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Thread: KD what the Raptors need: Kelly

  1. #41
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    I've said it before, but building a contender in the NBA is a game of extremely long odds.

    Because of this, no strategy should be dismissed because it almost certainly won't happen. If it's even a 1% chance, that's enough that it bears discussion. Odds of acquiring a superstar with a late-first draft pick? Unlikely. Odds of one of our current guys becoming a superstar? Unlikely. Odds of acquiring a superstar via free agency? Unlikely. Odds of winning a championship without a superstar? Unlikely. Are the odds of acquiring KD less likely than any of the other scenarios here? And how can we best maximize our odds by keeping as many of the above scenarios as possible in play?

    So if we don't talk about the unlikely scenarios, then we can hang our heads that there's no easy route, or simply not talk about any long-term strategies. But I'd rather see discussions like this about long-term strategies, critical evaluations of just how likely and unlikely they are, and what can be done to increase those odds, even minutely.
    tank-agnostic

  2. #42
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    Doesn't mean you don't give it a shot.

    You also say in another post that this team is basically nothing close to appealing, but I don't think that's true either.



    This is kind of ridiculous. Of course the team has to maintain some high level of performance, but even if they are just a 5-8 playoff seed in the following years...well they're that without Durant. If they're a 40-45 win team, and Lowry and DeMar maintain some similar level of performance, while Jonas and Ross keep improving, that's a very appealing core if you ask me. And not just to KD, but basically for any free agent. You add KD to a 45 win team (give or take), and they become a contender.

    Look at OKC's roster? They have serious question marks pretty much everywhere other than KD and Ibaka. Westbrook has become a question mark because of injury concerns, and their "depth" is an odd mix of old and young talent, none of whom really relieve the insane amount of weight on KD's shoulders. Add to that that so far their ownership has shown a strong unwillingness to pay tax, and they are making it hard to really improve. If they didn't have KD, would they even be in the playoffs?

    I definitely think it's possible KD could leave OKC, and then it's a total unknown what he'll be looking for. I do think he'll want to go somewhere with an established core with some proven amount of success. I don't think he'll be too eager to go to possibly gutted rosters in places like NYK or LAL and have to hope they build quickly. And I don't think he cares enough about the flashy markets either. I think octothorp's post is bang on:



    And I'd add that in some ways we can offer better than Washington. Porter has not done anything to suggest he's a keeper talent in the NBA. Toronto can possibly offer DeMar or Ross in any S&T, or if OKC just want money and picks, can also offer that without compromising the core they build up to that point. Washington definitely has question marks, especially up front, where even if they keep Gortat and Nene, those guys will be heading into 32 and 34 years old at the start of the 2016 season.

    Situation-wise, Toronto could easily be one of the most appealing spots. And I tend to agree that the New York teams, or LAL are going to be unappealing for an in-his-prime star who likely will want minimal risk in a new situation, and not at all want to wait for a team to be built from scratch.

    And I'm sure there are teams who will get in the hunt that we can't really foresee. But they will have to be able to offer a solid core that's already had some success, that is pretty young so that they have a multi-year window, and solid management with ownership willing to spend....at minimum. Right now Toronto is on track to offer all that.

    Kelly's article may be idle speculation, but that doesn't mean it has no rational foundation to it.
    Why is the Raps roster so appealing and OKC's isn't? OKC has another superstar in Westbrook. A player KD has played with and went to a Finals with already. OKC is challenging for top spot in the West, have had Westbrook out for half the year and we are wondering who's roster is in better shape? Have we forgotten about Ibaka as well? Come on man.

  3. #43
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    Sorry @sleepz, but your attitude just strikes me as typical Toronto/Canada inferiority complex driven.

    The reason people cite KD's apparent fondness of Toronto is that it already helps clear that hurdle. It seems he doesn't view Toronto as an inferior city or market.

    On top of this, Leiweke and Ujiri made one of, if not the top goal of management to shake that stigma and convince people that Toronto is a top market in the sports world. Sure it may never be NY or LA, but there's no real reason it can't compete with anyone else. Having Leiweke especially is a huge factor. Dude is a huge player in the sports world.

