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Thread: Disappointing Season, Optimistic Outlook

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    Default Disappointing Season, Optimistic Outlook

    This season has been disappointing when it comes to comparing the hype going in to this season and the actual results we're seeing right now. Raps will be missing playoffs when the franchise representatives were basically giving guarantees of playoffs.

    The horrible start to the season has made this goal all but impossible. Since the Rudy Gay trade happened, for a little while a brief shimmer of hope created some excitement in Raptorland, as fans in the arena seemed to go nuts and the boards on the internet were flooded with optimism. But all of that died off very quickly after a couple of losses. Now the boards seem to be as empty as ever this season. It looks like many have abandoned ship and all hopes for this team, crying out all sorts of things about BC, Dwayne Casey, Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, DeRozan and the "stiff noodle". I'll admit I was one of them, but I took some time to think things through and saw the light. Bear with me.

    Early Struggles And The End Of Bargnani

    Raptors started off the season very, very bad and with a record of 4-19 all seemed completely lost and most of the fans were ready the blow this team appart. Then Bargnani, who was having his worst season yet, got injured and the Raptors started playing .500 ball. This is where it became obvious to all, that Bargnani, the "stiff noodle", isn't worth half the money he's being paid. It's a tragedy. Raptors are pretty much stuck with him. Nobody in their right mind will trade for him as long as there is more than one season left on his contract. He's only tradeable as an expiring deal, which won't happen before the 2014/2015 season. Amnesty is the other option. Maybe there is some crackpot GM that will take him in the offseason though, but good luck with that.

    The Rudy Gay Trade - Hopes Found And Hopes Lost

    Then happened the Rudy Gay trade. It seemed that people were devided on this. Some thought it was a great deal, others were unhappy. Some believed he was the star that we needed and others felt he's ineffecient and overpaid.

    For a short while it looked to everybody like this was working out, as the Raptors started putting together some win streaks and even ESPN and fans of other teams started to talk about how Raptors just became relevant and a good team. For a short while Raptorland got even excited about the possibility of Raptors making the playoffs THIS year, as Bucks started losing lots of games, while the Raptors were surging. Me too, I had hopes. But then we started losing again and the hopes for a playoff berth died off quickly.

    Fans Overreacting - There Really Are Things To Be Optimistic About

    What followed was fans got frustrated very quickly. Everybody pointing out how Rudy Gay was inefficient and shooting under 40%, how DeRozan has no outside shot and can't finish at the rim, that we need a starting PF and questioning if Kyle Lowry is the answer at the point guard.

    I was and I am very frustrated too, but I took some distance from discussions and opinions and had a good look at this team and the situation it is in, how it compares to similar situations of other teams in seasons past. And I saw the light.

    I think this team is on the right track and all that it needs now is time and only some minor changes when it comes to the personnel. What people seemingly fail to realize is that we have had drastic development with our roster and rotations over the season. Bargs is out, Ed Davis is out, Rudy Gay is in, we have 2 rookies developing and one of them being starter. This can't bring you a record of over .500, which is what we're at basically since Bargnani went down.

    I think Lowry, DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, JV as starters and Ross as 6th man - this group will work out fine. Other parts I consider as inconsequential and can be moved, replaced over the offseason.

    All this "core group" really needs is time. Next season with full training camp, the pre-season and the individual improvement of players during the off-season will make a huge difference. Simply trading for good players and expecting immediate results is not realistic. Good exemples are New York with Melo, the Lakers with Howard and even the Heat in their first year to some extent. It always takes time to make things work out.

    On Positions And Individual Players

    There are too many fans that seemingly expect all-stars at each and every position. Rudy gay is labeled inefficient, DeRozan can't shoot threes and finsih at the rim, draw fouls, Lowry is inconsistent and too small, can't pass, JV is too weak, Amir is 3rd big but not a starter and Ross is useless... those are the remarks made by frustrated fans.

    I agree that all of these players need to improve, but let's be realistic at the same time. We won't be able to trade our roster for a combination of the best players from Heat, OKC and Lakers. So let's have a look at what we have and how things might work out next year.

