Number 3 is most easily achievable so why not start there? In an effort to play offence they are neither here nor there, although there's been a marked improvement in the last few games. If defence is Casey's strength, he should coach to his strength.
As far as the other points are concerned 4 and 5 are going to take time. Not soon but 1 and 2 are possible.
This is a nice thread that clearly identifies our needs.
@Fully and KeonClark:
Thanks for the optimism.
I am not going to lie, at the start of this season I really did expect to contend.. I have no reason why I felt this way I just did. It really is a blow to my gut when we suck this badly. It takes one of the few things that I enjoy in this world and crushes it and when the raptors lose it ruins my overall attitude for that particular day.
Bargnani is not going to be an easy player to trade. It can only be done at a loss to the team trading him away it doesn't seem like BC is willing to take that much of a loss on him.
It will be even harder to trade him with this #tradeBargnani trending on twitter.
He may not be easy to trade but I can't see this loss spoke of. The Raptors seem to play just as good if not better without him. There is a definite double standard in Toronto with regards to accountability.
The problem the Raptors have is Bargnani is 'our guy'. We might be able to take on a player who is not 'the guy' on another team but who is a better fit than what Bargnani brings to Toronto.
Sadly none of us knows what Bargnani's value is. You very well may be right though. If that is the case, the message from around the league should be loud and clear: bench him.
Nowadays, I can't help but chuckle in amazement with each loss. No matter what this team does, they consistently find a new way to lose. And there's very little reason to think this trend will change anytime soon.
I think it's easy to trade Bargnani and that's mainly because of his contract. The delay(if they're looking to trade him) is 'cause they haven't found the right deal IMO. He may not be a traditional PF who plays low and grabs rebounds but there are a lot of pluses to his game as well. Especially offensively. My point is, he is an attractive player to GM's around the league IMO.
I think it's is a tough call in terms of what you do with Bargnani. Granted a GM's valuation of a player probably doesn't get affected much by single game performances, but you have to think when a guy has his lackey's pouring over the stats and the player in question just turned in a 2 for 19 game, someone says "So umm.. do we really want this guy?"
I think the right move is to bench him, not only due to his detrimental play but also from a coaching perspective. Casey's got a group of new guys who are learning the new culture, and Casey's not backing up his words. Benching Bargnani would go a long way in terms of getting other players to buy in.
From a franchise perspective, you kinda hope that Bargnani will embrace the bench role and play better. Of course the scary thing is if he's relegated to bench and starts playing well. Now you'll have a whole bunch of RR forum members going "Oh maybe that's all he needed.. let's keep him."
BryCo better be cooking up a nice Christmas gift for us all..
Without even getting into any excuses/explanations, the Raptors could very easily have a solid, winning record right now. Excluding their 3 worst losses (OKC, BOS, PHI), their scoring margin at the end of the 4th quarter in those other 8 losses were:
even (OT loss)
even (OT loss)
That is a total of -24 points over 8 games, which is an average of a 3 point loss. 5 games were between even and -2 at the end of the 4th quarter! If even half those 5 games went our way, we'd be looking at a .500 team.
Yes, I know a loss is still a loss. However, when you consider how competitive the Raptors have been in all these games (they were even leading Philly in the 4th quarter of the game they wound up losing by 10), suddenly the excuses/explanations shed light on the fact that this team could easily be .500 or better.
- terrible officiating (cost us at least 1 games for sure)
- injuries (Lowry, Fields, Bargnani's sickness)
- horrible FT shooting (cost us a couple games)
- some highly questionable coaching decisions (cost us a couple games)
I'm not drinking any koolaid or trying to sugar coat a nightmare season. I'm usually as pessimistic and cynical as anybody but, after reading some of these threads, I find it so bizarre that I'm actually one of the few remaining optimists.
This team needs a serious upgrade in talent level, before actually being a legitimate contending team (even just to contend getting beyond 1st round of playoffs). They have some nice pieces, but this team needs a #1 guy. They are competitive and with a few more lucky bounces, they would be (or still could be) right in the thick of the Eastern playoff race.
That's all I expected going into this season, along with development of the younger players. I am quite happy at the progress made by DeRozan, Davis, Valanciunas and Ross. Fields is still a complete unknown, due to his injury. Bargnani (inefficiency), Amir (just seems off and too many shots outside 10') and Lowry (injury prone and hero-ball) have all disappointed me a little thus far, but could still turn it around.
I get the frustration, but I think too many people are confusing the hope they had with the expectations they had for this season. I think the Raptors are falling well short of the collective hope we had, but I think they are well within the expectations we had, even with the 3-11 record (in what we all knew would be the tough part of their schedule, especially with a rookie starting and so many new players).