    Doesn't mean they'll be successful, but it's the first time upper management is being run with this aggressive, proactive attitude to make this a destination city. That has to count for something and can't just be summarily dismissed.
    Inferiority complex? Not at all. You can attract players to play for you when your team is good and you are a consistent winner.

    People cite Durrant's 'fondness' for Toronto because he was a Raptors fan when he was a kid, because they had Vince. That's all this 'fondness' is based upon, nothing else.

    If the Raps are a good team of course you can attract top flight players. This is the same principle for almost any sport. That doesn't mean I feel like players won't come to Toronto, because that's not what I think at all. I think players flock to 'winning'.

    The difference between us is you probably think the team and roster is ascending and has potential. I tend to think this roster has hit their high point and they are only decent this year because of good team chemistry and a historically bad conference. You typically need two stars to be a contender in this league and imho, Durrant coming to Toronto would still only be one star. They have no other significant players at this time, in my books. I don't see Durrant leaving OKC playing with Westbrook and Ibaka to come and play with Derozan, Lowry and JV. as I think you are severely overvaluing the current players on this team and their abilities.

    Its as simple as that for me. It has nothing to do with me thinking they can't attract players. I think you can but no superstar is dying to come a .500 team.

  4. #44
    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote sleepz wrote: View Post
    Why is the Raps roster so appealing and OKC's isn't? OKC has another superstar in Westbrook. A player KD has played with and went to a Finals with already. OKC is challenging for top spot in the West, have had Westbrook out for half the year and we are wondering who's roster is in better shape? Have we forgotten about Ibaka as well? Come on man.
    Indeed we are wondering who's roster is in better shape.

    Westbrook has had 3 knee surgeries in the past year and is a player who depends almost entirely on his explosiveness to be effective.

    Ibaka is a 3rd fiddle. I like him a lot, but he's not alleviating that much of the load from KD.

    Beyond that they have question marks everywhere. And they don't have a lot of financial wiggleroom coming up, on top of having ownership that really doesn't want to go into tax territory.

    They are contenders at all because of KD, not because of a fantastic roster. Their management has done a great job trying to plug holes and keep a patch-job together, but they could've much more easily maintained a solid group if they were just willing to spend to keep Harden (who was critical to their last Finals run). It's going to be harder and harder for them to improve the team beyond KD with late draft picks and little money to spend. And if Westbrook continues to struggle with knee issues, they're in a tight spot.

    So yeah, the OKC situation is not fantastic. KD makes the situation. If he leaves, he breaks it. I don't know that they're a playoff team in the West without him, even if Westbrook is healthy. It's definitely debatable. While Toronto is a playoff team in the East (which is generally weaker) without him. If they can continue that for a couple of years, while OKC fails to win (and has minimal avenues for improvement), I can see Toronto being a pretty damn appealing roster/situation for free agents, including but not limited to KD.

  5. #45
    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote sleepz wrote: View Post
    Why is the Raps roster so appealing and OKC's isn't? OKC has another superstar in Westbrook. A player KD has played with and went to a Finals with already. OKC is challenging for top spot in the West, have had Westbrook out for half the year and we are wondering who's roster is in better shape? Have we forgotten about Ibaka as well? Come on man.
    The raptors roster, by the time KD made a decision in FA, will have evolved for two years. Current young players will develop and unknowns will be brought in.

    Why could the roster in toronto appeal?
    1. Depth - OKC is not super deep. Moving forward Ujiri and Weltman are badass talent finding and drafting muthaf....
    2. Bird rights - Ujiri is going to build through the draft and keeping great players is not an issue with Bird rights
    3. Ownership willing to pay - OKC will never pay luxury as they pay and lose revenue sharing (double whammy), Raps most definitely will to keep contender together
    4. Westbrook - not the easiest guy to deal with and there are serious questions about his knee moving forward... Never mind his game.
    5. What happens if memories of Harden resurface after Reggie Jackson gets paid - by someone other than OKC due to tax implications


    Dwight Howard went to the finals with Orlando - just throwing that out there.