    C - Jonas Valanciunas

    JV is coming along nicely in my opinion. He has improved a lot on the defensive end over the season. In his first 2-3 months he was missing out on a lot of rotations and leaving the rim unprotected. Over the last couple of months though for a rookie I have little complaints about his D. Sure he does miss out on rotations here and there, but he has improved by leaps and bounds and he just looks solid, very professional. On the offensive end he works hard setting screens and rolling to the basket, working the offensive glass, but he needs more strenght to come through on this end. He gets pushed around rather easily when he tries to post up or when he tries to make a move, but he'll get stronger in time and experince will help him a lot too. One thing that completely disappeared: talks about foul issues. No need to make changes here. JV will be very good to elite in a couple of years.

    PF - Amir Johnson

    He's a hard working man. Blue collar. MVP of efforts. I, like so many, was surprised by his emergence this season. Still many think he's rather a third big. I disagree. You can't have all-stars at all 5 positions. You need some hard working players in your lineup and you won't find many hard workers that are better than Amir. He's a walking double-double playing with a 110% effort every night. Sure a Pau Gasol or a Carlos Boozer could give you a couple more points on the offesnive end, but would they be better on the defensive end? Would it be worth twice the salary and the age of these players? I'm not even convinced that Millsap or a similar player would be better for us than Amir. Amir is fine at starting PF and he's likely to improve on offense over the next couple of years.

    SF - Rudy Gay

    Many people are disappointed with Rudy and his 39% shooting and his inability to shoot threes, his limited abilities as a play maker. But he, more than anybody else, needs time to figure out things. Keep in mind that he developed in Memphis in a very specific situation where he constantly had to play with 2 dominant bigs in the post. He has a new freedom with Raptors and gets different looks. It will take time for him to adjust and I think he will do very fine next season once he gets comfortable with it, finds his spots and gets to better know his teammates and their tendencies. I would like for him to work on his outside shot in the offseason. More mid-range than threes though.

    SG - Demar DeRozan

    A lot of fans say he doesn't get to the line enough. The other day during the game a stat was pulled up which showed that DeRozan is top 10 when it comes to getting to the line. Only Harden, Durant, Howard, Kobe, Westbrook, LeBron, Melo and Wade get more to the line than Demar:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/statistics/pl...hrowsAttempted

    Sure DeRozan needs still to improve with his shooting and dribbling, but he's still very young (23) and has improved so much over a couple of years, it's not even funny. As a rookie he basically looked like Ross, but with even worse ball handling and absolutely no shot, just an atheltic young guy. Look where he is now. I'm confident he'll improve his shooting over the summer a little bit more and if he can add a reliable three-point shot from the corner over the next couple of years, it would be great! I'm sure, with his work ethic, his mid-range game will be elite by then. I can't see a realistic way to improve this position through a trade. He's a keeper anyway.

    PG - Kyle Lowry

    This is probably the postion where there is most uncertainty, at least for me. Kyle is as tough as nails on D when he's in the game, but usually disappears on offense. Maybe it's him being small that hurts, but his performance at the start of the season (and some other occasions) would suggest otherwise. One thing is certain, at least for now. He's not really a pass-first point guard, but he's trying to become one. Maybe he's just trying to part ways with his old ways and learning the craft anew (advice from Billups?). Maybe it's difficult to do so with a team that suffered so many drastic changes over the season, a team that features quite a lot of developing players. Maybe when the dust settles and a new season begins he'll find his new way, maybe he won't, but the Raptors should give it a try next season.

    6th man - Terrence Ross

    Needs to work a lot. He's got a lot of talent. At this point nothing conclusive can really be said about him. His playing time has been inconsistent so far, so it's hard to judge a rookie on the data we have. With the season being over, I expect to see Ross playing a lot more minutes and it will help to evaluate him better. In my mind he's got a lot of potential and could be a JR Smith type of player in a couple of years - instant offense off the bench, the perfect 6th man. No need to argue about him being great or useless at the moment. We'll see in time. Time we've got with him. Trading him is not a good idea.

    Everybody Else

    ...can be dealt for the needs that we currently have. That would be a reliable 3rd big - Zaza Pachulia of the Hawks for example is going to be a FA this summer. A reliable 3-point shooter - Kyle Korver of the Hawks is FA this summer as is Anthony Morrow of Mavs. And a reliable PG off the bench - we might want to keep both Telfair and Lucas III.

