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Thread: The curse of the Titanic... DIVISION!

  1. #21
    Raptors Republic Starter imaginelino's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    I was stating an opinion. The only "proof" I have of the Knicks and Nets playing well, is last year. Do you honestly think they'll be the 2 worst teams in the Atlantic by season's end? With management teams who are desperately in win-now mode?

    As for the Raptors picking it up, I'll believe it when I see it. I've been waiting for 6 years.
    I know its an opnion but what reason is there that you think they will pick it up? Just because of expectations put on them?

    I've been waiting as long as you as well and I agree that they haven't assured me anything other than setting up for another season of heartbreak. (possibly)

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote imaginelino wrote: View Post
    I know its an opnion but what reason is there that you think they will pick it up? Just because of expectations put on them?

    I've been waiting as long as you as well and I agree that they haven't assured me anything other than setting up for another season of heartbreak. (possibly)
    Knicks played good D last night against the Pacers (even though they lost in OT, it was a big improvement) which has been a huge issue all season, but especially since they lost Tyson Chandler.

    Nets have too many talented players to not play better. They won't contend for a title this year, but they are certainly going to be better than a lottery pick.

  3. #23
    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote imaginelino wrote: View Post
    I know its an opnion but what reason is there that you think they will pick it up? Just because of expectations put on them?

    I've been waiting as long as you as well and I agree that they haven't assured me anything other than setting up for another season of heartbreak. (possibly)
    Knicks and Nets both have more talent, and big game experience than the Raptors. That gives them a serious leg up.

    The Nets have a very different roster this year, but the Knicks competed with basically the same core last year. Does Bargnani have that much of a negative affect? We'll see.

    My initial point was that we shouldn't expect this division to be a cake-walk. It's still early. The Knicks and Nets have enough firepower to climb out of an early hole.

    The Raptors, on the other hand, have a GM who's not sure whether to rip the roster to shreds.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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  5. #24
    Raptors Republic Superstar isaacthompson's Avatar
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    Quote S.R. wrote: View Post
    If the season does play out this way (and it could), this team would be eerily similar to Toronto's only other division winning team. The division was extremely weak that year, but other teams were making moves for long term growth. The Raps got spanked in the first round and promptly fell well behind the pace in the East in subsequent seasons. Colangelo spent the rest of his tenure trying to patch up that roster to re-gain some success. It was extremely short-sighted to ignore the context of that division title, and it would be even more ridiculous to do it again.
    +1 billion. I've been thinking about this since the win last night.
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    Raptors Republic Starter imaginelino's Avatar
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    December schedule for the Raptors looks quite challenging. San Antonio twice, The Thunder, Bulls twice. lots of away games. Ouch.

    Compared to New York and Brooklyn.

    The raptors I've known these past 6 years will not hold that division lead over the Nets and Knicks.

    Lets see what happens.

  7. #26
    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote imaginelino wrote: View Post
    December schedule for the Raptors looks quite challenging. San Antonio twice, The Thunder, Bulls twice. lots of away games. Ouch.

    Compared to New York and Brooklyn.

    The raptors I've known these past 6 years will not hold that division lead over the Nets and Knicks.

    Lets see what happens.
    Agreed, I have a feeling that the raps will have a rough patch that puts a damper on some fans "home court advantage" optimism, but who knows. Maybe they'll all figure it out and become a top 10 offense and defense and beat the spurs and bulls, and pretty much everyone else.
    "They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee

    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

  8. #27
    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    Default East's struggles might affect Masai's strategies - Chisholm

    In recent weeks, as Dwane Casey struggled to find workable rotations, Rudy Gay struggled to find his shot and the Raptors as a whole struggled to find wins, the popular assumption was that it was only a matter of if – not when – Masai Ujiri would hit the self-destruct button and blow this roster up in the name of tanking for the 2014 draft. After all, this roster looked like a mess. There was no flow to the offence, the pieces didn’t mesh, and the rumours were abundant that Ujiri was willing to deal just about anyone on the roster not named Jonas Valanciunas.

    Perception has a funny way of distorting reality, however.

