My, what a difference a week makes. Seven days ago, the Raps were mired in some of the most depressing basketball you could ever hope to (not) see, the team seemed rudderless, and the DeMar DeRozan/Rudy Gay duo were getting syndromes named after them by Bill Simmons. It was boring to watch, soul-sucking to cover, and even though you knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel, you couldn’t even see it yet. It was just miles and miles of… not exactly darkness, but greyness. It was blah.

Finally, though, with the aforementioned Gay shipped out of town for eminently more moveable (and arguably more useful) pieces, the Raptors as a franchise have finally turned a corner to where the light is visible, albeit faintly (and yes, I know I made a train analogy in my Rudy Gay trade reaction, too). On the court, the team looks better, or at least more watchable. Our youngsters are getting minutes – and touches – that they weren’t getting before the move.

Most importantly, though, the front office has apparently placed a large “clearance sale!!!” sign on the front door of the ACC. The tank is on, say the various Raptor commentators/bloggers/analysts/Doug Smith. The front office seems to have acknowledged it too, if not overtly, and, as fans, we’re left to wait and see who the next player is to be shipped out the door for prospects, picks, cap relief, or some combination of the three.

On its face, it seems like an easy assignment for Raptor management: lose the useful players, lose the games, get Andrew Wiggins (or one of the many exciting consolation prizes). In reality, though, nothing is that simple. Yes, Rudy Gay (and his contract) were a dark cloud hanging over the franchise, and that cloud has been lifted. But just because it’s easier to see doesn’t mean the landscape’s changed. Nobody thought Gay was a long-term solution for the Raps, and so, for Masai, the real work begins now.

See, the problem with building a franchise is that your best players – AKA your most tradeable assets (and, in the case of the Raptors, quite possibly your only tradeable assets) – are also the players most likely to be part of a successful team moving forward (again, in the case of the Raptors, quite possibly the only players who can be part of a successful team moving forward). The conundrum for management of a rebuilding team is to decide how to balance the team’s future on the court with the success of the “tank” today. I mean, Andrew Wiggins is good, but one great player does not a champion make.

Essentially, Masai and his team are still in the evaluation stages. What’s changed since the Gay trade is that the evaluation is no longer focused on the core group as a whole, but on each player individually – balancing the success he could have as a part of the Raptor franchise with the return he’s likely to get on the open market. Without commenting on the four new faces coming to town, I’d imagine there are only six Raptors that the jury’s still out on in this regard: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, Jonas Valanciunas, and Terrence Ross. These players are the condundrums, the enigmas; the only Raptors good enough to both command significant return on the open market and hurt a potential “tank,” and also the only ones who could reasonably expect to be part of this franchise post-rebuild. What management decides to do with this group will effectively determine the course of this franchise up until the end of the season (though I no longer doubt Masai’s abilities – I wouldn’t be shocked if we woke up tomorrow and found that he’d flipped Landry Fields for a first-rounder and season tickets to Cirque de Soleil).

jonasrossOn paper, I think this group breaks up into three reasonably distinguishable categories. The first of these is the players most likely to stay put – Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. Both of these guys are young, have shown flashes of considerable potential, and are on rookie deals. Both have proven they can contribute on the court in meaningful ways. And both aren’t good enough now to significantly affect the team’s win/loss total in the short term. There’s been a lot of talk about how nobody – not even Jonas – is “untouchable” in this stage of the rebuild, but I’d be pretty shocked if not just Val, but Ross as well, were moved for anything besides players at a similar stage in their careers for positional fit. In a nutshell, there aren’t a whole lot of guys on the team who have a chance to outplay their contracts, and these two do – essential for a successful team. Luckily, for the Raps, it doesn’t appear like that’s going to happen this year, which works perfectly with the Raptors’ unstated intention to snag a high draft pick in 2014.

The second of this group is the guys most likely to be headed out of town in the near future – Tyler Hansbrough and Kyle Lowry. On first glance, these guys are about as dissimilar as you can get: one’s an established starter, one’s a bench guy; one’s on an expiring deal and due for a raise in free agency, one has another year to go. Where these two are similar, though, is in their relative value on the open market. Both of these players are clearly more valuable to contending teams than to a franchise focused on the future like the Raptors. Hansbrough, who’s seemingly bounced back from a disastrous season last year in Indiana, could be brought on to fortify the end of a playoff team’s bench at a miminal cost, and his departure from the Raptors won’t swing the needle either way in terms of wins, as evidenced by the team’s recent performances following his injury.