    Rotation And Coaching

    Next season I would expect for our rotations to "normalize" and see at least a couple of starters remaining on the court at any time, except garbage time. This season too often we see 5 bench players playing together for extended amounts of time and rotations of 12-13 guys in one single game. I fully expect a normal and stable 8-9 man rotation with occassional adjustments when match-ups require those adjustments.

    I'm frustrated with coach Casey's decisions very often, but at the same time it's up to the players to produce and the production has been very inconsistent through out the board with perhaps the only exception being Amir Johnson. A change of coaching would probably hurt more than do good. Players seem to have bought into the Casey mentality, but hiring an assistant coach who is strong on offensive schemes and tactics would go a long way.

    All in all, I think we have something to be optimistoc about and a new season, a stable one, will allow this group to improve. At very least we can expect a .500 record for next year. Playoffs are at least realistic, unlike this year. But I'm pretty sure they'll be better than that.
    Last edited by BadDinosaur; Sat Mar 16th, 2013 at 03:40 PM.

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    Great write up sir. I agree with the fact that Raptor fans should be optimistic with the future of our core. Lowry, Derozan, Gay, Amir, Valanciunas, Ross. Already some significant young guys on this team, and this team is sitting currently in 9th, and will probably finish off the year in that very spot. Also, I felt that injuries hurt this team early on in trying to get to the post-season, and if they can all get healthy next season, that'll be huge.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star RaptorsFan4Life's Avatar
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    Don't forgot the Lowry was also hurt when we started playing 500 ball. Jose's ball movement and court vision was a HUGE reason we were winnng.

    Jose starting: 13-12

    Lowry starting: 2-14

    (Before Jose got traded)

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    ross is more than a jr smith type. he plays defense and wil be a more than capable starter that wont hurt you by chucking

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer Matt52's Avatar
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    Quote RaptorsFan4Life wrote: View Post
    Don't forgot the Lowry was also hurt when we started playing 500 ball. Jose's ball movement and court vision was a HUGE reason we were winnng.

    Jose starting: 13-12

    Lowry starting: 2-14

    (Before Jose got traded)
    I believe that is circumstantial and coincidental at best as I recently learned.

    But seriously, what is the point of this? How many times have people brought this up? Jose is gone and most likely never to return. The Raptors were losers for 5 years with Jose. Get over it.


    But to play with those game samples:

    Before trade, Lowry never started without Bargnani which, in my opinion, is huge.

    Jose starting with Bargnani starting: 0-0 (lucky mothafocka)

    Jose starting vs. playoff teams: 1-8

    Jose started 16 of 25 games vs. non playoff teams.

    Jose started 15 of 25 games at HOME.


    Since trade, Lowry starting:

    10-11 with 14 playoff opponents.

    Remove Bargnani again, Lowry starting:

    9-8


    For shits and giggles, how has Jose fared starting in Detroit?

    6-15 for .286 winning percentage

    How were Detroit doing before trade?

    17-29 for .370 winning percentage

    Jose has been great personally shooting 50% from field, 50% from 3pt, 90% from ft with 11.8 points and 7.3 assists. Unfortunately that is not helping Detroit win anymore games nor is the 102.1ppg they are allowing with Jose starting. Prior to the trade they were giving up just 96.7ppg.

    Surely though Jose has helped Detroit's offense.... right? Prior to trade, 94.6ppg forced. Since trade, 94.0ppg.


    There are all sorts of factors that could play in to this so I don't wish to make too many conclusions based upon this. However, using the numbers as you have initially it would appear Toronto is better off starting Kyle Lowry without Bargnani than starting Jose Calderon without Bargnani. Also it would appear Detroit was better offensively and defensively prior to the trade for Calderon.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer Matt52's Avatar
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    BTW, BadDino: nice write up!
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer Matt52's Avatar
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    I'm probably a sucker but I am expecting a return to Landry of rookie year. Basically doing all the things he does now but the ability to shoot will return. Yes, I know, still overpaid.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Nice writeup BadDinosaur. Hard to disagree with most of your points. Some thoughts...

