The Toronto Raptors held an exclusive town-hall type event for season ticket holders. Notable players and executives were in attendance to answer choice questions from fans, and to give a miniature state-of-the-union regarding the goals and direction of the franchise. Today’s post will cover the highlights, including a riled-up Masai Ujiri, the direction of the franchise, and Jonas Valanciunas’ Halloween costume.

In Masai We Trust

I’m always worried when someone reaches cult-like status. Often times in our rush to anoint a hero, we inadvertently generate a backlash that manifests in a legion of contrarians who root for their failure just to revel in schadenfreuden. Success and attention breeds haters, and I’m worried that this might be happening to Masai Ujiri.

If you happen to be one of these haters, perhaps the following quote from Ujiri will change your mind, because quite frankly, he’s kinda awesome:

“We have to make [the ACC] a living hell for players who come play here. When you come to Toronto on a Sunday afternoon at 1:00 o’clock, guess what? You’re getting your ass kicked…when you’re coming here on a Friday night, you’re getting your ass kicked.”

I can’t wait until Ujiri decides to take this to the next level, and brings Bruce Bowen out of retirement so their opponents can get their faces kicked as well. Fingers crossed.

Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here: Cabbie’s No Longer On the Streets

Everyone here knows who Cabbie is, right? He’s that loveable dude that used to make feature pieces for the channel formerly known as The Score Television Network? Well if you don’t, you should definitely check him out. Here’s a link to a hilarious mini-series with Kobe Bryant. He actually started from the bottom (an intern at The Score) and now he’s here, hosting this Raptors Town Hall event (and working for TSN).

Cabbie did his usual thing. He got really personal with the players and he used his self-effacing and irresistible charm to eke out a couple of funny quotes from Demar Derozan, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. Here are some highlights:

On Sound Effects:

[Cabbie]: My friend and I always used to do the sound effect when we shoot [imitates swish noise]. Do you guys do that too?

[Amir]: I do, but mine is different.

[Cabbie]: What does yours sound like?

[Amir]: Mine goes [makes rattling noise]

[Cabbie]: Because it rattles in and out?

[Amir]: Yeah…

[Cabbie]: What about you guys? Do you make the sound effect when you’re shooting jumpers?

[Jonas]: Nah, I’m not shooting jumpers. I’m just dunking.

On Halloween:

[Cabbie]: So you guys have two weeks. What are you guys doing for Halloween?

[Jonas]: Uhh, I’m not celebrating Halloween.

[Cabbie]: WHAT? What do you mean? It’s the best night!

[Jonas]: Alright! I’ll try this year. I’ll dress like you.

[Cabbie]: Okay we can. I’ll be Jim Carey, and you be Jeff Daniels [from Dumb and Dumber]

[Jonas]: Nah. I’ll be you. 

[Cabbie]: Oh! You want to be me! No you can’t be me.

Cabbie is the man. Nobody asks hard-hitting questions and delves to the bottom of the story like he does. Now that he’s got the answers, I challenge the RR faithful to come up with your best Cabbie x Jonas photoshop. Basically, if you can put a soft-colored collared shirt and jeans on Jonas, you win.

Rebuilding v. Contending (for the millionth time) 

Given the Raptors’ current position, perhaps the subject is warranted and the debate is worth having, but there aren’t really any new developments at this point. Ujiri keeps talking about how he wants to see if there’s any “growth” with this roster before making any key decisions, which is as about as non-committal as you can get. The fans wanted to know, and Leiweke had this to say:

“There is no simple quick solution in the NBA. You all know that this is a league in which you build the core and the nucleus through the draft”

Whoa! Big news! Score one for the tankers! But wait, he also had this to say:

“…If you don’t have the right culture, I don’t care how many picks you have, I don’t care how many players you can trade for, I don’t care how much cap space you have, you have to have the culture…is to a person, every one of us now is devoted to going out and winning the Larry O”Brien Trophy for Toronto”

So…does that mean that he intends to create a winning culture first, before getting the players for a championship run? Doesn’t that require some winning and success? I don’t know.

Look, I know you’re going to break into a huge tanking/contend debate in the comments below, and that’s cool. I just want to remind everyone that we’re all on the same team, and we all want the Raptors to win the NBA title. Everyone got that? Okay, now go argue.

  • DDD

    jv is too funny

  • tippie

    Masai is talking about building a winning culture from players, coaches, trainers and management who desire greatness; devotion and persistent work ethic

    • FIRETW!MU!DC!TANKHARD!

