For those wondering why there was no quick recap, last night, it was due to an unavailability of writers, who were all on other VERY important assignments. We apologize to those whose game day isn’t complete without a Raptor’s Republic Quick Recap.

As for the game itself, the Raptors did prevail, but not before both teams seemed to do their best to try and give the win to the other team. This was not a well coached or well played game, for the most part. There were definitely some highlights, though.

DeMar DeRozan shot poorly for the night (5-14), but came up big in the second half and hit some big shots from the field and from the line. He also lead the team in assists (5 assists), showing a playmaking ability that he has rarely done in the past. It wasn’t all good for DeRozan, though. Like in the games against Boston and Atlanta, DeRozan fell too in love with his long jumper as the game went on and only took one shot in the fourth closer than 15 feet to the basket.

i-10

DeRozan taking too many long jumpers has been a long time criticism of his and we’re unfortunately, still seeing a lot of that.

Amir Johnson had another typical Amir night, going 5-7 from the field, grabbing 8 rebounds and being relatively active. Now, there has been a lot of discussion among fans about his three point shooting, and while I certainly don’t want Amir to turn into Bargnani, being allergic to the paint, one important thing to remember is that he’s shooting .375 from beyond the arc for the season, which is a very decent percentage. If he can continue to hit it at that clip, although that’s probably unlikely, then I have no problem with taking a three when he’s open.

Landry Fields continues to play like the player many hoped when he was signed to that overpriced contract. He hasn’t lit up the scoreboard, but he’s done all the little things that you need your role players to do to help you win. He’s defended, moved well without the ball, made the right passes at the right time, and helped out on the boards. His form on an his outside shot still would look bad at your local community centre, let alone in the NBA, but he’s actually shooting a decent percentage from the field, mostly because he’s had good good shot selection.

Which brings us to Rudy Gay.

Gay has not been a favourite among Raptor fan so far this season and last night added fuel to the fire. While he did grab a game-high 15 rebounds, he again couldn’t hit the bottom of the net for most of the night, going 4-14. In the first three games of the season, he’s shooting .327 from the field. That has not stopped him from shooting as much as he can, though, and in fact he leads the team in shots per minutes.

When the news of Gay’s eye surgery made the rounds, I was skeptical. My biggest problem was that Gay shot poorly mostly due to poor shot selection, not because it appeared he was having trouble seeing the basket. And he’s still having the same problem.

Exhibit A:

photo 1-1

Gay shooting a long jumper with a defender in his face with 17 seconds left on the shot clock.

There have been many that have claimed that Gay takes so many long, contested jumpers because he has to. He’s thrown the ball with the shot clock down and has to do SOMETHING. But let’s look at these couple of stills…

photo 5-2

Gay receives the ball with 7 second left on the shot clock. Not a lot of time, but plenty of time to get a good shot. Instead of driving the ball or moving it, Gay holds the ball for a couple of seconds, takes a dribble and then (sorry for the blurriness)….

photo 1-6

Gay ends up taking a long, contested two that barely hits the rim.

He’s not just shown poor judgment with his shot. He had five turnovers due to dribbling into a crowd…

photo 3-4photo 4-3

In the above two stills, Rudy Gay decides to drive into four Milwaukee defenders, and then predictably loses it as they collapse on him.

Gay is obviously playing poorly, which isn’t good for those that want him to lead the team to the playoffs, but it’s also not good for those wanting to tank. Playing poorly doesn’t increase your trade value.

But let’s remember, every player goes through slumps, and often times they try too hard to get out of the slump, which doesn’t help. Gay will not continue to play like this for very long, and it’s my guess he’ll bounce back against Miami. There are certain games he will “get up for” and one against the defending Champs and the best player on the planet is one of them.

Of course, all players go through slumps, but Gay ended up playing 35 minutes, which was more than anyone else on the team. Fields, who had a far more positive effect on the team when he was on the floor played 7 minutes less.

And that brings us to Casey, another target of many Raptor fans’ ire.

While Casey didn’t get out-coached in this game, that was mainly due to Larry Drew not doing a good job on his side of the court, either. Neither team displayed any of the qualities one would hope to see from a well coached team. Neither team seemed to have much of an offense to speak of, and both teams had far too many mistakes on the defensive end.

It’s not often that a team that shot 39% will end up beating a team that shot 44%, but that is what happened last night. And that was probably mostly due to Milwaukee blowing chance after chance in the fourth quarter as the Raptors seemed to make mistake after mistake that the Bucks simply didn’t capitalize on.

In the last five minutes of the game, the Bucks missed 7 of 9 shots, including three layups (and not including a few where they got fouled that they SHOULD have made) and went 1 of 4 from the line. The Raptors did only slightly better from the foul line, in the last five minutes, going 4 of 8.

The Raptors ended up outrebounding the Bucks 60-38, but when you shoot 39% from the field, there are going to be a lot more rebounds. That doesn’t change the fact that the Raptors controlled the boards well, limiting Milwaukee to one shot, most of the time. The Bucks had a total of 6 offensive rebounds.

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For the second game in a row, Valanciunas’ minutes were limited, and while I would like to see him play more, there are definite reasons he’s seen the bench more than the court. The first is that both Atlanta and Milwaukee had quicker, more athletic centre/centers and a team that, at least tried to, run a lot.

Personally, I think that you should never adjust your lineup to the other team, but make them adjust their lineup to you. It doesn’t always work, but Casey didn’t seem to try, much. And that’s been a common theme with Casey, who  often seems too willing to play his opponents game than make them play his. We’ll see what he does against Miami, a team that is best when they play small and has the most trouble against big teams.

While defense was preached in training camp, we haven’t seen a whole of of good on the court, so far. Here are a couple of examples…

photo 5

photo 4

In the first image, we see Pachulia set a pick for Neal. Lowry gets picked off and switches to Pachulia, who posts up. Amir immediately switches to Pachulia, to prevent a mismatch in the post, but both Lowry and DeRozan end up in no man’s land, guarding neither a man or the ball. Neal ends up dishing to Larry Sanders for a dunk, but could have easily passed it to O.J. Mayo for the wide open three.

Speaking of which, here’s another perplexing defensive play…

photo 4-5

O.J. Mayo (with ball), who had just hit two threes in a row, doesn’t have a defender within ten feet of him. DeRozan and Ross seem to be guarding a mysterious sixth Buck who must be offscreen. Notice the score at the time of this. Thankfully for the Raptors Mayo missed this open shot, and then Middleton missed the layup seconds later after DeRozan turned the ball over. And then the Greek guy missed two free throws.

See what I mean about both teams seeming to do their best to give the other team a win?

Make no mistake, the Raptors played far better than they did in Atlanta, but they also looked nothing like a playoff team last night.  Even in a win.

– On a side note, Philadelphia is now 3-0, after beating both Miami and Chicago. This is the team that most predicted would have the worst record in the league and who the coach claimed only had 6 NBA players on the roster. This may end up being the only multi-game winning streak the team has all season, but Philadelphia management must be sweating their tanking plan, right now.

– Right now, Washington, Cleveland and Milwaukee are the teams to watch in the Panic Trade sweepstakes. All three teams are under direct orders to make the playoffs and aren’t playing all that well.

  • mike, prague

    You have been forgiven

  • Ds

    On the good side of stats, the Raps lead the league in offensive rebounding % and defensive rebounding %, they are 7th in defensive rating.

    On the good side of stats, the Raps are 19th on offense, are 25th in generating free throws (thanks to all the long jumpers) and next to last in FT% (basically, we’re generating the least amount of points from FTs).

  • Andrius

    What an ugly game. Check out Lowry’s postgame, for those who didn’t watch the game, you might think they were good, he clearly doesn’t understand what he’s doing out there, so full of him self. Like I talked after ATL game, today offense was the same, we didn’t use JV who’s suppose to be the franchise and all that, at the start of the game he got some touches, and made it count abused SANDERS! in the paint, but got blocked 1 time, on a Good possesion, where a correct decision was made and was benched. Second half Henson and Ante.. Were driving and scoring the ball… NO PAINT PRESENCE. Gay had an off night shooting, but his teammates didn’t help him out, he always ended up getting crowded by 3 defenders in a sort of Zone defensive set, that’s why you saw Johnson pullin up for 3s in the game, how to play the outside game is still a mystery in Tdot. Lowry on the floor is no better playmaker than anybody else, I didn’t see one possesion where he’d try to attract defense to create for somebody else. The plays were all very opportunistic, look for a video on NBAMV today evening, to see what I mean. Hold on Raps nation, it looks like we gonna have a long ride…

    • Amigo

      K Lowry is fat, a terrible floor general and a stat padding a@@hole.

      • Sig

        Stay classy

        • MC

          YOU GUYS R RETARDED. Y DO YOU EVEN BOTHER BEING FANS. NEGATIVE N00BS

          • MC

            but yes JV should be playing more. there is NO excuse (going small) for that. they will be destroyed by miami if they choose to do so.

