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Thread: How does the Raptors bench compare to the Eastern Conference?

  1. #21
    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote themasao wrote: View Post
    ...I think/hope Casey will start Gray beside Bargs for spacing and rebounding, and run Val and Amir on the second unit, hittin pick and rolls for days with Calderon.)
    Amen to that brother.

  2. #22
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    Great Post! Thank you for your hard work.
    I agree with you with a couple minor differences in opinion not worth hashing out. Your post does raise a slightly tangential issue though. If our starters get 28-36 minutes each while healthy (minus JV of course). We're talking about 12-20 minutes for the second unit players. That worries me a bit, especially with regards to 3 players.

    1) Calderon - 10.5 M to play minimal minutes. The more he plays, the less Lowry plays, and I don't want to see another Jack/Calderon or Ford/Calderon dilemma. I can't see either playing SG, and if they do, that's even less minutes for ...

    2) Ross - I understand he's a rookie and doesn't "deserve" minutes especially when the Raps want to win games. That said, ~15 min for a lottery pick is not the best development strategy. Especially when BC has to decide on DD's future with the franchise; thus, needing a good evaluation of Ross and DD.

    3) Ed Davis - How is he going to get minutes? (barring injuries) Again, we're trying to win games, so he's not going to get consistent C minutes especially after struggling to guard PFs last year. The less he plays, the less he develops and the less his trade value.

    We're also not talking about AJ getting 6M to squeeze in minutes with JV/Gray.
    Or LK getting 4.6 M to squeeze in minutes between a congested SF/PF (if DD plays shares SF minutes)

    Depth is great because all teams have injuries and players need rest but it can also backfire for some player's value and development.

  3. #23
    Raptors Republic All-Star ebrian's Avatar
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    We have a good bench but that means very little because they are the bench. You look at bench as something important when you're going deep into the playoffs and need a player to be able to step up in a pinch, or that one guy that has a career game that pushes you forward to the next series. What this thread proves is that in that situation, we have a good chance of winning.

    Unfortunately for us, teams with good players have starters that usually play more than 70% of the minutes in a game. Which means that 70% of the time we are at a severe disadvantage.
    your pal,
    ebrian

  4. #24
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    Quote ebrian wrote: View Post
    ...Unfortunately for us, teams with good players have starters that usually play more than 70% of the minutes in a game. Which means that 70% of the time we are at a severe disadvantage.
    Not completely disagreeing, but if the Raps can improve on last years D, then they can go a long way to containing the other teams good players, and tiring them out more. That makes the play of the bench more important. Last year we saw the Raps hanging in, right down to the last few minutes of most contests. If the Raps bench can outscore the opposing teams bench, the D of the starting five, and improved scoring from them, may be enough to steal more wins this season.

  5. #25
    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote ebrian wrote: View Post
    We have a good bench but that means very little because they are the bench. You look at bench as something important when you're going deep into the playoffs and need a player to be able to step up in a pinch, or that one guy that has a career game that pushes you forward to the next series. What this thread proves is that in that situation, we have a good chance of winning.

    Unfortunately for us, teams with good players have starters that usually play more than 70% of the minutes in a game. Which means that 70% of the time we are at a severe disadvantage.
    I actually find a bench to be much less important in the playoffs than in the regular season. Rotations tighten up significantly in the playoffs, players are more likely to play through injuries and starters (especially star players) minutes tend to increase.

  6. #26
    Raptors Republic All-Star ebrian's Avatar
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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    I actually find a bench to be much less important in the playoffs than in the regular season. Rotations tighten up significantly in the playoffs, players are more likely to play through injuries and starters (especially star players) minutes tend to increase.
    If you look at Matt52's analysis, you see the Raptors winning 11-1-2 on bench. This clarifies your point (which I agree with at most levels) in that the good teams only need 2-3 players off the bench. We may have a solid 6-12 guys compared to other teams going 6-12 deep, but no one really looks at that. The good teams only care about 6-7, and possibly 8 if there's some injury issues. For some teams that are so good, you really only care about #6. That is the guy who is going to be the difference maker.. the Jason Terry type that is just so good that no one gives a rats ass that our #8 guy Amir Johnson is better than your #8 guy Ian Mahinmi, because at that point you're already losing by 30 so it doesn't matter.

