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Thread: Early Season Implosion, what happened?

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    Raptors Republic Starter phez's Avatar
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    Default Early Season Implosion, what happened?

    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dumbfounded by the raptors current winstreak. From how they were playing only a couple of weeks ago, I would never have expected this kind of rebound. I have no explanation. So I turn to you guys. Why are raptors winning games now? Why did they play so bad only a short while ago?

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Raps played well enough to win some games early in the season, but they collectively went into the fetal position down the stretch of many games, and buckled under the pressure. And each close loss simply added more pressure with the next game, and the snowball continued.

    That, combined with Casey's whacky rotations, nobody (outside of Bargnani and DeRozan) knew what their role was, or how many minutes they'd play from one night to the next. Casey was inadvertently preventing his team from developing any consistency/chemistry by not sticking to a rotation.

    But now with all the injuries, Casey's been forced to shorten his rotation, and low and behold, we're finally seeing some cohesion on the court.
    "I don't lie. I willfully participate in a campaign of misinformation." - Fox Mulder

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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Raps played well enough to win some games early in the season, but they collectively went into the fetal position down the stretch of many games, and buckled under the pressure. And each close loss simply added more pressure with the next game, and the snowball continued.

    That, combined with Casey's whacky rotations, nobody (outside of Bargnani and DeRozan) knew what their role was, or how many minutes they'd play from one night to the next. Casey was inadvertently preventing his team from developing any consistency/chemistry by not sticking to a rotation.

    But now with all the injuries, Casey's been forced to shorten his rotation, and low and behold, we're finally seeing some cohesion on the court.
    Agree with all of the above. But don't forget the schedule, it's a big big factor as well.

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    Raptors Republic Starter pesterm1's Avatar
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    Quote phez wrote: View Post
    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't dumbfounded by the raptors current winstreak. From how they were playing only a couple of weeks ago, I would never have expected this kind of rebound. I have no explanation. So I turn to you guys. Why are raptors winning games now? Why did they play so bad only a short while ago?
    Its multiple things.
    -better effort
    -better passing
    -better team defense
    -better team chemistry
    -easier schedule with home games
    -the refs are giving the better calls to the home team
    -better rotations
    -lowry is much better/healed since the injuries
    -less bargnani

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    Raptors Republic Starter IROR's Avatar
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    If casey hadn't taken his time settling on a rotation, the rotation we have now might not be apparent. While it was awful for team chemistry, I believe it was part of this whole "building plan"--Casey was seeing what he had. That being said, it likely won't happen again in Casey's subsequent years with the team--hope not anyway.

    If there were any other issues besides chemistry, I would say schedule, unfamiliarity (Lowry mainly, but also Fields, Val, Ross), and that there has been a natural maturation within the locker room that stems from Casey's unrelenting calls for defense, mental toughness and team ball.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Rapstor4Life's Avatar
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    Quote pesterm1 wrote: View Post
    Its multiple things.
    -better effort
    -better passing
    -better team defense
    -better team chemistry
    -easier schedule with home games
    -the refs are giving the better calls to the home team
    -better rotations
    -lowry is much better/healed since the injuries
    -less bargnani
    THIS, cause honestly those early games the talent was there, the team just wasnt clicking chemistry wise. O you can add too much Dominic McGuire to that list as well.

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    Super Moderator thead's Avatar
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    To all the the peeps speaking about rotations.

    It doesn't really help a coach when their is no discernible difference in talent amongst the ten people most often on the court.

    I mean you have DeRozan

    and then you have Ross/Anderson/Fields/Kleiza/Pietrus all of which offer a different look

    Davis/Valanciunas/Amir <----- who really is a starter here with Aaron Gray also on the bench.

    Calderon or Lowry <-----Both can you win you a basketball game.

    If our starters were better there would be no issues with rotations. As is it now...Casey can't look at Pietrus, Ross, Kleiza, Davis, Fields etc...and know what he is going to get on any given night. Even DeRozan has the odd game where he disappears. When Calderon and Amir Johnson are your models for consistency your rotations are going to vary until someone reaches up and takes the job.

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    Raptors Republic Superstar Rapstor4Life's Avatar
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    Saying less Bargnani isnt really fair if he was hitting half of his usual shots the record would be different I want him traded but, if his shot was on like it usaully is the Raps would be waiting on his return right now.

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    Raptors Republic Starter special1's Avatar
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    I dont buy that we're winning now mostly because of the "easier schedule" because we LOST to Philly twice, Bobcats, Detroit earlier on (Now they're beating the teams they should be beating). PLUS - in the NBA you cant take teams lightly (no matter what their record).

    I think it was more team Chemistry and too much Bargnani down the stretch of games (when he clearly wasn't producing - "come hell or high water"). Bargnani has never been known to be a closer and he definitely is not known for hustling, his defence or grabbing rebounds (if you look at past games we were a rebound or two from winning many of those games).