  • Milesboyer

    It seems clear to me that with the substitution pattern, Casey should be breaking up the Gay and Derozan combo early and often by using Landry Fields. He’s a true facilitator as opposed to the ball stopping play of our starting wings. I”m becoming more and more convinced that Rudy and Demar are an incredibly bad fit and even worse, boring as hell to watch. There was period in the 3rd quarter where the ball was moving beautifully and with purpose, RG was on the bench as was Lowry. That was the kind of basketball that is enjoyable to watch regardless of outcome.

    Headline for last night’s game should read: Raptors barely hold on to beat the Bucks led by their 3rd string PG.

    • Kujo2020

      Something tells me if the Bucks had Knight, and Ridnour, they would have won. I was also perplexed as to why Ilyasova didn’t play more.

      • youngjames

        and if the Bucks had Knight and Ridnour all season they would be 3-0. They would have completed thier 26 pt come back against the Knicks the other night. Knicks almost lost that game too, the Bucks have scrappy players who want to win.

    • c_bcm

      Couldn’t agree more about the style of ball I like to watch. I don’t watch spurs games because they win a lot. I watch spurs games because they play a beautiful style of basketball. That is among the purest styles in the league right now…IMO.

  • FLUXLAND

    The only thing Rudy is having trouble seeing is worthy enough teammates to pass to.

    • c_bcm

      Oh you means dd who went off for 31 against atl, or Amir who efficiently scores every game. I don’t think that is much of an excuse. Perhaps he is trying to increase his own trade value so he can gtfo.

      • FLUXLAND

        2 A in 101 minutes… yikes!

        DD may have went off for 31 in ATL, but he must have been a bricklayer for Halloween based on the other two games. Amir scores of putbacks…

        • c_bcm

          My point is that Rudy’s confidence is not based on reality since there are several players on this team that are currently playing better than him.

          • FLUXLAND

            That may be the case, but does it change the fact he believes he’s more talented than them?

      • Moe

        Wrong he clearly trying to devalue himself too piss of masai

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

      As of this morning, Gay had eight teammates who were shooting far better from the field than he is. If he can’t find better options than him, that his fault, not theirs.

      • FLUXLAND

        Did I say it wasn’t his fault? It’s clear he refuses to pass the ball, so obviously he must think his team mates are not up to his standards.

  • Kujo2020

    It was laughable how many open layups Milwaukee missed, and they FT shooting done the stretch was atrocious. Raps were really lucky to win this game. Yeah, they played better, but they still didn’t look good.

    Val’s lack of minutes has been frustrating. Perhaps I’m saying this for selfish reasons as I have him on one my fantasy teams.

    Gay has just been brutal so far.

    • Don City

      18 pts 15 rbs and 3 steals is brutal? all those key rebounds Gay pulled down in the fourth not good enough for you? In what basketball universe is putting up 18,15 and 3 in a win on the road brutal? please enlighten me o hoops genius

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

        You can’t look at basic box score stats and evaluate how a player did. Gay got 18 points, yes. But he went 4-14. And far too many of his shots were forced and out of the flow of the game. All but one player on the team had a better shooting percentage, yet he would constantly take contested shots when other players were more open.

        His decision-making was also poor, holding the ball too long, making bad passes or missing good ones.

        His rebounding was good, but, to me, the team played much better when he was on the bench.

        • Milesboyer

          Tis true.

        • GLF

          I completely agree with this but at the same time you have to give him credit for doing others things even though his shot wasn’t falling or he was talking bad shots. People used to get at Bargnani and get at Derozan all the time for bringing nothing else to the table when their shot wasn’t falling, so the least we can do it give Rudy some love when he doesn’t let it affect the rest of his game. But I guess that’s just me.

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

            Gay is a FAR more productive player than Bargnani. It’s not even close. I’ve never suggested Gay is a bad player, and as I mentioned in another comment, I ranked him as the 12th best small forward in the league.

            But he can’t continue to have such poor shot selection and decision-making. If it were simply his shot not falling, then fine. Players go through slumps. But it’s not as if Gay is taking good shots that he’s simply not making. He’s taking bad shots, and taking those shots away from players in much better position. That’s a problem.

            • GLF

              I agree he is still taking bad shots for sure but I also do think that he has made a much more concerted effort to get to the basket this season. I find he is in fact missing some easy shots at the basket that he should or would normally make. But yes he is definitely still taking bad shots and holding the ball. The thing I like though is he finds ways to make his presence felt on the court other than scoring. Well at least last game, and I think he should get a little credit for that.

            • Louvens Remy

              You ranked him 12th behind Marion, Gallinari and Kirilenko, who I think he is better than. I will take the time to read your article though and see what you got to say.

        • Don City

          All I care about is whether the team wins. Even if they don’t win all I want is entertainment and a good effort – it’s not necessary for a player to play a perfect game in all aspects to have a positive impact. If you don’t like Gay whatever, but you seem to like throwing around harsh words in your assessments and I find it odd – in the grand scheme of things dude is making 20 million a year playing a kids game and 98 percent of Toronto would love to have him over for a bbq or a drink — is that why everything he does is “poor” and “brutal” and whatever else you judge it to be? Not only that, now after a win we have to get lectured on how we’re being just fooled by “basic” stats like points and rebounds and wins/losses… this idiotic focus on how we have to lose or else is getting a little obsessive to me and when added to Rudy Gay comes across as more than a little jealous and strangely personal at this point.

          What kind of fans are you? What true Raptors fan sniffs at a road win in Milwaukee? You claim to be Raptors fans and yet are angered by any positive development the team may make… it’s like the Cito-haters from back in the day (turned out 2 world series wasn’t enough to make him a good manager) or today’s Rob Ford supporters (the fix is in!) No matter what doomsday scenario you wish to conjure I’ll be thrilled if we can “squeak” into the playoffs as an 8th seed. It would be great to see us back in the playoffs again – especially if we faced the Heat. While I see your name commenting on several Raptors sites, just remember you only represent a very small percentage of Raptors fans. We’re not stupid. If the team plays poorly and loses, we’ll know. If the team wins we’ll know that too, and we don’t need any of your goofy screenshots to illustrate that for us.

          I’m a fan and I don’t like to see anyone running down our boys after a win I don’t care who you claim to support. Save it for when it’s warranted and enjoy the wins while we can, then I’ll respect your opinions.

          Go Raps!

  • robertparrish00

    1st play of the season!! About 3:30 left in the 4th quarter after the missed free throw. Involved a couple screens (one off ball) and Rudy passing, no one saw that coming!

    Seems like the raps are pushing the ball up the floor well, but don’t have any idea what to do when the easy bucket doesn’t come. After the initial push there is a lot of perimeter passing/nothing going on until the shot clock hits 10 seconds, then a desperation drive-kick.

  • Chris

    Hey, how about we talk about some of the good things the Raps did last night. Like ball movement, offensive boards, assists O and being able to hold on for a win when a team make a 4th quarter comeback. All things they have improved upon since last year. Yeah there not a perfect team they need to work on some things but so does ever other dame team. I am sick of these writers only focusing on the negative aspects of the Raps. Lets give them some credit they won the dame game. And l think Rudy is just trying to be a leader, and there for trying to do to much. He is a smart player and will figure it out.

    • RaptorFan

      +1

      What’s more depressing is that I come to expect it after each game whether we WIN or lose! Especially when Tim W is writing the piece.

      I don’t really pay too much attention to the anonymous posters on here….MOST don’t even seem to watch the games and still have wet dreams about some euro ball experiment. This is your Raptors now….Get used to it because I think they will win more games with their defence instead of their offence.

      A win is a win!…We lost too many close games last season to argue with that no?

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

        “I don’t really pay too much attention to the anonymous posters on here.”

        So your real name is RaptorFan, then?

    • FLUXLAND

      Hey, how about we stop sugarcoating everything and only looking at positives (that should be expected) like a homer. Maybe it would help to look at the performance objectively and realize that a win is not just a win, sometimes it’s just downright ugly – the Raps didn’t win the game as much as the Bucks handed it over.

      I am sick of these posters focusing on the basics that are expected from pro players and blasting the writers for writing it how it is. Let’s give some credit to not being a homer and ignoring reality.

      • youngjames

        You can only look at the negatives because that’s what you are – a lonely loser who takes it out on the rest. It’s not our fault you wake up alone with nothing to do everyday – so why take that anger out on us?

        • FLUXLAND

          Angry? Who’s angry? Chris seems angry, I agree. I feel marvelous.

          Maybe realistic is negative in your books because you’re a homer fan? Blah, blah, blah *insert grade school insult*

      • RaptorFan

        Your a negative homer….you’ve always been…you have a serious reputation for being a BUZZ KILLER and a troll…lol. Why would anyone listen to your opinion?? You eat this negative crap up!

        • FLUXLAND

          Don’t want to get into a fan debate. That’s been beaten to death. Safe to say that if you don’t like someone’s writing, why read it? Bashing the writers is childish.

          For the record, I’m not negative at all, I’m just not a blind optimist like many. Not to mention, the team year and year out has performed exactly as the BUZZ KILLERS predicted. But, you of course, are entitled to your opinion about my disposition, as I am to mine of you being DRUNK ON THE KOOL AID year in and year out.

