The Raptors might actually be a good team.

I struggled a little bit with the direction of this recap, only it wasn’t the usual grind of finding an angle or forcing a storyline, I was legitimately too excited to pick just one.

Do I just do a straight recap of the game? Do I post their numbers and show you the shot chart? Perhaps I should break down the video and detail why the Raptors were so successful? Do I discuss why this win means nothing and why the Raptors should tank? (kidding, I’ve always been anti-tank) Or maybe I should just gush about how good this team looked last night? I really couldn’t decide.

So eff it, let’s just do all three.

Game Recap

Had the playoffs started last night, this would have been the 4-5 match-up in the Eastern Conference. Yes, that’s right – the 15-15 Raptors vs the 14-15 Wizards would have battled it out for the right to get trampled by the Indiana Pacers. That’s how bad the Eastern conference is right now.

Like many others, I dreaded this game because it had all the makings of a trap game. The team was coming off such an emotionally and physically draining win over the Indiana Pacers — would they bring that same intensity against a lesser foe? Would the relentless schedule — third game in four nights — finally get to them? Derozan looked exhausted in the Pacers game; how could he possibly chase Beal around screens all night? I thought at the very least the Raptors would come out sluggish and play catch-up in the fourth (as they’ve become so adept at doing).

[check out Sam Holako’s player grades]

Instead, the Raptors came out of the gate on fire and the offense was clicking thanks to Kyle Lowry. Let me just spoil the surprise — the Raptors generated 10 assists on 11 made field goals en route to a 26-17 lead after one thanks in large part to Lowry’s passing. KLOE had 6 points and 5 assists in the quarter — hitting Derozan on a cut across the paint, setting up a Derozan spot-up jumper, finding Ross on a pin-down, twice running P&R with Amir — and hit two three’s from the wing. He got himself into a bit of foul trouble and had to sit until midway through the second, but he had a hand in just about every play for the Raptors in the first.

The Raptors bench came in and coughed up a bit of the lead. With Lowry sitting out due to foul trouble, Greivis Vasquez was saddled with the task of staying in front of John Wall which went as well as you’d expect. Vasquez has the lateral quickness of a giraffe on skis and Wall torched him, especially in transition. With Tyler Hansbrough out, we caught our first glimpse of Chuck Hayes in a Raptors uniform and he was immediately tasked with guarding Eric Koreen Nene, which produced mixed results. Nene had the advantage in quickness, size and athleticism which allowed him to score 8 points in the quarter, but Hayes did pull out some veteran moves on the Brazilian– pulling the chair on one occasion in the third — and generally held his ground. His abilities and contributions are nowhere near $5-6 million per year (which is what he’s owed), but he’s still a very serviceable insurance big.

In fact the Wizards probably would have taken the lead in the second had it not been for one Patrick Patterson. I’ve chided the man in my previous recaps because quite frankly he just wasn’t very good, but he was fantastic against the Wizards. He went 8/10 in the game and 8 of his attempts were jumpers from outside the paint. He didn’t take any crazy Steph Curry transition 35-footers, he just simply took what the Wizards gave him. He provided a late shot-clock option either at the top of the key or outside the arc. Lowry hit a three late in the quarter to give the Raptors the 48-45 lead going into the half.

And then the Raptors simply went off in the third. They outscored the Wizards 36-16. They had the Wizards on some “bury all the pictures and tell the kids that I’m okay” stuff.

Ross hit four three-pointers, including three from the same spot in the right corner. Patterson kept hitting jumpers like he was a beefy version of Dirk (5 for 5 in the third). Lowry racked up 4 assists and Derozan drew double-teams in the post. They defended well, playing excellent help defense at a proficiency not seen since the pre-Bargnani days. They held Wall to 0-4 shooting. Jonas jammed a two-hander on Marcin Gortat. Ross blocked the shit out of Wall. It was marvelous.

And honestly, the Raptors played so well in the third that I basically tuned out of the game. The boxscore says the Wizards won the fourth by a margin of 27-17, but it really didn’t matter — the lead was never in doubt. Lowry sliced through the Wizards’ defense for layups on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth to put the nail in coffin, but really it was game, set and match way back in the third. The Raptors routed the Wizards — the tanking-inspired Wiz with their three fancy top-six picks (Wall, Beal and Vesely) — and the fans knew it. There weren’t that many in attendance (it was really cold out) but the boos were loud. It was that kind of game.

Notable Numbers and a Shot Chart

  • 32.3% – The Raptors limited John Wall and Bradley Beal (#1 and #3 picks respectively) to a combined 10/31 shooting. This Wizards team only goes as far as those two will take them and they carried them to the locker room amid boo’s from the crowd last night. Lowry did a great job covering Wall, denying penetration and forcing him into shooting jumpers. Beal got a lot of open looks and didn’t sink them because his jumper was uncharacteristically off last night, but you need to make the open one’s like…
  • 80% – …Patrick Patterson, who hit 8 of his 10 field goal attempts. When his jumper is falling, he’s a perfect third-big. He rebounds, he can defend and he knows where to pop-out to get open looks.
  • 5.5 — Lowry’s assist to turnover ratio tonight (11:2). Lowry’s careful handling of the ball has really gone unnoticed during his fantastic career year. Not including tonight’s game, he’s 5th in the NBA amongst PG’s in assist to turnover ratio at 3.33. Lowry has cut his turnover% (percentage of possessions resulting in a turnover) from 17.7% to 14.0% from last season.
  • 29 – Number of minutes played by Valanciunas tonight. He really struggled against Marcin Gortat in the first and never really found his groove. He was also whistled for a bogus tech-foul by Joey Crawford. Speaking of which…
  • 1 – Number of ejections from tonight’s game issued by Joey Crawford because of course. From me and every other fan in the world: please quit. You’re a clown.
  • 3 – with 7 rebounds collected tonight, Amir Johnson has moved into a tie for third most rebounds in Raptors franchise history with…Andrea Bargnani? Yeah no offense but our franchise kinda sucks, but hey, a very sincere congratulations to Amir for the feat. I hope he shatters Chris Bosh’s franchise record of 4776 rebounds. He’s only…2681 rebounds shy. Go Amir!
  • You see that right corner? That’s all Terrence Ross. Dude’s balling right now.
shot chart

Breaking it Down: The Raptors’ Three Core Plays

Alright I’m already at nearly 1200 words so I’ll try to keep this brief. The Raptors offense posted an offensive rating of 115.1 last night, which translates to 115 points per 100 possessions which is better than Portland’s seasonal average, so needless to say, a lot was working. Here are three plays in particular that caught my eye.

1. Pin-downs for Ross

The Raptors have run this play for Ross and Derozan a lot of late, and it’s really basic stuff. Lowry brings the ball up the ball up the court, dumps it to Valanciunas, and cuts around Patterson. Jonas tosses it back to Patterson.