    First of all, the Raptors have never been all that bad this season. Their ugly-as-sin offence has been floating around the middle-of-the-pack in terms of efficiency all season (currently ranked 14th in the NBA) while their seldom-discussed defence has actually been ranked in the top-ten for weeks (currently their defensive efficiency sits at sixth-best in the league). Plus, with the Eastern Conference floundering as a whole and the Atlantic Division struggling even more so, the Raptors currently possess the East’s seventh-best record and the lead in their division. While that’s hardly an achievement to write home about right now given the competition, life in the NBA is as much about the teams that surround you as you yourself.

    With all that said, you have to wonder not only about the likelihood of Ujiri choosing to tank, but the advisability of it. After all, the Raptors have exceed their preseason expectations (at least as it pertains to their place in the standings) because so many teams have failed to live up to theirs. Washington looks as bad as ever and Cleveland, somehow, looks worse. Milwaukee is nowhere near where they hoped they’d be after some ill-advised summer spending and the less said about New York and Brooklyn the better.

    Now, not all of these teams will continue to struggle, but you have to imagine that at least a couple of their front office staffs have to be considering refocusing after seeing their squads actually play together these last few weeks. If they are going to lose more than they anticipated anyway, they may as well go for broke and throw their hat into the tanking pool and try their luck in next June’s draft. The problem is that the more teams that choose to go the tanking route, the more it dilutes the chances for everyone else when it comes to actually securing a top-tier pick. As strong and deep as this draft is believed to be, not every player is worth tanking for. If you get to a point where seven or eight organizations are either actively tanking or allowing for a cavalcade of losses (and you could argue that point pretty strongly for Philadelphia, Boston, Utah and Phoenix, already, with Milwaukee, Sacramento and Denver healthy bets to join them) then how much sense does it make to become the ninth or tenth club to play for draft picks? At what point are you letting a trendy – and unproven – strategy dictate policy at the expense of a less destructive mode of operation?

    More specifically, if you’re Masai Ujiri, how badly do you want to work to pull apart this club (a club that has some workable pieces mixed in with some less desirable ones) when you may never be able to make yourself worse than the fifth- or sixth-worst team? Think about it: the teams that are going all-in on taking have gone in in a way that is nearly unprecedented in terms of it’s transparency. Does Ujiri really want to give away everything he has for pennies on the dollar in order to compete with the Philly’s and Phoenix’s of the NBA basement?

    For instance, after four years invested in his development, DeMar DeRozan finally looks like he’s turned a corner in his career, and he’s done so at a position of increasing shallowness in the league, but if you wanna tank he’d have to go. Here you have a shooting guard posting the best scoring numbers of his career after finally implementing a three-point shot into his game, and he’s getting to the free throw line (ranking 16th in the league in FTA per game) at a career-best rate. Is he perfect? No. He’s still lacking on defense, he has zero court vision when it comes to playmaking and he’s generally not as versatile as some of the guys in his price range, but what he can do as a scorer nowadays is a legit skill, and one that shouldn’t be dismissed too quickly.

    Remember, this isn’t a question of just trading DeRozan. One can make a great case for trading him now while he’s on an upswing to protect against the possibility that his recent effectiveness is just a mirage (we’ve seen bouts of effectiveness before). However, if the Raptors want to tank, they have to trade DeRozan for someone who is simply not as good. He’s not talented – or cheap – enough to return great picks or young gems; trading DeRozan in the name of tanking simply means giving away a guy of a certain talent level for someone at a lesser talent level. I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: that’s not a good team-building strategy.

    The Raptors aren’t likely to make any deals until December 15th at the earliest, since that’s when players signed to new deals this summer are allowed to be traded, and a lot can happen between now and then. Over the next twenty-three days they’ll play ten more games, six at home, and several of those contests could be considered winnable. If in that time the Raptors begin to bottom-out then this becomes a different conversation. However, if they maintain the kind of pace that they’re on while several other teams continue to flounder, that will have to have an impact on what Ujiri looks to do when the time finally comes to start juggling pieces on this roster.