    The odds are certainly not in Toronto's favour but Most things when planning in the nba aren't. The key is having option to do it and if it doesn't work out maybe raps sign batum at 27 and Anderson at 28 instead (or sub your own free agents here).

    2016 will likely be last year for raps to be a player in free agency with young core currently have.
    "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.

  6. #46
    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote sleepz wrote: View Post
    Inferiority complex? Not at all. You can attract players to play for you when your team is good and you are a consistent winner.

    People cite Durrant's 'fondness' for Toronto because he was a Raptors fan when he was a kid, because they had Vince. That's all this 'fondness' is based upon, nothing else.

    If the Raps are a good team of course you can attract top flight players. This is the same principle for almost any sport. That doesn't mean I feel like players won't come to Toronto, because that's not what I think at all. I think players flock to 'winning'.

    The difference between us is you probably think the team and roster is ascending and has potential. I tend to think this roster has hit their high point and they are only decent this year because of good team chemistry and a historically bad conference. You typically need two stars to be a contender in this league and imho, Durrant coming to Toronto would still only be one star. They have no other significant players at this time, in my books. I don't see Durrant leaving OKC playing with Westbrook and Ibaka to come and play with Derozan, Lowry and JV. as I think you are severely overvaluing the current players on this team and their abilities.

    Its as simple as that for me. It has nothing to do with me thinking they can't attract players. I think you can but no superstar is dying to come a .500 team.
    I think you're overvaluing OKC's roster. **If we're talking about "peaking" or ability to maintain a certain level of talent and competitiveness.

    And I don't know about Toronto's roster, but I definitely don't assume they're peaking. The fact alone that JV and Ross are still just second year players makes that unlikely. If their combined improvement even just adds 5 wins to the team, even if DeMar and Kyle can't maintain quite their level of performance, it's enough to keep us a perennial playoff team in the East. Now, we still wouldn't be contenders, but you add Durant to even a 6th or 7th seed in the East, and they immediately jump up to a top 3 seed and contender. I think this would be true of any decent roster you could add him to, so I definitely think Toronto will have some competition, and like I said before, likely from teams that at the moment we can't really foresee.

    The bonus for Toronto is all their pieces are young, at the oldest just hitting their prime. This definitely provides an opportunity for a decent window for success that could last 3 or 4 seasons.

    While the East is weak this year, Toronto also has a winning record against the West. They have a good home record and a good road record as well. They may not be contenders, but they have been solid across the board. They have been relatively consistent with no significant losing streak. Do I think they're bound to only improve? No, not necessarily, as I said above and in other posts, they could easily end up a lower playoff seed for the next couple of years if some East teams bounce back after this season. However I don't think the talent on their roster has peaked, and I don't think what they've accomplished is just a fluke season. I won't be upset if they win 47+ games this year and then just win 45 (or even a couple less) games next year, as long as JV and Ross continue to show growth and the roster still has good chemistry, both things which I think are very likely.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Mon Mar 24th, 2014 at 04:04 PM.

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  8. #47
    Raptors Republic Superstar TRex's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    To the title of the article I say: no sh!t - he is what about 29 franchises in the league need outside Miami.

    As for the article, Kelly takes a frequently whispered and tossed about idea from the deepest, inner sanctums of the world wide web and throws it in to the mainstream (be sure to click link).










    http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptor...ed_kelly.html#



    So are the Raptors on the KD train?
    Fav team growing up - check
    high school teammate and PG - check
    books clear for 2016 - check
    high profile management with a history of luring big stars - check
    ownership willing to spend - check
    major performing artist who KD is a fan of - check
    *bonus marks* friends with said performing artiest - check
    chilling with Landry Fields over the holidays - check


    So what say ye? Is this for realsies?
    Exactly my reaction when i saw the title lol.
    Follow me on Twitter - @11_RRyan

  9. #48
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    Indeed we are wondering who's roster is in better shape.

