This week on The Doctor is In with Phdsteve, I have called in the boys from the world wide roundtable to talk ball and we have a discussion about all the action in NBA and NCAA while continually tying it back to the Raptors! Joined by my brother Mike (who knows college basketball), and Blair Miller from The Fifth Quarter Blog we discuss:

  • The meltdown of the year as the Raps blow a 27-point lead in Oakland, completing a week that saw the Raps go 0-4 and lose in four different ways!
  • Who is to blame for a Raptors team which, at 6-11, are now heading in the wrong direction?
  • Can we still be optimistic?
  • Where are all the fast break points? Why aren’t the Raptors sharing the rock? Are they actually a good rebounding team? We explore some of the trends of this team’s successes and failures
  • What happens if the Raptors lose 3 or 4 more in a row?
  • How big a month is this for Casey? Ujiri? And Raptors Fans in general?
  • After 30 minutes of Raptors talk we switch to college ball and preview the AP Top 10 giving listeners a run-down of all the teams and players to watch on teams not named Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State or Duke
  • There is even some Dalai Lama to help ease the minds of suffering Raptors fans!

Follow: @therealphdsteve

Grab the iTunes feed or the plain old feed. You can also download the file (50:32, 60 MB). Or just listen below:

  • 2damkule

    steve…you should listen to your last rapcast, i think you’d like that guy. all optimisitic for the future, talking ’bout playoffs, etc etc. FYI: nothing changed in terms of the roster between then & now, so i’m not sure why your opinion of the team has changed with respect to MU’s roster construction. i mean, if the team last week was a potential playoff team moving in the right direction, and nothing changed, then why are things so much more dire now than they were then?

    oh, wait…they lost some games, so everything’s changed now? at least you aren’t an irrational, over-reactionary fan. surely, the best way to go about analyzing things is to wait until the shot falls or rims out before deciding whether it’s a good shot or not.

    maybe they simply are what you’ve – up till now – have refused to believe. not that good.

    • arsenalist

      In the context of this Eastern conference the Raptors are a playoff team. So in relative terms they’re “good” but in absolute terms they’re not, if that makes any sense. I still think the best way moving forward is to tweak the roster, maybe the coaching, and not blow everything up and set us back another 3-4 years.

      There were a couple comments in one of the posts from yesterday that talked about the importance of coaching and how in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter much. I’ll contend that the Raptors making or missing the playoffs is up to coaching. The players are the ultimate reason you win or lose, but the current crop of Raptors are very undisciplined and there doesn’t seem to be much correction going on, e.g., shot-selections, playing time, sub-patterns. This to me is a big problem. Even if the players remain the same and we play more team-ball where it’s not just about DeMar and Rudy, this team can be something that one can enjoy watching.

      The GSW game was a good example, it’s not like the Raptors sucked for the duration of that game. Hansbrough, DeMar, Lowry were having excellent periods in that game, and I refuse to believe it was just because GSW was bad in that stretch. No, the Raptors were playing very well. But when adversity hit and GSW went on a run, our response wasn’t coordinated enough and we defaulted to me-ball and ridiculous offensive sets (like this one: The way I saw it, when we needed to be a team the most (i.e., under adversity), we reverted to me-ball. That’s a correction that the coaching staff has not made and I fear that Casey promotes this “Rudy will save us in the clutch” mentality which is so out of whack that it makes me question his position.

      • Bendit

        That first half of “excellent periods” was fools gold. It was still iso ball with a difference… a high percentage of makes. And as normally happens with teams/players who gravitate to being one trick ponies, when the shot stops falling and/or the opponent puts on the defensive screws (as inevitably happens with a quality opponent especially in the playoffs) well then…we shall continue with mediocre results. This team needs more than just tweaks I am afraid.

      • 2damkule

        i will grant that coaching is an important element in the game, but IMO, that importance is usually only an actual difference at the very top, whereby an exceptional coach can be the difference between otherwise even teams, either by making astute in-game adjustments, or between games when it comes to a playoff series.

        i completely disagree with you re. the direction of the team. i think they have some good pieces, some good complementary role players, but they are just that. tweaking here & there & hoping for large organic growth is EXACTLY the recipe for cooking up a ‘perpetual mediocrity casserole.’ i don’t see one guy on this roster who you’d consider a ‘build around’ guy, do you? even if you think JV could get there someday, for him to be effective (hell, for ALL bigs to be effective), you need solid – if not star-quality – players around him, either to get him the the ball, or to spread the floor to keep Ds from clogging the paint/doubling low. and there just aren’t those guys on this roster – again, some are pretty good complementary pieces, but as they’ve shown, they simply don’t have the talent.

        further…they really don’t have the assets to ‘tweak’ the roster such that it would be an improvement over what they currently have.

        • arsenalist

          At the risk of turning this into another tanking/non-tanking debate, I’m going to suggest that going backwards (e.g., flipping DeRozan, Lowry, Johnson for nothing) and then proceeding to lose to get in the lottery, will not accomplish anything except waste more time, so the ONLY option is to work off of what you have while looking ahead and not backwards.

          I think the Rudy Gay deal was a horrible, horrible transaction and has completely changed the landscape of this franchise. If he isn’t there, we have Ed Davis who would’ve gotten minutes last year and continued producing, and we would be in a situation where we could potentially package him/Lowry, or even Calderon last season as part of a deal for something valuable. As it stands, we got Rudy and that’s it. Take him out of the equation and you might even get a team that shares the ball and looks decent while doing it. The “asset” that you’re saying the Raptors are missing is, unfortunately, Rudy Gay and depending on what Ujiri can get for him is what’s going to dictate whether the Raptors will be going forward (trying to win) or backward (trying to lose).

