Here’s an attempt to break down the Raptors upcoming season into the classical three acts.

Act 1: The Beginning

Setup: New season, new GM, new enthusiasm. Let’s go do this.

Inciting Incident: Huge road win which instils belief in fans and players, perhaps even a win in Miami.

This is where the Raptors will keenly observe what they have on the current roster. There will be a tactical approach to every game with the aim of winning it. The goal of the season at this point will be the playoffs and nothing less. This is likely to be the most entertaining part of the season where the desire to win will be high and so will the fan enthusiasm.

I don’t care what you see in training camp or in pre-season, no GM ever makes a decision based on just those games. It’s this part of the regular season which Masai Ujiri will use to evaluate his roster and his coach. If things go well, continue on, if not, Part 2 brings changes.

Act 2: The Middle

Midpoint: A .500 team, which is more than you could say for teams past. This will be good enough for Ujiri to give the green light for the playoffs.

Depending on Part 1, this is where the team will either make a push to improve or in the case if Part 1 goes south, do some realigning. This is where clubs make course corrections to their season, alter their goals for the sake of the future, and sow the seeds which they hope to harvest in the summer or beyond. For example, this is when the Rudy Gay trade happened. Beware this period because this is where GMs stop thinking with their minds and start taking chances.

Ujiri strikes me as a patient man and not prone to pulling trades for the sake of change, so he may just absorb the blow if Part 1 yields negative results. Having short-term non-guaranteed contracts helps his cause here, and if the team is not performing at all, he might explore a Rudy Gay trade scenario much more seriously. My take here is that the team, based on the .500 record, will continue to march on with a positive mindset.

Act 3: The End

Climax: Tight race down the stretch with the likes of Detroit and Milwaukee for a playoff spot.

Resolution: A four-game win streak to end the season seals the deal for the Raptors – they make the playoffs.

This is the part of the season I’ve come to dread because in the past it has yielded nothing but meaningless wins that cost draft positioning while planting seeds of lies. For next year, this period will either see the Raptors making a push for the final playoff spots, or seeing a tanking effort so subtle that Ujiri may just win Executive of the Year. My money is on the Raptors pushing for the playoffs, and even perhaps a seventh seed. Of course, this is largely dependent on Part 1 and 2, but I’ll go ahead on a limb and say the Raptors will be hovering around .500 which should be sufficient for a playoff entry.

Encore

Nope, first round exit. Lose to Chicago in five games.

  • sitnonDfence

    I see you have chicago picked as the #5 seed …. Be unfortunate for use to lose with homecourt advantage. 😀

  • Iggy

    Off topic: does enyone know when the 2013-14 schedule will be published?

    • Casey Sherman

      6 pm today I believe…

  • vino

    Sounds depressing. The lies from the past were sold as hope and potential…
    so there was always a positive twist. There was hope (so it seemed). This act,
    however, leaves nothing for a casual fan. It only paves a road into years of
    the same script… with the only difference being the top seeded teams that will
    take turns on another five games beating. That is until teams like the Cavs and
    the Wiz overtake this existing Raps squad… Nah, I don’t want that! Brake this
    thing apart and build a contender!

  • Nilanka15

    I’ve seen this play a few times already. I’ll take my chances with Cats next time…

  • Bendit

    And if this scenario comes to pass, this will propel the team to what heights the next season/s? If we were to be a 0.600 team halfway I would go along with the press…that should be the bar to making the choice not .500

    • DDayLewis

      The bar should be set at them winning at least 49 games last season? That’s a lot to expect out of this team.

      • Bendit

        I think so too. Being in the east the .500 level suggested in the piece as being some barometer of competence at which MU should be satisfied with…. and so stay with the status quo thereby continuing the mediocrity is not my idea of sustainable advancement. This would provide with no decent pick, a quick exit in the playoffs and some of our best players with options to leave/stay on their terms. If they surprise however (.600) they might be worth building on.

      • What the

        After seeing this upcoming season schedules I think we are looking at 43 wins this season.
        Oct…. 1 – 0
        Nov….8 – 6
        Dec…3 – 11
        Jan….8 – 9
        Feb…8 – 4
        Mar..10- 6
        Apr…5 – 3

  • Juan Manuel Ramos

    WE GONNA BE CHAMPS. REMEMBER

  • DDD

    i can see us in th sixth seed. 7th cleveland, 8th detroit.

  • Marz

    You’ve got it all wrong Mr. Siddiqi.
    Act 1: Raps start off slowly, entering December as a sub .500 team.
    Act 2: Raptors rally with the easiness of schedule before the all-star game, giving us around a .500 record with lots of optimism for the future because we’ve “turned it around”
    Act 3: Raptors miss out on the playoffs by a narrow margin, Gay opts out and the Raptors get next to nothing in return. We herald DeRozan as the new saviour of the franchise and try to turn him into something he’s not (still), while banking on JV to develop.
    Now, replace Gay with Bosh, DeRozan with Bargnani, and JV with DeRozan. Tada!

    • Sig

      Haha, you bastard

  • raptorspoo

    In light of the schedule coming out, would you like to rework that final act?

    Quote Tim W:
    In April, 7 of the 8 games will be against either playoff teams (Houston, Indiana and New York (twice)) or teams that have made it clear they will be fighting for a playoff spot come hell or high water (Detroit, Milwaukee (twice)).

  • FAQ

    OMG!!!! NOT AGAIN…!!!! (Raps will never reach 0.500… end of story.)