Raptors 90, Bobcats 92 – Box

The Raptors drop what on paper would be termed a winnable game in Charlotte.  Throw the back-to-back excuse out the window since Charlotte was on one as well (beat the Knicks) and what you get is a game that you’re “supposed to win”.  At least you are if you intend to be a playoff team which is the narrative.

The egg the Raptors laid in the first quarter was both depressing and amusing.  It was depressing to see the Raptors go down 16 to a Charlotte team which features Kemba Walker, MKG and Gerald Henderson as their three best players.  At the same time, it was mildly amusing to see DeRozan treat a screen set on him as an invitation to take a break from play instead of fighting through it and contesting Gerald Henderson’s jumpers.  Conceding 75% shooting to a team that’s at the bottom of the league in total offense flew in the face of all that defense Dwane Casey talked about in training camp.

[See Also: Reaction: Raptors 90, Bobcats 92]

Whilst the Raptors were being torn apart, Amir Johnson took an opportunity to shoot and miss a three, which tells me that that shot is endorsed by Dwane Casey.  It’s fine I suppose but when you’re struggling to score and everyone’s guilty of early shot-clock jump-shooting, that particular choice might not be the best idea.  Just sayin’.   The early stretch also saw Rudy Gay being outplayed by MKG.  I don’t want to knock on Gay’s effort because he is putting the shift in on the rebounding side, is getting down-and-dirty contesting loose balls, blah blah, but man, it must make it a lot easier for a defender to guard him knowing that he has no intention of passing the ball to make a play.

After going 8-21, he’s now 21-65 (32%) on the year.  This isn’t a shooting slump where he’s missing makeable looks, this is a systematic problem as the looks he’s getting aren’t coming from a team context.  I’m sure his percentages will rise but that doesn’t mean the Raptors will be  playing team-ball.  Right now, Rudy Gay is playing like he’s been allocated a set amount of shots a game and he’s taking them as he sees fit, when he sees fit.  In his 37 minutes of play, I can point to one example in the fourth quarter when he passed to DeRozan for a score as an instance of team-ball.

Despite Jonas Valanciunas’ (4-7 FG in the first quarter) inspired play in the post, in face-up situations, and on the boards, the Raptors were down early.  The 16-point hole created by Kemba Walker’s dribble penetration, Gerald Henderson’s punishment of DeRozan, and the Raptors’ excessive jump-shooting was erased in the second quarter mostly because of bench play.  Augustin did well to up the tempo a little (though he got unceremoniously benched after one bad play), Tyler Hansbrough got involved in the block, Landry Fields provided good point-forward play, and Terrence Ross even hit a three.  DeRozan came back in the game to nail two threes and on the backs of the bench, the game was tied.

Somewhere in there Rudy Gay lost a jump-ball to Kemba Walker by casually tapping it to a Bobcat player.  Now, in any form of organized basketball there’s always a jump-ball play that’s practiced for these situations, and watching the Raptors make a mess of it followed by Dwane Casey’s reaction to it, I figured one of two things: 1) They don’t have one such play, or 2) Nobody was listening when that play was being taught.  Both are bad, one of them is worse and I’m not sure which.

You might be wondering where Jonas Valanciunas is in all of this. He’s an afterthought on offense with not even a simple pick ‘n roll being designed for him, and that happens to be his primary, historical strength.  I don’t have any explanation for this and can only speculate that this is coaching error:

jvshot

A tie game to start the third and Dwane Casey finally made a proper defensive adjustment by switching Gay on Henderson which had some effect.  Gay did well getting a deflection, contesting Henderson, pushing the ball in transition, and it was fueled by the Raptors having a stretch where Amir Johnson made it a point to get down low and the bigs followed a rebound-and-release approach to catch Charlotte in transition.  Why we can’t score against Charlotte in the half-court is another matter entirely, but let’s just accept that in this game the Raptors best bet to score was in transition, not against the vaunted Charlotte half-court set.

The Raptors got cold in the second half of the third, at one point missing three shots and committing four turnovers in a 7-possession stretch.  They shot 28% in the third compared to Charlotte’s 56% – that’s right, after the halftime talk the Raptors conceded 56%.  Remember, this is a team that’s supposed to be good at defense.  The third quarter is also where Kyle Lowry got benched after Walker got the best of him on a drive, to which Lowry’s response was to commit an offensive foul by kicking out his legs.  I mentioned this in the recap but it still seems that Lowry is struggling between being the type of player that he is and the player that people want him to be.

The Raptors started the fourth quarter down six and with a lineup of Stone, DeRozan, Ross, and Johnson.  Casey made three substitutions in the fourth in this order:

  • Lowry for Stone – 8:56
  • Gay for Hansbrough – 6:52
  • Fields for Ross – 6:52

That’s it. Jonas Valanciunas sat on the bench despite being our best rebounder on the night (team-high 10 reb in 28 min), despite the Raptors struggling to collect key momentum-shifting defensive rebounds, and despite him being our best low-post threat and someone who could contend with Biyombo from a physical perspective.  I cannot explain this behaviour.