At this point, the Raptors have a couple of options. Valanciunas could set a screen for Ross, who can flash to the break, get the pass and hit a three. Patterson could also swing it down to Salmons, and they can run a side pick-and-roll. Instead, Lowry cuts back to the ball while Ross cuts towards the weakside.


From here, Lowry dribbles a bit towards the middle and Patterson goes to set the down-screen. Nene is too focused on Patterson and doesn’t notice that Ross’s defender is about to get picked and fails to step up.


Ross curls around Patterson, is wide-open, Lowry hits Ross with the pass on the money, Nene is too slow to close out, and Ross sticks the jumper. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeeze-y (PSA: Community is back! #6SeasonsandaMovie)

2. Lowry/Amir Pick-and-Roll

Again, nothing complicated (Dwane Casey is known as a defensive head coach for a reason). This isn’t elevator doors or the Blazers’ crazy circle the globe play. It’s just a nice and simple pick-and-roll between two very experienced players. Play starts with Amir setting a ball-screen for Lowry.


Johnson’s excellent screen affords Lowry some separation, thus forcing Nene to cut off Lowry’s path t0 the basket. However, Nene takes the wrong path — he steps up towards Lowry rather than simply sliding over on the same plane — which allows Lowry to beat him to the spot. Beal’s already out of the equation at this point. Seeing this, Amir alertly rolls to the basket.


Amir gets the pass from Lowry in-stride and the Wizards are stuck guarding a 2-on-1. Gortat has to guard both Jonas and Amir, but he’s too slow to react anyway. Amir drives right to the hoop and gets the easy lay-in. Notice that even if Amir missed the shot, Jonas was in excellent offensive rebounding position.

3. Patterson as the Release Valve

This last one is my favorite. A lot of Patteron’s shots early in the game weren’t really designed with him in mind, but since he was on fire, the Raptors specifically ran one for 2Pat. Play starts off real simple. Hayes sets a high ball screen for Lowry and then rolls to the middle of the court. The Wizards are clearly want to be aggressive and trap Lowry, but Hayes’ defender doesn’t really cut off the over-the-top pass to Hayes, who rolls to the center of the court.


Once he catches the ball, Hayes takes a dribble to get into the lane and the Wizards are once again facing an odd-man advantage. The Wizards have three defenders guarding both wing players, Hayes and Patterson along the baseline. Everyone except Hayes can shoot, but Hayes will be at the rim in no time. At this point Hayes has a whole bunch of options. He could kick it to Salmons for a spot up three. Same goes for Ross, who is inexplicably wide open. It’s not like he’s sunk three triples from that very spot during this quarter or anything.


Instead, Hayes draws Nene to the paint and kicks it out to a wide-open Patrick Patterson, who wisely stayed a fair distance away from the rim so that Nene couldn’t recover in time. 2Pat drills the baseline jumper and I swoon a tiny bit. After all, this was an out-of-timeout play for Dwane Casey that actually worked to perfection. Imagine that?

Parting Shots

I’ve already gone on for over 1800 words so I won’t keep you for much longer. The Raptors went into Washington — a place they’ve struggled in the past — and beat the Wizards in convincing fashion. They shut down their two primary options on offense and exploited their porous defense. The starters looked great (aside from Jonas but the dude’s probably just exhausted) and Patrick Patterson stepped up to give the Raptors some production off the bench. What impresses me most is that the victory was never in doubt — even when the Wizards stormed back to tie it at the end of the first half, I was very confident that the Raptors were the better team, and that they’d pull out the victory. Lo and behold, the Raptors came out in the third and put the game out of reach. I had been so used to seeing this story before — better team toys with lesser competition for a half before turning it on in the third — but the Raptors were always that lesser team. Now, at least against middling teams like Washington, the script has been flipped and it’s damn fun to watch. Thanks for reading everyone, I apologize for the absurd length of the post but I know you’ll forgive me for getting excited over this team as I’m sure you are too.

  • KJ-B

    Keep hearing about “evaluating” in these parts from MLSE. Ultimately, the fans are the ones who survive to evaluate administrations and “philosophies” … Let’s hope the think-tanking (no pun intended) of the current crew value being a playoff team above else… Forget the caveats, “good” vs “bad” playoff team. In the world of the LA Lakers, which is where the top dawg is from, playoffs are always “good”.

    Fans, sponsors, communities must get used to being in the big dance–not making the playoffs is failure. And when teams repeatedly get to that point, their “franchise” lottery selections usually get traded for more picks/players, or in the end bolt to other destinations like Miami.

    Speaking of Miami, unlike Cleveland, I’m hoping we can welcome home a couple of our Prodigal Sons in Vince Carter and Chris Bosh after a 2nd round or further showing (don’t we match up well against Indiana or what???). SERIOUSLY, DWade’s on his last leg (no pun intended) and Bosh is ready to be CB4 again (see: 37/10 in Portland w/o King James). And Carter…he said he’d like to retire here.

    You wanna, usher in a “New Age” Masai & Tim, then it means fixing the areas in the foundation from the past–at least be in a position as winning team, to attempt to do so. It’s time to start the healing from the exoduses of times past in Toronto. It’s a good city and it deserves a “good” playoff team.

    Seriously, we’ve survived a flash flood in the summer, a dubious Mayor, and Ice Storm, a dubious deputy Mayor–the City needs an escape, good news… GO RAPS!!!

    • Lawrence C

      Alas, Wade is not on his last leg. He’s having an absolutely great year, and Miami is smartly managing his minutes to save him for the playoffs. People have been declaring him dead for 2-3 years now but he’s still one of the absolute top guards (players?) in the league many nights.

      • KJ-B

        I just think, luxury tax, injuries, age, that the whole Heat scenario is done after this year. Father Time is still undefeated. Wade disclosed this year that the root of his chronic knee pain was from removing a good portion of his meniscus from less advanced surgery techniques in his days at Marquette.

        Winning doesn’t create a culture of winners but as importantly, it creates options/opportunities. Imagine Bosh and Carter as vets on a winning squad.

        We got young talent, what we need is vets with winning experience. John Salmons is John Salmons at the end of the day.

        Winning is growth. Losing is the Donald Sterling Clippers. Even when they win they lose.

        • Steve Lam

          worst suggestions ever.
          who gives a shit about bosh or carter coming back. carter is STILL being boo’ed after a whole decade. he’s almost a 100. bosh with a 37/10 game against portland? portland is easily bottom 10 in defensive efficiency who win by insane offense. the same bosh also scored absolutely 0 points in game 7 when things actually mattered. creating a winning culture does not include inviting back selfish pricks who all left for greener pastures because they didn’t want to be a raptor anymore.
          our run as of late comes from kyle lowry. even his future is incredibly clouded on this team, let alone trying to get torontos most hated ex-raptors outside of primo pasta back in town.

