It's becoming abundantly clear that our beloved Raptors have coalesced for the time being, and despite the limited changes, new trends emerge. You could argue it's merely an extension of what we called Masai's Wait & See strategy, building assets around Colangelo's (humbler) beginnings, but the upcoming incarnation is especially interesting as Masai seems to assembled one of the youngest, highest potential, guard & big-heavy rosters in the modern NBA.
With Sullinger in the starting lineup, Casey will be going with an old-school bully-ball lineup to start the game - very much going against the trend. Not since the days of Oakley/AD/Willis have we had such a physically imposing starting bigman combo. That's matched with a bully-ball old-school backcourt in Kyle and DeMar. Then you've got your bully-ball 3, finally healthy, in Carroll. You give them the screening power and finishing power of JV and Sullinger you really might be able combat the small ball trend.(..if they can hit 3s as a unit and move their feet quickly enough)
But then looky, looky, looky what we have off the bench. It's small-ball all the way, backed up by a seemingly endless supply of bigs and young players. This starts with Norman F---ing Powell - a guy who I now fully expect to be in the running, if not the favourite, for 6th man of the year. He's a guard that can guard 3 positions and is good-to-go. And then you've got Cory, who is likewise ready to produce as one of the better bench-guards in the league. And the small forward? - another 3-position defender in T-Ross - more shooting. And more shooting again in Patterson.
And that's you 9-man rotation. Then you bring JV or Sully back in, or maybe give Bebe/Poeltl some matchup run here and there. It goes from big and traditional to small-ball and hyper versatile. It's not Casey's first successful experiment with traditional->modernball - last year just happened - but I'd argue it projects to be the finest.
Why? 1) Because we've never had this good of guardplay before - Delon Wright is ready to start contributing at a high level; and 2) because we've never really had this calibre of bigman (largely thanks to JV), especially on O trading Biyombo for Sully, but also having the depth and athleticism you need to consistently take physical command of the game.
What am I even trying to say here? I guess I'm trying to say that Masai's new team is going to take Casey-ball to another level. You ram it down their throats with a barrage of screenen drives and a big-boy team. Then you run them out of the gym with a 2nd set of dribble drive guards. And you might round it out with a little Delon-to-Jakob pick and roll and some garbage-time goodness from Bruno and Siamam.
It's orthodox meets unorthodox. Back to the future in terms of the style and age-makeup of the team. It's big-bully-small-ball.
And it's going to be glorious.