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Thread: Are the Raptors finally headed in the right direction?

  1. #1
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    Default Are the Raptors finally headed in the right direction?

    Ever since it's inception, the Raptors have been an 'up n down' team. After a naturally slow start, some shrewd moves by Glen Grunwald in terms of trades, free agency and above all drafting(VC first and later CB), Raps. gained some respect around the league. As we all know Glen was later fired, the promising Babcock hired and before we knew it, was fired too. In came the so called saviour in BC. After living up to his reputation and the hype initially, he too couldn't keep things going. Raps. found themselves in a familiar losing position again.

    Until the Gay trade there has been negativity and pessimism surrounding the team. While the acquisition of Gay has turned pessimism into optimism, it does not assure a consistent winner. Gay along with a strong supporting cast of Derozan, Lowry, Jonas, Amir, Ross, Andrea are a bunch of good players. With the addition of a couple of good pieces, this team is seemingly a winner for a long time to come. SEEMINGLY.

    Raptor fans are all too familiar with this sort of promise and hope. The best remembered team of course would be the Vince led team that went to the second round of the play-offs and almost made the conference finals. The addition of Hakim O the following year pretty much had us Raptor fans feeling that ours would be the team to come out of the East. What followed was disappointment and a series of events and changes that none of us who followed Vince Carter and his teams success anticipated.

    As always I feel optimistic and hopeful about this team that BC is building. As always I see reason for it as well. Will they be a consistent winner? What do you guys think? Are the Raps. finally on the road to consistent success? If so, why?
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    Raptors Republic All-Star RaptorsFan4Life's Avatar
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    Too early to say IMO. Gay is good but he's going take away a lot of the flexibility we have. I still don't know if Lowry can be a #1 point guard consistently. We also need a good backup PG.

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    Administrator Arsenalist's Avatar
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    Quote RaptorsFan4Life wrote: View Post
    Too early to say IMO. Gay is good but he's going take away a lot of the flexibility we have. I still don't know if Lowry can be a #1 point guard consistently. We also need a good backup PG.
    Too early. Need to resolve backup C, see how DD and Gay work long-term, whether Lowry can sustain being a productive and consistent starter, and must resolve the Bargnani situation (either trade him or have him as a bench scorer). Depth at SG is an issue with Ross, gotta see how he turns out, and backup SF is hit-and-miss. The "window of contention" with Gay is the next two years, unless he extends.

    Too many questions, but at least they have a closer. If reports from Memphis indicate anything, it's that Gay can wear out his welcome, so I'm going to give it some time.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star Hotshot's Avatar
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    Quote Arsenalist wrote: View Post
    Too early. Need to resolve backup C, see how DD and Gay work long-term, whether Lowry can sustain being a productive and consistent starter, and must resolve the Bargnani situation (either trade him or have him as a bench scorer). Depth at SG is an issue with Ross, gotta see how he turns out, and backup SF is hit-and-miss. The "window of contention" with Gay is the next two years, unless he extends.

    Too many questions, but at least they have a closer. If reports from Memphis indicate anything, it's that Gay can wear out his welcome, so I'm going to give it some time.
    I hope Colangelo will be smarter with Lowry and Gay then he was with Bosh, because if those two walk for nothing, the Raptors are back to zero in 2 years with Jonas being the new face of the franchise and stuck at the bottom basement of the Eastern Conference again. My feeling is that it will come down to Money with those two and the question is how much do they think they worth because they will be overpayed.

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    Raptors Republic All-Star TRex's Avatar
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    Yes.

    Raptors now have a LEGIT #1 guy in Gay. They have a stud young big in Valanciunas. They have a bunch of good young players in Amir, Ross, DD, Lowry, Bargnani and Fields.

    Next step now is to surround these guys with some great veteran leadership.

    As for Bargnani, i wouldn't trade him unless they get a good young player in return or a top 10 1st round draft pick. I wouldn't trade him for Gasol or Boozer. Their age + contract scares me specially Boozer.

