Now my thoughts on this. This is your typical NBA's American view on the Raptors, the only Canadian basketball team left in the NBA. First off, I'll point out the obvious flaw here. How the hell do we get four Bs and one C and still get an overall grade of C? I mean, what gives? If you "average it out", it's about a B or B-, so we should have gotten a B. Secondly, there is absolutely NO MENTION of what we actually did this offseason outside of canning BC and AB. Absolutely no mention of any names of players we've obtained in the offseason. Let's look at the frontcourt grade. I think it's a relatively fair grade if they're talking about our starters only. Now the backcourt grade. Again, the assessment is relatively fair here. Too bad there's no mention of Lowry's healthy and fitness level, and Gay's vision correction. That would have been helpful to mention, but I think that's asking too much of NBA.com to look into Raptors-related news. Here is where I have problems with the grading. Let's start off with the defense grade. While they did say we improved on defense with Gay around, there is absolutely zero mention of the impact that Tyler Hansbrough will have on our defense overall and the impact of not having a Bargnani not playing defense. I do believe that they have sort of accomplished their goal of improving their defense, so personally I think we deserve an B. Now on to the bench grade. Again, there is no mention of new additions such as DJ Augustin, Dwight Buycks, Tyler Hansbrough, Austin Daye or Steve Novak. I don't really think we deserve a C. Ujiri has successfully eliminated the PG controversies that the Raptors were so famous for when he had BC. He also got Novak who would help with our perimeter shooting (especially since he's one of the best in the NBA) which he listed as a problem in the backcourt grading. He said that the Raps will have plenty of shooting off their bench, but not much else. Tyler Hansbrough provides much needed defensive intensity coming off the bench which will be critical to this team. Ujiri has brought in young prospects and cheap low risk, medium/high reward players to the bench which is very nice especially considering our cap situation. The only fault I see in our bench this offeseason was not getting a more consistent and better backup center for Valanciunas. Since they don't allow +/- in their grading, I'll have to agree on the B. Finally, for coaching, not much here, so B is fine, I guess. As for the overall summary, just a small thing that I didn't like what he said. He said that Ujiri only adding some flawed bench pieces that don't affect the payroll long-term. I don't really agree that they were at all flawed. Considering our cap situation, he managed to get young prospect, and cheap low risk, high reward players, similar to what he did in Denver. Not really flawed bench pieces.Here it is for all of you guys:
Frontcourt: If Summer League is any indicator, Jonas Valanciunas is ready to take the next step toward being an anchor on both ends of the floor. Amir Johnson doesn't put up big stats, but makes big and little plays that help his team. Grade: B
Backcourt: You're not going to get a more athletic trio than Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay, and the Raptors were strong defensively with the three on the floor together. But perimeter shooting is an issue. Grade: B
Defense: After ranking 12th defensively in Dwane Casey's first season, the Raptors regressed last year. But then they improved after the Gay trade. If they can pick up where they left off, they can win games with their D. Grade: C
Bench: The Raps will have plenty of shooting off their bench, but not much else. Still, except for Landry Fields, the reserves come cheap. Terrence Ross could develop into a solid, two-way player and give Casey a really athletic small lineup. Grade: B
Coaching: Casey survived the front office shake-up and will be given the opportunity to get his team back to playing defense. That will be easier without Andrea Bargnani and with a training camp and full season with Gay on board. Grade: B
Overall Summary: The biggest change in Toronto came upstairs, where Bryan Colangelo was replaced by Masai Ujiri. The new general manager immediately dumped Bargnani (and managed to get three draft picks in return), but has mostly stood pat, only adding some flawed bench pieces that don't affect the payroll long-term. That doesn't mean that the Raptors won't be improved. They went 17-16 to close the season and got better defensively after trading for Gay. Most important, the 21-year-old Valanciunas -- a potential franchise player -- has a year of NBA experience under his belt and will be healthy in training camp this time around. His development should be the primary focus of Casey and his staff. It's just a matter of time before Ujiri makes his next move and tries to build something similar to what he had in Denver. For now, the Raptors will be in that 8-11 range in the Eastern Conference -- John Schuhmann. Overall Grade: C
BTW, I never really liked the way sports writers go about these offseason gradings. They never seems to take into consideration the cap situation of the team. If you look at our cap situation going into this offseason, we didn't have much to work with, but Ujiri has definitely made the best of the mess that BC has left him. Just my two cents on off-season gradings.