Again, not saying they are better defensively, but I just don't see the regression considering the roster changes. But who knows, I could easily be wrong.. Its just my opinion
I think that this year everyone seems to have a pretty realistic view on what the raptors will achieve. A little bit of optimism is okay.
There are deep-seated ownership problems in the GTA market. People think, team hires executives, experts work to rebuild team into a winner, after x number of years that happens, eventually gets close to championship, or maybe wins one.
That's how the system is supposed to work, but unfortunately ownership is like anything else, a few winners, a whole lot of losers. And the GTA market has losers as owners. All Rogers et al. care about is their stock price. They aren't willing to lose money on the franchises to make them winners, and because some of the other owners are, Mark Cuban for one, the GTA teams will not consistently win. They may have one good year here and there, but they won't be players in the big free agency game, they won't give the players what they want, so the players leave etc.
The organizations are just run very poorly, very amateurishly. But this has been discussed at length before, and there's nothing new about it. I'm surprised matt52 doesn't know these things. I mean compare the performance of the Mavs under Ross Perot Jr. and Cuban, or compare the Clippers and Lakers under Sterling and Buss, the timelines are almost exactly the same. You think the Lakers win all the time because they're lucky, or because they're in LA? The Clippers are in LA too. The Clippers have been at or near the top of many lotteries. The league has had longstanding regulations that prevented stupid executives from trading away too many draft picks to account for some of the morons who were owners back in the day. Sterling ran a losing franchise because of Sterling, and Buss ran a winning franchise because of Buss. And the ball players know it.
I don't think there will be any change in the GTA sports situation unless the big public corporations are taken out of the mix as owners. The owner must be willing to lose money on the team as a starting point, and then must be a really good manager, of which there are very few. A professional organization run by someone the players admire and look up to, like Pat Riley for example, must replace the amateurish one currently in place. The organization must treat the players well, and throw money around like it's candy. Then the star players will start to come to Toronto.
Regarding being willing to lose money, there are very few owners who willingly do this - in fact Cuban is the only one who has publicly stated this that I am aware of. I don't think that makes a criteria for a loser. Chicago for example has never paid the tax and made numerous decisions this past off season to ensure they do not pay much of it. Cuban certainly is an owner who made a conscious decision to lose money in the past but that was also under the old CBA. Under the new CBA, Cuban has certainly changed his stripes.
Comparing the Lakers and Clippers is extreme. You are comparing one of the worst franchises of 30 years with one of the best. It is beyond an anomaly. As bad as the Raptors have been, I'm not sure it is even fair to put them in the Clippers category when looking at franchise history. Sterling is notoriously cheap, has been accused and even convicted I believe of being racist, and appears to lack any sort of moral integrity or credibility as a person. This is a good counter argument that a corporation should not run a franchise and only wealthy individuals should. As a side note it will be interesting to see what happens to the Lakers after the next 2 seasons. The only contract on the books for '14-15 will be Nash at $9.7M and Kobe will be 36. They have essentially gone all in for the next 2 seasons, money be damned and future draft picks as well. However, will they continue their spending ways with the new super tax about to kick in for the '14-15 season or will they follow more of a San Antonio model of running a good organization with prudent salary management?
With regards to the points in the post related specifically to the Raptors and star players coming to Toronto:
- Colangelo, from what I understand, is a well respected GM around the league. He has 2 EOY awards. People such as Charles Barkley and Mark Cuban have praised his GM abilities. He is notorious for expensive free agent contracts and working with agents/players to find a better situation. He is even oft criticized in these forums for performing indecent acts upon agents.
- players admire and look up to many different types of GMs. Pat Riley is one such GM. However many other GMs with and without playing or coaching experience are admired and looked up to. I find this to be a vague generalization and reflects more of a poor attitude to Colangelo than anything else (which is cool, your opinion). Basketball knowledge and good character trumps all else.
- treat players well. When Colangelo took over the first thing he did was overhaul the Raptors organization. The plane, locker room, front office, practice facility were all given a makeover. I agree you want to treat players well but you don't want to cater to their every whim. There is a very fine line between treating players well and looking out for the best interests of the franchise. Outside of BC's comments on Bosh and Calderon-to-Charlotte trade fiasco, I'm not sure there are any instances of the Raps not treating players well.
- throw money around like its candy. This is a funny one. Portland did that in the late '90's and early '00's. The Knicks did it for years and are back at it. What does this guarantee though? Nothing. With the exception of last year the Raps are usually in the upper half of the league in salary. This idea also neglects the CBA. There are rules teams must follow and adhere to in spending their money. It is not as easy as it is made out to be. If it was it would be MLB. Throwing money around in the NBA is a great way to handcuff the organization for years (much like it did after the early 2000 playoff runs) and especially in the new CBA.
A lot of Brandon's post also speaks to the past. The past is done and cannot be changed. But looking forward, I feel a lot of reason for optimism. A general list:
1) Raps are positioned well for new CBA.
2) deep team.
3) ability to add max or near max player if opportunity arises (free agency or trade).
