After winning against the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Toronto Raptors sit with a 6-7 record atop the Atlantic Division. They have the sixth best record in the East and if the playoffs started today, they would be the fourth seed. Great news, right? Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Sure, there are a lot of Raptor fans that just want to enjoy the team’s success and hope for the best. But ignoring the realities of the situation is only going to lead to disappointment down the line. If you’re the type of fan that just wants happy thoughts, then read no further. You’ve been warned.

Back before the start of the season, all the writers at Raptors Republic were asked to make a bold prediction. Mine was that the Raptors would start the season 6-14. Considering they’ve already reached the 6 win mark, it’s safe to say my prediction is going to be a little off.

CONFERENCE IMBALANCE

Making predictions is always a tricky game because there are always so many variables. And there was one variable that I completely miscalculated. And that’s just how bad the rest of the Eastern Conference was going to be.

– Currently, there are only five teams at or above .500 in the East (and one of them is Charlotte!!!), as compared to twelve in the West.

– The Bulls, who have the fourth best record in the East would just sneak into the playoffs in the West, as an 8th seed, if they were held today. And that’s just because Minnesota lost against Houston last night.

– The Raptors would have the third WORST record in the West, as opposed to having the sixth best record in the East.

The reason for this disparity would take up an entire column.

So what does all this really mean?

The East may look bad, with their poor records, but they’re actually even worse than they appear. Why? Because their records are inflated due to playing one another.

Let’s look how the all the Eastern Conference teams did against their own conference and against the West.

Record against East vs West

Indiana: 10-1 / 2-0
Miami: 8-3 / 2-0
Atlanta: 7-3 / 1-3
Toronto: 4-5 / 2-2
Chicago: 5-3 / 1-2
Charlotte: 6-4 / 0-3
Philadelphia: 5-5 / 1-4
Orlando: 2-6 / 2-2
Detroit: 3-3 / 1-5
Washington: 4-5 / 1-3
Cleveland: 3-7 / 1-4
Boston: 4-5 / 1-5
New York: 3-6 / 0-3
Brooklyn: 1-5 / 2-4
Milwaukee: 2-6 / 0-3

Totals: 67-67 / 17-41

Against their own Conference, the East teams were .500, which is basically what you should expect. Against the West, though, the East’s winning percentage is .293. Over the course of an 82 game season, that’s equivalent to just 24 wins. That’s horrible.

And, conversely, the West is feasting on the bad teams in the East. Portland is playing well, yes, but their 12-2 record is definitely helped by having played more games against Eastern teams than anyone else in the West. While their record is a very good 6-2 against their own Conference, they’ve gone 6-0 against the East.

Dallas is a .500 team against their own conference, but 5-1 against the East.

Six teams in the West have a perfect record against the East, so far. Only two in the East have a perfect record against the West. Try and guess which ones they are.

So while the Raptors have a 6-7 record, they also haven’t beaten a team that has been above .500 (Memphis went on a winning streak after losing against Toronto). In the East, though, they won’t have to face a whole lot of teams above .500. The Raptors aren’t a bad team, but they’re also not a good one, either. And they’re not even as good as their mediocre record (or their place in the Atlantic Division) might indicate.

SCORING

Of course, team records aren’t everything. What is happening on the floor is more important, right?

Well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the Raptor’s offense has been pretty poor. Much has been made about the Raptors being last in the league in assists per game (now 29th, slightly ahead of Boston). There are only three teams in the bottom 15 in assists that are above .500. And obviously, only three teams in the top 15 in assists are below .500. That kind of highlights the importance of passing.

Of course, if they weren’t such poor shooters, the team might get more assists. The Raptors are 26th in the league in effective field goal percentage. Among the bottom 15 teams in effective field goal percentage, again, only three are above .500.

And the problem with the Raptors is they seem to be equally bad from everywhere. They have the 6th worst shooting percentage within five feet (although take the 6th most shots from that range), the 11th worst from five to nine feet, the 6th worst from 10-14 feet, the 9th worst fifteen to nineteen feet and the 10th worst beyond that. Basically, they suck shooting from everywhere.

You want to know one of the only stats they actually do well in? Offensive rebounding.

So while Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan get most of the attention for their scoring, if it wasn’t for Tyler Hansbrough, Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson grabbing all the offensive boards, the Raptors wouldn’t have near the record they do.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

Much has been said about DeMar DeRozan’s improvement this year, scoring a career high 21.2 points per game and being a more dangerous scorer. But, again, looking more closely gives you a bit of a different view. While DeRozan’s scoring has improved, he’s only scoring efficiently when comparing him to his teammate, Rudy Gay. He’s still taking most of his shots from the 15-19 foot range, and shooting poorly from that distance. In fact, he takes more shots from beyond 15 feet than from inside 15 feet.

The main reason DeRozan is able to score as much as he does is because he he takes the 6th most shots in the entire league (Rudy is 3rd). Yet he’s 16th in the league in scoring. Ten more players in the league score more than DeRozan while taking fewer shots.

Not only is his offense not as good as it seems, he’s also still below average rebounding and passing the ball, and his defense is still below average. Clearly, the idea that DeRozan has taken a major step towards stardom is being overstated.

To make matters worse, the player who most hoped would make the biggest developmental leap, and who many pinned the hopes for the future of the franchise on, Jonas Valanciunas, has not only not improved over last season, but actually regressed. He’s scoring at a lower rate and much less efficiently than last year. His assist percentage has declined as has his block percentage. The only area he seems to improved in is rebounding.

And Valanciunas is still struggling defensively, which is one of the reasons he’s playing as little as he is.

Even Amir Johnson is having an off year, with a career low rebounding percentage.

Too few of the high usage players on this team actually make their teammates better. And it’s hurting the development of many of the young players.

DEFENSE

Of course, the defense, which saw so much improvement two years ago, seems to be back to acceptable levels. They have the 8th best Defensive Rating in the league, and are 7th best in Points Against.

The problem, however, is that a lot of the improvement has been caused by simply slowing the pace down to a crawl (26th in the league), instead of actually being good defensively. There have been many teams that have hidden their lack of talent by slowing games down, which limits possessions and gives the less talented teams more of a chance to win.

Most Raptor fans will remember the Kevin O’Neal days. He did the same thing.

It’s not that the Raptors are bad defensively, but they’re not as good as they appear.

IMPROVEMENT

While the team has been bad offensively and fairly mediocre defensively, there’s always the prospect of improvement, right? We’ve already seen signs of some improvement recently, with back-to-back wins. The team seems to be passing more and the offense doesn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out, at least part of the time.

There certainly is the possibility for improvement, but there are two problems with that.

The first is why would there be improvement in the first place.  The starting five played together for half a season already (plus this season). This isn’t Brooklyn or Detroit or Cleveland or one of the many other teams around the league that has multiple new players in the starting lineup that have to get used to playing with one another.

These are the same players with the same coach as last season. There really shouldn’t be much adjustment here.

There’s also the issue of these other teams, who should also improve. There are eight teams in the Eastern Conference that have at least two new starters in the lineup, and most of those also have new coaches. The teams that tend to make the biggest improvement throughout the season are typically teams that had to become familiar with one another.

THE FUTURE

It’s not just the present that the team is not quite in as good a position as it initially appears. I’ve always felt that Rudy Gay opting out next summer is a likely scenario, despite the fact that it’s unlikely he’ll make what he’s scheduled to make next year if he doesn’t opt out. There are simply too many teams scheduled to have cap room next summer, and too few top tier free agents. They’ll be so many teams with cap room desperate to make a splash, that Gay will probably be overpaid (again) despite his inability to fulfill his potential.

What’s worse, losing Gay for nothing or re-signing him for $14 million a season, for the next five years?

But Gay not opting out might be an even worse scenario. If Gay doesn’t opt out, then that might make re-signing Lowry a difficult proposition. In a sellers market, Lowry is likely to get 8 digit offers, which, after the draft, would put the Raptors perilously close to the luxury tax, if not into it. Would ownership really want to pay the luxury tax on a team that’s as mediocre as the Raptors?

There’s also a fair chance that both Gay AND Lowry could end up leaving for nothing, next summer. Neither player was drafted by the Raptors, and neither will have been with the team for more than two years. There will likely be greener pastures elsewhere and it’s difficult to see a reason to remain loyal to a team that doesn’t appear to have a bright future (at the moment) unless they end up offering more money than anyone else.

And that’s not good for the future of the franchise.

  • mountio

    A few things you didnt mention (some good, some bad)
    – Casey seems to have somewhat figured out that the best rotations for this team often have only one of DD /RG on the floor. This is a BIG step forward as a) it gets one of these inefficient guys off the court, and b) it allows TR (signs of life!) and SN to actually some court – and they are the only guys on the team that can actually shoot. Another benefit of this rotation is it avoids the 2nd quarter “line ups of doom” (stuff like DJ, AG, LF, TH and TR)
    – JV has for sure been a disappointment. A shot across the bow for those who think low usage / high efficiency players can automatically step it up with more minutes / an increased role. He has struggled. On the flip side, He has shown pockets of very good play, including 5-10 minute stretches where he can be unstoppable offensively. Lets hope he keeps this up and casey figures it out
    – All in all, I agree that we are in a tenuous spot right now. Exactly what worried me. Enough hope that “blow it up” seems a little drastic … but even issues that do nothing doesnt seem like a great path forward. To me, the best case scenario is a panic trade from someone (CLE, NY, Brooklyn?) who is out of the gates slow and thinks one of DD/RG can right the ship. Not that a I love Waiters, Bennett or Thomson, but Id rather go young with one of them or a pick and see what happens.

  • Ds

    You may want to change this sentence:
    “Against their own Conference, the East teams were .500, which is basically what you should expect”.

