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Thread: Are Raptors contender or pretender?

  1. #1
    Raptors Republic Veteran ceez's Avatar
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    Default Are Raptors contender or pretender?

    Head coach Dwane Casey got the hard work out of the way in Season 1, taking a team ranked dead last in team defense and catapulting it to 12th by installing some conservative principles and demanding full effort from the entire roster.

    There were other bright spots, with more on the way. When Andrea Bargnani was healthy, he played some of the best basketball of his career. Once Jonas Valanciunas gets a feel for the NBA game, he'll demand attention down low. New acquisition Kyle Lowry can generate instant offense, which should also help.

    There's a lot to like here, but still a ton of work to do to improve upon a 25th-ranked offense. The Raptors desperately need to open up some space in the half court to prevent the rigor mortis that bogged them down last season. Bargnani, when he's out there, helps inordinately, and Lowry can hit a shot from the perimeter and break down defenses off the bounce. But the Raptors simply can't build the kind of offense they want with their current supply of wings -- and that sober reality starts and ends with DeMar DeRozan, who enters the final guaranteed year of his rookie deal.

    DeRozan, the Raptors' leader in minutes played each of the past two seasons, has never posted a player efficiency rating (PER) above the league average and it's not as if he's making up for it as a defender. He's not a proficient outside shooter, makes iffy reads on the pick-and-roll and is a ball-stopper in isolation with a less-than-stellar track record of converting those opportunities into anything -- a creator without much creativity.

    To put it bluntly, there are very few things DeRozan is doing to help the Toronto Raptors win basketball games and it's hard to imagine an efficient offense that relies on him for a significant chunk of possessions.

    The Raptors raised eyebrows by selecting Terrence Ross with the No. 8 pick in June. While Ross is no polished product on the offensive end, he's a Casey type of player, with quick feet on defense and a heady awareness of what's happening on the floor. He'd be a natural replacement for DeRozan, provided he can find his shot or, at the very least, recognize his limitations and minimize mistakes. That would be an easier proposition if there was another wing on the floor who could create. Ross could watch tape of Tony Allen and craft a career as a stopper with a few offensive tricks.

    If the Raptors let DeRozan walk, they'd have some dough to find someone -- anyone -- who can score efficiently at the wing. Once that happens, the ball will start to move again in Toronto, this time with a stalwart defense to complement it.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/pos...at-a-crossroad

    Found it weird to find the raps, much less the blazers and warriors in this article, considering all three teams are in the middle of rebuilding.

    Anyways, thought id post it. I agree completely with what he says about Demar.
    @jerboat

  2. #2
    Raptors Republic Starter Fuchan's Avatar
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    Pretty spot on. I think we'll contend for a playoff spot, but hardly a 'contender' for a championship. Hopefully Demar can up his play this year and put us over the top.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    I don't see DeMar ever being left to "walk". If he doesn't step up in the 1st half, he'll be on the chopping block. DeMar + Jose could net us a significant player. Throw in Davis, and that's a pretty decent haul for a team looking to take a chance on some young(ish) talent.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Puffer's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    ...Throw in Davis, and that's a pretty decent haul for a team looking to take a chance on some young(ish) talent.
    Here's the problem with that thinking. DeMar will only be available because he has demonstrated the lack of any capability to payback any team taking a chance on him. The trade you describe above is strictly a salary dump for the team receiving Jose and Demar, with Davis thrown in as a pretty decent 2nd/3rd string big (who really can't play guard other centers very well).

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    I think if Derozan doesn't end up with a big year, he will be packaged.

    Something like a Derozan + Calderon + Amir + 2nd Round Pick for a Rudy Gay + asset, Paul George + asset, (worse case scenarios) Danny Granger or Luol Deng + asset.

    Thus moving Fields to the 2, and we'd have a pretty strong lineup. I would also prefer that the returning asset in addition - whoever packaged with (Deng, Granger, Gay, George) - be a point guard, or if available, a combo guard.

