i've tempered my expectations quite a bit in the past couple months (don't expect playoffs anymore, would be pleasantly surprised) and even still i'm overloaded with excitement for this team.
haters gonna hate
Raptors have the best roster they've had for some time. They might have the best bench they've ever had. Jose has started 107 games in the last 2 seasons. Amir has started 93. Kleiza has started 24, Dav is has started 26, Anderson was solid last year, JV and Ross have started none, but we shall see what we shall see.
We pretty much know what to expect with Demar and Bargs, while Fields and Lowry and Gay are known quantities. There is a chance for Bargs to return as the "13 Weeks" Bargs, and one can hope that Demar has made improvements.
Even more to the point, we know what Casey brings.
Lots of reason to expect improvement. Lots of reason to expect improvement the following year as well. Financial flexibility is there in the 2013-2014 season, so no reason not to expect another significant signing, especially with the salary cap thumbscrews tightening up.
So, better this year. Better next year. Team is more attractive for free agents. Young players (Val, Lowry, Fields, Demar, Anderson, Ross, Davis) improving or moved for other parts. I'm pumped.
Raptors are stacked.
On paper, we're still the worst team in our division. And our success will be highly dependent on DeRozan learning how to dribble and becoming competent at things he should already be competent at. Bargnani must stay healthy AND maintain what would have been nothing short of a historically large improvement (dem 13 games). Lowry must stay healthy, when he hasn't been able to for a long time. Our SF rotation is still laughable at best, and imo got worse with the loss of JJ. 2 rookies, minus JJ and a healthier Bargnani (and ergo less Ed/Amir, our best defenders) pretty much secures a sizable defensive regression.
We're still on the outside looking in. And even if we manage to get "in", it'll be extremely difficult to get any further. The Jonas and Ross picks would basically have to be nothing short of homeruns. And when DD, Jonas and Ross are peak, Bargnani and Lowry will be about to decline basically.
I'm die-hard Raptors fan. Even if they never win a championship, i'll still watch the games and wear the gear. In short, I guess I'm the type of fan MLSE counts on for perpetual profits.
That doesn't mean I can't be disappointed or offer criticism when it's due. For this particular off-season, with all of our ducks in a row, I don't think management did enough to be competitive for the playoffs. We still need a serious upgrade at SF, and options were available. I like Fields enough, but he's a plus player at the 2, not 3. We are all but guaranteed a last place finish in the Atlantic division and a distant long-shot to hope for the 8th seed. Colangelo is betting his job that this particular unit will have almost everything go right and surprise everyone. I wouldn't have made that bet.
There is no way we regress defensively this season (and I don't mean by pure ranking, but in terms of defensive efficiency and capability). JV is the type of player we haven't had since Oakley; a big man willing to mix it up and protect the hoop. Plus the additions of Fields, Lowry and Ross are all upgrades.
James Johnson was good for stats and was only a good defender in fantasy terms (steals per game). He was often out of position, didn't rotate or reached for steals. Simply put, he was a selfish defender that often caused more harm than good. If he was as good a defender as Whatwhat thought, then he would have likely gotten along with Coach Casey and would still be on the roster.
I don't think we'll regress defensively, but something to keep in mind is that Amir and Ed started in place of Andrea when he was injured last season. Unless you think Andrea is as good of a defender as Amir or Ed you would have to speculate that having Andrea back in the starting line up may negatively affect the defence. But having better defenders like Lowry and Fields as well as JV could be enough to compensate.
Really excited, as always, for the season to start.
While I agree with your statement that it is a second (or perhaps third class behind the Jays) class sport, I disagree with your minimum $100 for half decent tickets. I have been a season seat holder since day one - front row of the upper level at the baseline. Great views and essentially 12 feet above the private boxes which cost $3500.
I am a basketball fan first and foremost. It simply amazes me that others want to watch "the stars" on other teams - I would prefer a lower ranked team against which we are highly competitive. In other words, I could care less who I watch. While I would prefer a championship team (or highly competitive one), I simply enjoy watching the sport (at any level). I think that there may be a bit of a regression defensively, but that doesn't mean we cannot compete. If we kept the defensive intensity at the same level as last year, and the offense improved, we would be better. Since 1984, only 8 franchises have won the title, and the trend is towards multiple titles (Heat may win 2-3 more in the coming years). Does that mean the Raptors are no good? Of course not - getting to the "competing for a title" group is where we want to head. The one thing that worries me this year is injuries. Heading into the season many people had the Blue Jays winning 88-90 games and competing for a wild card spot. Look what happened to them - injuries are unforseen events but fortunately I believe that the Raptors depth this season will prove to be a boon.
