Very Long Time reader first time poster. So please don't jump all over me if this has been discussed somewhere else. I believe the last few games is more of what we can expect than the previous 10. This is the NBA, and players, and more importantly teams, can get hot, very hot. Lowry is playing at a level never really seen before in his career, Derozan has been more efficient, Ross looks like the player we were told he would be on draft night, and the Kings players have been playing like they are in the playoff picture, which for most of them, is the first time in their careers. The trade kicked these players in the butt, and they responded. As like most of us, when our career is on the line we will work harder, but it's only a matter of time before we lose that edge and old habits start to creep back. I like our core. I think JV will be great once he puts on more size to compete with the bigger bigs in the league. For only his second season, the Kid looks great. I love Amir, he is the definition of a tdot blue collar player. I liked the drafting of Ross over Drummond, I don't care how good Drummond is, if he is on a contender his Foul Shot rate will put him on the bench late in games (Under 30% is gross). Ross is a good player, with a sweet stroke. If he can be a 3 & d player, he will have a long career in this league. I've always liked Derozan, he has taken longer than I thought he would to get where he is, but he is always progressing which I like to see. Lowry is playing amazing. He is becoming more of a complete pg, that looks for the best play, not necessarily the best play for him. I think 2pat is outstanding and I can honestly say, I knew the least of him when the trade went down, but have been pleasantly surprised.
However I don't think this core can get very far in the playoffs. I'm not going to sit here and say I wasn't a member of tank nation, because I was, but I think that ship has sailed. But I also think there are certain avenues that MU can go to make this team better in the future. I know with the new CBA that players are more inclined to wait for free agency than to sign extensions, but at the same note I'm surprised Lowry hasn't signed one yet. If he goes, this team is shot. I also really like some of the players that aren't seeing any floor time at the moment: TH, Novak, even to some extent Vasquez. I like both Derozan and Ross, but I really think they play the same position which makes one expendable. So that leaves MU a bunch of assets. Ross/Derozan who ever is getting a higher return, Lowry and his uncertainty, Novak, Tyler, Vasquez, Fields(I don't think anyone will take him and his contract, but he can still play in this league to some extent) Hayes, Salmons and a few future picks at his disposal.
IMO a good NBA team should be composed at the very least with three things, a very good point guard, an elite wing, and a dominant big man. This year I think we have two(pg and big man) but next year we might be left with one. So it's nice to cheer for wins for the first time in a long time, but I will be super disappointed if it's short lived. So IMO we take our assets to get some players now and picks for later. MU has shown in the past that he is very good at multiple team trades, so that leads us with endless options. My approach would be to send lowry and one of derozan/ross to Boston for Rondo. Might be a long shot but if anyone can do it I think MU can. Next I would take the reasonable contracts of most of our bench players and try to package them together to get another pick in this draft. Maybe to denver for the new york pick. Then on draft night try to package our stockpile of picks to move up the draft. I'm a Wiggins fan. No doubt about it (read in the most notorious Canadian accent). I hope he moves down from the top pick which might be easier to get. I believe, after watching numerous Kanas games this year that he will do better in the NBA. He has definitely disappeared when facing a zone, which would be illegal in the NBA, but his silky smooth moves and enormous upside has me salivating. Pair that with the fact that he's a home town boy, that wants to play in tdot, and you had me at hello.
I've been a Raptor fan since day one. I watch blow outs to the end. I find it hard to cheer for loses (even though I have, especially when we loss Barnes by a coin flip). So I can't sit here and say that I won't be a fan if we don't get wiggins. But man oh man would it be nice. Pair him with an elite pg and big man, another serviceable wing and power forward and you have yourself a contender. In addition, if we can somehow keep our financial flexibility, who knows what elite players would sign here in the summer of 2015.
Pipe dream line-up:
Ross or Derozan
I know it's a long shot, but a boy can dream can't he?
Sorry for the long winded post