Come to this realization:
This is what they are right now. A middling team that’s good one night and bad the next, inconsistent of effort and, more importantly, execution.
The infuriating thing has to be that they can do it. They can play their defensive system to good success, as we’ve seen on a handful of occasions, the most recent being Sunday.
And despite the fact they haven’t hit a three-pointer in eons, it seems, they are still one of the more potent offensive forces in the league.
I was talking to a rival assistant coach one night recently and asked him for an honest assessment of the Raptors.
What I got was this, and I paraphrase because my tape recorder wasn’t on and the hand-written notes I jotted down are almost indecipherable.
But the gist of it’s right:
“It’s a good team, a playoff team. Probably fifth best in the East. But I have no idea why they can’t play hard every night. If you get them down, they go away.”
Pretty good assessment, don’t you think?
And maybe that’s where you’re going to be for the next 10 or 15 games, like you’ve been for the first 27. Highs and lows. Some good games, more bad. Effort lacking one night, effort there the next.
And all you can do, I fear, is hope they find some magical consistency, that they get on some kind of role and it sticks with them. There are no magical solutions, no huge trade, no shocking moves to be made. Maybe something big happens a month from now but for the time being this is what they are.
Of course, t feeds into the oft-bipolar attributes of some fans and will undoubtedly cause more angst than some would like to suffer through but, a third of way through the regular season, it is what it is.