    Let's compare the first two guys off the bench for our team (Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon) against all the other teams:

    Atlanta: Zaza Pachulia, Lou Williams
    Draw. I'd rather have Lou Williams coming off the bench than Jose to be honest, and Amir is slightly better than Zaza.
    Boston: Jason Terry, Jeff Green
    Boston wins this in a landslide. Both those guys would be starters on our team.
    Brooklyn: Reggie Evans, Josh Childress
    Brooklyn is actually quite terrible. I give this one to the Raptors.
    Charlotte: Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood
    These guys have been good once. If Gordon can rekindle his Chicago days then they are better. Right now it's a tie.
    Chicago*: Taj Gibson, Marquis Teague
    Don't know enough about Teague. I pick Toronto.
    Cleveland: Daniel Gibson, Kelenna Azubuike
    Toronto again.
    Detroit: Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko
    Toronto again.
    Indiana: Tyler Hansbrough, DJ Augustin
    I say tie. Augustin can run the offense but PG isn't asked to do much on that team. Hansbrough is underrated.
    Miami: Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem
    Not even close.. Miami.
    Milwaukee: Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
    Another two guys who would likely start for us. Milwaukee.
    New York: Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby
    I think Kidd will take over the starting job at some point. I pick the Knicks though I can see this being controversial.
    Orlando: JJ Reddick, Al Harrington (Orlando)
    It's close but I give it to Orlando. Harrington is much, much better than Amir.
    Philadelphia: Thaddeus Young, Nick Young (Philly)
    Young is a starter, I give it to Philly.
    Washington: Jordan Crawford, ???
    Terrible. Pick Toronto.

    Looking 2-deep, we're 5-6-3. Not as impressive.

  7. #27
    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Nice re-evaluation of the material e. I like Matt's original post, but I like your re-look.

  8. #28
    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    I agree that the bench will be a strength and advantage for the Raptors this season. It reminds me a lot of the 2006-2007 season, when the Raptors suprisingly won the division, before losing to NJ in the playoffs.

    That season I remember watching the games and just hoping that the starters (Bosh, Ford, Rasho, Parker, Garbo) could keep it close, so that the bench (Calderon, Bargnani, MoP, Graham, Humphries) could turn the tide and give the Raptors the lead by the midway point of the 2nd quarter. All I remember is a much younger/healthier Calderon getting by backup PGs and constantly slashing to the basket for easy layups or passes to the corner, either for an open 3 or to work the ball around to the top of the key for an open 3 (Bargnani, MoP), with Humphries crashing the offensive glass.

    I really think that this year's 2nd unit can bring the same advantage to the 2012-2013 Raptors.

    I assume that the starters will be Valanciunas, Bargnani, Fields, DeRozan and Lowry. I also expect Gray to get time with the starters, when Valanciunas gets into foul trouble or is overmatched.

    That leaves the primary 2nd unit to be Amir, Davis, Kleiza, Ross and Calderon. I really think this lineup is well balanced and much better overall than most other 2nd units in the league. Calderon will make this unit better offensively than the sum of the parts, by bringing a calming influence and ball distribution. Amir and Davis can run the P&R and will be asked to clean the boards. Kleiza can either post-up against less physical SFs, or can play on the perimeter. Ross can play on the perimieter and will be asked to provide athleticism and penetration, as the unit's primary scorer. Calderon also adds an outside shot to his veteran repetoire, which will be enough to outclass most backup PGs in the league.

    When the Raps go to a tighter rotation I expect Ross (wing), Calderon (guard) and Amir (big) to get the most playing time (ie: 8 man rotation).

  9. #29
    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Puffer wrote: View Post
    Nice re-evaluation of the material e. I like Matt's original post, but I like your re-look.
    I was hoping for more of that.