          • Robert Archibald

            I have been up and down this street with Tim several times. I understand that tanking is a legit way to build a team, just not one that I particularly favour. Sounds simple enough. Unfortunately, everything Tim writes oozes his leaning towards his opinions towards tanking and jettisoning any player that might be helpful without being a superstar. Take last night’s game for instance; the main reason why we won was that we dominated the boards. Rudy Gay led the charge and had a career high with 15 rebs. There is no mention of that, not because Tim is giving us informed Raptor coverage, but because Tim has to writing a column like all his other columns, preaching Tim’s Tanking dogma.
            You are correct, in that we can choose not to read Tim’s writing. Picket Fence dude had/has his own site, but (as you suggested) no one ever read(s) it, I would suggest for the reason listed above. Rather than Admitting that he is a one trick pony that isn’t interesting enough to draw his own readership, Tim posts and posts and posts on this site and the HQ. Hounding away people that might disagree with him and never giving so much as an inch. I can only guess the reason he is writing on this site now, is that it is the only way the moderators could get him off their back.
            I know this rant sounds like it is full of vitriol, but I don’t have a single worry in the world that it will hurt Tim’s feelings at all. I credit him for his single minded, dogged pursuit of his beliefs of how the Raps should be done. But nothing anyone else can say to him will effect his point of view one iota.
            Robert Archibald

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

      There were definitely some positives from the game, and I touched on a few of them. But there were far more problems, and I thought it important to look at them. This was not a game where either team impressed me, and this game looked more like two lottery teams than two playoff teams, and I don’t see the point of ignoring that fact.

  • ckh26

    Three games in report card . Best bet is that there will be a makeover. It will involve Rudy and Kyle and perhaps Amir.
    – Rudy.. starting slow… the shots will drop.. but some real concern on just how easily he gets stripped driving the lane. Just has to be better. Has to.
    – DD … not great stats.. but developing into a leader. A real one. Makes shots when they were really needed and under pressure. That’s leading.
    – Kyle… good game last night for Kyle. Played hard.. but you know what. Overall body of work not worth betting the next 5 years on with a contract extension. Its just not.
    – Amir – What can you say. He’s Amir. Solid contribution each nite. Good team guy and unfortunately the sweetner when we move Rudy.
    – JV – Got them rookie blues. Works harder than a guy on his first day on a construction job. However his hands need to soften up a bit and he needs to take that jumper from the foul line to get space for the drive and hook he will be dynamite with.
    – Landry – Solid production. Nothing super flashy which is great because you can keep up solid production for 82 games and with that its what we need.
    – Ross – he needs confidence and he needs to get it from the guy who doles out floor time. C’mon Dwayne. Let him play a bit to see what we have. You invested an 8th overall in this guy. See what you have. For a compare. Waiters is playing 30 mins a nite and jacking up 7 for 21 stat lines. Ross ain’t that bad.
    – Tasmanian Devil – Hansbrough is a good get. He is as subtle in the paint as Rob Ford asking Star employees to get off his property. Love it. That and his game on the glass is worth double what they paid for him. Nice move Masai
    – DJ Augusitine. So far so good. Nothing really bad. That’s a backhanded compliment at best..but if Kyle moves with Rudy and no help at PG comes back we will all require Zantax.
    – Julyan Buyks – Inconclusive. Need more time. I think Buyks is going to eventually move up the pecking order.
    – Steve Novak – Waiting for this guy. Can’t believe he is hurt. He is the floor spacer and 3 point shot guy that will make life better for DD and Rudy.
    – Acy/Gray – Plug and play. When you plug em in they play as you expect. Same as last year.

  • Dagger

    “Raptor’s” . . . really?

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

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • RaptorFan

    You “fans” really need to relax! We won the game! It wasn’t pretty, but that’s the NBA. You guys are looking for perfection after every game….weirdos. I’m happy with a win.

    Keep in mind that Tim W. predicted the Raps to only win 6 out of their first 20 games…..What do you expect from his writings? 2-1 so far Tim W. Don’t think that we forgot your CONSTANT negative predictions for this team. I can’t wait to get back at you after 20 games :) 😉

    • youngjames

      Tim W – has very little Basketball IQ, his assessment skills on player evealuations do not exists – someone gave this joke of a writer the gift of a job…not because he is a smart basketball mind, but because he the perfect company guy, a typical “yes man” so he writes. Ignore him!

      • Tanks-a-lot

        I suggest that you perfect your English grammar before casting aspersions

  • AnthonyF

    Great Grantland piece where I was insulted where they ranked Toronto. Gay, DeRozan, Amir & his hops, JV and Psycho T and his antics to me are a fun team to watch. However the first three games have been tough to watch if not a FAN….

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9842281/the-grantland-annual-nba-league-pass-rankings

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9842911/the-grantland-annual-nba-league-pass-rankings

    Still early, but sad to think they may not be that far off.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    Good points about Rudy’s shot selection. Having to beat buzzers is detracting from his shooting percentage a bit but it’s clear that he and the Raptors’ offense in general need to pick things up and make better choices. Kevin Durant has to beat buzzers too and look how that’s working for him! They make the same money for some reason!

  • Red Baron

    A few random observations:
    – Good to see Raps get the W in a tight road game….last season this would have ended with a gut-wrenching 2 point loss for sure.

    – If Landry Fields plays like this night in and night out, I’ll take it. Great all-around game.
    – Good to Casey have the stones to sit Rudy down for a few minutes late in the 4th to send a message re: his chucking (he said post-game it was to give him a quick rest but I don’t buy it). Also good to see Rudy take the hint and played better team again when he came back in. Before the hook he single handedly stopped a run of good ball movement by Raps on offence.

    – Not sure how an athlete like Terrence is consistently a step slow on D (effort issue or struggling to grasp concepts?)
    – Still think Casey is being a bit too conservative with JV’s minutes…if your not careful he’s going to start playing tentative and without confidence (i.e. always worried he’ll get the hook after any miscue).
    – I’m glad I don’t have to cover Tyler on the boards…his work-rate is off the charts.
    – Only through three games and haven’t played any world beating teams, but our edge on the glass over competition is significant…..been awhile since a Raps team has been a handful to handle in the paint.
    – Amir should try to bottle this game abit. Sure he launched a few 3’s but he hit one and didn’t forget about his other bread and butter skills (cleaning up the offensive glass, rolling down the lane hard, etc..). good balance.
    Let’s see how we fare against the Champs!!

    • GoingBig

      Red Baron said:
      “Not sure how an athlete like Terrence is consistently a step slow on D (effort issue or struggling to grasp concepts?)”

      He does not recognize the threat until the opponent has already started their move. When he was subbed into last night’s game, on the 1st Buck play, he was not zero’ed in on anyone and the play happened around him. He lacks defence IQ, experience, and threat awareness. He does use his superior athleticism to cover for some of his mistakes.

  • tonious35

    Only one thing Casey did that helped the team win the game: Taking out Rudy Gay when the game was close to getting out of hand mid 4th Qtr.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      I saw that too. Taken out for Ross no less.
      LOL

      What was with the white shoes as well? The color coordination was so terrible I thought he wasn’t actually Gay.

      ROFLMAO

  • Tanks-a-lot

    I can forgive (only for a while/20mil) Gay if he continues to hit the boards no matter how lucky his shooting night is.

    • GoingBig

      He has to be contributing somewhere.
      If Casey’s benching of Rudy is a message that he wants Rudy to change what he’s doing, then it should be used through-out the year and the reasons should be clear and up-front.
      I don’t think there is any ill will from Rudy on not passing the ball. It’s just a brutal habit that has some rewards but buried in the adrenaline rush of attempting/making the weak shot, it is at the root of why he won’t be a 20+ point guy.

  • Brandon

    Raptor’s?

  • hateslosing

    Pretty negative article in a game that we won. A few positive things that I think were important:

    Rebounding:-Rudy Gay grabbed 15 rebounds last night which was a career high and likely one of the factors that won us the game. I will take him shooting a low percentage every game if he brings the defense and the rebounding he did last night. I think we are seeing him take on a new role with this team: In Memphis he played beside Gasol and Randolph so there was no need for him to rebound so he didn’t push himself to. With him playing the 4 a bit and playing beside some undersized guys he has looked like a destroyer on the glass. I can only hope this is a permanent change and not just a blip.

    Resilience:
    -Milwaukee made a run at us in the fourth and tied it up. Now were there some major issues with this? Yes and it is a period in the game that I hope gets reviewed by the team extensively. What we did see that was a major positive when you compare it to the last few seasons is that our guys didn’t fold. In previous incarnations of this team a run like that would have killed us. This team actually managed to calm the game down, play some defense and close it out.

    The bench:
    I thought our bench was going to be awful again this year but Landry Fields has been a very pleasant surprise through 3 games. He’s playing with confidence and looks much better than last year’s Fields. Hasborough has also been a welcome addition and Augustine actually looks pretty good sometimes.

    There is still a lot of work to be done, but this team already looks better than the team that started the season last year. If we start making some of those free throws (64% through 3 games is horrendous) and getting a bit more disciplined on offense, there is some potential here.