The Raptors were down 8 in the fourth and made a run after Fields ran some good sets as a point-forward, and the Gay/DeRozan combination flickered briefly, but on the last few possessions when the Raptors needed a basket, there was no “go to” play at hand and the Raptors defaulted to the “high screen with no movement on the weakside followed by freestyling” play which went nowhere.  After electing not to take advantage of a potential 2-for-1, it came down to the final play where the Raptors were down two and elected not to foul with a 2-second shot-clock differential, which is obviously a terrible decision since it takes about 2 seconds for the ball to be in the air, hit the rim, bounce around and the rebound to be collected.  Dwane Casey was given a reprieve for his poor decision when the ball went out of bounds with about five seconds left, only for him to repeat his poor decision.  See if you can figure out what he was thinking.

Here’s what Lowry thought:

Either this is a really elaborate tank-job or Dwane Casey is making some serious miscalculations that are directly costing games.  The explanation for this move was given as:

“We felt like we had five seconds and as soon as we got the rebound (the team was) going to call timeout,” Casey said of why the Raptors fouled so late. “(If Charlotte makes) two free throws, it’s over with anyway “. We felt like we could get one stop and then get a timeout. That’s the way it went down at the end, it should never have gotten to that.”

Note that the Bobcats were 17-30 (56%) from the stripe in this game. There’s more quotes here if you’re interested.

For now, I’m taking the view that he’s making miscalculations which, if they continue, will not go unpunished.

  • Antoine

    Definitely a horrible miscalculation on Casey’s part to not foul early. He had 26 seconds left, while Charlotte had a full 24 second shot clock. Any sensible coach would foul early (Biyombo?!) and hope he splits at the line, and at least give them an opportunity to tie or cut the lead with Still loads of time left on the clock. Either Casey has no temporal awareness, or he’s really looking to lose these close games. And there’s no excuse for benching Jonas over and over again, it’s not like he’s not effective on the floor. If anything he’s been one of the most effective Raptors on the floor, and how you can justify leaving him out during so many critical stretches is confusing for both the team’s success, and his “crunch time” development.

    • DanH

      Hilarious bit is that the Raps could have played it so they fouled several times. With 26 seconds, that’s time for several attempts to score – and with the Bobcats hitting on 50% of their FTs, they could even afford to just score 2’s and tie the game up that way.

  • Noxleno

    I never really bought the notion that this team was intentionally tanking before last night, now it’s very hard to dispute. Either Casey has orders to lose, or he is just plain incompetent. This team’s offense and defense were simply pathetic last night; there seems to be no offensive system in place, they just pass the ball along the perimeter until somebody decides to take a shot, which may partly be a result of Lowry’s inability to create shots for teammates. The lack of playing time for Valanciunas is mind-boggling…and how in the HELL do you not play your best rebounder in the last second of the game where your only chance to win requires getting the board?????

  • Jay

    This team does not resemble the team towards the end of last season. Not only are they playing horrible, it’s not fun to watch.

    • 2damkule

      they do have entertaining fast breaks.

      • SR

        “Fast break” during Raptors game now means switching to Downtown Abbey five minutes into first quarter because you’d rather throw up in your mouth than watch this steaming pile of sh*t.

    • Nilanka15

      Yeah, no flow to the offense whatsoever, and a much ballyhooed defense that can’t stop anyone. So frustrating to watch this team, even when they squeak out ugly (undeserved) wins.

      • 2damkule

        their offense is just…disjointed? certainly, there’s no flow, but it goes beyond that. there doesn’t seem to be much purpose – passes are made & rec’d, but are often followed by this little moments of hesitation, like, ‘ok, i have the ball, what am i supposed to do with it now?’ the one commonality in almost all their half-court sets is that they very rarely look to put the D out of position…all the movement is slow & methodic, hard (or multiple) cuts are rare, wings very rarely move more than a few feet (and seemingly never with much urgency) off the ball. they’ll ‘run’ what looks like it could be a play, but if (when) it breaks down or fails to develop, the set generally becomes ‘give the ball to rudy or DD and see if they can get something.’ the 2nd Q comeback (offensively) was really about them hitting some long jumpers, it wasn’t because they necessarily were playing any better (unless ‘hitting shots’ = ‘playing better’).

        • SR

          The offense has no identity at all. Rudy + DeMar = way too much ball stopping.

      • sleepz

        That’s the key to me. I’ve never thought this was a well crafted roster to begin with but when you have a defensive coach saying his team is going to hang their hat on the defensive end of the floor and quite frankly……they don’t defend in any way shape or form, there is nothing else left to say.
        The offence has no purpose and the defence is laughable. Teams are getting anything they want, anytime they want it.
        Raps should be 1-4 imo. If Drew brings back his starters in the Milwaukee game at anytime in the 4th quarter, Raps lose that one as well.

