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Thread: The secret to the Raps recent success (Lang Greene/HoopsWorld.com)

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    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Default The secret to the Raps recent success (Lang Greene/HoopsWorld.com)

    The Toronto Raptors Are On A Mission, But Can They Make A Playoff Run?

    The Toronto Raptors entered this season as a trendy sleeper pick in more than a few preseason ranking lists but struggled mightily out of the gate battling an assortment of injuries and trade rumors.

    The Raptors started the season 5-19 and whispers even began starting to question the long term future of head coach Dwane Casey with the organization. But, over the past two weeks the Raptors have reeled off seven victories versus just one defeat and now find themselves just four games behind the reeling Boston Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Point guard Kyle Lowry says the team’s chemistry has improved a great deal since the start of the season and is one of the reasons the Raptors have been able to win at a high clip as of late.

    “Honestly, just togetherness,” Lowry told HOOPSWORLD. “You see everyone cheering for each other, everyone jumping up and down. It works easy, everyone has confidence in everyone’s abilities, there is no one guy trying to do it all. When it’s like that and you have a dynamic like that, it’s just a team effort. You got 13-15 guys on one string.”

    The team’s leading scorer, DeMar DeRozan, says the early losing left a bitter taste circulating in the locker room and guys are now hungry to prove how good the team can ultimately become.

    “I think everybody on this team is just hungry,” DeRozan said. “We had a lot of bad luck earlier in the season with injuries and close games we should have won. Everybody is just hungry, it’s desperation time. So every time we step out on the court, we’re going to play like it’s our last game.”

    During the Raptors’ current hot streak they’ve secured wins over Dallas, Houston, Cleveland, Detroit, Orlando (2) and New Orleans.

    Lowry feels the team has displayed a huge amount of perseverance after overcoming a horrid start and the guard the team is mentally prepared to continue playing consistent basketball – night in and night out.

    “We struggled to start the season,” Lowry said. “A lot of things didn’t go our way, lost a lot of close games and everything wasn’t the greatest. But good teams string it together and we’re trying to become a good team and string them together. If we lose one, bounce back and get the next one and play like we didn’t lose the night before.”

    DeRozan agreed with Lowry’s assessment and noted the team’s confidence levels are at an all-time high in the locker room.

    “It’s definitely high,” DeRozan said of his teammates’ confidence. “When we’re sharing the ball and talking on both ends, we tend to make it fun. Once we make the game fun, everybody’s confidence level gets high and we feel like we can’t be stopped.

    The Raptors will start a six game home stand on January 2 with Portland, Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Charlotte and Milwaukee traveling to the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors currently own a 7-5 record at home, while struggling on the road at 4-15.

    This home stand will go a long way in determining if the Raptors can rebound and make a strong playoff push.

    Read more at http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-sunday...EUDFDf1VKIU.99

    I don't think the playoffs are going to happen but I do feel warm and fuzzy moving forward for a number of reasons:

    1) Raps have a long term C secured in JV who will take time but hardest position in the league is locked up,
    2) Raps have 2nd hardest position in the league secured with Lowry who is extremely talented and appears to have had an awakening,
    3) Appears the Bargnani era will soon be ending,
    4) Ross' development,
    5) The removal of Fields' claw and emergence of the contributions he can make,
    6) The trade deadline is 7 weeks away and all signals point to Bargnani being sent packing,
    7) Casey-ball lives,
    8) A sense of unity on the team.


    Causes for concern:

    1) I have little to no faith left in BC,
    2) I am very optimistic about Lowry but I'm not going to lie I have doubts - not of his abilities but how he transfers them in to game situations,
    3) Bargnani is not gone yet,
    4) a low ceiling of this team's potential.


    The Raps are currently 11th in the east:
    • 1 game back of Orlando for 10th,
    • 3 games back of Philly for 9th,
    • 4 games back of 8th seed.