    Westbrook has had 3 knee surgeries in the past year and is a player who depends almost entirely on his explosiveness to be effective.

    Ibaka is a 3rd fiddle. I like him a lot, but he's not alleviating that much of the load from KD.

    Beyond that they have question marks everywhere. And they don't have a lot of financial wiggleroom coming up, on top of having ownership that really doesn't want to go into tax territory.

    They are contenders at all because of KD, not because of a fantastic roster. Their management has done a great job trying to plug holes and keep a patch-job together, but they could've much more easily maintained a solid group if they were just willing to spend to keep Harden (who was critical to their last Finals run). It's going to be harder and harder for them to improve the team beyond KD with late draft picks and little money to spend. And if Westbrook continues to struggle with knee issues, they're in a tight spot.

    So yeah, the OKC situation is not fantastic. KD makes the situation. If he leaves, he breaks it. I don't know that they're a playoff team in the West without him, even if Westbrook is healthy. It's definitely debatable. While Toronto is a playoff team in the East (which is generally weaker) without him. If they can continue that for a couple of years, while OKC fails to win (and has minimal avenues for improvement), I can see Toronto being a pretty damn appealing roster/situation for free agents, including but not limited to KD.
    You can bring up Westbrook and the knee surgeries. has it affected his play negatively in any way when he's on the court. Do you see him having lost any of his explosiveness? Until the knees are becoming a real problem, you're making a bigger deal out of something that is not an issue at this point in time. Lowry had all kinds of previous injury concerns but he';s been healthy this year (contract year) RW on bad knees is still better than any healthy player the Raps have.

    Ibaka is a 3rd fiddle on OKC. If you put him on the Raps where does he rank? Yeah, he's probably the best player on the team (argument to be made with Ibaka vs. Lowry) so imho, OKC's 3rd wheel is better or equivalent to the Raps 1st wheel.

    These question marks you refer to for OKC is no different than the Raptors. The Raps best player could walk at the end of the year. JV has looked like he has regressed. They still don't have a swing man that can actually create his own shot. They have FA's that are part of the team now that could once again leave, so to me the questions marks apply to the Raps as well. In fact the Raps have question marks when it comes to talent, OKC isn't.

    if you think they are contenders simply because of KD, I would have to disagree with you. You need more than one player to be a contender in this league. Just ask Lebron.

    How can you say for certain that Toronto is a playoff team next year or the year after that for that matter? When was the last time they were in the playoffs? When was the last time they were making the playoffs consistently?

    You're giving them way too much benefit of the doubt.

  10. #49
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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    I think you're overvaluing OKC's roster. **If we're talking about "peaking" or ability to maintain a certain level of talent and competitiveness.

    And I don't know about Toronto's roster, but I definitely don't assume they're peaking. The fact alone that JV and Ross are still just second year players makes that unlikely. If their combined improvement even just adds 5 wins to the team, even if DeMar and Kyle can't maintain quite their level of performance, it's enough to keep us a perennial playoff team in the East. Now, we still wouldn't be contenders, but you add Durant to even a 6th or 7th seed in the East, and they immediately jump up to a top 3 seed and contender. I think this would be true of any decent roster you could add him to, so I definitely think Toronto will have some competition, and like I said before, likely from teams that at the moment we can't really foresee.

    The bonus for Toronto is all their pieces are young, at the oldest just hitting their prime. This definitely provides an opportunity for a decent window for success that could last 3 or 4 seasons.

    While the East is weak this year, Toronto also has a winning record against the West. They have a good home record and a good road record as well. They may not be contenders, but they have been solid across the board. They have been relatively consistent with no significant losing streak. Do I think they're bound to only improve? No, not necessarily, as I said above and in other posts, they could easily end up a lower playoff seed for the next couple of years if some East teams bounce back after this season. However I don't think the talent on their roster has peaked, and I don't think what they've accomplished is just a fluke season. I won't be upset if they win 47+ games this year and then just win 45 (or even a couple less) games next year, as long as JV and Ross continue to show growth and the roster still has good chemistry, both things which I think are very likely.
    I think you've completely overvalued the Raptors roster. OKC has 2 superstars and 1 legitimate all-star/defensive player of the year type and you're telling me how I'm overvaluing their team?