  10. #30
    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    JS: With Lowry and John Lucas III joining Jose Calderon on the roster, point guard appears to now be a position of strength for the Raptors. Can you describe just how advantageous that is for this team?

    AR: We had this conversation a few months ago, there is a clear, discernible difference when you’re looking at NBA players between having to go against starters all the time and guys that play against reserves. This shows up very easily when you’re comparing two different players if one of them is a starter playing 35 minutes per game, another guy is a reserve playing 22 minutes a game, the reserve is going against a very different caliber of opponent than the starters.

    That gets into this notion that if you can sustain a level of play into the reserves, you get an even bigger advantage. So when teams are playing us, they’re never going to get a ‘backup point guard’. You’re going to get 48 minutes of quality point guard play. So when they bring in their backups and maybe have a drop off in quality, we should be in a position to take advantage of that because we will always have a good point guard on the floor.

    http://blog.raptors.com/q-a-with-alex-rucker-pt-2/
    I think this relates to the general idea of the thread.

    Hopefully the Raps can compete with most starting lineups (specifically on defense playing within Casey's system) and destroy their benches (on both ends).

  11. #31
    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote ebrian wrote: View Post
    If you look at Matt52's analysis, you see the Raptors winning 11-1-2 on bench. This clarifies your point (which I agree with at most levels) in that the good teams only need 2-3 players off the bench. We may have a solid 6-12 guys compared to other teams going 6-12 deep, but no one really looks at that. The good teams only care about 6-7, and possibly 8 if there's some injury issues. For some teams that are so good, you really only care about #6. That is the guy who is going to be the difference maker.. the Jason Terry type that is just so good that no one gives a rats ass that our #8 guy Amir Johnson is better than your #8 guy Ian Mahinmi, because at that point you're already losing by 30 so it doesn't matter.

    Let's compare the first two guys off the bench for our team (Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon) against all the other teams:

    Atlanta: Zaza Pachulia, Lou Williams
    Draw. I'd rather have Lou Williams coming off the bench than Jose to be honest, and Amir is slightly better than Zaza.
    Boston: Jason Terry, Jeff Green
    Boston wins this in a landslide. Both those guys would be starters on our team.
    Brooklyn: Reggie Evans, Josh Childress
    Brooklyn is actually quite terrible. I give this one to the Raptors.
    Charlotte: Ben Gordon, Brendan Haywood
    These guys have been good once. If Gordon can rekindle his Chicago days then they are better. Right now it's a tie.
    Chicago*: Taj Gibson, Marquis Teague
    Don't know enough about Teague. I pick Toronto.
    Cleveland: Daniel Gibson, Kelenna Azubuike
    Toronto again.
    Detroit: Austin Daye, Jonas Jerebko
    Toronto again.
    Indiana: Tyler Hansbrough, DJ Augustin
    I say tie. Augustin can run the offense but PG isn't asked to do much on that team. Hansbrough is underrated.
    Miami: Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem
    Not even close.. Miami.
    Milwaukee: Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
    Another two guys who would likely start for us. Milwaukee.
    New York: Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby
    I think Kidd will take over the starting job at some point. I pick the Knicks though I can see this being controversial.
    Orlando: JJ Reddick, Al Harrington (Orlando)
    It's close but I give it to Orlando. Harrington is much, much better than Amir.
    Philadelphia: Thaddeus Young, Nick Young (Philly)
    Young is a starter, I give it to Philly.
    Washington: Jordan Crawford, ???
    Terrible. Pick Toronto.

    Looking 2-deep, we're 5-6-3. Not as impressive.
    I disagree with the idea of only 6-7 deep being important in the regular season. No doubt come playoffs rotations get tighter as games get more competitive and there is also more rest between games.

    However, in the regular season, even the really good teams see their 9th-10th man playing upwards of 20 minutes per night:

    Spurs - Matt Bonner - 10th man - 20.4mpg
    Bulls - Taj Gibson - 9th man - 20.4mpg
    HEAT - Mike Miller - 9th man - 19.3mpg
    Celtics - Chris Wilcox - 9th man - 17.2mpg
    OKC - Daequan Cook - 9th man - 17.4mpg
    LAL - Troy Murphy - 9th man - 16.2mpg

    Given the Raptors have been a lottery team for the last couple of years (*EDIT* lol - and by couple I mean 4 *face palm*), just making the playoffs - even to be swept - is a step in the right direction for me.... especially considering the flexibility to be opportunistic should the possibility arise is present.