Lowry’s case is even more clear-cut. On a very reasonable expiring contract, and with a proven track record as a starting point guard, he could very easily slide in as a major contributor to a team with aspirations to make a move this season (Chicago? Indiana?). If he stays on the Raptors, though, he’s very likely to lead the team to a few wins just by his presence alone. For a team that’s unlikely to re-sign him to the type of deal he’s looking for once he hits free agency in the summer, that’s a net negative, and so it’d be very surprising if Masai and crew don’t flip him for assets now, while they can.

The final group – Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan – is the most intriguing. Along with Lowry, these two players are inarguably the most valuable on Toronto’s roster, and trading them would likely bring the biggest haul of assets while most dramatically affecting the team’s win total. Both are young and signed to reasonable contracts past this season (Johnson might be one of the best values in the league – if he gets traded, expect the gushing articles to follow as soon as he departs the blind spot NBA writers seem to have when it comes to Toronto). However, both have plenty of potential to positively affect the next iteration of the Raptor franchise, and so, for Ujiri and co., it’s decision time. Making calls on players like Johnson and DeRozan is why guys like Masai get paid the big bucks.

amir demarIn a perfect world, it’d be great if both of these guys came down with mysterious “injuries” at some point this year – keeping their value for the future with the Raptor franchise but mitigating their impact on the court this year. Don’t rule this out, especially near the end of the season, though it’s a bit slimy and the league will likely be on high alert with so many teams in tank mode. However, the far more likely course of action is that the next few months for Raptor management will be spent heavily evaluating the contributions of DeRozan and Johnson (and the rest of the team, but especially these two), and weighing their value tomorrow against it today. Don’t expect these guys to get moved in the summer. If they’re here after the deadline, they’re here to stay.

Basically, now that the first big – and most obvious – step has been taken, the real decision-making can begin for Raptor management. Things are about to get interesting again for Raptor fans. Just expect the excitement to come off the court, rather than on it.

  • Andrey

    I hope Amir and Demar gets to stay. All we need is horrible bench and we will lose plenty of games.

    • c_bcm


    • StrikerAI

      We already have a horrible bench. I’d like Amir to stay, but Derozan, Hansbrough and Lowry can go. Amir does contribute to winning, but with a lineup of Vasquez/Stone, Ross/Salmons, Fields/Novak, Amir/Patterson and Jonas/Hayes, not even Amir can help win games and this team is on its way to a pretty good tanking season. Vasquez is like Calderon on defense, Salmons has been pretty bad, Fields’ offense hasn’t been good, Novak has been struggling and Patterson is similar to Bargnani.

      • 2damkule

        HAD a horrible bench. it’s considerably better now, which is the concern…at least until the new guys are flipped. of course, as long as casey keeps using a hockey shift mentality for his substitution patterns, i’m sure he’ll figure out a way to wring the worst out of the bench.

  • Nilanka15

    Out of all the players profiled, Amir would be the toughest to see leave.

    But it’s about the future, and all these players represent the present. I’m OK with Ujiri starting with a clean slate.

    • leftovercrack

      DD and Amir are still young enough, IMO, that they could be part of a future team. We are talking 3 years in the future not 10, I hope! I think the key to the tank will be Lowry. Trading him and going with Vasquez and Buycks, while give Ross and JV starters’ minutes to learn, should be enough for us to be in the lottery

      • GLF

        I couldn’t agree more. I believe in the tank now but I don’t think we need to trade literally every good player we have (especially since they’re young) to become a bad team. I really do believe getting rid of Lowry and maybe Hansbrough is enough to make us pretty bad.

  • Paul

    Doug Smith does not acknowledge the tank. I dunno where you read that but he’s having none of it. Guy is delusional.

    • sleepz

      He’s stubborn and thinks because he has a forum and is a beat writer for the team that his word is the Gospel.

      Even before BC got canned he was telling everyone how he wasn’t going anywhere as the GM of the team.

  • GoingBig

    Thanks for the clarity – there are a lot of options out there.

    How soon trades happen is going to depend on what is available (and good enough for Masai) on the trade market rather than arbritrary deadlines. I think he’s going to allow the current set-up a fair chance to work itself together and to have a chance to prove themselves.