  • king 786

    lol we forgive but I would’ve loved to write a post report on what I think of the raps.. but I don’t blame them for not covering this game… it was a snooze fest…

  • Roarque

    Fields for Point!! Design some plays Dwane – use your weapons wisely.

  • Minks77

    Atl announcers mentioned more than once that the raps looked like they had no idea what they were supposed to be running out of TOs and dead ball situations. Got some praise for d from milwaukees team

  • oioi

    Lowry isn’t a good enough pg. Makes terrible decisions and doesn’t create for his teammates like he’s supposed to do. I don’t like Rudy’s game at all. I just hope they play better for the sake of their trade value. I can’t wait till they’re both gone at the trade deadline

    • knickz

      lol. big rudy gay fan but his effort sickens me!

  • Louvens Remy

    Please stop mentioning tanking. Basically you are asking a team to lose on purpose. That’s stupid. What the hell is tanking anyway? The NBA is the only league in the world that I know of that talks about teams losing on purpose to get a draft pick. How silly and what a slap in the face to the sport. Tanking is not a thing. It’s not real. If you lose on purpose or want your team to lose on purpose, you suck. The list of top 3 draft picks that don’t pan out is too long to count. How do we even know that Andrew Wiggins is or will be better than Rudy Gay? This tanking stuff is driving me nuts. Just stop. Please. You play to win the game. If the team you have on the floor sucks than so be it. Just don’t mention tanking.

    • ezz_bee

      If TANKING isn’t a real thing, than you can’t possibly be bothered by the use of it. Right?

      • Louvens Remy

        What the hell does that even mean? Come at me constructively instead of cherry picking a comment.

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

      You not liking something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Tanking exists. And while I’m not a fan of the idea of it, until the NBA prevents it from being a viable way for not prime-destination teams to improve their team, some teams are going to take advantage of it.

      There are many, including myself, that think the team is not well built and the best chance for the franchise to build a contender, in the current market and with the current CBA, as well with the upcoming 2014 draft (that is FAR more than just Wiggins).

      Right now, this team is built for mediocrity with no elite players, and most of the players they do have are flawed and overpaid. Unless someone can figure out a better, more reliable way for a non-prime destination city acquire elite talent, which is what you need to truly contend in the NBA, then I’m going to go with the way that has the best odds.

      • Louvens Remy

        I will never believe that a team actually chooses to lose on purpose. If they do then the NBA as a league is not legitimate and is run by gamblers and bookies. I know sports aren’t 100% pure but the media is the one that validates ‘tanking’ by talking about it like its a real thing. Why do we continue to validate this non sensical notion that teams lose on purpose in order to get a better draft position? Absurd. It’s either your team sucks or it doesn’t. Not every team is built equally.

        I look at the Cleveland Cavaliers and see a team that has done exactly what you propose to do and they still suck. So what if they have Kyrie Irving? What difference does it make if you don’t make the playoffs but you have an “elite” talent. You got to build around elite talent with strong role players and leadership. So how long do you tank for? 3-4-5 years? It doesn’t make sense.

        Yes the Raps are more on the side of mediocre. The number of teams with ‘elite’ talent is very low. The way to build a contender is through development, trades, drafting intelligently and free agency. Not by losing on purpose. I always point to the way Grunfeld built the Raps in the Vince years as the way to do it. Shrewd moves, veteran talent, and intelligent draft picks, built towards an identity. To get rid of all your good players for expiring contracts and ping pong balls is not a way to build. You build around your talent and you develop them. The Raps could very well get an elite player in the 2nd Rd as they would in the first 3 picks. You just don’t know.

        I would rather have this team then a team full of expiring, middling horrible players just in the hopes of maybe getting a good draft pick. Losing breeds losers. I’ve watched this team go to the lottery for the last 7 years. I don’t give a damn about 2014. Non of those guys are even in the class of 2004.

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

          You don’t think Philadelphia, trading away their only All Star for an injured rookie and draft pick, and signing or trading for absolutely no one who will help the team win, is not losing on purpose? You don’t think the Suns trading away a legit center for a player who might not even play again and a draft pick isn’t losing on purpose?

          The Cleveland Cavs will probably end up with a better record than the Raptors, this year, but I wouldn’t use them as an example of anything other than poor management. Thompson over Valanciunas, Waiters over Drummond and Barnes, and Bennett over Oladipo or even Noel wasn’t smart management. Re-hiring a mediocre coach was not smart management.

          If the Cavs fail to build a contender, it had nothing to do with tanking or getting high draft picks.

          The Raptors, with Vince, were never a contender, and the only reason they were even able to build the team they did was because they had five top 10 picks in their first five years (including three top 5 picks). They either drafted well (Vince and McGrady), or turned their top ten picks into productive veterans (Oakley, Davis, Williams).

          So while you may be against tanking, you just pointed to an example of a team that lost badly over a number of years, acquired draft picks and either developed those picks or traded them to improve the team as what you’d like to see the current team do.

          • Louvens Remy

            I don’t think Phila or the Suns are losing on purpose. No. They are building their team because they have no other choice but to go that route based on poor managerial decisions over the last handful of years. Phila was building something and they blew it up for a Center that didn’t play. The Suns are notoriously cheap and have never kept any of their draft picks because they didn’t want to pay money. They ended up finally having all of that catch up to them. They have no choice to do what they are doing. They are in that position because they screwed up.

            The Cavs are not that good and could very well miss out on the playoffs. They are not better than the Raps. My point exactly regarding how you build a team. It’s all about management.

            The Raps with Vince were the best we’ve ever had. Not every team is a contender. The only reason they were able to build the team is because they were a shitty expansion team who sucked. Let’s not forget that. They had no choice but to build that way. You are basically regurgitating what I said. They made shrewed moves and picked up good players and veterans.

            What you are saying is that we should trade away every single good player we have for expiring contracts and draft picks and essentially become an expansion team again. You basically want the Raps to be real bad and to begin losing on purpose. That is what you are saying right? I can’t really buy the logic that a team like the Raps who have quality players should blow it up for the sole reason of maybe getting ping pong balls.

            I watched how Morey built the Rockets. At no point did he tank and bottom out. He just made smart moves, compiled assets and kept his team competitive and then pulled the trigger on a big trade and bought a free agent. Why can’t we remain competitive? Why do we have to bottom out?

            I just wish you wouldn’t go on and on about tanking. It really angers me because I don’t believe that teams are trying to lose on purpose.

            • d_1212

              I agree, if some teams are trying to tank by putting together bad teams and lose on purpose, the NBA has become a joke, and those teams should pay back the price tickets to the fans going to the games.

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

                Believe it or not, I would like it if tanking WASN’T a viable option, but it is. So considering how difficult it is to build a contender, in the NBA, teams have to do whatever it takes. And for some teams that means tanking.

                If the NBA could figure out a way so that tanking wasn’t a viable option it would make the league better. But that’s not the current reality.

                At least teams like the Sixers and Suns have given their fans advanced notice that they’re tanking. I’d say that’s more honest than some of the other teams that plan on doing it, but aren’t as blatant.

                • Louvens Remy

                  What more advanced notice do you need to give your fans when your team already sucks. This is ridiculous. They weren’t good in the first place. I don’t know what else they are suppose to do.

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

                  As I said, the Sixers won ONE fewer game than the Raptors last year. Why is it okay for them to trade their All Star for a draft pick and injured rookie, but it’s not okay for the Raptors to trade a couple of their players for prospects and draft picks?

                  In your own words, the Raptors already sucked last year. They haven’t made the playoffs in five years. Losing is certainly nothing new to the team or the fans. Losing another year or two isn’t going to be a surprise.

                  Again, though, you mentioned that you’d like to see the Raptors employ the strategy they did to get the team with Vince that went to the second round. That involves losing in order to acquire players like Vince and McGrady. And if their Vince and McGrady are Gay and DeRozan, then all that means is you’re going to build a team that is a poor man’s version of the original team. How is that smart management?

                • Louvens Remy

                  Tim, this team has been together for 40 games. The Sixers screwed up, they realized it and bolted from the plan. I would like to see this team play it out. If they suck then yes. But why do it now??

                • RaptorFan

                  I agree with EVERYTHING you wrote. The reason why soo many posters on RR believe in this incredibly UNPROVEN strategy (actually becoming a contender through tanking) is because of writers like Tim W. and his friends (posing as basketball minds).

                  What they wont admit is that players and coaches try to win games. Phoenix is currently 2-0 and Philly is currently 3-0….YET we’re supposed to believe they’re obviously tanking. NO they are REBUILDING. There is a difference!

                  I lose respect for anyone who advocates losing on purpose. I lost respect for Tim W. because of his continuing to push this fallacy onto gullible fans. These losers are grasping for straws…..They know that there are no guarantees and tanking could bring us back to our expansion years. These guys aren’t even Raptor fans! Please dont confuse Tim W for a raptor fan.

