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Thread: Confessions of a TANKER

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default Confessions of a TANKER

    I don't think this season could have worked out any better for the Toronto Raptors (outside of the #1 draft pick which is only a 25% possibility even with the WORST record in the league and all the consequences that can go along with that).

    I was 100% full on the tank wagon. The lure of the promise and potential of the "greatest NBA draft since LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, and Bosh" was too much "hope" for this jaded Raptor fan.

    The reality (reality in this case being my opinion, haha) is for those who are/were tankers, you were dead right. The 2012-13 run to end last season was an #AprilFoolsGoldRun at its finest. Had the Raptors stayed with Gay, this season would have been an utter poop show and waste. With the epic tanks put in by a number of teams, the Raptors likely would have been sitting in current Detroit/Cleveland territory - not awful enough to get a top 5 record, not good enough to even sniff at the playoffs: awful ball, Ross buried on the bench, JV ignored more than he already is after 1st Q, no stat sheets, DeRozan an inefficient side kick, a passive Lowry, no depth/bench (which is scary considering current lack of depth and bench)..... oh what dreadful prospects indeed.


    So thinking the last few games it has dawned on me: the Raptors are in the best position possible.

    1) Gay is gone along with the contract and chucking.... oh and stat sheets are back I believe.

    2) Ross and JV are legit starters on a playoff team and are just 23 and 21 respectively. There is little guessing as to what the Raptors actually have in those two players now; the only guessing is how good will they become.

    3) DeRozan is an All-Star and his trade stock no longer comes with the "potential" attachment. Ujiri has a real trade chip to offer teams if he chooses - in terms of talent and contract.

    4) Financial flexibility moving forward. The Raptors are in a position to take on contracts for assets via trade this coming off season with cap space and the friendly contracts of Salmons and Hansbrough. Next year they will have, even hypothetically signing Lowry at $10M per, $30M in cap space as of now. That will change but it is safe to say they should have enough for a max deal to offer.

    5) There is a skeleton shell or core of a young team is in place (top 7 players are 27 or younger: Lowry (27), Vasquez (27), Amir (26), DeRozan (24), Patterson (24), Ross (23), JV (21)) and, at least this season, is shown to be a playoff team. Lots of teams have youth but not all teams have youth who are known to belong in the NBA - potential is great, reality is better. Add to this a first round draft pick in the 20 range and the history Ujiri and Weltman have drafting in mid first round and later and the Raptors might have another young piece to add to the core soon.

    6) To every action there is a reaction. Bill Simmons look at the perfection Philadelphia achieved in tanking had some scary thoughts for a tanking team:

    Step 4: If you can’t get fair value for your trade assets, trade them anyway.

    Before the deadline, Philly gave away Turner, Hawes and Lavoy Allen for three second-round picks, two expiring contracts they immediately bought out (Danny Granger and Earl Clark) and the immortal Henry Sims. People get carried away with second-round picks because they’re cost-effective assets if you nail them, but recent history says you have about a 10 percent chance of landing a rotation player from picks 31 to 40. (Since 2009, only Draymond Green, Kyle Singler, Chandler Parsons, Lance Stephenson, DeJuan Blair and MAYBE Nate Wolters came through.) After that, you’d have a better chance of hearing someone say the words, “I think what James Dolan is doing is really smart … ” By stockpiling second-rounders (five in all), Philly gave itself a puncher’s chance of landing someone who, someday, might be 80 percent as good as Spencer Hawes. Congratulations! But that’s a self-sabotage staple — you’re not throwing games, just making it impossible to win. Hawes and Turner needed to go.
    Step 10: Weigh the benefits of self-sabotage against the long-term damage to your most valuable asset.