    This is also another evaluation period for Dwane Casey. The excuse had been that Rudy Gay was messing up the Raptors offence. That excuse is gone. The Raptors are a functional team, but as the Spurs game showed, Casey was out-coached. The Raps had a basic setup that was working very well in the 1st quarter, then Popovich responded. What did Casey have to respond to Popovich’s adjustments? I didn’t see anything. There’s another level that Casey has to get to in order to keep his job. More importantly, he’s got to show the league or he won’t get another head coach job. I think Masai will not keep him either way – but I like Casey – he’s a good guy.

  • Andrius

    Not much has yet to happen. If you look at it, we are more or less in the same position as in the beginning of last year. No Rudy Gay, (pretty much) No Bargniani as then as now :D. And the leaders who carry the team are the same as the last season. There is still not much to celebrate, and it seems as if Masai wants to have things his own way to the very bottom. I wouldn’t be surprised if Raptors don’t make any major changes, apart from constantly changing starting line-up and changing rotational minutes for each player, till the end of the season. He will wait till the end. Lots of expiring contracts and a great upcoming draft. I’d also think anyone on the roster is available for a trade, even JV.

    JV clearly isn’t living up to the promise. You see him lost out there a lot of the times, just running back and forth, or just disappear in the plays completely. On defense apart from his rarely occurring blocks, not much gets me exited, his pick and roll defense, is probably the worst in the NBA with the best of them, as well as help defense and awareness in general in both sides. It’s just sad, I still remember watching him just dismantle USA in the U-19 world championship, the dude was a beast through out the tournament. Scoring 30 points and getting 15 rebounds was nothing to him, he was all around doing everything and leading the team in all possible ways. I got a lot of questions how they develop our players, even though Casey was saying that they probably do that best in the NBA (I doubt that, do they even know how much Kobe trains, that’s what you should try to replicate). I’m also missing the fight in his character (but I guess he isn’t getting much of example from veterans around him), you can see him letting his teammates take his rebounds after he boxes out, and it hurts his stat sheet at the end of the game, and the inability to defend properly and the fear to get fouls, leaves him standing there with his hands in the air (VERTICALITY!), while guys are running a clinic around him. But still looking in general terms it doesn’t make much sense trading him, for the amount he gets paid you won’t get a much better center for that money, so meanwhile he can still be called the so called ‘Future’, but I think his time is running out. Especially when you see guys like A.Drummond killing the stat sheet, who as you all know was taken after JV, no one is gonna wait for as long as ‘Primo Pasta’ had his chance. I’m still wishing JV the best, it’s just frustrating, the coaching staff doesn’t know what they are doing, and our young talent gets hurt as well.

    The saddest part is that in a team like the Raptors, where there are no true leaders, just the ones made artificially by the media and the organisation, a guy like JV should step in and lead the team, or any other guy for that matter, get on guys and produce constantly, a guy who takes a W over his own good stat sheet. Now when you look the way they play it’s hard to understand what they are playing for. Guys like LeBron, Jordan or even Kobe from first day on the court and practice floor established that they won’t back down, my way or the highway type of mentality. Raptors don’t have any players that even can come an inch to the comparison, and that is the saddest part. Talent is one thing, but your attitude and mentality, determination is what will set the difference between you and the other guy.

    I think at the end Masai will look for new blood and run the Raptors to the ground and rebuild from the bottom. A Draft and a lifeless remaining 5 months is what we are looking here I’d say. You might get to see DeMar averaging 25 points going forward, TRoss winning the dunk contest, seeing Ross and JV in the Rising Stars Challenge, maybe 1 or 2 trades, Casey’s early leave, but that’s if we as Raps fans will be lucky. There will at least be something to talk about, keep us the slightest bit interested. But playoffs or anything else exiting this season I think will be left for future successors. You can’t blame Masai, it is what it is. He will never admit it, but we are clearly heading this way.


    • desktom

      This bs of running down Jonas has got to stop . Any crap directed at Jonas has to be laid at the feet of the coach. We have a monster in the low post . The black hole that was Rudy Gay is gone. Against the Spurs Amir and Jonas go 15-17 early and are never looked at again ?? Jonas has the heart and passion that should be held up for leadership not ridicule. Get the big man involved and his defense becomes better. This kid could be killer if the coach would stop treating him like a smelly turd.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    Greivis Vasquez kind of throws a kink into things. He has his issues but he’s also a pretty good point guard and would make the loss of Lowry manageable in game situations. Before he arrived Lowry playing very well for a high number of minutes was the only chance that the Raptors had of winning any games. Without Lowry, with Buycks and Stone, they would have been finished. Trade Lowry and you have the Craptors you desire without having to break up the rest of the team. Now I’m not so sure.