    The record will always be .500 because a win for one team is registered as a loss against the other, and vice versa

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

      Yes, that does make sense, doesn’t it? It was late when I wrote the article. Thanks.

  • Tom Liston

    DeRozan has become a more dangerous scorer. You ignore his most dramatic improvement – his 3 point shot. He’s improved 40% over his career avg at 36.4% this year. His attempts beyond the arc are up 128% from last year. So, his shooting has dramatically improved and his volume is up. This is huge is he can maintain it.

    Yes, you’re on point about too many long 2s. *** But this statement “he takes more shots from beyond 15 feet than from inside 15 feet.” is the absolutely wrong way to look at it. *** Taking 3s (as noted above) at 36% in more volume is absolutely what he should do. Do not penalize a player for this. As well, on his “shots” – note he’s top 20 in FTA – which means he is taking three more shots per game inside of 15 feet (vast majority of fouls) – also a highly efficient way to score points.

    Given the Raptors have few other offensive weapons, his efficiently will suffer somewhat. Opposing coaches are not dumb.

    Which leads to the heart of the matter. Assists. And if we had good data on “second” assists that would paint an even clearer picture. “Of course, if they weren’t such poor shooters, the team might get more assists.” But it works both ways. I would argue they are not as poor shooters as you claim, but the lack of ball movement (i.e. forcing shots when double teamed etc) lead to lack of open looks.

    [And on the off rebound / poor shooting close comment – its obv related – when Tyler only shoots 53% from around the rim, he gets a lot of his own offensive rebounds]

    • AxlT

      Yeah, and the 360 spin layup too

    • DDayLewis

      There is actually data available on secondary assists

      http://stats.nba.com/playerTrackingPassing.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=25

      • Tom Liston

        Thank you – I knew they were working on this, but didn’t realize the data was published. Love the “free throw” assists as well.

    • mountio

      Agree on a couple of fronts and a few comments. First, DD’s 3 pt shooting does deserve praise .. he has entered the realm of respectability .. which is a big jump. On the bad shooters = no assists or lack of ball movement = tough shots = no assists, the other thing I would throw into the mix is that Casey is finally giving the guys on the team who can actually shoot (TR, SN) more court time. This makes a dramatic difference vs LF (or even TH playing the 4 with Amir or JV as the other big .. neither of whom have range). Our best lineups to me are KL, JV, Amir, one of DD/RG and TR. Throw in SN for one of JV/Amir, and that works well too. On the flip side, DD, RG, LF (especially if you have a backup PG and TH or AG) are brutal lineups with limited spacing, and thus poor ball movement.
      TH is absolutely horrendous at finishing at the rim. If I was defending him, I would basically just let him shoot and do everything in my power not to foul him – 9 times out of 10 he cant finish. His stats only look as good as they are (which arent great at all) around the rim because he gets fouled a lot. To his credit, he is actually very skilled at drawing fouls by flailing his arms into traffic and forcing the refs to call fouls. Either way, your point on him getting his own rebounds is valid.

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

      DeRozan has improved his three point shooting, but the fact is that he still takes WAY too many long, contested twos. And not because the shot clock is going down or because he’s the only option on offense. He does it because that’s what he’s used to doing.

      The big problem with DeRozan is not that he’s not a decent scorer. He is. The problem is that he’s really not good at anything else, and his scoring isn’t good enough to make up for it.

  • caccia

    One thing that has improved is the bench, which is leading the league per 48 minutes in offensive rebounds (tied with Washington), first in turnovers, second in scoring defence, and eighth in defensive rebounds. Alas, it is only 27th in scoring, but with the emergence of Ross and Novak, plus better passing, that should improve. As for the starters, I see definite signs of improvement since the Memphis game.

  • Matt52

    I don’t know what I hate more: this team or my obsession with them.

    Best of the worst – what an amazing goal to realize.

    Is this the championship Leiweke spoke of winning?

    • RaptorFan

      Were you expecting a championship within a year??? How flawed is your thinking? Wow. Temper your expectation just a little bit. Enjoy your team a little bit more.

      • Matt52

        Answer these two questions:

        1) Where are the Raptors if Gay and Lowry walk in free agency this summer?

        2) how do the Raptors improve when Gay picks up his option and puts Toronto over the cap while a Lowry extension puts them at the threshold?

        I don’t understand the dick swinging over a team that has a first round exit at best written all them…. Now and for the foreseeable future.

        • RaptorFan

          Do you know Masai Ujiri’s plans? You should change your name to *the.minus.sign*…so negative! Do you only enjoy basketball if your watching obvious title contenders? I’m not assuming anything at all…..I have no idea what this roster will look like next year. Isn’t that part of the fun?? Let our GM do his job! Enjoy our team in the meantime….it’s a process!

          • Matt52

            Exactly. You can’t answer the questions because the answers are pretty obvious.

            In a draft with 5 potential franchise talents you suggest roll with a flawed roster and let the future sort itself out? Not all drafts are created equal.

            I’ve cheered enough Craptor teams. I want to cheer for a contender. This is a team will never contend.

            If you call tied for 20th fun, enjoy.

            • RaptorFan

              Here’s your reality check….

              Utah
              Phoenix
              Sacramento
              Philly
              LA
              New Orleans
              Orlando
              Milwaukee
              Washington
              Brooklyn
              New York
              Boston
              Detroit
              Cleveland

              Will likely finish with a worse record than the Raptors! That’s 14 teams! Can you guarantee us a top 7 pick?? I don’t think so! Who’s being unrealistic between the two of us?? Answer that.

              • RaptorFan

                To add to my comments above…

                Tanking and getting the 8th to 10th pick again would likely ruin this franchise. I don’t even see it as an option at this point. Matt52 and Tim w. would likely stop following this team….it would be such a travesty!

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

                  What do you mean, “ruin this franchise”? Will it do more harm than getting a low playoff seed or high lottery pick and then having Gay and Lowry leave for nothing? Can you guarantee that they won’t leave for nothing, that Ujiri will be able to acquire an elite player without tanking?

              • Matt52

                “Will likely finish….”

                So your opinion is fact? Injuries, trades, teams getting their chemistry, coaching changes, guys returning from injury will all impact that list.

                I can guarantee you if the Raptors finish with the 3rd worse record they have a 96% chance of picking 5th or higher and a 100% chance of picking 6th or higher.
                December 15th cannot come fast enough.

                You’re not good at answering direct question but I’ll try another 2, answer me these:
                1) Outside of Utah and Memphis, which other wins have been convincing?
                2) Outside of Memphis, which team has the Raptors beat without a starter missing?

                Best of the worst, indeed.

                • RaptorFan

                  Looking at the East alone …seems that Miami and Indiana are the best of the worst (division)….indeed. You need a reality check if you think we can get top 3 pick in this upcoming draft! Are you kidding me? If we’re in 4th place come December 15th it’s already too late! No way Masai blows it up! BUT we shall see won’t we?

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

                  There are currently 3.5 games between the Raptors and the worst team in the East, the Bucks. There’s really not as much difference as you seem to think, between the worst in the East and the Raptors. And that’s the point.

                • Matt52

                  You did not answer the questions.

                  You don’t seem to understand 4th place in the East means very little when you’re still under .500. Also, do you think Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit stand by after ownership and management preached playoffs all offseason? Do you think Milwaukee is not missing Butler and Sanders (2 starters)? Do you think Brooklyn with Williams and Lopez (2 starters) out and New York with Chandler and Felton (2 starters) out out will stay this bad? Chicago has already dismantled the Raps once without Rose, I’m sure they could do it again in a 7 game series (Thibs vs Casey – good grief). The Raptors couldn’t even top Charlotte without Al Jefferson!

                  13 games in and 69 to go. I’m not convinced the current standings stay as they are. Even Orlando managed 20 wins after starting 7-5 (with the final 2 wins coming in game 81 and 82). All the Raptors need for the same to happen is for Lowry to go down…. never mind trades.

            • CJT

              I find it interesting that none of the so called “franchise altering talents” are in the top 5 of any statistical category on real gm. Maybe that will change, but if they really are franchise altering, shouldn’t they be dominating at the college level?

          • FLUXLAND

            It’s a process…. LMAO. How brainwashed are you?

            The fact Masai has no plan should be a tip. He’s selling a future based on nothing, at all. You’re like him in that last interview – simply can’t answer a direct question, leaving everything to “we will see what happens, all of our options are open and that’s part of the process/fun”

  • Marz

    I don’t feel you really addressed your premise: “But ignoring the realities of the situation is only going to lead to disappointment down the line”

    I know the realities of the situation, and I still enjoy that the team is winning. There is no written rule saying we will suck next season, it all depends on what Ujiri does with the roster. So if we can win games now (and improve), and then hopefully improve later, why not?

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

      The reality of the situation is that the situation is not nearly as good as some people seem to think. They’re not as good as their record, the players aren’t as good as they appear, and there is a very large iceberg ahead that a lot of fans don’t seem to see.

      I never stated that they WILL continue to be bad, but the fact is that SOMETHING needs to be done, despite what seems like some success.

      • RaptorFan

        Likewise, they aren’t as bad as you CONSTANTLY suggest. You need to quit writing almost only negative articles and look at the positives as well…..”we’re top 10 defensively BUT…..Demar is now a decent 3pt shooter BUT….Rudy has shown willingness to pass BUT….we’re currently in 4th place BUT”…. Look at 2006-2007….This team sucks! LOL

        Hilarious!

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

          If you find it hilarious, then I should continue what I’m doing. This is for entertainment purposes, is it not? You seem to be FAR more entertained with articles like this one, than with articles like my one about Amir last week, which you didn’t comment on, at all.

          • RaptorFan

            I must admit you are entertaining. I must’ve missed that one – i am human.

