Our beloved Toronto Raptors start a four-game road trip tonight with a visit to Dallas to take on the 15-10 Mavericks (8:30 p.m. tip off, Sportsnet One on the broadcast).

On the bright side, you get to watch Dirk Nowitzki rain jumpers from all over the court which is always a treat, a treat we may not get many more times.

On the downside, this is likely the second of what promises to be at least a four-game losing streak. Following Wednesday’s heartbreaker against Charlotte, the Raptors now visit Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio before breaking for Christmas, then return with a home-and-home against the Knicks. Maybe the Knicks are victories, maybe not, most likely it’s a split. In any case, they’ll almost certainly enter the game at Madison Square Garden on the 27th on a four-game skid.

And allow me a rant here: the NBA sucks. I understand that many fans have now switched gears to taking the long-view and are hopeful of more losing than winning for the rest of the season. I understand completely that for the long-term success of the franchise, it probably behooves the team to lose to improve lottery odds and improve the chances of getting a better pick. I am not stupid, I understand these things. My distaste for tanking is nothing new, and I’ve softened on the Raptors doing it, but goddam if it isn’t infuriating to see fans openly rooting against the team. Wednesday’s game was a perfect example, with many fans pleased with the outcome; after all, close, entertaining games that end in a loss are the best-case scenario for fans of the tank. But I just invested three hours in that thing, and I invest a ton of time, energy and (sadly) emotion into this team, there’s no way I can bring myself to root for Kemba Walker to hit a game-winning overtime buzzer-beater. I just can’t. Long term, sure, it makes all the sense in the world. But I’m not rooting for individual losses in the moment, ever, just like I won’t look at a tough stretch of games and think “awesome, losing streak.” You’re free to, and I understand, I just can’t do it and it drives me nuts that the realities of the NBA allow for and encourage rooting against your team.

Anyway, let’s break this thing down.

Position Breakdown
Point Guard: Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez vs. Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin
Edge: Toronto
I miss Calderon here in Toronto (reminder: I named my dog Jose) but the Raptors recently acquired a lite version of him in Vasquez, and Lowry is of course a more complete player. larkin could be a nice player and Monta Ellis spends some time at the point that increases the difficulty of the match-up, but for the most part Raptor guards just have to be ready for pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll. Offensively, this is a match-up to exploit, because as you may recall, Calderon isn’t exactly a terrific defender. I’d also expect to see plenty of two-guard looks from Dwane Casey, as Ellis is a small two.

Wings: DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and John Salmons vs. Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion, Jae Crowder and Vince Carter
Edge: Dallas
BOOOOO. Shit, sorry, we’re in Dallas, not Toronto. Ellis can fill it up and has been far more efficient this year than in year’s past (it’s almost like playing alongside another really good offensive player can make things easier for someone). Marion remains a top-shelf defender and will probably draw the DeRozan assignment, meaning DeRozan may have one of his long-two games. hopefully he stays aggressive and attacks off the bounce, even with the difficult check. Carter off the bench is a nice look for Dallas, too, though he’s shot horribly to start the year. Crowder and Marion, by the way, basically play as interchangeable forwards, splitting time between the three and four.

Bigs: Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas, Tyler Hansbrough and Patrick Patterson vs. Dirk Nowitzki, Samuel Dalembert and DeJuan Blair
Edge: Dallas
I mean, it’s Dirk, what do you want me to say? He’s one of the best to ever do it and remains a very efficient scorer. The Mavericks do a nice job getting Nowitzki the ball in many different situations, though it’s been his post-up game that’s been his greatest weapon so far (he ranks seventh in the league in points per post up). As for the others, Dalembert is another nice test for Valanciunas on the offensive end and Blair will keep everyone working for boards. It’s all about Nowitzki here, though.

The Picks
Vegas says: Mavericks -6 with 72 percent of public action on Dallas, Over/Under 202 with 69 percent of public action on the over
Hollinger Rankings say: Mavericks -5.5
“Averages” say: Mavericks -1
B-Ref says: Raptors have 35% chance of winning outright
Destiny’s Child says: My name

Blake says: I feel pretty confident the Mavericks will take this one, but there are two pretty clear ways to score on Dallas, at least: Get to the restricted area (the Mavericks are the sixth worst team in opponent field goal percentage there) and exploit the corner three (the Mavericks allow an above-average number of attempts from there). It’s not “analytics” really, as much as shots at the rim and corner threes have been hammered home as tenants of that kind of thinking, it’s just a matter of exploiting what Rick Carlisle’s defense allows, and the Mavericks happen to take away the mid-range game more than any other team but the Knicks.