    • 2damkule

      trading lowry still ‘works’ from a tank perspective, since they’d still be left with shit at the back-up PG position, and you’d be forcing a guy who’s a back-up (vasquez) into a more prominent role, where his abysmal D would be more exposed.

      • StabbyRaccoon

        yeah for sure, trading Lowry would make them much worse. But what I want is for them to be so hurting at the point guard position that they don’t have to trade anyone else to have a successful tank. Like I don’t want them to have to trade Lowry and DeRozan to be bad enough.

  • keith

    getting rid of the whole gambit would be dumb! Sorry, the tank doesn’t need to unload all the decent players on the team now.

    I can see sending Lowry (solid player, expiring contract) and maybe couple him with Ross or DD to get something good in return or more picks either in 2014 or 2015 (unprotected is a good pick to me). But dumping Amir and everyone would be horrible!

    Honestly I don’t see any reason to dump more players unless you get a bunch of picks. They are already losing enough, why lose good talent to couple with Wiggins or Parker. It would be fruitless to bring in such talent and have NOBODY to play them with. And Ross/JV doesn’t move the needle enough. For Wiggins to be what he can, need the lineup to have either Ross, Amir and JV or DD, Amir and JV.

    and hopefully we can get a second 1st rounder (even in the late 20’s) to pick up a stud young PG. I like Keith Appling out of Michigan State. 6’1” but a tough defender and can get the ball to Wiggins and Co.

    the team is losing enough as is, if we only move Lowry I think that would be enough to secure a top 3 pick. Unless we could get another top 10 to get Marcus Smart or Aaron Harrison, I don’t see getting rid of DD or Amir, and more.

    • 2damkule

      you do it to avoid the risk of being just good enough to slip out of the top-5 or 6 in the draft. picking in the lottery is great, but outside those spots, it becomes more crap-shooty, and likely extends the tank into a second season. do it right this year, bottom out, get that high pick & use your assets & cap space to made lop-sided trades (or FA signings…HA!) to complement the high pick and begin the rebuild.

  • thatpeterguy

    I would trade Lowry leaving us with a core of Derozan, Jonas Christ Superstar, and Wiggins (please God!) Getting rid of Derozan would make the team a complete debacle instead of just the sad disgrace that we have today. The Raps are still bad enough to be a bottom 5 team if they do a good job sucking. And the great draft pick we get next year will enter the league with virtually no help and in a couple years he will be as good as Derozan is today. I’m all for tanking but ideally we can have a decent stable of players for our saviour #1 draft pick to work with the way Duncan was able to start off with a nice complement of players. That’s obviously ideal and not easy to pull off but I think its something to shoot for.

    • DrFunk

      a bottom 5 team if Casey does a Casey job Caseying

  • Pello

    You also forgot about our recently acquired pieces. Vasquez, Hayes, and Patterson definitely have some value on the open market.

  • nyStef

    I like TRoss but I don’t see him on a par with Jonas, as far as young potential goes. I’m biased on it to be sure (I do like JV) but even looking at last night’s game, the stuff that Jonas was doing in the first quarter was seriously impressive. Yes, Spurs made adjustments and neutralized what he was doing quickly enough (they’re the Spurs) but I don’t think that’s gonna happen for JV’s whole career. He’s smart and I think he’ll figure it all out, in time. On the other hand, TRoss shows flashes of tremendous athleticism and certain abilities but … I don’t see the commitment to getting-all-the-way-there that I think I see in JV.

    • TheSpiceTyrant

      Agree… Never was a fan of the pick. Nice player, serious hops, but I was really really hoping for the Andrew Cooper-like lock down defender who could nail jumpers and finish at the rim. I just don’t see that happening.

  • jvuc

    There is a chance of a draft day trade for some of these folks. But the question now is do the raps
    1. Tank for one year and rebuild using their cap flexibility or
    2. Complete a multi-year tank to gather a couple high end players

    • 2damkule

      if they do it right, they can complete the tank (i.e. the bottom-out-to-acquire-draft-talent tank) this year, and commence the rebuild this summer, starting with the draft, and using the cap space created (and assets obtained via trade) to build a new core, and then over the course of the following season(s), build that core as organically as possible. not expecting that the results of this year’s tank will produce a contender right away, but it should lay the groundwork for a contending team.

