing (e.g. Rudy Gay for Detroit’s bag of shit). So why replace Colangelo? Because his method of doing things hasn’t worked, and it is entirely possible that even more draft picks would have been unloaded as he tried to set the roster up for what he believes would be a deep postseason run. Colangelo thought we were one piece away from being legit contenders, and it isn’t out of the realm of imagination to see him bundling a pick with Andrea Bargnani to fulfill his dream

          • What the

            who is this guy? preach the word. cause i’m seeing the world like Lieweke tank baby tank!

      • What the

        Wow! thanks for speakng for this fan who thinks this new GM needs to get the raptors
        into the Wiggins conversation by any means
        and if we miss out on WIggins maybe we’ll end up with the 2nd or 3rd pick but we “gots” to be in the Wiggins conversation .. rudy gay
        breaks two finger nails out for the the season
        tankin is easy

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

      The previous article I wrote rebuts a lot of the argument Tim brings up. But I’ll leave a comment that goes into detail.

      • Guy

        I’d respond to this comment, but you’ll just delete it.

  • Marz

    You spent the entirety of the first half of this article talking about reasons why not to tank. And, while I agree with you, I was hoping you’d at least touch on Ujiri’s “two year plan”.

    We won’t be tanking now, but in 2 years time when most of our contracts are off the books, we will be in a position to tank. Not only will we have cap space to pull off a Utah Jazz esque move, we’ll also have New York’s pick kicking in.

    The problem is our only long-term prospect right now is Jonas, with TRoss being a distant possibility. How Ujiri rectifies that in the next two years is what’s most interesting to me.

    • timpchisholm

      I’ll make you a deal – in two year’s time we’ll take a look at where the team is at and I’ll definitely write something accordingly. Two years is an eternity in NBA time, what we know right now is Ujiri is going to play the hand that Colangelo dealt him.

      • Marz

        But it’s the offseason and I want my articles nowwwww! (Said in a whiney, 2-year old child’s voice)

      • Guy

        Enjoyed your contributions on TSN Tim. Didn’t always agree, but enjoyed just the same. I look forward to more of the same here. Cheers.

  • c_bcm

    Beautiful. Well articulated as always Tim. I support the idea that this team is not in a position to tank. I question the opinion of anyone who looks with admiration at the position of team like Charlotte and Sacramento. Anyone who thinks that they are the model of team-building need to have their heads examined, and let history be their guide instead of prognostications about their potential future.

    • SR

      Tanking and terrible management are very different things. The Celtics look like they’re tanking. Charlotte and Sacto are just dysfunctional – no one is advocating for that.

      • Casey Sherman

        I agree that there’s a distinction. However with regard to the Celtics, that franchise was in the twilight of a very productive period, whereas the raptors are on the up and up. For them it made sense, and they cashed out on Pierce and Garnett before they retired. For the Raps, the oldest starter is 27 years old, and I think we shouldn’t be so trigger happy and just abandon ship. Patience is a virtue!

  • Patrick Jacob

    Very good article.
    This may be long-term thinking, but if Wiggins REALLY wants to play for the Raptors, we don’t need to tank. Let him play his initial contract, on the team that drafts him (2 years, with team options for third and fourth) – http://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciajessop/2012/06/28/the-structure-of-nba-rookie-contracts/).

    Afterwards, Wiggins is a free man and the smell of maple syrup, snow and proximity of family will lure him back. So let’s ride out Rudy Gay and the current squad and see where it takes us.
    Thoughts?

    • c_bcm

      Thought about this. But 4 years into independence and adulthood will change a man. Who knows what he’ll want at that time.

    • DDayLewis

      Wiggins hasn’t even played a single game at the NCAA level yet. Let’s cool our jets about what to do five years from now.

      The pro-tanking side argument isn’t centered around Wiggins. It’s the idea that there are multiple potential all-stars in this draft.

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

      Wiggins will become a restricted free agent after four years, and if he’s that good, the team that drafts him is going to match any offer he gets, so he would have to take the qualifying offer and leave after 5 years. Of course, there hasn’t been an All Star player who hasn’t signed an initial extension with the team that drafted him (both Vince and Bosh signed an extension), since it’s such a risk to become an unrestricted free agent before the big contract”, so it’s likely Wiggins would not even be available until 7 years down the road. That means Toronto would have to make sure they have the cap room after five years, and then if he doesn’t become available, 7 years.

      You can’t build a team with a long term vision while still trying to create cap room every couple of years. You’d be keeping the team in flux on the offchance Wiggins decides to leave his team.

      • DanH

        Note that if he is good, he will not get the chance to leave after 5 years, but after 7 at minimum (or more likely 8 or 9), as his team would undoubtedly offer a Max QO instead of a standard QO.

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    Personally, I think the raptor are on track to be a pretty impressive team that is ten players deep and poised to not only make a playoff run, but also give the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks a run for their money in the Atlantic Division.

    • Yousocrazy

      Not going to happen

      • Casey Sherman

        Holding you to this!

    • What the

      u c the world like bc did

      • Slap Dog Hoops

        You’ll see when the season starts and you’ll be eating those word. And who will u be thanking. That’s right. Mr. Bryan Colangelo.

  • Rebuilding

    The tanking camp has lot momentum the past few weeks. For example, where I was 55% to 45% – I am now 80% to 20% for building. And good way to put as by stripping away all the starting assets and hopefully getting lucky in the lotto and player development to draft one elite player, then how do you go back and replenish and surround that player (and perhaps JV) with above average starters. That in itself is a multi-year process. This tanking path is more likely to be doomed the treadmill of mediocrity.

  • vino

    The notion that Raps are not positioned well to use the strategy of tanking
    if the ultimate goal is to become a true contender (further than simply snatch
    a top talent next June) is debatable. Shred the current roster of everybody but
    #17, add a stud PG, who typically develop faster than bigs, add another stud via
    free agency next summer (a lot easier than now when you have two young studs in
    Val plus that other one from the draft and lots of cap space), then close off
    the circle by bringing a few vets… and I have not even mentioned the additional
    picks from the other teams we would get for the current players. These will
    most likely to be in mid first round, but could still be very useful. They don’t
    even have to all be next year. We could take 2015 first rounder pick(s). Note: I’ve
    mentioned a stud PG cause there seems to be several in the upcoming draft.
    Replace that with a SG or a SF if you wish in the same formula. Bottom line, no
    one advocates of selling our existing talent low. Grab picks and young
    prospects. With the new coaching additions, who are supposedly experts at
    developing young talent the likelihood of internal, “organic” growth is better
    than any other strategy at this point.

    Yes, it’s only one strategy but I have not heard of any other one that is
    faster and/or more likely to net us a roster ready to compete for something
    else rather than a first round exit in a foreseeable future.

    • DDayLewis

      Who the fuck is chomping at the bit to get our shitty players? How many “stud” PG’s are out there, and who will trade us one for our piddling shit? Then sign another stud in FA? Like who, exactly? Here’s a list of potential free agents:

      http://www.hoopsworld.com/2014-nba-free-agents

      And a list of teams that will have money:

      http://www.basketball-reference.com/contracts/

      How are we going to get these “studs”?

      • vino

        If Bargnani got us a 1st rounder, I believe Ujiri can get similar or better for either one of the Gay, Lowry, Derozan. Other players on the current roster – let me all expire. There are multiple “stud” potential players in the coming draft. Pick one, wherever the ball falls. No one will trade us a stud for our piddling shit. I did not suggest that. When you have Val + a young stud + cap room players will want to play here, so you won’t have to overpay for borderline all-stars – that’s the point.

        Listen, this is only one way. A defined way forward. What is the alternative?! How are you suggesting to get the “studs”???

        • DDayLewis

          You can’t possibly expect the Bargnani deal to be the norm. Lowry netted a mid-first rounder last offseason, and he was injured last season and his team-friendly contract is now expiring (he’s probably due for a raise). Are we really going to get anything better than a first rounder lower than 20 for Lowry? Derozan is signed to a huge long-term deal. People were shitting on Tyreke Evans getting 11 mill per year? Derozan is less productive, and owed 9.5 mill/year for four years. It’ll be hard to move that contract.

          And say you trade away Lowry, Derozan and Gay for expirings/picks. Will the Raptors be assured a top-5 draft pick? Nope.