            I don’t mind your articles at all…It’s just hard to take them seriously when you’re pushing the same arguments from before the summer….tank tank tank

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

              I find it hard to take these obsessively optimistic opinions seriously, because they tend to ignore the realities. But each to his own.

          • HogyG

            So, your consistent negative outlook ISN’T to be a passionate and objectionable fan of the franchise as you often claim. It is simply to promote your own selfish agenda…to get more posts attached to your articles. Pathetic!

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

              My only agenda is to create discussion and, hopefully, change a few minds. I simply don’t understand why you seem to take my articles personally. The “pathetic” comment is far worse than anything I did in the article, in my opinion.

              • HogyG

                You aren’t promoting discussion, you’re promoting dissension, and if you are simply doing it for the sake of getting more posts, then you aren’t writing as a fan of anyone other than yourself. The Amir article you wrote ( http://www.raptorsrepublic.com/2013/11/18/a-closer-look-amir-johnson/ ) had this as your response to a post:

                “I do find it funny that my most “positive” article since last season has created the fewest amount of comments of any of my articles.”

                And is followed up by this article, trying to burst the bubble on the people who want to feel good (even if but for a moment) about being on the top of the Atlantic and in the hunt for the playoffs. Many people’s comments here today are directly related to your pessimistic outlook on the team at this moment in time. We ALL know your stand, that the team can’t do any better than it is at this moment and that your future machine (the same machine that gave you that 6-14 prediction I imagine) tells you that despite new management, the Raptors can’t possibly grow into anything better down the line unless we tank NOW. Listen, we get where you’re coming from. How about for the moment you give us a rest from your pessimism and give us something different to sink our teeth into.

                Because today is a time to be happy that we ARE on the top of the Atlantic division and on our way to being a .500 ball club, regardless of the rest of the Eastern conference standings or how they match up with the western conference (which the Raptors are currently 2-2 against, and historically .500 is far better than usual for us in the West). Why try to find a negative spin for this? Also, why try to discount the win against the Grizzzlies? The fact that they were Western Conference finalists last year, or that they beat the next bunch of teams they faced like they were the family pig isn’t enough for you to give the Raptors credit for beating a quality opponent in the west? It seems in my opinion that you are just trying to take advantage of a passionate fan base by turning the screw. Why does it matter if people responded to your article or not? If people read it, smiled and felt good about Amir on our team and went on with their day, is that not enough? Apparently, not for you.

                Today is a moment where fans can feel good after feeling bad for so long. Why choose NOW to write something like this, instead of embracing a moment of goodness? Why not show some patience (like you need for your tank strategy to work) and wait until it blows up in the optimistic fans faces, who are currently content with the state of the progression of the team, to say “I told you so”, instead of taking away a moment we were enjoying until you decided to list all the ways YOU think the Raptors still suck.

                Perhaps ignorance is bliss, because what the Raptors are currently doing is making me happy. If you feel currently content fans are just ignorant to a bigger picture that only you and tank nation can see, then allow them a few moments for their joy to blossom, because as you have told us many times, it is all we may get. If you are ultimately correct, you will have your time to tell us all that you told us so down the line.

                In the meantime, I’m going to have to think twice before posting on any more of your articles if your only concern is how many people post afterwards.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Ah, yes.. the “live in the now” argument. Indeed, ignorance is bliss.

                  Ignore, everything else, WE ARE 4th IN THE EAST BABY! What’s funny is that this team could go 0 – 82 and you would come on talking about how “the boys” are developing and then compare players and team to another outfit, while claiming they are similar situations, so things can only get better.

                  I’m also willing to bet this is good ol pooka .The sheriff has a new name.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  lmao,,,, still spooked enough to be seeing me around every other corner, huh. It’s still hilarious, but I’m disappointed in you Flux! 1 of 7/8 “bets” is incredibly inefficient for such an imagination.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Heeey p00kie…where you’ve been? Aww shucks, disappointed in me? I live for your approval, after all. You two have the same tone and argue the same way – “well, let’s look at Kobe’s numbers and compare them to DD, obviously this is the same player”. It’s not that big of a stretch, considering you’ve changed your handle 7 – 8 times.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  No I haven’t but your certainty over your spooked imagination is amusing. Please carry on. I enjoy the chuckles.

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

                  Promoting dissension?!?! You mean I’m making you have an argument with me by writing something you disagree with? Wait. Isn’t it YOU who are promoting dissension by arguing with my opinion? Or am I forcing you to argue? I’m confused.

                  And didn’t you read the warning in the second paragraph? Yet you continued to read, for some reason. And then decided to create dissension by commenting with a contrary opinion. I’m not sure why, other than YOU wanted to be negative about my article. You seem to be negative about MOST of my articles. Why are you always being so negative?

                  Besides, if I can influence a few fans not to settle for mediocrity, then I believe I’ve done a job well done.

  • One relaxed fella

    Well Jonas is struggling on both O and D. First of all, he had a really long summer. He played in Summer League and Eurobasket, he was training through the entire summer and had some rest only at the very end of September. I think Eurobasket is one of the reasons why Marc Gasol got injured, because he really looked jaded coming into new season, same thing is with Jonas who hasn’t had a free summer since… well basically never. Consecutive youth championships, than he played with the national squad for three summers in a row since 2011. I think he has to take at least one summer off, and he should get more rest and work more individually on his post moves and that whole ala Hibbert defense thing. He also looks slower and not as athletic as he used to be due to the weight he gained. I think that extra weight doesn’t help him at all and he lost most of his best qualities: his quickness, his motor, shooting (because of more/bigger muscles he lost his soft touch while shooting the ball). And there’s another reason why his shooting percentage dropped: he is no longer a surprise element like he was last season. The only area where his bigger body helped is his rebounding. But lets just hope that he will eventually adjust with his body changes.

    Bottom line is that it is difficult to expect something very good and positive out of a team or particular players when the entire media is talking about possible trades and GM admits that he is looking to trade. The news like current roster has 20 or so games to prove themselves or news like everyone could be traded and only JV is untouchable, or the entire situation with expiring contracts doesn’t help either. Everything is so unclear and even mysterious, nobody knows what’s going on. Things like that dismantle and demoralize everyone in this team. You can talk about things like players and coaching staff need to be professional but they are people like everyone else. Such an atmosphere can pull you down and that is noticeable when you watch games or several players in particular.

  • RaptorFan

    Wow Tim W….When your ridiculous prediction falls flat….you Double Down? lmao. I’m glad Tim realizes how awful the east is and that we’re likely a 4-7 seed this year. How on earth can we out tank the crap in the east? 4th seed here we come!

    MANY fans have been saying that this team would be around .500 and we’re proven to be right! To be honest i’m an optimist and i didnt expect to be in 4th right now. I’ve never seen so much negativity surround our team.

    Shame on all you negative pro-tanking “fans” Instead of admiting that you guys were being too negative….oh the east is just worst. lol

    • Matt52

      You must be 14 and not remember 2006-2008 and the subsequent fallout.

      *And that is not a dig at a young person, that is the reality. If you can remember 2006-2008 and you’re ok repeating that, I commend you for your desire to be mediocre at best*

      • RaptorFan

        Oh i’ve been following this team since 95-96. You must be tim w’s twin brother. Ahhhh the sky is falling! We’re in 4th but we suck……maybe we just suck less than the rest? Your a glass half empty type of guy like tim w huh? Do you wish we sucked more?

        I guess you want a high draft pick so that you can put all your hopes in the next bargnani and his “potential” right? Nothing ever goes wrong when you depend on the lottery right? Grumpy know-it-alls make me laugh….lol

        • Matt52

          Then you truly are a sucker for punishment.

          And yes you nailed it: the raptors suck less than the rest.

          First place with a losing record is quite the accomplishment.

          • RaptorFan

            13 games in?? This is what you call punishment? I’m guessing its only punishment to guys like you…no disrespect.

            • Matt52

              Guys like me…. who want to see a contender built rather than Zach Lowe/Grantland fodder for why the playoff system needs to be changed? Go winning culture! YAY! Good luck luring a star free agent with that stigma – along with the others.

              So with the draft out and free agency out the only thing Toronto has is the trade route to improve with a roster full of warts.

              Punishment is losing out on the best way to make this team better: the draft. Toronto is one team that does not have to worry about losing players to punitive taxes. The best way to take advantage of that is to draft players, use the 8-9 years they are tied to Toronto to franchise advantage (rookie contract and RFA), and build a winner.

              • SR

                Why would you want championships? Aren’t you a real fan??? We’re almost .500! Just celebrate the good times with us! Don’t rock the boat with all that “championship” talk!

              • Joshua

                The problem is that tanking doesn’t worked.
                Name a team that has purposely tanked and won a championship.
                No name five teams. Because if this is such a great idea than it’s
                common use would prove it.

                Thunder is a good example. They got a lot of good drafts
                but can’t pay them now. They lost several players in the free agency.
                With Westbrook injured prone their chances are nil.
                Memphis trade away Paul Gasol. What has Memphis done.
                I’ve named two examples why don’t you name two teams who purposely tanked
                and won a championship.
                I can also name several teams who won by trading and free agency.
                The Heat being the latest.

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

                  This has been discussed ad nauseum, and I’m not sure the point of rehashing it. If, however, you can name ONE repeatable strategy, then I will personally send it off to Ujiri. And keep in mind, the Heat already had Dwyane Wade on the roster when they signed LeBron and Bosh.

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

                  Oh, and Chicago tanked to get Jordan. I seem to recall they did fairly well.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  1. How did the Bulls purposely tank to get Jordan at the 3rd pick?
                  2. If the least valid, only have to go back 30 years, huh? Any examples of this great methodology working well over the past 3 decades?

                • Matt52

                  p00ka in the house!

                  1. The Bulls were just bad. Does it matter how you get a top pick? The argument is not tanking = championships. The argument is the majority of elite talent is found at the top of the draft.