    Philly has a solid chance of passing Milwaukee for the Quadruple P (Ping-Pong Pole Position). The Sixers are only one loss behind, with no plans of ever winning again. But they shouldn’t ruin Carter-Williams to do it. In 1997, I watched M.L. Carr irrevocably alter Antoine Walker’s career with that same “Rookie of the Year on a Crap Team” carrot. As the Celtics threw away their last two months for Duncan ping-pong balls, they had Antoine playing out of position at center, hogging the ball, chasing his own numbers and learning horrendous habits. At the time, I was living in Boston and hitting most of those games because my dad steadfastly refused to go. Trust me: Antoine was only 20 years old, and he NEVER recovered from those two months. He learned all the wrong things. All of them.

    Well, the same thing is happening to Carter-Williams right now.
    .
    .
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    Regardless, here’s an undeniable fact: Carter-Williams played much better in 2013 (8-11 record, 17.8 PPG, 7.5 APG, 5.5 RPG, 3.1 SPG, 41% FG, 31% 3FG) than he has played in 2014 as the team has gone into self-sabotage mode (6-24 record, 16.5 PPG, 5.4 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 38% FG, 24% 3FG). That’s a problem. They’re better off punting on Rookie of the Year, coming up with a bogus injury and keeping him away from the team’s festering stink. There are no good lessons from intentionally getting your asses kicked every night.

    http://grantland.com/the-triangle/nb...ng-perfection/

    7) Players coming off winning teams are looked at differently - #truth. Should Ujiri look to trade players, DeRozan, Amir, Lowry, Ross, JV are all going to be looked at in a different light due to their team's success. Look at the contracts Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry were given last summer after solid a season with Golden State. Winning is the Clearasil of the NBA.




    The only real worry/concern I have is Lowry: does he walk for nothing or is this a contract year mirage? My concern is not so much about is he back or not. The bigger issue, for me, is: do the Raptors lose an asset for nothing or next to nothing?



    Maybe I'm a dreamer here. Maybe I'm grasping at straws to be optimistic. But I see a lot of good and a lot of possibilities with this current roster (whether the roster stays the same or changes significantly).

    What do you think?
    Last edited by mcHAPPY; Thu Mar 20th, 2014 at 09:58 AM.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    A lot of good points. But I believe the main goal of tanking was to land that "franchise-altering" talent. The type of player what every team with championship aspirations requires.

    I'm enjoying this current streak the Raptors have been on. But turning them into a legit contender seems like a daunting task without a realistic plan to obtain that elusive elite player.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic All-Star KazanTheMan's Avatar
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    I love matt52 threads, always so detailed and informative.

    Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk
    "Masai WILL win us a championship"
    - Tim Leiweke

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    A lot of good points. But I believe the main goal of tanking was to land that "franchise-altering" talent. The type of player what every team with championship aspirations requires.

    I'm enjoying this current streak the Raptors have been on. But turning them into a legit contender seems like a daunting task without a realistic plan to obtain that elusive elite player.
    Good points.

    Could the Raptors move up in the draft to get in top 10?
    Could they pull a Jrue Holiday with DeRozan?


    It is a good time to trade for a lottery pick. Depending on a number of things that I can only speculate on, I could see the following teams possibly moving their picks: Charlotte/Detroit, Cleveland, Lakers, Phoenix, Orlando (Denver's pick), Denver (NY pick).


    With regards to the franchise-altering talent I think if the Raptors keep doing what they are doing (winning, putting young talented core together) they are going to look mighty attractive in another year or two. Maybe that is naive homerism.

    The Raps are not going to be big time free agent players this summer but if they can add another young role player or two on a good contract that is really going to help. A guy like Aminu or Jordan Hamiltion comes immediately to mind.


    There are a lot of possibilities moving forward. I'm excited to see what Masai does.
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Raptors Republic Starter 3inthekeon's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    A lot of good points. But I believe the main goal of tanking was to land that "franchise-altering" talent. The type of player what every team with championship aspirations requires.

    I'm enjoying this current streak the Raptors have been on. But turning them into a legit contender seems like a daunting task without a realistic plan to obtain that elusive elite player.
    What is your definition of a realistic plan?