                  Ultra negative is what this site has become since Tim W took over…..EVEN WHEN WE WIN! Its a damn shame…

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

                  Can we not try and label who and who isn’t a fan of the team. Talk about negative. That’s just a bad path to go down. Not every fan needs to act and think the same way and to suggest otherwise is dangerous.

                  And can we stick to discussing the subject of basketball and not starting labelling other fans who we disagree with?

                  None of this is intelligent conversation. It’s namecalling and schoolyard behaviour. Let’s get back to a real discussion.

                • Robert Archibald

                  Unfortunately Tim, your ‘real discussion’ isn’t intelligent conversation either. I don’t think you are being labelled not a fan, the definition of someone who loves a certain team is a fan – short for fanatic. You don’t love this team. Therefore you are not a fan. Is it really ‘dangerous’ for me to say that?

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

                  The Raptors screwed up by trading for Gay. So why try and make that work when it seems obvious to me it’s not going to. All waiting does is decrease the value of two of your biggest assets. Waiting to trade Gay at the trade deadline means getting back even less for him than you would now. Same goes for Lowry.

                  I’m trusting my instincts and experience on this, and I don’t see the point of waiting until February to do something I think should be done sooner.

                • Louvens Remy

                  The Raps didn’t screw up by getting Gay. They screwed up by not “tanking” enough to get Lebron James or Kevin Durant.

                  Joking aside, I don’t believe that they would get more for Rudy right now. They would get a steaming pile of poo. and if Rudy sucks so much and Derozan is so mediocre who in their right minds would trade for them. Seems to me, that in your mind they are barely rotation players.

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

                  Just a couple of months ago, I ranked Gay as the 12th best small forward in the league…
                  http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2013/08/19/ranking-the-small-forwards/
                  …so I’m not sure why you’d suggest I think he’s barely a rotation player.

                  I do have several problems with him on the Raptors. The first is his contract, which pays him WAY too much and he could opt out of this summer, possibly leaving the Raptors for nothing.

                  On the court, I think he’s an inefficient player who looks better than he actually is, and is playing a role on the Raptors he’s ill-suited to. If he were on a team where he could be the third or fourth option, then it would be much better.

                  I have a real problem with him being a core player on the team.

                  As for his trade value, Memphis got a role player and good, young big man prospect him for him, and that was half a season ago. And I don’t see how Gay’s value won’t go down as he gets closer to his ability to opt out. Getting a player for just half a season is less valuable than having a player for the majority of the season.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Holy shit Tim. This team as we know it has been together for 40 games. That is not a whole season.

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

                  The team has only played together 40 games, but the players have played in the league WAY longer. Playing together longer isn’t going to make DeRozan a good defender when he hasn’t shown the ability in his four previous years. Playing together longer isn’t going to improve Gay’s shot selection or consistency when he hasn’t shown that ability in the previous seven years. Playing more games with his teammates isn’t going to show me something from Lowry we haven’t seen in his previous 7 years.

                  We’re not dealing with a whole lot of unknowns, here. This team is built to be decent, at best. Gay, DeRozan and Lowry are all flawed players who are all currently playing bigger roles on the Raptors than they should because there is such little real talent. And that’s not a good sign for a team hoping to build a contender.

                • d_1212

                  I haven’t seen the reports about the Sixers and Suns admitting publicly of tanking to their fans, if you could tell me where to find that info I would be interested to see that. Looking at the way they have both started the seasons, they haven’t shown any signs of tanking yet.

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

                  When you trade your best player for a draft pick and rookie who probably won’t play back in June, I’d say that’s an admission of tanking.

            • One relaxed fella

              There’s a lot of good points that both of you make. However, a lot of people would agree with Tim W. on at least one thing – tanking as a strategy to built a team is a real thing. What several teams are doing currently is just too obvious not to call it that way. Suns acquiring as many 1st round picks as possible (and they’re going to do more trades to get more picks) and trading away a starting center – tanking. Boston screwing around with their roster and getting rid of their elite players who are aging and who are nearing the end of their basketball careers for some decent guys and draft picks in return – tanking. Think about this: why a team, which got into playoffs in every season since 07/08 would suddenly make that kind of move? Do they really believe that this roster has more promise than the previous one? Did Celtics GM thought that these are the right players and the right roster he wants to compete in next few seasons? All this behaviour indicates clear pattern of this particular strategy. It is nasty, it doesn’t look good, but tanking exists. Teams get worse in order to get high picks, acquire possible future elite players in order to maybe/probably get better than they were before tanking.

              I wouldn’t necessarily agree on doing it. As it was said a lot of times before, tanking doesn’t guarantee you anything. But there’s another one good point that Tim W. makes – in order to be really good and become a contender, you have to have an elite player and built the team around him. Sure, you can develop one, you can sign one in the free agency, you can draft one in the lottery or you can acquire one through trade.

              Now, considering current Raptors situation, I don’t see any elite players or any possible elite players in this roster. So, developing talent won’t do it, young guys in this roster just don’t have that kind of ceiling.

              Let’s be honest, Raptors is not that kind of team which would be able to attract an elite player by signing him in a free agency. Maybe with a GM like Ujiri this tendency can change, he seems to be that kind of a person who knows how to make good deals, trades or free agency signings.

              Trading? what Raptors can offer in order to get an elite player in return? Nope, that doesn’t look likely either.

              Smart work in draft lottery might be the answer but it is really difficult to get an elite sort of a player without having one of the top 3 or if you’re very lucky, top 5 pick.

              • Louvens Remy

                The teams you mentioned are rebuilding. They are not trying to lose on purpose. There’s a difference. That is the problem I have with the theory. The teams that are so called “tanking” already sucked. They had no other way to go. Boston on the other hand is smart. Instead of letting their current team get old and crappy, which was gonna happen if they didn’t make the trade, they decided to retool and get rid of aging players to go younger. That is the circle of life in sports. I don’t believe in trying to lose on purpose.

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

                  Philadelphia won one fewer game than the Raptors last year. And they had one more All Star.

                  And you can call it whatever you want, but it seems you’re arguing semantics. Neither the Sixers or Suns WANT to win this year.

                  And how is blowing up the Raptor’s current roster any different than Boston blowing up theirs? The Raptors have two starters who could leave for nothing next summer, they’re right up to the luxury tax, they have few assets they can use to improve their team, and they’re still a playoff bubble team.

                  Let’s forget calling it tanking. I think the Raptor’s need to get rid of the players that aren’t helping the team become contenders and rebuild, but this time do it the “right” way.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Toronto had about 40 games with Rudy last year. With that roster they were way better than Phila. Before that not so much.

                  Boston blowing up their roster is simple

                  Kevin Garnett (37yrs old) and over 40,000 minutes
                  Paul Pierce (36 yrs old)
                  JET (36 yrs old)

                  Raptors
                  Demar Derozan (24 yrs old)
                  Rudy Gay (27 yrs old)

                  The two starters you are talking about are Kyle Lowry and Rudy right? I say you trade Rudy at the trade deadline if they are absolutely horrible.

                  I say you give this roster a chance to actually play more than half a season together before you do anything. I don’t know that this roster has ever gelled yet. I want to see what it can do first. As for Kyle Lowry you can resign him or not depending on what kind of year he had. I just don’t like the idea of blowing up a half decent team when you need to add quality role players to that core unit and you may have a pretty good team. Then you build on that pretty good team. You start winning then you become a destination. You think Kyrie won’t bolt out of Cleveland first chance he gets if they aren’t winning?

                  Also calling it REBUILDING is the way to go. TANKING to me makes the NBA seem like an illegitimate league. If teams are losing on purpose then they should let fans watch those games for free.

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

                  Adding role players to a core as mediocre as Gay, DeRozan and Lowry is never going to make them anything other than a mediocre team. Those player just aren’t that good. And being able to “gel” isn’t going to make those players better. The problem with the team is that the foundation is simply not very good.

                  Gay shouldn’t even be a team with Championship aspirations’ 2nd best player, and on Toronto he’s the first (although it’s debatable what “best” even means, and whether Gay should be classified as such). DeRozan is a decent scorer who is a poor defender and doesn’t create much offense,yet on Toronto he’s a first or second option. On a contender, he’d be a role player.

                  We’ve seen the Raptors try and build on a substandard foundation before, trying to build around Bosh, and it was a disaster. I’m actually shocked how many fans want to try that again.

                  And if you want to call it rebuilding, instead of tanking, fine. I prefer calling them used cars and not pre-owned.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Tanking implies losing on purpose. No team tries to lose on purpose. That was the original point. Rebuilding is not tanking. As for your hate for this team, I don’t have anything else to say.

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

                  Are you suggesting the Suns and Sixers management are actually trying to win? Because their moves say the opposite.

                  As for the hate comment, let’s not go there. We have different opinions on how we want this team to succeed. Let’s leave it there and not get into petty insults that don’t enlighten or inform, but do just the opposite.

                • Louvens Remy

                  I think that not every team is built equally. But they are trying to win. Each team is realistic about their chances coming into the season. Lets say, (this won’t happen) the Sixers are 30-11 through half the season, you actually think that their management is going to try and lose on purpose because they want more ping pong balls? If they do then they should be fired and the fans refunded every penny.