                  2. Only team in the last 34 years to not draft the cornerstones of their championship team is the ’04 PIstons. You should know this. Been through it at length on the forums.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  ” Does it matter how you get a top pick?”

                  YES. There’s never been an argument against top talent mostly being found at the top of the draft. If that’s the argument you’re hanging your hat on, you’re arguing with yourself over a moot point. The answer to your question is YES, because history has proven that teams that tank to get that top pick are losers to the core (thus they go down that idiotic path) and haven’t won anything with that player for several decades at least, or failed to get that player to begin with due to lottery luck. The latter being repeated often, so perhaps karma due organizations who are dumb enough to think that cheating their fans, their players, and the game itself is the road to glory.

                  What’s ironic is you keep incessantly pushing your tanking strategy, which has failed numerous teams, choosing to forget history. Yet, you seem sure that MU, a different person/GM, with a different group of players and circumstances, will repeat BC’s history of being a treadmill team after his first year success,,,,,, unless he subscribes to your proven to fail tanking strategy.

                • FLUXLAND

                  How are MU and BC different, oh wise one? Especially, when on worked under the other.

                  Look at his is moves this off season:

                  Novak – the new Kapono. (no Q, no Marcus)
                  Tyler Hansbrough – the new Reggie Evans.
                  DJ – typical BC diminutive guard.
                  Dwight – Quincy Douby or they just both like guys name Quincy? Juan Dixon?
                  Austin Daye – Primoz light? Luke Jackson?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  lmao, so you’re actually trying to label MU as a BC clone after his first few months of primarily filling out the roster with short term, end of bench cheap contracts? lmao, sad little one.

                  How come you didn’t mention the AB trade, where he got 3 draft picks including a 1st rounder? As far as your comparisons go:
                  – how the heck is taking on Novak’s contract at 3.5M/yr, for 3years, as part of the cost of unloading Bargnani, the least comparable to signing Kapono as a FA for 4 years at 6M/yr? *head shake*
                  -Evans/Hansbrough: so to you, signing Hansbrough, who can actually do something besides rebound (career 16 pts/36 vs Reggie’s 7.5, and career 77% FT% vs Reggie’s 52%), to a 2 year at $3.2M contract is the same as taking back Reggie at $4.8M/yr for two years to unload Kapono *another head shake*
                  – others are just childish silliness to bring up as any kind of critique of UM. All very low cost 1 year deals to fill out the roster while he evaluates the roster and decides what long term moves he’ll pursue.

                  You seem to want to compare these players as comparables to ones BC acquired, but if evaluating UM’s performance, what he has done in acquiring these players, and what commitments he’s made, are entirely different than what BC did. Silliness disguised as smartass, lol.

                • Christopher Bird

                  The Bulls tanked because the 1984 draft was stacked. Olajuwon, Jordan, Barkley, Stockton, Alvin Robertson, Sam Bowie (who probably would have had an amazing career were it not for his extremely unlucky leg injuries, and even then he was still pretty good), Sam Perkins (didn’t flourish like the others but had a long, successful career), etc.

                  When the draft is stacked, that’s the best time to tank, because even if you don’t get the first pick you still have a decent shot at a franchise-changing talent. It happened in 1984 and in 1996 (Allan Iverson, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Stephon Marbury, etc.) and in 2003 (LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh, Melo, etc.) and it’s going to happen again this year. Why some Raptors fans seem determined to miss out on a stacked draft year when we simply don’t have a good team (let alone a great one) is beyond me.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  You didn’t respond to the question. How did the Bulls purposely tank to get Jordan? That’s what was claimed, and I questioned. They had been a bad team for like 7 years. They didn’t sell off the talent they had to be bad and get a high pick, as pro-tankers suggest is the Raps’ road to glory. They’d had no talent for years, and were naturally bottom feeders.

                  So, answer this: what teams in the last 30 years have done what tankers suggest the Raps do to get a high pick, and have reached the promised land by purposely being losers? None, but that’s what “wisdom” says the Raps should do, haha.

                • FLUXLAND

                  What are you talking about? Did you follow the Bulls before Jordan? “They didn’t sell off the talent they had to be bad and get a high pick,” Ummm, so Reggie didn’t get traded in the middle of the year, after being mysteriously benched the 1st half of the season, giving them that record and getting the 3rd pick?

                  Just because you don’t recognize a proper tank job, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

                  And no talent for years? Artis was a bum, now?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Okay, so alter “no talent” to “BAD TEAM”, with or without Reggie playing as an “all-star”. The year before (82-83), they had a whopping 28 wins, while he started every game and went to the All-star game. He really helped them, huh. The year before that (81-82), all his starts, they had 34 wins. So, in 83-84, benching him and trading him resulted in ONE less loss than the year before. They really missed him, and that was a brilliant tank job, huh?

                  That aside, how about some proof in the modern era, not the olden days, of the past 30 years that this tank methodology has worked. You know, an era at least somewhat akin to the realities of current times, where freshman are being drafted instead of juniors and seniors, making the draft much more of a crapshoot, and where something called the lottery exists. You know, the current world.

                • Matt52

                  Who has said tanking = championships?

                  The argument is you need elite talent to win.

                  How do you suggest Toronto gets that talent?
                  Via trade? With what assets?

                  Via free agency? Ummm, yeah.

                  For Toronto, it is the draft – period.

                  The best place to find elite talent is at the top of the draft.

                • Rap fan 2

                  Great points made matt52! Look it doesn’t really matter what their record is right now at 6/7 or possibly 7/7 after Tuesday. It’s will we have enough developed talent to beat teams like Miami, Indiana, San Antonio, OKC at the end? If we don’t have the talent then what is the best way to get that talent?

  • RaptorFan

    like Liston said….YOU (tim w) ignored Demar Derozan’s improved 3pt shot. He’s taking a lot more and shooting over 36 percent!!! That is a huge jump and proves you wrong yet again! I’ll get back to you after the first 20 games…..your prediction was a little off???? hahahaha

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

      He’s still shooting inefficiently. That’s a problem.

  • ckh26

    Tim.. if you won 50 Million on Lotto Max.. you’d probably whine about the taxes.

    Its a good early season start as opposed to the poor to horrid ones we have put on the board over the last few years. Our home town team is in first place a month in ! (someone has to be in first , why not us ?). Lets enjoy it while it lasts. Who knows it may last for a while. The Knicks and Nets are really struggling and there is no light switch to turn on in Brooklyn that will make Pierce and Garnett younger or Dwilliams less overrated. Carmello has Barney for his wingman in the Big Apple and we know how that story ends when you need Mr. Dependable to step up. Oh yeah…Boston and Philly just suck and you don’t need a gig of data and analysis to know that. Just watch them play.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Canadians don’t pay any tax on Lotto winnings.

      • ckh26

        Yes I know that. I think your missing the metaphor.

        • Blake

          I get the metaphor, and it’s a good one!

        • Tanks-a-lot

          It’s a Canadian board. It’s a moronic tax after the fact that lotteries are a tax on the stupid poor.

        • Antoine

          You probably could have used a more accurate metaphor lol

          • ckh26

            Yes perhaps I could have. I could have asked him about his current cranial rectum inversion but I thought that to be a little rude and choose the lottery and taxes approach. A little more subtle.

        • 2damkule

          and you’re missing an apostrophe (and an ‘e’).

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

      If the taxes were more than the jackpot, then I would complain. Yes. And that’s the case here.

      I know that some fans just want to enjoy the present. And that’s fine. I warned those fans in the second paragraph not to read on. You didn’t heed the warning, for some reason. This article was for fans who want to view things in a little more context and view the bigger picture.

    • SR

      Did you just draw a parallel between a 6-7 Raptors squad and winning $50 million dollars? Do you realize how depressing that is, as a reflection of this fanbase and the big-picture failure of this franchise to accomplish anything relevant? Being excited about a 6-7 team in a horrible, horrible conference actually has you conjuring up metaphors of winning $50 million? Holy sh*t, it’s worse than I thought.

      • ckh26

        No.. I am drawing an analogy of how the author presents his views in the article. Tim tends to be heavily . pesemistic in his views and can seem to find a problem with most anything. So the analogy is of having the incredible good fortune of just falling into 50 million dollars and all one sees is that they might have to pay tax on otherwise found money. And tim lives up to it by saying if taxes were more than the jackpot he would complain…

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

          You seemed to have missed the point of my comment. I’m suggesting the only way I’d complain is if I’m actually poorer for winning the lottery.

          I’m actually not a pessimistic person in the least. The opposite, in many ways. If I wasn’t optimistic, then I wouldn’t even suggest tanking because there wouldn’t be a point, would there. If I was pessimistic, no plan would work.

          I just don’t feel the current roster has a chance of actually doing anything, and I’d rather the Raptors not waste even more time on the mediocrity treadmill.

          Why do some fans get so upset when someone has a different opinion? They throw out words “hater”, “pessimist”, “not a real fan”, etc, instead of confronting the fact that maybe not everyone feels the same way they do. And that’s okay.

          For so-called optimists, you guys certainly are a pessimistic and vindictive bunch, aren’t you?

  • Tanks-a-lot

    “The reason for this disparity would take up an entire column”

    nah, one simple reason explains the ongoing phenomenon of Western C. overall better teams.

    more teams in warm climates.

    • Raptorsss

      I don’t really understand what the climate has to with it, unless you mean it attracts better players, thus better teams?

      • Tanks-a-lot

        pretty much

  • Tanks-a-lot

    “What’s worse, losing Gay for nothing or re-signing him for $14 million a season, for the next five years?”