    Depth Chart:

    PG - Lowry, Lucas III, *returning asset
    SG - Fields, Ross, Anderson
    SF - *Acquired SF, Kleiza, Maguire
    PF - Bargnani, Ed, Acy
    C - Valanciunas, Gray

    At this moment though, from seeing the pre-season, and barely scratched the best of performances of this whole team, they are for sure in contention for a playoff spot. I think best case scenario is a 6th seed, worse case is barely missing the post-season. Too talented to be a high lottery team, not enough talent to earn home court.

  6. #6
    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    I think the Raptors are contenders for a playoff spot. We certainly have the depth and rebounding to keep us in most games on a night to night basis. However, we might be pretenders when it comes to the ultimate goal of winning a championship. We still don't have a clear star on the team (or a way to get one) and I still can't identify what sort of blue print BC has for the future of the team. Basically I just don't see a path to a championship in 3 to 5 years which I think would be the life cycle of the current core.

    Perhaps as some have already mentioned on this thread a big trade could be in the future for us. I would be happy if we could package some of the expiring contracts for someone like Paul Milsap. I would have to think Utah is looking to unload some of their veteran bigs to make room for Kanter and Favors to get some playing time.

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    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    Quote Mediumcore wrote: View Post
    I think the Raptors are contenders for a playoff spot. We certainly have the depth and rebounding to keep us in most games on a night to night basis. However, we might be pretenders when it comes to the ultimate goal of winning a championship. We still don't have a clear star on the team (or a way to get one) and I still can't identify what sort of blue print BC has for the future of the team. Basically I just don't see a path to a championship in 3 to 5 years which I think would be the life cycle of the current core.

    Perhaps as some have already mentioned on this thread a big trade could be in the future for us. I would be happy if we could package some of the expiring contracts for someone like Paul Milsap. I would have to think Utah is looking to unload some of their veteran bigs to make room for Kanter and Favors to get some playing time.
    Medium, I like your idea, but when going back to the concept of "core", and no clear star, shipping out solid rotation/starters for an all-star player (not necessarily a star though), could that get us to a championship road? Doubtful to be honest.

    That's why I mentioned in the beginning, 4 different wing players, addressing the best and worse case scenarios of the 4. Young, talented, star potential, in guys like Gay and George, could be big steps towards the ultimate goal. More so Gay than George of course.

    Wing players that score, defend, and have great potential are actually a premium now. When you have a 2 or a 3, as your number 1 options, and can win you games, that can really make it help for a franchise. Especially with the best teams in the league, (more so championship teams) have a great wing player. Miami, LA, Boston, San Antonio. (Dallas an exception because of the defense and great post presence on both ends, but had Jason Terry off the bench.)

  8. #8
    Raptors Republic All-Star Mediumcore's Avatar
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    Quote RaptorReuben wrote: View Post
    Medium, I like your idea, but when going back to the concept of "core", and no clear star, shipping out solid rotation/starters for an all-star player (not necessarily a star though), could that get us to a championship road? Doubtful to be honest.

    That's why I mentioned in the beginning, 4 different wing players, addressing the best and worse case scenarios of the 4. Young, talented, star potential, in guys like Gay and George, could be big steps towards the ultimate goal. More so Gay than George of course.