    Areas the Raps need to upgrade in the offseason:

    Backup C and PG.
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    Quote TRex wrote: View Post
    Yes.

    Raptors now have a LEGIT #1 guy in Gay. They have a stud young big in Valanciunas.
    The solution may lie here. Gay is definitely a legit #1 guy. Jonas' development is critical and could be the answer. If he becomes the LEGIT OTHER GUY, Raps. may have half their problems solved.
    Last edited by Eric Akshinthala; Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 01:45 AM.
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    Quote Hotshot wrote: View Post
    ...Jonas being the new face of the franchise and stuck at the bottom basement of the Eastern Conference again...
    These two things cannot co-exist in the same universe.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Agree with the others. Too early to be making any claims. The accumulation of wings is a waste considering the holes we have elsewhere. Plenty of moves need to be made before I'm confident in saying we're on the right track. Acquiring Gay was a nice step, but much more is needed.
    Last edited by Nilanka; Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 10:05 AM.
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    Raptors Republic Starter imaginelino's Avatar
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    I think if you compare the first half of the half season (4-19) to the second half (14-13?) the effort level and hustle is upteen times better and they are in a lot of games, especially games against .500 over, what lacks is the talent level, bringing in Gay was a step in that direction of improving the talent, another move I expect (Bargs and ???) will be made to improve the talent level. Coach Casey has done a great job of getting the most out of his guys and aside from some strategic moves and rotations at end of games he has been the best coach for this team since...butch?.. lenny was a walking zombie, mitchell was too limited in IQ, triano was out of his league..I think we are moving in a positive direction

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    if we manage the talent we have properly then yes with the addition of a back up c and pg we can be good.
    next year a lineup of lowry,ross,gay,johnson,valanciunas would be very good with bargs and demar off the bench taking the majority of the 2/3 4/5 minutes would probably make a steady lineup of offence/defense with no drop off.
    demar would still get the majority of the 2 minutes but for touches and defense purposes come off the bench. (provided ross starts playing d again and stops gambling on everything to add a few more highlight dunks to his resume)

    our offense is good we just need to get back to playing defense which casey is supposed to be here for despite the 26th ranked d.

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    Raptors Republic Rookie vino's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    Agree with the others. Too early to be making any claims. The accumulation of wings is a waste considering the holes we have elsewhere. Plenty of moves need to be made before I'm confident in saying we're on the right track. Acquiring Gay was a nice step, but much more is needed.
    Agree with other it is too early; disagree with you - this team, as-is, just needs time together, developing Val and Ross. Jonas may develop quicker than most solid centers - they install the basics well in Lithuania. So, no I do not think that "plenty of moves need to be made". Can't believe I am saying this... but #7 off the bench may work. I still want him off this team, but given the circumstances and his low trading value (it seems) - better off use him to his strength. Also, The accumulation of wings is not a waste - we are talking about conventional 2 and 3 here... so there are plenty of minutes, given that two players (you called them wings) need to be on a court at the same time. Considering that AA needs to sit down (permanently) you get yourself 4 useful bodies in Ross, DD, Gay and Flieds. I am not even talking about any injuries... I guess AA classifies as "insurance" in this case. The league goes small more and more, so playing three of these together at times is an option. Gay at 4 is a legit option. The only negative is the contract of Fields and DD, but until its time to extend Val (and hopefully Ross) - this should not be a huge issue, especially with rumors that our new ownership is willing to spend. I am being optimistic here but looks like we are on a right track. Patience is all we need right now.
    Last edited by vino; Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 01:03 PM.