    Given the horrendous start, finishing 9th would be pretty damn good in my opinion.



    So, what are your:
    1. Reasons for optimism?
    2. Causes for concern?
    3. indicator of success given horrendous start?
    "You don’t know the Bruno Caboclo......"
    Bruno Caboclo

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    One reason for optimism is all those home games in January and February. A cause for concern is that Bargnani is coming back, which brings the question: will Casey be forced to give him minutes by BC/MLSE? An indicator of success would be beating a few of the top echelon of teams like Miami, OKC, etc.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie RobertArchibald's Avatar
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    1. Biggest reason for optimism for me is the type of basketball they're playing now. Team ball. Still seeing lulls of 1-on-1 hero ball but less and less. Also, Casey seems to be making better substitution patterns and is becoming a better matchup Coach.

    2. Agree with Stretch here. Biggest cause for concern is what happens when Andrea comes back. According to Casey, he's turned his tide and won't go with 'our guy' unless he's producing on the floor. That's nice to hear but I'll believe it when/if I see it. Can't help but think BC will want Bargs to have loads of opportunity to play, especially if he's trying to move him.

    3. Despite record, biggest indicator of success is development of Ross, poise of DeMar and assists per game as a team. All good to see.

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    Super Moderator Joey's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    Given the horrendous start, finishing 9th would be pretty damn good in my opinion.
    Not only pretty damn good, Ideal actually, in my opinion.
    And despite the terrible start, I've always maintained that 9th in the East was attainable.

    As I've said from Day-1, the best case scenario, (besides living out the 5 year protections placed on the pick) would be to place 9th this year, give OKC the pick, and move on with a Top-10 PG for a #14 pick, and a Hungry team ready to compete next year.




    But to answer your questions, my optimism stems from 3 things;
    a) Demar.
    b) Growing team chemistry.
    c) Casey bringing Lowry off the bench for his return; indicates to me Bargs will meet the same fate when he returns.

    Concerning;
    a) Hmmm ... not sure actually. Perhaps my crippling-optimism is harming my Pescimistic capabilities.
    Last edited by Joey; Mon Dec 31st, 2012 at 10:10 AM.
    "I just dunked. Got a little dunk. That’s nice." Terrence Ross

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    Raptors Republic Starter mountio's Avatar
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    My optimism stems from
    1) T Ross - my favourite Rap (by a pretty wide margin) - love what this guy brings and his potential. If only Casey would let him play more than 20 mins/game
    2) Team ball and shooting. Its great to see the ball moving and some shats dropping. But, if you want this to keep happening .. need to have guys on the court who can shoot (KL, JC, TR) consistently
    3) Defense - its back! Maybe our opponents have just been bad .. but we have been a different team on this end the last 2 weeks

    Cause for concern
    1) I hate to say it .. but does JV fit? He looks like hes doing the right things (hustle, position, etc.) - but his results on the defensive end / boards actually haven't been that great. 8 pts/5 boards is ok .. but I cant help but think we haven't been at our best when hes out there. I know hes young and in isolation, I really like what I see .. but I just have a sense that our D might be better without him ...?
    2) As everyone is saying .. its obviously what happens with AB. I happen to think he can come off the bench and casey tell him - Post ups and wide open jumpers only (no step back long Js!) - if he doesn't do it, then bench him. However, this whole mess could end very badly
    3) AA. Love what hes bringing .. but do we realize hes shooting 35% from the field (and takes a surprising amount of shots)? Against better competition, that wont cut it - I think this will end badly .. as T Ross gets more time and we get better players back, AA needs to stop shooting bad shots

    As for indicator of success .. I don't really care where we finish record wise .. what I do care about is that the young core gets lots of run together and develops an identity. It hasn't really happened where KL, DD, TR, ED, JV get consistent run together. This is the starting lineup of the future and Id like to see them play more together (obviously injuries have made this hard)