          Look, I’m not saying your idea can’t happen, but it’s very unlikely to happen.

          This isn’t the only way. The idea isn’t to go all-in on a pair of tens because your stack is low. Manage the assets well. If the right deal comes along for Derozan, Lowry or Gay, then take it and move on. Colangelo left this team’s financial situation in shambles.

          The goal shouldn’t be to be one of the worst teams just to get a into a lottery to draft a player who isn’t guaranteed to be anything.

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

            “Lowry netted a mid-first rounder last offseason”

            That’s a bit of a fallacy. Lowry was traded for a guaranteed lottery pick that many expected would be higher than it actually was.

            • ItsAboutFun

              “guaranteed lottery pick that many expected would be higher than it actually was.”

              You’ve been told this many times, but it doesn’t seem to sink in: You’re opinions are NOT facts.

              1. By the terms of the trade, it wasn’t a guaranteed lottery pick
              2. What “many thought”, as in many who have no investment or influence whatsoever on the team, “expected would be higher”, is meaningless. It wasn’t higher, so all those “many” were wrong, now weren’t they? Were you one of this “many”, that were wrong, that you speak of?

              • DanH

                By the terms of the trade, it was guaranteed to be a lotto pick if it was transferred in the first 6 years.

                It had value because of the reverse protection on it.

          • vino

            nothing is guaranteed, but if you do nothing you are guaranteed to be nothing! everything involves risk and patience! I would like to see any OTHER plan. please?!

            p.s.

            I did not say to accept expirings – they’re worth shit at this point. promising young players with upside and draft picks!

            • DDayLewis

              Just because “tanking” has a name, you’ll latch on to it for dear life? It’s a question of how risky something is. On this team, tanking would require dumping Johnson and Lowry (to get to ~30 wins). That will probably lands a draft pick in the range of 6-10. Does that guarantee a “stud”? Johnson and Lowry are really good players. That’s a lot to give up for a lottery ticket.

              p.s:

              nobody is giving you young players and draft picks for guys like Derozan and Gay, and if you don’t want expirings, you’ll have to take back long-term contracts for Derozan and Gay to facilitate a trade.

              • vino

                No, a proper tank would be getting rid of everybody but #17 for young prospects and draft picks, picking up bad short contract to match deals. if you are at ~30 wins with 6-10 pick next June you’ve done a bad job tanking. Seems that we disagree on what Ujiri can fetch in a trade… I’m ok with that. You (and no one else here) still have not answered what is the alternative?! Wait and see what’s available? Let the current team roll and build on that? It’s all bs; glad TL stepped in and got rid of BC!

                By the way, as I’ve said before, I’d love to see the current team suddenly going on a tear, I just don’t see happening. A more realistic scenario would be to trade what’s possible at the trade deadline, but then a tank window would close pretty quick…

                • DDayLewis

                  Okay, say a team comes along and hands you an opportunity to get rid of Derozan’s albatross contract in exchange for an expiring. All you need to do is hand over someone like JV to do it.

                  Would you make that deal? I doubt it. How can you expect other teams to do it on our behalf? Not every franchise is the Knicks.

                • vino

                  This is actually worse than the Pistons proposition for a Gay trade. I’ve never suggested reducing our value through any trade(s). I do not think DD’s contract is “albatross” at this point. In my original post I proposed a combination of acquiring assets and tanking at the same time. No one said it is easy and I can’t give you a 100% sure scenario, otherwise I’d be sitting next to Ujiri… let’s just hypothetically guess that a medium pack team like the Hawks (for example) unexpectedly does well… like starts the season 0.600+ and realizes that they’d be much better by adding a SG like DD. We could then snatch Schroder, 2015 protected 1st rounder and an expiring, for example. There are virtually unlimited options for various trades… too bad we have to wait for several months into the season until these scenarios start to present themselves cause then the tank mission is that much more difficult!

                  This article title is “the raps aren’t setup for tanking” – this is a weak statement. A good GM could turn this into the opposite.

                • DDayLewis

                  40 million over four more years for a mediocre SG isn’t an albatross? Really? What does Demar do well, exactly? What can Demar do for a team that say, OJ Mayo cannot? Mayo’s probably better because he can shoot the three.

                  I would love a return of prospect + 1st rounder + expirings for DD? I’d love it. But I doubt anyone is dumb enough to pay that for DD (except the Knicks).

                  Look, we both agree on making the right deals when the right deal is available. We differ in why we would make those deals. Your end goal is to get worse in the short run, while getting promise for the future. My end is to get more assets. Playing for lottery balls to get a lottery prospect is pretty silly.

              • theswirsky

                the question is not just about risk. Its about risk vs reward.

                As it stands, the Raptors best chance for franchise/allstar calibre players is through the draft. The best place to find those players is at the top of the draft. Therefore tanking is the most logical approach for this team to take if its goal is being a contender.

                If Toronto’s peices are ‘not valuable’ as most here seem to agree with, then believing they can net the team ‘allstars’ is pretty much nonesense. Its been shown time and again its nearly impossible for non-elite markets to get top notch players in free agency.

                Toronto can either take the risk and tank, and attempt to use the draft with the reward of potentially building a contender or stick themselves in mediocrity and hope someone has a magic wand.
                One option comes with a lot of risk but alot of potential reward. The other comes with little risk, but little potential reward.

                • DDayLewis

                  Top notch players hit free agency and get traded all the time. Why can’t Toronto land one if we have the right assets?

                  Right now, we don’t have many assets. The goal should be to improve our assets. MU has developed a reputation for being quite adept at creating more value through trade.

                  If he can turn Gay and Derozan into better assets (ie: expirings, draft picks, promising young players, good players on good contracts), that would be great.

                  My view is that the ends should be to maximize our assets. The ends should not be to lose a tonne of games to land a top-5 pick.

                  I understand that maximizing assets doesn’t sound nearly as sexy as a shot at Wiggins, or whoever, but it can definitely pay off. Look at how Houston got Harden? They weren’t planning around acquiring him, but they had lots of assets and when Harden was made available (stupid move by OKC), they had the best package for OKC.

                • theswirsky

                  Most seasons there is atleast a star (or two) available in free agency – and you expect them to sign with Toronto over one of the elite markets because why? how? when? There is no history to support this happening – in fact the history shows the exact opposite.

                  Top Notch players don’t get traded all the time. They rarely do. There have been a few exceptions due to the changing CBA in recent years – namely small market teams being unwilling to risk losing their superstar for nothing (and still came at said superstars approval) and will move them in their final year. But even if they do become available, how do we get them with what this team has? Wait out a couple season and collect young players?

                  Well why not tank in the mean time and make those young players even better? Make those draft picks even higher?

                  “My view is that the ends should be to maximize our assets. The ends should not be to lose a tonne of games to land a top-5 pick”.

                  You know whats a very valuable asset? High draft picks. Its not just about Wiggins… I don’t know why it always has to come back to him. That draft pick (or player drafted) is a very valuable asset on the market in the NBA.

                  Houston got Harden by trading Lowry for a guaranteed lottery pick (would that not be defined as a tank move if Toronto did that?), and a portion of their team in general for draft picks (thats not going to result in losing?). They then flipped that very quickly for Harden. Aside from flipping the created assets for Harden, those moves leading up to it sound very similar to what the pro tankers want (and I doubt many would have a problem with turning those assets into a young superstar, given thats the goal anyways)

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

                  What top notch players have hit free agency and gotten traded so much? And which ones have landed on a team outside of Los Angeles, New York, Miami or Houston?

                  Again, I think we might be differing on the type of player we’re talking about. Good supporting players certainly are traded and hit free agency all the time. Like Iguodala, for instance. But if he’s your best player, you’re not going far in the playoffs.

                  I have no problem with doing a Harden deal, if one becomes available, but that doesn’t mean you wait around for it, and it doesn’t prevent your team from tanking. Part of what pretty much everyone on the pro-tanking side wants is to acquire draft picks and prospects, which is what you’d most likely need to trade for a Harden.

                  So you can actually tank AND be ready for a Harden-like deal. They aren’t mutually exclusive. But if the Harden-like deal never comes, at least you are sitting waiting.

                • DDayLewis

                  Top notch players who have been traded: Gasol, Howard, Paul, Williams, Harden, even Melo (if you consider him to be elite).