        • Nilanka15

          Even in the opener vs. the Celtics, the Raptors were anything but impressive. We won that game because we happened to face a D-League team, not because we played up to NBA standards.

          We’ve only played 2 good quarters all season (the first 2 vs. Miami).

        • OldSkoolCool

          DC can preach tough D all night…but it comes down to the players to listen. DD and Gay let tons of Charlotte players by them all game, that’s on them, not the coach.

          • sleepz

            The coach has to play players that are going to buy into his defensive system (whatever that is).
            You think if Tibbs was coaching these guys they wouldn’t be playing defence? Highly unlikely.

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

              The call him MISTER Tibbs.

              Man, I probably lost a lot of people with that reference.

    • DanH

      It’s like last year’s limited success came in a small sample size against teams who didn’t care, and the flaws of the team that weren’t exposed then are definitely exposed now that teams (read: the Bobcats…) had the off-season to scout us. Who could ever have seen that coming?

  • oioi

    Yup, now Im convinced Ujiri told Casey to lose games. There’s no other way Casey can suck this much

    • 2damkule

      it is the only plausible explanation that isn’t completely embarrassing.

      • onemanweave

        It’s not completely embarrassing to lose games on purpose? A lot of college players have been suspended for life for that same thing. VC gets booed every time back to TO because that’s basically what he was doing.
        I understand tanking — trading players who can help you now for picks and/or players you hope will help you more later. Losing games on purpose isn’t tanking. It’s fixing.

        • 2damkule

          clutch those pearls…

          • onemanweave

            When you temporarily weaken your team with the accompanying likelihood that you will lose games in hope of building future success, you are grasping for pearls, but you still try to win.
            Sports is centred on the precarious fulcrum of two teams both trying to win. When you purposely unhinge that balance, you’re clutching road apples.

  • 2damkule

    ‘ “(If Charlotte makes) two free throws, it’s over with anyway “. ‘

    uh, you mean the charlotte team that shot…let’s see here…oh yes, 17-30 from the line (56.7%!!!) for game. the thought was that you don’t foul there because IF they hit both, it’s over anyway? seriously, as a strident member of tank nation, i’m not complaining about the loss, but as has been mentioned, casey is either completely unaware of the nuances of the game, or he’s also in on the tank.

    • sleepz

      If they foul right when MKG rebounded the ball on that last possession, they can start trying to extend the game with about 26 seconds to go.
      Casey is talking foolishness.
      I don’t think he’s down to tank. I think he is just down and out.

    • Matt

      Yeah, that is an unbelievable comment by Casey. If that’s honestly what he thinks, they need to fire his ass immediately. Any idiot knows that even if they hit both free throws it’s not the end of the game. You go down and take a quick shot right away, then foul again, make them sink those FTs, take another quick shot, etc… You give your team as many chances as possible to score, and give the Bobcats (especially the stinking Bobcats!) as many chances as possible to screw up at the FT line. You make one three and all of a sudden it’s anyone’s game. Basketball 101, Dwayne.

  • Amigo

    Derozan nearing “Stardome”,
    Rudy Gay “you should have drafted me”
    Kyle Lowry “step back three from 28 ft ”
    T Hansborough and Novak for the Playoff ! Yes !

    and finally D Casey able to play his D E F E N S E with no GM interference ! !

    Result = 75 fg% 1st quarter Bobcats
    =========

    hey, that’s on Bargnani.

    • golden

      And Jose.

      Actually, it’s still on BC until MU gets rid of Gay, Derozen, Lowry and especially Casey (unless, he’s consciously in on the tanking plan).

      But I see your point. For years, everybody moaned about Bargs and Jose as the root cause of all evil, and pined for a ‘athletic’ starting lineup. Well, Raps got primo athletes and then some, but I guess the problems are deeper than that. Not that I would ever want Jose or Bargs back either, but if this keeps up, then the ‘I told you so’ crowd should be eyeing some crow to serve.

      • Amigo

        Where ‘ s Tim W. ?

        I can’t wait for his 1000 words explanation about Amir hitting threeeeeees !

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

          Amir Johnson is shooting 40% from 3 this season, second only to Terrence Ross among rotation players on the Raptors. By becoming a threat from that distance, it brings out his defender.

          Didn’t need 1000 words.

    • Statement

      How are the Knicks doing, by the way?

  • morgan c

    Casey has to go… NOW! He was already on thin ice, and through the
    beginning of this season, he has shown ZERO improvement in his areas of
    weakness (handling the bench, substitutions, strategy of any kind). This
    is really starting to kill me. JV on the bench the whole fourth!?