  • Bryan Colangelo

    Holy shit. He actually wrote about the game.

    *single tear rolls down cheek*

    Seriously, this kind of analysis and TLC puts most mainstream coverage to shame.

    • Paul

      So true. This is great stuff. Meanwhile, Doug Smith is writing about his favorite craft beers..

      • Bryan Colangelo

        Doug Smith is embodiment of everything I hate about the Boomer generation.

        He is very confident and very well paid for someone that is very, very, very average at what he does.

        He’s the Bryan Colangelo of beat reporters.

  • Ds

    Have to say thank you. Fantastic recap!

    • Borg

      Agreed. Nice game recap and relaxing read.
      It’s gonna be an entertaining Sunday after a long long time :)
      Let’s beat the Heat!

    • DDayLewis

      Thank you. Appreciate the love.

  • raptorstand

    There have been some good solid people on here that knew what we had if they could ever get on the floor. We have been proved right. There were actually some people on here who had the unmitigated audacity to call the tankers fans Manginas. Now I thought it was disgusting and horrible that fans of the same club would be attacking each other like this. Thank goodness that horrible time has ended and we can all just get along and enjoy the ride. What a great article, The line about the pictures and the kids made me howl, Bring on Miami !!

  • Tanvir

    Alright, so 2 more difficult games and the raptors have the potential to just go off after that. If they keep playing like this, no doubt they will get the 3rd seed and most likely even make it to the second round to somewhat compete. Being a raps fan never felt so good 😀

  • Joey Jo Jo Junior Shabba Do

    “The 15-15 Raptors vs the 14-15 Wizards would have battled it out for the right to get trampled by the INDIANA PACERS” not the Heat. And given that they just whooped the Pacers collective asses, it doesn’t sound the same does it?

    • DDayLewis

      sheeeeeeit, lemme fix that

      • Dr. Dread

        But what if they beat the Heat on Sunday? Raptors All the way baby!

    • SR

      Raps actually matched up well with Indy last year and now this year. I think Jonas is a really good counter for Hibbert, and Amir can def handle West. George is nowhere near the problem for the Raps that LBJ is.

      The Heat’s frenetic defense is going to make the Raps ball movement much harder to execute.

  • GrammarPolice

    Please learn how to use apostrophe’s ( An otherwise well-written piece is littered with needless’ apostrophe’s, and its very distracting.

    • DDayLewis

      A quick control+F says I only used 1 apostrophe (in check out Sam Holako’s game recap). What’s the beef here? If anything I overuse dashes.

      • SR

        LOL Grammar Police is trolling – but I did notice “boo’s” if anyone cares.

        • DDayLewis

          Fixed. Thanks SR

    • wrooster

      Are you serious? Your two lines have 3 useless apostrophes. I could only find one in the whole recap(“boo’s”).

    • Mister Allison

      Dude is your policing really necessary?

    • DC

      Needless comment is more like it.

  • Cameron Becker

    Enjoyable read. Well written!

  • Keepup

    At what point are tank advocates going to start looking at teams that have one or more top picks and realize that it isn’t enough to make a very good team? WASH has a #1 and #3 (rated by many #2) on the roster in Wall and Beal and they look a lot weaker than the Raptors. In fact, the Raptors got them booed off their home court. Wall was considered a “franchise” pick. What about Deron Williams on the Nets and Carmelo on the Knicks? Those are also both supposed to be “franchise” stars. I think that what we are starting to see is that usually having one or even two top picks still doesn’t create an automatic winner. Gutting the Raptors to draft one potential star would be a terrible mistake, and could end up with years and years of further mediocrity. No thanks.

    • raptorspoo

      No one had high expectations of Wall or Beal to be mega superstars. They were just the best picks in bad draft years. Your point is a little flawed.

      • mountio

        Disagree re Wall. Beal, maybe not superstar, but many even this year were thinking future all star

        • CJT

          Agreed, there was incredible hype about Wall changing the fortunes of whichever franchise picked him up and Beal was supposed to be one of the can’t misses coming out of that draft. It definitely takes more than raw talent to win in the NBA as we are seeing with so many of the Eastern teams this year.

      • SR

        Wall was def touted as a franchise guy, and Beal well respected. Those were two good picks + some key trade/FA pieces (Gortat, Nene) and OP is right – at the moment, the Raptors core looks like a better built unit.

      • Keepup

        I disagree about Wall. He was definitely seen as being at least as good as the guys at the top of the 2014 draft (nobody is in the LeBron stratosphere). Another guy that had huge press coming out of high school was Harrison Barnes. He made SI’s list as one of the best 15 freshmen ever (before he had actually played his freshman season). The point is that some “sure-fire” prospects don’t turn out that way, some turn out great but still don’t make a franchise a contender (hello Carmelo), and sometimes you can get key franchise guys later in the draft (hello Paul George and Tony Parker). The idea of gutting the Raptors for the chance of getting a top-5 pick is flawed in so many ways.

    • Bryan Colangelo

      Wall is a great player that is being taught losing habits by a bad organization. He’s being Rahim’ed and needs to be rescued.

    • Steve Lam

      you do realize this team is lead by all top 10 picks except kyle right?

  • Saskatoon Raps Fan

    Excellent article. Good job sir

    • Gorf

      Patrick Patterson reminds me of Donyell Marshall

      • robertparrish00

        I was thinking of Garbo with not doing anything flashy just very solid, but Donyell is a much better example.

  • Charlie Tonley

    Great re-cap, always appreciated. Strong writing and useful insight.

    About the game, I was a bit troubled by the let-down in the 4th quarter. Casey kept his starters on the floor and they struggled against Wiz scrubs. Hopefully it was just fatigue.

  • j bean

    This team has been a blast to watch. Are they playing over their heads or or are they for real? The Heat have a way of bringing you down to earth so tomorrow’s game could help clear up the questions.

  • james

    What happened to Tim W.? He must be crying in agony during this Raptors win streak. :) :)

    • raptorstand

      lololol Tim is burning himself with cigarettes , trying to stop the pain in his eyes from the great basketball he is watching. Fools gold boys, We will rue the day. lololololol

    • Tinmann

      He’s holding out for the next loss, so he can tell us he told us so.

  • feylines*GE*150 raptors starting lineup is the 5th most effective lineup that has played more than 150 minutes!