    I do think the Raptors depth will be a benefit this year in the regular season. I think it could be enough to make the difference between a lottery pick going to Houston and the Raptors making the playoffs.
    Last edited by mcHAPPY; Tue Sep 18th, 2012 at 07:28 PM.

  12. #32
    Raptors Republic Superstar ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I disagree with the idea of only 6-7 deep being important in the regular season. No doubt come playoffs rotations get tighter as games get more competitive and there is also more rest between games.

    However, in the regular season, even the really good teams see their 9th-10th man playing upwards of 20 minutes per night:

    Spurs - Matt Bonner - 10th man - 20.4mpg
    Bulls - Taj Gibson - 9th man - 20.4mpg
    HEAT - Mike Miller - 9th man - 19.3mpg
    Celtics - Chris Wilcox - 9th man - 17.2mpg
    OKC - Daequan Cook - 9th man - 17.4mpg
    LAL - Troy Murphy - 9th man - 16.2mpg

    Given the Raptors have been a lottery team for the last couple of years (*EDIT* lol - and by couple I mean 4 *face palm*), just making the playoffs - even to be swept - is a step in the right direction for me.... especially considering the flexibility to be opportunistic should the possibility arise is present.

    I do think the Raptors depth will be a benefit this year in the regular season. I think it could be enough to make the difference between a lottery pick going to Houston and the Raptors making the playoffs.
    I agree totally, from what I've heard, the general playoff rotation is 8 men, sometimes 9. On our team, the extra additions to the Calderon and Johnson, would be Kleiza and Ross. The wing position is tough, offensively can stretch the floor and Calderon can find them for shots. Not to mention Amir in the pick and roll. I also wouldn't be afraid of mixing Acy, Davis, Anderson, Lucas, McGuire with different rotations.

    Looking at our best 12 IMO: Ranking in order.

    Bargnani, Lowry, Calderon, Derozan, Fields, Valanciunas, Ross, Kleiza, Amir, Lucas, Davis, Anderson. *Next 4* Gray, Mcguire, Acy, Magloire.

    I wouldn't be too afraid or worried of throwing Davis, Anderson, or Lucas on a random in-game rotation.

    Exp: *Lucas*, Derozan, Kleiza, Bargnani, Gray. Or a Lowry, Ross, Fields, *Davis*, Valanciunas, and so forth.

    The team is very deep, and our starters other than Bargnani and Lowry may not be as talented as the best teams in the league, but or bench is supreme to others.
    The the one who re-evaluated the Calderon and Amir vs. Other teams' best two off the bench. You have to realize that Calderon is a top 15 POINT GUARD, a point guard league. While a lot of their bench players aren't top 15 position wise.

  13. #33
    Raptors Republic Superstar ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    http://espn.go.com/nba/team/depth/_/...oronto-raptors

    Check out the ESPN Depth Chart. This chart does not include Aaron Gray yet though...

  14. #34
    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    just making the playoffs - even to be swept - is a step in the right direction for me.... especially considering the flexibility to be opportunistic should the possibility arise is present.
    +1

    Although a sweep will be a tough pill to swallow come May 2013, it would represent a VERY clear step in the right direction, and label the Raptors as a "team on the rise". This can only help our chances in free agency.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

  15. #35
    Raptors Republic All-Star ebrian's Avatar
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    Though I can't see us making the playoffs (you need about 38 wins), if we did make them make the playoffs the sweep is inevitable.
    your pal,
    ebrian

  16. #36
    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    +1

    Although a sweep will be a tough pill to swallow come May 2013, it would represent a VERY clear step in the right direction, and label the Raptors as a "team on the rise". This can only help our chances in free agency.
    2009-10 Charlotte Bobcats

