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Thread: NBA.com: Raptors moving steadily along in their rebuilding phase

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    Raptors Republic Starter theycallmeZZ's Avatar
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    Default NBA.com: Raptors moving steadily along in their rebuilding phase

    http://www.nba.com/2012/news/feature...s=iref:nbahpt1


    This is the 11th in a series of articles on the teams that did not make the playoffs last season, previewing their prospects of making it to the postseason in 2012-13. Coming Tuesday: the Portland Trail Blazers.

    The Toronto Raptors are one of several NBA teams in Stage 2 of a rebuild. They've gone from the playoffs to mediocrity to bottom of the barrel. The roster has been broken down, and now it's being built up again, with a young core looking to take a step forward in the 2012-13 season.
    The Raps already got moving in the right direction with the hire of head coach Dwane Casey, who turned the team around defensively last season. Casey established a new culture that can function as a building block going forward.
    The other building blocks are a group of young players that the Raptors have patiently put together, believing that slow and steady can win the race.

    Where they've been
    The Raptors' second season since the departure of Chris Bosh was better than the first. Casey's impact was clear, as his team had the most improved defense in the league, bumping their defensive ranking from 30th to 12th and allowing 8.5 fewer points per 100 possessions than they did in their final season under Jay Triano.
    But the Raps also regressed quite a bit offensively, ranking 25th in offensive efficiency. A big reason for that were Andrea Bargnani's injury issues. He was their best offensive player, but a calf injury kept him out for more than half the season.
    Furthermore, with a new coach and a young group that needed development, the Raptors were one of the teams most hurt by the lockout. In particular, second-year big man Ed Davis didn't get the Summer League action or full training camp he needed to hit the ground running.


    Where they are now
    The Raptors didn't make the big splash (with a guy named Nash) that they were hoping for, but they added a couple of veterans that will help them get better. Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields were acquired by very different means, the former via a cheap trade and the latter via an expensive offer sheet. But both will bring some stability on the perimeter.
    The new face with the most star potential, however, is rookie Jonas Valanciunas, selected with the No. 5 pick in the 2011 Draft. The 20 year old big man from Lithuania is more ready to contribute offensively, but he has the potential to eventually make an impact on both ends of the floor.
    The Raptors added another Lottery pick in this year's draft, selecting shooting guard Terrence Ross at No. 8. Ross will provide some much needed perimeter shooting for a team that ranked 21st in made 3-pointers last season.
    A curious aspect of the coming season in Toronto will be the performances of Davis and DeMar DeRozan. Neither has developed as much as the Raptors would have liked, and each could quickly be pushed aside by newcomers (Valanciunas and Ross).


    Biggest hurdle
    Point guard, with Lowry and Jose Calderon, may be the only position at which the Raptors will be able to match up with the league's best teams on a nightly basis. Otherwise, the promise is there, and defense will help this team stay relatively competitive, but it's still short on talent.
    And while players like Lowry, Fields, Bargnani and Calderon could give the Raptors dreams of a playoff spot, the Raptors' youngsters need as much playing time as they can get. So Casey has a tough task in managing his rotation with an eye on the future.


    Where they're going
    In an improved Atlantic Division, the Raptors are clearly behind the Celtics, Knicks, Nets and Sixers (in no particular order). But they'll still be worth watching, with a group of unprovens looking to make their mark on the league.
    Just how bright their future is depends a lot on Valanciunas, in whom a lot has been invested and of whom a lot is expected. If he can anchor the Raptors on either end of the floor, the other pieces will fall into place a lot easier.
    Coming off last season, the offense could really use a boost. It's way too much to expect Toronto to improve offensively like it did defensively last season. But the addition of Lowry and the return of Bargnani are reasons to believe that the Raptors can at least be an average team on that end of the floor.
    That would be a step forward, which is exactly what folks in Toronto are looking for at this point in the rebuilding process.
    Last edited by theycallmeZZ; Mon Sep 3rd, 2012 at 10:35 PM.
    TORONTOOOOOO RAPTORSSSSSS

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Pretty fair evaluation. Tough to argue with much of it. Might be underplaying Lowry's impact a bit. Isn't automatically assuming Fields returns to rookie year numbers.