    Let him go for nothing. It’s better than taking some other team’s crap ‘just cause’
    Re-signing him is just plain stupid

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

      I agree, but losing an asset for nothing, especially when it can be turned into something, isn’t good management. Colangelo had a habit of doing that.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        IF, big if

        I really hope Rudy isn’t a dunce and we don’t have to take someone else’s spare parts for a one-dimensional chucker.

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

          The longer Ujiri waits, the lower Gay’s value will be.

          • ac1011990

            Not necessarily, Rudy’s value as of now is pretty low. hes not shooting very well and if we go by averages he will eventually get better. As time goes on, teams get desperate and injuries happen. I really liked the Bargnani trade, but if Masai had waited in till now, and the Knicks were playing the same way, we might have ended up with Shumpert as well as a pick. I like this approach of wait and see by Masai, i know he may not be doing it for the reasons i want but its good to wait for a decent trade. But i do agree that its better to get something out of him instead of potentially letting him walk.

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

              Teams aren’t going to give up a whole lot for a only a few months rental of a player. And it now appears Chicago may put Deng on the market, and I’ve read that Cleveland is looking at Evan Turner as someone to try and trade for for their SF spot. Yes, some teams will get more desperate, but there appears to be more players on the market for those teams to choose from.

              • ac1011990

                Chicago just lost Rose and they have been looking for a scorer to pair up with him for awhile now. A trade involving Lowry and Gay for Teague, Deng and Hinrich plus a pick might work out. Detroit also has been pretty bad and obviously the combo of Smith Drummond and Monroe hasnt been working out so Gay for Monroe stuckey and Villanueva would also be pretty good for us. I still think Rudy has some value around the league, obviously hes not going to get us a future star but if Masai takes his time he might be able to get us something of value.

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

                  I’m not sure that makes Chicago a better team, so I’m not sure why they would do that deal. Getting Deng back also would only really make sense if they can then trade him away, otherwise, they’re pretty much stuck in neutral as they are right now.

                • ac1011990

                  It would probably make them better then they are now without rose. Lowry is a very good fill in for the time being, better then Teague. Honestly there is not to much of a difference between Deng and Gay this season, expect for defense and he would provide abit more scoring. Chicago has a couple of picks this year, and if we could get one i don’t see how that’s a bad thing. Teague is a young pg, which is an asset and losing Lowry pretty much means the end of the raptors playoff chances, which i think is pretty good.

  • Milesboyer

    Tim, I have to admit that I’ve come around to your way of thinking a little more as the season has progressed in terms of what the future holds. It’s great to go to a game on a Friday night, have a few beers and watch the team actually win (to maintain their hold on first place no less). But it’s become clear that this team is way too flawed in its construction with, as you pointed out, very little room for internal growth. A good team needs to have clearly defined roles and each role has to have a competent player in it. The redundancy of Demar and Rudy is obvious, the need for a true playmaker as well, the quality of coaching is debatable and veteran leadership is severely lacking. We brought in one of the best in Ujiri to formulate a plan and sort this out, let’s hope he does a better job of it than Colangelo. Dec. 15th, something will happen to give us a better clue of the ultimate direction of the team for this season.

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

      I think a lot of fans don’t want to look at the big picture. They go to or watch the game and just want to enjoy the win and that’s it. The fact is that SOMETHING needs to be done, and I’m worried that there are fewer and fewer options.

      I was actually going to add another section talking about missed trade opportunities, but, quite frankly, I forgot.

  • bobbybutler

    Defensive Rating is pace adjusted. per NBA.com- “the amount of points allowed per 100 possessions”

    7 slowest teams in the NBA and their defensive rating

    MEM- 103.0
    NYK- 105.1
    CHA- 97.9
    TOR- 99.1
    MIL- 104.7
    IND- 91.2
    UTH- 106.6

    http://stats.nba.com/leagueTeamGeneral.html?pageNo=1&rowsPerPage=30&MeasureType=Advanced&PerMode=Totals&sortField=PACE&sortOrder=ASC

    Do the Spurs play fast, or do they make you play fast?
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24165/do-the-spurs-play-fast-or-do-they-make-you-play-fast

    Speed Index
    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/1/24/1952725/nba-pace-speed-spurs-suns-knicks

    “The “possession” is arguably the single most integral concept of the advanced statistics movement in basketball. Explained brilliantly in 2002’s Basketball on Paper by current Nuggets analyst Dean Oliver, a new possession essentially begins every time the ball switches hands. Its importance in quantifying the sport cannot be overstated. It is the great equalizer for players that inflate their numbers through excessive shooting, teams that amplify their point totals by running up and down the floor, defenses that suppress their conceded points by slowing the game to a crawl, and everything in between.”

    “But pace factor has its shortcomings. Since the ball doesn’t switch teams on offensive rebounds, a sequence of multiple offensive boards and shot attempts simply counts as a long, drawn out possession. As Henry Abbott has noted at True Hoop, turnovers can also lead to artificially increased “pace,” even in the absence of increased speed of play.”

  • bobbybutler
  • Evan Russell

    It’s like you totally forget Ross and his progression, derozan with an improved three, and over the last couple games way better ball movement. It’s easy to only talk about the bad side and not the good.

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

      I don’t think I need to mention the improvements, because that’s pretty obvious and what a lot of fans focus on. The point of the article is that people aren’t seeing the forest for the trees. Yes, there are some positives, but the bigger picture isn’t nearly as rosy, and ignoring that is only going to lead to disappointment later.

      When the team won 47 games and the Atlantic Division, back in 2006, a lot of people ignored the realities and focused on the positives and then were disappointed when a low ceiling team couldn’t improve on that or even match it the next year. There were pretty clear signs that the team was not where it seemed to be, but most fans just wanted to enjoy the moment.

      And I would say it’s a lot easier to talk about the good things because that makes everyone happy.

      • John Pinsky

        You forget that in 2008 the team also dealt with another year of significant roster changes (a BC specialty) and had lost 3 of their starters for a good portion of the season due to injuries at the same time (Garbajosa missed 75 games, 30 for TJ, and 15 for Bosh). And they were still .500. I’m not saying that team was without its faults, but those factors must be taken into consideration.
        Also, the team’s schedule doesn’t break until January, as 20 of 28 games before then are against playoff teams this year or high seeds from last year (not including the 76ers, bc they shouldn’t really count). It turns to more of a 50/50 ssplit in January and really breaks after that so there is reason for optimism. Look at Denver last year, they looked lottery bound at the beginning of the season bc of their tough schedule and ended up having a 50+ win seasin. They might of dropped it in the post season, but the point is that maybe they arent as bad as you think.

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

          That 2006 (not 2008) team had a low ceiling. I said that at the time, but did the whole, well, “I have faith Colangelo will be able to fix it”, thing and obviously that didn’t turn out well.

          I don’t think this team can ever be very good, the way it’s constructed right now. And I don’t see any way of turning the current assets into a foundation that can eventually become a contender without getting a top 5-8 pick in the upcoming draft.

          That’s basically it.

  • Blake

    This article appears to be a glass half empty type of view and the author has completely ignored any positives. Raps are 6-7 with two overtime losses. Flip those overtime games around and they are 8-5. Also the Raptors were 4-19 to start the season last year. So far they are 6-7, a large improvement. Every journey begins with a small step nore and this writer appears to ignore that.

    • Raptorsss

      And a close 2 point loss to Charlotte that they shoulda/woulda/coulda won. I’m thrilled that my prediction that this is a .500 team in the east is correct. My only concern, is that I hope the offense becomes watchable and they keep up their great effort. Will they have to make some big moves, probably around the 15th. yes. Is this team fun to root for 100% yes. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts and if we blow-it up I’ll just move to watching college games until next season.

      • 2damkule

        congrats on your prediction! how BOLD, and so very different than what just about every pundit/prognosticator was thinking (yeah, most were thinking a few games under .500, but the difference is splitting hairs with the east overall being so shitty – records of mediocre teams will be somewhat inflated).

        • Raptorsss

          I wasn’t gloating or thinking that my guess was a stretch. I’m just happy that the team turned out exactly like I predicted so far.

    • Tinman

      Glass half empty – that’s optimism for Tim

      • Robert Archibald

        Awesome

        • Robert Archibald

          I’m not sure if this is even real anymore. Tom has the ability to get under my skin big time, but this piece is over the top. I’m not sure anymore if this is for real or if it is just trolling. The negativity might be helping Tim get a name for himself, but this whole piece was like someone doing a characiture of picket fence. Too reticules for me to bit this time.

          • SR

            “Too reticules for me to bit this time” is definitely one of the best things I’ve ever read on here.

            • Robert Archibald

              I blame the tablet

          • 2damkule

            it’s not over-the-top. i’ll give you that TW’s writing style tends to slant towards condescending, but the gist of his argument is valid. unless, of course, you think that charlotte is also a bona-fide playoff team, and not another mirage with a record inflated due to the crap year in the East?

            • Raptorsss

              Charlotte is a bona-fide playoff team, this year, exactly because the East is so terrible. Nobody is saying that Toronto, Charlotte or Detroit are good teams only that they can have legitimate playoff aspirations. This Toronto team reminds me of Atlanta’s tread mill team of the last 5 years. Everyone, knows that the team will have to be dismantled at some point, doesn’t mean we have to be curmudgeons,because they are winning

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

                “doesn’t mean we have to be curmudgeons,because they are winning”

                THis year, yes it does. Missing out on a draft for the ages just to hop on the mediocrity treadmill for a season or two doesn’t make sense, in my mind.

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

      Fans of bad or mediocre teams always talk about the “close games” they could have won. The problem is that there’s actually a very big difference between the teams that win those and the teams that don’t.

      As for ignoring something, that’s the point of the article. Lots of fans, especially Raptor fans, continually ignore the realities of the situation and then are shocked or disappointed when things don’t turn out the way they hoped.