                  Now you’ve conveniently excluded these players because of where they were traded to. Let’s put aside our differences as to why these places are special (you think they just are just naturally appealing, whereas I think players go to places where they have a great chance to win the title/have the assets to acquire them).

                  What about other top players? Allen and Garnett were dealt to the Celtics. Will you add Boston to that list? Andrew Bynum was moved to Philly; does Philly have appeal too? The Suns got the last two good seasons out of Shaq; surely they have some appeal too. Zach Randolph went to Memphis because Memphis has an unfair musical advantage! Going back further, Scottie Pippen was traded to Chicago because he loves…Sears? Charles Barkley was traded to the Suns.

                  Yes, we both agree that we should shed some players and their contracts for more palatable assets. However, we differ on WHY we should make these moves. I think we should just maximize assets, where as you all hope to make the team lose more games in the short-run to get a few more lottery balls. Certainly, this can be done in tandem with a Harden-type deal.

                  But will losing all these games be worth it? Will it even be possible? There are lots of productive players on this team that will help it win more than 30 games this season. If you want to tank, you’d need to get rid of guys like Johnson, Lowry and Valanciunas. For some reason a lot of people are down on Lowry, but Johnson and JV are pretty revered around these parts, no?

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

                  I will fully admit that player will ALSO choose teams because of the talent they have, but I don’t understand how you can’t say that there are some cities that simply have an advantage over others. I wouldn’t have even thought this was a subject anyone would debate.

                  But any way you look at it, players either want to go to play with teams with another elite player, or to prime destination cities. Toronto doesn’t have an elite player and it’s not on the top of most player’s list of cities they want to play in.

                  Garnett agreed to a trade to Boston because they had Pierce and traded for Allen. In other words, they already had an elite player.

                  Philadelphia was the rare case of a non-prime destination team without an elite player acquiring one. And it failed miserably.

                  Shaq was most definitely not an elite player when he went to the Suns or Cleveland or Boston.

                  And Zach Randolph has never been an elite player, and was not even an All Star when he was traded to Memphis.

                  I have no idea why you brought up Scottie Pippen. He was traded on draft day.

                  And you’re also going back a little far. It used to be a lot easier for teams to acquire elite players, but that’s changed.

                  People keep bringing up the Harden deal for a reason. It’s really the only good recent example.

                  Lastly, I have stated that Amir might have to go, but not necessarily. Valanciunas I definitely wouldn’t trade and I really don’t think it would be necessary. Second year players, especially 21 year old big men, tend not to make that big an impact in the win column. He might add a few wins, but keeping him would be worth it. The idea is not to be the worst team in the league. The idea is to increase your odds of landing a top five pick.

                • DDayLewis

                  Look, if there were any actual criteria or reason a specific set of cities (your take: NY. LA. miami, houston) are better at attracting players than others, I’d buy into the idea. Unfortunately, there isn’t. The only universal appealing factor with attracting talent seems to be a realistic shot at winning the title. There’s also the issue of HOW MUCH draw these cities have.

                  We don’t disagree that elite players is a draw for other elite players, because really good players increases a team’s chances of winning a title.

                  Whether the deal worked out for Philly, or not, is irrelevant. When the deal happened, Bynum was universally touted as one of the top centers in the NBA. Nobody could have foresaw him missing an entire season.

                  Shaq was certainly not in his prime, but he was still very productive in his season and a half in Phoenix. I never discussed Cleveland or Boston.

                  Randolph has never been elite, which is true, but he has had a number of very productive seasons in Memphis.

                  I apologize for mentioning Pippen. I’m not really up to snuff with my NBA history.

                  How has the system changed to make it harder to acquire elite players? Max contracts have become shorter, meaning players should be able to hit free agency more often. I’m genuinely curious as to what changes have taken place with respect to this issue.

                  People keep bringing up Harden because it’s an excellent example. He is to managing assets as Wiggins is to tanking. He’s not the only example.

                  If you ship out DD, Gay, Johnson and Lowry for nothing, the team will likely be a bottom-5 team. But if you manage to snag an elite talent with your pick, you’ll immediately be looking to require guys like Lowry and Johnson (who we currently have on the cheap).

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

                  I was going to list each city and why players would want to go there, but I thought it easier to just point you to this article…

                  http://abcnews.go.com/Business/top-10-cities-ultra-high-net-worth-individuals/storynew?id=14761048

                  The fact is that for the majority of players making elite money, certain places have more draw than others. Obviously another draw is talent. And Toronto is neither a big draw for players making elite money, nor do they have a whole lot of talent. And that’s my point. If the Raptors can draft an Andrew Wiggins or another player who becomes elite, they MIGHT have a chance at acquiring more talent. Until they do, though, they’re pretty much stuck doing what they’ve been doing for the last 18 years.

                  The Bynum deal was a HUGE gamble for Philadelphia because Bynum had such a checkered history, both off the court and injury-wise. I think a lot of people could foresee him not playing the whole season, because he’s never been healthy. And the point is that they gambled and lost. Yet people thinking tanking is a gamble?

                  As for the other players, again, its the difference between a productive player and an elite player. I’ve never suggested you can’t find a productive player outside of the top 5 in the draft. Teams do it all the time. But that’s not the argument, is it?

                  It’s become more difficult to acquire elite players in large part because teams are becoming smarter. NBA teams are worth a lot more money, now, so owners are making sure they have smarter people in charge. Elite players are worth A LOT of money, so teams are less willing to let them go. There’s also more and better scouting, etc.

                • DDayLewis

                  What exactly does that article say, other than giving a general demographics report of the superwealthy (30 M+)? You cited NYC, and LA, which is on the list (which isn’t surprising because those cities are the drivers of industry/headquarters of many corporations), but you also cited Miami and Houston, which isn’t on the list. Furthermore, Dallas and Chicago are both on the top 10, and neither has been very successful at drawing what you would consider to be “elite talent”. Yes, rich people live in bigger cities, but that’s because their jobs are located there.

                  I’m not debating that elite talent doesn’t draw talent. I largely agree with that point. I’m arguing that the idea that certain cities draw more than others is not an established fact, and we have no idea how much draw these cities based on their geography alone.

                  You’re really pushing this idea that the only way Toronto can acquire an elite player is via the draft, but you lack the evidence to support your claim. Players can be acquired via the draft, trade or free agency. You fail to rebuke the latter two, and insist that tanking is the only way. It isn’t. It is one way, but it’s not the only way.

                  The Bynum trade was a gamble, but how could anyone reasonably expect him to miss an entire season? Yes, he had injury issues, but he was dominant, and at the time of the deal, he was widely viewed as a top-5 center in the league. It wasn’t nearly as much of a gamble, and nowhere near as much of a gamble as compared to tanking to get into a lottery for an unknown quantity,

                  No, but your list of “elite” is based on “when you see it”. I guess nobody could argue with you on that issue, can they? You mentioned that Tony Parker was elite in your eyes, but where was he drafted?

                  NBA teams are worth more money because of a myriad of reasons, only one of which is the actual product on the field. A lot has to do with inflation, and bidding. The trend has been that NBA franchises have appreciated significantly in value, so new owners fall all over themselves to buy one because it’s a good investment. Throw in the ridiculous TV deals that each team is getting (except for vertically intergrated ownership schemes like here in Toronto), which is adding millions per year. In addition, the new CBA agreement between the players and owners is very favorable to the owners because it keeps player costs down, meaning the businesses are more profitable. Yes, teams are getting smarter GM’s in charge, but the higher tide floats all boats, right? Most people consider Sam Presti a smart GM. Yet he opted to trade Harden for a bag of crap instead of amnestying Perkins or trading away Westbrook. I really don’t see how everyone’s wised up, and how that would reasonably affect elite player transaction in any significant way.

  • Ion66

    This article sums up my feeling pretty exactly, to the point that like I could have written it, assuming I was a better writer, and knew a bit more about the game. I just feel like it’s bad timing for us to tank. We have been mediocre/bad for too long, in a market that needs more success to keep the casual fan interested. We have some decent talent, that with some time and chemistry, could be a solid, decent team. I’ve seen too many years of lottery picks for “prospects”, that have failed to make the team a winner…Ross, DeRozan, Davis, etc. Good players, sure, but to put up with a season of unwatchable ball…for another 9th pick? OK, this is a website for crazy ideas, with no real basis in fact or reality, so here’s my crazy idea. Wiggins *wants* to be a Raptor right? How long would his rookie contract be for? Make the Raps a respectable team…Something like Utah, or Memphis, or Indiana. Have cap space ready for when Wiggins contract expires. Say “Come home! We have a team that’s competitive, and ready to win, with a player like you! Free Leafs tickets!” We get a few years of watchable ball, some playoff appearances, JV becomes the most feared centre ever to wear a Gandalf costume, Demar can now hit 3’s from half court, Dwight Byucks is a household name and Gay can read an optometrists chart off the backboard. Wiggins is sold on joining the Raps and making the finals, and everyone is happy.