In any case, that’s but one end of the floor and it’s difficult to see the Raptors stopping both Ellis and Nowitzki.

Enjoy the game!

  • leftovercrack

    It’s a two-edged sword. The nature of the lottery and the small number or basketball players on the court encourages tanking – one player can make a huge.difference – and the absurdity of cheering for your team to lose. But having the losing teams get the top picks and letting them control the players for 7-8 years offers a route to success that small-market teams wouldn’t have if there was an equal chance that Miami, Los Angeles or Chicago (teams that have a huge advantage in signing free agents) would get the top picks. In the current financial reality, some teams have huge economic advantages over others and would perpetually win if their rivals didn’t have a means to compete. I know this isn’t an ironclad rule. A brilliant small-market GM could make one or two brilliant 15-20 round picks and talk a star into taking a discount to play with the team – similarly the GM of a large market team can be an idiot and mess things up – but the odds are heavily stacked against the small market team. By losing and potentially being able to draft and control a superstar, the small market teams can at least see a window of hope.

  • 2damkule

    you’ve kind of nailed the dichotomy at play here, blake.

    tanking – or rooting for a tank – is different than WANTING them to lose. hell, i’m as pro-tank as anyone, and yet I still find myself wanting them to win the game, and i don’t think there’s too many that feel differently. it’s just that i know (or at least, i believe) that they aren’t good enough (and this season has borne that out) to be anything other than an average team with this core. the reasons for why building via the draft is the best option have been documented ad nauseum, and don’t need to be repeated, but to have the best shot at that requires getting as high a pick as possible.

    so when they lose, it’s disappointing in the moment, but a relief in a big-picture sense. because what does a win against the bobcats in december really say about this team? does it signify anything at all in terms of the long-term strengths? would it be a harbinger of bigger & better things? some sign that the young players are ‘learning how to win?’ did the wins against the 76ers or bulls mean anything (other than it decreased their chances at a top-3 pick)?

    • SR

      Ditto.

    • arsenalist

      So by this rationale then the following teams should also be looking to tank and not win games since they’re nowhere close to being top and are middling in mid-to-bottom table: Washington, Cleveland, Orlando, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Minnesota, Lakers, Hornets, Sacramento, Utah…could probably find more.

      Imagine if the NBA actually operated this way where teams who weren’t contending for tops in the confernece’s “backup plan” was to tank. Ugh.

      • Tank2Bank

        If they had Toronto’s history, then yes, yes they should.

        • arsenalist

          What does history have anything to do with it? It’s about the present state of the team and its future direction.

  • ckh26

    Blake.. Agree. There is something fundamentally wrong with a league that has 30% of its teams looking to lose games as a strategy a quarter way through its schedule. Combine that with the NBA being the only professional sports league that has even a hint that its draft system is rigged and you get a pretty dysfunctional set of parameters to deal with.

    Perhaps every team gets an equal amount of ping pong balls in the draft. Then there is no reason to tank.

    • sleepz

      30% of the teams in the NBA are not purposely looking to lose games.

      Outside of Philly, Utah, and Milwaukee (although their owner in the offseason argued they were trying to compete), which teams are trying to lose intentionally?

      • ckh26

        I’d add Phoniex and Boston to the tankers list though its not working out that way. Orlando makes the list. Its hard to tell with Sacramento. They appear to be inept at most anything they touch. So if you think the Raps are tanking…say 25% of the league instead of 30%.

        • SR

          Hahaha – wow, Phoenix and Boston are really bad at trying to lose games. Maybe the Raps should try harder to lose.

          Please quit talking about teams rebuilding rosters b/c star players leave or age, and purposefully throwing games – as if those are the same thing at all.

          • Nilanka15

            Agreed. Some teams are just bad. Rebuilding teams will lose a lot of games, period. Nothing new here, and certainly nothing specific to the NBA.