    What makes you think MU/TL don't have one?

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    Raptors Republic All-Star stooley's Avatar
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    minor correction: I think Ross and JV are 21 and 21, respectively.

    woops, thats disappointing, sorry, im wrong

    man... ross is 23?

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    One thing to remember is that for many 'pro tankers', 'tanking' was only ever a residual benefit or side-effect of retooling/rebuilding; 'tanking' was never the strategy unto itself (as it apparently is for Philadelphia). For the record, going back to the epic "Tank or Tweak" thread, I was always a 'retooler'.


    The rationale behind my 'pro tanking' stance was always:

    1. DeRozan and Gay were redundant

    2. Not enough balls to go around for DeRozan, Gay and Lowry, which prevents them all from playing their natural game and performing at their individual best

    3. Until #1 and #2 are resolved, by trading away at least one of DeRozan/Gay, the team is going to be a disaster, while the young players are either afterthoughts on the court (ie: Valanciunas) or are buried on the bench (ie: Ross).

    4. The assumption was always that resolving #1 and #2 would likely lead to more losing, hence the side-effect of 'tanking'. So long as any related roster moves acquired assets (any combination of good players, prospects or draft picks) and allowed the young players to get more playing time to develop, the long-term benefits would outweigh any short-term suffering (it's not as though the Raptors were ever going to be title contenders in 2013-14).


    As you can see from my avatar, I was confident enough in my predictions that I felt there was no reason to 'wait and see'. From my perspective, postponing the inevitable would only serve to mitigate the residual benefit from dropping in the standings (improved positioning of the Raptors' own 2014 1st round pick). My biggest fear was that postponing the inevitable would result in the team landing in the dreaded 'no man's land', where they were on the playoff bubble with no chance of either getting past the 1st round or landing in the top-5 of the 2014 draft.

    Looking back, I feel as though my predictions came true and my preferred course of action (ie: trading at least one of DeRozan or Gay) came to fruition. It only took the GM about 20 games to reach the same conclusion.

    MU's decision to trade the team's premiere player could arguably be considered either a rebuilding/'tanking' trade or a retooling trade. However, I still firmly believe that it was intended to be the first domino in a complete rebuilding strategy, which was expected to enjoy the residual benefit of 'tanking'; I don't think anybody saw the resulting team success coming. The one thing I like about MU is his ability to adapt his strategy on the fly, without sacrificing the big picture (ie: he didn't make a swing-for-the-fences deadline move to sacrifice the future in a crazy attempt to win this year).


    Did the team 'tank'?
    No, because the team came together and started winning in the wake of the Gay trade.

    Do I feel the need to eat crow?
    No, because my predictions for failure came true and MU ultimately implemented my preferred course of action. Since 'tanking' was never the strategy, and simply a potential residual benefit from implementing a retooling/rebuilding strategy, I have been thrilled to once again enjoy a winning/playoff season!

    What about the future?
    As the OP stated, there are many reasons to be optimistic about this team's future. Personally, I still think the retooling/rebuilding process needs to continue, although there are some solid pieces in place, many valuable trade assets to work with, 3 2014 draft picks, and lots of financial flexibility over the next couple offseasons. Lowry has grown on me this season and has been the heart & soul of this team; any success this season would be undermined severely if Lowry walks away for no return.
    Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Thu Mar 20th, 2014 at 11:12 AM.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote 3inthekeon wrote: View Post
    What is your definition of a realistic plan?

    What makes you think MU/TL don't have one?
    The most realistic plan is to draft such a player.

    I'm sure MU/TL have plenty of "plans", but since they operate in the dark, I'm not prepared to assume everything will work out for the best without knowing any details.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    A lot of good points. But I believe the main goal of tanking was to land that "franchise-altering" talent. The type of player what every team with championship aspirations requires.