    Wing players that score, defend, and have great potential are actually a premium now. When you have a 2 or a 3, as your number 1 options, and can win you games, that can really make it help for a franchise. Especially with the best teams in the league, (more so championship teams) have a great wing player. Miami, LA, Boston, San Antonio. (Dallas an exception because of the defense and great post presence on both ends, but had Jason Terry off the bench.)
    I totally agree with trying to get Gay or George to fill our need for a dynamic wing player, but as you mentioned elite wings are indeed a premium these days. I mean if I were Memphis and I know I'm going to face a big decision in whom to let go of from the roster to releive myself of luxury tax and still be competetive I think I would trade Z-Bo before Gay. Not because Memphis is a better team with Gay in place of Zach, but because Zach has a lot of years on him, has been hit by the injury bug as of late, has reached his ceiling, and you just have to look to Utah in a trade for someone whom could replace him, but with a smaller price tag. Gay is the type of player that teams covet. What does Toronto have to offer them that make them better or keeps them on par with what they have right now? We can only offer what many other teams can that being tax releif, however some of those other teams can also provide equivelant or close to equivelant talent. If they did want to trade Gay, Indiana would be a better option if they could get George in return or even Granger whom would be a better compliment to Gasol/Randolph than Gay.

    Sorry, long winded reply, but just want to explain my line of thought for maybe trading for Milsap. Frankly I'm tired of the Bargnani experiment. Sure when he gets hot the team is pretty hard to beat, but he's not Dirk and never will be, so expecting him to bring elite shooting every night is a pipe dream. We need to bring someone in at PF that can team up with JV to give us a decided edge over other teams. For AB and JV to work AB needs to be "on" with his shot every night which is a lot to ask from him. You bring in a low post scorer whom can bang and you have a tandem much like Chandler and West in the New Orleans playoff days.

    With a core of Lowry, JV and Milsap I can see a future where this team might be able to contend for more than a playoff spot if they can get an elite wing player down the line. I'm not sure if I can say the same thing if you add Gay to our current line up. Your thoughts?

  9. #9
    Super Moderator ReubenJRD's Avatar
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    Quote Mediumcore wrote: View Post
    I totally agree with trying to get Gay or George to fill our need for a dynamic wing player, but as you mentioned elite wings are indeed a premium these days. I mean if I were Memphis and I know I'm going to face a big decision in whom to let go of from the roster to releive myself of luxury tax and still be competetive I think I would trade Z-Bo before Gay. Not because Memphis is a better team with Gay in place of Zach, but because Zach has a lot of years on him, has been hit by the injury bug as of late, has reached his ceiling, and you just have to look to Utah in a trade for someone whom could replace him, but with a smaller price tag. Gay is the type of player that teams covet. What does Toronto have to offer them that make them better or keeps them on par with what they have right now? We can only offer what many other teams can that being tax releif, however some of those other teams can also provide equivelant or close to equivelant talent. If they did want to trade Gay, Indiana would be a better option if they could get George in return or even Granger whom would be a better compliment to Gasol/Randolph than Gay.

    Sorry, long winded reply, but just want to explain my line of thought for maybe trading for Milsap. Frankly I'm tired of the Bargnani experiment. Sure when he gets hot the team is pretty hard to beat, but he's not Dirk and never will be, so expecting him to bring elite shooting every night is a pipe dream. We need to bring someone in at PF that can team up with JV to give us a decided edge over other teams. For AB and JV to work AB needs to be "on" with his shot every night which is a lot to ask from him. You bring in a low post scorer whom can bang and you have a tandem much like Chandler and West in the New Orleans playoff days.

    With a core of Lowry, JV and Milsap I can see a future where this team might be able to contend for more than a playoff spot if they can get an elite wing player down the line. I'm not sure if I can say the same thing if you add Gay to our current line up. Your thoughts?
    Totally understand your explanation. Now, to be honest with you though. That's the first I've heard of the "trade Z-Bo first". Trading Gay would get them the best assets and picks in return. Rudy Gay with his potential, offensively abilities, and near star quality would net you some significant pieces (Expiring contracts, young players, picks, cash considerations.) He's on a huge contract, teams would be very willing to take it in despite being so large, and Memphis' reasons to trade Gay is purely financial and for the future.
    If they were to trade for Indiana, Indiana might not be the best runner, for number 1: Purely financial. Indiana has big contracts in Granger, Hibbert, West. Not to sure how much they go over the cap with taking in a near 18$ million dollar contract. (Correct me if I'm mistaken.)