          TL;DR: Things aren’t as bad if we flip Gay for something useful and finally draft effectively.

          • 2damkule

            agree re. not having another debate re. tanking.

            and i’m fine with retaining DD, and extending lowry.

            and i’m leery of trying to move amir, or even ross. i guess i’ just see this team stagnating, and becoming set as the type of team they are, because they’re hamstrung by rudy’s presence. he’s not nearly as bad as he’s been this season, but even at his very best, i don’t think he’s capable of dragging this team up beyond the level of mediocrity. at worst, his presence stifles growth (because as much as we’d like to see some accountability in terms of PT or his role, it’s unlikely to happen), and while in general he’s a net plus for tank nation, i’m more concerned (no, really!) with how this team develops its young players. IMO, i don’t think they need to make any drastic moves this year to ‘tank,’ it’ll just happen on its own. pushing gay out and getting even just a pick &/or a prospect would be a gain, though there’s risk that doing so actually improves the team.

      • LosLikeGilligan

        I agree you with you 100%. With the current Raptors roster, getting to .500 won’t be easy but it should not be too hard. The Raptors don’t run enough plays to free up their players and create a more dynamic game. Majority of the offensive is generated by Demar and Rudy ISO (me-ball) play. Watching the 4th quarter of the Raptors vs GSW game gave a clear indication of what needs to be fixed. Where was the time out when the lead was chopped down to 6? After David Lee got the put back I thought it was certain that it would come but it didn’t. Why is Dwayne Casey still practicing different rotations during a game which drives me nuts because that is what practice is for…yes practice. As a Toronto fan, I have seen a bunch of coaches come and go. I feel that at this point in time we need a veteran coach with credibility and not those assistant coaches that could amount to be a great coach. When players have better leadership and disciplined they perform with a better knowledge of the game. Shot selection is a huge problem for the Raptors and that is why Rudy doesn’t want the stats sheet in the locker room. They need to see their numbers because that is the harsh reality of things.

        • 2damkule

          a) why would getting to .500 ‘not be too hard?’
          b) why is getting to .500 even a goal?

      • theswirsky

        Why is it when our players have periods of time where they play well, people believe its somehow sustainable?

        Winners are winners because they only have periods of time where they are bad, the rest of the time they are great. They are consistent.

        Raptors? They have periods of time where they play great, but with years upon years of being bad or average or slightly above average… and somehow we believe they can harness that lightning in a bottle from a quarter, or game or couple week stretch, and make a career of it.

        Its not happening.

        “this team can be something that one can enjoy watching”
        I believe this is called the Bargnani effect. The goal posts have been set at new lows.

        • rapierraptor

          Sometimes it is what it is — the Gay deal handicapped this team in so many ways and Ujiri is going to have a very hard time finding a taker for him. As a fan who spends a considerable amount of time watching and thinking about Raptors basketball, having a team that is enjoyable is always one of my goal posts.

      • FLUXLAND

        Periods in the game? Umm, until when? The other teams starts giving a hoot and the opposing coach makes winning adjustments?

        You can’t possibly be falling for occasional sign of belonging in the NBA as proof these are players that can produce consistently?

        • arsenalist

          I think this team can get good results if Gay is traded for something that resembles value (even addition by subtraction is OK), the defense is up to Casey’s first year, the offense is fixed to the point where we have an inside/out approach, a backup C is acquired, DeRozan improves defensively, and if the mess that is the backup PG sorts itself.

          Is that a long-term fix? Probably not, but I’d rather build on things than tear it all down.

          • FLUXLAND

            “Is that a long-term fix? Probably not, but I’d rather build on things than tear it all down.”

            Arse, that sounds like 1 of 3 BC email signatures. :p But, I think I’m in the same ballpark, minus details.

            Trade Rudy or trade DD? Which one should (perceptions all considered) put you in a (let’s put this way) “less likely to get fleeced and to do the fleecing” scenario?

            Is it likely that you can convince a guy to do less, who’s shown even after a s***y trade (from a player’s view) that he can do things that change the outcome of games through his will, or that you will see those things from a guy after 5 years of, basically, never seeing it all? And one that nightly can’t give you a game on both sides of the ball? Are people more likely to come play for (with) DD or Rudy?

            I don’t think any PG situation will be sorted until KL’s future is more clear.

            I’m not ready to call this a defensive team, maybe one that finally acknowledges it part of the game. I/O …so many ? inside, that may be a while away methinks.

  • Jamshid

    I was a big fan of Steve last year but this year he is really OFF … The best thing that UM can do is to tank right now. This team was not good enough from beginning and does not have the tools and the assets to make moves now that can make them competitive. Wining the division means NOTHING when the other teams in that division are either tanking or have won less than 5 games so far …

  • J

    That intro is really, really bad

  • Kyle

    The lead guy on the podcast sounds like Timmy from South Park and that’s not a good thing.

  • Dr. Scooby


    You and your optimism give this flawed Colangelo roster far too much credit; they are nothing but a few nice pieces that just don’t fit well together.

    Then bizarrely in your next breath you pan MU & Leiweke as lacking any ability to improve a professional sports team…which in this case is impossible to prove as Colangelo’s rudderless and irresponsible roster (fiscal) management has created an extremely challenging situation.

    You raise so many nice basketball points and then generate confusing and highly debatable conclusions