  • CN

    MU just has to keep Casey as a coach to lose games… I hate the idea of tanking…. but is going to happen if Casey stay as coach, is price to high to pay because JV and TR development is not going to happen. .

    • Tanks-a-lot

      Utah is the only team with 4 wins

      We are going to have to increase our rate of sucking to 3X the Jazz’s suckiness.

      • 2damkule

        don’t really have to ‘match’ the very worst teams in suckitude. while the goal in a traditional tank is to be the absolute worst team to guarantee a top-4 pick, this draft is so loaded, the goal should be to get into the top-5, and take whichever guy is left of wiggins, randle, parker, smart, exum.

        IMO, the ’14 draft is the bizarro ’06 draft; there’s not consensus no. 1, but instead of that being because it’s a weak (overall) pool of players, this year it’s because it’s just so deep, esp the top 5 or 6. i’m

        this is gonna sound weird, and i’m obviously getting waaaay ahead of myself, but i’m kinda worried that wiggins will be available when the raps pick (though, that would be a glorious outcome), and feel compelled to take him even if another player is on the board they like more. for me, i’m getting more & more behind the idea of smart over any of the other top-5…not sure why, just seems to be the complete & total package.

        • Tanks-a-lot

          The Raptors are winning at a rate that will keep the team out of the top 8 even, that’s what worries me. Hard Core suckiness is needed right away to fix the accidental winning problem.

          I worry about the “hometown player” distractions that can derail even the best laid plans.

          • jjdynomite

            Worked for Derrick Rose. Oh, um, nevermind.

  • desktom

    Running down JV or TR is such a joke. It looks like Casey hates these guys. 21 year old kids need to be coached and playing time. I see none of that. If the offense doesn’t run through Jonas 50% of the time in the low post every game we don’t have a clue what we have. If someone doesn’t get on TR to take it to the hole hard the majority of the time we wont know what we have. Tanking is such a pile of steaming crap , makes me wonder why there is a team in Toronto, bunch of losers as fans . Tank this.

    • jjdynomite

      Most of us “tankers” don’t want to be stuck watching a team where JV (picked 5th overall) and TRoss (8th overall) are the best players. Hence, the tank. Even San Antonio tanked the seasons they hit the lottery jackpot and picked Robinson and Duncan, both #1 overall. For every Paul George at #10 there are many, many more 5th and lower players who never pan out. That’s why it’s better to be really bad.

  • Thomas

    Raptors need DeMar and Amir to stay. What’s the point of wanting to be good in the future if you’re going to trade away your young assets? DeMar is only 24 and can be an all-star this year, and Amir is 26 and by the time we’re in “contention” he’s going to be a veteran energy guy that every team needs to be a part of a playoff run. And with the team as it is constructed now, DeMar himself isn’t going to be enough to get wins. If the draft lottery is “rigged” Adam Silver could want the Raptors to get the #1 pick so the Raptors have a good team when All-Star weekend comes to Toronto in 2016. I wouldn’t mind if Lowry stayed too, for the right price of course. A lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, Wiggins/Parker or whoever we can get in the draft, Amir, and Jonas with Ross as the 6th man would be a great core for the future.

    • SuperRapFan

      Wiggins isn’t even the most talented player in the draft, that would be Jabari.

      • Thomas

        you may be right. Parker is the more skilled player right now, since Wiggins is raw offensively, and Parker has a solid all around game. I’d like either of them here, but we’d probably take Wiggins since he’s Canadian and wants to play for Toronto.

        • 2damkule

          that’s a worry, to pick a player for any reason other than you feel he’s the best available. mentioned this elsewhere, but i’m kinda big on smart at the moment (note: i reserve the right to change my mind as frequently &/or as irrationally as i want).

          • Thomas

            yeah smart would be a good pick too, especially if we end up trading lowry this year

      • Nilanka15

        Based on the blogosphere, it appears that Jabari is the most NBA-ready, while Wiggins has the most natural ability (i.e. highest ceiling).

  • lewro

    “the front office has apparently placed a large ‘clearance sale!!!'”

    masai must be getting (and will get) way more trade calls now that gay is gone and things are fluid. i think it’s too early to push the panic button on amir or dd. masai’s MO is to watch for a little bit and then tinker. he has 4 new parts that havent even played yet. trades are coming but not tomorrow. except for lowry. demar might go if his stock rises more and the right deal comes along. i’m not as convinced with amir. he has a high chemistry/fan value and most importantly great contract. masai will value him a lot bc it is difficult to replace that. i’m not as sold on jv as being untouchable as i was in the summer. i dont see ross going straight up but maybe in a package deal. anything we get back for ross straight up right now would probably be a lateral move.