    Z-Bo has been very effective for this team, not to mention the fact the year they had the major run going to the Western conference playoffs, Z-Bo/Gasol was an extremely hard duo in the post to guard. In addition, Rudy Gay was not a factor for he did not play. Many expected last post-season to be better with Rudy Gay, they were wrong.

    However, I really like the idea of Milsap, Lowry, and Valanciunas. Milsap has come closer to the all-star game than Bargnani EVER has. He's an underrated defender, very capable post game with an 18-19 foot jump-shot. Very good rebounder.
    Going back to your initial comment about core, and the cycle before having that step on a championship, a core of JV, Lowry, and Milsap is far from that in my opinion. Unless Lowry breaks into a top 5 guard, JV develops into the top centre in the league, and Milsap is an all-star. But, if we were talking about building, being relevant, getting wins, a core of those 3 moving forward is intriguing.

  10. #10
    Raptors Republic All-Star Jclaw's Avatar
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    No shortage of Raptors previews out there but I thought this was a fair and balanced one (Fox finally lived up to it's motto)

    "The Toronto Raptors are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The Atlantic Division is stacked this season. The Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets all have legitimate hopes of winning the division crown and making far runs in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

    Toronto does not share those chances.

    It's not for a lack of trying....

    ....OUTLOOK: And that is the reality, the Raptors are at least two seasons away from battling for a playoff spot. If Valanciunas wins Rookie of the Year, maybe they can be in the hunt for the eighth spot in the East.

    But that Atlantic Division looks too tough. Toronto will be a team that brings high energy and has a focus on defense, but the talent level just isn't the same as the division rivals.

    Bargnani is still on the rise toward All-Star status. Lowry can build on last season and be the leader this team needs.

    If that all happened, the Raptors are still back in the lottery."

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/1...#ixzz2AKM9Davb

    I've mentioned this before but there are two sides to this "woe is me" Atlantic story. It may be that that group of four is separated from us because they are better but they're also grouped together because none is really that much more of guarantee to win than the other. There's no Heat, Lakers, or OKC in that group. There's not even an Indiana. The Celtics are built for the playoffs and will plod along for the season. The knicks still mystify me (not in a good way). Brooklyn may be great or they may lose a lot of 130-126 games. Philly? That's a lot of pressure on Bynum. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/1...#ixzz2AKM1W1ry


    http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/1...ptors-preview/

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote Jclaw wrote: View Post
    No shortage of Raptors previews out there but I thought this was a fair and balanced one (Fox finally lived up to it's motto)

    "The Toronto Raptors are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The Atlantic Division is stacked this season. The Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets all have legitimate hopes of winning the division crown and making far runs in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

    Toronto does not share those chances.

    It's not for a lack of trying....

    ....OUTLOOK: And that is the reality, the Raptors are at least two seasons away from battling for a playoff spot. If Valanciunas wins Rookie of the Year, maybe they can be in the hunt for the eighth spot in the East.

    But that Atlantic Division looks too tough. Toronto will be a team that brings high energy and has a focus on defense, but the talent level just isn't the same as the division rivals.

    Bargnani is still on the rise toward All-Star status. Lowry can build on last season and be the leader this team needs.

    If that all happened, the Raptors are still back in the lottery."

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/1...#ixzz2AKM9Davb

    I've mentioned this before but there are two sides to this "woe is me" Atlantic story. It may be that that group of four is separated from us because they are better but they're also grouped together because none is really that much more of guarantee to win than the other. There's no Heat, Lakers, or OKC in that group. There's not even an Indiana. The Celtics are built for the playoffs and will plod along for the season. The knicks still mystify me (not in a good way). Brooklyn may be great or they may lose a lot of 130-126 games. Philly? That's a lot of pressure on Bynum. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/1...#ixzz2AKM1W1ry


    http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2012/1...ptors-preview/
    Brooklyn, NY and Philly are so over-hyped, despite having some serious flaws and even bigger question marks. I think Boston wins the division, but the other four teams could easily finish anywhere from 2nd to 5th (and even possibly all make the playoffs).