    I'm enjoying this current streak the Raptors have been on. But turning them into a legit contender seems like a daunting task without a realistic plan to obtain that elusive elite player.
    I'm with you on this point. While I feel there are other ways to go about getting the franchise talent, until I see it actually happen with the Raptors, I still feel like tanking is the best option to acquire that level of talent.

    It's an exciting time none the less, and I'm looking forward to see what MU and TL are going to come up with.

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    Raptors Republic Starter 3inthekeon's Avatar
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    how any "franchise-altering players" are in the NBA right now?

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    I really like the financially flexibility moving forwards.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star slaw's Avatar
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    Quote 3inthekeon wrote: View Post
    how any "franchise-altering players" are in the NBA right now?
    Very few. Ever. Which is why in the 80s the Celtics and Lakers won every title but two. Why the Bulls won 6 titles in the 90s. Why the Lakers and Spurs won 7 of 10 titles in the 2000s. And why the Heat will likely win again this year. The team with the best player almost always wins in the NBA. And it's why, if your goal is truly to win championships and not just make the playoffs, you have to find one of those guys. Somehow, someway.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star JimiCliff's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    A lot of good points. But I believe the main goal of tanking was to land that "franchise-altering" talent. The type of player what every team with championship aspirations requires.

    I'm enjoying this current streak the Raptors have been on. But turning them into a legit contender seems like a daunting task without a realistic plan to obtain that elusive elite player.
    This idea actually just adds strength to Matt's position, because over the year it's become pretty clear that none of these potential draftees that some of us were pining for in the summer/fall are actually franchise altering talent. Not at the Duncan, Lebron, or Anthony Davis level.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote JimiCliff wrote: View Post
    This idea actually just adds strength to Matt's position, because over the year it's become pretty clear that none of these potential draftees that some of us were pining for in the summer/fall are actually franchise altering talent. Not at the Duncan, Lebron, or Anthony Davis level.
    Was anyone really pining for a player in the 2013 draft though? It was widely known as one of the worst draft classes in recent memory. A stark contrast to that of the 2014 draft.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Was anyone really pining for a player in the 2013 draft though? It was widely known as one of the worst draft classes in recent memory. A stark contrast to that of the 2014 draft.
    2013 was so bad.

    Look at this lottery:

    1 1 Anthony Bennett PF/SF Canada Cleveland Cavaliers UNLV (Fr.)
    1 2 Victor Oladipo SG/PG United States Orlando Magic Indiana (Jr.)
    1 3 Otto Porter SF United States Washington Wizards Georgetown (So.)
    1 4 Cody Zeller PF/C United States Charlotte Bobcats Indiana (So.)
    1 5 Alex Len C Ukraine Phoenix Suns Maryland (So.)
    1 6 Nerlens Noel# C United States New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Philadelphia)[A] Kentucky (Fr.)
    1 7 Ben McLemore SG United States Sacramento Kings Kansas (Fr.)
    1 8 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG United States Detroit Pistons Georgia (So.)
    1 9 Trey Burke PG United States Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Utah)[B] Michigan (So.)
    1 10 C.J. McCollum PG/SG United States Portland Trail Blazers Lehigh (Sr.)
    1 11 Michael Carter-Williams PG/SG United States Philadelphia 76ers Syracuse (So.)
    1 12 Steven Adams C New Zealand Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto via Houston)[a] Pittsburgh (Fr.)
    1 13 Kelly Olynyk C Canada Dallas Mavericks (traded to Boston)[C] Gonzaga (Jr.)
    1 14 Shabazz Muhammad SG/SF United States Utah Jazz (traded to Minnesota)[B] UCLA (Fr.)
    "Championships are what we live for, now lets go win them."
    Tim Leiweke

    Basketball has clear winners every night --
    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Agree with the OP.