    None of this should be interpreted as advocation either way. While in principle I’m not a fan of tanking, I certainly understand the merits behind the strategy given the way the NBA system is designed. What I am saying, though, is that regardless of what strategy Ujiri came into the season with as it pertains to his roster and trading strategy, the realities of how the season has played out thus far, both for the Raptors and for the teams that sit below them, now has play a part in whatever direction Ujiri chooses to take this team. The fact of the matter is, it might be easier now for the Raptors to secure at top-six seed in the East than to secure a top-six slot in the draft. If Ujiri could shuffle the deck a bit, unload Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry for pieces that will better compliment Jonas Valanciunas, Amir Johnson and DeRozan, he may see that as the smarter play over stripping the team bare and rolling the dice in the draft lottery. This whole thing could still play out a number of different ways, so all I’m saying is at this point don’t assume that Ujiri has his mind made up to throw the season into the toilet.
    very interesting (depressing) take.
    @jerboat

  9. #28
    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    very interesting (depressing) take.
    Interesting, but it seems like Tim Chisholm needs to spend more time on the RR hearing what exactly "tanking" for Raps fans means.

    If we can move Gay and Lowry for better pieces that improve our team in both the short term AND the long term, then I'm all for it because that is ultimately the goal. However, as TC says in his piece "Does Ujiri really want to give away everything he has for pennies on the dollar", so how exactly are we improving the team, when the writer himself says that the options are pennies on the dollar? That is something the "anti-tank" supporters have never said, how do you improve this team other than "wait and see"?

    Also, very much disagree that trading DD is priority #1 for a "tank". Trading Gay and Lowry are the only "must" deals in my books. Demar is a 60/40 trade guy but he has enough to keep him in a reduced role.

    Also think that a 20% chance at landing a top 5 pick is better than any player we are likely to get via a trade or free agency in the next 2 years. Wiggins, Parker, Randle, Smart, Exum - all game changers imo and better than anyone we currently have.

  10. #29
    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    very interesting (depressing) take.
    You remove Lowry ride with Augustin/Buycks/Stone and this team is easily a top 6 seed with or without Gay and/or DeRozan.

    This stinks of 2006-07/2007-08.


    The flip side of Chisholm's article is the East is so bad there is going to be an extremely small difference between 7th and 14th. Hopefully a team like Charlotte or Cleveland who have sucked (intentionally) for years looks at this as an opportunity to make the jump to the playoffs with long term consequence be damned.
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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote ceez wrote: View Post
    very interesting (depressing) take.
    I actually found that article quite surprising coming from Chisholm. He seems to be viewing this season in such a vacuum, completely ignoring the longer term implications that any decision would have on this team. Given how long he's covered the Raptors, I'm also shocked that he doesn't see the parallels between this season and 2007, when that Raptors won the division under similar circumstances, causing them to tremendously overvalue their roster and poorly evaluate the progress of their rebuilding.

    Yes, I am sure moves could be made to win the division this year. However, would that be in the best interest of the organization beyond this season? That's a question Chisholm seems to avoid and I think it's at least as important as the 'all in' VS 'tank' question.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Don't know that this is 100% legit but it's from Zach Lowe, and he's a boss

    The situation isn’t even all that dire if two non–divisional winners finish with better records than a divisional champ. In that case, one of those non-winners gets the no. 3 spot, and the other one, with the lesser record, gets the no. 5 spot — and home-court advantage over the divisional winner in the (undeserved) no. 4 seed. This is what happened in 2011-12, for instance, when the Celtics won the Atlantic Division with a 39-27 record, earning the no. 4 seed over the 40-26 Hawks, but had to go on the road for the first two games of that Atlanta-Boston series. Boston was the no. 4 seed in name only, and the post-2006 rules punished them with home-court disadvantage and the no. 4 spot that comes with a near-guarantee of meeting the top seed in the second round. No harm, no foul.
    So EVEN if we win the division we DON'T get home court advantage, if the 5th seed has a better record. I guess that puts a little damper on the "I like our odds against the Hawks with homecourt advantage" argument doesn't it?
    "They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee

    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TRex's Avatar
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    Eastern Conference is so wide open right now. There's the Heat and the Pacers and there's everybody else.
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    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote ezz_bee wrote: View Post
    Don't know that this is 100% legit but it's from Zach Lowe, and he's a boss



    So EVEN if we win the division we DON'T get home court advantage, if the 5th seed has a better record. I guess that puts a little damper on the "I like our odds against the Hawks with homecourt advantage" argument doesn't it?
    I've got to say I'm pretty bleeping depressed on the whole situation right now.

    The Raptors are the best of the worst teams... and there are a few more worst teams than anticipated (by me) early.

    It is great to win but as a long time Raptor fan I've been down this road before. I can't enjoy the wins now because I know what happens a year or two down the road: the Raptors will have plateaued while the rest of the league bounces back around them.

