Today at 11AM the Raptors will announce that Toronto will host the 2016 All-Star game, a long overdue but excellent development that can only benefit the Raptors and the city.  It’ll be like Caribana weekend, only good.  The big names in Toronto, the TV coverage, and hopefully a Raptors All-Star or two by then would make this a very exciting weekend and would hopefully put to rest the nonsense of players not wanting to stay/come here due to it being in Canada.

More importantly, I believe that if Adam Silver was of a slightly different race, he’d look like Gus Fring from Breaking Bad:


It’s there, trust me. I’ve been comparing these pictures for the last two hours and I know that they’re the same person.

Heading into training camp I don’t find myself asking too many questions of the roster, only because there is no deep glaring hole on it like years past. On the scoring front, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas should carry the load. Defensively, good defenders like Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry (when not reaching), Tyler Hansbrough, and Amir Johnson has us covered for the most part. When it comes to rebounding, Hansbrough, Johnson, and Valanciunas is a good start and there’s probably a need for another big in there, considering we haven’t yet accounted for Ed Davis being shipped away.

The bench is a modest one and susceptible to some exploitation, but Steve Novak, Landry Fields, Terrence Ross, Dwight Buycks (based on summer league, I know), and Quincy Acy are at the very least role players that look like they can play the part on an Eastern Conference eighth seed. Once you overlay this roster with the expectations in a weakened East, there’s a sense that whatever modest goals are set are going to be achievable ones, at least for me. There’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Raptors will be making the playoffs as a late seed this year, and it’s taken the usual edge off of things. There’s been no major summer signing of import so there’s nothing too new to look ahead to except for Tyler Hansbrough. It all makes for calmer waters. Not saying I’m not excited, just that I kind of see what’s coming and I’m already missing Bryan Colangelo’s penchant for rashness no matter what the feasibility.

You might have seen the note from about using some advanced methods to track player movements. To summarize:

The groundbreaking system will provide a continuous stream of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation, and ball possession for detailed and targeted analysis of players and teams.

Hmmm…player separation you say? I hope the NBA makes this data available publicly so I can watch Blake’s head explode. In any event, I’m offering ten predictions regarding what this new software will speak of regarding the Raptors.

  1. Rudy Gay’s distance from the man he’s defending will always be the greatest of any Raptor.
  2. DeMar DeRozan’s foot speed when dribbling out of pressure on the perimeter will be the slowest of any Raptor.
  3. The fastest guy with the ball in his hand end-to-end will be Dwight Buycks.
  4. Other than Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay will take up the highest percentage of Raptors possession.
  5. Of all non-PGs, Terrence Ross will spend the least amount of time inside the paint (I’m counting Novak as a PF).
  6. The best weak-side help defender for the Raptors will be Landry Fields (i.e., he’ll cover more ground helping a big down low than any one).
  7. The Raptors will make a concerted effort to provide help in the paint, even if it means leaving shooters open on the wing (i.e., you’re not going to see big men being stuck on defense at the perimeter).
  8. Jonas Valanciunas will be the first big man running back on defense to cross the half-court line on majority of the possessions.
  9. Dwight Buycks will be the only player to drive more to his left than right.
  10. Quincy Acy will be called for the most face-up travels (i.e., on the wing, facing up) per 48 minutes.

Here’s the Raptors training camp roster:

  4 Quincy Acy F 6-7 233 10/6/1990 Baylor / USA 1
14 D.J. Augustin G 6-0 183 11/10/1987 Texas / USA 5
13 Dwight Buycks G 6-3 190 3/6/1989 Marquette / USA R
  5 Austin Daye  F 6-11 200 6/5/1988 Gonzaga / USA 4
10 DeMar DeRozan G 6-7 217 8/7/1989 USC / USA 4
  2 Landry Fields F-G 6-7 214 6/27/1988 Stanford / USA 3
22 Rudy Gay  6-8 230 8/17/1986   Connecticut / USA 7
34 Aaron Gray C 7-0 270 12/7/1984 Pittsburgh / USA 6
50 Tyler Hansbrough F-C 6-9 250 11/3/1985 North Carolina / USA 4
15 Amir Johnson C-F 6-9 237 5/1/1987 Westchester HS (Los Angeles) / USA 8
  7 Kyle Lowry 6-0 205 3/25/1986 Villanova / USA 7
  6 Carlos Morais G 6-3 220 10/16/1985 Atletico Petroleos/Angola R
16 Steve Novak F 6-10 235 6/13/1983 Marquette / USA 7
31 Terrence Ross G 6-7 197 2/5/1991 Washington / USA 1
77 Julyan Stone G 6-7 200 12/7/1988 Texas-El Paso/USA 2
17 Jonas Valanciunas C 7-0 257 5/6/1992 Lietuvos Rytas / Lithuania 1
33 Chris Wright F 6-8 225 9/30/1988 Dayton/USA 1

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  • ezz_bee


    • Kevin

      I can’t believe Amir was born in 1987 and is our most experienced player on the roster. That makes me feel old.

      • Philoveritas

        I seem to recall that Amir was the last player to be drafted out of high school…which explains his years of experience…

  • SR

    I really want Landry and Ross to be able to shoot the 3 this year. That would change so many things for this team.

    Favourite line from training camp roster has to be Austin Daye’s “7-0 200.” Get back in the buffet line, Austin!

    • SR

      “6-11 200” even. Getting a little carried away over here.

      • RS

        Regardless – Lowry has 5 pounds on the guy…..and he’s nearly an entire foot shorter haha

  • DryDry

    “It’ll be like Caribana weekend, only good. ”

    What does this mean?

    • 2damkule

      it means it’ll be like Caribana weekend, only good.

      • Statement


      • sleepz

        Don’t diss Caribana.

        Perhaps, you haven’t had the best of experiences, but to say it ‘isn’t good’ is obviously a personal opinion. I have a ton of family come up every year and we have a great time.
        Maybe you need to put on a costume and go play

  • jb

    “Once you overlay this roster with the expectations in a weakened East”

    Did you mean weaker than the West? Or weakened from the previous season? I don’t get how it could be the latter because Rose is now back healthy with the Bulls. Indiana got Scola and Granger is said to be healthy (the raptors play unusually well against the Pacers in past seasons). Detroit is much improved. Cleveland is set to challenge for a playoff spot. Washington has a healthy Wall for the entire season and Beal healthy, with Nene too. I can even go as low as to say Charlotte got much improved front court with Jefferson and we know the Raptors haven’t had the greatest luck with Charlotte. Even Boston isn’t going to roll over, Jeff Green had a monster end of the season (and they still have Rondo). ATL still has horford, Teague and Milsap. Only three teams in the east should be doing worse that the Raps (Philly, Milwaukee, Orlando). Which leaves the Raps between 12-8th spot, so it’s nowhere near “a foregone conclusion that the Raptors will be making the playoffs as a late seed this year”.

    • 2damkule

      chicago was already good, getting rose back makes them better; ditto for indy grabbing scola & getting granger back (in theory). some teams will improve, mainly because they were so bad last year, or they have young players who will improve as they mature, but what he might be driving at is that there are some teams that have been stronger in recent years that are likely looking at tumbling a bit – or a lot. just within the atlantic, philly’s in tank mode (much worse), boston (depending on rondo) are looking to be taking a step backwards, and NJ has a lot of new (and aging) players (with big egos) to assimilate into a cohesive unit, and who knows what’s going on in NY. as in years past, the east is very top-heavy, with some flotsam in the middle, and some scary-bad teams at the bottom….it’s pretty wide open after the top-3 or 4 teams in the conference.

      • Miami, Chicago, Brooklyn, Indiana and New York are all shoe-ins, barring major injury or collapse. Atlanta isn’t likely to be any worse and may be better, with the addition of Millsap. That leaves two spots for Cleveland, Washington, Toronto, Milwaukee and Detroit. Cleveland is projected to be the best team of that group, and will most likely make the playoffs. And my guess is either Washington or Detroit will take the final spot.

