We made some predictions in a two-part roundtable before the season. Let’s revisit those.
During the preseason, the esteemed Raptors Republic panel made some predictions onto the season that was. You can check out the segments (part 1, part 2). Needless to say, 2013-14 was filled with surprises (mostly positive), which made some of our prognostications look rather silly. In the interests of embarrassing myself, and my fellow writers, let’s revisit our best and worst preseason predictions.
Who impressed you most during Summer League and/or preseason and why?
Best I Ever Had: Everyone who said DeMar DeRozan
It seems like forever ago, but DeMar’s breakout campaign foreshadowed his stellar preseason. As noted by Zarar, the Tims, myself, Garrett and Blake, DeRozan looked greatly improved in the process to which he approached scoring, which in turn bumped up his efficiency. DeRozan flashed a newfound post-game, a somewhat improved three-point shot, and most importantly, a renewed vigor to toe the charity stripe as much as possible. The improvements carried over to the regular season, which ultimately earned him his first All-Star berth.
Worst Behavior: Sam was impressed by Dwight Buycks
LOL. Remember when everyone was infatuated with Buycks’ performance in Summer League? Like J. Walter Weatherman says, “that’s why you never trust the preseason/summer league”
What is the one area you’d like to see the team improve in 2013-14?
Best I Ever Had: Tim C and Zarar wanted to see improvements on defense. The Raptors delivered.
The Raptors improved upon a number of things from last season, which is no surprise given that they won 14 additional games. The Raptors made noted improvements in the offense, shifting from a Bargnani/Alan Anderson led offense into a Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan led attack, but the biggest improvement was undoubtedly the defense. In 2012-13, the Raptors boasted the league’s 22nd ranked defense per defensive efficiency. This season, that mark jumped to 10th. No wonder Dwane Casey got that extension.
Worst Behavior: No one, really.
I wanted more floor-spacing. Andrew wanted a better offense with sets. Tim W wanted “talent”. Garrett wanted more three-point shooting. Sam wanted the team to make more shots. All of that came to true, to a certain extent.
Predict the team’s biggest breakout or drop-off.
Best I Ever Had: Blake correctly predicts Ross’ breakout, Garrett somewhat calls for Lowry’s
Two of the brightest stars this season were Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross, who both redeemed themselves in the eyes of Raptors fans (that is, until the playoffs). Lowry finally managed to duck injury woes, and avoid coaching clashes, which helped him emerge as a top-10 point guard. Lowry finished 8th in win shares this season, which placed him between the likes of Chris Paul and Joakim Noah.
Flanking Lowry was Terrence Ross, who found his form following the Rudy Gay trade, and flourished as a 3-and-D player (to my surprise). There was even the unforgettable 51-point outbust against the Clippers, which will undoubtedly find its way into the quirkiest of Raptors trivia questions in years to come.
Worst Behavior: Andrew predicts more fast-break points only to be topped by my prediction of Landry Fields living up to his contract
Andrew looked at the roster, saw the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, and initially, Rudy Gay, and figured that the team would capitalize on its plethora of athletic wings. He pointed to the Raptors scoring just 9.9 fast-break points per game in 2012-13, and foreshadowed a more opportunistic offense to come. Turns out, the Raptors ran even less, scoring just 9.6 fast break points per game this season. Whoops.
More whoops is my throwaway line about Landy Fields bouncing back to earn his contract. That did not happen whatsoever. I’m taking a mulligan on that one.
Make a bold prediction for the 2013-14 season
Best I Ever Had: Blake calls Lowry’s health, I called Raptors-Nets in the playoffs
Blake correctly predicted Lowry’s string of good health this season, and called for him to get paid this offseason. He’s 2-for-2. He also called for someone other than the Raptors to sign Lowry this offseason. Let’s hope he goes 2-for-3.
But more impressively, I called Toronto and Brooklyn meeting up in the playoffs, albeit I had the order switched up. I predicted the the Nets would capture the third seed, and face the sixth seeded Raptors. I also called for Nets in 6 (wrong), the Raptors to win two home games (right), and for Ujiri to keep everyone around this offseason. He jettisoned Gay, but his replacements in Vasquez and Patterson look to be favorites to return.
Worst Behavior: Basically everyone else.
Andrew: Rudy Gay will re-sign with the Raptors. LOL.
Garrett: Julyan Stone will emerge as a legitimate back-up for Lowry. LOL.
Sam: D.J. Augustin wins most improved player. LOL
Tim W: Ujiri’s having a FIREsale. LOL.
Sorry guys. None of that happened.
Will Rudy Gay finish the year on the team? Any others likely to be shipped out?
Best I Ever Had: Tim W correctly predicts the trade to Sacramento, and impressively nails the timing at before Christmas.
The Rudy Gay trade paid enormous dividends for the Raptors. It netted Vasquez and Patterson. It freed up financial flexibility. It allowed Ross to emerge. It pushed the Raptors under the luxury tax. It stopped our eyes from bleeding. It stopped us from debating the merits and demerits of corrective vision surgery.
Tim W correctly predicted that Gay would go to Sacramento (although he also listed three other possible destinations). He also called for the trade to take place before Christmas. Kudos, Tim.
Worst Behavior: The rest of us for predicting that he would stay through the year.
In our defense, he played so incredibly poorly in 18 games as a Raptor this season, it was hard to envision a scenario in which he would actually command any positive trade value of note.
Will Dwane Casey be retained at the end of the season?
Best I Ever Had: Tim C and Zarar correctly predict that improvements will help him stick around
Lost amiss all the excitement over the team’s success this season was the man at the helm in Dwane Casey. He dodged questions about his job security to start the year when the team was bad, and provided a steadying influence that guided the Raptors through a mid-season metamorphosis of sorts. In the end, his team achieved a franchise-high of 48 wins, and Casey was rewarded with a lucrative extension.
Zarar and Tim C both pointed to Casey’s steadiness, and gave their respective reasons as to why he will stay. Zarar foresaw Nurse helping with the offense, which turned out to be true. Tim C liked Casey for his focus on real, tangible areas of the game, and most importantly, he was cheap.
Worst Behavior: I’ve apparently been a Casey-hater from Day 1
Probably not. Why would you? His teams have been unsuccessful and it’s not like he has a proven track record or something. He draws up terrible plays on offense and the Raptors’ defense isn’t very good either. Sorry, pal. I’m sure he’ll end up back on the bench as an assistant coach for a playoff team, drawing more zone defenses that feature Jason Kidd-types on Lebron James.
Yeah I look pretty silly for that one. Sorry coach.
Predict a record and playoff seed/result if applicable. Explain.
Best I Ever Had: I came the closest at a record of 44-38. Zarar and Andrew were close with 43 wins.
The general theme of our predictions (save for Tim W) was one of cautious optimism. The talent was there for a 40+ win team in the tankapolooza Eastern Conference, and if Casey and the players could harness that talent, three clever bloggers could be vindicated.
And wouldn’t you know it, Zarar, (S)And(sh)rew and I were rewarded for our faith. As I alluded to earlier, I had the Nets and Raptors’ record switched, and their playoff seeding switched. My only wish is that the playoffs outcomes were switched too, but a man can only ask for so much.
Worst Behavior: Tim W and Sam didn’t have love for this team
Tim W. predicted 39 wins if Ujiri kept the team together, 25 if he blew it up. Sam called for 34 on aggregate. C’mon guys! This is your team! Show a little undue faith in this accursed franchise!
It’s a wonder why any of your would read our #hottakes. It’s pretty obvious we’re just blindly guessing most of the time. Happy offseason!Follow @raptorsrepublic