    Am still of the opinion that MU's main objective in trading Gay was to rid the team of the contract/get fiscal clarity going forward and taking a flyer on the players coming back. The flyer worked. Around the same time Dolan changed his mind on Lowry. The Raptors are the better for both happenings.

    MU adjusts thinking. As the op indicates, he has more and valuable assets and more options except for a "guaranteed" shot at a high pick. It will be a sad day however if Lowry walks but I feel with some of the reports I have read that there maybe an understanding between the two going forward (their 1on1 talks eg.). I hope so.

    Philly is the classic intentional dismantle/rebuild. That team's results in the next 3-4 years is going to be a case study used to provide fodder for the tank/anti tank arguments which occupied so much of the board's discussions last year. While I was a rebuild / get a high pick advocate I am glad the Raps are not them. Another similar example in another league is the Buffalo Sabres. There are reports they might well do it again for another year mostly to have a shot at one of those "transcedental" players due to be drafted then (McDavid).

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    Raptors Republic All-Star OldSkoolCool's Avatar
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    Quote psrs1 wrote: View Post
    I really like the financially flexibility moving forwards.
    This^

    Going into the season we needed to get some flexibility, whether it resulted in tanking or winning it does not matter, Ujiri needed to get us out of both the Bargnani and Gay contracts..

    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    2013 was so bad.

    Look at this lottery:

    1 1 Anthony Bennett PF/SF Canada Cleveland Cavaliers UNLV (Fr.)
    1 2 Victor Oladipo SG/PG United States Orlando Magic Indiana (Jr.)
    1 3 Otto Porter SF United States Washington Wizards Georgetown (So.)
    1 4 Cody Zeller PF/C United States Charlotte Bobcats Indiana (So.)
    1 5 Alex Len C Ukraine Phoenix Suns Maryland (So.)
    1 6 Nerlens Noel# C United States New Orleans Pelicans (traded to Philadelphia)[A] Kentucky (Fr.)
    1 7 Ben McLemore SG United States Sacramento Kings Kansas (Fr.)
    1 8 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SG United States Detroit Pistons Georgia (So.)
    1 9 Trey Burke PG United States Minnesota Timberwolves (traded to Utah)[B] Michigan (So.)
    1 10 C.J. McCollum PG/SG United States Portland Trail Blazers Lehigh (Sr.)
    1 11 Michael Carter-Williams PG/SG United States Philadelphia 76ers Syracuse (So.)
    1 12 Steven Adams C New Zealand Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto via Houston)[a] Pittsburgh (Fr.)
    1 13 Kelly Olynyk C Canada Dallas Mavericks (traded to Boston)[C] Gonzaga (Jr.)
    1 14 Shabazz Muhammad SG/SF United States Utah Jazz (traded to Minnesota)[B] UCLA (Fr.)
    I like Oladipo as a franchise leader, just not as a franchise talent, I think he will be able to get his teammates to always play hard and will be a part of winning organizations. MCW, McLemore, TH Jr., Burke and -Noel- I think can all be great pieces, just not franchise altering...well maybe Noel IF he becomes a defensive force. Bennett I still think can become a terror of a player, dude has freak length and a great skill set in the current NBA...

    Also Greak Freak could become a true point forward who plays two way basketball, has the potential to be a franchise guy

    So I think 2013 is a bit better than some realize

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    Raptors Republic Starter 3inthekeon's Avatar
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    Again, I ask, how many franchise talents are in the NBA? 2? 5? 10? I keep hearing the term, but I never hear it defined more than vaguely.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote 3inthekeon wrote: View Post
    Again, I ask, how many franchise talents are in the NBA? 2? 5? 10? I keep hearing the term, but I never hear it defined more than vaguely.
    Truth is, everyone you ask will have a different answer, so you're never going to get a accurate number.

    But we do currently have a player capable of leading us to conference championships? My vote would be 'no'.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic All-Star BigCamB's Avatar
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    A lot of very good points in there, I agree with most of the OP.
    Great thread.

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