    We're playing more desperate ball NOW and beating teams we lost to just mere weeks ago. I LOVE Calderon's chemistry with ED and Amir (I think that is also a big reason for these wins). I also think AA coming back from injury has really helped.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran white men can't jump's Avatar
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    There are also factors which a lot of fans think are "excuses", but are legitimate factors in helping them suck...Early in the season, they had:
    -3 new starters including a rookie C...on court chemistry and D issues started there
    - Injuries...not an excuse in themselves, but when you don't even have time to settle into a season and figure out roles and already you have to change roles because of such injuries, it really screws things around
    - SF position...Fields injured, AA injured, Kleiza useless (except his occasional scoring spree), forced to sign Pietrus....Position didn't stabilize until AA came back and Ross stepped up so that at least if Pietrus sucked, Casey could ride them and Demar.
    - Shitty schedule, LOTS of road games...with injuries and roles in flux, while already struggling, it made it really hard I'm sure. Lack of practice and energy to look and fix mistakes, as well as frequent travel making it hard get their heads together and bounce back.
    - General early season struggles of a team that still lacks a franchise calibre player and will depend on mostly depth and energy to win...it took the team awhile to figure that out, helped by the Bargs injury.

    And when you think of those points, it makes sense that they're more successful.
    - The starting lineup has still been in flux a lot, but now it's a much more experienced group, and Amir, Ed, Jose and Demar are in their 3rd season together, while if you sub in Gray it's the 2nd season together. That's much more familiarity than the lineup we started the season with.
    - Injuries are still an issue, but with our SFs healthy in AA and Fields, now we're really only thin at the bigs until JV or Bargs comes back. Anyway, roles are quite clear now, even with the odd small ball lineups we had, and roster balance is much better
    - Much better schedule in terms of space between games and more home games mixed in. I can only assume that's contributed to the better focus and chemistry as well.
    - Yeah, focus and chemistry better again. And again, part of that is guys who have played together awhile, while the new guys' roles are much clearer now.

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    Quote special1 wrote: View Post
    I dont buy that we're winning now mostly because of the "easier schedule" because we LOST to Philly twice, Bobcats, Detroit earlier on (Now they're beating the teams they should be beating). PLUS - in the NBA you cant take teams lightly (no matter what their record).

    I think it was more team Chemistry and too much Bargnani down the stretch of games (when he clearly wasn't producing - "come hell or high water"). Bargnani has never been known to be a closer and he definitely is not known for hustling, his defence or grabbing rebounds (if you look at past games we were a rebound or two from winning many of those games).

    We're playing more desperate ball NOW and beating teams we lost to just mere weeks ago. I LOVE Calderon's chemistry with ED and Amir (I think that is also a big reason for these wins). I also think AA coming back from injury has really helped.
    +1

    That's what I've been saying this whole time. There was a period of time where it didn't matter who we played...we were going to lose. i can see how someone would argue that the traveling may have been more stressful at that point in the year, but i don't think that is a good enough argument.

    I think the schedule has more to do with why we are winning so many games NOW...but has nothing to do with why we lost so many games before.

    When we've been bad, we've been way too bad, and when we've been good, we've been way too good. I think our record is more reflective of locker room or chemistry changes (and less Bargs)

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    There's a ton of reasons why they did so poorly in the first month and a half, but to those who downplay the schedule in terms strictly speaking of quality of opponents, that's way too simplistic a view.

    In the first month of the season, while all the other things like new players, injuries, etc were in play, the timing of their schedule was like this:

    - after their first game, they had a couple of days off, but that was immediately followed by 4 games in 5 days, 1st in Brooklyn, next night at home, then fly to OKC and Dallas.
    - they then come home, have a couple of days off, and play 3 games in 4 days
    - after a few days off, then then embark on their second set of 4 games in 5 days, and they're not even 2/3 thru the first month. NOTE: only 6 other teams in the entire league had a 4 games in 5 days stretch at that point, and they only had it once.
    - after a day off / game / day off, they then have another 3 games in 4 days
    - NOTE: on top of that brutal schedule, 10 of those games were on the road.

    As I said, there were many other reasons one can point fingers at, some more relevant than others, but that compressed schedule, the likes of which no other team had to deal with, was torture for a team full of youngsters & new players trying to find their chemistry while injuries are happening all over.

    PS. @BallaBalla, you say "I think the schedule has more to do with why we are winning so many games NOW...but has nothing to do with why we lost so many games before."... Dude, you can't have it both ways. If the softer schedule is a valid reason for current wins, that brutal schedule is a valid reason for past losses.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    The schedule might have had something to do with early season difficulties but all that showed was Raps were not a good team... not even an average team.... maybe worse than a bad team.... at that time and how they were playing.