                  The teams mentioned above are young and inexperienced. They will continue to play together and gel and develop as a team. They have new coaches, new systems and new philosophies. They aren’t trying to lose. They just aren’t good, yet. Tanking is the most unproven thing in the world. I’ve never heard of a team trying to lose on purpose. I’ve been on crappy sports teams before, and even though we weren’t as talented as the other teams, we tried to win every time out. Management/coaches always tried to find ways to make us better and tried to win every time even if we were mismatched talent wise.

                  I am in to giving this “mediocre” Raptor team a chance because I haven’t seen it yet and neither have you. It doesn’t matter what advanced metrics say because, a team, when playing as a unit and within a system can surprise you. Plenty of flawed teams and “mediocre” teams have come out of nowhere to shock people. I live for those moments. If it happens with this team, I want to see it. I don’t want to cheer for expiring contracts and crappy journeymen players. Let this team live Tim! Let us live in a unrealistic world where we believe. I want that. I don’t need to hear how you would tear this whole thing down and start a process of another 5 depressing years just in the “hope” of landing a bunch of ping pong balls.

                  By the way, when has tanking worked and how long did it take? What team tanked and won a championship and how long after they were done tanking did they win a championship? So if Sixers and Suns keep tanking for another 2 years and pick up Wiggins or Smart or Parker, will they be contending for a championship in 2 years?, 3 years?, 5 years? How do you tank successfully? Are we sure any of the players I mentioned are once in a lifetime generational talents? Your theory of “tanking” is so flawed it baffles me that you even bring it up as a logical explanation for how to build a winning team.

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

                  I think the difference is that the PLAYERS are trying to win. Not necessarily the franchise. The Sixers are going all in for the 2014 draft, and figured they had a roster that would get them at or near the bottom of the standings (which is why they only have seven players with real NBA experience). The players obviously play to win, and only coaches completely secure in their position can afford not to try and win every game.

                  If the Sixers do end up going 30-11 to start the season, then obviously this team is far better than anyone imagined and they have to readjust their strategy.

                  As for the “tanking” debate, there have been plenty of teams that have tried to lose to get a better chance at a top pick. I’m not sure why this is even up for debate…
                  http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/39318/tanking-is-the-tip-of-the-iceberg

                  Now, I’ve already stated I would rather that tanking not be a viable option and would love for the NBA to come up with a way to make it a thing of the past, but as of right now, the best way for non-prime destination teams to acquire elite talent is through the draft, and, by far, the most likely place to find an elite player in the draft is in the top five. Until those things change, teams will purposely build teams that will lose in order to get high picks.

                • golden

                  “…as of right now, the best way for non-prime destination teams to acquire elite talent is through the draft, and, by far, the most likely place to find an elite player in the draft is in the top five.”

                  Just look at the NBA final four last year. Memphis Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers – both small market teams, acquired their all-stars (Gasol, Randolph, Hibbert, West, George) all without top 5 picks. Conversley, teams like the Wizards, Cavs, Bobcats, Kings are perennial lottery teams using exactly the strategy you prescribe, yet are perennial losers. But yet, you say this recipe is a “reliable” way to acquire elite talent. Oh, I know what you’re going to say now – those teams are poorly managed, right? Bingo! So, I guess it really doesn’t matter what your strategy is, if your management sucks, now does it? Be it trade, free agency, drafting, internal player development, etc…, if management sucks, then the team will suck, regardless. That’s pretty much the bottom line in business, sports, government, etc…, isn’t it? Let’s put this whole ‘tanking for top 5 picks is reliable, repeatable way to build a franchise’ nonsense to bed once and for all. The NBA draft is an inexact ‘art’ – I won’t even call it a science.

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

                  Yes, both Indiana and Memphis got to the Conference FInals without a top five pick (well, except for Conley).

                  And yes, the draft can be a crap shoot, especially if you’ve got poor management.

                  Yet one of the examples you gave, Indiana, only became what they did by lucking out and finding two All Stars outside of the top 5 (and in Hibbert’s case, outside of the top 15). Are you suggesting that drafting outside of the top 5 is a more reliable way to find an elite player? Or that Indiana got VERY lucky?

                  As for Memphis, how many All NBA players, who have been drafted in the last ten years, were drafted in the second round, as Gasol was? The answer is one. Gasol.

                  And when Memphis traded for Zach Randolph, how many people thought that THIS TIME he would finally get it and take advantage of the talents he had. How many times have we seen players like Randolph, after eight years in the league, turn their career around? A VERY small handful.

                  So yes, both Memphis and Indiana were able to get where they were without a top five pick (again, excluding Conley), but a) neither of those teams have actually made it to the FInals, yet, and b) do you think following their strategies is a more viable option to building a contender?

                  As for Washington, Charlotte, Sacramento and Cleveland, they HAVE been poorly managed. I’m not sure how that should be discounted. No matter WHAT strategy you use, if you’ve got poor management, you’re not likely to be successful.

                  But the fact is that Cleveland, even with poor management, managed to become a more successful team after tanking (better record and farther in the playoffs), than Indiana and Memphis without tanking.

                • golden

                  So to win, other than having good management – you need LUCK. LOL. Well, you’ve pretty much buried your “tanking your way to top 5 picks is a **reliable** way to build a franchise” argument. In your own words, the prerequisites to winning are: (a) Good management & (b) Luck. LMAO.

                  Case closed, my friend.

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

                  How does need luck bury my argument any more than it buries yours? OF COURSE you need luck to win a Championship. I thought that was obvious, which is why so few teams have done it over the history of the league.

                  And can we stop altering my argument, please? I said that tanking was the most reliable way for non-prime destination teams to acquire elite talent. Period. I dare you to come up with a real argument that disputes that.

                • golden

                  It buries your argument because you propose that tanking is the most reliable way for non-prime destination teams to acquire elite talent. Others have pointed out that non-prime destinations have been using that strategy for years and it has not been even remotely close to as reliable as you suggest, and your lame excuse is simply ‘poor management’. I give you Indiana and Memphis as counter examples and again, your even lamer excuse is – well that’s all luck. Those are ‘real’ examples contrary to both sides of your thesis/argument, n’est pas? What am I missing here?

                  So to summarize your position, tanking is the most reliable way for non-prime destinations to acquire elite talent (fine print: uh, also assuming they have good management and are also very lucky). Let’s submit that one to Harvard Business Review. lol.

                  The bottom line is that the draft (I won’t even call it tanking), is just ONE of MANY tools that good management has available to build a consistently good team, including: trades, free agency and internal player development. Internal player development is vastly, even massively, underrated IMO. This is connected to coaching and culture – which you think is irrelevant, but Frank Vogel / Roy Hibbert and Lionel Hollins / Marc Gasol are perfect examples of player development directly affected by coaching/culture change. You see, everybody knows intuitively that crappy management and shitty coaches can screw up even elite talent, but unfortunately it’s one of those things that can never be verified one way or another. So, even drafting so-called consensus ‘elite talent’ doesn’t guarantee you anything, unless you count the Pistons winning a championship after drafting Darko #2 overall. lol.

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

                  I, NOR ANYONE ELSE, HAVE EVER CLAIMED TANKING GUARANTEES ANYTHING.

                  Let’s not make up arguments that neither of us are making. There are certainly risks involved, and there are chances that you could draft a bust, but that’s the case whether you draft 2nd or 10th. If Indiana drafts Xavier Henry instead of Paul George, then they’re in a similar position as the Raptors right now: Fighting for a playoff spot, if that.

                  If Marc Gasol doesn’t end up becoming one of the best 2nd round picks in the last 20 years, Memphis is basically a .500 team and first round fodder. Hell, if Zach Randolph continues to be the player he was when he was traded to Memphis, they’d be lucky to BE a .500 team.

                  But the point of my argument is that you have a better chance of acquiring an elite player drafting in the top five than you have of trading or signing one. Just about every player is drafted, but very few enter free agency, and the elite players that are drafted generally have a say where they want to go.

                • golden

                  But the point of my argument is that you have a better chance of acquiring an elite player drafting in the top five than you have of trading or signing one.

                  Like Hasheem Thabeet. (#2 pick, over Harden, Love, Westbrook, etc…). Gotcha.

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

                  I’m not sure the point of bringing up Thabeet. Memphis had the chance to James Harden, Ricky Rubio or Stephen Curry (Love and Westbrook were in the previous draft). That’s a golden opportunity. The fact that they selected Thabeet, despite most people knowing it was a bad move, doesn’t negate the fact they could have selected one of two possible franchise players and a franchise PG.

                  If you want to get into bad decisions, Colangelo signed Turkoglu (or going back farther, Orlando signed Grant Hill). Philadelphia traded for Andrew Bynum. The Nets had LOADS of cap room the year LeBron was a free agent and came away with Travis Outlaw. Are you suggesting that bad management decisions only affect drafting? Or luck only is part of tanking?

                  Atlanta has been trying to sign a great free agent since Joe Johnson. Dallas whiffed on Dwight Howard, and never got a chance at Chris Paul, and came away with Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon.