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

    As usual, a well written article from Tim, but it doesn’t mean I agree.

    Some points:

    – Detroit never tanked. Dumars just horribly managed the team, highlighted by spending all his cap room on Charlie Villaneuva and Ben Gordon.

    – Sacramento also never tanked. They just were managed poorly, drafting headcase players and doing things like overpaying John Salmons and bidding on Travis Outlaw after he was amnestied and then never playing him (for good reason).

    – The “you could draft a stiff” argument is one I’ve talked about before. If you don’t trust your GM to draft well, then you shouldn’t trust him at all. Obviously there is a chance he he draft poorly, but there’s a chance he could screw up in other personnel decisions. Philly traded great assets for Andrew Bynum and that was a disaster.

    – And yes, players could opt not to enter the draft, but you have to think that there will be a number that do, and a number that are unexpectedly good. Were Anthony Bennett or Victor Oladipo considered top 5 picks a year ago?

    – How other teams achieved their success isn’t really relevant because no model is copyable. Every team had some sort of fluke or bit of luck that placed them in the position they are in. Indiana found an elite player at 10 and an All Star center at 19. You can’t copy that. Without Paul George, Indiana is closer to Milwaukee than Miami.

    – The number of teams that are tanking has been overstated. Milwaukee is most DEFINITELY not tanking. They aren’t being managed very well, but they aren’t tanking. John Hammond is apparently under orders to keep the Bucks competitive. They could even finish with a similar record as the Raptors.

    – As long as Boston keep Rondo, I don’t see them tanking, and a lot of pundits think they won’t be as bad as many think.

    – Sacramento also obviously isn’t tanking. They will probably be better than last year after trading Evans for a real PG.

    – The idea of acquiring picks and being financially flexible isn’t contrary to the strategy of tanking. In fact it’s right in line with it.

    – The idea that you’d lose value trading Gay and Lowry ignores the fact that both could probably leave for nothing at the end of the season. And as I previously stated, cap room in a summer where 22 other teams are projected to have cap room means it’s probably not the most valuable asset.

    – Zach Lowe wrote this about the Raptors in a recent Grantland article:

    “They’d have to part with Rudy Gay to get there, and Gay has a $19.3 million player option for 2014-15. Gay is still in his prime, and when they traded for him the Raptors privately indicated they expected Gay to opt out and secure a longer-term deal. Kyle Lowry will also be a free agent next summer, putting Toronto in a unique position in which they could compete for a playoff spot this season and then bottom out in 2014-15.Of course, this season is the best time in a decade to bottom out, and the Raps might be able to engineer that path with a few midseason trades. Everything’s on the table, and the Bargnani trade was a nice start.”
    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9501245/nba-offseason-moves-assessing-winners-tankers-everything-between

    Yes, the Raptors aren’t in a position to tank right now, but they could be unintentionally next season, and that’s a big problem. Valanciunas would be one year older and more likely to win more games for his team making being bad more difficult and being a 30 win team more likely. The draft isn’t considered nearly as good, and the Raptors wouldn’t have the assets they would have gained in a trade of Lowry and Gay.

    I agree, in principle, that the Raptors aren’t set up for tanking right now, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be.

    • DDayLewis

      Tim W, you spew the same stuff over and over again.

      On the “drafting a stiff” and “volatility of prospects” argument:
      – You can’t ignore the possibility of drafting a shitty player, that’s part of the risk (read: cost) of tanking
      – Your rebuttal of “bad drafter/bad personnel decisions” is silly. There’s always a chance that the GM can screw up ANY personnel decision. It’s a matter of how often they do so. A GM’s ability to draft productive players isn’t indicative of that GM’s ability to facilitate trades or attract free agents
      – A lot of hyped prospects fall short each year as well. How’s Myck Kabongo doing? For all we know, Wiggins (or Parker, or any other top prospect) could get injured and fall out of the draft. It’s a very risky proposition.

      On “how other teams built their franchises doesn’t matter”

      – The idea isn’t to follow their model verbatim. The idea is to emulate a philosophy of team management. Why do you think so many teams are hiring former Spurs front-office employees? Because their philosophy works.

      On “how many teams will be tanking”

      – It’s not about who is intentionally tanking. It’s a question of how many teams will be worse than Toronto. The Celtics have nobody + Rondo coming off an injury. The Kings are the same team, only with Vasquez instead of Evans (and they won 28 games last year). The Magic are pretty terrible. The Suns are terrible. The Lakers will probably be terrible. Charlotte can’t even help themselves. Tim C’s point about the how it’s no sure thing that the Raps will be bad enough to score a top-5 pick is very reasonable.

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

        I was repeating many arguments to rebut the article.

        Poor GMs tend to make bad decision and good GMs tend to make good decisions. Obviously it’s not 100%, but that’s the idea of having a good GM. Drafting is a higher risk, but it can also have a much bigger payoff. That’s the whole thing about the draft.

        And I already talk about the possibly that a player could fall out of the lottery. Other players could also jump up. A year before the 2011 lottery, was Valanciunas considered a top pick?

        I’m not sure how you’re “philosophy” argument has anything to do with what I was saying. I have not problem emulating a team philosophy, especially a successful team like the Spurs, but the argument was that those other teams didn’t tank to win. Many lucked out doing something completely unrepeatable. A team can tank and still take on a Spurs philosophy of building a contender.

        Right now, there are probably 12-16 teams who will end up worse than the Raptors. But teams like Sacramento, the Lakers, Celtics, Milwaukee, Dallas, New Orleans, and possibly even Utah, among other teams) will probably win between 30 and 40 games next season. If the Raptors win 30 or more games next season, that’s not tanking. That’s just being mediocre, which is what they’ve been for most of their 18 years.

        At this point, I see only 5 or possibly 6 teams on pace to win fewer than 30 games. That’s fewer than last year and similar to the 2011 season when the Raptors drafted Valanciunas. Now that could certainly change once the season starts and teams decide whether they have enough to make a run for the playoffs, but I don’t think it will be very difficult to lose more games than teams like the Kings.

        • DDayLewis

          “many lucked out doing something that was unrepeatable” isn’t that statement very ironic?

          • DDayLewis

            How can you be sure to win more games than the Kings? They won 28 games last season, and they jettisoned Evans for Vasquez (not much of an upgrade). Nobody is sure that they’ll win less games than the Kings. They are that bad.

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

              I don’t think the Kings are a good team, by any means, but I think they’ll probably win somewhere around 32 games, which puts them out of the tanking scenario, and close to the mediocrity treadmill scenario.

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

            Not really. With tanking, you can increase your odds of landing a great player, especially in a loaded draft. You can’t increase your odds of having your best player miss the season the same year a once in a generation talent is available and then land the top pick that one season, like the Spurs did. You can’t increase your odds of jumping up eight spots and getting the top pick in a year when a future MVP is available, like the Bulls did.

            • DDayLewis

              Right, and you can’t draft top talent outside of the top-5 like Indiana did with George and Hibbert. That’s a fluke. And GSW getting Thompson, Curry and Barnes with the 7th, 11th, and 8th picks, that’s a fluke too. And Memphis lucking out with Marc Gasol (48th overall), also a fluke. Where would the Bulls be without Noah (9th), or Boston without Rondo (21st)?

              There is talent outside of the top-5, and lots of talent changes hands every year. Why are we so hell-bent on the idea that the Raptors can only get productive players via the draft?

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

                The problem with your argument is that there’s a difference between a productive player and an elite player. No one has suggested you have to tank to acquire a productive player or you can’t draft one outside of the top five. But the odds of acquiring an ELITE player outside of the top five in the lottery, for a team like Toronto, is pretty slim.

                • DDayLewis

                  What makes a player “elite” if it’s not a question of productivity? I’m very confused. Please elaborate.