  • plus

    Casey will be gone by Christmas. If not, then Gay. Casey is totally incompetent and is out of touch with reality. Not playing JV in the 4th, what is this man thinking. Clearly his defensive schemes and discipline are not sinking into the players. This season is just a continuation of last season. Nothing changed.

  • brother

    Should have fouled. That’s an automatic move with the clock where it was at. I kept wondering when they were going to foul. I thought “maybe they only want five seconds on the clock so that they get their shot at tying and then take away any hopes of a similar Bobcat effort. They’ll plan on taking their chances in overtime.” Nope.

    Also: did you notice how smart the last shot by the bobcats was? A high arc’ing three ball from deep with the shot clock expiring. Don’t believe that was intentional? Right. Excellent play. Exactly what I was thinking they should do. Get the ball in the air and let it float and bounce around while time expires.

    The coach stinks because he’s not calling plays for Jonas past the first quarter – but how’s it going individual raptor players? How many times per game does Derozan or Gay in particular “look off” Jonas? Watch for it. You’ll see tons of opportunities where Jonas is wide open and Gay puts his head down and goes in the other direction.

    Rudy Gay is poison. Trade him. Compare him to a guy like Fields or Hansborough or Jonas: who would you rather have on your team? Who would you rather play with? Not even close. Gay is an unjustifiably selfish chucker with a low basketball IQ and no idea of what a “team” is. Every time he steps on the court and “looks off” an open man to get off his own ill-advised shot, Gay’s clinging to the lost hopes of his own potential; he’s listening to his own PR machines – his agent, the Raptors, the optimistic homer broadcasters – lose him.

    • Andre

      Bro your so right! We were talking about that the other day. Why is it that Gay and Derozen only look for their shot? is it because of the offense? or is it their abilities to read the floor? There are MANY times in the pick in roll that JV is miss matched and they take it themselves

      • brother

        Exactly – it is in the Pick and Rolls where it is most obvious. Both Gay and Derozan use JV’s screens and then the defenders both go to them and Gay/Derozan leave Jonas all alone rolling to the bucket. JV is standing there glaring at them in disbelief as he’s WIDE OPEN. Welcome to the NBA son.

        I really, really love how the broadcasters don’t comment on the fact that JV is being ignored on the pick and rolls. It is as plain as day that they’ve been told to SELL, SELL, SELL Rudy Gay as the current superstar. Likely in the hopes of raising his stock for a trade.

        • Matt

          I noticed the same thing on pick and rolls, although when I was watching I noticed Gay and DD just ignored his screen half the time. Jonas should eventually be a monster on the pick and roll – should be a great target diving to the basket but also eventually a guy who can pop out and hit shots. But that’s not going to happen with this team.

      • SR

        They both think they’re franchise guys aka #1 options. They have no concept of how they fit into the team’s offense or how they can actually plan a complimentary role.

        I think it’s another example of a “prove the doubters wrong” mindset screwing with a young professional athlete who (Gay and DD in this case) basically thinks he can Be Like Mike if he just works hard enough. That and an unimaginative coach who thinks he needs to green-light wing scorers instead of insisting on a more nuanced offense.

    • Phat AlberG

      Preach! Amen! Keep preaching!!!

  • robertparrish00

    I think MU is finding a new head coach as you read this. Reason Casey hasn’t been axed yet is no replacement found. Simple as that.

    • plus

      lionel hollins would be my pick

      • robertparrish00

        SVG would be mine but my guess is he isn’t interested. can you imagine his reaction to the rock in the dressing room? lol.

        • plus

          Raps deserve better. Fans deserve better. Toronto needs a new mayor. Sheeeeet

          • Louis

            Raptors could easily be winless this season!

            Casey sucks as a coach period thats our biggest problem!

            1. Has failed to recognize his teams strengths and play into them
            ie… Jonas and Gay have a clear advantage in the post vs at least 60% of the league where are the play calls?

            Novak is not even dressed? even for 1o mins per gm im sure with any POST PRESENCE (Jonas) he can stretch the defence and create room for ANY of the 4 athletic wing options.

            Second Lowry sucks as a starting point guard

            Why even use screens and call pick and rolls play if you never hit the screener or the man rolling (Jonas). Lowry does not… excuse me CAN NOT hit the roller if his life depended on it.

            Rarely breaks down defences

            Lacks mid range shot or floater

            Lacks Long court vision hence rarely pushes the ball

            Im officially off the RG22 bandwagon…. Gay has to be gone but not until his stock rises and trust me i hate saying this but he’s looking more as a cancer than the cure.

            Derozan has clearly passed Gay in talent.

            Gay follows his theory; 1 move your good 2 moves your great 3 moves your just stupid

            this guy is trying to do way too much hence gets stripped loses the ball or makes turnover pass.