  • toronto tanks

    so pathetic. we’re 1st in the division with a losing record after 12 games and raps fans are so happy. it’s great that the team is finally passing the ball bc the iso ball was so bad that it was unwatchable. great that demar is improved and ross shows signs that he might be able to contribute consistently in the future. however, this is a bad team. it’s so pathetic that the raps have been so bad in the past that their current ranking actually motivates fans to want to pursue this current lineup. dec. 15th cant come soon enough. let the bc era end and the mu era begin. if 1st in the atlantic after 12 games is our championship then i’d rather watch the leafs. they’re actually competing for a championship. kansas vs. duke was a way better game to watch than raps vs. rockets/grizzlies, etc. raps have no court vision and apparently our fans have no championship vision either. tim w may be negative but apparently you do need a reality check. 4th seed, 8th seed, 12th seed. this team is never going anywhere.

    • Raptorsss

      Is it wrong that we’re happy that we’re not the Jazz?

    • ckh26

      Have you ever actually bought a ticket.. for real money.. to go to a game ? Its pretty unlikely one would pay good money or any money to watch a deliberate attempt to lose or tank a game. Why would you ever go back ? Sports is a lot of things but at the very top is that its a for profit business. You don’t make a lot of coin if you knowingly put out a crap product..

      • toronto tanks

        yes, i have bought tickets. i’m more interested in the prospect of what ross could become than whether gay can evolve to adapt to make this team a little more than mediocre. for example, i’d do a gay for bennett trade (as has been thrown out there by others). and hope to be in good spot to draft exum. i’d pay to see that. i’d still pay to see the current lineup and so would many others. we’re not ny but we’re also not milwaukee. our market is strong enough to still draw somewhere around 19k fans this year, even if we tank and into next year.
        second, no i’d rather be utah right now. i’d rather a shot at wiggins/top 3 pick than keep gay and lowry.
        last, i understand where you both are coming from. this past week has been a good one for raps and maybe they can be more than we expected. but how much more? not enough imo. raps have been bad for the majority of their 20 yrs. it’s time to grow up, get serious and take a shot a something bigger than 1st in the atlantic, after 13 games, with a losing record.

  • hateslosing

    “They have the 8th best Defensive Rating in the league, and are 7th best in Points Against.”

    The problem, however, is that a lot of the improvement has been caused by simply slowing the pace down to a crawl (26th in the league), instead of actually being good defensively.”

    You know defensive rating is a per possession metric right? It is adjusted for pace. Which means that we are the 8th best defensive team in the league on a PER POSSESSION basis. Slowing it down might have helped but you can’t argue with stats.

    It’s honestly ridiculous how much better we are defensively this year. We went from 24th to 8th! It passes the I test too, we have been shutting teams down completely for stretches which we have never been able to do before.

    If Rudy and Lowry left, I think we’d be fine. Rudy leaving wouldn’t be terrible (him and Demar don’t play all that well together) and we have a ready replacement if the recent play of Ross is going to become the norm. The thing we would likely miss most is his length on defense and on the glass. He’s becoming almost like a Josh Smith kind of player and is playing great help D.

    Lowry would be harder to replace it wouldn’t kill the franchise if he walked,

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

      I understand that pace is taken into consideration in defensive rating, but it doesn’t take into consideration that slowing the pace down can have a larger effect on the defense. Half court games have lower shooting percentages and less points scored per possession. But it’s slowing the pace down artificially inflates the defensive rating.

      As for Lowry and Gay leaving, it’s not as if the team has a whole lot of talent to begin with. If DeRozan is your team’s first option, you’re in trouble. Gay is certainly not as good as some seem to think, but he’s still a productive player who you can’t simply replace. The Raptors are not a deep team and they’re not a talented team.

      • Ds

        Tim, the problem with your argument is that last year’s pace was 90.4 (slower than this year’s 91.8), yet we allowed 107.5 per 100 possessions as compared to this year’s 102.6. That’s 5 points better.

        Even without Bargnani on the court last year, the team was surrendering 106.8 last year.

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

          I’m not suggesting the defense hasn’t improved. It obviously has. But I don’t think it’s as good as some people think and as good as their rating suggests.

          • themasao

            I never understand these types of comments: “I don’t think their defence is as good as their rating suggests.”

            Their rating doesn’t suggest anything. Their rating is EXACTLY how good their defence has been so far. Maybe you think the rating will go down. Fair enough. But to say the rating is misleading is to misunderstand what a ‘rating’ means.

            Also, while I agree with most of what you said, I couldn’t agree less with your ‘slowing the pace down disguises a bad defence as a good one’. If it was that simple, everyone would do it. Slowing the pace isn’t cheating — if anything, you have to play more efficiently on offence to play a slow pace game.

            We know the Raptors aren’t paragons of efficiency (although they’re not as bad as you make them seem – for example, Rudy and Demar are actually both shooting good 3P%’s so far). The reason playing such a slow pace works so well for the Raptors is that it plays to their strengths (what you call, ‘hiding their weaknesses’, I believe) — they rebound at an elite rate defensively and offensively, and they don’t turn the ball over much. This means that the few possessions that ARE up for grabs are all being gobbled up by the Raps.

            Limit the other teams possessions, use your strengths to create extra possessions for yourself, and you are not hiding your weaknesses, you are taking advantage of your strengths.

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

              Their rating isn’t actually how good the defense is. It’s simply a rating. There have been lots of examples of teams that have artificially inflated their defensive rating because they had a less talented team. The two most obvious examples are the Kevin O’Neal Raptors and the Bill Mussleman Timberwolves. The team won more games than it should have by limiting possessions, but it gave a poor indication of the talent level on the team. And it hurt the team’s future prospects.

              • Ds

                Still can’t get your argument. Is talent measured only by how good you play on offence?

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

                  No. It’s not. But talent is measured by how good the players are.

                • themasao

                  Is it? Brooklyn doesn’t agree with you.

                  As to your other comment. I’m pretty sure it’s straight up tautological to say their defensive rating doesn’t say how good their defense is. That’s by definition what it does.

                  Ratings are a comparative measure of your performance (in this case, compared to other teams in the league). You can’t ‘artificially’ increase your rating. Numbers do not lie. Inevitably, we process these ratings relative to our perception of what we think they should be. Based on your perception of the talent level of the team, you think the rating should be (or perhaps, will end up being) lower than it is. So far, so good.

                  The problem is when you say that the discrepancy between YOUR perception of the teams talent, and the rating that dictates otherwise, is due to the ineptitude of the ratings rather than your own perception. It’s the other way around

                  When someone I think is stupid does well on an IQ test, my first reaction might be to think he ‘overperformed’ relative to his talent/intelligence level. Then I have to remind myself that the TEST ITSELF is the only objective indicator of that persons talent/intelligence. If he got a 160, then that’s how smart he is and I was wrong.

                  Slowing the pace down isn’t an artificial way to boost your defensive rating. There are teams with slow paces that have bad defensive ratings. In fact, there is no such thing as ‘artificially’ boosting your performance — a boost in performance is exactly that, it’s a quantitative, not qualitative vector. If the stats say the Raptors are 8th in defensive efficiency, and you think they’re a bottom 15 defensive team — obviously you’re wrong.

                • CJT

                  But on the other hand, I really enjoyed Tim’s Amir article.

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

                  Brooklyn is old, slow, the 6 best players on the team have missed a combined 17 games in just 12, the coach has absolutely no idea what he’s doing and the vast majority of the top players are not nearly as good as they used to be. Plus, they’ll most likely still finish with a better record than the Raptors will.

                  So let’s forget Brooklyn because it doesn’t help your argument.

                  And IQ test is the perfect analogy. An IQ test measures intelligence as it relates to the test, and that’s about it. Intelligence is such a broad term, and the test focuses on just one area. It’s not necessarily a good indicator of how intelligent one is. What it really does is give you an indication of how well you did on an IQ test.

                  As for defense, a team can look better defensively and even inflate their win total by slowing down the pace of the game. Back in 2004, Kevin O’Neal had the Raptor’s play at one of the slowest paces in the NBA and was able to coax 33 wins out of a team without a whole lot of talent, and they had the 7th best defensive rating in the league, despite not a whole lot of good defensive players on the roster.

                  The problem is when the playoffs arrive, teams can prepare better and the flaws that are hidden somewhat by slowing the pace down are exposed.

                • themasao

                  “And IQ test is the perfect analogy. An IQ test measures intelligence as it relates to the test, and that’s about it. Intelligence is such a broad term, and the test focuses on just one area. It’s not necessarily a good indicator of how intelligent one is. What it really does is give you an indication of how well you did on an IQ test.”

                  If you think an IQ test is the perfect analogy, lets keep rolling with it. Even if I granted you that intelligence is a broad term, and the test focuses on just one area, for your argument to hold, defense would have to be an equally broad term, and measurement of defense by efficiency ratings would have to focus on just one area of defense.

                  That’s where the analogy falls apart though. Even if you’re right about the ineffectiveness of the IQ test, that’s because intelligence means so much more than one’s ability to answer certain questions in a prescribed time limit. Defense, on the other hand is about one thing and one thing only: holding your opponent to as few points PER POSSESSION as possible. If you excel at limiting opponents’ PPP, you have a good defense. Period.

                  What methods you use to accomplish this are completely irrelevant. Slowing the pace down doesn’t disguise anything: if you slow the pace down, you reduce your own possessions as much as you reduce there’s (all things being equal). So if you really are worse offensively and defensively, it won’t matter if you play 50 or 150 possessions a game, the results will be the same.

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

                  I disagree.

                • themasao

                  Fair enough.

      • DanH

        Historically there is no correlation at all between pace and defensive rating. I don’t think this hypothesis holds up.

  • pran

    valanciunas’s regression has been extremely dissapointing, Along with rudy gays, it makes me think that athletes should not be left to their own devices when asked to “bulk up”, They come back too slow.