          • ckh26

            We are about 25% of the way in. Boston is rebuilding its roster through the draft. Think Boston will begin to slide soon and if they do a further proof point will be if they trade Rondo.
            Phoenix is much harder to figure out. Don’t think anyone expected them to do as well as they have. They still have the draft picks lined up to rebuild and apparently are looking to add talent to the roster today by trading one of their lower echelon first rounders but haven’t pulled the trigger on anything.
            Your last statement ” Please quit talking about teams rebuilding rosters b/c star players
            leave or age, and purposefully throwing games – as if those are the same
            thing at all.” Your right they are not the same but i can’t find any straight line logic to where this fits into what your saying on the Raps trying harder to lose. .

        • sleepz

          I dunno know. It’s hard to count teams as ‘tanking’ that are actually winning. Phoenix is not going to spiral downwards anytime soon and Boston is trying to make trades to improve the roster and Rondo is practicing.

          I really think there are only 3 teams that you can look at in the league and say”those guys are trying to lose”.

    • 2damkule

      could you elaborate on how you think the draft system is rigged? i’m due for a chuckle. let me get my tinfoil hat first…

      • ckh26

        I didn’t say I think its rigged… I said there is a percentage of people out there who think it is. To the point that Jim Rome on CBS asked the leagues commissioner on it. You must look good in tinfoil :-)

        • 2damkule

          JIM ROME?! this f’n clown:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

          • blackjitsu

            Who cares if it’s bad TV. There’s this thing called the internet. They could always post the lottery online, or post it on youtube the next day. The way they do it does scream lack of transparency. I believe that the draft is not rigged/or has not been rigged or a number of years, however, I would like to have the choice to witness the workings of the process.

            Furthermore, because the lottery is a numeric lottery they could broadcast it online without revealing who won.

      • FLUXLAND

        Riddle me this: the processes involves ping pong balls and a draw that that is not televised. Where’s the transparency? When are those envelopes you see opened, set up?

        Are you going to tell me CLVs “success” in the draft post LBJ is “luck”? How about the Hornets or Orlando? Over and over again superstars replaced with superstars when they had less than 10 percent odds of getting the no1 pick.

        C’mon dude. Let me guess, Tim Donaghy never happened? The NBA is in the business of making money and TV ratings, and they are going to leave things to ping pong ball in a drum? Please.

        • DDayLewis

          Do you really want to watch a process with a pingpong ball machine and some envelopes? Don’t you have better things to do with your time?

          • FLUXLAND

            Yes, yes I do. On both counts. But…

            I’d like some transparency. If you don’t want people to suggest the process is rigged, bring it out in the open if there’s nothing to hide.

            And are you tell me you would find it riveting waiting for the machine to spit out your team’s faith? Oh the ups and downs we are missing.

            • DDayLewis

              You could just wait 30 minutes and find out the results on ESPN or twitter or w/e.

              “The drawing of the ping-pong balls is conducted in private, though
              observed by independent auditors and representatives from each team. The
              results are subsequently presented in a short ceremony (typically
              broadcast prior to or during halftime of an NBA playoff game), in which
              the order of the lottery is announced in reverse order, from the
              fourteenth selection to the first. Representatives from each NBA
              franchise with a lottery pick are present at the lottery ceremony.”

              from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_draft_lottery#Lottery_ceremony

              • FLUXLAND

                Ummm.. what are you telling me that I wasn’t aware about?

                I’m all up for watching that draw. Give me one good reason why it is conducted in private? What is it that the fans are not allowed to see?

                • DDayLewis

                  The process isn’t satisfactory? Independent auditors + team reps?

                • FLUXLAND

                  That doesn’t answer the question. Why is it conducted in private?

                • DDayLewis

                  Because it costs money to broadcast this stuff and nobody (besides you, apparently) wants to watch it.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Sure, that’s why. They televise the order, but can’t televise the 30 minutes prior. Sound theory.

                  No one wants to watch it? Where are you getting this FACT from?

                • DDayLewis

                  It’s broadcast prior to, or during halftime of an NBA playoff game, meaning they have a fixed amount of air time. This still doesn’t change the fact that very few people are going to want to watch just to scrutinize the process.

                  And the order is totally different.There’s actual appeal (again, not to me, but to some) because an actual result is produced.

                • SR

                  I don’t understand how people can point to unlikely lottery outcomes, which only happen once every few years, as evidence that the system is rigged. The vast majority of the time the most probable outcomes are realized. Occasionally something unlikely happens. You know, just like one might expect – from a lottery.