        It’s certainly POSSIBLE for the Raptors to slip into the playoffs, but at this point I think it seems unlikely.

        • Dr.Scooby

          Agreed. Cleveland is in, Wash (probably) and Detroit grabbing the last spot.

          Atlanta could go well, but there is something unsettling and twitchy about that roster…

          • SR

            Boston and Philly “tanking” + all the tanking talk in general are giving people the impression that the East is gonna be a lot easier this year. I agree with 2damkule, though – that quick assumption is overlooking the fact that several perennial bottom feeders are finally improving. Washington and Cleveland have made great strides and may have just passed the Raptors. Detroit and Charlotte have acquired major pieces. Indiana, Chicago, and Brooklyn should all be even better than last year. Boston’s fallen off, but they still have more all-stars than Toronto.

            Arguably there are even fewer basement-dwellers this year than in past seasons, in spite of the tankers.

            • SR

              Meant to agree with jb there…

          • I actually didn’t think Atlanta would do as well as they did last year, but they won 44 games and I don’t see this year’s team being any worse. The only issue might be chemistry with Millsap and Brand being added.

        • GoingBig

          I think Washington has taken a hit with Okafor’s injury. As all the 6 to 10th-ranked members of the marginal pelaton have to get as much as they can out of November + December, I think that changes the Raps from “unlikely” to 50/50

          • I’m not sure how much Okafor’s injury will hurt the team. He certainly helps them defensively, but I never thought he was a good fit offensively. With him out, I see them having to run a lot more, which is better for this roster. I think they still need another big man, but I think they’ll still be in the running.

        • golden

          New York is a shoe in for the playoffs? They added Bargs. How soon we forget….

          • They won 54 games last year and didn’t lose any really important players. If Bargnani hurts the team, he’s not going to play much. I’m not a fan of the team at all, but, barring injury, I don’t see how they miss the playoffs next season.

            • 2damkule

              agree, they’ll make it in, but i wouldn’t say that they’ve ‘improved.’

              • SR

                Yeah – this is the NBA and a star of Carmelo’s talent will get virtually any team in the playoffs (especially in the East). He’s never missed the playoffs in his career.

                In case you’ve forgotten, as Raptors fans, how superstar talent impacts a franchise:

                The Nuggets were 17-65 the year before he arrived, and 43-39 in his rookie year. The Knicks were 29-53 the year before he came and 42-40 the first season with him. That’s the NBA, people.

                All that said, the Knicks are treading water now as a middling Eastern team. Not sure how they’re going to get better.

                • SR

                  To add to that, Raptors fans writing off the Knicks as Eastern competition is mind-blowingly absurd. The Knicks outpaced the Raptors by 20 wins last year. The minor transactions and hopes for internal development are not nearly enough to overcome that gap.

                  Fans of a lottery team being dismissive of a 54-win team with one of the leagues biggest superstars…it’s mildly embarrassing, to be honest.

            • Statement

              They lost Kidd.

              • I really don’t think that’s going to have much of an effect He was 78 years old.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Hmmm, so a HOF PG who averaged 27 MPG, 49 of which he started (30-19 record), was not a “really important player”, and his absence is not “going to have much of an effect”, because of his birth certificate???? Interesting. Perhaps because they have 36 year old soph. Prigioni to take his place? Now there’s a stud to replace Kidd!!

                • Statement

                  Not this year, perhaps, if the playoffs were any indication. But last year during the regular season for sure, he was a part of their 54 wins. Take him away and replace him with Bargs = fail.

                • Yes, true. He did help them get to their 54 wins. But I don’t see Bargnani as replacing Kidd. If Bargnani doesn’t play well, he’s not going to be force fed minutes like he was in Toronto, so he’s not going to have the same negative impact.