    • DDayLewis

      Gentle reminder: Lowry-Derozan-Gay-Johnson-Valanciunas was the 5th most effective lineup for 5-man units with at least 300 minutes played. Plus minus numbers gets kinda wonky without a significant (like, 3000 min) sample sizes

      • feylines

        Well sure, but in the spirit of irrational exuberance and all. Remember we’re all freaking out over a 10-3 run which is not exactly significant over the course of an entire season, either…

        • raptorstand

          Nobody is freaking out, we are watching our young starting line up play shut down defense which translates over into our offense. The fans that have comprehension of basketball skills understand that this young team has turned a corner and is being coached by a really skilled coaching team. This is not the Toronto Raptors of old, no way no how, this team is just going to get better together, and I for one want this starting team to stay together at least for this year to see what happens. We have surprised some teams its not going to be easier once the word is out. Lets see what the kids do with some pressure.

        • DDayLewis

          It’s not necessarily that we’re losing our minds over a hot stretch, it’s more than people now have reason to believe that the true talent of this team is something of a 45-50 win team going forward.

  • raptorspoo

    Although I’m enjoying the Raptors run, I know this is fools gold and it’s going to ruin us in the future so I may be one of the few but I’m sticking up for Timmy.
    You people are basing your judgement on this team on a RUN, a STREAK. Just wait until we get knocked out early in the playoffs and we have years and years of continued mediocrity. The words “I told you so” will be coming out left, right and center.
    Torontonians seem to be very short sighted and forget the lessons learned through history. Shame.

    • raptorstand

      lolololololol well you got the poo right. Who cares you know? I guess its cheaper then going to a dominatrix , just put yourself in those wrist straps and leg irons and that gimp mask and stand there and wait for the whipping lololololol Milwaukee is calling your name my friend.

    • ac1011990

      I’m not to worried about that right now but Masai has a pretty big situation with Lowry at the moment. From reading some articles he seems pretty happy with how the team is going, and rightfully so, their playing some awesome basketball right now. But Lowry is a big trade asset at the moment and he could leave at the end of the season leaving raps with nothing. It will be exciting to see what happened on the trade deadline.

      • raptorspoo

        Ya. It did come to mind that the better they play, the more valuable they become as trade assets by the trade deadline. Maybe we could make something of that in this years draft after all but I guess we’ll have to see what Masai has up his sleeves.

        • ac1011990

          I guess that’s upto Masai, I personally don’t want Derozan, Ross or Valancuninas traded at all. There are to many underlying factors with Lowry, nobody knows what he’s thinking so that’s upto Masai I guess. It sucks not getting anything in return for someone if he leaves but breaking apart this team right now wouldn’t be very good either. Raps have been playing very very well and Masai owes it to them to see where they can go.

          • Steve Lam

            this team is where they are now because of lowry. without lowry, it crumbles. can you imagine our PG situation being vasquez, stone and buycks? ouch.

    • j bean

      Timmy said he’s not enjoying the Raptor march to mediocrity but at least you enjoy watching the games.
      At what point do you admit the Raptors are on the road to contention without losing on purpose (tanking)?
      Only after they win a championship? After they win the east? After they win two rounds?
      Lots of up and coming championship teams have been knocked out early in the playoffs only to go further the next year.
      You’re not a believer that their current play is sustainable but please tell us what evidence you have that backs it up.
      Just watching the games with their current lineup of starters and bench I can see them winning a first round. If it’s the Pacers in the second round we match up well and a win there isn’t impossible.

      • raptorspoo

        It’s what defines the team that makes a champion.
        Do they have 3 superstars like Mia?
        Do they have a huge team that play tough D with a superstar like Indy?
        Do they have the IQ + arguable the best PF ever + one of the trickest guards ever + Gino in SA?
        etc, etc.
        I mean, there’s nothing that stands out with the Raptors. And I hope you won’t compare them to the Detroit championship team cause that was a very special team will special players – all of the starters had something very special and unique about them that they did better than the rest players in the league.

        • raptorstand

          Is it easy to breath in that gimp mask ?

        • GetLicks

          Your response just dis-credited your own argument. Those 3 teams you mentioned, Miami/Indy/SA, which one of them tanked a season & mortgaged their future at a CHANCE to draft a potential franchise player? You don’t need half a brain to figure out the answer, and to realize your extremely flawed argument. Enough with the madness, just stop.

      • truth be told

        When they actually are a contender.

        Great string of wins aside but no one should confuse this team for a championship contender.

        • Suspisious Mind

          No one is! But it’s a good core, on cheap deals, with a lot of flexibility and draft picks!! Masai is 6 months into reshaping this roster. Do you think he’s content at where we are? Not sure why you insist find something to nit pick at when you could be witnessing the start of the best ball this city has EVER seen. Enjoy it man!

      • Tinman

        You gotta understand. Until we actually win a championship, Tim will always consider himself right. Would could lose in game 7 of the finals in 2016 and he will say we lost because a lack of a top draft pick.
        Even though we have a 9 PICK in DD, an 8 pick in TRoss, and a 5 in JV (might we look back on the BC regime as a time where we picked wisely). Even Vasquez(28), Hansbrough(13), Lowry(24) and Patterson(14), are first rounders

    • ckh26

      I for one am enjoying the season and hopefully looking forward to the post season. A post season where we play games instead of waiting for draft day and checking cap space numbers.
      Your attitude is disheartening. Your making up reasons to belittle the success of this team .Your abject pessimism and an open desire to “just lose baby” is whats shameful. Next year in sports context may as well be a millennium away.

      • raptorspoo

        What’s disheartening is the so many years of loser Toronto sports franchises. And the fans that feed the sickness.

    • B-rocula

      Agreed although I am have fun watching them win but yea Toronto fans have had such bad hockey baseball and basketball teams in the last decade that the bar for success is set pretty damn low ..

    • SR

      Worth remembering – the roster has plenty of flexibility, and the core pieces are all young and have yet to peak. If this roster’s core were in its prime and the team were tied into long-term contracts that put it at the salary cap, the situation would be completely different. Yes, the roster needs to be much better to consider itself a contender – but Ujiri has many options moving forward. Even allowing for a hot streak, there’s clearly too much young talent (& reasonable contracts) here to strip the team down. You tear a team down when you have vets who aren’t performing and bad contracts, not when you have young players who are exceeding expecations. It’s time to move forward with what they have, like the Pacers and Rockets have done.