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

                  Lots of players are productive. Amir Johnson is a productive player. But an elite player is the type of player that can change the destiny of a franchise. Guys like Chris Paul, LeBron, Durant, Rose, etc. If you want to build a contender, you really need at least one of these types of players.

                  Denver had a team full of productive players, but one reason they weren’t a contender is because they didn’t have an elite player.

                • DDayLewis

                  Guys like Paul, Lebron, Durant and Rose change franchises because they’re very productive (Rose might not be on that level).

                  Denver had a roster full of productive players, but a lot of factors conspired against them. Coach Karl played his lineup in a sub-optimal way, handing out minutes to guys like Wilson Chandler and Corey Brewer while playing guys like Faried out of position at center. Also, don’t forget the historically prolific shooting performances of the GSW which eliminated them from the playoffs.

                  And what about Memphis, or Indiana? Did they have “elite” players?

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

                  Yes, players like LeBron, Paul and Durant are very productive. And they all have the ability carry their teams. Do you really not see the difference between an elite player and simply a productive player? In the NBA, you generally only go as far as your best player can take you. That’s why the best players usually (not always) end up taking their teams deeper into the playoffs than team without elite players.

                  I’m certainly not going to argue that part of the reason Denver underachieved in the playoffs was due to Karl’s strategy, which works during the regular season, but not in the playoffs. But Denver was never a contender despite winning 57 games and even Ujiri admitted that. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE for a team without an elite player to win a Championship, but it’s certainly a hell of a lot more difficult.

                  Indiana has Paul George and Memphis has Marc Gasol. Right now, both are borderline elite players. They both can carry their team offensively, over stretches, and can alter the game defensively.

                • DDayLewis

                  Okay, it seems like you’re just expanding your definition of elite. What parameters or qualities are there for an elite player? I’m not saying guys like Amir are elite. He isn’t. Neither is Lowry, Valanciunas or anyone on this roster. They are very productive, but not nearly as much as a Paul, Lebron or Durant.

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

                  How am expanding my definition of elite? In my original article, which you disputed, I used All NBA players as an example. Both Gasol and Paul are All NBA players. Obviously it’s not the best indication of whether a player is elite, but it’s one example. And watching them play, they both make very big impacts on the game on both ends of the court.

                  I don’t think there are definite parameters for what constitutes an elite player. It’s like the old adage, I know it when I see it.

                • DDayLewis

                  All NBA is pretty flawed (you admitted as much). You also expressed concerns over the Wins Produced model, but I’d consider players who have a WP48 of greater than .240, and a WP of more than 10 to be elite producers.

                  Last year, the elite producers were: Jimmy Butler, Kirilenko, Marion, Chandler, Durant, Paul and James. Are there questionable names? Sure. Butler, Kirlienko, Marion and even Chandler are probably loved by WP for a reason (the role they play).

                  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlYMOKoVqHSjdHkwV0Ytc25GTk1JTG9kd0JUY1NCVHc#gid=0

                  I don’t buy the “when I see it, I know it” argument. Humans are really biased and really deficient when it comes to data processing and analysis. We fall victim to a huge number of cognitive biases. That’s why we have numbers to do our work, because numbers are much better at tasks like observation.

                  Now obviously, numbers aren’t enough, and should never be substituted for analysis, but we shouldn’t be so arrogant and throw them away. We should consult the right numbers, the important numbers in every decision we make, especially the important ones.

                  For example, take Joakim Noah. I venture to guess that you wouldn’t consider him elite. But he “impacts the floor” a whole lot more than our shitty human brains could ever notice.

                  Anyway, this is getting off-topic,

                  Back to elite players. We both agree on the idea that teams need elite players to contend. I think elite players are available every year, and they’re available outside of the top-5 picks in the draft. The link to the spreadsheets shows a breakdown of how the top 60 WP leaders last year were acquired by their respective teams.

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

                  Like it or not, there is no perfect way to rank players. All NBA is flawed, but so is wins produced. If your best player is Serge Ibaka, Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Mike Conley, Andre Kirilenko, Jimmy Butler, Kenneth Faried, Thabo Sefolosha, Shawn Marion, Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson or Nicolas Batum, all guys with a WP above 10, you’re not going very far. I like all of them, but they aren’t elite players.

                  Kenneth Faried is a perfect example. Ty Lawson is Denver’s most important and best player. Not Faried.

                  Elite players are guys who can carry teams. None of those guys can carry teams. I’d certainly love guys like that on my team, as I think they’re all very valuable players, but there’s no way they are elite.

                  Take Tony Parker. He’s an elite player. I know he’s an elite player because San Antonio goes only as far as he takes them and San Antonio was about a minute away from winning the title. He’s not as productive as a player like Mike Conley, but if I had to pick one of them to be my best player on a team, I take Parker every time.

                  Talking about Joakim Noah, I’m a big fan and always have been. I don’t need stats to tell me he impacts the game as much as he does because I can see it. Same for most of those players.

                  I know stat guys (of which I consider myself one) don’t like to hear it, but some things go beyond stats. An elite player isn’t always the most “productive player”.

                • DDayLewis

                  Guys who can carry teams? What does that mean? The ability to “take over” games like

                  Kobe? Lots of isolation offense? Is that what you really want?

                  Ty Lawson is one of Denver’s most important players, but it’s not because he can “take over”. He’s one of their most important players because he shoots really well for a point guard (he had a down year last season, but his career TS% is 57%), avoids fouls and passes well.

                  On the other hand, Faried is also one of Denver’s most important players. In addition to being an excellent shooter (57% TS%), he rebounds extremely well (15.7 rbs/48) and blocks shots/steals well.

                  There are other ways to contribute and dominate a basketball game aside from scoring. Every one of those players that you mentioned dominates the game in a unique way and it’s reflected in their numbers.

                  And we both agree that Tony Parker is pretty good. But how much of San Antonio’s latest charge towards the championship a product of Parker’s doing? Who knows. Tim Duncan was pretty awesome. So was Kawhi Leonard. Danny Green shot the lights out. Manu had his moments. How do we know that Kawhi Leonard is, or is not elite (he is)? How do we know if San Antonio only goes as far as he takes them?

                  You don’t need stats to tell you the Joakim Noah is elite? I’m a huge fan of the guy, but unless I looked at a boxscore, I could never truly appreciate how productive the tall guy with the weird hair, who shoots like he’s volleying the basketball is. But you can see it. I’d like your magical talents.

                  Some things do go beyond stats, you’re absolutely right. But some things (a lot of things) go beyond our naked observations. We don’t know how much to trust stats, and how much to trust our eyes. However, the Wins Produced model explains 95% of wins, so I’m pretty confident in it’s ability to measure productivity (in the frame of WINS).

                • Rap fan 2

                  I would like to add something further to this. Having one or two elite players who can dominate their positions on one team is definitely wanted and needed. With Lebron in the finals series against the Spurs he was able to take over whenever he was able to go to the hoop and he’s also playing great defense. He’s less effective when the Spurs have a defender hounding him and they also clog up the lanes and ends up passing up the ball or shoots it from the outside. The Heat sealed the deal on the final game with a make from an elite shooter like Ray Allen. Of course, Chris Bosh had to get the rebound. My point is that having players with elite talents in various basketball skills and talents is just as important as important as getting one player with elite overall skills. I remember when Dell Curry was playing for the Raptors whenever you hand him the ball he will more than likely make that clutch shot. He was not the best overall player but he was one of the best elite shooters at the time. By the way, I think motor is a basketball talent or skill. I think we have four players with elite level motors on our roster currently ie. Tyler, Quincy, Amir and Jonas. High motor skill tends to enhance other basketball talents like rebounding, getting steals and going after loose balls and getting free throws. On the negative side, you might also pick up a few more fouls. The Refs might give you a free pass if they know you play that way all the time.

              • truth be told

                inst the draft because iof the possibility of taking a player who doesn’t pan out.
                Now for your next argument you go potinting to the possbility of finding a gem late in the draft.lol
                You use the draft conveniently for your arguments when it suits you.

                • DDayLewis

                  The point I am trying to make is that the Raptors can acquire very productive players outside of the top-5 in the draft. Obviously, there is always a chance that a draft pick doesn’t pan out.