    Another concern for the Raptors is an average team in one of the other weaker divisions feasting on their divisional counterparts. Given the unbalanced schedule, a team like Milwaukee/Detroit (Central) or Atlanta (Southeast) could win a bunch more games than expected, while the Eastern teams all split their divisional games.

    I still foresee the Raptors being in the thick of the playoff race throughout the season.
    Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Thu Oct 25th, 2012 at 01:40 PM.

  12. #12
    Raptors Republic Starter Fuchan's Avatar
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    The knicks suck. No team can win with Hogmelo Anthony. Bynum will blow out both knee's simultaniously during the season opener warm-up. Bingo, we're in the playoffs.

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    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote Fuchan wrote: View Post
    The knicks suck. No team can win with Hogmelo Anthony. Bynum will blow out both knee's simultaniously during the season opener warm-up. Bingo, we're in the playoffs.
    haha NY could be in trouble after Chandler's MRI today... if his knee is injured, he could be lost for the season!

    Even if one of the other Atlantic Division teams is an utter failure, it will be a tough fight for the 8th spot.

    For Sure: Miami, Boston, Indiana
    Probable: Chicago
    Fighting for 5-8 spots: Brooklyn, NY, Philly, Toronto, Atlanta, Milwaukee
    Could Surprise: Detroit, Washington, Orlando
    Lottery Fodder: Charlotte, Cleveland

  14. #14
    Raptors Republic Starter Fuchan's Avatar
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    Could be a long shot, but at least its a shot. I hate watching late in the season, when there is no way for us to make the playoffs. Hopefully this year is different

  15. #15
    Raptors Republic All-Star Jclaw's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    haha NY could be in trouble after Chandler's MRI today... if his knee is injured, he could be lost for the season!

    Even if one of the other Atlantic Division teams is an utter failure, it will be a tough fight for the 8th spot.

    For Sure: Miami, Boston, Indiana
    Probable: Chicago
    Fighting for 5-8 spots: Brooklyn, NY, Philly, Toronto, Atlanta, Milwaukee
    Could Surprise: Detroit, Washington, Orlando
    Lottery Fodder: Charlotte, Cleveland
    Just a bone bruise. day to day. but the point is still made.

  16. #16
    Raptors Republic Veteran NoPropsneeded's Avatar
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    Quote CalgaryRapsFan wrote: View Post
    haha NY could be in trouble after Chandler's MRI today... if his knee is injured, he could be lost for the season!

    Even if one of the other Atlantic Division teams is an utter failure, it will be a tough fight for the 8th spot.

    For Sure: Miami, Boston, Indiana
    Probable: Chicago
    Fighting for 5-8 spots: Brooklyn, NY, Philly, Toronto, Atlanta, Milwaukee
    Could Surprise: Detroit, Washington, Orlando
    Lottery Fodder: Charlotte, Cleveland
    We might catch a bit of a break cause of injuries to opposing teams players. Rose is out till like Jan so we could squeeze a few wins from the bulls, Amar'e and Chandler are out so we'll destroy them in our season series, Bynum is out for philly so we'll squeeze in a win or two there. I think we'll sneak into the playoffs for sure

  17. #17
    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote NoPropsneeded wrote: View Post
    We might catch a bit of a break cause of injuries to opposing teams players. Rose is out till like Jan so we could squeeze a few wins from the bulls, Amar'e and Chandler are out so we'll destroy them in our season series, Bynum is out for philly so we'll squeeze in a win or two there. I think we'll sneak into the playoffs for sure
    Yeah, with all these injuries adding up for Atlantic Division rivals, suddenly, the 16 games versus Boston, Jersey, Philly and NY doesn't seem as daunting.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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