                • golden

                  Oh, and if your *reliable* strategy is highly dependent upon LUCK, then how *reliable* is it, anyway? I thought that was pretty obvious, too.

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

                  Stop making up arguments I’m not using. I have never said ANYTHING was reliable. I said it’s MORE reliable. Big, big, big difference.

                  It’s more reliable to find buried treasure with a metal detector than with a psychic, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely find buried treasure with a metal detector.

                • Robert Archibald

                  Then stop going on and on about tanking and bashing the team for trying to make the playoffs.

                • golden

                  Tim, I think you’ve backed yourself into a corner here and become so entrenched in your position that you can’t even correct your own quote or see the obvious flaw in your logic. This is EXACTLY what you said, a few posts up:

                  Tim W said….

                  “I said that tanking was the most reliable way for non-prime destination teams to acquire elite talent. Period.”

                  The. Most. Reliable. Way.

                  Where I am mis-quoting you? There really isn’t a whole lot of room for interpretation of meaning or intent here, either. And just because you say it 100 times, it doesn’t mean it is true. Especially when you, yourself, agree that a good deal hinges on luck. So, if everything hinges on luck (and good management), then how is tanking for picks any more reliable than, say: trades, free agency, player development or coach/culture change?

                  So what’s the bottom line?. Tanking for draft picks has been proven to be an equal (or worse) crapshoot, in comparison to other available method of building a competitive team. A shitty management team will even screw up consensus surefire elite talent, while a great management team will elevate 2nd tier talent to greater than the expected potential and sum of the parts.

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

                  I’m not sure I see the problem. I said it was the most reliable way for a non-prime destination team to acquire an elite player. I believe that to be true. it’s the most reliable method for a team like Toronto to acquire an elite player. Is it a very reliable method? No. But neither is any other method. But it’s the most reliable method.

                  As I said, just about every elite player enters the NBA through the draft. Many are traded, but most of them have a say in where they go. And even fewer change teams via free agency, and obviously all of them decide where they want to go, then.

                  If you’re a non-prime destination team, then you aren’t likely to acquire an elite player via free agency. And there’s almost no chance if you don’t already have one (most elite players will only sign onto a team where there is already another one- thanks LeBron and co.).

                  In order to trade for an elite player, you need the right assets (which usually involve good prospects or high draft picks), and those are usually acquired through the draft (ask Boston, the Clippers and Brooklyn). And in most cases, the elite player is nearing the end of his contract (which is the reason for the trade) and will usually have a say in where they will be traded. They will usually ask to be traded to the same, small handful of teams that constantly come up, or involve a team that already has an elite player on it (again, thanks LeBron and co.)

                  So which of my above comments do you disagree with?

                • golden

                  Tim, we’re going in circles and I’m getting tired. If, say 4 franchise building strategies are equally un-reliable and rely on luck, then how can you possibly rank one over another? And I see no reason why the Raptors can’t use a model like the Pacers, who, over time, acquired and developed decent talent into elite status (without tanking for top 5 picks) using a team concept and culture that performs better than the expected sum of parts.

                  Or the Rockets, who have only been below .500 once in 10 yrs, and used savvy trades (not tanking) to accumulate the necessary assets to acquire Harden (opportunistically), who attracted Howard. I see no reason why that Harden trade couldn’t have been the Raptors – in fact our assets were one of the keys to the deal. And don’t tell me that Houston is a ‘prime’ destination. Until Harden got there, it was definitely not.

                  And again, with the Grizzlies, the only thing that didn’t work for them was high picks in the draft (save Conley, who is a nice role player, but not exactly elite).

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

                  You are more than welcome to want to go a different route. I’ve never said you can’t. But the chance of finding an elite player at 10, like the Pacers did, is astronomical in today’s NBA.

                  In 2012, the choice at 10 was between Austin Rivers, Myers Leonard and Jeremy Lamb. What if, in 2010, the Clippers decide to take Hayward, as many thought, and then Utah decides to take Paul George? Not only are you relying finding an elite player that late in the draft, you’re relying on the teams ahead of you not to select him before you can.

                  And how many Harden deals are there out there? Can you name others like that, where the player DIDN’T choose where he wanted to go and it didn’t end badly?

                  Houston is one of the prime destinations, though (although that had nothing with getting Harden). Big city, warm climate, no state tax and a Championship history.

                  The problem when trying to acquire elite talent through trades and free agency, is that you’re competing with other teams in the process. When elite (or potentially elite) players become available, there are usually LOTS of teams interested.

                  If you’re drafting in the top five, then it’s your choice. It’s completely up to you. If your Memphis drafting 2nd, in 2009, the fact that you didn’t select Harden or Curry isn’t because you tried, but couldn’t. It’s because you made a bad decision.

                  I’m not quite sure how you can deny that the odds of drafting an elite player in the top five in the draft is not more than signing or trading for one if you’re not a prime NBA destination. You just have to look at the numbers.

                • golden

                  Ok, so you’re trying to argue that your ugly step-sister is prettier than the other two. Bizarre justification, but that’s

                  To your other point.

                  “The problem when trying to acquire elite talent through trades and free agency, is that you’re competing with other teams in the process.”

                  Competition is the same problem with tanking, especially this year and even moreso when your franchise is trying to look and sound like you’re not trying to do it. I mean wasn’t it BC himself who openly complained about Casey winning too many games that cost us Harrison Barnes instead of having to select Terrence Ross. BC should have been blaming himself and Casey for picking Ross over Drummond. Again, a bad management decision is the main factor. BC and Casey couldn’t even: (a) execute the tank properly and (b) when a gift-horse (Drummond) fell to them, they tried to be too cute with the Ross pick.

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

                  “Ok, so you’re trying to argue that your ugly step-sister is prettier than the other two. Bizarre justification, but that’s”

                  It’s not a difficult concept. I’m pretty sure you get it but insist on trying to make me explain it over and over again, for some reason.

                  “Competition is the same problem with tanking, especially this year and even moreso when your franchise is trying to look and sound like you’re not trying to do it.”

                  Yes, when there’s only 1 or 2 potential impact players. In the 2014 draft, I have AT LEAST 8 players who have the potential to be All Stars.

                  But, again, you know all this, so I’m not sure why you keep bringing it up.

                  As for the Raptors “winning too many games”, problem was that Colangelo wanted to tank without trading any of his players away. Keeping Calderon AND Amir, as well as Bargnani and DeRozan while apparently trying to tank is counterproductive. Like many of Colangelo’s other plans, it was poorly executed.

                • golden

                  “It’s not a difficult concept. I’m pretty sure you get it but insist on trying to make me explain it over and over again, for some reason.”

                  Not difficult to understand your thought process, but it’s extremely flawed logic (if you can even call it logic – or rather reverse logic).

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

                  Actually, it’s not flawed logic. The logic is perfectly sound. The fact that you don’t LIKE the idea doesn’t make it flawed.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Z Bo was a consistent 20 and 10 guy before going to Memphis. He didn’t magically become a better player. The only questions were regarding his attitude.

                • GLF

                  THANK YOU! Arguing over this is actually so foolish and such a waste of time anyway. The people who are for tanking won’t change their mind and the people who are against it won’t change their mind so what’s the point? Everyone just keeps saying the same thing over and over again. Like saying the same thing won’t change anyones mind. Tanking is an option but it isn’t the only option or the best option because it guarantees nothing. Why people can’t get that is beyond me. Neither option guarantees anything and there have been many different ways used to build a championship team or championship contending team. If you have bad management is doesn’t matter what option you choose it most likely won’t work out like Cleveland, Sacramento etc. have shown.

                • nyStef

                  I’ve enjoyed this discussion but my two cents if I may:

                  Throwing games and tanking are not the same thing. To throw a game, that is, to play the game with the intention of losing, is unnatural and reprehensible. Repugnant, even. Nobody questions this, with the possible exception of Mikhail Prokhorov.

                  Tanking is a much bigger picture kind of thing. It starts way before the players hit the court, controlled (or manipulated) by the General Manager or whoever else is in charge of who is on the team, with the understanding that whoever IS on the team – coaches and players – they will be giving their all, doing their best, at all times.

                  The coach and the players are not (typically) thinking long term on this. They want to stay in the league, they want to keep their jobs, they want to keep their own paychecks coming in. They tend to think short term, they need to think short term.

                  The GM thinks long-term, big-picture, because that’s what he has to do. A GM will think in (let’s say) 3 to 6 year cycles. If he isn’t, if he’s thinking shorter term (as he shouldn’t be) he will occasionally close his eyes and fling a Hail-Mary pass, trading for the likes of Rudy Gay while agreeing to absorb all the ramifications of the accompanying cap-crippling contract.

                  If the GM thinking long term, believes that it is unlikely that his team will shape itself into a legitimate contender with its current personnel, he has a *responsibility* to the team’s owners and to the team’s fans to do whatever (whatEVER) needs to be done to do build a possible contender.

                  It’s a tough job and not everyone can do it. I suspect Masai has the parts to do what’s necessary and, as a very big Raptors fan, I’ll be glad if he proves that he does.