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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote vino wrote: View Post
    Agree with other it is too early; disagree with you - this team, as-is, just needs time together, developing Val and Ross. Jonas may develop quicker than most solid centers - they install the basics well in Lithuania. So, no I do not think that "plenty of moves need to be made". Can't believe I am saying this... but #7 off the bench may work. I still want him off this team, but given the circumstances and his low trading value (it seems) - better off use him to his strength. Also, The accumulation of wings is not a waste - we are talking about conventional 2 and 3 here... so there are plenty of minutes, given that two players (you called them wings) need to be on a court at the same time. Considering that AA needs to sit down (permanently) you get yourself 4 useful bodies in Ross, DD, Gay and Flieds. I am not even talking about any injuries... I guess AA classifies as "insurance" in this case. The league goes small more and more, so playing three of these together at times is an option. Gay at 4 is a legit option. The only negative is the contract of Fields and DD, but until its time to extend Val (and hopefully Ross) - this should be a huge issue, especially with rumors that our new ownership is willing to spend. I am being optimistic here but looks like we are on a right track. Patience is all we need right now.
    My ideal rotation consists of 3 wings, all basically capable of playing either SG or SF if/when needed. If that rotation consists of DeRozan, Gay and Ross, then Fields, Anderson, Kleiza and Pietrus become a waste of talent/resources. I want my starters playing 35 mpg, and my reserve playing 25. I want Casey to identify who his three best wings are, and ride them instead of giving journeymen like Anderson 25 mpg.
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    Raptors Republic Rookie MikeToronto's Avatar
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    For quite some time now, basically since Bosh left, I've been really in the "blow it up and rebuild through draft" mode - in other words, do what other, "less-than-desirable" franchises have done before us, in OKC and Memphis, respectively. Suck properly, get as many high draft picks as you can (assuming you have decent-to-good talent evaluators) and hope to draft at least one, preferably two All-Star-level talents to build your roster around. Nothing new or revolutionary here, just stating the position.

    Has Gay acquisition changed that? Nope, not really. He certainly is paid like a franchise player, he has shown, at least so far, that he has stamina and confidence (in addition to talent) to close games as one, but is he someone you could build a contender around? While he is certainly the closest in terms of the individual talent level we've had since Vince, I have my doubts. And after him? Lowry? DD? Amir? Even the rooks? They all look like solid rotation players, but how many of them would be starting on a contender?

    'Cause that's what I'd like to be built here - a team with the realistic chances to contend. And no matter how hard I am trying to convince myself, I can't see our current roster developing into a team that is consistently threatening to win the conference, or at the very least get past the second round of the playoffs.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator CalgaryRapsFan's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    My ideal rotation consists of 3 wings, all basically capable of playing either SG or SF if/when needed. If that rotation consists of DeRozan, Gay and Ross, then Fields, Anderson, Kleiza and Pietrus become a waste of talent/resources. I want my starters playing 35 mpg, and my reserve playing 25. I want Casey to identify who his three best wings are, and ride them instead of giving journeymen like Anderson 25 mpg.
    I tend to prefer an 8/9 man rotation. With Toronto's lineup, I don't think having 4 wings would be a bad thing, considering the amount of small-ball they'd likely play.

    Starting Lineup: Valanciunas (20), Johnson (25), Gay (26), DeRozan (23), Lowry (26)

    Primary 2nd Unit: Bargnani (27), Fields (24), Ross (22), Lucas (31)*

    Assuming Gay stays on the court longest to start the game, Bargnani essentially comes in as the backup C (Bargnani, Gay, Fields, Ross, Lucas). When Gay comes out, either DeRozan or Johnson/Valanciunas would come back on. If DeRozan comes back on for Gay, then Fields becomes the PF in a very small unit.

    I really like the flexibility that these 4 wings provide. Also, the ability for Bargnani and Johnson to both play C or PF adds further flexibility.

    Gray (28) is a traditional backup C, who will be used in certain situations, dependent on matchups (the 10th man). Acy (22) provides additional PF depth, if Bargnani and/or Johnson spend time at the C spot.