  • theswirsky

    Tim,
    Reality check to your reality check.
    7 years of Bargnani.
    There is no reality to be checked around here.

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

      Tell that to all the people who argued with me for YEARS when I argued that the Raptors needed to trade Bargnani and he’d never become the player many hoped.

      • theswirsky

        I was just guessing the reality check wasn’t for those with their feet on the ground.
        Unfortunately those you may want to reach are long lost in the clouds.

        • sleepz

          Long gone.lol
          It’s quite surprising to my really until I remember how long BC was GM of this team.

          He shouldn’t have felt safe leaving his house in the morning. lol
          This fanbase is too accepting.

      • CJT

        The problem is that this statement is kinda what you say about every aspect of Raptorland, and I know that you believe strongly in your opinion, but after a while it becomes white noise.

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

          Well, that’s your loss.

          • ItsAboutFun

            lol, someone not listening to you is their loss? Why? Because your here to “teach”, as you siad in another comment? Have you ever heard the expression “get over yourself”?

  • Tinman

    Takes a big man to admit he was wrong about his early predictions. Over estimated NY and Brooklyn, might of underestimated the Raptors.
    Please tell us what is not gonna happen over the next 15 games.
    The main reason DeRozan is able to score as much as he does is because he he takes the 6th most shots in the entire league (Rudy is 3rd). Yet he’s 16th in the league in scoring. Ten more players in the league score more than DeRozan while taking fewer shots. –
    What a useless observation – only 10?

  • Tinman

    I wasn’t wrong about the Raptors, I was wrong about everything else.

  • Raptogram

    Hey, shhhhhh about why our team is appearing to do so well. The main thing is that other GM’s think they’re getting a great deal when we trade Demar, Rudy and Lowry for young players and future assets. Our current pseudo success is the best case scenario.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      It’s a showcase team. As long as the Title is locked up away from the Raps, show off some nice pieces and hope other fan bases take the bait.

  • RealityCheck?

    “Of course, if they weren’t such poor shooters, the team might get more assists. . . .
    And the problem with the Raptors is they seem to be equally bad from everywhere. . . . Basically, they suck shooting from everywhere.”

    Worst non-analysis I have ever read. It’s like the writer has never watched a game of basketball in his life.

    It’s completely disingenuous to say that the raptors can’t shoot from anywhere, or that better shooting will lead to more assists, without mentioning what kind of shots they are actually taking. Looking at shot charts is nice, and breaking down shots in terms of distance from the basket is also nice, but the writer is, ironically, ignoring the realities of basketball. There is a huge difference between an open mid-range 2 and a contested fadeaway from the same location (Demar’s favourite shot) but on a shot chart, the only thing that appears is the result.

    The conclusion, that the Raptors’ offense sucks, is correct, but the reason given is ridiculous (poor shooting leading to poor efg %). How about considering ball movement, shot selection, terrible usage of the pick and roll, etc. instead of looking at the team line and drawing up the simplest and most unrealistic answer, especially when the article is called “Reality Check”?

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

      “Worst non-analysis I have ever read”

      Wow. High praise. Thanks.

      • Guest

        You should apply to take over Doug Smith’s blog. You would fit right in.

  • JustinN

    As much as I’ve enjoyed seeing the Raptors NOT start the season 4-19, looking, I don’t see much of a future with the team’s current roster make-up.

    Despite Rudy Gay recording 8 assists recently, I don’t think it’s possible for him to change his game at this point in his career. He will always be a (low efficiency) iso / 1 on 1 type player. Rudy Gay likes the mid-range game, and I respect that. Unfortunately, that type of player won’t lead a team to very much success.

    I am no professional basketball player, so it’s hard to compare, but after 20 years of playing basketball I’ve stuck to being a “3 point shooter” and if someone asked me to be more of a slasher, I’m sure I’d drive a bit more from time to time, but I would always go back to where I feel most comfortable, and that’s the 3 point-line.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Rudy Gay developed with the Grizz so he wasn’t really ever expected to be a complete ‘dynamic’ player with the ability to do ‘glue-guy’ things on the court at all times.

      From what I hear watching the opposing team’s broadcast every time I watch the Raps now is that Rudy Gay does research and tries to be a better player overall. That’s how the American announcers speak of him.

      Maybe he’s a dunce, or maybe he’s adjusting to a new reality that requires him to evolve.

      I hope for the best when it comes to Rudy Gay. He’s not a douche bag.

  • rtz

    Here is a reality check. 1) gay is playing solid defense and his shooting percentage of 38 will not last. Especially from 10 feet or less. When he gets back to norm this team is will be hard to beat.
    2) rag on gay as much as you want but his shooting percentage in the final 3 min of the game super high. I don’t know the exact stat nut I’m sure the stat geeks can find it. But even more. The Confidence he carries in the last min makes this team believe they can win. That’s huge and will pay dividends.
    3) now that casey has finally figured out to play gay and DD at separate times will help ball movement a lot especially with floor spacers like SN and TR. I wish fields could get in there a little more as a passer cause he really has a high IQ.
    4) I wish all the TANK talk would stop. This is our team, just like coach Dale said in Hoosier. Let’s cheer for wins.
    5) fire Casey and get a coach in here that can run an offense. If we had one of those this team could be very dangerous.
    6) in Memphis rudy was expected to take shots with clock running down and create for him self. He got use to it. I hope he sees his 8 assists game as a great positive and builds on that. It would make him very lethal out of that double team.
    7) same with DD

    • FLUXLAND

      Your “reality”

      1) “when he gets back”
      2) “rag on gay as much as you want but his shooting percentage…”
      3) “I wish”
      4) “I wish”
      5) “If”
      6) “I hope”
      7) “DD”

      That was a whole lot of fantasy.. not much reality.

    • Tom Liston

      2) Nice try, but its super low. He forces even more down the stretch and is shooting…. wait for it: 25% in clutch time. Overconfidence leads to poor decision making.

      http://www.82games.com/1314/13TOR10.HTM#clutch

      • Louvens Remy

        I was checking the stats but I couldn’t find the 25% you were talking about. I saw that with shotclock between 16-20 he shoots 25%. Is that what you were referring too?

        • DDayLewis

          Here:

          http://stats.nba.com/playerStats.html?PlayerID=200752&groupFeedtype=clutch

          EDIT: Small sample size caveat should be heeded. ~25 FG% in the clutch is historical, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll shot 25% going forward in these scenarios.

        • Tom Liston

          Second box down where the link takes you – under “Scoring”

          Scoring
          ByFG.FGAFG%eFG%Ast’dBlk’dFTMPts48 Min9.7 38.9 .250 .292 33% 8% 4.9 27.6

  • John Pinsky

    Just a few points:
    DD has been increasing his efficiency, FG%, 3pt%, and assists over the last 5 or 6 games, thus demonstrating his overall improvement from last year. He’s posting a 16.88 PER so far, the 1st time he’s ever been above league average of 15, and should continue to increase given his poor play to begin the season. Also, he’s currently tied for 7th in estimated wins added amongst SGs, and 15th in PER, both of which will increase as the season goes on (in his first 8 games, he only had 2 games shooting above 36%, and 4 over 31.6%).
    This kind of positive improvement should also occur for the team as well, which has also put up better numbers over the last 6 games. One reason to expect this is that the first couple of games were almost like preseason for the starters as the real preseason was used to get looks at the new players.
    As for JV, his play is more likely the result of contextual issues than anything else.if you look at the 1st and 3rd quarters for him, you’ll see a dramatic difference in his stats, as the rest of the team gets reminded by Casey to look for him on offense. In the 2nd n 4th, he is forgotten on offense, and thus chucks up shots whenever he gets the ball bc he doesn’t know when he’ll get another chance, and, like most young players, loses his intensity and focus elsewhere when he’s not involved on the offensive side of the game.

  • Tanks-a-lot

    Detroit just crushed the Nets.

    Raptors are a good bet to win the Atlantic

    • mountio

      When AA is getting major minutes for the Nets … you know they have problems. Ugly, ugly stuff …

      • SR

        That’s shaping up to be one very, very expensive disaster. There’s still lots of season left, though.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        and he played well
        that means Detroit is whack.

  • NilsBlondon29

    Pessimistic article. This team’s future is bright. We have a smart, capable GM at the helm and some talented young players at the core. Never once this season have I thought that the future of the franchise was “grim”. Lets not forget that the Raptors have one of the BEST point differentials in the league, and excellent rebounding numbers on both ends of the floor. Their passing has gotten far better over the last 4 games.That’s what I call progression, and it’s gradual. I’m not sure why it is you feel things are going so horribly. I’m sick of people devaluing our wins due to the quality of the competition. A win is a win, and if we’re beating the shitty teams handily, it stands to reason that we’re a far more talented bunch than those we’re blowing out. Sorry man, but this write up is super, super defeatist.

    • SR

      You’re absolutely right – Bryan Colangelo put together a nice core and hired a great coach. I’m just glad he’s got this thing headed in the right direction! What’s his PO Box at the ACC? I’d like to send him a peppy little thank you note!

  • GoingBig

    “The first is why would there be improvement in the first place. The starting five played together for half a season already (plus this season). This isn’t Brooklyn or Detroit or Cleveland or one of the many other teams around the league that has multiple new players in the starting lineup that have to get used to playing with one another.”

    So they spent time together last year – much of it playing in low pressure situations against uninterested opponents with DeRozan not as good as this year offensively. The Raptors fooled themselves that the existential question of two low-efficiency shoot-only no-pass wings (with a shoot-first PG thrown in) was solved.
    They can improve in that area – Lowry has in the last few games and with two recent wins with passing look positive.