            Very low basketball IQ

            Selfish Player doesn’t know how to get team involved. Not trying to step on toes of who was here before him and not knowing the offence last year disguised this but 5 games in its so evident.

            Derozan I have no problems with yes he has made mistakes but he has a Highly flawed Coach and Point Guard and a 3 thats worth 0. I still believe that he is a steal at 10 mil dont agree look at Rudy 17 mil

  • jimbob

    Three things
    1) JV is not a very good defender. He is slow on defensive rotations and has some sloppy footwork. He gave up some easy points and had a few bad blockouts. A few of his rebounds were uncontested missed FTs, but he deserves serious praise for his offensive rebounding. Other than that missed layup over Walker (that he put back in), he was great offensively. He needs to be playing a solid 32-36 a night (should have been put in with about 3:30 left). His offense outweighs his defense liabilities against quicker and more veteran players. Which brings me to 2.

    2) Rudy Gay is killing the offense. That’s obvious. It denies JV touches. After Memphis traded Gay, their other four starters all improved offensively because of increased touches. How much can you blame Casey when Gay plays heroball (badly)? Maybe the front office is trying to show case him, if so that planned failed.

    3) The last posession was silly. I won’t defend why they didn’t immediately foul, but I can’t understand why none of the players fouled with a few seconds left regardless of whatever Casey said. Where’s that winning instinct to make that play? Even with 6 seconds left, you have enough time to play the FT game and get off one quality shot or two quick ones.

    • plus

      To your point on
      1. Casey’s strength is defence. He should have coached JV on better positioning if that’s the case. They should look at how Chandler or Hibbert plays. They are not quicker than JV but have the know how of where to be on defence. The Raptors spent a lot of money hiring Olajuwon to tutor Gay and Daye in the off season. Money well wasted. They should have sent JV down to learn.

      2. Gay’s surgery made his eyes worse. Now he has more tunnel vision.

      3. Casey can’t coach simple as that. The year Dallas won, well… they had talent and vets that listen. Raptors only have a few who listen but don’t have the talent.

      — The hype train before the season started was all smoke and mirrors. MU knows what he has and is looking for Wiggins.

      • jimbob

        1) JV isn’t Chandler or Hibbert (beast of a man) and needs to look more at guys like Duncan or Gasol who use positioning to deny a play from even starting. I think JV can do a lot more than just patrol around the net trying to block shots. It’s just coaching to fix all these things. He’s not a bad defender, but it’s easy to pick things he needs work at. Hopefully he gets a good trainer for that. Still young and all that. High ceiling. Normal JV love here.
        2) Yep
        3) Honestly, maybe they are just tanking.
        — we all know you’ll still end up with someone like Marcus Smart, but his defensive prowess would really open up the transition game and you already have a few good transition players.

  • c_bcm

    Equally frustrated that Jonas didn’t play more, but the team did get blown out the quarter that they went to him often in. I missed that quarter so I don’t know how he was doing defensively. But it sounds like he might have been missing rotations or something like that for Casey to avoid him in the 4th.

    No excuses on that last play. Just awful. Granted it should never have gotten there, but there is no excuse for that.

  • Slam

    Lets face it tanking is best thing this team can do anyways! Thank you dwayne casey keep on messing the games up

  • nyStef

    They have to know what they’re doing. Casey and crew. Not to poke at anti-tank fans (tho it probably will; I don’t mean it to), because I was a BIG one – anti-tanker – forever, up to not all that long ago (seriously, tank-talk bugged me, no end), but now, I just don’t see any other way, any other chance to build an eventual contender. Short term pain for long term gain? I guess. It’s just that for me, a couple of quick playoff games at the ACC isn’t gonna scratch the itch. And speaking of Wiggins just-for-fun, when might-it-be that we’re gonna see a college player who everyone is losing their minds over who announces up front that he’d like to be a Raptor? Could be a while. Regardless of that semi-long shot, between that being in play early next summer and the other better-than-usual prospects who are being spoken of, last night, for the first time that I recall, I got antsy that our dopey team might pull it out after having such a miserable, stupid outing. I was glad our best player wasn’t on the floor, again, in the last quarter. (Coincidence, by-the-way? I don’t think so.) But I actually breathed an involuntary sigh of relief at the end. Sad as I understand that it sounds to many, it kind of gets easier once you’ve embraced the idea. (It does take discipline tho, I won’t lie.) So go Raps … but ya know, big-picture-long-term. For this Raptors fan, anyway.

    • steve

      The tanker advocates are out of touch with reality! We have a way too much TALENT and depth to not be at worst close to 500% over the season. At best the Raps could be well over 500% Younger fans need to chill enjoy their development and have some patience as difficult as that may be Steve Fisher

      • ezz_bee

        This is sarcasm right?