      • steve

        steve Clevlands projection relies very heavily on bynum`s knees which are very iffy at best ! NJ is VERY VERY OLD with huge egos and a high INJURY record not to mention a rookie coach with a hair trigger temper. Does that sound like a recipe for success? DETROIT has a huge mismatch of talent in the wrong positions. BOSTON will probably trade Rondo after he returns from ACL surgery leaving them with lots of YOUTH with future potential, but not this year. WASHINGTON has not won more than 24 games in 5 years years and have recently lost their their first round pick otto porter to injury not to mention an aging and injury prone front court. The raptors are stronger through expierience and depth with more talent at every position than last year without 2 or 3 players who could be called deadwood. HELLO PLAYOFFS for all the pessimists!!

        • Apparently the definition of a pessimist has changed to someone who disagrees with you. Especially considering you’re being pessimistic about all those other teams just so you can be optimistic about the Raptors. Ironic, isn’t it?

          • ItsAboutFun

            “Apparently the definition of a pessimist has changed to someone who
            disagrees with you. Especially considering you’re being pessimistic
            about all those other teams just so you can be optimistic about the
            Raptors. Ironic, isn’t it?”

            Apparently you have not a word of your professed respectful and intellectual debate of any of his points about the teams, but do have a snotty response to the last word (pessimists) of his post. My, my, feeling a tad defensive over a such a simple term, not spoken to you, are we?

            Oh well, but that’s quite interesting psychological profiling you’ve presented though. What does your psychology analysis say about whose got a healthier attitude for having fun with sport :

            Fan 1: “being pessimistic about all those other teams just so you can be optimistic about” your own team……….?


            Fan 2: being optimistic about all those other teams just so you can be pessimistic about your own team……….?

            • jb

              What about fan 3: being realistic about the Raps chances of making the playoffs?

              • ItsAboutFun

                I guess you missed the point that if Timmy is going to use that elementary psychology to evaluate the optimist’s (#1) “irony”, then the same can apply to his bent (#2).

                That aside, everybody has their own interpretation of “realistic”, but it’s funny that it’s always the pessimists that claim that, and put themselves above those that differ. Why is that? Can’t handle the truth?

                • jb

                  the truth is that the raptors havent made the playoffs in years and that a lot of raptor fans believe they are every year. Call that pessimism or realism?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  The truth is that the only thing that matters when assessing prospects going into the new season, is what’s happening now, not what happened years ago. Anything else I call “find a Dr Phil to help get over it”.

                • jb

                  That’s a very discrete outlook on the NBA…which in large part makes zero sense because what happened before definitely has an impact on assessing future seasons…still haven’t answered whether my statement is related to fan 1, 2, or 3…

        • jb

          How can clevelands projection be based on Bynum when he didn’t even play last year. If anyone believed that then they’re drinking some damn good kool-aid. Second NJ has KG who was the one that brought all of those “egos” together in Boston…also they have a coach in Kidd who those “VERY VERY OLD” played with in the league for YEARS. REgardless of mismatch of talent in Detroit they still have a guy in Monroe who is a double-double (regardless of Smith) and Smith does all of the intangibles that any good team would want. Yes there are going to be a lot of bad shots from Jennings, Smith and Stuckey combined but if you believe they have less of a chance than the Raps, then the kool-aid my friend. You bring up Washington like they had Nene, Okafor and Beal for 5 years. I’ll give you that their front court is injury prone and I’ll give you Boston can go in either direction. Nonetheless you’re looking at all of the potential bad things that can go wrong with other teams and only viewing what can go well for the Raptors.

    • Kujo2020

      I totally agree. If all goes well, we’ll be in the hunt for a low playoff seed (which is not what I want, I wanted a tank season to get into the Wiggins sweepstakes, but anyway), but all those teams that you mentioned are better than us imho.

  • Statement

    “There’s almost a foregone conclusion that the Raptors will be making the playoffs as a late seed this year”
    Where do you get this from? Not that I neccessarily disagree, but I don’t really think that this is consensus. IIRC ESPN’s forecast panel had the Raps out of the playoffs this year.
    For a post, how about looking around and seeing what the forecasts are by the various agencies and institutions that do this stuff and then posting them here?