                  Conspiracy theories including league officials, team representatives, and official independent auditors all for the sake of Kyrie Irving playing in Cleveland? WTF, honestly?

                  If the league is concerned with revenue streams and stars in major markets, then Jimmy Dolan is single handedly negating any genius Pinky and the Brain schemes Stern and Silver have managed to pull off, because the biggest market in the league sucks, almost always has sucked, and can’t win a championship.

                  Right, but everyone’s concerned about what LBJ re: the Cleveland Cavaliers. We all know, Ohio’s where the money’s at!

                • FLUXLAND

                  Once every few years? So what’s that, half the time? But then you say vast majority of the time? So which one is it?

                  Independent auditors? Really? Like the one’s the financial companies hire?

                  As far as Dolan, Stern is still pissed off about the Isiah thing.and that Dolan still employes him.

                • SR

                  Once every few years means one team every few years will have an extremely low probability outcome in the lottery, ex. Chicago landing Derrick Rose. Every other lottery team that year, and all of them in many years, end up with the most probable outcomes.

                  Independent auditors, team reps, and multiple league officials = way too many people for stupid conspiracy theories, and -especially- too many conflicting interests for unanimous decisions to do something like send a given prized lottery pick to one city over all the others.

                  This is pointless – arguing with a conspiracy theorist is the epitome of futility.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Just like an election would be difficult to rig? It takes far less people than you believe and no everyone has to be compliant to it, I don’t know why you think everyone hast to be in on it.

                  I agree, pointless if you are refusing to entertain the possibility. It’s about likelihood.. and staring with the Ewing draft, it’s far more likely than not..err, IMO?

                • SR

                  “It’s about likelihood” – that’s exactly why I don’t believe 99% of conspiracy theories. I just don’t have as much confidence in the conspirators as you do.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I can respect that. It really comes down to choosing what to believe and ignoring what doesn’t suit you. For me the last 10 or so years point to tampering more so than not.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Oh, they do? How… convenient.

                  The bottom line is the process, as set up, invites skepticism to its authenticity. But you want to cite air time (in a L that makes insane amounts of $ from it) as the reason it is kept form the public, Aaand you suggest no one would watch it, while people tune in to that debacle the AS has become. Especially the nonsense prior to Sunday.

                • DDayLewis

                  Why does it invite skepticism? It’s more of a case of overcoming confirmation bias and creating controversy when there isn’t one.

                  The All-Star game is completely different. Yes it’s a debacle, but it’s still superstars playing pick-up, not some lottery balls being imputed into a machine

                • sleepz

                  That is a valid point.

                  it wouldn’t be as climactic if they just pull out the first ball and you know who has the top pick.

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

                  It’s not broadcast because it’s not good television. It’s not as if they’re drawing ping pong balls in the reverse order of drafting so that the climax is discovering who gets the top pick. The first thing they draw is who picks first, and it’s through a sequence of numbers, and then they draw the 2nd and then 3rd. And there would sometimes be duplicates that would confuse the audience.

                  It’s not only basically impossible to rig the lottery, the consequences of doing so, if it ever came to light, would far, far, far outweigh any advantages they would get from doing it. it would end up being one of the biggest scandals in professional sports for very little actual payoff.

                  And it makes even less sense because the NBA is a collection of 30 different owners of 30 different teams. The commissioner works for them, not the other way around. What advantage do the other 29 teams have if LeBron goes to Cleveland? You think the other teams in the lottery would have been fine with that?

                • FLUXLAND

                  Calling it bad television does not justify/explain why it is held in private. The point I was raising about the ASG is that fans will watch anything and adding transparency to the process certainly would not hurt anyone. Confusing the audience? I don’t even know how to reply to that.

                  Nothing is impossible to rig and the TD “scandal” proved the fans will keeping coming.

                  LBJ was not a sure fire thing at the time and how do you not see the hometown kid playing for his team angle? Also, what the owners do – what potential deals they are making in that private setting is not something we know. Just because you don’t know what they are fine or not fine with doesn’t meant its not happening.

                  Again, thinking that a multimillion organization is leaving things us to ping pong balls seems a little naive. You may think they compete with your “different owners” spiel, but ultimately they are all franchises of the same organization, they all make money. You expect a league that is not transparent in their finances to not rig anything. And as far as independent parties being involved as ddlewis likes to imply.. is that the same as the auditors and SEC independence/

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

                  Actually, the fact that it would be bad television is a PERFECT reason why it’s not televised. It’s not actually held in private, though, as there are members of the media who attend. That’s not private.

