I feel confident for the playoffs because of the simple fact that the Raptors seem to always play better against good teams and take the bad teams lightly. Recently we've had wins/close losses vs the Thunder, Grizzlies and Suns where it was close throughout and it's against the Hawks x2 and the Cavs where they've been awful.
Once it gets to the playoffs I think you'll see a much better effort from the Raptors for the full 48 minutes.
Speaking of history repeating itself...
Anyone else see some similarities between Jorge "sweet-shooting, PF, Glue-Guy" Garbajosa going down and that teams subsequent struggles with 2pat and our current struggles?
Makes you appreciate how important a true 6th man can be.
I'm not worried because I expected them to be average once MU got fooled and fell for whatever he hell for and abandoned the tank.
Not bringing up the old argument, no point, but once Toronto opted out of the tank, it was full on hoping they could compete and win.... having watched them lose almost EVERY so called "must win" game since, I think its safe to say they are basically the same as most of the lower third teams....just without the tank in place.
I said it weeks ago, Brooklyn would catch them, and I stand by that fully. Toronto isn't good, the are just average, and will not get a good draft pick, but will also not have anything close to success in the playoffs.
I will always be worried until we can get another star player such as this who could take us into the promise land
"Both teams played hard my man" - Sheed
Personally, I think playoff fodder but I've been wrong on this whole season, maybe I'm wrong again.
I really am hoping the Raptors go beyond the first round but if they do not, I see a lot of positives for Ujiri to work with. First, a 1st round bounce will give Ujiri the ammo he needs to justify to a fan base about big changes. Secondly, tied in to the first, is Amir, DD, and Lowry have never had higher trade value. Due to future cap space concerns I don't see the Raptors capable of keeping all of the current core and being a player in free agency in 2015 or 2016. Finally, financial flexibility is there to take on bad contracts for the benefit of assets (prospects/rookie deals or future picks). I see 2014-15 another year of asset accumulation (this past year has brought 3 draft picks, 2 solid role players (Vasquez, PP), prospect (De Colo), and value contract (Hansbrough)). Take on a bad contract that expires after 2014-15 is not going to hurt the team because they are not set up to be free agent players for another year/until 2015 anyways.
As for the original thread and about being concerned with 2006-2007 - no, I'm not in the slightest:
- younger team,
- more financial flexibility,
- more assets,
- a GM with a history of capitalizing on opportunity and showing patience,
- an ownership group not run by a pension plan (i.e. willing to spend and not just looking for cash cows),
- a CEO who talks a great game but has also delivered since in Toronto (TFC and Masai) and in his LA past (Beckham),
- I think there will be a new coach as I just can't see a GM who wants to build through the draft comfortable with a coach who wants to roll with vets.
- finally and maybe most importantly, MU was here on the last go around with a semi-competitive team. I don't believe he wants the 2006-2007 Raps to repeat as strongly as us fans.
The 2006-2007 team comes up often as a shining example of what could happen. The reason that bombed was the short term moves that Bryan made. He tried to create a team around Bosh and paid for it.
There is no one guy that we need to build around with this current roster. There is no 'superstar'. Lowry might be the closest but I don't think anyone would consider Lowry a top 20 player in the league despite the success he's had this season. And Lowry is not a 'max' guy - not even close.
They have the flexibility to get a max guy and the thing I like about MU over BC is that MU is trying to build a team.. a group of cohesive parts. BC drafted Bargnani when they had Bosh. He got Jermaine O'Neal when Bargnani wasn't enough. He signed Hedo when they already had a dominant ball handler in Jose. He traded for Gay when he already had a guy who was similar in DeMar (who he just resigned to a 4 year contract).
The only similarity might be a first round bounce.. but what were the expectations going into this season? I never considered a 3rd seed. I was thinking border line 8th seed and hoping for a tank since being in 7-11 sucks. Now that they are destined for the playoffs with a seed at least somewhere between 3-5 all we can hope for is some success and development (hoping the playoff atmosphere helps nurture some of the youth on the team).
I personally don't think the Raptors will get passed the first round, but I never considered them a playoff team after the Gay trade went down so my expectations are jaded. And if they don't I still think the Raptors are far better off than they were at the start of the 2007-2008 season.
current playoff teams
east: indy, mia, chi, tor, bk, was, cha, atl
west: sas, okc, lac, hou, por, gsw, mem, dal
of all those teams, we are the only team w/o a player making at least $10 mil.
"Both teams played hard my man" - Sheed
Mayday Mayday Raps falling fast. 2-4 in their last 6 and heading into a potential 5th seed nosedive!!
3rd Seed: I think at this point we'll have to go 9-3 to secure it, the Bulls have been playing at a high level and I can easily see them going 8-3 over their last 11, I mean their toughest challenge is arguably Portland so that say's it all. I really don't see them going 7-4 over their last 11 games with the opposing level of competition but we can always hope.
4th Seed: IMO 8-4 should secure the 4th seed unless the Nets keep streaking hard but it's hard to see them going 11-2 over their final 13. 7-5 from here on out could be a potential kiss of death (Losses to Mia, Ind, Hou, Nyk[H2H], and a stinker to either Bos[H2H], Orl, or Det) but again even 10-3 is a difficult finish to imagine from the Nets in their last 13. I'm guessing they go 9-4 which should seal the deal for us unless we really fumble and go 6-6.
Bottom line is the Raps need to get their act together, a realistic expectation given their poor play lately is securing the 4th seed by going 7-5. It'd be nice if they could get themselves together but right now it looks like a limp into the playoffs and a first round exit to Brooklyn.
In closing, I disagree with your premise.
When ESPN does it's top 500 list next year.. let's see if Lowry makes the top 20. I know that voting system is dumb, but it's a good barometer of what the general population think about NBA players.
But if you mean general public opinion, then you are probably right. Media kept voting Kobe all-defense for like 3 years after he stopped being solid on defense, it takes a while for the general media to catch up.
As far as injuries, every year has multiple injured big name players. Some will get healthy, others will get injured, some will break out, others will fade away. In the end, it's up to Lowry himself to stay healthy and keep playing well. Lowry is a legit top 20 player right now. It's up to him to keep that form or lose it.
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