      Sales job

  • Amigo

    They are both just selling tickets, Wake Up !

    • Raptorsss

      Leiweke yes, but Masai isn’t paid for selling tickets.

  • DG

    For a manager who has done nothing to improve the team Ujiri sure talks a lot about winning.

    • DDayLewis

      Are you forgetting the Bargnani deal?

      • DDon

        AND Psycho T…chief asskicker!

    • leftovercrack

      His first season hasn’t even started and already he “has done nothing to improve the team?” WTF. Like any sane GM, he wants to see his players play in earnest before making any decisions about them and whether they should be traded. It’s not his job to provide fans exciting offseasons

      • DerekHologram

        They haven’t even made the playoffs in years. What possible mystery can there be for how crappy this team is? Stop selling the future. We have heard it a million times. If you are serious about winning, start now. Put your money where your mouth is and bring in better assets.

        • DDayLewis

          I don’t think the Raptors problems can be solved in the short term with more spending.

          • DerekHologram

            Why not? They have never tried spending like other big market teams before and nothing else has worked. This team has pretty much been a disaster since it started. We are always being sold the future and told to be patient. That must be their strategy. If we are crap for 5 years we will just bring in a new regime, sell a bright future and ask the fans to be patient yet again.

            • DDayLewis

              Well for one, they’re currently capped out, so they can’t really spend more even if they want to. They get some cap space next year if they don’t bring back Gay and Lowry, but then who would you buy? Look at this list of potential free agents. Who are you spending the big bucks for? http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/8589693/nba-free-agents-2013-2014

              • DerekHologram

                They should be trading right now. If they just wanted to keep Colangelo’s team why fire Colangelo. He would have at least tried to get better this offseason.

                • DDayLewis

                  How familiar are you with how the NBA works? How many trades are executed in the preseason? And what trades are on the table? Should Ujiri be making these trades? If this team is littered with crap, who is chomping at the bit to get these guys?

                  We don’t have the answer to these questions, yet you want to judge and evaluate his competency. How about we just stay patient and evaluate the moves that he does make.

                • DerekHologram

                  I want them to match their lofty rhetoric instead of just selling me a bright future that never comes into being. There is no need to talk down to me son, I understand the rules.

                • DDayLewis

                  I’m not talking down to you. I just think it’s ridiculous to scold the management team before they get a chance to execute their plan.

                • DerekHologram

                  What plan. I have no idea what their plan is, other than seeing just how crappy this team is. Then what? They seem to be just buying time to get the ticket sales done they they may tank on some crap shoot for a player who may not be as good as advertised. Then we have another 4 years of waiting for that to develop. Some plan.

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

                  If you have no idea what the plan is, how can you criticize it? It seems you’re criticizing Ujiri for not making his plan public, when making it public probably wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.

                  I would love to know what his plan is, too, but whether I know it or not doesn’t make any difference.

                • DerekHologram

                  As a ticket buyer I have the right to know if they are going to try and compete or not. If they are tanking and rebuilding I’m not going to waste my money on them.

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

                  And that’s exactly why they don’t tell everyone what the plan is.

                  As a ticket buyer, you always run the risk of buying tickets for a bad team, especially if it’s for a team, like the Raptors, that have not had a successful history. Even if the plan was to make the playoffs, what happens if they dig themselves in a hole the first couple of months, or there’s a big injury? They might decide to change coarse halfway through the season. You just never know.

                • DerekHologram

                  I just need to know if they are doing everything to win. That is all I am interested in. If they are even considering tanking as a possibility I’m not wasting my money. Right now I don’t have a clue. They seem to be saying that tanking is a possibility and they are not doing anything to get better. If the plan is to tank they should be honest about it before people waste money on them.

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

                  By revealing they are tanking, they would also be lowering the value of the players they will then have to trade, because everyone knows they will have to trade them. Telling everyone you’re tanking when you still have to make the trades to do it would be poor management.

                  And if by not revealing their plan, they also don’t lose as many season ticket holders, then that’s better for the bottom line, as well.

                  Either way, revealing their plan is definitely not in their best interests.

                • DerekHologram

                  If they are tanking it also tells you they are a losing, not a winning organization, because only losers tank and it tells ticket buyers to come back in 4 or 5 years because they will have to strip away whatever assets they have now, only to be replaced later. Given their lack of action the safe bet is they are tanking or are happy with the status quo.

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

                  In the NBA, whether fans like it or not, tanking is a legitimate strategy that can work when done well. Teams wouldn’t tank if it didn’t work.