  • Guest

    Such a pointless push for the playoffs. The draft is SO deep. But instead of let Rudy Gay and Demar launch bricks all day long while Valanciunas (who is supposedly our future and “untouchable”) barely touches the ball. Such a horrible brand of basketball we play and it’s unwatchable. What the hell is Masai Ujiri doing? This franchise is such a joke. We always do the opposite of what we’re supposed to do. Friggin pathetic

  • steve fisher

    Hopefully RG and DD will SOON realize that they could easily improve their shooting % and the TEAMS chances of greatly improved success by SIMPLY NOT forcing bad shots / turnovers and passing Before the double team arrives!

  • David Burnes

    Such a pointless push for the playoffs again the crappy embarassing eastern conf. The draft is SO deep. But we rather let terrible Rudy “Brick” Gay and DeMar launch stupid shots all day long taking a thousand shots a piece while Valanciunas (who is supposedly our future and “untouchable”) barely touches the ball. Such a horrible brand of basketball we play and it’s unwatchable. Casey is the absolute worst coach in the league and he still has a job here. What the hell is Masai Ujiri doing? May aswell of kept BC. This franchise is such a joke. We always do the opposite of what we’re supposed to do. Friggin pathetic. Seems franchise is going to be a laughing stock of the league for the rest of my life apparently. Doesn’t matter what our record says. NO ONE thinks this is a good basketball team.

  • David Burnes

    Treadmill for life…yippee

  • GoingBig

    About the Raptors winning the Atlantic Division to get an unfair playoff spot that might get them to the 2nd round – TOO BAD it is UNFAIR

    The NBA is full of unfair systems of market-size and attractiveness. If either of the NY teams or Boston were at the top with the Raptors’ 6-7 record, there would not be a peep; it would just be a quirky phase of NY/Boston before their “inevitable” march to the NBA championship.

    We are a 0.500 team with all the strengths and weaknesses of being 0.500. If the NBA group-think is whining about the Raptors being first and getting unfair advantage, there’s a solution. The NY/Boston teams should just stop sucking. Problem solved

    • Tee

      Rap of the day

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

      It’s not that it’s unfair. It’s that it’s stupid. And the Raptors would still likely lose in the first round. They would just do it as a fourth seed rather than an 8th or 9th seed. And the fact is no one wants to watch bad teams play in the playoffs.

      And the “NBA group-think” isn’t whining about the Raptors being in first place. They’re complaining that a sub-.500 team might end up getting a 4th seed without actually deserving it, and might end up getting into the playoffs with a record worse than a team that doesn’t get into the playoffs. Whether it be Toronto or New York or Boston or Philadelphia.

      • CJT

        It would be really interesting to see the Raptors lose 4 – 1 in the first round as a 9th seed.

      • GoingBig

        Of course it is unfair. It is a slight unfairness in comparison to the NBA’s systematic market unfairness.
        And there will be ZERO complaints if NYK/BKN/BOS gets the Atlantic seed undeservedly – because the U.S. media will want to have their headlines. There would be parades. And they will want to watch bad teams play – every second – with that unfairness totally forgotten.

    • Matt52

      How is finishing 4th with a lower record than 5th going to get them in to the 2nd round of hte playoffs?

      They still need to win the games and, despite a higher seeding, they won’t have home court advantage.

      This is 2007-2008 and a lot of fans can’t wait to lose 4-1 with the best draft in 11 years waiting in the wings.

      • sleepz

        That team (2007) was better than this team.

      • GoingBig

        If we’re in the play-offs, which manager would prefer 4th seed versus 8th? Prefer to sacrifice the Raptors on the altar of an abstract sporting fairness? The NBA accepts that 5 or 6 markets will have an unfair advantage. No one seems to be leaping forward to re-rig that.

        A weak division winner receiving a higher seed position or getting in ahead of a team stuck in a strong division is a slight unfairness in comparison to your regularly scheduled systematic unfairness.

        A .500 Raptors with the unfair Atlantic seed in the playoffs would increase the probability of getting into the 2nd round of the playoffs. It ain’t a guarantee but Toronto does place itself in a better position where our strengths might be better matched to our opponent.

        OR are we just abstracting the tanking debate?

        You want to avoid the playoffs, why? Reaching the playoffs is a legitimate goal
        Value received from it:
        – Getting placed back on the map in the NBA – which increases the chance of at least 2nd tier free-agents deciding to come here(with a prospering JV and Lowry plus DD, maybe a top 2nd tier or higher)
        – The increase of worth for the current roster – all that experience at a higher level will increase their level of competence and pressure-handling for the next season = another return to the play-offs.
        – For all the talk of ridding ourselves of Rudy/DD/Lowry, their traded equivalents would also value a return to the play-offs and are likely to increase the likelihood of them remaining.

    • SR

      Two thousand and seven.

      *Slams head against wall.*

      “Look, candy! Shiny!”

  • Paul

    Good article. Nice to see that not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon
    because of two games against terrible competition where our offense
    happened to look passable.
    No one would dare criticize Ujiri right now
    because he still has that new car smell (much like Colangelo did when
    he arrived and flipped Araujo for Hump), but I must say, his wait and
    see approach is beginning to irk me.
    This team is playing its way out of draft contention simply by beating up on the dregs of the East.
    Here’s a trade that would get us on track:
    Bulls
    – Kyle Lowry
    Raptors
    – Kirk Heinrich
    – Tony Snell or Marquis Teague
    – Chicago 2014 1st round pick (top 10 protected) or Charlotte 2014 1st round pick (owned by Chi)

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Chicago does need to make a change.
      what a sad way to see a career end.

  • d_1212

    By having a poor offense so far, Gay and Derozan having bad FG%, the raptors are on top of the Atlantic…if the offense pick up not sure how things can get worst

  • Fan

    BOOOOOOOO! Nice to see a few people giving Tim a hard time and making him answer left right and center lol

  • C-Low

    This is a little extreme..

    I get what Matt”s trying to say about 2006-2008, but hey guess what I really enjoyed watching raptors basketball those years..Sell out crowds, loud arena, playoff aspirations.. Sam Mitchell getting gangster in close wins forgetting he’s a coach lol.

    I’d love to be able to cheer for the team now like I did then. All the pro tankers have this imaginary dream that if we blow it up we’ll some how turn everything around in a flash. We blow it up now, we’re setting ourselves back another 5 years. Players want to play for teams that win period.

  • doncity

    So when we lose it’s because we stink and when we win it’s a mirage? While I understand that every fan has the right to question a team’s roster and make-up, at a certain point you have to decide whether you’re a fan or not. When you start cheering against your team to prove some kind of point, that’s when you’re on shaky ground. If you don’t like the Raptors for whatever reason, the answer is simple – support another team that better matches your preferred basketball philosophy, and leave us Raptor fans in peace.

    This whole “tank” thing has gone way past trolling. Face it – it’s not going to happen. Accept it and move on. Either grit your teeth and cheer on the squad or find another team to support.

    People are talking loud on the internet but we all know yelling about how our team stinks and we should lose on purpose is a good way to start a fight in any decent sports bar in the city. Seriously, dude if you don’t like the Raptors go cheer for another team – no one will miss you. Might I suggest Utah?

  • krew

    Just going to add my rare opinion. I read this site but rarely add to the conversation because of posts like this, so much negativity. So,

    You mean to tell me NOT every NBA team has Lebron and can win the whole thing??? (sarcasm) Get over it. Would I love the team that I have followed since its inauguration to win the whole thing, YES. Do I think the team SUCKs if they aren’t in position to do so? HELL NO!!!!

    Not just sit back and be happy, just accept that a team like this can actually compete and I would prefer that then BLOWING it up so we can SUCK again. Middle of the road team, yes and for once I can at least say that! How about a couple of years of at least making the playoffs or competing for a chance whether or not they can win the whole thing. I was happy when Vince Carter was leading this team, and that team really had no chance of winning it all either! I don’t want to suck again just for the chance to get Wiggins or Parker and watch them become another Rudy Gay! We already have talent, we need to just play the game and become a team.

    and I don’t think it is accepting losing if I m happy to see them able to beat the lesser teams and maybe not beat the BEST teams in the league. If they can’t beat SA, Mia or Chicago: SO WHAT! Its a hell of a lot better than watching a team go 12-70!

  • rapierraptor

    I feel like this article was written under the false pretense that most fans think that we are an awesome team because we sit atop the terrible Atlantic division at 6-7. I’d say most fans realize that there are plenty of shortcomings and limitations moving forward. That shouldn’t stop people from enjoying a nice week and some developing chemistry in Raptorland.

  • Ian

    Of Derozan you say this “In fact, he takes more shots from beyond 15 feet than from inside 15 feet.” Have you adjusted for his trips to the free throw line which are typically generated by shots taken inside 15 feet? If free throws are awarded, the field goal attempt is stricken.

  • Dr. Scooby

    So at 6-7, the Raps aren’t as bad as expected, and suddenly we’re a competitive team!? Homers, gets real.

  • Louvens Remy

    Nice article. Valid points but its game 13. I start to really evaluate average teams after game # 30. I always figure 1/3 of the season is when it makes sense to really break down and analyze what you have. #Game30 is really a great sample size to pick from. In my opinion, you are what we thought you were after #game30. Anything before that is inconclusive. Too many smoke and mirrors in the L right now for me to figure out who is what, plus injuries start to really take shape in and around #game30. I may have made up that last point but it seems right to me.

  • Louvens Remy

    Also, I really want this team to do well and make the playoffs. I don’t care how they get there because I just care about watching and rooting for my team to win. I don’t have anything invested except for time, money (sometimes), energy and love for basketball. If they choose to blow it up and trade everybody, then so be it. There are at least 15 other teams I can watch on any given night. I just won’t spend money, time or energy to follow this team as closely… Go Raps (until further notice)