    • GetLicks

      Speaking of short-sighted, you seemed to have overlooked the fact that not just a couple seasons ago, Indiana was in the same position we are now. They had a first round exit. But that had a positive impact on their players, then they added West & George and became a legit contender. It’s so frustrating to see people writing off a raptors core that has an average age of 23-24. And in sick of hearing about how if you’re not elite, you’re mediocre LOL. How about a young up & coming team that’s showing good signs. We have young players, & a ton of cap space and flexibility…yet there are still some ‘experts’ here talking about fool’s good, mediocrity and how guys who are 21,22 & 24 have reached their peak. The thoughts of a jaded raptors fan can be laughable

      • Steve Lam

        i think you’re confusing a lot of points here. couple of seasons ago? we’re talking 5 years ago. which was actually the plan they set in the first place.

        at the ‘end’ of this 5 year plan to present day, they have a TWENTY THREE year old star in paul george. we’re just starting our plan now. MU knows its going to take years to get where we need to be. 4-5 years from now? derozan is going to be 30. kyle most likely wouldnt be here anymore and if he was, he’d be 33-34. all that young, athletic ability is going to be gone.

        we’ll still have jonas and t ross which is great but thats hardly ideal. which is why getting a young and budding prospect NOW (assuming all goes well with player development etc) will greatly benefit us 3-4-5 years from now which is ideally when we’d start making a real splash.

        as for elite vs mediocre? have you looked at the standings lately at all??? in the east, you ARE elite OR you’re the atlanta hawks. thats just how it is right now.

        • some random guy

          Which pick in the draft was George?

        • GetLicks

          What the hell are you talking about? Indiana was around .500 in the 2011 season, they had missed the playoffs for 5 years straight, and got bounced in the first round by the bulls in 5 games.

          • GetLicks

            They finished the 2011 season 37-45 and were the 8th seed, so I don’t know what nonsense you’re rambling on about.

    • Bryan Colangelo

      I think you have a misperception of a lot of fans.

      Most people have not delusions about the current state of the team. But they also understand the realities of the trade market and the competition right now.

      Trust me, we ‘get’ the argument for tanking. But we’re tired of beating that horse to death. Because the reality is that in the current NBA climate, there’s no efficient way to tank. If Masai could peel off a first rounder for Demar or Lowry, he would. But any team that’s bad enough to have valuable picks aren’t giving up diddly squat. Maybe on draft night. But not right now.

      Tanking now would be like strapping on a suicide vest and hoping you get a virgin when you reach the other side. You would have to sacrifice way more than you should just for a pretty unlikely chance of getting laid.

      You also ignoring the fact that even if we do get bounced out of the first round, we have the assets and cap space to make some moves.

      • raptorspoo

        and that’s what BC said. Not you, our former GM I mean.

        I’ll make another point. We tend to over value our assets.

        When our streak ends and the dust settles, how much do you think our assets will be worth? Serious? How much do you think DD could get us back? I bet you’ll be disappointed with what teams will offer you for him.

        I says: sell high. DD or Lowry aren’t going to be valued much higher than now.

        • raptorstand

          says the guy in the gimp mask.

        • Suspisious Mind

          Why? Why can’t DD’s value be higher? He gets better every year and is currently playing on a borderline Allstar level. You can even leave statistics out of it, the eye test tells you much more. He’s making the right passes out of double teams, is rebounding at a reasonable clip, and is not given enough credit for his decent D. He’s not a perfect player, but he will continue his growth because he wants it….he’ll put in the time, and the guy never gets injured. You mention short sightedness?

          • raptorspoo

            Ask any NBA player who they consider on their all-star list and I bet you DD didn’t even cross their minds. Not-a-one.
            Thank you for confirming my point on fans that “over value our assets”. Thank you.

            • Suspisious Mind

              So, just so I’m clear, you believe that this is it? Demar has reached his ceiling? Forget the fact that he works on his craft as much as, or more than anyone in the league, and that he’s improved consistently every year. Because YOU say so, he can’t get better?! If I wasn’t so amazed by your ability to get inside the minds of all the NBA players to determine what they think of Demar, I would think that was quite an unreasonable conclusion. Good thing it’s not the NBA players who decide his all star fate. Whether DD makes it or not is not so important right now. The likelihood is he does not. My point was that making the conclusion about a 5th year player, that he can not get better is imo not baseless. Anyways, have fun trying to hate this team..

              • Steve Lam

                dude, DD has not improved consistently year after year. where did his 3 point shot go? where are you getting this shit from? leo and matt? do you watch other teams at all?

                theres a BIG difference in you WANTING demar to be playing at an allstar level versus reality.

                • Suspisious Mind

                  Firstly, I watch WAY too much basketball, and yes other teams and leagues are involved. But I certainly don’t see what that has to do with the fact that DD has improved every year. How can you deny that? Because Tim W says so? Besides his shooting percentage, every single stat has improved this year. Aside from stats, you will find that he is making better decisions with the ball, keeping his man in front of him better on D, and chipping in with rebounding. If you’re going to make such a blatant statement about him not improving, any facts to back that up would go along way in making your argument not seem so rediculous. And if you actually read what I wrote, you’ll see that I never said he is an allstar, but I certainly believe he is in the conversation.

              • raptorspoo

                Didn’t say Demar reached his ceiling buddy. Neither has a 100 other SG’s in the league.

                Just saying that he’s not an all-star caliber player as of now and don’t think he will be in the future because there’s enough SGs ahead of him now and with new up and comers there will always be enough ahead of him to give him the boot. Only fans like yourself that over value our assets believe he will be an all star someday soon.

                • Suspisious Mind

                  You said that Masai has to trade him now because his value will never be higher. If his value won’t be higher, you would assume it’s because he won’t improve his skill set. Perhaps you can let me in on why his value will never be higher if that’s not your reason. You see me as over valuing him, and I see you as not giving him enough credit for his improvements. He helps his team win…bottom line, and is easily a top 5 SG in the East, which puts him in the conversation to be an Allstar. You can choose to avoid that, or see it for what it is. I’m not dis-illusioned by the fact that he is not a leading scorer on a championship calibre team. He’s not even a favourite Raptor of mine. But he’s a solid starting 2 that works on his game and will get better.

        • Bryan Colangelo

          I bet you could get at least a future 1st rounder and an expiring contract for Demar on draft
          day, easily. Right now, all you’re going to get is a package of semi-good or expiring players, similar to the Gay deal.

          Lowry’s expiring, and we might be forced to trade him anyway. But trading Lowry will not be enough to deep six this team.

          My point is the sacrifice would too great to tank effectively right now. To get a top-5 pick this year, you would need to trade not only Lowry and Demar, but probably either Val or Amir as well — all below market value. THAT’S HOW BAD the league is this year. This team would not be able to afford to win even 2 or 3 more games for the rest of the season if they wanted a chance at top five pick.

          And even if you wanted to move Demar now, you would ACTUALLY BE SELLING LOW. You are the one overvaluing our assets, and misreading the market.

          Don’t you get it? The market is full of guys like you and Tim — managers overvaluing the draft right now. The teams that would benefit most from having Demar that have assets we want actually don’t want to win! They want to keep their prospects, rookie contracts and picks. All anyone is offering is expiring contracts, or ‘stars’ with terrible contracts.