                  As for the Raptors, we have absolutely no idea WHAT the strategy is, and I’m not sure why you think you do. They may tank, they may stay with the current roster, or they may be waiting for the right deal (a la Houston and James Harden) to improve the roster.

                  If you want to criticize Ujiri once he’s made his strategy clear, then by all means go ahead, but I don’t see the point of criticizing him before the season starts because you don’t know what that strategy is.

                • DerekHologram

                  I was told the plan was to compete for a championship, not just sneak into the playoffs. I don’t see the faintest attempt to compete for the championship. They may sneak into the last playoff spot. That is a long way from the rhetoric and as a long suffering fan and ticket buyer I resent being sold another line of crap. Why did they bother making all the managerial changes if they don’t plan to make changes to the team? The season starts in a few days and not much has changed, certainly nothing of significance.

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

                  The EVENTUAL plan was to compete for a Championship. It was never stated that they would do it this year. Did you really think that Ujiri (or really anyone) would be able to turn the current roster into a championship calibre one?

                  And, again, you seem to be making a huge assumption, when it comes to Ujiri’s plans, with basically no evidence.

                  I am not suggesting giving Ujiri the benefit of the doubt, as many gave Colangelo (including myself, for too long), but at least give him a chance to show us what he’s going to do.

                  And it’s not as if the start of the season (which is still a week and a half away, is some sort of deadline. James Harden was traded to Houston on October 27th, but would it really have made that much of a difference if it was a week later?

                  it seems to me that you want Ujiri to do something simply for the sake of doing something, rather than finding the right deal. That was something Colangelo always did. If New Year’s rolls around and they still have the same roster, then people will have reason to criticize, and I’ll probably be one of them.

                  It’s not as if Ujiri hasn’t done anything. He’s completely revamped the front office and support staff, something that wouldn’t have happened if Colangelo was still GM. He also made a rather impressive trade, getting useable pieces for a guy many thought would have to be amnestied.

                  I’m just saying that if you’re going to criticize Ujiri, make sure it’s for legitimate reasons rather than just because you’ve been burned by the guy before him and automatically think the worst of anyone, now.

                • DerekHologram

                  Yes I do expect him to make changes to a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in years, especially since they keep yapping about championships. I don’t expect them to stick with the same losing team. What possible point could there be to do that?

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

                  Great. I expect him to make changes, too. We both expect him to make changes. What I am saying is that I’m willing, at least, to wait and SEE what he’s going to do. You seem to want to judge him a little prematurely. I’m just saying give him a little time. That’s all. Neither of us have any idea what his plans are, so I’m not sure the point of criticizing the plans we know nothing about.

                • DerekHologram

                  I was well into my thirties when the team was created for the second time, 20 years ago. Other than a short period, when we still didn’t win anything. the team has been mostly crap. There is years of empirical evidence proving that they are bad and one would have to be from Mars to not know that. There is no mystery to me whether this team is any good or not. They haven’t even made it to the first round fodder stage in 6 years. I don’t see what there is to learn, which is why I am impatient. I thought the new crew was here to fix the losing problem and assumed they would get right at it. Sorry for having run out of patience and not paying any attention to promises of a possible bright future, a decade or so ago.

                • Casey Sherman

                  No one is arguing that the franchise has been successful. No one. However, the current roster is not the same as the old rosters. I think DeRozan and Johnson are the longest tenured, going into their 5th year. We were lucky to get rid of Calderon and Bargnani, the two major holdovers.

                  And as far as losing goes, this current roster hasn’t really been shown to lose. The starting 5 was very effective last season, and the bench is mostly new guys (with the exception of Fields and Ross. But alas, we can’t trade Fields and you should at least take a chance on high upside guys like Ross)

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

                  Please don’t lump Calderon and Bargnani together as what was wrong with the roster. Calderon has consistently had one of the biggest positive impacts on the floor while he’s been a Raptor. While his defense has never been good, he’s been so efficient on the offensive end for most of his career that it didn’t matter. He’s not only been one of the best assist men, not only in numbers but in efficiency, as well, but he’s one of the most efficient scorers in the league, as well…
                  http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9795591/kirk-goldsberry-introduces-new-way-understand-nba-best-scorers

                  The Raptors have had a lot of problems, over the years, but Calderon’s presence was definitely not one of them.

                • Casey Sherman

                  I’m not saying he was a problem to the team like Bargnani, but it was the necessary move to send him off. Just like Bargnani. Especially at his age too, and with Kyle Lowry on the team.