    • Ya, I’m not sure where that came from. Whose foregone conclusion? Raptor fans? I’d say most thought they were going to make the playoffs last year, too. Most predictions I’ve read have them out of the playoffs again. In fact the few that do predict the Raptors will make the playoffs say they will surprise. In other words, they will surprise by making the playoffs, which is hard to do if it’s expected.

      • Casey Sherman

        Yes. My mindset is I hope they make the playoffs, I think they have the talent and team atmosphere to do so, and I might even bet on it. But it’s by no means a foregone conclusion, as a million things could go wrong

        • To say that a million things could go wrong is suggesting it’s almost a foregone conclusion, because you could say the same about just about any playoff team. Do you really think the Raptors are head and shoulders above the other teams they will be competing for a playoff spot with? I’m not seeing that at all.

          • Casey Sherman

            I don’t think they are, no. What I meant was this team is fragile in the sense that if one little thing goes wrong (eg. injury to a starter) I could see the team suffering. There’s only a few players I could see getting injured whose absence would not seriously impact the team: Novak or Daye, cause one could play for the other, and Augustin/Buycks/Stone, as any one of them could probably be serviceable backup PGs. This is not the case with most playoff teams–if Ginobili misses 30 games with an injury, the Spurs are still good to go.

            With that said, my rose-colored glasses say this team has an intriguing ceiling. The core players are all entering their primes or in them (with the exception of JV, and he’ll be fine). Lowry, Gay and DeRozan are at career crossroads with chips on their shoulders. The starting lineup (which was effective in limited action last year) is a great mix of talent (Gay, DeRozan, JV) and hard work (Lowry, Johnson, JV). They fit well together unlike Detroit. The team is not dogged by any injuries right out of the gate unlike Washington (Porter, Okafor)–quite the opposite, Rudy says he’s 100% healthy (which is nice to hear as the back issues were definitely apparent in stretches last season)

            Plus man it’s the hype!!! Drake!! The All-Star game!!! Drake!!

            • Even if everything goes right I don’t see how the Raptors are a shoe-in for a playoff spot. Not with Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington having at least as much talent as the Raptors, and even Milwaukee might make a run for the last spot, too.

              • Casey Sherman

                Never said they were a shoe-in, Tim.

                • No, but you said you’d be willing to bet they’d make the playoffs. That sounds pretty confident to me. Unless you’re in the habit of making bad bets.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  You have your “shoe-ins”, as you put it. You have your “bad bets”. Then there’s a vast world of colours between black and white , where most people live. You ought to try it sometime. It’s fun!

                • Casey Sherman

                  I said I “might even bet on it”, meaning I think they have a good chance of making it. All that really says is I think they have a greater than 50% chance, which is not at all what a shoe-in is. Am I confident in the team? Absolutely not; there’s no history of winning to fall back on. There’s a lot of wild cards on the roster. But I think and hope they’ll do well. Simple as well

                • onemanweave

                  Tim, If this is the mature intelligent debate you’ve been peddling, could we go back to the blood-letting?

                • I forgot that passionate debate is only allowed if you’re being positive about the Raptors. God forbid someone actually has something critical to say. For all you guys criticism of my “tone”, if I wasn’t being critical of the Raptors, no one would have cared.

                  It has become glaringly obvious that there are many who simply want to reinforce their love of the team, and would rather not discuss the negative aspects.

                  Unicorns and rainbows forever!

                • ItsAboutFun

                  What’s “glaringly obvious” is that as obsessive as you are about dishing out criticism of everything Raptors, you can’t handle criticism of your nature in here, and resort to a “woe is me”, followed by an extremely insulting slight of those that don’t pat you on the back and tell you how wonderful you are.