                  It’s not about flip-flopping. It’s very possible to get a productive player in the draft. However, there is a lot of risk associated, whether it’s the 1st pick or the 30th pick. The question is “how much risk” is involved, and how much you need to give up to move from X pick to the Y pick.

        • DDayLewis

          There are a lot of hurdles with tanking. You have to

          1) be a terrible team (hard to to with so many other laggards right now)
          2) have the lottery balls bounce your way
          3) pick a good player (not a guarantee in any draft)

          Chisholm’s argues that the Raptors, even a gutted roster without Gay, Derozan and Lowry, will have a hard time being worse than a lot of teams.

          He also argues that the lottery for draft picks, and the subsequent lottery in selecting a player is too much of a gamble to bet on.

          • truth be told

            “Pick a good player”
            Once again using the draft to suit your argument. A minute ago you were showing us all how you can get a star late in the draft, but now your argument is back to “there is no guarantee you pick a good player”.
            There are no guarantees in life but death. There is no guarantee you trade for a good player or sign one in free agaency.
            Pick a side bro. Stop your contsant flip-flopping to back your weak arguments

      • Guy

        “Tim W, you spew the same stuff over and over again.”

        Bingo!!!!! Self-plagiarism is alive and well.

      • Guy

        Interesting that you can say he spews the same stuff over & over again, but if I post a brief one sentence comment agreeing with you, it gets removed.

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

          DDayLewis has shown he doesn’t constantly insult and berate. You have. Big difference. Stop it, please. If you can’t control yourself, then don’t post.

          You’ll notice that despite disagreeing with one another, DDayLewis and I can politely discuss a topic.

          • ItsAboutFun

            Would it be polite and thoughtful and wise to email a notice to the culprit, with the deleted comment enclosed? If a poster didn’t retain a copy of the “offensive” comment, and why would they, how does one learn what is or isn’t acceptable, in the world according to Tim? It just disappears! I know I had at least one deleted that I hadn’t remembered anything insulting at all, unless you feel that showing your opinion to be flawed is too offensive to you.

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

              I did send him an email earlier, just as I tried to send you an email at one time (and were either ignored or the email address is not valid). It had no effect. I don’t know why there are a handful of people who can’t seem to discuss things without resorting to taunts and petty insults. And it’s only a very small handful. The rest of the people here seem to be able to get along, whether they agree with one another or not.

              If you’re getting your comments deleted (which actually doesn’t happen very often at all), then it’s probably an indication that you need to learn to play better with others. If you don’t like someone on here, ignore them.

              • Statement

                This is lame.

              • Purple Reign

                Normally I just read the articles/comments, but today I decided to say something.

                I’ve been reading here for a while now and I’ve yet to see any comment that crosses the line. ie excessive profanity, racial, ethnic, sexual slurs, etc, so I’m a little curious about the comments that were deleted. What did they say? What line did they cross? You say you deleted comments from a handful of people because they use taunts and insults. Okay, but then why have you allowed a posting to stay that said this about you; “you just sound like a complete douche bag who know nothing about either the Raptors, the NBA and basketball itself.” That seems like a clear insult/taunt and, since I haven’t seen a comment on any article that really pushes the envelope, I’m a bit skeptical about why previous comments were removed.
                That’s why I spoke up today. It seems comments are deleted based not on what was said, but rather who said it. That just seems unfair to me. If comments are going to be taken off, the criteria should be applied to everyone equally. Just my two cents.

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

                  If you haven’t seen any comments that cross the line, it’s probably because they’ve been deleted before you had a chance to read them. Doesn’t that make sense?

                  I left the comment that was directed at me because I could point out to him that it’s not acceptable. Next time, I will delete it without comment.

                  Everyone is treated the same, despite what one or two people around here may think. The goal is to create a respectful atmosphere for people to discuss basketball intelligently.

                • Purple Reign

                  I suppose it makes sense, but when a comment is deleted it leaves that little ‘this comment has been deleted’ notation and I don’t recall seeing any of them. So I have to assume any comment that gets yanked really crosses the line. As you said above, it doesn’t happen very often at all, so I’m quite intrigued as to what was written for the comment to be taken off.
                  As well, in re-reading the comments above, a comment was deleted in a brief dialogue in which you were involved. That opens the door to the question of impartiality, in that, if someone is engaged with you in discussion and says something you don’t like, you can remove it(The other person doesn’t have that option). Whereas if the comment was directed at someone else, it likely would have stayed. I’m not accusing, just pointing out the grey area that exists.

                  Rather than simply deleting the comment, it might be more beneficial to highlight it and show it to everyone as a symbol of what isn’t acceptable. That way, everyone will have an idea of what wont be allowed. Wouldn’t that makes sense? The way it is now, there isn’t any sort of visible guideline. Tough for people to adhere to standards that haven’t been made known.
                  If this was my first time here and read all the comments, I’d think it was acceptable to use profanity & call someone a douchebag. But I get the feeling that’s not what you’d consider alright. I appreciate wanting a respectful atmosphere, but that means different things to different people. Some clarity is never a bad thing. Just sayin…..

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

                  There’s always a grey area, but 99% of the people on here have no problem understanding what is acceptable and what is not. It’s pretty much common sense.

      • truth be told

        Any argument against tanking that starts with “you could draft a shitty player” is already falling on deaf ears.
        The majority of the players in the league good or bad come through the draft. Not wanting to draft players in fear of them not developing is a weak argument at best.

        • DDayLewis

          Who says I was against drafting players? My point is that there is a lot of risk and chance associated with drafting players. This needs to be accounted for.

    • elkabong

      while tanking is a nice concept to consider and you can put forth a whole bunch of meaningless stats about teams turning it around using that strategy the reality is it just doesn’t fit with our current roster or the landscape that Mr.Chisolm so nicely laid out. no one lottery bound is giving up their 2014 for Rudy/Demar/Derozan. you want Rudy off the books then give Detroit a call and they’ll send 2 pieces of crap with expiring contracts. this is all that’s gonna be out there and to think otherwise seems like an exercise if futility to me. if you are willing to trust Ujiri with the draft picks then why the extreme hesitation to trust him with not letting those guys walk for nuttin? it’s all boogie man scarey stuff that’s as likely to happen as we are to grab a top 5 pick by throwing out everything of current value it seems to me

      • vino

        this strategy doesn’t fit is bs. you can easily make it fit. even if no one offers 2014 for Gay/DD/Lowry (we don’t know that) – take 2015! we all know there is better than the Detroit offer out there!

        • elkabong

          to be an actual strategy there has to be some viable options available don’t ya think? when i look at possible trade partners for those 3 the only one that could be somewhat easily moved is Lowry since his contracts expires but where exactly would that get us? Rudy has 38 mil coming for the next 2 seasons and Demar has 38 mil over the next 4 so likely no shipping them out without getting an equal amount of bad contract back. not sure how he got that 1st rounder in the Bargs deal but i would not expect that to happen every time he makes a deal. the piston offer for Rudy is likely more in line with what is available but i’m sure he’ll jump all over any deal that includes a 1st rounder in it

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

        I’m a little confused. So because no lottery bound team is willing to give up their 2014 picks for DeRozan, Gay or Lowry, then it’s pointless to trade them? And even more to the point, it’s pointless to tank? While getting a 2014 lottery pick would certainly be nice, it’s certainly not necessary. I’d be even fine with getting a couple of rookies instead of picks.

        And considering what Ujiri got for Bargnani, I don’t understand how people are so adamant that nothing of value could be returned for Gay and Lowry. The Detroit deal is most likely not the only deal that is available.

        And the point is that you’re not throwing everything of current value out. You’re getting something for it now, rather than letting them go for nothing later. And you’re keeping players like Valanciunas.

        As for trusting Ujiril I trust him to have good judgements about players, especially in drafting them, because he’s proven he’s good at it. What he hasn’t proven is that he has any idea of how to build a contender. And until he proves he can, I’m going to have no problem disagreeing with him on the strategy.

        • thegloveinrapsuniform

          As you can see, i am now posting under my member ID…..