Lastly, regarding rookies we need to remember not to expect the world from Terence Ross. Rookie of the year awards generally go to top draft picks for a reason. Generally they play for bad teams and get lots of playing time. In the past 50 years, only three players drafted 9th or lower won the rookie of the year title. That doesn't mean they cannot become good players - in fact many Hall of Famers were mid to late first round picks.
Why not sit back and enjoy the season. If you hate the team, then watch the other team. Oh, if you really want to bitch about the price of tickets, then the post from the NBA should help. Our average ticket price is below the leagus average - check out what it costs for some other teams.
The NBA's average ticket price increased for the first time in three years, up 1.7 percent to $48.48, the Team Marketing Report said Wednesday in its annual survey.
New York Knicks' tickets cost more than double the league's average and five times as much as seats for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Knicks tickets averaged $117.47 after a 32.5 percent increase - and these figures don't even include premium seats.
The Los Angeles Lakers were second at $99.25 after a 4.2 percent hike, and Boston third at $68.55 while leaving its average flat. Chicago was fourth at $68.37 with a 3.3 percent increase, followed by the Miami Heat at $67 following a 10.7 percent jump.
Memphis has the lowest average at $22.95, just below Washington ($23.64). Thirteen teams cut their average, and seven were flat.
While a number of reasons have contributed to our lack of success, reasons like Canada, cold weather etc are true to a small extent but can be overcome. BC's decision(about 2 yrs ago) to start rebuilding has slowed things down further, therefore testing the fans patience even more.
Looking back it's easy to point fingers at a lot of things and rightly so but I think what's required at this time is to stick with the present management staff(BC and Co.) for a fairly long period of time despite their lack of success. This I think has been one of the main reasons we have not been able to get anywhere. We've either gone up and down or remained stagnantly down with every changing management team. The truth is that each person who takes over as GM has a certain philosophy and understandably so and it takes time for a plan to start materializing. Yes when a GM is breaking up and hitting the panic button it's time for change but when not so MLSE needs to exercise patience. BC track record as Raptors GM has been so so, but his overall track record has been quite impressive. He's a proven GM so let's stick with him. Yes it costs more to keep him but I think it's worth it.
I'm in the same boat as many of the posters here... I have low expectations but am enough of a homer to be excited anyways. So I guess you can say I am pessimistic. This is a tactic I use to root for teams that continually miss the playoffs, never contend, and are a punchline for much of the rest of the league. I convince myself that we will suck, then anything that good that happens is legitimately exciting.
Here's what I'm excited for:
- Watching responsible defending
- The continued maturation of Andrea (all star breakout!??!)
- The integration of Lowry into our guard rotation
- Brief glimpses of brilliance from Big Val.
Here's what I am anticipating with positive vibes, but overly excited about:
- Watching Amir do Amir things (love that guy)
- Potentially watching LeBron jump clear over our backup PG and throw down
- Hopefully seeing that Ross is an upgrade over DeRo
- The remote chance the Quincy Acy is more beastly than anticipated
Here's some things I'm pessimistic about:
- Watching Derozan still be unable to shoot
- Davis still getting lost to the point that he pulls at least one complete 360 on court each game
- BC looking stoic in the tunnel while we're getting badly blown out
- Klieza catching fire for 2 games and then more or less disappearing for the rest of the season
- Any Aaron Gray sighting
- Watching a lottery pick go to another team.
I am really hoping for some nice ball movement on O, and that our guys (Fields, Ross, Klieza, etc) can knock down some open shots. I'm hoping for some hussle rebounds and second chance points thanks to Amir and Val. I'm hoping Bargs and Val can figure out how to defend together, because I think the potential for really solid post D is high, and I'm hoping to see Lowry and Bargs emerge as legit team leaders.
However... I am not holding my breath because we really havent got any hard evidence (save 11 good Bargs games last season and some nice youtube highlights of Big Val) that anything I'm excited about/hoping for is actually coming. We're leaning on leaders that have not really led before, we are positioned for another PG controversy, we are 1 injury away from being a really, really bad team, and we've got 2 recent lotto picks in key roles that havent shown the progression necessary for them to contribe consistently. And really, how can we be that optimistic about a team that hasn't sniffed the playoffs in the last 4 seasons?
... And frankly, given the intense homerism observed on this forum, I'm shocked that this thread has a single reply.
Backlash, Rueben, NoPropsNeeded, FlamingTim, joey_hesketh, akashsingh, Puffer..... why aren't you guys quoting anying remotely negative and replying witht he venom of 10 cobras? Isn't that your thing?