  • desktom

    Jonas maybe a defensive liability , but he needs court time to learn. I honestly thought that smart coaches that know far more then me would try and run the offense down low through Jonas much like the San Antonio Spurs. I would much rather see Jonas working inside and miss a shot from 8 ft to Gays twenty footer. When the double team comes at Jonas the shooters are going to be wide open. I don’t know much but not playing the kid in the fourth is an absolute joke and is an insult to people who pay good money to watch this team on the NBA package. Am I missing something?

  • Paul

    Hahaha. Down 2 with 26 seconds left and Casey opts not to foul??
    A decent team could have come back from 6 down in that amount of time against a 50% free throw shooting team.
    It’s hilarious to watch Casey discussing this move with a straight face after the game.
    Casey’s incompetence is better than I could have hoped. It’s like this team is inadvertently doing the right thing losing these games. I guess even a broken watch is right twice a day.
    MU doesn’t even need to work magic here. Just unload Lowry and Gay for whatever you can get and this team is looking good. Two future All-stars (JV and 2014 pick) and only one bad contract (Fields) who is an expiring chip next year. Fantastic!

  • splattkhs

    does anyone else shed a tear ever time Hibbert’s name is mentioned, and know that we traded his rights for J.O’Neal …

    • Andre

      well, i am not sure about that seeing as how the Pacers developed him. I actually dont think the raptors would have drafted him anyways. they chose hibbery for indiana.

      • Pong

        The issue is even if we have kept Hibbert, the chances of him developing into what he is today for the Pacers are slim to none. He was severely out of shape and there were numerous doubts as to whether he can physically handle the minutes in the NBA. Player development relies heavily on team/organizational culture, and the Pacers have a great one. Name one player on the Raptors who we’ve successfully developed into a game changer. And I’m not talking about players who were ready to play in the NBA right out of the draft.

        Think about how long Hibbert’s been in the league now and only in the last 2 seasons has he shown greatness. If he stayed in Toronto a) either he doesn’t get the development and training required and he’ll become another 7ft+ center with “potential” who ends up out of league or b) Fans start ragging on him, MLSE starts worrying, and he gets shipped to some other team for nothing.

        Granted, we can’t exactly take anything away from Hibbert’s own work ethic. He’s put in tremendous work on his body and game to get where he is today.

    • youngjames

      NO! Go and read what the scouts were saying about Hibbert before he was drafted (that is why he was drafted so low). Also go look at Hibberts numbers and foul problems in his first two years in the NBA. Right now, he is great! But that is hindsight – when the professional scouts all agree about a players potential, it usually is right but not all the time. In this case, BC saw potential on trying to build a successful winning play-off season, took into account what Hibbert was expected to be and pulled the trade. At the time, the value was great for the Raps.

      • SR

        I do shed a tear, but youngjames is right about why the decision was made at the time. Hibbert was a really, really late bloomer. He literally had someone teach him how to run late in his college career because his footwork and mechanics were all screwed up. He didn’t look like much as a prospect. The development he’s made since being drafted is every GM’s dream, but it’s like catching lightning in a bottle. If Ross made similar strides after being drafted, he’d be the #1 option on offense by now. You never know.

  • drg

    casey took the term “defense first coach” to the extreme of being a “defense only coach”

  • desktom

    Jonax has such a great basketball attitude, to see him pouting on the end of the bench with his feet crossed and arms crossed knowing he should be out there is going to ruin this kid. Somebody better wake up quick and start standing for this kid , if not the coach then the gm. I don’t pay money to watch Casey lose games with our best rebounding option on the bench. Don’t lose this kid.

    • SR

      This is a great point. Incompetent coaching and giving Rudy Gay too many shots are not worth risking losing JV’s commitment to the team and city.

      I’d like Casey to take control on the offensive end and DEMAND more ball movement and fewer shots from DeMar and Gay. Bench them if they don’t buy in. What’ve they got to lose? If they keep this up, Casey and Gay are goners anyway.

      • desktom

        SR why don’t the coaches fall in love with this guy, the Lithuianian coach , Casey, hes got heart passion, and hes really really good . He cant be a head case yet, This guy is going to be here for a long time when is a coach gonna fall in love with this guy and stand with him no matter what . At the end of the game when its on the line we need more players with passion and heart to lay it on the line . If they ran the ball through him at the end of the game , you know foul shots and wide open looks are going to happen. I’m not that smart but why cant people see what i’m seeing.

  • Minks77

    I know it’ll never happen but the lineup should be Lowry/DD or RG (never both)/Fields/Amir/Vala

    Less ball stopping much more fluidity on O and smarter play on Def rotations. Amir, Landry and Kyle are all above average defenders and pretty heady. The offence needs to go through the post and work it’s way out and around which will never happen with Gay and DD.