  • Ian

    My two cents: Amir is the likely trade candidate – he is a fan favourite, no doubt a favourite of most of the crowd here, which makes him hard to let go, but lets face the facts. Ideally, Amir would come off the bench, play 22-25 minutes a game on a good team. He hustles, but he doesn’t have the talent offensively, nor enough defence to make up for it – and he can’t really shoot the three; they’re trying it out, but it doesn’t pass the eye test like other emerging mobile bigs like Jared Sullinger or Markieff Morris’ (Amir’s release and mechanics are lacklustre and awkward looking). On a rebuilding team, we don’t need guys like him.

    Where as with the case of Demar, I’m starting to think he can be apart of the long term plans. He’s shooting the 3 now, effectively. Thats huge. He gets to the line and has added a post-game. Not to mention his transition game has always been amazing, and generally speaking, he has ascended to near all-star level production – which to me, tells me that he is good enough to be the number 2 banana on a good team, that doesn’t have players that duplicate his talents (ahem). He isn’t a great defender, and probably will never be – fine, but he is becoming a great wing scorer, and every team can afford a couple weak defensive players so long as there is one elite perimeter and post defender on the team.

    Because Amir is not an elite post defender, even though he may be satisfactory-good, means he is more expendable. Not to mention his contract is more attractive, thus he’s likely to net a higher return. We as fans just have to get over our irrational love for him and let go. But god damn’t its hard lol.

    • Roarque

      Help defense = Amir Johnson. He has six years left in his body.

  • TheSpiceTyrant

    Interesting but waaaaay to speculative. Flip it around: what do we NEED/want , then ask how you might make that happen.

    Here is what I think we need
    – top 5 draft pick
    – a decent backup centre who grabs rebounds
    – a solid double double machine at the 4
    – reliable backup point guard whose not a fleece on D
    – a flat out scorer in the second unit
    What else?

    Some of the pieces we might have.

  • TheSpiceTyrant

    I think the other thing we might be over. looking is that there are some serious high calibre free agents this year.

    While teams are racing to the bottom for picks, one or two free agents could turn fortunes for any franchise around.

  • Zubair

    This is off topic, but our fan base at the ACC gives me headaches
    We were down 20+ yesterday and people were still screaming for free t-shirts worth $10? Rain down the boo’s when you perform like that at home, Casey sits his best players for extended minutes to give Buycks and Daye run time when our next game is Friday…
    I’m already fed up with the state of the NBA and the flopping, excessive use of social media and the overall sissy level of it all
    Seeing the fans okay with losing year after year to “rebuild”, if we tank this year or any year I will always be against it. The Raps find a way to bust draft picks or make stupid signings, it won’t work anyways. It’s weird that I have to say it, but as players and coaches, the entire organization, you should NEVER try to lose, ever, ever, ever
    Call me old-school but I know you wouldn’t tell Bird, MJ or even guys on bad teams to lose, they would never accept it.
    Farewell, I’m going to re-watch the 80’s and 90’s ball where guys were nervous and excited to play the game at 7pm, rather than tweeting and getting their nails done all day
    My two cents, rant done. Thank you Raps Republic

    • Tim W.

      No one is asking the players to lose. And if the Raptors had a Bird or a Jordan, they wouldn’t need to tank, would they. If you don’t like tanking, don’t blame the organizations. They are just taking advantage of the system. As long as the NBA rewards bad play, tanking will exist.

      • Zubair

        Vernon Maxwell, Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway, Payton, Rodman, I could name tons of guys that wouldn’t stand for the way the PLAYERS are handling this. Your point is flawed, because even if the NBA “rewards” bad play through lottery picks, only a handful of situations benefit from it. Look at the Cavs, prime example of how it doesn’t work. Toronto needs to promote a winning culture, if that’s an 8th seed every year, that’s better than what we’ve done. When the fans are the ones who support the team, and the media combining to talk about tanking 24/7 + how Casey is openly coaching us to lose certain games, that IS asking to lose. Read your own forum for pete sake, everyone is asking them to lose. As for the Bird and Jordan comparison, it was meant for a different point, but very smart of you to take it literally jeez…those guys would have played their hearts out on any organization, it’s shown through their character. Wizards…and don’t tell me the last few years Bird had in the Celtics were pretty, but he battled through a horrible back and still brought them decent seasons. They are exemplarily examples but I’m just talking character and the Raptors lack it. I do blame organizations, but I also blame the players and coaching. Call me a hater, but I’ve seen guys shed blood on ymca courts and play with more heart for nothing…these guys get millions. Again you’ll probably counter it with some clever reasoning, but as long as your team’s character doesn’t change you will not win with 14 all-stars on your roster if they don’t WANT to win. Carter showed us how will determines everything, if you remember him going to have huge seasons in NJ. End of story.