    Finished 7th in the conference (step up from 10th the year before)

    1st overrall ranked defense in the league that year

    Coach - Larry Brown. A highly respected defensive oriented coach

    Key Players:

    Tyson Chandler age 27
    Raymond Felton age 25
    Gerald Wallace age 27
    Stephen Jackson age 31
    Boris Diaw age 27
    Tyrus Thomas age 23
    Gerald Henderson age 22
    Theo Ratliff age 36
    DJ Augustin age 22
    Nazr Mohammed 32

    A hard working, defense oriented team on the rise. A combination of youth and veterans, potential and experience - swept in the playoffs, end up 10th in the league the following year, then is blown up and becomes the worst team in NBA history a year after that.

    Now Charlotte may in some ways be extreme (a clear attempt tear apart the team and tank last year), but the story isn't unique. A team moving into the playoffs is a team on the rise until its a team taking a face plant into the ceiling they created. Either no stud (or perhaps the belief that they have potential studs on their team) or believing they can build that ultra rare Detroit Pistons like 'perfect' team.

    A team isn't likely to jump from near the bottom to a contender over night, and I don't think too many expect that. But that step into the playoffs is just as likely to be that step into the teams ceiling or on to the treadmill of mediocrity without a very high level of talent on the team.

  17. #37
    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    The biggest difference between that Charlotte team and the current Raptors team is the relative age difference. Most of the players who propelled the Bobcats were in their relative primes (Jackson, Wallace, Chandler, Felton, etc.). There was no reason to think that they would ever improve on their 7th place finish without bringing in new talent.

    But with the Raptors, if they were to make the playoffs this year, I'm sure Lowry, DeRozan, Fields, and Valanciunas (all young, unproven players) would be doing a lot of the heavy lifting. And with none of them in their primes yet, it isn't far-fetched to assume their games will improve following this season.

    I agree that we're still lacking the "elite" talent to take the big step forward, but based on the young roster, it's easy to see this team improving internally compared to the aging Bobcats of 2009-10.

    Add in the fact that Larry Brown has historically been viewed as a coach who doesn't work well with young players, and it becomes clear(er) why the Bobcats weren't able to maintain their growth by relying on their younger players moving forward.

    I'm not saying that making the playoffs is a sure bet sign of continued improvement. Nothing is guaranteed in pro sports. Injuries happen, chemistry doesn't develop, egos clash, etc. But for now anyways, it seems like we're pointed in the right direction.
    Last edited by Nilanka; Wed Sep 19th, 2012 at 12:56 PM.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

  18. #38
    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    The biggest difference between that Charlotte team and the current Raptors team is the relative age difference. Most of the players who propelled the Bobcats were in their relative primes (Jackson, Wallace, Chandler, Felton, etc.). There was no reason to think that they would ever improve on their 7th place finish without bringing in new talent.

    But with the Raptors, if they were to make the playoffs this year, I'm sure Lowry, DeRozan, Fields, and Valanciunas (all young, unproven players) would be doing a lot of the heavy lifting. And with none of them in their primes yet, it isn't far-fetched to assume their games will improve following this season.

    I agree that we're still lacking the "elite" talent to take the big step forward, but based on the young roster, it's easy to see this team improving internally compared to the aging Bobcats of 2009-10.

    Add in the fact that Larry Brown has historically been viewed as a coach who doesn't work well with young players, and it becomes clear(er) why the Bobcats weren't able to maintain their growth by relying on their younger players moving forward.

    I'm not saying that making the playoffs is a sure bet sign of continued improvement. Nothing is guaranteed in pro sports. Injuries happen, chemistry doesn't develop, egos clash, etc. But for now anyways, it seems like we're pointed in the right direction.
    First I'll say that I don't necessarily think the Raptors will be the next Bobcats.