                • Guy

                  If you want a passionate & respectful debate, then don’t put words in other people’s mouths & jump to false conclusions just to make yourself sound better. Casey Sherman did NOT say the Raps were a shoe-in to make the playoffs. All he said was that he might bet on it. Yet, rather than acknowledge you read to much into his comments, you put words in his mouth & conclude his willingness to maybe make a bet is pure confidence suggesting TO is a definite playoff team.

                  Unicorns & rainbows? How about arrogance & hypocrisy.

          • Guy

            Actually, by saying that a million things could go wrong, Casey Sherman is suggesting the Raptors making the playoffs is anything BUT a foregone conclusion. He’s implying that for TO to make the playoffs, pretty much everything has to go right. This is the complete opposite of a foregone conclusion.

            And it’s not the same as any other playoff team because teams like Miami & Indiana are more talented & better able to withstand one thing going wrong. Bosh gets injured & Miami still rolls along. Jonas gets injured & TO’s playoff hopes are severely damaged if not ruined.

    • ckh26

      Just like everyone else even the experts at ESPN cannot predict the future. They guess just like you and me and make it sound better with a wad of sometime headscratching statistics and the ever present “sources” such as “my brothers cousins friends best buddy who played a illtle ball said”… So we too can predict the Raps future.. We just do it for free on blogs such as this with ergs of misguided loyalty. Hell we are fans aren’t we. Raps land the 7th seed.

      • There’s a difference between an educated guess based on the evidence and experience, and a guess by a fan who really wants to see his guess come true. When ESPN came out with their prediction last year of 33 wins, Raptor fans went through the roof and I recall the majority believing they would make the playoffs. They won 34 games. Enough said.

        • ckh26

          Same guys said Atlanta would be very poor last year. They weren’t. Your volley

          • Yes, they are not right 100% of the time. I’m not sure what your point is. Is it that we should completely ignore them because they aren’t infallible? I still take their predictions over the prediction of the average fan every single time.

            • ckh26

              My point is in your first sentence. “they are not right 100% of the time”. No one can be. Its sports. You have to play the games and its great to be a fan and wear your emotions on your sleeve. Are the raps going to finish 7thy, 8th, 12th. I dunno. Neither does ESPN.. So I am taking the glass half full view because I am a fan and say they make it. Just because…

              • Why not say they’ll finish in the top four, then? If you’re taking the glass half full view, then you might as well say they’re going to have home court advantage in the first round.

                And as I say in my comment below, Raptor fans only hate the predictions when they are negative.

                I’m neither an optimist or pessimist, so I don’t tend to go to far one way or the other. Last year I predicted 35 wins and 10th in the East. It turns out I was slightly over optimistic.

                • ckh26

                  Timbo.. I said what I think. I think they make the playoffs at 7th or 8th. That’s my prediction and its based on nothing more than what I typed out above on personnel and my belief that Washington and Cleveland and Detroit and Milwaukee and Toronto are all kinda close. We get 8 games against Philly and Boston and that might be the difference to get in. That and Gay being able to see on the court and Lowry finally not meeting a hot dog he didn’t like. ESPN thinks something else based on that plethora of statistics and insider insight and thats what they think and say.Thats OK too. It provides another opinion and never ending grist for the sports opinion mill.

                  You think they finish out of the dance I take it. You have your reasons and you say what you think too. I hope your wrong in the most of civil of ways.

          • And here’s the thing. Everyone trashes the predictions when they aren’t in favour of the Raptors. But if there’s a prediction that DOES favour the Raptors, everyone points to it as proof they’ll do well. So apparently only negative predictions should be taken with a grain of salt.

            • Sek99

              First of all, we went 17-16 when we acquired Gay. Whether
              you like him or not (I’m not a massive Gay fan – hehe – myself), the team
              improved with his addition. So the assertion that ESPN is better at predicting
              the final record is flawed reasoning if only because they had no way of knowing
              specific roster movement (just like we don’t) and can only make these reasoned
              and educated guesses on the roster at the start of the season (same as us).
              Technically, they were actually overly optimistic if you account of Gay’s
              addition bettering the roster, which I would say contributes to a fair amount
              of wins (maybe 5 or so? I know it’s impossible to calculate for a single
              player’s impact on a team winning in such empiric terms).