                • HogyG

                  Hey Tim, I was curious if you could give us an example in the NBA of a franchise that has successfully tanked? Is there a championship team that would be an example of how tanking works at all? if so, this would be very enlightening for those of us who disagree that it is a successful option.

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

                  The goal of tanking is not to build a Championship team. The goal of tanking is simply to acquire elite talent, and there are numerous examples of this successfully happening.

                  Building a Championship contender comes after, and is far more difficult. Many of the teams that tanked and didn’t go on to win a Championship didn’t win a Championship because they tanked.

                  Cleveland tanked to get LeBron, but it was poor personnel decisions that prevented them from winning the title and caused LeBron to leave.

                  Denver tanked to get Carmelo, but never could surround him with decent enough talent for them to become a contender.

                  Oklahoma/Seattle tanked to get Durant, and they may win a title.

                  New Orleans tanked to get Anthony Davis, and while he looks to be becoming the player many hoped, I haven’t liked most of their personnel decisions since they drafted him.

                  In the past 30 years, only 8 different franchises have won an NBA Championship and there isn’t any chance of being able to replicate even one way that those teams were built. Not one. Every Championship team was built differently and all were extremely lucky.

                  Even to build a Championship contender takes a lot of luck.

                  I realize that it was a leading question, but it a far more complicated answer than you’re suggesting.

                  Until someone comes up with a better, more viable option for a team like Toronto to acquire an elite player, the best way seems to be by getting a top pick in the draft, especially a draft as loaded as the 2014 one.

                • HogyG

                  There was no ill will behind posing my question, I had only hoped to help you prove your point. Many times I have seen people who are “pro-tank” come on here and boast that we will not get an elite talent unless we tank, while others skip that and directly say it is the only way we can win a championship. This team has seen elite talent in the past in TMac, VC and Bosh and unfortunately couldn’t capitalize on any of them. (I would also argue that Jonas can be an elite player in the future, or at least it is too early to assume that he is not. Also, I believe that DD has yet to hit his ceiling and at 24 is finally becoming a man.)

                  Meanwhile, the “anti-tank” crowd is frustrated by the inability of “pro-tank” Raptors fans to believe that we can sign an elite talent onto our roster. This poor press puts a negative spin on the team that we all love, why would you want to be a part off that?

                  Even if it were true, there is an old adage that basically says that what we put out into the ether will come to pass. A negative outlook yields negative results. Our team is a playoff contender this year, whether you see it from the growing talent on our roster or the dwindling talent on the other franchises in the East that might be “tanking”, we are going to be in the fight for the post season. This is supposed to be a welcome and happy place to be as far as Raptors fans go, no?

                  If you go back 30 years, only seven #1 picks in the draft have ever even won a championship. If you dig a little deeper, in the last ten years only FIVE top 10 picks have even won a ring (Wade, Bynum, Adam Morrison, Bosh and LBJ, with only Wade and Bynum doing it with the team that drafted them), and if you go all the way back to the Raptors inaugural season there have only been 19 total top ten picks that have worn hardware (Duncan, Dirk and Pierce did it with the team who drafted them, while T. Chandler, P. Gasol, Battier, Odom, Rip Hamilton, J. Terry, Billups, Allen, KG, Sheed and Stackhouse went to other teams to find that illusive ring.

                  My point is that if history can show us anything it is that we have just as good if not a better chance of signing an elite player (being that there will be some available at season’s end), or trade for one to resign long term, than it is to assume we can lose enough games this season and have the basketball gods allow our franchise a top pick in a packed draft, and then have that draft pick turn into an elite player who will bring us a championship.

                  I believe our current team has the ability to attract an elite game changing talent in the facts that we have a lot of complimentary pieces to add to an elite player, we have the first African born GM in the NBA, we should be coming off a playoff appearance which shows positive growth, we have the upcoming 2016 NBA All Star game that is due to be a great platform for a newly acquired elite player to shine and we have a diehard fan base ready to blow up for team that contends.

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

                  The problem with looking at how Championship teams acquired their best players, is that you have to then look at what teams have actually done that in the last 30 years. If you’re a prime destination team, like the Lakers or Miami, then players tend to WANT to come to your team. And you also have to look at the fact that most Championship teams who acquired elite players already had elite players on their roster at the time. Garnett doesn’t agree to the Boston trade without Pierce and Allen already on the roster. LeBron and Bosh don’t sign with Miami if Wade isn’t already there.

                  But I’m pretty sure we’ve had this exact conversation before. I’ve already said that there isn’t a Championship team that has a template that you can follow. Can the Raptors do what Miami did? The Lakers? Dallas? San Antonio? Boston? Obviously not. Each case had special circumstances that can’t be repeated.

                • Louvens Remy

                  Cleveland did not tank to get Lebron. They were an awful team for 6 straight years. So they must have tanked for 6 straight years. They made horrible horrible personnel decisions and were well positioned to get the 1st pick. Denver same thing. Horrible team for 6 of the 7 years before that. They were already bad teams. It wasn’t like they were going to suddenly be good.

                  As for OKC/Seattle, they weren’t even the worst team the year they got Durant. They won 31 games and 37 the year before that. They got lucky. If you’re implying that they played bad enough to position themselves in the lottery i don’t buy it.

                  New Orleans is the only team I can see that fits the bill of what you would call tanking. They traded Chris Paul the year they were bad for money reasons. They also got lucky as the poor Charlotte Bobcats won 7 games and couldn’t even get the first pick. It was all luck for OKC and New Orleans. Just like it was luck for Cleveland last year when they got the first pick. You can’t “tank” and have it successfully work.

                  It never has.

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

                  Cleveland was on the mediocrity treadmill, winning 32, 30 and 29 games before trading away their top 3 leading scorers and then winning 17 games the year before one of the most anticipated drafts in the last ten years.

                  You’re right about Seattle/Oklahoma, but they actually tanked AFTER they got Durant in order to try and get more high draft picks.

                  This is all semantics, though. Whether a team rebuilds or tanks, it all for the same reason. To get a high pick in the draft. And while there’s certainly no guarantee that a team will hit the jackpot, the reward is obviously big enough to cause so many teams to take the risk.

                  I still have yet to hear a more viable option for the Raptors to acquire an elite player, though.

                • GLF

                  No ones giving you a more viable option because there is no one way of becoming a championship contending team. Every option has it’s flaws and no option is certain. As you’ve said many times, all the championship teams got there is different ways and no team can replicate that. If there was one way to become a championship team more than 8 or 9 teams would have won the championship so far in the NBA. Tanking is an option but it’s not the only or best option and neither is trades or free agency because none of them guarantee anything. Every team other than about 5-6 teams would tank if it was the best way to do things. It just doesn’t work like that. A lot of other things have to go right. Tanking is the EASIEST way to do things but it isn’t necessarily the best way. No one should come on here acting like their way is the best way because none of us can see the future and the past shows that there are many ways to build an elite team and no way is certain. But that’s just me.

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

                  More teams don’t tank because ownership won’t let them. The main goal of the majority of teams is to make a profit, not win a Championship. Winning one would obviously be great, but not if it means losing money. And tanking is a big risk for ownership because they will lose viewers, and for many owners that’s unacceptable.

                  Look at it this way. In the 18 years the Raptors have been in existence, the vast majority of the team’s best players have either been drafted (Stoudemire, McGrady, Vince, Bosh, etc) or were traded with draft picks (Antonio Davis, Oakley, even Gay).

                  The two best players the Raptors ever had were top five picks.

                  Tanking is not just the easiest way, it’s the most effective way of acquiring elite talent for a team not in a prime destination city. There are certainly other ways, and teams can certainly be successful doing that, but let’s not pretend that means it’s a “better” option. It’s not. It’s just a more palatable option for most fans and the organization, because it means less losing.

            • GoingBig

              Cavs: with Kyrie Irving acting as an “attractor” there had been some discussion of LeBron James returning to Cleveland. That is the role of low picks who are legitimate starters or even stars. Getting one of these, for places NOT L.A., NY, or Miami, is done through the draft

              No one thinks that the players should tank or even the coach should be doing that. The players are not because it will hurt their value. That’s Philadelphia. It should be done at managerial level. .

              There’s a lot of bullshit about “blowing it up” As if merely giving up was an effective means to tank. It isn’t.

              Effective tanking is an accumulation of assets to go with whatever pick you actually get. Expiring contracts also set you up for that. The cap money freed up allows you pick up attractor free agents.

              Angry? Tanking is a legitimate option but with no guarantees.

  • Don City

    Rudy Gay was a monster last night – showed that he can still make a difference on the court even if he’s not shooting lights out from the field. To all genuine Raptors fans -don’t worry about all these so-called fans (professional blog whiners?) steaming mad that we won, apparently we lost last night in the all-important “Advanced Stats Score” and only the resident basketball geniuses that post 50 times a day are smart enough to realize that.. lol

  • drfunk

    first thing i do after a game is check the grades!!! though im oddly proud our website guys go get drunk instead of posting on saturday nights, we got our priorities right. bet none of the other ESPN TrueHoop network teams can say that.