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    Raptors Republic Starter IROR's Avatar
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    Very fair. I think we have to look at this team like Schuman does--with tempered expectations. It will take a surprise performance to lift this team above average this year. Good thing is, there are lots of candidates to step up (Demar, Ross, ED, Val). can we just tip off already?? hate this part of the offseason..

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Good evaluation, but the one thing that stuck out to me is that if the Raptors can be even average offensively and still be 12th best defensively wouldn't that make us a sure fire playoff team in the east...like 6th or 7th seed?

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    this season is going to be interesting b/c we can finally end all this stupidness about the players we've spent the last couple of years arguing about (calderon, Bargnani, Derozan, Ed Davis)

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    Not sure where those rankings came from. A quick look at points scored per 100 possessions and points allowed per 100 possessions has the Raptors ranked 29th (100.8 scored per 100 possessions) and 17th (104.5 allowed per 100 possessions) for the 2011-12 season. Other than that it's a well written article - the "Biggest Hurdle" part stands out to me as being extremely accurate.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Mediumcore wrote: View Post
    Good evaluation, but the one thing that stuck out to me is that if the Raptors can be even average offensively and still be 12th best defensively wouldn't that make us a sure fire playoff team in the east...like 6th or 7th seed?
    Maybe but at least 8th is a given I would think.

    Luckily Raps were average with Bargnani. So if Bargnani is healthy, upgrade in Lowry, and Fields...... hmmmmmm.

    *I am sticking with 8th seed with a sub .500 record.*

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    Quote MrBlack wrote: View Post
    Not sure where those rankings came from. A quick look at points scored per 100 possessions and points allowed per 100 possessions has the Raptors ranked 29th (100.8 scored per 100 possessions) and 17th (104.5 allowed per 100 possessions) for the 2011-12 season. Other than that it's a well written article - the "Biggest Hurdle" part stands out to me as being extremely accurate.
    I'm not sure how relevant "per 100 possessions" is when reducing opponents possessions can be, and was/is, part of the defensive scheme, whether that be through better rebounding, controlling pace of the game, lower TOs, etc.

    More telling stats of the team's improvements, despite many minutes played by 1 yr rental scrubs, and subsequent discards, is that compared to the previous season:
    - Raps out-rebounded opponents in 2011-12, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had better FG% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had better 3P% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had more assists than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Hell, even FT%: Raps had better FT% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps cut Pts/G differential in half, from previous season.

    So,,, regardless of stats "per 100 possessions", it would seem the Raps out-rebounded and out-shot, % wise (across the board), their opponents last year. There are only 5 other teams that can say the same - MIA, OKC, SA, CHI, IND.............. with only 3 teams coming close, with exception being 3P%- LAL, DEN, UTA.

    Just my opinion, but I think those stats are far more telling about where the team ranks in defense, than Pts/100 possessions.

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    Super Moderator Joey's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    I'm not sure how relevant "per 100 possessions" is when reducing opponents possessions can be, and was/is, part of the defensive scheme, whether that be through better rebounding, controlling pace of the game, lower TOs, etc.

    More telling stats of the team's improvements, despite many minutes played by 1 yr rental scrubs, and subsequent discards, is that compared to the previous season:
    - Raps out-rebounded opponents in 2011-12, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had better FG% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had better 3P% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had more assists than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Hell, even FT%: Raps had better FT% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps cut Pts/G differential in half, from previous season.

    So,,, regardless of stats "per 100 possessions", it would seem the Raps out-rebounded and out-shot, % wise (across the board), their opponents last year. There are only 5 other teams that can say the same - MIA, OKC, SA, CHI, IND.............. with only 3 teams coming close, with exception being 3P%- LAL, DEN, UTA.

    Just my opinion, but I think those stats are far more telling about where the team ranks in defense, than Pts/100 possessions.
    Great post Pooka.
    In Masai we Trust.