                  As for confusing the audience, if, say Toronto wins the first and second pick, but then they don’t get the second pick (because they’ve only got one pick) then that will confuse people. The drawing is not as simple as getting ping pong balls with logos to come out of a machine.

                  Nothing is impossible to rig, but the trouble you’d have to go to for such little payoff simply doesn’t make sense. And yes, LeBron was considered a sure thing and no other lottery team would have been fine with Cleveland getting him for some hometown angle that just benefits one team. You think Memphis was happy with them getting no pick instead of them getting LeBron? You think there’s some deal that could be worked our to make that okay with them?

                  There are so many backroom deals that would have to happen it doesn’t make sense. All for the honour of a player going to one team instead of another.

                  And a rigged lottery is WAY more of a scandal than one referee being corrupt. For the lottery to be rigged, it would mean a vast conspiracy among the head office and the teams. One referee being corrupt isn’t even close.

                  The fact is if the NBA wanted to make more money, they would have sent LeBron to a larger market team. And San Antonio certainly wouldn’t have gotten both Robinson and Duncan. Shaq wouldn’t have landed in Orlando. If it’s all about money, then the best players would land in the larger markets.

                  The fact is that conspiracy theorists will see conspiracies in anything they want to, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. Even when the lottery was held in full view of everyone, conspiracy theorists saw conspiracies, so making it more “transparent” isn’t actually going to change that.

                  But since we’re on the subject, why don’t they televise the vote counting for the Academy Awards to make it more transparent? There’s obviously a conspiracy there.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I should have know you subscribe to the single rouge ref theory. Memebers of the media? The one’s who’s livelihood is tied to the league? The word private alone implies it is kept from the public,so suggesting that the media being there somehow changes anything is silly to me.

                  Do you think draft day deals are conceived on draft day? Absolutley I think deals can be made behind closed doors that never see the light of day. Are you kidding? Do you really think all transactions are recorded? Why wont the NBA fork over their books?

                  San Antonio got Duncan because Boston was too obvious. And LBJ was making the L $ no matter where he went. The Cleveland spot allowed them to work the hometown angle and if things went super wrong he could be moved to a larger market.He was not a sure fire superstar, but yeah very few doubted he would be a solid player.

                  Because the AA impact future earnings? Look, every sport imaginable has suffered form people cheating or rigging outcomes, but he NBA is immune to this? I don’t think so.

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

                  How much a journalist would make by blowing open the biggest conspiracy in professional sports history? To suggest that these media people will just go along with the conspiracy seems silly to me. How many people would have to keep this conspiracy a secret? Dozens? Hundreds? The likelihood of that many people being in on a conspiracy and it remaining a secret is slim. And we’re not talking about national security, here.

                  Again, it’s not even remotely worth the trouble you’re suggesting the league would have to go through to cover it up, You have to measure risk versus reward and the reward is almost negligible compared to the risk, which is overwhelming.

                  We’re not talking about one or two people cheating, here. We’re talking about a league wide conspiracy involving, probably, hundreds of people. And, again, the reward is negligible because LeBron playing in Cleveland doesn’t make the league any more money than if LeBron played in Toronto.

                  Conspiracy theorists tend to only see what backs up their conspiracy theory. Because of that, there isn’t anything anyone could say or do that would make you happy. You will always see a conspiracy theory because that’s what you want to see.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Whistleblowing is a risking business; talk about a risk/reward dilemma. I wouldn’t dare say one would become extremely wealthy as a result.

                  I don’t think it would be as difficult as you think, especially if the prevailing stance is to not the bite the hand that feeds you or you were to gain from if, if only a lifestyle. (Do you hear the TO media mouthpieces complaining in that regard?)

                  This is not about “only seeing what backs up the theory or one wants to see”. It’s examining it ALL and not ignoring instances where the suggestion may be valid [(even Steve Nash has questioned the possibility)]; and while raising questions such as the behind close doors one. Non compelling TV or fan confusion are not valid enough reasons to cast a shadow on legitimacy, especially to something as CRUCIAL as the draft is to the direction of a team that could find itself in the top 5.