    What do you think you are doing with Toronto's roster? They play in one of the weakest conferences in modern sports. One fringe all-star and a whole lot of talk about potential, growth and youth.lol

    Everyone assumes because you are 'young' that this must mean you are going to get better. It doesn't always work like that.

    OKC has established players and I'd take their roster over ours any day of the week now and moving forward.

  11. #50
    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    Quote sleepz wrote: View Post
    You can bring up Westbrook and the knee surgeries. has it affected his play negatively in any way when he's on the court. Do you see him having lost any of his explosiveness? Until the knees are becoming a real problem, you're making a bigger deal out of something that is not an issue at this point in time. Lowry had all kinds of previous injury concerns but he';s been healthy this year (contract year) RW on bad knees is still better than any healthy player the Raps have.

    Ibaka is a 3rd fiddle on OKC. If you put him on the Raps where does he rank? Yeah, he's probably the best player on the team (argument to be made with Ibaka vs. Lowry) so imho, OKC's 3rd wheel is better or equivalent to the Raps 1st wheel.

    These question marks you refer to for OKC is no different than the Raptors. The Raps best player could walk at the end of the year. JV has looked like he has regressed. They still don't have a swing man that can actually create his own shot. They have FA's that are part of the team now that could once again leave, so to me the questions marks apply to the Raps as well. In fact the Raps have question marks when it comes to talent, OKC isn't.

    if you think they are contenders simply because of KD, I would have to disagree with you. You need more than one player to be a contender in this league. Just ask Lebron.

    How can you say for certain that Toronto is a playoff team next year or the year after that for that matter? When was the last time they were in the playoffs? When was the last time they were making the playoffs consistently?

    You're giving them way too much benefit of the doubt.
    Man I so strongly disagree with you.

    It has affected Westbrook on the court, but more importantly, it's affected his ability to be on the court. Lowry has had nagging injury issues, but he's never had a serious injury, let alone multiple knee surgeries in one year.

    I think you're seriously overvaluing Serge Ibaka. If he were on the Raps, he would still be the 3rd best player on our team. He has no go-to scoring ability whatsoever (no post up or face up game). He thrives playing off the ball to Durant and Westbrook. He is the prototypical 3rd/4th option on a good team. He hits open shots, makes cuts to the basket, thrives on the glass.

    JV has not regressed. He added too much upper body weight and it has hindered his speed/explosiveness a bit. This is something he should easily be able to work on since he's still so young. If you think a 21 year old can't improve his speed, I don't know what to tell you. His mental game has improved a lot. As much as people rag on his TOs, his post game is still much better than last year, where he had literally no moves whatsover. His D is a work in progress, but his positioning, and use of his length without fouling, have improved quite a bit. He's often the best rebounder on the court in most games, including making Serge Ibaka a total non-factor down the stretch of that tight loss to OKC where Durant basically singlehandedly won the game for them. He's only 21 and will only get better for the next few years. Regressed? Seriously, what a crock of shit.

    OKC definitely have question marks. Ask LeBron? What happened to the contending Cleveland team he was on after he left? They became the worst team in the league right away. You need more than one player in this league to win, but you don't necessarily need more than one to have the record of a contender. I maintain that OKC without Durant would be life and death just to make the playoffs, and in the West, I'd be pretty doubtful of that.

    How can you say they've peaked? Is this basically the first year this team has been together most of the year? Have they not been performing at a consistent level since the Gay trade? The last time the Raps were in the playoffs the team was completely different, and built completely differently. This is the first time the team has been this good with this many young players. Salmons is the only player in the top 8 over 30 (and the least important), while all 7 others are 27 or younger. None of them have had career-sidetracking injuries, and they've shown great chemistry.