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    Quote joey_hesketh wrote: View Post
    Great post Pooka.
    Thanks. I'm not a big stats guy, but the "per 100 possessions" thing got me investigating a little and what I discovered, and posted, is startling to me, especially considering a minimal training camp with a bunch of young guys and scrub filler in an evaluation year. I can't wait to see how coach Casey's defensive style works this year with defensive upgrades at the PG (Lowry), C (JV), and wings (Fields, Ross).

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    I'm not sure how relevant "per 100 possessions" is when reducing opponents possessions can be, and was/is, part of the defensive scheme, whether that be through better rebounding, controlling pace of the game, lower TOs, etc.

    More telling stats of the team's improvements, despite many minutes played by 1 yr rental scrubs, and subsequent discards, is that compared to the previous season:
    - Raps out-rebounded opponents in 2011-12, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had better FG% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had better 3P% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps had more assists than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Hell, even FT%: Raps had better FT% than opponents, vs opposite in 2010-11
    - Raps cut Pts/G differential in half, from previous season.

    So,,, regardless of stats "per 100 possessions", it would seem the Raps out-rebounded and out-shot, % wise (across the board), their opponents last year. There are only 5 other teams that can say the same - MIA, OKC, SA, CHI, IND.............. with only 3 teams coming close, with exception being 3P%- LAL, DEN, UTA.

    Just my opinion, but I think those stats are far more telling about where the team ranks in defense, than Pts/100 possessions.
    per 100 possessions tends to be more telling because it encompasses the results of all actions and relates it to the pace a team played at.

    The most obvious example is opponents FT attempts. The Raptors were the worst in the league before pace is even accounted for (which given the Raptors pace makes it the difference much larger). The end result is the Raps gave up FGs for FTs. A fair trade off in general, but not accounting for that skews the actual results of the quality of defense.

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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    per 100 possessions tends to be more telling because it encompasses the results of all actions and relates it to the pace a team played at.

    The most obvious example is opponents FT attempts. The Raptors were the worst in the league before pace is even accounted for (which given the Raptors pace makes it the difference much larger). The end result is the Raps gave up FGs for FTs. A fair trade off in general, but not accounting for that skews the actual results of the quality of defense.
    A fine example of why I said I'm not at all a big stats guy. Stand alone numbers don't account for a lot of things and provide a narrow view that means little too often, or skews the perception. I disagree though that the "per 100 possessions" encompasses ALL actions and results.

    For example, if a team gets 104 pts per 100 possessions, but only has 90 possessions in a given game because they get out-rebounded (part of defense) and the ball isn't turned over to them, they only get 93.5 pts. If the other team gets 100 pts per 100 possessions and has 100 possessions because they out-rebounded the opponent, they scored 100 and win the game, despite lower "Pts per 100 possessions". Thus Pts per 100 possessions is somewhat meaningless without accounting for the number of actual possessions in the game. Every stat is missing something that people extrapolate opinions from.
    Last edited by p00ka; Wed Sep 5th, 2012 at 05:46 PM.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    A fine example of why I said I'm not at all a big stats guy. Stand alone numbers don't account for a lot of things and provide a narrow view that means little too often, or skews the perception. I disagree though that the "per 100 possessions" encompasses ALL actions and results.

    For example, if a team gets 104 pts per 100 possessions, but only has 90 possessions in a given game because they get out-rebounded (part of defense) and the ball isn't turned over to them, they only get 93.5 pts. If the other team gets 100 pts per 100 possessions and has 100 possessions because they out-rebounded the opponent, they scored 100 and win the game, despite lower "Pts per 100 possessions". Thus Pts per 100 possessions is somewhat meaningless without accounting for the number of actual possessions in the game. Every stat is missing something that people extrapolate opinions from.
    Thats not how statistical possessions work in a single game. Each team would come out with an equal number of possessions and thereby the team with the most points would score the most points per possession.

    Now if you believe the equation for a possession should be different thats a whole other story.

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