    On the PF position, I do think it's fine to start Amir. I don't think the team needs to do anything drastic in order to get a Boozer, Gasol or Millsap brought in. I do think, though, that any 3rd big has to be a more natural offensive option than Amir. Someone who has some post moves and/or a consistent jumper, and might be a good fit off the bench. There should be some options out there this year. Carl Landry's already been floated. I remember reading back a few weeks that Big Baby (who I don't like, but he certainly can rebound and provide some scoring) might be traded by Orlando as they go into tank mode...which might make them a landing spot for Bargs, who'll probably only be an option for teams looking to dump more money or teams expecting a tank season. Hopefully some other options pop up (please, Milwaukee, do us a favor and trade us Ersan).

    As for other positions, the one I agree most on is PG. HUGE amount of uncertainty...but, I also think that if the team keeps all it's young assets and only trades Bargs away this summer, it gives them a huge pile of guys to shop with if they want to replace Lowry, who should have good value even on his own with his expiring deal. The first 40-50 games should be a good enough sample to know if he fits what the team wants.

    On Demar...I can't stand people bashing him about not being aggressive enough. While it'd be good if he tried to finish stronger sometimes, he does get to the line like crazy, and gets a pretty shitty whistle compared to everyone ahead of him on that list.

    On random stuff...I don't think a 3 pt shooter is that big a need. They should see if they get it from Ross, and to a lesser extent guys like Gay, Demar and Fields from the wing. Lowry is a solid 3 pt threat. No need to invest in a specialist. And Zaza Pachulia is a 4th big in my mind. He can only play C and he's slow. I know you were probably just throwing him out there kind of randomly, but the 3rd big needs to be better than him to solidify the rotation.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I'm probably a sucker but I am expecting a return to Landry of rookie year. Basically doing all the things he does now but the ability to shoot will return. Yes, I know, still overpaid.
    I hope he does. I find it hard to believe he'll stay this bad when he was a solid shooter through college and his rookie season. Keeping fingers crossed.

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    I think that with the way the NBA is going you need to be able to play small ball (knicks, Heat, Lakers, etc...) and having Ross, Derozan and Gay can only help things in the long run. In terms of 3 point shooting Rudy's having an off-year, Ross is going to get more consistent and I have a feeling Derozan will learn to hit that corner three at a decent rate.

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    Quote [email protected] wrote: View Post
    I think that with the way the NBA is going you need to be able to play small ball (knicks, Heat, Lakers, etc...) and having Ross, Derozan and Gay can only help things in the long run. In terms of 3 point shooting Rudy's having an off-year, Ross is going to get more consistent and I have a feeling Derozan will learn to hit that corner three at a decent rate.
    I really like the small ball potential of that group, and like Fields as the 4th wing who can sub in for any one of them in just about any situation.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Rapstor4Life's Avatar
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    Does anyone think that if Bargnani was injured all season we would be a playoff squad?

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer Matt52's Avatar
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    Quote Rapstor4Life wrote: View Post
    Does anyone think that if Bargnani was injured all season we would be a playoff squad?
    I don't know.

    All I do know is the Raptors have consistently been a better team with Bargnani off the floor and/or out of the lineup.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I don't know.

    All I do know is the Raptors have consistently been a better team with Bargnani off the floor and/or out of the lineup.
    Yeah, we get it...you hate AB PLEASE MOVE ON!!!

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    Raptors Republic All-Star enlightenment's Avatar
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    Quote Halifax Raps Fan wrote: View Post
    Yeah, we get it...you hate AB PLEASE MOVE ON!!!
    He was answering someones question with his opinion... Fair game to remark on the teams performance with or without Bargnanis presence.
    The Baltic Beast is unstoppable!

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    Quote Halifax Raps Fan wrote: View Post
    Yeah, we get it...you hate AB PLEASE MOVE ON!!!
    +1

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    Raptors Republic All-Star enlightenment's Avatar
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    Quote T.Dot wrote: View Post
    +1
    -10000
    The Baltic Beast is unstoppable!

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    I guess there will be some kind fans party after AB leave this team?

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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I believe that is circumstantial and coincidental at best as I recently learned.