              ESPN guys are given way too much credit. Some are good, some
              are bad, most are paid to do what they do more because they are entertaining.
              It’s the same reason Shaq does analysis for TNT and commentary. Not because he
              provides insight or information (which he rarely does) but rather because he’s
              fun to watch (occasionally) and will draw viewers. Same goes for ESPN, so I
              wouldn’t put too much trust in those fellas.

              Of course you’re neither an optimist or a pessimist. You’re
              generally too right to be either of those things, right? Man, I don’t think
              they’ll make the playoffs either, but some of your comments come off as
              arrogant and dismissive of any opinion that even dares to go out on a limb.
              Yes, an easy and realistic prediction is Raptors as 10th seed, but it is
              entirely possible (and reasonably possible considering the roster, composition
              of the east, etc.) they could be 7th seed. No, it is highly unlikely they’ll
              reach beyond 7th seed. But I think that most of the “optimists” as
              you call them have the Raptors pegged there. That’s not totally unreasonable
              and there’s no need to shit on everyone who suggests that.

              Like I said, I generally agree with your predictions here
              (I’ve been burned WAY too many times by being hopeful for this team) but you
              may want to consider your tone – especially as a contributor to the articles on
              the site – when talking to people as well as not be so pigeon-holed into a single
              way of thinking.

              My hopeful (humble) prediction is either 8th seed or 5th worst record in the NBA after a gutting at the trade deadline. I believe the second is more likely, as I think we will be behind the other
              Eastern teams who have improved (Washington and Cleveland especially),
              therefore Masai will have a fire sale. I also don’t believe in Casey. I see us
              tanking for Wiggins about halfway through the season. BOOM!

              • “First of all, we went 17-16 when we acquired Gay.”

                And if you take out the last 8 games, where they went 7-1 against teams either resting their starters, or who had given up on the regular season, then you have a record of 10-15, which is a more realistic record with Gay.

                And keep in mind the team was already playing .500 ball when they traded for Gay (they went 12-11 after Bargnani went down with injury).

                And let’s forget about ESPN for a moment, since you seem to want to. Let’s look at most other predictions who also have the Raptors missing the playoffs.

                As for my tone, I think it’s warranted, quite frankly. You say anything the least bit critical around here and you get attacked for being a pessimist or worse. I’d love more people to actually focus on the argument rather than try and cut down the person making it, a little more. It makes for more intelligent discussions.

                • Sek99

                  And if we had never acquired Gay, Colangelo could have claimed we were tanking, and therefore rested our own starters rather than win those meaningless games in an attempt to save his job. It’s a tangle of decisions, circumstance, and context that ESPN has NO way of knowing, no more than Joe Shmo can predict. Reasonable people (the ones paid to make predictions and get paid for it) will look at the facts and make an educated guess, which is what they’ve done, however you make it out that even to believe in 8th seed (or any opinion contrary to yours) is ludicrous.

                  And I agree with your last point, but I’m just saying that your tone is making it more personal. I know it’s all great to come out with “intelligent discussions” and you definitely become automatically perceived on the high ground when you make any argument for more “intelligent discussions” because no one will disagree with that. However, presenting your arguments in brash and arrogant manners will only lead to further the vitriol and insight personal attacks. It’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it.

                  Now I’m not one for giving out advice over the internet like some electronic nanny, but I read this wesbite often and I used to be a pretty regular poster until I sort of got bored of it all, and your posts seem to say one thing but do another, and over the weeks and months have just become annoying to read, regardless of content. I do enjoy reading both the articles and comments, and participating or observing “intelligent discussion” but I’m just a little tired of what I see as what can often times be an arrogant attack on numerous commentators. And, let’s face it, you post a lot, so even if I wanted to avoid your comments, it would be difficult. And I don’t want to avoid your comments, I value the information. Just the delivery could be eased up, I think.