  • Rap fan 2

    Firstly, as fans watching the games on television, multimedia or at the games we are viewing things develop on the floor a little bit differently to what the players are seeing and experiencing. We kind of see everything. We see how the defence is setting up and the movement and positions of the players. The players on the floor don’t get that overhead view that we see. They will get to see that when they are studying and breaking down the after game tapes. During the game players are running around screens and getting hit and grabbed, getting tripped up and slipping on sweat on the floor, getting yelled at by fans and coaches and trying make adjustments on defensive and offensive plays. Look, I’m just putting myself in their position. It’s not as easy as what we see from a fans perspective.

    • SR

      On the flip side, players have spent their entire lives being coached for and playing in these situations. They will not see anything on the court that they haven’t seen or been coached through before. They’ve also been given a scouting report on the opposition, specific assignments, and a team game plan to execute. They’re professionals who have spent many, many, many more hours preparing for and playing in these situations than you or I have spent watching and playing ball.

      • Rap fan 2

        You are right and the players and coaches are being evaluated on their performance. For those fans who have never played an NBA game I think we have to be more realistic in our expectations. We need to look at things from different view points.

  • Phat AlberG

    You know what hilarious Demar said no one can guard him, but Demar you can you guard someone? Because you have been destroyed by the opposing 2 guards in the last 2 games.

  • youngjames

    I was against tanking, but now I’m leaning towards it a bit more. First, I would like to see these players with a better coach maybe with some organization and proper back up PG, they could play better. Right now they look lost and I’m not sure if its that Casey is incapable of leading and coaching a team in the NBA; if this collection of players just suck; or is MU, Lieweke, Casey and the Raps organization conspiring to tank w/o actually saying it?…Smart basketball minds know, JV is the real deal and if we could get another “all-star” player (not borderline all-stars) but all-star player(s) along with JV and a solid coaching system then I’m in for that.
    However I digress – for all those who love the “tank” method to get Wiggins…I wouldn’t be so quick! I know its just the start to the season but not so good things coming out of the Jayhawks camp about Wiggins so far. He was accused of not looking like the best player on the team during pre-season work-outs by his coach – his coach even pulled him in thier latest exhibition game for not playing hard enough. Wiggins scored in that game 10 pts in 20 minutes with little else – 6 of those points came immediately with just over a minutes worth of playing time, while the 1st half closed down. Is this what the Raptors really want?

  • youngjames

    I’m not saying whether I am for tanking or not – but Casey can not be that dumb! I think MU, Lieweke, Casey and the Raps organization have conspired behind the players back to TANK w/o actually having to say it…this early in the season. Why would they not say it this early or this summer? Because they need the seat sales, television support, advertisers support, business associations to massage who financially help support this team and company, apparel sales from the fans, regular season ticket holders, specialty channel purchases from fans plus much, much more – all this matters to a corporation who is trying to stay profitable. They have to be careful and try appease everyone – not just the fans.

    However I digress – for all those who want to tank for Wiggins, it would appear he is not off to the best start with the KCJ’s. He was accused by his coach after some pre-seasons practices that he hasn’t been the best player on the team so far – and then this was found on the KU basketball webpage: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/11/06/4602307/three-ku-basketball-thoughts-on.html…becareful what you wish for!

    • plus

      link doesn’t work… Raps cannot shoot for 9th place whatsoever. I think it’s all smoke and mirrors. Casey can’t be this dumb or maybe he can. Frustrated rap fan here.

  • Louvens Remy

    I’m ready to turn on this team after last night. I may have to reluctantly give my non-“tanking” badge over to Tim W. for the official burning ceremony. I can’t believe this.

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

      However much I’d LOVE for you to join team tanking, the team isn’t as bad as it showed last night. It’s not nearly as good as many were expecting, I think, but it’s an 82 game season and team’s have off nights.

  • Rick

    They need better defence! Second unit should be buycks Ross fields Quincy Tyler. If Ross is playing like summer league put fields and 2 spot and bring in Novak at 4 with q at 3. Quincy fields and Tyler should always be in that second unit. They bring defence and toughnest. Jv and Amir needs to play a lot more as well. Stop matching other teams casey. Let them match our toughness and bigs!!!!!!!!!!!! Bench Augustine already. Stone or buycks should play.

  • HogyG

    While I was watching the game last night, it felt to me at times that our players didn’t want to play for the coach anymore. perhaps the beginnings of a mutiny if you will.

    Being Remembrance Day coming up, I was inspired by some incredibly though-filled and famous words, and then replaced them with mine (with no disrespect intended to what the original piece stood for), in the hopes that come Remembrance Day we can have something else to remember…when Casey USED to coach the Raptors.

    With Landry Fields our play book grows

    Despite the lack that Casey knows

    The playoff race still in our eyes

    That DeMar still bravely playing flies

    Into the paint where big men go.
    .
    .

    We are the bigs: Short days ago

    we played, had time, saw game lights glow

    cheered and were cheered

    but now we sit on Casey’s bench!
    .
    .