          You should just be happy to Masai liquidated Rudy Gay and Bargs when he had the chance. I would be shocked if the Knicks get an offer even comparable to what we got for Gay for Carmelo Anthony any time soon.

          Of course, all this might change as the trade deadline approaches, and teams that are on the bubble try to turn on the tank or make one final push to respectability. But the point is, the odds of getting a pick for Demar in this climate is low. But if you wait until draft day, when you have five or six teams that will be under intense pressure to turn around their situation quickly, you have a much better chance of people OVER-paying for a player like Demar.

    • Suspisious Mind

      My question is what do you see as an alternative. You sincerely don’t still think gutting the team of proven, improving, athletic, defensive minded players whom are filled with love for our city and respect each other, is a good idea do you?? You can’t!! I refuse to believe it….I firmly take the stance that you see that what Masai has done to date has been the perfect course of action. There were many reasons coming into this season to be optimistic, but many peoples judgement was flawed by all the tank talk. We knew our starting 5 would put in the effort to get better for varying reasons and they did. Barnagni had to go, and he did. For a miracle return no less. Rudy needed to be traded after his horrible start, but we can’t forget the starting 5 since the Rudy trade last year was one of the best in the league. Evaluation was necessary, and it was obvious to everyone that Rudy was the cancer. Including other GM’s and Masai managed to turn him into an entirely serviceble and reliable bench, while maintaining flexibility. Myself and many of us knew the team would get better as a result, but I didn’t see this crazy ass transformation coming. BUT IT HAPPENED!! Now what? Pretend it didn’t? This is the type of team FA’s look at. Great chemistry on the court, character guys off it, and you know other players around the league respect the shit out of Masai. Add to that the continual respect Toronto is getting as an amazing city around the league and you have a potentially beautiful thing. Lowry is a question mark. I know, I get it, but at some point you have to consider Masai will not just let him go for nothing. He just won’t!

      Although you’re right, this is just a streak. And I agree it would be unlikely to maintain this pace, but it’s tough to beat elite teams in this league, especially on their floor, and we have in convincing fashion. It feels different, and it goes beyond X’s and O’s. It’s chemistry baby!! Dare to dream that we finish 3rd and put up a fight against Indiana because we match up well. Get a sniff, at what really matters, and learn from your experience there. Dare to dream FA’s will take notice or Masai adds to his growing list of magical trades…and shit…you never know.

      For now, let’s just beat Heat!!

      • raptorstand

        Nice post suspicious , for years it was brutal to watch our d. Now we are playing shut down d and I actually want the other team to have the ball , go ahead try and score. Its just so enjoyable to watch. Dwayne Casey baby.

        • Suspisious Mind

          It’s beautiful absolutely ball. Anyone that has played the game dreads facing this kind of structure and enthusiasm on an imposing team’s defense. It wears you down physically and mentally. It’s no coincidence they have one of the best 4th quarter point differential disparity in the league. Glad you can enjoy these games Raptorstand, it’s been a long time coming.

  • DC

    Nice read!
    KLo and behold . . . the new Raptors!


    Derozan needs to stop taking those long 2s early in the game. I wanna go kick him in the stomach when he starts taking those with 15+ seconds on the shot clock.

  • raptorspoo

    If we could read Masai’s mind this is what it would say:
    “Don’t these silly people understand that this team ain’t gonna win it all? Now they’ll all crucify me if I continue with my plan that I just ‘started’ implementing. Dang it”.
    I’d bet my house on it!

    • Raptard

      What a troll you are. We get it you want to lose it’s not happening. The tank is next to imposable now so stop worrying about it cheer up and enjoy the ride for once.

    • ckh26

      Hope you like living in the park.

    • Bryan Colangelo

      If I could read Masai’s mind this is what it would say:

      “Man, I’m glad I don’t care what fans think. Or else I might do something stupid and implusive like whatever this Tim W. guy is blathering about.

      “And his friend raptorspoo-guy really has a false sense of superiority. He just assumes the entire planet is dumb because no one agrees with him, ignoring the fact that there are plenty of people that don’t agree with him because the idea of tanking is so high risk and inactionable at this juncture that’s it’s not even worth discussing.”

      • raptorspoo

        You must be beating it off with that one, eh Bryan? 😉

        Just don’t like that people have different opinions as yourself and express it and feel that you have to take it personally. Talk about needing to feel superior. Well, if it make you feel like a man – good. for. you.

  • rapsfan222

    What people don’t realize is that it is too late to tank and get a top 5 pick. We are already like 6 games ahead of the team in 8th last. So is it worth it to give up DeRozan, Lowry, TRoss… for the 8th pick in this draft? Ross was like a 7th pick himself. You can build a winning successful team in the NBA in other ways. And who knows winning with cap space offers incentive for free agents to come. So how about we enjoy this ride? I know that I am. This is awesome. Playoff basketball, a fun team in great financial shape for the future. What are we complaining about. Tanking is already out of the equation. Two tough games and then like 7 games against sub-500. teams. We’ve already played the toughest sked in the East so far

    • Raptard

      well said, having a great time watching these guys play!

    • Steve Lam

      “And who knows winning with cap space offers incentive for free agents to come”
      I’d love to know what definition of winning you have for us that would be incentive for free agents.

      lowry is probably going to walk unless we resign him for at least 10m/year. even then, we can only keep him for 3 years versus him signing elsewhere for 4 years (making another guaranteed 10m. which would you choose?)

      This has been a great run. but it isn’t even all star break yet. remember the year we were seeded as 5th before the all-star break, only to not make playoffs AT ALL after the break?

      • mountio

        This is the 2nd time Ive heard this – are you sure we can only sign him shorter than elsewhere? I dont think thats the case, and in fact, I thought we should be able to offer an extra year vs anyone else

      • some random guy

        Who has the Cap room and willing to blow it on Lowry for 7-10m? Secondly, who has the Cap room and willing to blow it on Lowry for 7-10m and has a better chance at winning? Thirdly, who has the Cap room and willing to blow it on Lowry for 7-10m and has a better chance at winning and would give Lowry the minutes/opportunities he has now?

      • raptorstand

        same money does a fa wanna play for a 50 win team or 30 win team, I thought as the players team we could offer the fa more?

  • MalcomX

    I missed the game last night – social obligations where I had to chose between the Wiz and the Heat – so DDL’s 1800 words were welcome in my household this fine Saturday on Salt spring Island ( no snow, sunny and a chilly 1C temp) and I too have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. I has not. And for some strange reason I wonder what the conversations between KL and Rudy sound like when they talk – IF they talk.
    Amazing what a motivated KL looks like – absolutely amazing to these tired eyes.