                  It’s really about providing the proof, removing the cloud of doubt if you will – and that’s not exactly what you are suggesting – blindly running around screaming conspiracy. Don’t dilute the discussion to that, it’s poor form.

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

                  It’s not whistleblowing. It’s doing their jobs as journalists. They don’t work for the NBA. And the fact is that the likelihood of a vast conspiracy involving journalists, owners, former owners, NBA employees and others is almost nil.

                  Especially since there’s really no real benefit. How does the NBA, as a whole, benefit from Cleveland getting LeBron? It doesn’t.

                • FLUXLAND

                  You said yourself that it didn’t matter where he went, so how does the L not benefit as a whole?

              • Nilanka15

                For all the Doug Smith bashing we do here, I’m fairly confident in saying he’s not a liar. And I believe he’s been the Raptors “representative” in the past and witnessed the lottery (and it’s legitimacy).

                It’ll take proof to convince me otherwise.

                • FLUXLAND

                  A guy who makes his living from the NBA will shot himself in the foot? Unlikely.

                • sleepz

                  I don’t know if they rig the draft or not. I tend to think it is authentic because I couldn’t explain how they could fix it otherwise with any facts to back me up.

                  That being said, even if Doug is witness to the draft itself, can it still not be rigged with witnesses present? Weighted balls (maybe only a few) perhaps? I’m sure there is some kind of technology that can achieve the desired result if needed. I’m not saying the draft is fixed but I’m also loathe to rule out any possibility that the League could ever alter things beyond the statistical probabilities with witnesses present.

                  I don’t think it has to be a major conspiracy involving many people either. Maybe those witnesses and reps aren’t aware themselves.

                  Jus sayin

                • FLUXLAND

                  I was going to suggest that earlier but the conspiracy theorist pitchforks were already out…that’s why I was saying it wouldn’t take many people.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  sleepz, the weighted ball theory holds no water either. There isn’t a thousand ping pong balls in the drum. There’s only enough (10?) that 1,000 combinations of those balls can be achieved. And here’s the thing,,,, after the initial draw, the same balls are put back in for the next draw, and again for the third. Soooooooo, if there was some sort of fix in the balls, wouldn’t the same combination keep coming up? Over and over, and over?

                  But Fluxhand will say there’s collusion among the 14 team reps, plus media, in the room,,,,, lmfao. Yeah right, Miami, NY, Memphis, Portland, Indiana, and all the rest of 13 teams, said yeah, let Chicago have Rose, lmao.

                  The reason it’s held behind closed doors, Flux? As already presented to you. It’s called MONEY, as in the reason the league exists to begin with. The way they do it creates drama for 14 picks, going in reverse order. It’s $$$$$$$$$$$, kid. Understand? Or is that boogie man still hiding under your crib?

                • FLUXLAND

                  That’s simply not true – the L has plenty of money and would make money if they were to broadcast it.

                  If you want to believe it is impossible to create collusion with people that are bound legally via contract, carry on. But you bring up a good point – Chicago get Rose (hometown team) CLV gets homtown kid, the NBA owned team gets the 1st pick… etc etc.. all coincidence right?

                  How naive are you, oh sweet child? Do you believe in Santa too?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Sad little boy, get that foil hat back on, because this sad little sTROLL is killing whatever credibility you have.

                • FLUXLAND

                  HA! Credibility? Me? C’mon now, you know me better than that. :) For the record, as I’ve tried explaining before.. I’m not convinced either way, but it’s hard to overlook the “coincidences”

                  While I’m here, all the best during the holidays to you and yours, p00ka.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  haha, and all the best to you and yours!

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

                  The way the lottery works, weighted balls won’t help. The balls aren’t connected to any specific team. There are fourteen numbered balls that are drawn from four different machines. And the balls are put back once they are used. The numbers that are drawn create a combination of four. Each team has a list of combinations. And since the balls are put back, weighted balls would mean the same number would come up each time.

                  And weighted balls would behave differently in the see-through cylinder.

                  It just doesn’t make sense.

                  If it’s just a few people, and not a league-wide conspiracy, then the NBA would make it as difficult as possible to rig, and the idea that the NBA is intentionally making the process less transparent makes no sense.

                  So either it’s a league-wide conspiracy, which would make it incredibly unlikely since so many people would have to be involved, or it’s just a few people, in which case the NBA wouldn’t have a problem making the process more transparent.

