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Thread: Time to take the Raptors Seriously - a piece by SI

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    Super Moderator Axel's Avatar
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    Default Time to take the Raptors Seriously - a piece by SI

    http://www.si.com/nba/2016/02/10/tor...casey-all-star

    Nice read overall. Not gospel on all aspects (many of them have been well discussed in here already), but nice to see the coverage anyway.

    Few highlights:

    "DeRozan delayed his interview, sheepishly, as back-up center Bismack Biyombo commandeered a microphone and waved it closer and closer to his face, a sophomoric gag that’s been around for decades, but nevertheless delighted Biyombo to no end. “Come on, man, focus,” said Biyombo, sarcastically pleading with DeRozan to begin his media session as he choked back deep-voiced giggles. “We got the win.”

    The scene repeated with Lowry, who couldn’t understand why a microphone needed to be a few inches from his mouth until he realized that Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto’s starting 7-foot center, was on the other end.

    ​“Hey, that’s expensive, man,” the mischievous Valanciunas shouted, when a working professional tried to bring an end to the hijinks by reclaiming the microphone.
    “You can afford it,” Lowry cracked back.

    “Next year,” Valanciunas replied, in reference to the four-year, $64 million rookie extension that will kick in for the 2016–17 season."

    ~~
    By any measure, the Raptors are legit. They are on pace for 56 wins, which would smash last season's franchise record of 49. Their +4.6 point differential would also be a franchise-best if sustained, surpassing the +3.2 mark set in 2013–14. Toronto has the league’s No. 6 offense and No. 9 defense, making it one of just five teams to rank in the top 10 on both sides of the ball.
    ~~

    “No, no, no, no,” Casey told SI.com, when asked if he’s raising the bar and encouraging his team to think of itself as one of the league’s top clubs. “We are still talking about how much we have to improve. I’ve won a championship [as an assistant with the Mavericks in 2011]. I’m not being braggadocios, but I know what it [takes] to get there. We haven’t earned the respect yet. We haven’t done anything yet.”

    Edit - to the bold, WTF?

    “We’re proud of the fact that we’ve taken it from here, to up here,” Casey explained, raising his hand from waist level to shoulder level. “But the hardest thing in the NBA is to take that next step. And that’s where we are. We don’t even talk about being a contender. We’re the underdog still trying to get where we want to be.”
    ~~

    “You always look back and see what you could do better,” Casey said, reflecting on the first-round sweep at the hands of the Wizards. “A lot of it was our defense. We were such an offensive-driven team with Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez, and in the playoffs the game slows down and it’s more of a defensive battle.”

    Although Williams was the 2015 Sixth Man of the Year thanks to his scoring prowess, Joseph has represented a clear upgrade because his game is so complete. A native of Canada who earned a ring with the 2014 Spurs, the unselfish Joseph boasts a +9.4 net rating and has relished taking on the toughest defensive assignments.

    “We’re getting more disciplined and we’re all buying into the system,” Joseph said. “It’s just about going out there and putting forth the effort now.”
    ~~

    “Chemistry–wise, we couldn’t be better,” Casey said. “There’s no egos, there’s no hidden agendas, there’s no guys wanting more minutes. Guys understand their roles.”

    ~~

    “You always feel pressure as a coach, but do you feel the pressure of losing a job? No, never,” Casey insisted. “My pressure is that I owe it to the players in the locker room to make sure they’re prepared and … that I’m putting them in position to be successful.”

    One major step in that plan is a desire to lessen the playing-time load for Lowry and DeRozan down the stretch. Currently, both rank among the top six in minutes played league-wide, and Lowry’s inability to hold up physically down the stretch was a key factor in deciding the series versus the Wizards.

    “We’d like to start watching Kyle’s minutes, watching DeMar’s minutes, making sure they’re getting some rest,” Casey said. “That’s going to be our key. How [Kyle] and DeMar are health-wise and physically is going to [determine] where we go in the playoffs.”

    ~~
    Whether or not Ujiri fortifies his squad before the trade deadline, these Raptors are fiercer, wiser, steadier and better balanced than last year’s group. Don’t let Lowry’s wisecracking, or DeRozan’s videobombing, or Valanciunas’s microphone goofing or Biyombo’s chuckling fool you: The Raptors look like they mean business this time.
    I'm 100 percent right 9.090909090909090 percent of the time

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    Casey has talked about Lowrys minutes a lot....then proceeds to play him 38 regardless.

    I hope Lowry holds up.


    One thing I hope after this season: no excuses.

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    Super Moderator Axel's Avatar
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    Quote mcHAPPY wrote: View Post
    One thing I hope after this season: no excuses.
    This might be the motto for the year (good or bad).
    I'm 100 percent right 9.090909090909090 percent of the time

    Heir, Prince of Cambridge

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    Quote Axel wrote: View Post
    This might be the motto for the year (good or bad).
    Why is it a make or break season for them though? They currently aren't in "all in" mode. I do think there needs to be a at least one playoff series win though.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote LJ2 wrote: View Post
    Why is it a make or break season for them though? They currently aren't in "all in" mode. I do think there needs to be a at least one playoff series win though.
    Mainly because Casey and DeRozan have no contracts for next year.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Mainly because Casey and DeRozan have no contracts for next year.
    Perhaps the comment is more based on not signing Casey if they fail to advance in playoffs, but I think signing DeRozan is a no brainer regardless of if we do or not.