    You're way too pessimistic, and have a serious "grass is greener on the other side" view of non-Toronto teams like OKC.

    They have just as many question marks about talent as Toronto beyond KD. Westbrook is a very overrated player. There, I said it. The dude is just a bad shooter. He makes poor decisions. He gets assists, but has a horrible, just absolutely atrocious turnover rate for a guy slotted at PG (this year 7 apg for 3.9 tos....that's dreadful). It's a clear case to me of a player being overhyped because of the team he's on. He is a volatile character who has just as many personality questions, if not more, than Lowry has for much of his career. He was the 3rd best player on OKC when Harden was there, and I love Harden and had doubts about just how high he'd climb when allowed to be a 1st option, but yeah, he was very obviously more critical to their success at the time than Russ.

    *And no other pieces on their roster other than Ibaka or Westbrook are talents that you'd have a hrad time replacing or parting with.

    So yeah, if Toronto keeps Lowry, they definitely have not peaked. And even if they don't, they have 2 seasons to draft or sign a starting PG of the future before they have to make a run at Durant. Toronto is in a great position. As good as pretty much anybody if they want to make a serious run at Durant. Doesn't mean they'll be successful. But yeah, I think you're definitely underappreciating the foundation in place. They definitely have questions, but they also have a very good starting point with only one major question at the moment in Lowry.

    I also think you're underestimating the impact of malaise from being in an unchanging situation. Durant will have been with the Thunder organization for 9 years when he becomes a free agent. They need to bring a championship home otherwise it woudn't be at all surprising for him to question the merit of staying there, and look for a better place to work on his legacy.
    Last edited by white men can't jump; Mon Mar 24th, 2014 at 06:34 PM.

  12. #51
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    100% agree with everything you said. I believe the people are just using the LEASTern Conference as an excuse to knock this team. The fact of the matter is that we have all the KEY pieces to attract a free agent in 2016. Heck I think we can even make a run a LeBron (even though he is not going to leave Miami in my opinion). We have flexibility, we have a core (in JV, Ross, DD), a starting PG in (Lowry or even Vasquez [who played with Durant in high school]), but most of all we are a BIG market team. I don't know if any of the people here know this because people act as if Toronto is a small market :S ... we are the 5th LARGEST market in NA (which includes New Mexico, so if we are just counting America we are bigger than all but 4 cities). Regardless of what ESPN likes to think because they do not get views from Canada which is probably why people think we are a small market. Finally, I would like to add the style of play that Casey has implemented (although people like to talk shit) it is how champion teams are run. Look at the Spurs, the Miami team, even the 2011 Dallas team that BEAT Miami (ironically Casey was on that team so he knows the winning formula). This style of play with defense and quick ball movement with limited isolation will not put a wear and tear on a superstar. People can call me wrong or whatever, but its true. Sure Casey messes up occasionally but he's shown a vast improvement. No one wants to see KD go to a NY and LA where they'll just rely on him to do every single thing. I will point out one thing however, if Westbrook grows up just like Kyle Lowry did in the off-season then KD aint leaving anywhere. Westbrook will a good mindset, and less of an ego will be the best thing for OKC to win a ring.

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    KD to Toronto ... All I can say:

    DREAM ON

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    Raptors Republic Veteran rocwell's Avatar
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    Quote Jamshid wrote: View Post
    KD to Toronto ... All I can say:

    DREAM ON
    If OKC can't win a championship, then... he's coming.


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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote rocwell wrote: View Post
    If OKC can't win a championship, then... he's coming.

    LOL! Incredible photoshop skills!
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Quote white men can't jump wrote: View Post
    Man I so strongly disagree with you.

    It has affected Westbrook on the court, but more importantly, it's affected his ability to be on the court. Lowry has had nagging injury issues, but he's never had a serious injury, let alone multiple knee surgeries in one year.