    But that Bobcats team wasn't exactly much older than the Raps are now. The majority of the (key) players on this Raps team is what 26 and younger(?) Team age (excluding guys who likely won't play much - Anderson, Magloire, Lucas) will be approx 26 this year (?) While the majority of that Bobcats team was 27 and younger (which is pretty was the average age of that team (again excluding rarely used players) and the average age of the league aswell I think) Felton was in his 4th year, Henderson a rookie, Augustine 2nd year, Thomas 4th year, Brown a rookie. Bobcats were a bit older than Toronto will be this year, but its not like they were the Dallas Mavericks or Boston Celtics either. And I can tell you, rightly or wrongly, Bobcats fans were real high on those guys potential at that point to.

    Brown did have a reputation of being a coach who didn't want to play young guys - but can we say that Casey is unequivantley different? He already stated this past offseason he wanted veterans, Colangelo said two young bigs was enough for him, and guys like Ed and Alabi didn't exactly rack up minutes last year (even while the team was well out of a playoff opportunity and minutes were freely available due to injuries). Bayless was only a starter during Jose's injuries. Butler was starting over James Johnson for quite some time, and even after that Alan Anderson was. Raps were around middle of the pack age wise, but their weighted age (ie. minutes played) moved them into 11th oldest in the league (ie. they played older not younger). The years before in Dallas he worked with a very old veteran team. Not saying Casey won't play young guys (he is in some ways obligated to regardless because of the build of this team) but I can say nothing over the past year has convinced me that Casey will be prone towards 'developing' youth (yes I dislike that buzzphrase but I can't think of a better word off hand).

    But anyways, the real difference between 2009/10 OKC - 2006/7 Raptors (another example that we can all more easily relate to) - 2009/10 Bobcats is the difference between:

    Durant - Bosh - Wallace
    Westbrook - Ford - Felton
    Green - Parker - Jackson

    Looking at the Raptors 'big 3' (using that term loosely ofcourse) I think Bargnani - Lowry - Derozan stacks up alot closer to the middle or right of that list than the left.

    Thats why I'm not convinced a step forward (ie. into or near the playoffs) is necessarily a step in the 'right' direction. As opposed to the step before two steps backwards or the step onto the treadmill.

    Personally what I see as a much more important step is not where the Raptors finish (although extremely low or high in the standings would be significant, but I don't think realistic)... but what Bargnani, Demar, Val and Ross end up doing. (and to a lesser degree Lowry - not because he is less important, but rather I think more reliable)

  19. #39
    Raptors Republic All-Star ebrian's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    I disagree with the idea of only 6-7 deep being important in the regular season. No doubt come playoffs rotations get tighter as games get more competitive and there is also more rest between games.

    However, in the regular season, even the really good teams see their 9th-10th man playing upwards of 20 minutes per night:

    Spurs - Matt Bonner - 10th man - 20.4mpg
    Bulls - Taj Gibson - 9th man - 20.4mpg
    HEAT - Mike Miller - 9th man - 19.3mpg
    Celtics - Chris Wilcox - 9th man - 17.2mpg
    OKC - Daequan Cook - 9th man - 17.4mpg
    LAL - Troy Murphy - 9th man - 16.2mpg
    Hmm.. I don't agree with that. Your measurement of mpg is misleading because you're missing when they're playing those minutes. Based on average minutes you'll see that Mike Miller was a 9th man, but if you look closely at his games played, he lined up as either the 1st or 2nd guy off the bench when healthy. Here's a log of his top 10 most minute games:

    Bulls, April 12, 28:33, 6th in mins played
    Houston, April 22, 27:12, 5th in mins played
    Cleveland, Feb 17, 26:10, 6th in mins played
    Detroit, Jan 25, 25:54, 6th in mins played
    Washington, Apr 21, 25:37, 5th in mins played
    New Jersey, Apr 16, 25:30, 4th in mins played
    Detroit, Apr 8, 24:21, 6th in mins played
    Cleveland, Feb 7, 23:55, 6th in mins played
    Portland, Mar 1, 23:37, 7th in mins played
    Boston, Apr 24, 23:34, 6th in mins played

    Since he only appeared in 39 games last year, already you see that 25% of his 2011-2012 season he was Miami's 6th.

