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Thread: NBA Predictions from SI - Raps starters

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Default NBA Predictions from SI - Raps starters

    11. Toronto’s starting lineup will play well enough to complicate decisions regarding the future of Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry.

    In a general sense, Gay and DeMar DeRozan are troublingly similar players who are owed a combined $27.4 million this season. Both are most useful as scorers and better with the ball than without. But their limitations as creators are obvious. Because neither is effective from three-point range, able to draw fouls consistently or committed to attacking the basket, the two players’ contributions tend to come and go with their mid-range jumpers. Beyond that, neither is much of a passer, a top-notch perimeter defender or a game-changing cutter. They are variations on the same theme, for better or worse.

    One such player is manageable, if not common among NBA rotations. But with two acting as such central elements of Toronto’s offense, the pairing of Gay and DeRozan would seem likely to strain the Raptors’ spacing and flow in their efforts to score.

    But that just hasn’t been the case in the context of Toronto’s starting lineup, composed of Gay, DeRozan, point guard Kyle Lowry, power forward Amir Johnson and center Jonas Valanciunas. In the 300-plus minutes that group logged after Gay’s arrival last season, the Raptors scored 105.4 points per 100 possessions — roughly on par with the output of the Spurs’ high-functioning starting lineup. Better yet: Toronto’s top five also managed to play startlingly effective defense, to the point that it ranked as one of the best lineups in the league by net rating.

    The context changes now that the Raptors will be asked to sustain that kind of play for a full season, but I see that group playing well enough to complicate the team’s course. Many consider it a foregone conclusion that newly hired (and analytically inclined) general manager Masai Ujiri will look to trade Gay (who has a $19.3 million player option for next season) at the earliest opportunity, but there’s a point at which the Raptors’ on-court effectiveness could make that decision more challenging. Plus, with Lowry set to be a free agent after the season, Ujiri faces a decision on his immediate future. If this group plays well again together, can Toronto — which would have no room under the cap without shedding salary — really afford to let Lowry go?

    http://nba.si.com/2013/10/28/nba-pre...3_a2&eref=sihp

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Not sure I agree about the fouls drawn point, but in general everything seems spot on.

    Nice to see some recognition for how well this unit played down the stretch last year, but like the article says, sustaining it over a full season is entirely different (Is this the new Bargnani '13'?).

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Superjudge's Avatar
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    I have to agree with for the most part, which, is why I am always so negative. Toronto is in a tough spot right now. Same ole, too good not to suck, too bad not to be decent.

    Only thing, as Axel pointed out, Demar Derozan, in my eyes, has become quite an aggressive slasher. In fact, if the Raptors had a PG that knew how to spread the floor with decent ball movement, Demar would likely see even more seams, and he'd be on the line more often. What you see now for him is impossible driving lanes that you have to be a master to drive an draw contact. When NBA PG's hold the ball looking for their own shit, defences are very good at adjusting and taking away real estate on the floor. You hear about teams like SA, ball not sticking, etc, well if Toronto did that, a few of their young guys might be able to succeed a bit better.

    Perhaps Casey has a bit of blame here too? I wonder.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TheGloveinRapsUniform's Avatar
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    Gay getting the C may also be an indication that he'snot going anywhere, anytime soon.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Superjudge's Avatar
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    Could be, but UM seems savvy, I'm not sure it matters a whole lot one way or the other.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Many consider it a foregone conclusion that newly hired (and analytically inclined) general manager Masai Ujiri will look to trade Gay
    Is this actually true? Is Ujiri analytically inclined? He's said that statistics are part of the puzzle (which pretty much every GM admits to), but it appears that we're all assuming Ujiri is a stats hound simply because he's relatively young and successful.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Is this actually true? Is Ujiri analytically inclined? He's said that statistics are part of the puzzle (which pretty much every GM admits to), but it appears that we're all assuming Ujiri is a stats hound simply because he's relatively young and successful.
    I wondered that myself. The moves he has made thus far don't really tell us much.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie Mundy's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Is this actually true? Is Ujiri analytically inclined? He's said that statistics are part of the puzzle (which pretty much every GM admits to), but it appears that we're all assuming Ujiri is a stats hound simply because he's relatively young and successful.
    Well I'm no stats guru myself, that's for sure. But it seems that Ujiri has either gotten criticism or smug self-righteousness from writers for not blowing it up, or assuming that he WILL blow it up right away. But here's the thing: just because Rudy's stats aren't individually outstanding, does that matter anywhere near as much as the offensive/defensive team stats? It just seems to me like trading Rudy without seeing whether last season was an indicator or an anomaly would be (I apologize for using this in advance...) throwing the baby out with the bath water.
    "This just in........ THE RAPTORS ARE AMAZING!"