                  Just an observation is all, do with it what you will. I imagine you’ll maintain your position because Tim W. IS. NEVER. WRONG. (just a joke)

                • SR

                  That’s Tim in a nutshell. I’ve stopped addressing his comments after 2 or 3 threads that played out exactly as you’ve described. There’s no real discussion, just an endless stream of rebuttals that become pretty antagonistic early on. Then he cries foul and plays the “Why are you making this personal?” victim card if you give it back to him and/or multiple readers disagree with him. It usually ends with him sending you an awkward personal email asking about why you’re giving him such a hard time. It’s completely unproductive and kind of weird in the end.

                • Guy

                  I’m getting a tear in my eye reading your & Sek99’s comments as it’s so nice & refreshing to see people say what I’ve been saying all along. I’d end up getting one of those personal emails telling me I’m the only one that thinks this way. Obviously Not. Cheers.

                • Guy

                  If I had posted what you just wrote, my comment would have been deleted.

                • Guy

                  I completely agree

                • golden

                  But Tim – isn’t the Bargs major addition by subtraction what you have been preaching for years? Gay isn’t a minus player like Bargs (more like break-even, overall), So, the 12-11 record minus Bargs should be at least a useful datapoint for prediction, no? That puts us near .500 for the season and right in the mix for the last few spots.

                • But the record after the Gay trade, and not counting the last 8 games (which shouldn’t count because the other teams didn’t care) was 10-15. The 12-11 record was with Calderon and Ed Davis.

                  In the end, the most important record is the 34-48.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Funny how you’ll dismiss the last 8 games because of an unqualified (in some cases, dead wrong) qualifier, but hang your hat on the 4-19 start, despite the numerous factual obstacles (new key players, insane schedule, multiple injuries, etc.). Geeez, you’ll dismiss everything, and everyone, that doesn’t fit your narrative.

                • golden

                  Well no, because like you said you can’t use 34-48 because that was pre-Gay. If we’re trying to get more analytic here, then we probably need to use the 5 man unit (Lowry-DD-Gay-Amir-JV) as a predictor for this season, since it will remain intact. The unit was pretty successful overall and it’s actually a fairly well balanced group both on offense and defense. The other factor you’re not accounting for last year end of season success is that JV started to get major minutes (30+), which is also byproduct of Bargs subtraction and normal growth, which should only increase this season.

                • Those 5 man unit stats are inherently flawed because they played basically second units for the last 8 or 9 games and DeRozan and Valanciunas played out of their minds in the last month of the season. DeRozan averaged 22.9 ppg on 54% shooting, including 50% from 3 (tell me he’ll continue to do that). Over the last 15 games, Valanciunas ranked FIRST in points per possession. That’s unsustainable.

                  That five man unit is not nearly as good defensively or offensively as the small sample size suggests.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  “they played basically second units for the last 8 or 9 games”

                  That’s a blatant lie. It’s true of only the last 2 games. The other 7 games, starters played big minutes and those teams were trying to win just as much, or more, as the Raptors.

                • Guy

                  If a 5-man unit is strong, shouldn’t they post good numbers against weaker opposition?

    • gradgrind101

      Masai has his finger on the “Tio Salamanca” bell but he’s not going to blow up this team. The raptors are headed to the playoffs. Pay no mind to all the so called experts who still pick Miami #1 in the east and then say the raptors are 9th or 10th. These guys don’t want to look like ignorant fools so they pick safe bets. They are saying Washington with Wall is a 500 team but they neglect to say that TO with Gay is a 500 team.

      Here’s my prediction Brooklyn vs LAC for the championship. Runners up Chicago and San Antonio. Most improved team goes to Cleveland and Minnesota each winning 15 more games in 2013/14 over last year. And by the way Wiggins is going to Phoenix, Philadelphia or Boston.

  • Deo

    Anyone else feel like they should update the players measurements yearly? I mean didn’t Amir come into the NBA after forgoing college [high school draftee] it’s tough to believe in the years since he is still only 237 pounds.