                  And while I love watching Jose shoot and set Amir up for jams, let’s not run the risk of mistaking him for a very good player. You mentioned defense–additionally, he was cancer to any fast breaks. If you look at the On/Off stats for his career, his team has a -.4 lower ORTG with him on the court. So, basically identical. Note: probably no confounding effects of starter/bench player as he’s done both in his career. Just for kicks, Kyle Lowry’s team has had a +3.8 higher ORTG with him on the court.

                  Anyway, Jose was certainly not a bad player, but not great either. Class act and all, I’ve got nothing but respect for him. But at this point in his career and with the state of the franchise, his departure was needed imo

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

                  We shouldn’t mistake Gay, Lowry and especially DeRozan for very good players, either. And let’s not mistake on/off stats for something that isn’t severely flawed. There are plenty of advanced stats that show Calderon had a positive impact when he was on the floor. And I’m not sure why you think he was a cancer on fast breaks. Whenever he had the personnel to run, he did. Well. The Raptors rarely had a problem scoring when he was running the team.

                  Now, I didn’t have a problem with the Raptors moving him, as I agree a player his age was not what the team needed. But trading him for a player as inefficient and as flawed as Gay was a horrible move.

                  What the Raptors need to do is stop gambling on exciting but flawed players that look better than they actually are, and then overpaying them. They need real talent, not something they can sell to the fans as such. They need to build a team that actually has a chance of contending for a title one day, rather than whose ceiling is a first round team.

                • Casey Sherman

                  The image of Jose dribbling the ball in an odd-man situation and then just pulling up at the three point line and calling a play cause he didn’t want to have a .1% chance of turning it over has been engrained in my head forever. But just to make sure, I checked the synergy stats and what do you know, transition scores only made up 5.4% of Jose’s points. Now, that’s FB points and not FB assists, but I’m not sure where to find those numbers. Anyway, the 5.4 mark is lower than pretty much every other point guard (Lowry: 16.3%).

                  Supplementary evidence: the Raptors were 26th out of 30 in FB points per game and 27th in efficiency. And I’m pretty sure those numbers were lower before he left. 2011/12? 27th and 27th. Now, is part of that Dwane Casey? Perhaps; I’m no expert in this manner. But it doesn’t look good.

                  So there’s anecdotal, individual statistical and team statistical evidence that Jose has been bad for fast breaks. All individually flawed forms of evidence, but when you put them together, I think the picture becomes clearer.

                  Anyway, I don’t really want to get into the Gay/DeRozan debate (well, more the Gay argument, I’m pretty much neutral on DeRozan). However, Lowry is better than Calderon (esp. b/c age) and cheaper.

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

                  I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing here. Let’s be clear, I don’t like this roster in the least and if it was up to me I’d tear down the team with only Valanciunas and Amir left standing.

                  The point is that, for all we know, that could be Ujiri’s opinion, as well. We simply don’t know. He’s literally given us no indication of what his plan is, but you assume, because prior management, with different support staff, made poor decisions then Ujiri will, as well.

                  I’m not saying that you should give Ujiri a couple of years to see if his plan will work. I’m saying give him a couple of months to actually see what his plan is.

                • Andrey

                  What if other teams don’t want to trade with us unless we give them JV and Amir? Other GMs know Gay is inefficient and overpaid. So they say “We’ll take Gay or Lowry but you gotta give us JV or Amir as well” JV is Summer League MVP and projected to be very good player by ESPN and etc. So it’s no secret. I’m sure analytic teams know how good Amir is. So if you’re GM wouldn’t you want to get those guys for cheap. Maybe that’s what’s happening. Maybe not. Who knows? We don’t know what kind of deals Masai is getting. And maybe that’s why he’s not doing any trades.

                • DerekHologram

                  No, I am assuming that based on the fact that this team hasn’t even been good enough to get blown out in the first round, for 6 years, there is no great mystery to be discovered here and I figured he would know that. But, I will give him 2 months more. However, this is another thing he should discover. We have already been waiting for years for this team to get better. I think we have been very patient and if he thinks we should wait for another 5 year rebuild he is crazy. He should also know that many of us know this is a cheap organization — except when it comes to the price of tickets and beer — that never pays tax, so I would be suspicious of their claims that things have changed, until they put their money where their mouth is and Leiweke has used a lot of mouth. Let’s see if he lives up to his rhetoric. Based on that rhetoric I was expecting some major changes by now.