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    Raptors Republic Rookie Mundy's Avatar
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    ...like, didn't this whole advanced metrics thing come from Moneyball, and wasn't that Oakland A's team constructed with guys whose stats didn't look sexy but did the small things needed to win games?
    "This just in........ THE RAPTORS ARE AMAZING!"

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote Mundy wrote: View Post
    ...like, didn't this whole advanced metrics thing come from Moneyball, and wasn't that Oakland A's team constructed with guys whose stats didn't look sexy but did the small things needed to win games?
    In terms of NBA, the first concrete name I remember hearing in the analytics field was Darryl Morey. He's always at the MIT Sloan conference. I think Mark Cuban's been there recently too....
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Rudy Gay, Kevin Love & Russel Westbrook with the Lakers would be one heck of a lineup.

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    Raptors Republic Starter Uncle_Si's Avatar
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    Quote TheGloveinRapsUniform wrote: View Post
    Gay getting the C may also be an indication that he'snot going anywhere, anytime soon.
    Could be true. Also could be MU trying to add value to Gay by giving him the C. He's a sneaky one...

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Chr1s1anL's Avatar
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    Quote Uncle_Si wrote: View Post
    Could be true. Also could be MU trying to add value to Gay by giving him the C. He's a sneaky one...
    Casey gives out the C. Not Massai.
    @Chr1st1anL

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    Quote Mundy wrote: View Post
    ...like, didn't this whole advanced metrics thing come from Moneyball, and wasn't that Oakland A's team constructed with guys whose stats didn't look sexy but did the small things needed to win games?
    You have it backwards with Moneyball. The A's philosophy was to go after players who performed very well on paper (albeit in different areas than traditionally valued, like the OBP statistic), but did not have the typical "look" that scouts went for. Players who visually looked the part of a potential future star (especially five-toolers, who did all the "small things needed to win games") were highly sought after and thus priced out of the A's budget. A lot of these heralded players also did not perform well on paper, but because they looked the part, they held high promise. The A's, instead, went after players that may have been passed over because they did not have the prototypical look, who may not be smooth fielders, etc., but performed very well statistically. As an exaggerated example, even if your entire lineup was incapable of ever hitting a home run, if every batter had a 1.000 OBP, your run potential for any given inning would be infinite. A common misconception is that Moneyball ultimately failed, when in truth, the rest of the league caught on and removed the A's competitive advantage.

    That said, as baseball is essentially a 1-on-1 sport and basketball is a highly variable 5-on-5, advanced metrics in basketball cannot be viewed the same way (and it's still very early in its infancy compared to baseball). Either extreme, whether completely relying on it or deciding to ignore it, would be foolish. Its best use is to determine whether our eyes and memory are accurate in their conclusions, and, if there is a disparity, force us to reassess the data until what we see and the story the numbers tell can be reconciled.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star brothersteve's Avatar
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    Never seen anyone from SI at a Raptors game - must be nice to be that smart that you don't have to actually watch the games to know how players will work together - and since was $27m on 2 players (in relative terms) EVER a big deal in the NBA
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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote brothersteve wrote: View Post
    Never seen anyone from SI at a Raptors game - must be nice to be that smart that you don't have to actually watch the games to know how players will work together - and since was $27m on 2 players (in relative terms) EVER a big deal in the NBA
    The point they're making is that it is a big deal when the two players are redundant, one-dimensional, non-all-star caliber players. Obviously arguments can be made about the rationale behind their statement but, if you believe any/all of it, then it absolutely is a big deal.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Plus, one doesn't need to be sitting in the arena to watch them play.....
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Fully's Avatar
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    Plus, how would anyone know what media members are at the game and what respective outlets they represent?

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