    I think you're seriously overvaluing Serge Ibaka. If he were on the Raps, he would still be the 3rd best player on our team. He has no go-to scoring ability whatsoever (no post up or face up game). He thrives playing off the ball to Durant and Westbrook. He is the prototypical 3rd/4th option on a good team. He hits open shots, makes cuts to the basket, thrives on the glass.

    JV has not regressed. He added too much upper body weight and it has hindered his speed/explosiveness a bit. This is something he should easily be able to work on since he's still so young. If you think a 21 year old can't improve his speed, I don't know what to tell you. His mental game has improved a lot. As much as people rag on his TOs, his post game is still much better than last year, where he had literally no moves whatsover. His D is a work in progress, but his positioning, and use of his length without fouling, have improved quite a bit. He's often the best rebounder on the court in most games, including making Serge Ibaka a total non-factor down the stretch of that tight loss to OKC where Durant basically singlehandedly won the game for them. He's only 21 and will only get better for the next few years. Regressed? Seriously, what a crock of shit.

    OKC definitely have question marks. Ask LeBron? What happened to the contending Cleveland team he was on after he left? They became the worst team in the league right away. You need more than one player in this league to win, but you don't necessarily need more than one to have the record of a contender. I maintain that OKC without Durant would be life and death just to make the playoffs, and in the West, I'd be pretty doubtful of that.

    How can you say they've peaked? Is this basically the first year this team has been together most of the year? Have they not been performing at a consistent level since the Gay trade? The last time the Raps were in the playoffs the team was completely different, and built completely differently. This is the first time the team has been this good with this many young players. Salmons is the only player in the top 8 over 30 (and the least important), while all 7 others are 27 or younger. None of them have had career-sidetracking injuries, and they've shown great chemistry.

    You're way too pessimistic, and have a serious "grass is greener on the other side" view of non-Toronto teams like OKC.

    They have just as many question marks about talent as Toronto beyond KD. Westbrook is a very overrated player. There, I said it. The dude is just a bad shooter. He makes poor decisions. He gets assists, but has a horrible, just absolutely atrocious turnover rate for a guy slotted at PG (this year 7 apg for 3.9 tos....that's dreadful). It's a clear case to me of a player being overhyped because of the team he's on. He is a volatile character who has just as many personality questions, if not more, than Lowry has for much of his career. He was the 3rd best player on OKC when Harden was there, and I love Harden and had doubts about just how high he'd climb when allowed to be a 1st option, but yeah, he was very obviously more critical to their success at the time than Russ.

    *And no other pieces on their roster other than Ibaka or Westbrook are talents that you'd have a hrad time replacing or parting with.

    So yeah, if Toronto keeps Lowry, they definitely have not peaked. And even if they don't, they have 2 seasons to draft or sign a starting PG of the future before they have to make a run at Durant. Toronto is in a great position. As good as pretty much anybody if they want to make a serious run at Durant. Doesn't mean they'll be successful. But yeah, I think you're definitely underappreciating the foundation in place. They definitely have questions, but they also have a very good starting point with only one major question at the moment in Lowry.

    I also think you're underestimating the impact of malaise from being in an unchanging situation. Durant will have been with the Thunder organization for 9 years when he becomes a free agent. They need to bring a championship home otherwise it woudn't be at all surprising for him to question the merit of staying there, and look for a better place to work on his legacy.
    So Derozan is better than Ibaka? lol I'll end this debate because if you feel that way I don't have anything else to say.

    Your assesment about me having some inferiority complex is way off. You can speak for yourself but not for me. I am only analyzing the actual team and players, as is. Me speculating about about KD is something I might consider if there were actually some valid links to him, he's expressed a desire to play here or the team is actually a contender. None of those things I think its going to happen within the next 24-36 months.

    We'll see in 2 years where everything is. I'm glad you are so optimistic about the core players on this team, their abilities and the direction of the franchise. I feel like I've definitely seen this movie before and it's a sequel I'm not looking forward to.
    Last edited by sleepz; Tue Mar 25th, 2014 at 10:14 AM.

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