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    Raptors Republic Icon mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote mountio wrote: View Post
    My optimism stems from
    1) T Ross - my favourite Rap (by a pretty wide margin) - love what this guy brings and his potential. If only Casey would let him play more than 20 mins/game
    2) Team ball and shooting. Its great to see the ball moving and some shats dropping. But, if you want this to keep happening .. need to have guys on the court who can shoot (KL, JC, TR) consistently
    3) Defense - its back! Maybe our opponents have just been bad .. but we have been a different team on this end the last 2 weeks

    Cause for concern
    1) I hate to say it .. but does JV fit? He looks like hes doing the right things (hustle, position, etc.) - but his results on the defensive end / boards actually haven't been that great. 8 pts/5 boards is ok .. but I cant help but think we haven't been at our best when hes out there. I know hes young and in isolation, I really like what I see .. but I just have a sense that our D might be better without him ...?
    2) As everyone is saying .. its obviously what happens with AB. I happen to think he can come off the bench and casey tell him - Post ups and wide open jumpers only (no step back long Js!) - if he doesn't do it, then bench him. However, this whole mess could end very badly
    3) AA. Love what hes bringing .. but do we realize hes shooting 35% from the field (and takes a surprising amount of shots)? Against better competition, that wont cut it - I think this will end badly .. as T Ross gets more time and we get better players back, AA needs to stop shooting bad shots

    As for indicator of success .. I don't really care where we finish record wise .. what I do care about is that the young core gets lots of run together and develops an identity. It hasn't really happened where KL, DD, TR, ED, JV get consistent run together. This is the starting lineup of the future and Id like to see them play more together (obviously injuries have made this hard)
    I think your concerns are relevant now as a 20 year old, 7ft rookie. I don't think there is cause for concern moving forward. Strength, continued adjustment to the speed of the game and level of competition, learning his role in the systems, and the experience of the grind of a full NBA season will do wonders for him next year and beyond.

    I think 8/5 is pretty good for a rookie and he has shown really good flashes on D, offense, and the glass.
    "You don’t know the Bruno Caboclo......"
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    Like a long term C in JV, they seem to have found a long term PF in Davis. Definitely reason for optimism.

    Reason for concern I think is the President/GM position. I don't mind BC gone but what next? Or who next? To continue what BC leaves behind, is it Stephanski? If so things may not be much different. If it's someone from outside the Organisation, it may take a while rebuilding considering he may want to make changes.
    Attitude Is A Choice.

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    Yeah I'm a bit nervous of the poor return we will get for Bargnani + whoever else we trade.

    But I'm pretty pumped on the way the team's been playing lately. If we can credit BC for one thing it would be his ability to acquire players with a certain personality that maintains a good locker room mentality/chemistry. It's pretty obvious this team is also rolling right now partly due to Bargs on the bench.

    Since we're on the topic of BC, I think we at least owe him some credit for his drafting over the past few years. Every draft we hate on him for his selection initially, but we can all agree his choices have been above average if you look at our drafting position. I'm still undecided on whether he should remain the GM next season. I don't mind his drafting and trading choices but I feel like he has his hand in the coaches decisions a bit too often and his half ass rebuilds have put us in some odd positions.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Craiger's Avatar
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    Quote koncept wrote: View Post
    Yeah I'm a bit nervous of the poor return we will get for Bargnani + whoever else we trade.

    But I'm pretty pumped on the way the team's been playing lately. If we can credit BC for one thing it would be his ability to acquire players with a certain personality that maintains a good locker room mentality/chemistry. It's pretty obvious this team is also rolling right now partly due to Bargs on the bench.

    Since we're on the topic of BC, I think we at least owe him some credit for his drafting over the past few years. Every draft we hate on him for his selection initially, but we can all agree his choices have been above average if you look at our drafting position. I'm still undecided on whether he should remain the GM next season. I don't mind his drafting and trading choices but I feel like he has his hand in the coaches decisions a bit too often and his half ass rebuilds have put us in some odd positions.
    Lets not forget the numerous team and players meetings this team has been forced to have over the years.
    Colangelo may not usually go after hot heads or players with questionable mental maturity levels, but the things players do on the court effect the locker room mentality to.