                  And I’m still not sure why go through all the trouble, What’s the big payoff here? So LeBron can play in Cleveland instead of Toronto. How does that help the league?

        • Tanks-a-lot

          “Where’s the transparency?”

          Ummm. The Ownership is bound by the NBA Constitution. Are you an Owner? No. You are not entitled to any transparency.

          • FLUXLAND

            Not about my entitlement. The discussion is the process.

            What you said only adds to the possibility of collusion. Thanks for contributing while misinterpreting the argument.

            • Tanks-a-lot

              pure speculation.
              have fun wasting time. Say hello to /sp/ and /x/ for me.

            • nyStef

              Late to this topic but for whatever it’s worth, I kind of assumed we ALL pretty much knew that there is occasional (at least) finagling that goes on with the NBA lottery. If it’s not a question of ‘how could it possibly be done?’ (I figured we all understood that it *could* be done and it wouldn’t be all that difficult … but I am a fan of what great magicians do and I can EASILY see that it could be done) … and if it’s not a matter of ‘why the heck would they do it and how could they sleep at night if they did?’ (too obviously, to design – rather than leave to chance – a more profitable business model … and they’d sleep just fine, I’m sure), then … what other question about it might there be? Whatever notion one might cling to regarding what they want to believe re the integrity of the guys at the very top of the league, do we not see *any* pattern of oddly convenient (for the NBA) outcomes, at least often-as-not with the lottery? Coincidences don’t happen near as often as what people like to believe. And truth is often way more bizarre than what fiction could be. In other words, it isn’t impossible at all. And if it’s not impossible, it’s not (at all) unlikely.

              To scoff at the notion is, to my mind, simply naive.

              • FLUXLAND

                You can’t convince people that believe in magic there’s a trick involved. They choose to be fooled. They also believe in Santa, like my buddy p00ka.

                Rose goes to his hometown team, LBJ same and the league owned team gets the no1 pick? Coincidence, I guess.

              • ItsAboutFun

                Do you know how it actually is conducted or just blowing smoke out of your butt? If you do know, please tell us how it’s fixed, during what part of the process? us naive people await something other than flatulance.

  • anon

    you need to chill the fuck out. maybe drink less coffee. Fans have every right to want this team to have sustained long term success, even if that means losing in the short term. If it’s so frustrating don’t watch.

    • BlakeMurphy

      K, I won’t. Thanks.

    • ckh26

      Thanks for making Blakes point. If people don’t watch and they don’t buy tickets that means no revenue. No revenue means the end of the franchises as no one is in business to lose money. Have a look at the ACC. Lots of people disguised as empty seats. Empty seats don’t buy jerseys or popcorn or beer or pay for parking. Continued poor product will accelerate the demise.

      • 2damkule

        nearly two decades of almost constant futility, and the raptors are one of the most successful (from a financial) franchises over that span. i highly doubt that a season of tanking is going to throw such a wrench into the works as to put the viability of the franchise at risk.

        now, what i’d argue is that as these two decades have elapsed, the fanbase has evolved to the point in which it, as a collective, is able to genuinely distinguish between a team who puts on a facade of ‘trying to win,’ and one that is actually building towards being a winner. so, you tell me…what is riskier – tanking now and trying to do this right, or continuing the trend of mediocrity-at-best?

        • ckh26

          MLSE does alright. They would do even better with a more viable line of business if the Raptors were consistent winners. While neither of us will see the P&L to debate that any further you are probalbly right in that MLSE will hardly throw in the towel for another poor year on win/loss side.

          But who comes out forever to watch a crappy team ? (The leafs are in another religious category that the Raptors don’t play in)

          • 2damkule

            i dunno, when have you honestly been able to describe the raptors as ‘not crappy?’

            • ckh26

              For one fleeting moment when Vince clanked one off the rim in game 7 of the eastern quarter finals. From there on in.. the death spiral.

              • 2damkule

                ah, those glorious, halcyon days. it was the semi’s though. and just a scant…hmm…oh. 13 years ago this spring. seems like yesterday.

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

            Who comes out to watch a crappy team year after year? Raptor fans, apparently. They have one of the worst records in the last 18 years yet usually end up in the top half for attendance.

            That’s why the “fans will leave” excuse doesn’t fly. They are a poor team now. All tanking does is give some hope for the future instead of this quest for mediocrity they attempt year after year, and usually even fail at that.