6) new CBA and revenue sharing.
7) change in ownership.
While the ownership is the general reason for pessimism in the post, the ownership is in fact new. The OTPP were never going to do anything that jeopardized maximum profitability (emphasis on maximum). Rogers and Bell are in a unique situation. Yes they are corporations but they are also selling entertainment. A winning product for the Raptors should theoretically increase their profits. A winning product may result in more expenses but the revenues should more than compensate. Toronto has shown to be very supportive of a winning team. Say the Raps add an additional 2000 fans at an average price of $100. That is $8.2M over 41 games then add concessions, parking, etc. Then a winning team is also a playoff team so add the revenue of every additional playoff game (millions per game). Then they no longer have the expense of paying for TV rights and a winning team will likely lead to increased viewership and increased rates for advertising. The TV angle is something that had very little impact on the OTPP but will very much impact Bell and Rogers. I am speaking in generalizations here and marketing and business is not my area of expertise. I could very well be wrong on these general assumptions.
It's hard to know what your "I don't give 2 poops" message means. You don't care who the owner is, you don't like Rogers/Bell, you don't think it matters, you just don't want to think about it or discuss it?
Any way I interpret that, you're letting them off the hook. A lot of the examples I can think of are what you might call "extreme". I mean look at that idiot who's been running the NY Islanders for 12 years and counting -- Charles Wang. Or that earth-shattering asshole Peter Pocklington -- Gretz says the Oilers would have "probably won 4 more" Cups had PP not broken the team up for no apparent reason. HR Bright sells the Cowboys, now a joke, to Jerry Jones, 4 years later, they win the Super Bowl with a dynastic team.
True, there are lots of mediocre owners, whose teams go through periods of winning and losing. I am hoping for a great owner, whose teams almost never lose, and who is in the mix for superstar player and championships all the time. And I contend that Rogers is a bad owner, despite the overwhelming wealth and power. Just look at the history of the Jays (I know, you don't a poop, or maybe even two poops. But don't go to three poops, because I just couldn't handle that level of not caring.)
As for the rest of your post, you seem to have misinterpreted some of what I said as an attack on Bryan Colangelo. MLSE hired him based on Stern's recommendation, because MLSE had no idea who to hire, or how to go about the process of vetting candidates. They don't know what they're doing. That was my point. The captain of the ship is an untrained rookie with his head up his arse. I would not want to be on that ship. The ball players know that.
There's one thing I've learned following various sports for 20 years or so. The fish rots from the head. If you don't have a great owner, you've got a big, big problem, and hoping for good things to happen isn't going to make that problem go away.
I don't understand the point of this thread... to debate the validity of a person's opinion? Or are we just bored.
We don't have to all agree and hold hands and sing kumbaya. There will always be people who think players are better than they really are, or players are worse than they really are. For both types of people, I always just smile at them and say "Let's wait and see."
From my perspective as a paying season ticket holder, this franchise has made a few changes that have made the roster better and we have the personnel from a coaching standpoint. But I still see a 30 win team. I am optimistic about the direction of this team but I can't be optimistic about the product as it stands. It's better, but it's not good. It's not even average. I am still at the point where I am picking which game I should go to and which I should try to sell, rather than being excited to go to each and every game. To me, people saying it's good to be optimistic is like saying the captain of the Titanic should feel optimistic if he found an extra few life jackets.
Make no mistake about it.. this franchise as a whole has been a sinking ship for many many years. We don't see it or choose to ignore it because we focus on the current season and try to forget the past. Which is okay. We see Casey, young players with potential, and some cap space and we think things are on the up and up, and certainly I would not disagree but so far, the franchise's overall picture is not too different from the Nortel stock graph of 2000-2002. You may see some small blips of improvement but the big picture is just one giant back slash "\". (http://mydailydiary.net/wp-content/u...re-graph-1.gif)
Unlike Nortel, the Raptors were never high ;)
Either way, I'd be interested in taking a few games off your hands. Where are your seats?
More importantly I asked for people who aren't feeling optimistic on the year to give reasons. I was attempting to get another perspective and possibly new insights.
Who needs to hold hands and sing kumbaya?
For someone who doesn't understand the point of the thread you sure did a great job achieving the objective with your post.
One thing that often happens after a long decline in a chart is a reversal pattern forming. It didn't happen with Nortel but a long decline often does lead to a significant rebound.
I understand what you wanted to talk about, hence my answer, but I guess I don't understand the goal. I think the thread will just go back and forth with ideas and we'll end up at the same place as we started. I don't count myself as old but I am pretty set in my ways and ideas.. I don't think we're going to persuade eachother much here :) Perhaps the goal was to see where everyone stands?
Anyway, I hope this is the start to a turnaround for this team, I really do. But we really suck right now. Perhaps I've gone over the dark side of the jaded-ness scale, but I don't even think Kyle Lowry is that good. To me I feel like I'm watching a slower version of TJ Ford who just happens to like to play defense a bit more. Is he much more than that?