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    Heck yeah.

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    Super Moderator Axel's Avatar
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    Quote LJ2 wrote: View Post
    Why is it a make or break season for them though? They currently aren't in "all in" mode. I do think there needs to be a at least one playoff series win though.
    Is "no excuses" the same as "win now"? I don't think so. No excuses relates the performing up to expectations in the playoffs. If we are the 2nd seed, then anything less than ECF should be considered a disappointment and anything in round 1 would be a disaster and should see significant changes to the team.

    Point is we can't use inexperience (Nets series), fatigue (Wiz series) or faulty assistants as justification for failure. If we underperform, then core heads need to roll (Casey, DD, Lowry).
    I'm 100 percent right 9.090909090909090 percent of the time

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote LJ2 wrote: View Post
    Perhaps the comment is more based on not signing Casey if they fail to advance in playoffs, but I think signing DeRozan is a no brainer regardless of if we do or not.
    I look at the current core as Casey/Lowry/DeRozan/Jonas. If we fail to advance for the 3rd straight year, there might be enough evidence to suggest that this core deserves to be broken up. Which parts stay vs. go is up for debate, but I still think it's this foursome's last chance.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    They're 35-16. 14-1 in their last 15. Top 10 defense. Top 10 offense. Top 10 player. Top 2 SG. Best backcourt outside of Oakland. They've passed every test so far this season including a brutal opening stretch on the road. And they've done it with Carroll and JV missing significant time. Yeah, they deserve to be taken seriously.

    We'll see if they can take it up a level in March. 16 games in 31 days. They've got a 7 game homestand to kick it off with the Hawks, Heat and Bulls all in town and they've got the Celtics, Rockets, and Pacers on the road. That homestand is the next big test.

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    Thanks for sharing the article. Injuries and or fatigue are going to play a big part of our playoff success.

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    Quote Axel wrote:

    Point is we can't use inexperience (Nets series), fatigue (Wiz series) or faulty assistants as justification for failure. If we underperform, then core heads need to roll (Casey, DD, Lowry).
    If we lose in the first round (with no further injuries) I would argue that Masai should probably be fired too. Most will disagree but ultimately he is the one who chose to build around this core and to retain Casey. It's not worth debating at this juncture though, as there are still too many variables in play between now and this summer.

    Great to see us getting so much media coverage now.

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    Quote Scraptor wrote: View Post
    If we lose in the first round (with no further injuries) I would argue that Masai should probably be fired too. Most will disagree but ultimately he is the one who chose to build around this core and to retain Casey. It's not worth debating at this juncture though, as there are still too many variables in play between now and this summer.

    Great to see us getting so much media coverage now.
    I am one of those that disagree.

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    good read. thx

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    Quote Scraptor wrote: View Post
    If we lose in the first round (with no further injuries) I would argue that Masai should probably be fired too. Most will disagree but ultimately he is the one who chose to build around this core and to retain Casey. It's not worth debating at this juncture though, as there are still too many variables in play between now and this summer.

    Great to see us getting so much media coverage now.
    Mods ban this guy plz
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    Quote Scraptor wrote: View Post
    If we lose in the first round (with no further injuries) I would argue that Masai should probably be fired too. Most will disagree but ultimately he is the one who chose to build around this core and to retain Casey. It's not worth debating at this juncture though, as there are still too many variables in play between now and this summer.

    Great to see us getting so much media coverage now.
    I wouldn't fire Masai, because he's done a great job putting us in a position where we can win, but if we don't, we aren't in tank mode because we have the young assets to retool immediately.

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    I'd say move the team to Japan if we lose.

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    Quote mcHAPPY wrote: View Post
    Casey has talked about Lowrys minutes a lot....then proceeds to play him 38 regardless.

    I hope Lowry holds up.


    One thing I hope after this season: no excuses.
    OMG there are like 40 games left, back er up about 15-20% on the doomsday minutes conspiracy.

    These guys are more than fine

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    As far as expectations.

    You guys need to reflect on what this team is. is it built, as is, for a deep run? I don't think it is. Demarre Carrol isn't what he was advertised as, it was a weak FA offseason. He does what he does....if and when he returns, but this guys isn't winning you games. Joseph is a massive upgrade, I like him, but again, he isn't top talent yet.

    Your rolling with basically two guys, stars... both Guards. And this is nice, but in the playoffs, your bigs win it for you with dirty ball and defence. Is JV even close to being what he needs to be yet? Nope, likely 1-2 seasons away from that. BB, while being a pretty nice horror show on defence, isn't doing a lot on the offensive end.... he's a role guy to the tenth degree.

    So.

    What you have is a really good team. But, a really "new at being good" team. They aren't there yet, they might get a series, or even two. But if they don't, (unless they bow out in 4 straight) I'm personally not gonna be panicking as a fan. Parity in the East is pretty high, it wouldn't be a super upset for 6 to take down 2.

    All this talk of heads rolling, fire this guy, trade that guy, let this guy walk, yadda yadda..... I dunno...seems a bit silly to me.

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    I think it would be pretty shocking if the six seed took down the second in the fist round, since the second seed plays the seventh seed. But that's just me.

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