    Leiweke came in and said, "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them." Well that is what I want to see happen. It is not happening with this team though.

    Oh well, a long suffering Raptor fan can continue to suffer. Suffer when they lose; suffer when they win.
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  17. #34
    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I've got to say I'm pretty bleeping depressed on the whole situation right now.

    The Raptors are the best of the worst teams... and there are a few more worst teams than anticipated (by me) early.

    It is great to win but as a long time Raptor fan I've been down this road before. I can't enjoy the wins now because I know what happens a year or two down the road: the Raptors will have plateaued while the rest of the league bounces back around them.

    Leiweke came in and said, "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them." Well that is what I want to see happen. It is not happening with this team though.

    Oh well, a long suffering Raptor fan can continue to suffer. Suffer when they lose; suffer when they win.
    Still really early Matt. Still at that point where 5 games can completely alter the outlook around teh whole league.

    Have to keep reminding myself about the Dec 15 date.

    Looking at the schedule, there's a tough stretch in late December that would be the ideal deadline if they want to blow it up early and aim for the lottery. It starts with a 3 game road trip Dec 20 against Dallas, then they play OKC and San Antonio in a back to back. 3 games in 4 nights before the Xmas holiday. Do a trade to blow it up, guys will be out of it, and looking toward the holiday for a breather. Then they play a home and home against the Knicks after the holiday, before having @ CHI and vs. IND on a back to back on New Year's Eve/Day. That's a stretch that can easily derail a season (possibly even without a trade).

    *To any non-tankers, know that I still want/expect trades. Gay is brutal to watch play. I don't care if he's clutch. And Lowry is playing pretty well on an expiring contract. I still don't really see him as a long-term solution at PG and would rather they maximize his value.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Sat Nov 23rd, 2013 at 08:28 PM.

  18. #35
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Knicks and Nets both have more talent, and big game experience than the Raptors. That gives them a serious leg up.

    The Nets have a very different roster this year, but the Knicks competed with basically the same core last year. Does Bargnani have that much of a negative affect? We'll see.

    My initial point was that we shouldn't expect this division to be a cake-walk. It's still early. The Knicks and Nets have enough firepower to climb out of an early hole.

    The Raptors, on the other hand, have a GM who's not sure whether to rip the roster to shreds.
    Bargs may in fact have that much of a negative effect on Knicks...lol.

  19. #36
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    Still really early Matt. Still at that point where 5 games can completely alter the outlook around teh whole league.

    Have to keep reminding myself about the Dec 15 date.

    Looking at the schedule, there's a tough stretch in late December that would be the ideal deadline if they want to blow it up early and aim for the lottery. It starts with a 3 game road trip Dec 20 against Dallas, then they play OKC and San Antonio in a back to back. 3 games in 4 nights before the Xmas holiday. Do a trade to blow it up, guys will be out of it, and looking toward the holiday for a breather. Then they play a home and home against the Knicks after the holiday, before having @ CHI and vs. IND on a back to back on New Year's Eve/Day. That's a stretch that can easily derail a season (possibly even without a trade).

    *To any non-tankers, know that I still want/expect trades. Gay is brutal to watch play. I don't care if he's clutch. And Lowry is playing pretty well on an expiring contract. I still don't really see him as a long-term solution at PG and would rather they maximize his value.
    Gay will be much harder to move. It may be best to keep Gay and take any opportunistic deals for Lowry...Gay is highly inefficient but can be clutch. It would be better if he hit his clutch shots earlier to avoid close games...

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    Raptors Republic Superstar TRex's Avatar
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    Watching Wiz/Knicks game. Wiz beating up on the Knicks! NY's defense is just AWFUL.
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    Raptors Republic Superstar isaacthompson's Avatar
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    Quote TRex wrote: View Post
    Watching Wiz/Knicks game. Wiz beating up on the Knicks! NY's defense is just AWFUL.
    Not a surprise. The whole Knicks team just plays lazily, especially on that end.
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  22. #39
    Raptors Republic All-Star ezz_bee's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I've got to say I'm pretty bleeping depressed on the whole situation right now.

    The Raptors are the best of the worst teams... and there are a few more worst teams than anticipated (by me) early.