I am curious at how well or poorly they will perform but in the end, I will cheer for the Raptors no matter how well or poorly they fare. I will attend the game(s) in Washington and maybe others depending on work travels.
My model says 34 to 38 wins this year.
As for ideas going back and forth and ending up in the same place...... for the most part, how is that different from any other thread? lol
Regarding Lowry, I can understand the pessimism if that is the view of him. A big part of the excitement I have this year is related to him. I do believe he is a top 10 PG in the league (both sides of the ball is in the conversation here). I am excited to see his toughness and tenacity come through. I do think his style is what Casey is looking for in a floor general (remember Casey was assistant coach with Seattle during Payton's best years). The team really has been a bunch of panzies for years. Good guys aren't necessarily nice guys. It might be nice to have a 21 or 22 year old PG like Knight or Walker but those guys are still question marks. I don't think there is any question Lowry is a legit, starting NBA PG.
Lowry - I agree he has the mentality and attitude that is desperately needed on this team, but I worry about the level of talent and consistency. I like what I've seen from Casey in his ability to motivate our guys. I mean just looking at what he was able to do with Bargnani before the injuries hit was nothing short of spectacular. But the difference is that Bargnani is a first overall pick. We knew he was talented -- it was a matter of getting him to commit to the level of effort required to sustain it.
Gary Payton is one of the greatest ever so it's unfair to make a comparison, but Payton was a tenacious defender and a scorer. Lowry has the tenacity but may lack the quickness and the talent.
To start, Lowry is a career 42% shooter. Payton was a 47% shooter. That 5% for me is the difference between a starter and a bench player and that's the way I see Lowry. Consider this: http://bkref.com/tiny/Z94LQ, all guards in NBA history of the with over 8000 minutes played, under 300 games started, and shooting 42% or lower. Lowry headlines a list of some seriously mediocre point guards. Even if you raise that to 43%, only Russell Westbrook shows up as good one, but he's raised his average every season and should be well over 45% by the time his career ends.
The other issue is consistency -- Lowry has played in over 350 games and has started less than 150 of them. That's not quite as bad as Jerryd Bayless, but you have to wonder if he's so good -- if he's a legit starting NBA point guard -- then why did his collective NBA coaches allow him to start less than 40% of the games over the first 6 years of his career?
I am prepared to give Rogers a chance, though. Despite the Jays lack of playoff appearances over the last decade (Rogers' ownership) the team has never been terrible (usually .500) and has put out rosters that should have done more (better squads than Baltimore this season, for example). Rogers hasn't broken the bank but they have put in place a solid GM surrounded by a terrific management structure. It hasn't paid dividends as of yet but the organizational improvement in the last 3 years has been enormous.
The immediate issue for me is a new management team. This one has failed. Rogers/Bell could go a long way toward earning my trust by cleaning out this front office. I guess we'll know soon enough.
I personally thought Bosh was always overrated, in the franchise's attempt to put a new face on a young franchise that had been devestated by the departures of Mighty Mouse and Vinsanity (and his cousin), the team's only true franchise players up until that point. It wasn't only that they left, but how they left, which were such big blows to a franchise trying to grow roots for the NBA in Toronto and in Canada. Given the failure that was the Vancounver Grizzlies, there were some people in media that wrote stories about how the star players leaving Toronto was a bad omen that spelled doom for the Raptors franchise and the NBA in Canada. No wonder ownership was so desperate to unfairly heap such lofty expectations on the shoulders of a young Chris Bosh, who never should have been hailed as a franchise player. I think ownership has seen the error of its past ways, having finally given BC the green-light to do a true rebuild, as it should have been done from the moment Vinsanity left.
I am extremely happy with the job BC has done since the Bosh era ended, with his rebuild and complete overhaul of the roster. He has improved the team, made it younger, added talent/potential, added character, avoided stop-gap solutions and done it all while maintaining short and long term financial flexibility. Is the job done? Nope. But I'm happy with the direction and think the team is poised for a strong future over the next 2-8 years. I also think the team is in better shape, both in terms of talent and flexibility (ie: cap space and trade chips), than a lot of other teams in the league.
The Raptors need to show serious signs of improvement this season, at least fighting for a playoff spot, with several of the young guys stepping up and improving significantly. If that is accomplished, then I expect the Raptors to be a playoff caliber team for the next several years, which will be the expectation and measure of success that BC will be held accountable to, IMO.
You continue to crap all over ownership, management and BC's direction, but you've yet to suggest an alternative, more effective approach. You mentioned the "OKC model", which I thought was to build through the draft, which is exactly what BC has been doing. He made the best possible picks, so you can't exactly fault him for DeRozan/Davis/Valanciunas/Ross not equalling Durant/Westbrook (Durant was luck - how good would OKC look if they took Oden at #2?). Plus, you have to give Valanciunas & Ross (at least) time to develop, as there's no telling how impactful they could become. Who knows, with one good trade and perhaps a free agent signing next offseason, with draft picks forming a good chunk of the core (Bargnani, DeRozan, Valanciunas, Ross and maybe even Davis), people could start talking about the "post-Bosh TR model".