    I also don't agree Colangelo's draft decisions have been above average. His two best picks, Ed and Val, both dropped. Bargnani was a bust for his draft spot, there are numerous players much better than Demar that were drafted after him, and Ross has been solid but was still a reach and was drafted for need. (and with Drummond showing superstar potential its not doing Colangelo any favours).

    That said I think your last sentence is the core problem which has effect his drafting, signings and trades (or unwillingness to trade)

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    Quote koncept wrote: View Post
    Yeah I'm a bit nervous of the poor return we will get for Bargnani + whoever else we trade.

    But I'm pretty pumped on the way the team's been playing lately. If we can credit BC for one thing it would be his ability to acquire players with a certain personality that maintains a good locker room mentality/chemistry. It's pretty obvious this team is also rolling right now partly due to Bargs on the bench.

    Since we're on the topic of BC, I think we at least owe him some credit for his drafting over the past few years. Every draft we hate on him for his selection initially, but we can all agree his choices have been above average if you look at our drafting position. I'm still undecided on whether he should remain the GM next season. I don't mind his drafting and trading choices but I feel like he has his hand in the coaches decisions a bit too often and his half ass rebuilds have put us in some odd positions.
    It's only been a few wins but I'm reminded of the comment BC made during those losses, It sounded like an excuse when he said that 'it was not a talent issue but a focus issue'. It may have been more than focus but he was right in saying that it was not a 'talent issue'.
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    Raptors Republic All-Star Miekenstien's Avatar
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    1. Kyle lowry - the best player we have had here in a real long time. it's nice to see a guy who can dominate at his position. I will throw in Terrance as well because lately he really looks to be growing. he isn't just a rookie trying not to make mistakes anymore, he is playing his game and it's a beautiful outside inside game, going to be a really good player.

    2. not concern but anxiety or anxiousness to see the return for bargs and wether bc can trade klieza and amir.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Miekenstien's Avatar
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    3. I said 500 ball and 8th before the season and I think we could have had a shot at both if we had of taken a couple of those close ones. as it stands close to or 500 is Still attainable and the 8th as long as Rondo stays hurt.

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    Reasons for optimism?

    Most talented players on the team are young.

    Causes for concern?

    Bryan Colangelo is still the GM, and Bargnani has not yet been traded.

    indicator of success given horrendous start?

    A 10th pick or worse for OKC.

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    Are all the people who see Colangelo still being here as a cause for concern strongly against the DeRozan signing? Otherwise I'm not too sure why; I think he has done more right than wrong the last couple of years.

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    Reasons to be optimistic:
    - First and foremost for me the team looks like a team for the first time in a long time. Guys are up off the bench and cheerig for each other. You get the sense guys enjoy each others company, have each others backs and support each others success.
    - Casey has the guys playing hard on D again. I'm guessing the points in the paint allowed are far fewer than then were early in the season. Plus I find both Lowry and Amir are not afraid to give hard fouls to avoid easy points and it's rubbing off on other guys.
    - I like what Ross is showing out there. A lot of skill and athletic ability. Now if he can add handles and learn to penetrate watch out.
    - JV has shown that he can be a very good player and a cornerstone for the team. Right now I think Noah is the best comparison for him.

    Reasons for concern:
    - Like everyone else the Bargnani situation. I hope he gets traded before he returns from injury or if possible to amnesty him then just do it and don't mess with the chemistry. I don't want to hear anymore about bringing him off the bench or not playing him if he doesn't produce....just send him on his way. His time in Toronto was up long ago.
    - What BC can/will get for Bargs/Jose. This move could define how far the team goes.

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