    The turnaround centres on 2 things, in my opinion:

    1) coaching change from Casey. Stopped trying to coach to his weaknesses and focused on his strengths.

    2) Bargnani going down. I think there are/were a number of factors to this. The easiest one is Bargnani was the root of all problems. While he didn't help things, this is not quite fair. A big part of the reason why Bargnani was so ineffective was because Casey was setting him up for failure with all the 'come hell or high water' rhetoric. Bargnani just isn't that guy - not from a talent viewpoint but from a personality/desire view; he just isn't interested in reaching the pinnacle of his talent/abilities. Also, again back to Casey, Bargnani was proclaimed the only given starter in training camp. He was given the green light on offense and a get out of jail free card on defense. How is this suppose to help a young team with a coach preaching accountability? The reality is when Bargnani went down the team came together. I expect a Peja-like situation: Bargnani won't play again for the Raptors except for a couple of games to show he is healthy enough to compete in the NBA and *poof* then he was gone.
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    There's a ton of reasons why they did so poorly in the first month and a half, but to those who downplay the schedule in terms strictly speaking of quality of opponents, that's way too simplistic a view.

    In the first month of the season, while all the other things like new players, injuries, etc were in play, the timing of their schedule was like this:

    - after their first game, they had a couple of days off, but that was immediately followed by 4 games in 5 days, 1st in Brooklyn, next night at home, then fly to OKC and Dallas.
    - they then come home, have a couple of days off, and play 3 games in 4 days
    - after a few days off, then then embark on their second set of 4 games in 5 days, and they're not even 2/3 thru the first month. NOTE: only 6 other teams in the entire league had a 4 games in 5 days stretch at that point, and they only had it once.
    - after a day off / game / day off, they then have another 3 games in 4 days
    - NOTE: on top of that brutal schedule, 10 of those games were on the road.

    As I said, there were many other reasons one can point fingers at, some more relevant than others, but that compressed schedule, the likes of which no other team had to deal with, was torture for a team full of youngsters & new players trying to find their chemistry while injuries are happening all over.

    PS. @BallaBalla, you say "I think the schedule has more to do with why we are winning so many games NOW...but has nothing to do with why we lost so many games before."... Dude, you can't have it both ways. If the softer schedule is a valid reason for current wins, that brutal schedule is a valid reason for past losses.

    Your right actually... I can't do that...can I change my response?

    I agree with matt52s answer

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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    The schedule might have had something to do with early season difficulties but all that showed was Raps were not a good team... not even an average team.... maybe worse than a bad team.... at that time and how they were playing.

    The turnaround centres on 2 things, in my opinion:

    1) coaching change from Casey. Stopped trying to coach to his weaknesses and focused on his strengths.

    2) Bargnani going down. I think there are/were a number of factors to this. The easiest one is Bargnani was the root of all problems. While he didn't help things, this is not quite fair. A big part of the reason why Bargnani was so ineffective was because Casey was setting him up for failure with all the 'come hell or high water' rhetoric. Bargnani just isn't that guy - not from a talent viewpoint but from a personality/desire view; he just isn't interested in reaching the pinnacle of his talent/abilities. Also, again back to Casey, Bargnani was proclaimed the only given starter in training camp. He was given the green light on offense and a get out of jail free card on defense. How is this suppose to help a young team with a coach preaching accountability? The reality is when Bargnani went down the team came together. I expect a Peja-like situation: Bargnani won't play again for the Raptors except for a couple of games to show he is healthy enough to compete in the NBA and *poof* then he was gone.
    Centres on 2 things? For some reason I thought you were one of the posters on here that exercises a little deeper thought than to simplistically put the early mess all on Casey and Bargnani, but since you went over the edge in your anti-AB campaign, you certainly are a very different mind/poster on here. Maybe you have a point.

    - yeah, AB and Casey are the ones that screwed up and made that brutal schedule,,,, which you actually think is a minor issue?
    - yeah, if only AB and Casey had their act together, Fields wouldn't have needed that surgery, or at least would have come back earlier
    - yeah, AB and Casey must have caused Anderson's injury and forced him to stay out so long
    - yeah, damn AB and Casey caused Lowry to play losing hero ball until they must have injured him, forcing him to miss 13 games.
    - yeah, those two buggers held Jose, and many others, back from playing the game the way they are now. Hell, those guys would have worn their big boy pants a lot earlier if only AB had gone down earlier, no doubt.
    - yeah, I bet in your imagination that all it took for the team to come together was AB going down. If they all had sub 80 IQs and sucked on soothers, that might even be reality.

    The list could go on and on, but suffice to say sorry, but the very ugly start to the season, and recent turnaround, are due to a fk of a lot more than Casey's coaching and AB's play & injury,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, imho.