          I thought the whole point of tanking this season is to get a “franchise” player in the draft, why will you be willing to get rookies now, rather than picks?

          and why assume that lowry and gay will walk after their contract is up when MU has not even offered them extensions? I cant understand with Bosh, because he declined an extension but with Gay and Lowry, why trade them and assume they will walk when they have given no indication that they will do so?

          and how can you say that MU has not proven that he has any idea on building a contender? according to who’s idea’s? yours? lakers? spurs? heat? I’m pretty sure MU has ideas on how to buld a contender, the issues that might come up are resources that he can use to build a contender. and i dont think there’s a clear cut sure fire blueprint on building a contender, otherwise, all 30 teams in the league will be contenders.

          • thegloveinrapsuniform

            *can understand with Bosh

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

            Why would trading for rookies stop you from tanking any more than getting draft picks? The idea is to acquire as many assets as you can, and rookies are assets. Plus, they rarely help you win.

            As for extending Lowry and Gay, I’m not sure I see that as an upside. Gay is pretty much opting out unless he gets extended for about the same as he’s making now. So I see that as worse than him walking away for nothing.

            Lowry could very well be extended, but, again, at what price? Is it worth it? Is locking up Lowry the best use of the Raptor’s money?

            Ujiri has never built a contender. I don’t see how that can be argued. He admitted himself that the Nuggets team last year were not contenders. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t know how, but I think it’s pretty safe to say he hasn’t PROVEN he knows how.

            Until he actually BUILDs a contender, he hasn’t proven he can.

            • thegloveinrapsuniform

              my apologies, i do see where you are coming from with acquiring rookies. the more rookies you get, the less wins you will probably get. the higher the pick. noted.

              I think we’ve pretty much set our positions when it comes to Gay.

              Same with Lowry.

              I think it would be unfair to label him unproven when he’s only been a GM for 2 seasons.

              • DanH

                “I think it would be unfair to label him unproven when he’s only been a GM for 2 seasons.”

                Do you see the irony in this sentence?

  • theswirsky

    “In fact, looking at the 2013 Playoff picture, I can only count two instances of successful tanking breeding success”

    So when Memphis traded away Pau Gasol, for a player not yet in the NBA, future draft picks and future cap space, that wasn’t a tank?

    Boston heading into the 2007 draft?
    Miami heading into the 2003 draft?

    As for the Raptors, they aren’t in an perfect position to tank because Colangelo filled this team with assets people didn’t want. He failed to make anything more than minimal progress in his accelerated rebuilding but did so with an enourmous investment of this teams future. Making deals to get bad yet continue to build effectively for the future (such as the Pau Gasol deal listed above) aren’t going to be available.

    But that doesn’t change that its the best route for this team to be successful, not only as a whole, but due to the bevy of talent in this coming draft, is to tank, and to tank right now.

    By the way, what Masai did in Denver, was leverage a former #3 draft pick derived from a complete and utter tank job done by Denver in 2002/03 into multiple quality players.

    • DDayLewis

      One of those two teams is definitely OKC

    • ItsAboutFun

      Good lord, you’re still trying to use the Grizzlies as an example of tanking? LOL. WITH Pau, they were already a bad team, having had 22 wins (worst in the league) the year before. WITH Pau, they were on there way to the same record in 2007-08. Trading Pau had nothing to do with tanking strategy. With him, they were already the worst team in the league. And if somehow you can possibly paint that as “tanking”, has it elevated them to “contender”? They got to the 2nd round 3 years later, followed by 1st round exit in the 4th year, and it’s a safe bet that they’d have been 2nd round exit this past year if Westbrook had been playing. What exactly have they accomplished except for providing good practice fodder for real contenders?

      The 2003 Heat? How did they “tank”? And if they did, would they have done anything without Riley enticing Shaq to join up? We’ll never know, but tanking didn’t get Shaq.

      The 2007 Celtics? How did they tank?

  • truth be told

    My understanding is that tanking typically involves the strategy of accumulating and drafting young players with the intent of building around that young talent.
    Doesn’t some of your argument against it seem contradictory if you mention that JV is the closest thing they have had to a franchise player in awhile.
    How did they acquire JV?

    • timpchisholm

      Tanking involves deliberately putting a team on the court that doesn’t have a chance of competing in the hopes that a season (or more) of consistent losing will net a franchise-calibre stud in the draft. I’m not against tanking as a strategy in general, as I stated many times in my piece. I said that the Raptors are not well set up to tank this season. How the acquired Valanciunas is immaterial to that point

    • Rebuilding

      They traded Bosh to reacquire their draft pick the year JV was drafted

      • DanH

        To be fair, they would have been able to draft him anyway, as the pick was protected.

  • RapFan

    I am reading both sides of the tanking argument and still undecided on which side I stand. I guess a big part of the question is whether Gay is any good at carrying this team going forward (not to mention what kind of money is he gonna demand). Personally, I am still not convinced of Rudy’s ability but for some reason have not dismissed it yet (maybe because of some players, current and past, that keep saying how good Gay is/should be) and would like to see how this core group can start the season. Can any of the RR analysts write something on if the Raps can give this group a try and change course mid season if they suck again? Is that a realistic option at all? What do you guys think?

  • Bouncepass

    I completely agree with this article. Teams are better built through savvy trades and good FA acquisitions. Starting with some good pieces and what could be a franchise Center is plenty to work from. I much prefer the strategy employed by all of the non-tanking franchises to the strategy of the few bottom-of-the-barrel franchises that have been trying to do that lately.

    • theswirsky

      lately? Tanking has been going on for decades.

      Guys like Presti just took it out of the shadows and into the open. They did it so well, specifically under a completely adverse economic policy towards small market teams, its become an acceptable practice.

      But don’t think for a second that tanking is an new phenomenon. The lottery system exists because teams were exploiting the old system.

      • Bouncepass

        I agree that tanking is not particularly new. What I meant was that the way in which a number of teams have done so lately has been non-strategic and has resulted in pretty crappy teams with one or two high draft picks trying to carry the team. The NBA is too good for one or two young players to carry a team, and these young “stars” end up becoming discouraged and are prone to develop bad habits.

  • RaptorFan

    Great article. I completely agree that tanking isn’t a strategy that we should be pursuing at this point. Let’s see how the first half of the season goes and then re-visit the topic. Planning to be horrible is never a good sell to your fanbase and is very bad karma IMO.

  • John

    I feel bad for all of the Raptors fans that year after year have their hearts set on tanking. I can only imagine these fans sitting in front of their TV and cheering for the opposing team to win every night, all the while thinking: “It’s what’s best for the team”. At that point I think it’s maybe time to take a step back and re-evaluate your priorities.

    As a fan, there’s no point being miserable with your team, constantly thinking championship or bust. Just enjoy the sport for what it is, entertainment. Being a heavy supporter of tanking is a sign that you have invested yourself too heavily into something that really has no significant impact in your life. Take a step back, breathe, just enjoy the games.

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

      Or, it just means we watch and enjoy games differently than you do. Why do people not seem to understand that not everyone approaches everything the same way?

      • ItsAboutFun

        “Why do people not seem to understand that not everyone approaches everything the same way?”

        His entire post DOES recognize that people approach the sport differently. What he/she speaks to is not understanding how people can have any fun, with what is supposed to be fun entertainment, while whining and bitching that they aren’t getting their way year after year. Or something like that 😉

      • johng_3

        So your definition of enjoying Raptor games is seeing them lose and “hoping” they might get a top 3 pick in the draft. Tell me why your a Raptor fan.

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

          My definition of enjoying Raptors games is cheering a team I think has a chance to contend for a title. Not watch a mediocre team vie for a playoff spot year after year. I’m also a Spurs fan. Guess which team I get more enjoyment out of?

    • What the

      holeee fuck guy!

  • raptorspoo

    Detroit
    – Never really tanked, and couldn’t tank properly. They’ve always been in the mid-late lottery and had a terrible cap situation with terrible contracts (right, Toronto?)

    Sacramento
    – Picked head cases that don’t work well as a team (they stunted their own growth). Had a terrible ownership situation. Sac was not tanking, they were just bad. Period.

    Charlotte
    – Has different type of ownership issue – Jordan is making decisions. Until the last couple of years Charlotte has been trying to complete but were still terrible (right again, Toronto?). They just tanked at the wrong time (bad draft years) and had MJ running the show.

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Not really good examples there. The only one that really tried to tank is Charlotte – that’s run by MJ.

    Yes, I agree with you that you need savvy but luck, not as much. If you commit to tanking (like OKC), don’t try to straddle the tank/compete line, and make smart tanking decisions then I think 90% sure you’ll end up with a great team in the near future. Problem is that most teams only ‘sort of’ try tanking when their fan base is already sick to death of losing (right, Toronto?) and don’t fully commit because they don’t have the balls.