            • youngjames

              They do spend money – the team is always tight to the cap, do they go over – Nope! And they don’t need too, the NBA doesn’t necessarily work that way – biggest spending teams don’t always win or even compete like they should. Plus the NBA kills teams on tax monies paid to the league when they are luxury taxed. AND, yes the team has failed through the “draft build” theory just recently, it worked when we drafted Carter, McGrady, Peterson and Camby and added the likes of Davis and Oakley – we had some great teams back then. The plan works and to is credit, BC drafted some great players but failed to add the right parts need to complement them. Hopefully the way things are looking so far, this team doesn’t need to start over – they certainly can improve on the fly with some adjustments when needed.

            • youngjames

              No he wouldn’t of – BC would have not traded AB and would have not signed Psyhco T to a one year but probably a 3-5 year deal. He would have signed Lowry buy now (so his trade for him wouldn’t look bad) tieing us into him for the next 7 years. He would have been still barking in Casey’s ear about who to play and when, not allowing Casey to do his job (just like he did with his yes-man Jay Triano and Mitchell), our coaching would have be smothered again for another season….This is just for starters! Just knowing that MU is working with Casey is so much reason why this is moving quickly away form being BC’s team – for example I read that Casey and MU had a conversation in the first few days of practice, that players need to have a more defined roll on what is expected of them might in and night out, this allows them to better prepare for the games. The main player that was being discussed was Ross – MU feels Ross needs to know what his roll is and concentrate on that and not whether he would be pulled if he made a mistake. BC would be insisting AB gets floor time this year again, with no worry about Ross (because he really is a Casey pick) and we fans would have to have suffer through it!

        • youngjames

          “years”??? the past 5 – just like the Leafs went through a 5 year hiatus and 4 times less then the Jays last play-off appearance. If like you said “they suck” now and you don’t want the team to sell and focus on the future – how does this team improve by “spending now” smart guy?…what are thier top 3 first immediate moves (and we will exclude that arguable the biggest immediate move has been accomplished for you already with the trading of AB) what are the next 3 immediate “spending” moves that needs to be made for this team to be a dominate championship team?…can’t wait to hear this!

    • Raptorsss

      You’re right, because with Colangelo nuking the roster every season it worked out well.

    • youngjames

      Anyone who can turn Bargnani into a 1st round draft pick – let alone plus a useful bench player and cap relief with the other two contracts is an unbelievable first move for any GM….Was very impressed when I heard that deal, especially after the past three years watching AB mostly be on the injured list and each year his numbers declining. AND, like “DDon” said too – Psycho T on a one year deal is a boss move. MU hasn’t even been here 4 months either, during two of which is the NBA’s most unactive time of the year. What is it you want from him at this stage of his tenure?

  • DonCarlos

    Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Just ask the Spurs.

    • mountio

      Elaborate? Weve been talking about a bs winning “culture” for years .. and it hasnt turned out to anything. This was the line that was used when we played AA TR’s minutes and the year before when we won meaningless games and cost ourselves draft spots.
      Id much rather have a strategy (Im thinking of this in terms of coaching .. an offensive and defensive strategy), then something as intangible as a winning “culture”, This is the reason the spurs are so good .. the culture comes because of it
      Perhaps you mean this a different way .. but the comment just sparked a nerve ..

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

      Culture doesn’t mean anything without talent.

  • SR

    “Winning culture” doesn’t mean much – it’s what every new executive brought into a losing situation talks about. Every one of them.

    Talent & execution are whar create winning. The Raptors have actually had plenty of good guy players the last few years who bust their tails and want to win (ex. DeMar), but it means squat if you don’t have the talent and/or don’t excute.

    It’s obviously a sales pitch at the moment, because neither MU nor TL are about to swear by this team’s “winning talent.”

  • Ubeeri

    This felt a little forced at times, especially with the players. Not sure if it is something they had to broadcast. Love the passion and all, but…

    Masai also said “this year will not be measured in wins and losses, it will be measured in growth.” Depending on how you look at this, it is highly ambiguous. I’m assuming he is referring to corporate culture growth… but if he is talking about the team, could we see this group split up by the trade deadline, regardless of wins and losses?

    In sum, can we just play the games already? Sick of the the hype show, let’s see some action.

  • HogyG

    A winning culture doesn’t simply exist just because you talk about it, but, it is something that has to be started with conversation. A conversation that the players and staff need to buy into and put forth effort and hard work to achieve. Properly executing a winning culture takes the right personnel with the right mindset and work ethic. It comes from more than just words, but it must start with them in order to put the onus on the players and personnel. It comes from a belief in the system and its components along with time, dedication and execution.