            Basically, the argument is that the Raptors should stay a crappy team instead of a really crappy team, as if that would make a difference to fans. At least with a really crappy team, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

        • sleepz

          +1

          • Anti-sleepz

            Although being in supposed no-mans-land is no way to maintain a franchise team, you have to admit that Toronto fans will find watching anything less than that – such as a considerably more terrible losing team – harder watch. While honestly illiogical, Toronto fans appreciate watching their team win and struggle, and win and struggle again, all for some free slices of pizza, and to observe our key players develop into better tradeable pieces. I’m all for mediocrity. As it stands, it’s good for the viewership of the franchise. As usual, I disagree with sleepz….

          • Anti-sleepz

            I’m just so tired of your comments and your “+1’s” sleepz, and i can’t take it any longer.

      • anon

        the history of this franchise is my counter argument, we’ve had terrible seasons before, people still go to the games, because it is Toronto, and it’s a sports city. You can sell fans on the hope of a better future, and no one is saying losing will be a constant year after year.

    • cdub

      again the assumption from all the tankers a it’s a slam dunk, that we just suck and get a pick and then it’s all roses from there on our way to long term success. There is no evidence to support any of this, quite the contrary actually. you should all go buy lotto max tickets for tonights draw and then head off for some slots. every once in a blue moon someone will fluke out and hit the jackpot, it could be you

  • jacobd4

    “Destiny’s Child says My Name” hilarious lol

  • Dr. Scooby

    A Tale of Two Teams

    Games won each season from 2002-2012

    Team A Team B
    60 24
    57 33

    59 33
    63 27
    58 47
    56 41
    54 33
    50 40
    61 22
    50 23
    58 34

    I can’t say which team belongs to what city, but I can tell you that Team B is close to our hearts, and Team A is a city that rhymes with San Antonio.

    I want a Team A. No more nickle & dime improvements to Team B is gonna do it for me anymore – I’m done! Bring on a top 6 pick this year and a top 10 pick next year and build on that.

    ’nuff said

    • regression

      you want a top 6 and top 10? we just had a top 6 pick and a top 10 pick…JV and TRoss, and don’t forget our other top-5 picks like Araujo and Bargnani…they are still champions of this league.
      Ahh yes, but these were picks made by a dumb GM. With a smart GM, we can draft right like the Orlando Magic (Shaq and Howard) and turn this crappy franchise into a real winner!!…or maybe if we tank real good like Cleveland we can get 4-years of top-6 picks and create a team that will never lose again…
      …wake up all of you tanking idiots. Another high draft pick will not turn this around overnight. Better coaching and developing talent are what matters and the raptors are the worst in the league on both.

      • Nilanka15

        Who said anything about “overnight”? Whether you’re a proponent of tanking or not, this team is years away from being relevant.

      • Copywryter

        Trick is you need talent in order to develop it.

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

        Maybe less name-calling. Even if you disagree with someone, there’s no call for calling someone an idiot.

        And you’re assuming that all drafts are built the same, and that a pick by Rob Babcock or Bryan Colangelo would be the same as a pick by Ujiri. Not sure why that would be.

        • FLUXLAND

          Do you believe players/agents do not dictate where a player does or doesn’t want to go/gets drafted?

          They may not pick the same guys, but they would have the same (limited bunch of) guys to pick from.

  • Tinman

    Well said.

    It’s been a kind of a Groundhog Day scenario for the better part of last two decades. But I think the movie’s about to change.
    This season is a mulligan. Win or lose, there’s light at both ends of the tunnel. I am probably now leaning towards piling up the loses, and increasing our chances of a top 5 pick, which is why Kemba’s buzzer beater didn’t faze me one bit.
    But if we don’t tank, we are not in that bad a position. We’ve got young talent in Amir, Demar, Jonas and TRoss. All four are still improving. We will either get an asset back for Kyle Lowry or who knows, maybe we keep him and resign him. He has looked like the PG we want lately.
    Everyone else is disposable. Including the Coach.
    We have decent flexibility cap-wise and a GM who appears to have a clue
    It all start’s with believing in Masai – 3 minute mark
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAVm4zr-KdQ

  • Jeffrey Yau

    I don’t know how I feel about tanking but let’s be clear, nobody wants to cheer for a team to lose over and over its just depressing as shit.

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