    It is great to win but as a long time Raptor fan I've been down this road before. I can't enjoy the wins now because I know what happens a year or two down the road: the Raptors will have plateaued while the rest of the league bounces back around them.

    Leiweke came in and said, "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them." Well that is what I want to see happen. It is not happening with this team though.

    Oh well, a long suffering Raptor fan can continue to suffer. Suffer when they lose; suffer when they win.
    I've been having a string of back and forth's via email with one of my best raptor buddies and he basically feels the same way...

    I'm scared that in waiting to maximize the value of our trade pieces (Gay, Lowry and Demar) we're missing our tank window.
    The raptors just beat the 76ers to move into... wait for... FIRST PLACE IN THE ATLANTIC! This worries me for two reasons:
    1. Other teams are already way ahead of us tank-wise. We're in the playoffs right now for crying out loud. We'd be the fourth seed! If we wait 'till Dec 15th, it will be really hard to get down into where we need to be, lottery-wise.
    2. Could Masai really tear apart and start full on tanking if we're around .500 and in the playoffs? In the fourth seed!? This is still a crap team, but it would take some huge cojones to tank while in position to have home court advantage! I still think he might, but man... that's a hard sell to shareholders / fans.
    Initially, my response (basically what WMCJ says above) is that it's early and that all you need to do is go on a losing streak, and have NY or Brooklyn get their sh!t together and it's all good.

    However, I am starting to get worried that the points he makes in the two sentences that are in bold are starting to worry me as well. Now that D Rose is injured, it really is only a two team conference. If a seven game series started today, could the raps beat the Bulls, Knicks, Nets, or Hawks? The foundations of my tanking philosophy, has been that the raps couldn't get out of the first round, and I felt that as long as Masai felt the same way, then he'd favour a step back as opposed to a stay the course or "win now" move. BUT the longer it takes for NY (probably the return of Chandler, so late December) and Brooklyn (Who knows if they can ever get it together) makes the tank window close too much. Based on how teams are playing right now, there's a legit chance that the Raps actually have 4th best record in the East. IF the raps are the fourth seed because of their lead in the division you can still blow it up (because you don't have home court) however, if the raps are the fourth seed because they have the 4th best record? It's pretty much impossible to pull the trigger at that point. If the Raps beat the Nets (Tues) and the Bulls (Dec. 14)... anyway, let's just say that I'm starting to worry too.

    Basically, I'm no longer sure you can wait until Dec. 15th to trade Lowry, and fire up the tank.

    Last point. Yes there's a ton of talent in this draft, BUT it doesn't mean that their won't be talent in other drafts. The way the universe is sticking it to us now, we just may not have a shot at a franchise altering pick this year. Yes that sucks, but it doesn't mean we'll be on the treadmill forever. Ujiri's got a couple of years to remake the roster and get us a contender.


    EDIT: Also, just because we can't get a top 6 pick, doesn't mean that we still shouldn't trade Lowry (because he's an expiring) Gay, and even Derozan IF Ujiri can get some young players with upside. I think Derozan's contract is VERY tradeable, so maybe you trade him and lowry for young pieces, and hope that means Gay opts out, because it's obvious we aren't contenders next year.

    Even if the tank window is shut, we still need more assets better value.
    Last edited by ezz_bee; Mon Nov 25th, 2013 at 08:23 AM.
    "They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee

    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

  23. #40
    Raptors Republic Superstar Axel's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I've got to say I'm pretty bleeping depressed on the whole situation right now.

    The Raptors are the best of the worst teams... and there are a few more worst teams than anticipated (by me) early.

    It is great to win but as a long time Raptor fan I've been down this road before. I can't enjoy the wins now because I know what happens a year or two down the road: the Raptors will have plateaued while the rest of the league bounces back around them.

    Leiweke came in and said, "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them." Well that is what I want to see happen. It is not happening with this team though.

    Oh well, a long suffering Raptor fan can continue to suffer. Suffer when they lose; suffer when they win.
    I'm not even sure that we are actually better than the teams we are "leading" right now. We are playing better than them, but I don't think we are necessarily better than them going forward. Right now we are 1 game up on the 76ers, who have Nerlens Noel and a nice pick coming in next year. Even if they keep Turner, Young, Hawes, a lineup of MCW, Turner, Wiggins, Young, Hawes with Noel off the bench they are a decent team.

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