        • 2damkule

          it’s a weeeeeee bit early to declare that the CLE situation hasn’t worked, no? further, and this has been reiterated time & time again, tanking goes way (waywayway) beyond just ‘being bad,’ the team has to have better-than-just-competent leadership at the top to execute not just the tank, but the rebuild that will follow. getting a high pick is just step one, it MUST be followed up with smart, forward-thinking moves that grow the team with the long-term goal always in clear view.

          as for the players’ roles in a tank…i agree with you, 95% of the players in the NBA are in the NBA at least partly because they have a strong drive/desire to win; it’s what drove them to hone their natural skills & get to the NBA in the first place, so yeah, players go into each game, for the most part, wanting to win that game. as they should, and as a fan, i WANT them to win each game as well, even though i know in my heart that what’s more important at this stage is developing whoever it is they deem to be ‘core’ pieces, playing hard, etc., but coming up short. even though i’m firmly in team tank, i’m still disappointed when they lose. that probably doesn’t make any sense, but it’s sports, so, i’m allowed some irrationality, no?

        • Tanks-a-lot

          “Vernon Maxwell, Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway, Payton, Rodman, I could name tons of guys that wouldn’t stand for the way the PLAYERS are handling this.”

          Who gives a shit what individual competitors believe?

          Are you the type that thinks players like Vince Carter should have a say in how the roster is shaped?

          • Zubair

            Lol…I think any winning team and competitor in any sports gives a shit what individual players think in a TEAM game. That mentality plants itself in your whole squad and organization, it raises the level of play of others and holds everyone accountable. I can’t believe you even say that lol.

            Also, I did not say VC should have a say in how the roster is made…again a point misunderstood. I said his mentality dictates his level of play and desire to win. What I see in the Raps 1-14 on the roster is inconsistent desire to win or be respectable in games at home at least. Hell, I’d like to see some guys play hard or well just to raise their stats.

            Individual competitors are what make teammates come together and eventually become competitive teams, but hey I guess we are watching two different sports

            My point is on desire, if they choose to tank that’s fine. Just play hard. I’ve followed the raps since the Zan Tabek days, I’ve seen it in really rough stages, I’ve been there. We have enough talent to be a decent team this year and sneak into the playoffs. At the very least just go balls to wall and have a couple good team wins like they did against the Lakers. That’s enough to make me a smile. I can’t support guys living the dream with the top trainers and perks in the world not going full grind mode for 48mins every time that play. Teams like the Bucks made the playoffs last year…why can’t I just see us maybe sneak a home win in the playoffs?! That would be special after so many years, you know it would.

            But hey take a gamble on draft picks and live for the future, brandon roy & drose situations can happen. If you live in the present and become a winner, you may attract some more decent player’s who think to themselves “at least these guys grab a 7th 8th seed, I’m ok going there”. We can try to win and still make a great squad, our cap flexibility in two years is through the roof.

            I win.

            • Tanks-a-lot

              “I think any winning team and competitor in any sports gives a shit what individual players think in a TEAM game”

              The Spurs never have had a problem with egos.

              “Teams like the Bucks made the playoffs last year”

              The Bucks suck again

              “That would be special after so many years, you know it would.”

              Whoop de do, slip into the playoffs for a sweep in the first round.

              “you may attract some more decent player’s who think to themselves “at least these guys grab a 7th 8th seed, I’m ok going there””

              Shooting for mediocrity, that’s you.

        • Tim W.

          You promote a winning culture by getting enough talent that you can actually win. Not sneak into the playoffs with a mediocre roster year after year. The Bucks have a mandate to try and make the playoffs every year, and their “winning culture” has done absolutely nothing for them.

          Like it or not, in the NBA you need talent to win. For a team like Toronto, the best place to find that is in the draft, and the best place to find the best talent is in the top of the draft.