  • morgan c

    Was at the game. Couldn’t have said it better myself. It was really never in doubt, and if anything, the score makes it looks a lot closer than it was. The mark of a good team is eviscerating bad teams. We did that tonight. We played almost robotically textbook on offense, sharing the ball and hitting the open looks (except for Salmons), and we really put on a paint-defense clinic in the third. The guys seem to be locked in, and really having fun. This is really sweet.

  • Rap fan 2

    Firstly, Happy New Year everyone! All the best and continued success for the new year.

    The Raptors are playing well. Up next Miami then Indiana again. Let’s see how they do. The schedule looks easier the second half of the year especially since the Raptors are putting it together now. Nonetheless, I’m still of the mindset of getting a top draft pick in the upcoming draft. It’s a “win win” situation. With the Raptors winning games and our players playing really well their trade values are also going up. Seems like there are a lot of injuries this year. Hopefully some teams that are setup to win now are going to get desperate and come calling for reinforcements. Glad to have Masai Ujiri on our side of the negotiation.

    • raptorstand

      So we are going to trade our assets to help other teams in this years play offs ? What about we go looking for reinforcements this year. I don’t know if you watch the games ,but this very very young team is kicking ass and taking names. Once and for all , this is not the Bargianigni teams, this isn’t even the Chris Bosh or Vince teams, this is a team that has learned how to play lights out defense from a champion coach. Lights out Defense, you think about that then get back to me. You don’t unlearn success. We are learning it right now , enjoy it.

      • Rap fan 2

        I hear you dude. The Raptors have had some recently but I don’t think they have quite enough depth and talent to win it all. Let’s see how they do against Miami on Sunday then their rematch with Indiana. I absolutely agree that they are playing the right way and have to continue and refine it. I’ve said all along that the Raptors had to emulate teams like San Antonio and Miami who maximize their offensive efficiencies by playing team system ball passing. Especially passing and getting shots from the paint. Just look at where Lebron gets most of his baskets. In the paint. The current players are buying into the team offensive and defensive systems. I think the more they play together the better they are going to execute. Any future players they bring in will also have to buy in and execute. What I’m saying is that if there is a trade out there that improves the team you have to do it. The trade may not necessarily pay off in the short term but you do it because it’s a necessary move to win a championship. Remember, only one team wins a championship each year. All the other teams came up short. Most of the teams are many steps behind. Can the current Raptors team beat the best teams consistently? Can they beat the current champs, the Miami Heat? Let’s see Sunday. If we can’t beat them then we need to keep bringing in more talent and keep developing.

  • GetLicks

    Love the way this team is playing. Just wanted to point out that I don’t think DD gets enough credit for the development of his all-around game. So many just consider him a 1-dimensional player but he’s actually showed a lot more to his game than just points. He easily could have had 7-8 assists tonight if it weren’t for missed wide open shots, a wizard player getting their hand last second or fouling the guy who rcvd the pass. And it’s been a variety of passes. Out of double teams, swinging the ball, drive n kick, bounce passes off the pnr. It’s just beautiful to watch his growth.

    I also think he’s underrated on D. He may not be as physical, in your face as Lowry, but he’s getting the job done. He rarely let’s guys go by him, always seems to be in passing lanes to pick up steals, has had a few really sweet blocks the last couple games and is just contributing nicely on that end as well. The one knock on him is the fact that he struggles to fight through screens sometimes. But hey, isn’t it a good thing that he’s giving up long 2’s (‘the least efficient shot in basketball’)?

    • GetLicks

      I see a lot of people saying oh we have Ross, let’s trade DD. They’re 2 different players that have been complementing each other nicely. Why trade DD? That’s just disrespect to the guy who wants to win so bad for us the fans, and it has showed in the unbelievable work he’s put in to get better and lead this team to the playoffs and into respectability.

      • Steve Lam

        i like DD, but hes not leading us anywhere. the whole reason we’re winning now is PRECISELY because DD isn’t getting the ball as often anymore. Kyle Lowry is the main reason we’re heading to the playoffs, and his future on this team is tenuous at best now.

        • KJ-B

          Kyle Lowry lost a few lbs in the offseason… Good for him, 7 years or so in–faster less injuries.

          You’ll probably be the 1st to start rocking a Carter/Bosh jersey. Fickle Toronto sports fan you! #enough GO RAPS!!!

        • some random guy

          DD is averaging more then 20ppg and assists are up. DD is getting the ball almost the identical amount, it is that the quality of opportunities are better, and when he passes it, it is not getting wasted a on long contested 2 shot.

        • ckh26

          Jeez I hope your wrong on Kyles future being tenuous. Some how the raps have stumbled on to one of the more difficult but necessary algorithms that garner success for any team —–> team chemistry.
          Kyle is a big part of that. Mmmm make that huge part. I like how his hard ass nature has motivated JV . “You want the ball son.. improve your post position and your handle” JV seems to have responded. His play in the post is better.
          I think yDemar is also part of that chemistry. Ross will take his quques from DD as well as Kyle. Demar wants to win as bad as anyone. He isn’t as vocal as Kyle but he has that intensity now . Amir makes them see the bar on what hard work day in and day out means. Playing hurt. Playing hard. Playing every night.

          Think trading Kyle is Ujuri’s biggest decision IMO. It looked like an easy decision based on what kind of return he could garner a couple of weeks back.. Now.. not so simple.

        • GetLicks

          Lol what games are you watching? You don’t win with one player, and DD has been leading by example (hard work & desire to win) for the last few years. Winning teams move the ball, not rely on one guy. DD has been as big a factor as anyone through this streak. Keep sipping the haterade tho, you’re one of the only ones on here spewing negative vibes.

    • DDayLewis

      The fighting through screens issue is big because he’s guarding opposing shooting guards. A lot of those plays result in open spot-ups, some from two, some from deep, but any open NBA shot is a bad outcome for a defense. However I’m also encouraged with Demar’s development both on offense and defense. The passing is real and he’s showing more defensive awareness.

      • GetLicks

        Good point. But he’s actually limited those wide-open looks that he used to give up a lot of. The last game I remember him getting torched from screens was the loss in Charlotte against Henderson. Since then he’s been really solid defensively. Just thought I’d bring up a few points about him that seem to be overlooked because he’s beep labelled as a certain type of player, which I think is unfair considering the growth he’s shown.

        • DDayLewis

          You’re making some valid points. Its worth remembering that young players like Demar are still very malleable.

    • tonious35

      After Rudy denied him that Alley-oop at that game in the ACC, he made it his mission to pass it to an OBVIOUS open man.

  • AxlT

    Amazing recap!!

  • Marshall

    Awesome piece!

    I just wanted to put my two pennies in here right quick. I don’t get why this team is being judged as “not good enough” simply because we most likely will get knocked out of the second round by Indiana or Miami. If that were to be the case I would consider the season an unequivocal success!