    Gay & DeRozan would lead the team in minutes. JV/AJ/AB minutes would somewhat be dependent on matchups and foul trouble, but they could each get 30 minutes and still leave 6 minutes for Gay at PF in small-ball sets (late 1st & 3rd quarters). The backup wing minutes would also be somewhat dependent on matchups and need: if starters are scoring well, then Fields' defense/rebounding could be beneficial; if a starter is having an off night, Ross could step in and provide a scoring spark off the bench.


    One of the biggest positives is the age of the 8 core players. They should have many years to play together, allowing them to develop solid on-court chemistry, as they enter their primes.


    * the backup PG spot is the most glaring need for upgrading, either at the deadline or in the offseason, ideally for a veteran pass-first type of PG
    Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Mon Feb 11th, 2013 at 01:32 PM.

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    Raptors Republic Hall of Famer mcHAPPY's Avatar
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    Quote Nilanka wrote: View Post
    My ideal rotation consists of 3 wings, all basically capable of playing either SG or SF if/when needed. If that rotation consists of DeRozan, Gay and Ross, then Fields, Anderson, Kleiza and Pietrus become a waste of talent/resources. I want my starters playing 35 mpg, and my reserve playing 25. I want Casey to identify who his three best wings are, and ride them instead of giving journeymen like Anderson 25 mpg.
    Given injuries and the nature of the league these days (getting smaller all the time) I think you need 4 wings. I really like the wings on this roster in Gay, DD, Fields, and Ross. I might be naive or foolish but I do think Fields and Gay find their stroke for next season. I think it is a safe assumption that the wings know they could get better from 3. Anderson (or whoever is the 5th wing) is insurance and a minimum contract who should never hit the floor unless of injury, foul trouble, or blow out.
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    Raptors Republic Veteran Nilanka's Avatar
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    Quote Matt52 wrote: View Post
    Given injuries and the nature of the league these days (getting smaller all the time) I think you need 4 wings. I really like the wings on this roster in Gay, DD, Fields, and Ross. I might be naive or foolish but I do think Fields and Gay find their stroke for next season. I think it is a safe assumption that the wings know they could get better from 3. Anderson (or whoever is the 5th wing) is insurance and a minimum contract who should never hit the floor unless of injury, foul trouble, or blow out.
    I think part of my "3 wing reasoning" is to make the rotations as simple as possible for Casey. I don't have any faith in his ability to play his talent (as evidenced by Calderon over Lowry, and Anderson over Ross). Take away Casey's options, and I think the team will benefit.
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    Raptors Republic Starter JordanMariam14's Avatar
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    Our future lies upon the hands of Lowry, DeRozan, Ross, Gay, Amir, and Jonas.

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    I'm amazed at how the trade changed the team so dramatically.
    Amir has the opportunity to start and is playing his part to a T. Rebounding, good touch inside, 15 ft jumper, shot blocker and consistently good anticipation on D. He's been able to put in good minutes without foul trouble in 4 of the 5 games since the trade. Behind him Andrea can come in and do what he knows he can do without unrealistic expectations.

    Lowry playing behind Calderon made him appreciate the ability to have a good game without having to be the leading scorer. Now as the starter again I see him playing the best ball of his career distributing and scoring around 15 -20.

    With the addition of RG's scoring DeRozan doesn't have to go off for over 20 a game in order to be effective. Keep working the passing game though and the 20+ will come easier.

    JV is only 20 years old and is only going to get stronger and more confident. I get the sense that he will develop into a steady double double with the scoring moving up to the 16 a game range maybe more.

    Rudy Gay has the respect of his teammates and is a natural leader. We can easily see he can be part of a championship team.

    Hopefully the coaching staff will work hard at developing TRoss cause when he is on he adds such an exciting element to the game and entertainment is a good thing.

    If the five games since the trade are any indication yes this team is going in the right direction and the five teams they've played will agree they are a different team than the Raptors of old. Could this core become good enough to compete in the playoffs?
    JV is a key part of that question and the jury is still out on Bargnani but yes I believe they could based on their play since the trade.

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