    PS. Ya know what? I think you're setting yourself up for major disappointment in your certainty of how AB's return is going to play out, but ya likely have another month to ride that happy train.
    Last edited by p00ka; Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 01:32 AM.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote p00ka wrote: View Post
    Centres on 2 things? For some reason I thought you were one of the posters on here that exercises a little deeper thought than to simplistically put the early mess all on Casey and Bargnani, but since you went over the edge in your anti-AB campaign, you certainly are a very different mind/poster on here. Maybe you have a point.

    - yeah, AB and Casey are the ones that screwed up and made that brutal schedule,,,, which you actually think is a minor issue?
    - yeah, if only AB and Casey had their act together, Fields wouldn't have needed that surgery, or at least would have come back earlier
    - yeah, AB and Casey must have caused Anderson's injury and forced him to stay out so long
    - yeah, damn AB and Casey caused Lowry to play losing hero ball until they must have injured him, forcing him to miss 13 games.
    - yeah, those two buggers held Jose, and many others, back from playing the game the way they are now. Hell, those guys would have worn their big boy pants a lot earlier if only AB had gone down earlier, no doubt.
    - yeah, I bet in your imagination that all it took for the team to come together was AB going down. If they all had sub 80 IQs and sucked on soothers, that might even be reality.

    The list could go on and on, but suffice to say sorry, but the very ugly start to the season, and recent turnaround, are due to a fk of a lot more than Casey's coaching and AB's play & injury,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, imho.

    PS. Ya know what? I think you're setting yourself up for major disappointment in your certainty of how AB's return is going to play out, but ya likely have another month to ride that happy train.
    Those are the two main issues. Of course there are a host of secondary issues but even the majority of them come back to Casey.

    Why always so angry - main page and here? It is sad to see and certainly doesn't encourage meaningful dialogue.
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    except at the draft, which is all homework, politics and chance.

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    Ball movement, ball movement & oh ya..... ball movement.

    Once we moved the ball we grew some balls and Dragon them all over the the doubters in the closing minutes!

    Go Raps! A little confidence can go a Looooooooonnnnng way!

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    Raptors Republic Superstar BasketballCrush's Avatar
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    Everyone is being so friendly and nice, no one wants to talk about the real reason.
    Last edited by BasketballCrush; Sat Jan 12th, 2013 at 10:36 AM.

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    Quote BasketballCrush wrote: View Post
    Everyone is being so friendly and nice, no one wants to talk about the real reason.
    Well then spill the beans.... don't leave us hangin' bro.....

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    Raptors Republic Starter RapthoseLeafs's Avatar
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    Default Reasons for Losing - THEN ....... Reasons for Winning - NOW

    Reasons for Losing:

    1) Dysfunctional play - Lowry (new), SF (Nerve-man Fields), Rookie Centre (Important position - too much pressure on JV)
    2) Pace. With Lowry as the PG, the faster pace didn't match the talent properly.
    3) Hate to dismiss what some are saying, but Raps played a very tough schedule
    4) Excessive amt of Road games (10 in November - of 16 game total)
    5) Injuries to key Bench players
    6) Bench Line-up didn't play like they're playing now.
    7) Starting Schedule pace - After 1st game, Raps played 7 games in 11 nights (4 on the road - 3 Western teams)
    8) Casey had some weird line-up combos
    9) Bargnani (Raps 1st scoring option), got off to a rough start.
    10) Domenic McGuire STARTED 9 games in November
    11) 3 Rookies [Jonas, Ross, Acy], 7 New players [Rookies + Lowry, Fields, Lucas, McGuire] plus Pietrus (late November).


    Reasons for Winning (Key points in Bold):

    1) Jose is starting
    2) Schedule has been easier
    3) Lowry is passing better - coming off the Bench (then he did as a Starter)
    4) Bench - 2nd in the League (over Jose stretch). November (14th), December (4th), January (2nd)
    5) Team defense has picked up - simply because players have done it as a TEAM, although 2011-12 Raps were still better.
    6) Back Court Offense - November (19th), December (4th), January (1st)
    5) During the Jose stretch, Raptors have been No. 1 in Pts out of the paint
    6) Opponent 3 point shooting % - November (25th), December (8th), January (1st) - .244
    7) Assists - November (21st), December (11th), January (2nd)

    .

    What are NOT reasons (for Winning):

    1) F/Ta - Raptors actually trended down with January being the lowest total.
    2) 3 Point Shooting (by the Raps) - Marginal increase (< 1.0 made shot)
    3) Opponent Points in the Paint [Defending] - November (18th), December (30th), January (11th) - 5 games

    What are NOT reasons (for Losing):

    1) Any one specific player
    .
    Last edited by RapthoseLeafs; Sun Jan 13th, 2013 at 12:41 AM.

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