    The only real danger is losing Lowry to free agency. But honestly, if this squad makes the second round with all of that cap space and Masaiah at the helm, I can’t see them taking a step back next year. They WILL attract a quality FA or 2 and continue to learn and grow as an organization and team.

    I don’t expect them to win a title in the next year or two, but if we can at least make a semi final or conf final in the next 2-3 years would anyone seriously complain? We haven’t mortgaged our future by missing out on the lottery this year. Our entire core unit are in their early to late 20’s. JV and Ross will continue to develop next year AFTER gaining some crucial playoff experience.

    Look at Golden States run last year, no one expected them to knock off the Nuggets or to compete with the Spurs but they did, and they learned. Remember when the Raps couldn’t close out games in the fourth last year? Remember when they always got up for the “sexy” teams but lost to the cellar dwellers? Remember when Ross or JV couldn’t stay on the floor for more than 15-20 minutes?

    Progress is being made.

    As Raptor fans, I think we are finally getting exactly what we’ve all been waiting for since Vince missed that fateful shot in Philadephia back in 2001, a squad that fights hard EVERY night, are fun to watch, plays hard D, and are unselfish.

    Why are we even debating that this is a good thing??

    • KJ-B


    • GLF

      Couldn’t have said it better myself

    • Bryan Colangelo

      Thanks for reminding everyone we’re 6 months into a five year plan. Even if we lose Lowry we will have the cap space and assets to make moves. And I would even consider learning to win without Lowry an essential step in evaluating and developing our core.

      • Marshall

        Absolutely right. Elite teams aren’t built overnight (except for Miami), but if you look at our point differential since the trade, somewhere around 6.5 I think, we are playing at an elite level right now. Is it sustainable? Based on what I’ve seen, absolutely, as long as Lowry stays healthy.

        I haven’t been at all impressed with Vasquez’s ability to initiate the offence. Yes he gets hot from 3 every now and again but what happened to all the flashy passes he was making when he first got here? I don’t think I saw him run a PnR all night last night. He just stood at the top of the circle and waited…

        That aside, yes our bench still needs some work, I’m certain Masai will look after that before the trade deadline if we sustain this level of play, or worse case in the off season. But I’d take our starting 5 into next year if we could, their chemistry is off the charts and you don’t want to mess with that.

        Tomorrow should be one hell of a game, win or lose.

  • Andrey

    great article Will.

    • DDayLewis

      Thanks Andrey. I always appreciate your support.

      • Andrey

        btw have you seen this? should I be excited or temper my expectations lmao Top 1 defense and Top 2 playmaking in last 10 games.

        • DDayLewis

          Here are the advanced stats from the last 10 days:

          NBA Rank:
          Raw Numbers:

          So yeah, 3rd best defense, 14th best offense (which is to be expected considering we played top 10 defenses in Chicago, Indiana, Charlotte, OKC, Spurs) and 2nd best net rating (points scored per 100 possessions – points allowed per 100 possessions).

          As for the playmaking, we’re 12th in the NBA over the last 10 games with 22.4 assists per game.

          • Andrey

            hahaha I’ll temper my expectations then XD It’s still very promising

  • SR

    No apologies needed. Nice piece – I liked the three pronged approach, actually.

  • Age

    Had a good laugh at this tweet

    “Brian Windhorst ‏@WindhorstESPN3h

    Dwyane Wade (knee) might not play tonight in ORL with back-to-back vs. Toronto tomorrow. If he sits tonight, Raptors, you’ve truly arrived”


    • Steve Lam

      well he played that night. so does that mean we haven’t arrived?

  • Louvens Remy

    This is what I wrote yesterday in another thread. Whatever…. I’m lazy

    What you don’t do in the case of Toronto is trade away your actual young talent before putting in the time to develop them. If Toronto, were to trade away DD, KL or TR for draft picks and expirings, then they would be doing the same thing they are doing now, except they would be going backwards. By doing the same thing, I mean, having a roster full of young players and trying to develop them into a functional winning team. The reality is that JV, DD, KL, TR, Amir are an average of 24 years old or so and are showing that they are just starting to realize their potential . What people aren’t happy with is that DD, JV and TR aren’t “stars”, right away, like Kyrie, Blake, John Wall or Kevin Love

    The case for Toronto to stay the course now is that at the beginning of the season we were thought of to be in the same boat as Phila, Phoenix, Bos, Was, Cle in terms of having a super young roster and players who haven’t fully developed or reached their potential and weren’t expected to be good. But what we are seeing now, as the Toronto Raptors have cleared their roster of pieces that don’t fit their system or philosophy, is that their young players are actually better as a unit than those teams mentioned. Isn’t that what we want ? Aren’t we clamoring for a young talented team of players that can be groomed into winners?

    What I see with our fan base is that the grass is always greener. We want that Kyrie, the John Wall, Demarcus, Kevin Love etc… but we may actually have players that are better as a unit than those guys are individually. Kyrie and Kevin Love, are great individual talents but they alone haven’t been able to translate that into wins. We have a young core of DD, TR, Amir and JV that on any given night can match up or surpass CLE (kyrie, waiters, TT), WAS (Wall, Beal, Porter?), PHO (Bledsoe, Dragic, Morris twin), UTA (Burke, Hayward, Favors), PHI (MCW, Turner, Hawes, Young) and so on. All teams that basically have the exact makeup and young players as the Raptors.

    Toronto is basically doing what everyone wanted them to do (develop young talent), which they are, and that young talent is slowly starting to realize its potential…

    I know everyone wants the next LeBron, MJ, Bird, Durant etc… but the reality is those players are very rare. For the most part each draft since 2000 averages out around 3-4 allstars and the rest of the draft is a mix of above average pieces, specialists and benchwarmers. The goal now for the Raps is to get another young player in year 1 or 2 of their contracts for some of the assets accumulated to continue staying young and always having new talent waiting in the wings and learning their system. What we are hoping is that DD continues to develop into a star and that Jonas and TR join him in there in a couple years. But why “tank” when we may actually have really good talent that is on the rise?

    The funny thing is that before the season we projected that a host of teams would be bad, including the Raps. Some of them are bad, but what you are seeing is that some of the “bad” teams are maybe ahead of the curve and better than we thought (PHO, ATL, TOR, PHI) and others that were suppose to have taken the leap fwd are even worse or not as good (CLE, WAS, ORL). So then, I ask myself, if you are in the position of PHO, ATL, TOR, what good does it do to actually trade away that talent that is playing well, is very young, when what you are trying to do in the first place is have young talent and have them play well? Isn’t that the point of building a young team? To develop them. If they get good then you build on it. If they aren’t, you start over. Simple as that. No need to lose on purpose to accomplish that. The Raps are just proving that their young talent is on par or better than their peers.

    • some random guy