          What players think is moot since they aren’t running the organization.

          A lot of people have an emotional reaction to the idea of tanking. And that’s fine. But building a team shouldn’t be done with emotions.

  • raptorspoo

    Gotta be honest… Raptors fans are like a roller coaster of emotions and want decisions based on their current feelings. Darn frustrating~

    The only person that I would be hard pressed to trade is Jonas and not because I think he’s a future superstar but only because he’s a could be a solid piece of the puzzle AND we wouldn’t get a better future piece in return.

    For those of you who hold DD and Amir close to your heart –
    Demar: He’s in a superstar role but he is NOT a superstar player. He lacks on: defense, IQ, team play, being a go to player at crunch time (I mean being go-to a majority of the time even when your opponent knows you’ll be getting the ball), etc. So he’s not a superstar and he’s not a very good role player and not a very good piece of the cog on a championship team. [I think that’s what we’re trying to build, no?]
    Amir: Is a great player to come off the bench for a contending team. I’ll leave it at that.

    To sum it up. Just blow the whole thing up already. Don’t want any accidental wins.

    • desktom

      Gotta be honest ….. Tankers are like a steaming pile of crap, 5 years of absolute disgusting basketball, played by over paid heartless hog ballers with no concept of team ball. We can make the play offs this year if the coach and gm would give us half a chance. Trading any pieces that detract from making the playoffs makes us the The Toronto Expos. You remember what happened to the Expos right? Pull your head outta your ass and go cheer for the knicks you loser.

      • raptorspoo

        Problem is we weren’t tanking the last 5 years. We were tanking but we were trying to win as many games, trying to get into the playoffs.

        So let me ask you: you want to squeak into the play…offs so that we can get our hiney’s whooped and handed back to us. Is that it? That’s your winner mentality?

        Good on you~

        • desktom

          I would like to see a game that meant something. Three years of Casey and no improvement in anything at all zero nothing nil. Tanking 20 games in, for something that may or may not happen , trading away our players to lose and for the future, if that aint the Expos I don’t know what you would call it. Any Toronto fans that mention Tanking is a very large douche in my books and can go straight to hell . Go Raptors.

          • raptorspoo

            Take a chill pill buddy. Go smoke a joint or something.

            Going all blue in the face LOL

          • Alex Vostrikov

            playoffs today will mean nothing next year. you have nothing to build on next year… or after. what you will have is same old grandpa story: “team full of NICE guys, with one black sheep”.
            you changed the GM, so let him build his own way. what is the point to hire new GM, and make him keep same team?
            it has nothing to do with tank nation. current team is BAD. in business, you cannot get attached to stuff, as you will make the wrong choices. sports are the same.

            • desktom

              In business you have to put a product on the floor or you become the Toronto Expos , were 5,000 people cared and that was it. Trading away players to lose is a joke. The coach acts like Jonas and Terence are smelly pieces of turds. The guy cant coach. As much as I cheered for him when came he has not gotten us significantly better in any category after three years he is not focusing on the talent on our team and letting the inmates jack up every shot known to man . Tankers suck end of story. I don’t smoke dope sorry I like my brain.

      • 2damkule

        if you’re equating what’s happening now with the raptors to what happened with the expos, all you’re doing is proving you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  • black angus

    tanking is for the weak

  • vino

    I could easily make a care/counter argument to most of the points here, all with my own
    opinion on the current state/way forward and what makes sense (to me). All this
    write up is very subjective… at the end of the day it is ultimately the timing
    that will decide who will be shipped out and when. Make no mistake, if Ujiri
    gets an offer for any of the players he can’t resist tomorrow – he’ll pull the
    trigger. He has said it himself. If, for example, a player like Wesley Matthews
    gets badly injured and is out for a season… the Blazers could be calling asking
    for Demar. Things could get very interesting in a second, with Portland clearly
    looking to continue their run. This would be a great gamble on their part (to fit
    DD in large Matthews shoes he’s magically created for himself) , and in turn
    could lead to an unexpected lottery first round pick for us, if Portland comes down
    to earth in the remaining of the season and say, just misses the playoffs
    (unlikely, but could happen). This is just an example. Point is, most times it
    is an opportunity, a timely opportunity presented by the other one of 29 GMs or
    a situation on the court/in their locker room… as opposed to planned-cold execution
    of “what makes sense” for Raps. Be patient and trust Masai. I do.

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