Jennings...Well, I am always very hard on him. Dude sucks. Plain and simple. Talent is nothing. What you do with it is everything. Did you by any chance check out the thread on Jennings? If not, there's a great youtube video breaking down why he's a horrible PG and why no one wants him. He is in a contract year, but that can't change that he's a subpar floor general and playmaker, a very inefficient scorer, a guy who can't finish going right at all, and who's D makes Jose Calderon look like Gary Payton.
Anyway, we claerly don't disagree on their outlook, but I think they've taken a step back and they were a 37-win team last year. They'd need an unexpectedly strong season from Henson and/or Antetokounmpo in order to have a good shot. Otherwise I see their ceiling as low-30s in the win column.
The raptos could easily finish anywhere between 4-8 depending on off season improvements. If they keep this roster together and each player improves a bit then we can be contenders . The number 1 player that needs to improve is jonas if he becomes a top 5 centre in the league which is 100% possible then we will in the talk for a championship
Number of playoff series won by our team:
DeRozan - 0 (No appearances)
Johnson - 1 (In his rookie season with Detroit, when he averaged 5.4 mpg in garbage time)
Gay - 0
Lowry - 1 (With the Rockets 5 years ago as a bench player averaging less than 20 mpg)
Ross - 0 (No appearances)
JV - 0 (No appearances)
Fields - 0
Buycks - 0 (No NBA experience, period.)
Hansbrough - 3 (all playing less than 15 minutes a game with the Pacers)
Augustin - 1 (with Indy this past year where he was a complete non factor)
Gray - 1 (with New Orleans, where he averaged 3 and 3)
Novak - 1 (This past season with New York where Novak got absolutely buried in the playoffs: 5.6mpg)
Our most experienced playoff performer is Psycho T. 35 games. 16.3 minutes per night. 5.4 ppg. 3.5 rpg. 9.9 PER.
As for Atlanta....THey could be strong. But if talent's important...then, again, they've lost their 2 most talented players over the last 2 offseasons. They've mostly stood still. I think their best signing might have been Brand. Possibly hiring Budenholzer as a coach, but we'll see.
Anyway, I think the teams behind them have more room to improve than they do, which will make it harder for them to maintain their hold (and also harder for the teams fighting, so no guarantees for anyone) . And I do think switching Smith for Millsap will make it harder. Millsap is a very nice player, but Smith was a real weapon on D. And Atlanta's probably not going to be a high-flying offensive team with their roster, so D will be important. That's how they generated fast breaks, and Smith was a big factor there. Williams, Millsap and Korver are none of them stellar on D, especially Korver.
Horford is still stuck playing C in a conference that is getting bigger...Drummond, JV, Vucevic, Bynum, Hibbert, Chandler, Lopez....lots of guys who weren't around most of the years Atlanta was a good team. They're going to have issues with size a lot more often.
Anyway, I think things will be harder for Atlanta than last year, and I can't see them being higher than a 7-8 seed.
I actually think Ferry (he's running Atlanta now, right?) is doing something similar to what Ujiri is doing. Giving the roster a chance, but trying to make it easy to disassemble and rebuild. The team has a limited ceiling, so no reason to be too attached to anyone (though I'd bet they'd like to keep Horford). Lots of movable pieces.
Locks (not necessarily in this order):
I honestly see the Raptors and Cavaliers making the playoffs out of the fringe bunch.
Detroit is going to be bad. No playmakers, and Josh Smith as your #1 offensive option is a recipe for disaster. They will have some nice interior defense and that's about it. If they had held on to Calderon I would like their chances, but Knight is not going to lead that team to the playoffs.
Milwaukee was barely a playoff team and had a losing record. They lose Ellis and Reddick and gain Mayo. That looks worse to me. Expect to see Jennings and Mayo jacking up ill advised shot after ill advised shot while Larry Sanders stands under the basket wide open shaking his head.
Washington will be interesting but they need Wall and Beal to both approach all star status or they won't be making the playoffs. It would also help in Nene and Okafor could jump in a time machine before the season started.
Of course things could always change with some trades, and I expect Cleveland, Detroit, Washington, and Milwaukee to all try to be active on the trade front to improve their chances from fringe to lock. The Raptors have the least invested in making the playoffs this year (all the step back to take a step forward talk) and seem like prime trade candidates with the other fringe teams, so definitely something to keep an eye on.
My #1 reason I have the Raptors making the playoffs this year is JV. I see him emerging as a top 3 center in the East, and the amount of wins that come with that will safely push us into the playoffs.
The difference between success(play offs) and failure is CASEY. Can his coaching make this team come together and succeed? I hope I'm wrong but I don't think so.
Ujiri has done his part in not only giving him a vote of confidence(retaining him) but supplying him with the players he wanted. It's up to Casey now.
Attitude Is A Choice.
Detroit and Atlanta will both suck dick next year. That is my prediction. ^ This guy has Atlants as a lock... wtf man, they got Millsap and Horford... that's about it.
By this guy I mean Primer.
Also, if you're a fan of advanced stats, Atlanta's win shares have gone up significantly from last year with the new players swapped out for the old. For instance, Millsap has a WS of 7.6 versus Smith's WS of 4.2. That's 3 more wins right there.
Last edited by Primer; Mon Jul 22nd, 2013 at 12:58 PM.
I agree with the general sentiment that there are either five or six locks, and then an additional group of about six more fringe playoff teams. And overall, there are a lot of teams that improved more than we did. But trying to figure out how exactly that translates in the standings is not easy. I'd say that there's more parity in the eastern conference than we've seen in recent years. Even the dregs like Charlotte have made significant improvements, and Washington may improve simply through having healthy players. Philly and Orlando will both be bad, but not historically bad like Charlotte has been the last couple years. All of which means that there are simply fewer easy wins to go around. Last year there was a 20-win spread between the sixth and twelfth place teams. This year we may see standings at the end of the season where there are only 10 wins or less separating sixth and twelfth. (Although some teams in the thick of it may elect to blow themselves up mid-season and angle for the draft, which would increase the spread.) If that is the case and the division is much tighter, then predicting who makes and who doesn't is really just a toss-up. That increased parity is the closest I'm going to come to any sort of prediction for next year.
I think I'm more of an optimist than most in that I actually like our core, but I can't bring myself to give the Raptors more than a 33% chance of making the playoffs this year, based on where guys are at now and what other teams have done. I can envision scenarios where everything goes right and the Raptors not only exceed the other fringe teams but actually climb into the 5 spot, but these are no more likely than scenarios where everything goes wrong (or right, depending on your enthusiasm for the draft) and the Raptors drop to the bottom of the conference.
Their top 3 guys off the bench are Elton Brand, Ivan Johnson and a rookie.
I don't even know what else to say. Just look!
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