This is my take on watching the Raptors all this season and the past 11 years or so, give or take a couple of games.
There is no hope for playoffs or anything above an 7-8 seed for the next 5 years. Most likely this team will be in the lottery for the next half decade and this is the reason.
1. It starts up top, management can't seem to define an identity for the Raptors. Are they a run-and-gun team like the Suns? Or are they a gritty defensive team with some athletic players? Apparently BC choses to have the worst of both worlds, the lack of commitment to defense while attempting to run in vain because the athletic wings can't shoot and spread the floor. Until they decide on an identity, nothing will happen. And getting a head coach which players can respect can't hurt either. Getting a head coach with some pedigree is of utmost importance when building a team, not some assistant who is clearly overmatched every game. (ie pretty much every Raptor coach minus Lenny Wilkins)
2. Talent level- Anyone who thinks the Raptors have any talent needs to be honest with themselves. Yes they do have some ability, but not one Raptor is considered starting material on any playoff team. BC has accumulated a nice assortment of bench players and deemed 5 of them starters with the prime example being Calderon. Bargnani is a good sixth man due to his scoring ability and lack of ability to defend. The Evans/Amir combo and the Weems/Kleiza situation doesn't even need any explaination
3. Cornerstone Players- They have none and haven't had any since Vince/Tmac era. Your best player on a team doesn't automatically make you a cornerstone player (ie Bosh) so I don't want to hear that it could happen. Franchise players are rare and getting the number 1 pick doesn't mean you will have one (Bargnani vs Dwight Howard). It takes a combination of luck and free agency to have a cornerstone player and no significant free agent will ever sign with Toronto. I repeat, NO SIGNIFICANT FREE AGENT WILL EVER SIGN WITH TORONTO so don't get your hopes up. I don't want to hear Turkoglu because he was aging and over-rated to begin with. I doubt without that EC Finals performance he would ever dreamed of getting 50 million. Now I'm sure some people will say Demar is a future cornerstone player but I'm pretty sure they are kidding themselves. If they are still serious I would ask them to watch tape on Demar and see if there is any significant improvement from last year to this year. His ceiling is lower than Andre Iguodala but I see him developing into a Ronnie Brewer type player. 3 years since high school and you hold your breath for every wide open jumper he takes.
4. Cap Space- Not the most important aspect but can't be overlooked either. If you are going by the blueprint of building a contender there are two choices ; build a solid 9 man rotation in which 4 of them are considered NBA all stars or fight, scratch and claw (tank) for the right to draft/sign a franchise player and build thereafter. You could choose the first option and attempt to get you hands on 4 all-stars but its nearly impossible unless you get real lucky. Its how Detroit was built and probably will never happen again.The latter is the method most employed by NBA teams. Thats how almost every team turns into a contender. You save the cap space and once you have that player you find complementary pieces around him in free-agency or trade. Its why Orlando signed Lewis to a massive contract once Dwight was drafted. The Raptors decided to lock up their cap space with guys like Andrea,Kleiza, Amir, Hedo ect ect. The problem with that strategy is obvious, what happens to Bargnani if you draft someone better than him? Trading him seems simple but you will have to accept equal dollars back on a trade for players who might not fit. Before handing out any contract above 2 million EVERY GM has to ask themselves these same 2 questions if not signing a superstar.
1. Do I have a superstar?-If YES- Does this free agent complement his game?
2. Do I have a superstar?-If NO- Put the money back in your wallet and continue looking for one
My main point is that the Raptors have made mind-blowing mistakes that placed them in the situation they are in now starting with not signing Tmac to an extension years ago. BC has compounded on those mistakes and thus should be fired. Its my belief that the moves he made in the offseason were not for the health of the franchise but rather his job security. If the Raptors have any hope is that they are going to be higher level lottery material for a few years giving them a chance at a top pick. Until then, they should blow the team up and start over. Oklahoma City has showed fans the blueprint, its up to Toronto to follow it or settle for nothing higher than 7-8 seed forever.