    While a part of our organization, Colangelo took advantage of the trusting nature of the Raptors fan base. By the end, we couldn’t take him seriously anymore for many different reasons, be it, using a first overall pick on a relatively unknown 3 point shooting Italian center who didn’t pan out, or constantly trying to replace Calderon with other PG’s that were at best on-par with him, or the plethora of draft choices chosen on the team’s positional needs rather than through the best talent evaluation, or the payout contracts he gave under-qualified personnel (eg. Turkaglu), or any other reason you may have because I’m sure the list goes on and on. My point, he’s one of the GM’s that did us a disservice time and time again and his history PROVES it. We may have been hurt by him and others in the past, but there have been some, like gentlemanly GM Glen Grunwald for example, who brought in quality talent and gave us a taste of the playoffs, while never really trying to steer us wrong.

    There is no reason to believe Ujiri was standing in front of the camera today trying to take advantage of us. He’s a GM who inherited the majority of this team not created it. He effectively added a few short term players to the roster during the off season (without overspending) to keep them motivated and him flexible with the personnel in regards to the future of the franchise.

    Perhaps some pessimistic fans can only see all this today as more GM lip service. It is apparent that some fans have become impatient with the process and I guess I can except that. But, I also suggest to them that they go talk to their life counselor to work out any trust issues they may have, before blindly throwing Ujiri and his comments under the bus. Just because Colangelo would say anything to get into our pants (to have at our wallets) doesn’t mean Ujiri is doing the same thing.

    While under BC’s wing, the players on the team had an increasingly hard time believing in any system because they knew the only true system in place was the “let’s make Colangelo look good/like he knew what he was doing with our team” type-system. How can a player or coach buy into a scheme like that?

    Like I said, building a culture does not happen overnight but it always starts with discussion, then moves to understanding and TRUST (something lacking in the final years of the Colangelo era) and is then followed by execution. It takes time, belief and consistent effort. There is absolutely no reason to doubt Ujiri’s intentions at this point. The only excuse to do so is if you are hurt, jaded and untrustworthy of GMs and therefore feel the necessity to fall back on a defensive “hater” mentality for a man who hasn’t had a chance to prove much (you know, other than making a few positive acquisitions to bolster the depth of our team during the off-season, move the most infamous player on our team for current and future assets, and begin talking about a “kick-ass” culture of winning for the franchise) in the short few months he’s been with the organization.

    Sometimes less is more (Detroit 2003-04) but sometimes more is less (Lakers 2012-13) but in the end at this time of the year it’s all just a wait and see thing. For Raptors fans, it all has to start sometime, why not now? Let’s give the man a chance to prove his worth here and what he can do with what he was given. Let’s all give a chance for Ujiri’s plan to unfurl before chastising it.

    • DDayLewis

      723 words, a mere 100 words less than the actual article itself. This must be some kind of record.

      Also: Hear! Hear!

      • HogyG

        Haha. It’s just my two cents written on seven dollars worth of paper.

    • Paul

      Nicely put. Well done!

    • GoingBig

      My main reason for cutting Ujiri slack for now about the “direction” or “plan” is the salary cap mess the BC left behind. There were no options especially with Bargs in the line-up.
      Ujiri was given a very limited set of cards to work with and solve problems with.

      He’s cleaned house, re-shaped the coaching staff, and fitted in some pieces into the team he was given.
      He has indicated the culture he wants and demonstrated that by getting Psycho-T.

      Only measuring “growth” – not wins and losses? – management bafflegab so that there is wriggle room. As people have pointed out, after 20 games, there will be decisions to be made from the win/losses recorded.
      Ujiri is limited by what’s available. Any further steps in a plan will not take place until Ujiri sees how close they are to making the play-offs AND what problems other NBA contending teams have that Ujiri “solve.” I think tanking is a viable option but it has to be “effective tanking” by collecting as many assets as you can as you go down – not just one draft pick that might not work out

  • golden

    If toughness and winning culture are priorities, the Raps need to find a way to get Jerry Sloan back into coaching – if he’s up to it. No championships, but the winning record in a small market is impeccable & his toughness is legendary.

  • Tyhudg

    The new guy on the job always has balls like this……. the true test comes after a couple losing seasons. (Not saying they are going to have a couple losing seasons, but IF they do. Unless they get #1 next year, that would be like a winning season)