    I'm not going to list out all the games of the remaining players but here are the results:

    Bonner's top 10 games, averaged 4th most minutes.
    Gibson's top 10 games, averaged 3rd most minutes. Definitely not a 9th man.
    Wilcox's top 10 games, averaged 5th most minutes.
    Cook's top 10 games, averaged 4th most minutes.
    Murphy's top 10 games, averaged 5th most minutes.

    So what you're looking at is even though over the season they had the 9th or 10th most minutes, they were called upon to be their teams' 6th man (or 3rd or 4th in some cases). This means that these good teams are still using a rotation of 6 or 7 guys in the regular season just like playoffs, the difference is that they have a stable of studs from which to choose from.

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    Quote Craiger wrote: View Post
    First I'll say that I don't necessarily think the Raptors will be the next Bobcats.

    But that Bobcats team wasn't exactly much older than the Raps are now. The majority of the (key) players on this Raps team is what 26 and younger(?) Team age (excluding guys who likely won't play much - Anderson, Magloire, Lucas) will be approx 26 this year (?) While the majority of that Bobcats team was 27 and younger (which is pretty was the average age of that team (again excluding rarely used players) and the average age of the league aswell I think) Felton was in his 4th year, Henderson a rookie, Augustine 2nd year, Thomas 4th year, Brown a rookie. Bobcats were a bit older than Toronto will be this year, but its not like they were the Dallas Mavericks or Boston Celtics either. And I can tell you, rightly or wrongly, Bobcats fans were real high on those guys potential at that point to.

    Brown did have a reputation of being a coach who didn't want to play young guys - but can we say that Casey is unequivantley different? He already stated this past offseason he wanted veterans, Colangelo said two young bigs was enough for him, and guys like Ed and Alabi didn't exactly rack up minutes last year (even while the team was well out of a playoff opportunity and minutes were freely available due to injuries). Bayless was only a starter during Jose's injuries. Butler was starting over James Johnson for quite some time, and even after that Alan Anderson was. Raps were around middle of the pack age wise, but their weighted age (ie. minutes played) moved them into 11th oldest in the league (ie. they played older not younger). The years before in Dallas he worked with a very old veteran team. Not saying Casey won't play young guys (he is in some ways obligated to regardless because of the build of this team) but I can say nothing over the past year has convinced me that Casey will be prone towards 'developing' youth (yes I dislike that buzzphrase but I can't think of a better word off hand).

    But anyways, the real difference between 2009/10 OKC - 2006/7 Raptors (another example that we can all more easily relate to) - 2009/10 Bobcats is the difference between:

    Durant - Bosh - Wallace
    Westbrook - Ford - Felton
    Green - Parker - Jackson

    Looking at the Raptors 'big 3' (using that term loosely ofcourse) I think Bargnani - Lowry - Derozan stacks up alot closer to the middle or right of that list than the left.

    Thats why I'm not convinced a step forward (ie. into or near the playoffs) is necessarily a step in the 'right' direction. As opposed to the step before two steps backwards or the step onto the treadmill.

    Personally what I see as a much more important step is not where the Raptors finish (although extremely low or high in the standings would be significant, but I don't think realistic)... but what Bargnani, Demar, Val and Ross end up doing. (and to a lesser degree Lowry - not because he is less important, but rather I think more reliable)
    I'm not entirely sure what your proposed plan would be, in place of the one that BC is currently following. Drafting Durant can't really be called a strategy, so much as dumb luck. The Raps can keep tanking, but at some point they need to attempt to improve and actually start winning (I was on the pro-tank side this past season, in the hopes of getting somebody better than Ross, but I am definitely on the pro-winning side going into this season).

    The Raptors have gone away from the stop-gap free agent signings that plagued the Bosh-era Raptors, have shed all their bad contracts (ie: Turkoglu) and have made lottery picks for 4 straight years that were widely regarded as BPA type picks (DeRozan, Davis, Valanciunas and Ross). It seems to me like BC is doing everything possible to build a solid, much improved team. I'm not sure how that can't be perceived as anything but a step forward.

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