  • cdub

    Great article Tim C. A nice read based on common sense and logic. The reality is TL and MU were brought in to build a winner and it is clearly obvious WE ARE NOT TANKING. So at this point certain people are just beating their own dead horse about this. If it were so great an idea they would be doing it. Sure your entitled to your opinion but If your still going on about tanking then one would have to assume these individuals feel they are more qualified then these guys which is laughable. One of you tankers give me 10 grand. There’s a very small chance you will get a 100k back and a very large chance you will get nothing…what do you say? A crude analogy but that’s pretty much what you are asking MLSE to do. You don’t build a winning culture by intentionally losing.

    • vino

      “tanking” does not mean “intentionally losing”. too bad people here only see black or white.

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

      One thing I wonder, is if Ujiri does decide to tank, next season, will all those who were so anti-tanking continue to be, or will they change their tune.

      • vino

        it will be called “asset management” or something similar. nevertheless, if this leads to winning down the road… its fine by me!

  • Van Grungy

    With a chunk of the league trying to lose, that could mean an extra, lets say, 10 wins to a normal projection of the Raptors record this coming season.

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

      The problem is a chuck of the league isn’t trying to lose. All but a few teams have actually made most to either improve themselves, or just stay competitive. I don’t really understand the oft repeated notion that so many teams are trying to tank, because at this point it doesn’t appear to be true.

      • DDayLewis

        Maybe a lot of teams aren’t visibly trying to lose, but there are a lot of really really awful teams that the Raps would have to leapfrog to maximize their lottery odds.

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

          The only really bad teams seem to be Philly, Charlotte and maybe Orlando. Phoenix might be included, but they actually have a few decent players and are apparently close to trading for Danny Granger, so they might not be as bad as some think.

          Again, though, it’s not as if the Raptors have to be the WORST team in the league. Just in the neighbourhood. Especially with next year’s draft.

          • DDayLewis

            Lol Danny Granger won’t make them any better. Sacramento is genuinely awful. The Celtics and Lakers are filled with genuinely awful players.

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

              A healthy Granger would make them a little better, but apparently he isn’t involved in the deal. Phoenix is looking to dump Scola.

              Sacramento isn’t a good team, but they won 28 games last year, and they haven’t gotten any worse. 28 games isn’t genuinely awful.

              The Lakers still have Nash and Gasol. That’s not enough to get them to the playoffs, but it should be enough for 30-some wins.

              I think the Celtics, if Rondo comes back fairly quickly and plays at near the same level as usual, might be a little better than you think. By a little better, I mean in the low 30s.

              • DDayLewis

                We must have very little do do on a Friday night if we’re just yelling at each other on the internet.

                It’s a shame that Granger isn’t involved. Shedding Granger’s contract would really allow them to bolster their bench. Scola is a start though; they do lack scoring, even if it’s inefficient scoring like Scola.

                Okay, so 28 games might not be genuinely awful, but could the Raps really finish with less than 28 wins? We would definitely need to shed Johnson and Lowry to do so.

                The Lakers do have Gasol and Nash, and eventually they’ll get Kobe back, but they’re old and at risk of injury. The rest of that team? Oh god. Chris Kaman? Nick Young? What the hell.

                Yeah the Celtics could probably make it to 35 wins with a full season of Rondo.

                On a side note, in your opinion, what would it take for the Raps to get to under 25 wins? 30 wins?

                • DanH

                  Of course the Raps would have to shed Gay, Lowry, maybe Amir to get under 28 wins. What do you think all this discussion is about? If the team could lose without making moves, there’s be no discussion to be had. But if they do move those guys, yes, the team could easily get under the 25 win threshold, especially if they hand the PG reins to DJ and Buycks.

                • DDayLewis

                  And say the Raps finish with the worst record in the league. They would still only have a 25% chance at landing the number 1 pick.

                  Lowry and Amir are our most productive players. Unless Ujiri can sell them for a high return, it’s not worth jettisoning those two.

                • DanH

                  And a 100% chance of a top 4 pick in a draft with multiple all-star candidates.

          • DDayLewis

            My writing is genuinely awful when Inglorius Basterds is on TV.

      • SR

        I agree that a few teams being lumped into tanking discussions are probably rebuilding but not tanking, and still have too much talent to actually be truly terrible. At the same time, we’ll probably see a couple teams derailed mid-season by injuries (or whatever) throw in the towel more readily than usual. I bet there’ll be at least a couple teams who’ll become mid-season tankers.

  • disqus_7NOdEdmTRM

    Removing Bargnani, Anderson, Kleiza, Telfair, Lucas and probably Pietrus and not having BC trying to push the coaching staff for a certain style of play makes the team already better from last year …

  • tonious35

    One more thing Tim Chisholm needed to post on conditions that tankers have to be worried about: Can a team that acquired a high pick that seems to fit a team system under-develop that blue-chip prospect into an ineffective role player due to bad management, coaching, and terrible surrounding of “wrong” players?

  • Andrey

    If they are tanking, can they at least make tickets cheaper for fucks sake? But that’s not gonna happen. This is business and you don’t need championships to run it. Even if fans will stop coming they’ll just move to Seattle. It happened to Vancouver it will happen to Toronto, sooner or later.

  • Guy

    What Chisholm writes in this article makes more sense & is more convincing than any article/comment that’s been submitted here in favor of tanking. I posted earlier, in a comment that was shockingly &, quite frankly, embarrassingly deleted by a Moderator, that Chisholm’s last paragraph states it perfectly:

    “Tanking is an ugly business, and despite the strategy’s growing number of supporters, it guarantees nothing and hasn’t exactly proven to be a more viable path to rebuilding than any other route.”

    This statement is as accurate as it gets & cannot be disputed.

  • locdogjr locdogjr

    I would just be so happy to finally see the Raps in the playoffs again, even if we become the new Bucks and are always 7/8 it makes things exciting for a few years. Getting tired of the scrubbiness

  • FAQ

    Ah… the desperation of the tribal honking fans and their quest for the ‘playoffs’. So the Raps manage to reach 8th place, what then, a 3 or 4 game playoff run against the Heat? The only way the Raptors will ever reach the playoffs is if they go into luxury tax big time… and even then!

  • disqus_vn04D92AQe

    “…just strip a roster of all its talent and put an incompetent coach on the sidelines – but that’s not the same as tanking.”
    Actually that’s a very good definition of tanking.

  • golden

    Wow. 200 comments on an article that’s a blinding-glimpse-of-the-obvious? BC built a mediocrity treadmill team that can’t be undone in one season. Stop the press.

  • BBallBanjo

    The Raptors ownership is more interested in getting bounced in the first round than tanking at this point. They’re doing exactly what Charlotte appears to be doing: They’ve been so bad for so long that they need to show the fan base some success in order to rebuild the brand and their perception around the league. It also gives them a chance to say “look! we fired Brian Colangelo and brough in a new GM who has already gotten us to the playoffs”.

    I’m looking for the Raptors to try and get an 8th seed for the next 2 seasons, and then tanking after that. I can’t see Ujiri extending Gay on a huge contract, they’ll need that money to resign Valanciunas if he pans out.

    • BBallBanjo

      Either way…building around this roster in the long term is a not a good idea. They’re capped out with a mediocre team who’s ceiling is a low seed and an early playoff exit. Short term I can see why they’d want to do that for the reasons stated above, but signing Gay to an extension is likely going to ruin their flexibility and take you nowhere near real contention. I’m looking for Gay to be either moved or let go, depending on trade value during 2013-14 and 2014-15 (Gay has a player option worth 19 mil and I would be suprised if he did not take it – he’s not getting that much money anywhere else especially with next year’s free agent market being loaded with superstars. Unless he and his agent think he can get another max level contract. Who knows).

  • Will BearsNation Williams

    The Raptors finished 16th in scoring during the 2012 – 2013 season which means they know how to put the ball in the basket. The addition of Tyler Hansbrough adds a level of toughness, interior defense, and rebounding – all of which the Raptors were in desperate need of a year prior –
    Check this out http://sportsunbiased.com/nba/12140/2014-nba-eastern-conference-playoff-predictions-battle-for-positions-6-8/