    But seriously, what is the point of this? How many times have people brought this up? Jose is gone and most likely never to return. The Raptors were losers for 5 years with Jose. Get over it.


    But to play with those game samples:

    Before trade, Lowry never started without Bargnani which, in my opinion, is huge.

    Jose starting with Bargnani starting: 0-0 (lucky mothafocka)

    Jose starting vs. playoff teams: 1-8

    Jose started 16 of 25 games vs. non playoff teams.

    Jose started 15 of 25 games at HOME.


    Since trade, Lowry starting:

    10-11 with 14 playoff opponents.

    Remove Bargnani again, Lowry starting:

    9-8


    For shits and giggles, how has Jose fared starting in Detroit?

    6-15 for .286 winning percentage

    How were Detroit doing before trade?

    17-29 for .370 winning percentage

    Jose has been great personally shooting 50% from field, 50% from 3pt, 90% from ft with 11.8 points and 7.3 assists. Unfortunately that is not helping Detroit win anymore games nor is the 102.1ppg they are allowing with Jose starting. Prior to the trade they were giving up just 96.7ppg.

    Surely though Jose has helped Detroit's offense.... right? Prior to trade, 94.6ppg forced. Since trade, 94.0ppg.


    There are all sorts of factors that could play in to this so I don't wish to make too many conclusions based upon this. However, using the numbers as you have initially it would appear Toronto is better off starting Kyle Lowry without Bargnani than starting Jose Calderon without Bargnani. Also it would appear Detroit was better offensively and defensively prior to the trade for Calderon.
    Look at the teams the Pistons have faced since Jose got there. It's easy to explain why they are losing more.

    Knicks x2
    Nets
    Spurs x2
    Bucks
    Grizz
    Pacers x2
    Hawks
    Mavs
    Clippers
    Jazz
    Warriors
    Blazers

    Even if you ignore the stats, it's blatantly obvious that Lowry is worse. He constantly makes bone headed decisions (along with gay) and he on top of the he hasn't been playing amazing defense that everyone here claims that he does. Most of the games he's been decent at best and even in the games that he plays well he always makes terrible decisions down the stretch that hurt the team.

    Honestly most of those wins I wouldn't put on Lowry or Gay for that matter. Different players stepped up for those wins. With Jose it was clear he was running the show and created a lot of movement in the offense.
    Last edited by RaptorsFan4Life; Sun Mar 17th, 2013 at 05:22 PM.

  23. #20
    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer Matt52's Avatar
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    Quote RaptorsFan4Life wrote: View Post
    Look at the teams the Pistons have faced since Jose got there. It's easy to explain why they are losing more.

    Knicks x2
    Nets
    Spurs x2
    Bucks
    Grizz
    Pacers x2
    Hawks
    Mavs
    Clippers
    Jazz
    Warriors
    Blazers

    Even if you ignore the stats, it's blatantly obvious that Lowry is worse. He constantly makes bone headed decisions (along with gay) and he on top of the he hasn't been playing amazing defense that everyone here claims that he does. Most of the games he's been decent at best and even in the games that he plays well he always makes terrible decisions down the stretch that hurt the team.

    Honestly most of those wins I wouldn't put on Lowry or Gay for that matter. Different players stepped up for those wins. With Jose it was clear he was running the show and created a lot of movement in the offense.
    And look at the teams Toronto has played:

    Atlanta
    Knicks x2
    Miami x2
    Boston x2
    Indiana x2
    Denver
    LA Clippers
    Memphis
    Milwaukee
    Golden State

    You are reaching when you include Mavs and Blazers. Both are under .500.

    I'm not ignoring the stats - you are my friend. TOronto is 10-11 since trade. Detroit is 6-15. Detroit is worse offensively and defensively than before the trade.

    You lack of objectivity is especially telling with the bold statement. The Raptors are a better team now than they were before the trade.

    You delusions with the memory of Jose is especially telling with the underlined statement. You clearly don't remember Jose pounding the ball as players stood watching one guy run off screens and the consistent 6-8 minutes stretches without a field goal. The Raptors offense was shit with Calderon and it is still shit without him. Miami put on a ball movement clinic today. The Raptors had no ball movement with Jose and they have no ball movement without him.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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