    Take up our quarrel with our coach,

    To you, from raptors bigs, we throw

    The ball, be it yours to score with pride

    Cause he won’t play us, its as if we died.

    We fear this won’t change till Casey goes

    Away from here.

    • DDayLewis

      I know this isn’t your intention, but this is incredibly insulting. Remembrance Day poems hold significant importance and value to many people. It is not something to be parodied.

      • HogyG

        That’s why I clearly put the disclaimer before my version (with no disrespect to what the original stood for). I served in the Canadian military, so have many in my family including some who still do. My family were among the among people who game the ultimate sacrifice to freedom during WWII. I do not need to be explained the significance of the original poem or Remembrance Day by you. If others feel I should remove it vote a negative and I will.

        • DDayLewis

          And we humbly thank you and your family for your service, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s hardly appropriate to parody a poem of such great importance.

          • HogyG

            In my opinion, someone willing to “parody” such a great piece should only show their desire (in this instance) for change. Besides people only parody great things, that’s why we know they are being parodied.

            But listen, by all means start the ball rolling and vote it down. I read it to several family members before posting it, as I worried that people would take this stand against me. They saw no harm in it, with the reasoning that I clearly put a disclaimer in there before the piece.

    • mountio

      great work .. and for what its worth .. very well done and classy (and not at all offensive/insulting) imo …

      • HogyG

        Thank you for your opinion, it’s made me feel more at ease with my post. As I said before, I don’t want to come off disrespectful to our veterans.

  • Sheptor

    I think Lowry was probably right in having his feuds with Casey last year…he’s just a competitor who wants the best and I can see Casey dreaming up schemes like last nights and Lowry just quickly suggesting something else and being put in his place in the coach-player relationship.
    But on to the game. FORGET FREE ACY! FREE JV! What are they waiting for? PLAYOFFS hahaha not at this rate. No reason to limit his minutes unless we are tanking in secret. I think the best thing for this organization is to get rid of Casey before month’s end. Mitchell was sent packing at 8-9 and if our record is similar Casey should be gone too. Infact I would hire back Mitchell to replace him. He’s hanging around the by being on TSN broadcast (at least opening night I saw him) he’d be a great no bullchit coach who will def. give JV the burn he needs and get the best out of GAY and DEROZAN by getting on them for stupid jumpers and no D. Seriously does CASEY even yell?

  • MasaiUknowwhoIam

    Tank planning 101 (stole this from Presti’s desk last night):

    1) Make sure your young stars (DD and JV) are on board and understand the plan and see the end goal. This ensures they’re not left out and feel like they’re a part of the future.
    2) Fire old coach, hire a young new coach (proven college) who doesn’t mind the rebuild process. Low salary, low expectations, will work hard, and brings in some energy into a losing season.
    3) Trade overpaid “star” player(s) for future picks, expiring contracts, and/or young players.
    4) Have an actual plan in place to target and attract talent to the city for when young stars develop in a couple years (JV, Wiggins/Exum), instead of doing things on the fly and trying with blockbuster overpaid player trades/signings (ed: J. Oneal, Hedo, Gay).

    • Andre

      Now thats a PLAN!!

  • steve

    The Bobcats shot 75% in the first quarter because our starting PG and wings repeatedly left their check wide open for an unchallenged shot again and again and again. It appeared to be from lack of effort and/or focus. From a serious fan this is infuriating and unacceptable! In at least 2 other games we allowed over 70% and over 60% in the first Quarter! They might consider flipping Tyler H for Amir J to energize this comatose starting group! The energizer could make a big difference. One last thing in my RANT is PLAY JV in the games end Steve Fisher

  • JV

    Raptors should get a new coach before jumping the gun on rudy and hitting the self destruction button. I feel as though Casey only focuses on defense, has no concern about who gets what touches on offense. It even looks like he’s only got three or four plays on offense and the rest is ISOs for demar and rudy. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO P&R PLAYS!!! The bread and butter of basketball. So far it looks like Casey;s offensive playbook has maybe 4 different plays in it…

    We need a coach with playoff experience and attitude… What ever happened to yelling at players or sitting players for shooting dumb jumpers when they’re 4/15?

    Another thing, why does casey sit on his time-outs? its like he thinks he can save em for the next game or something, USE EM… He waits till they’re up by 13 or 14 its soo frustrating. The way I see things panning out this season, that is if Casey remains coach, is that we loose more games becuase of coaching than anything else.

    Christmas wishlist!
    – Rudy traded for expirings and draft picks
    – Tank for Wiggins :)
    – Clear as much salary off the books as possible for expirings
    – Add Wiggins, keep Demar and JV
    – Add a superstar in 2014

  • phil

    great post! Troubling, yes. Disappointing? absolutely, but it will make it easier to replace Casey at the end of the year….maybe even prior to that so the incoming coach can make some personnel assessments.