Bucks Down Tired Raptors, Just One More Game to Go

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Raptors 86, Bucks 93 – Box

It must be difficult to get yourself up for Game 81 of a 22-win season. Listening to the crowd for game 80, and assessing my own feelings while getting ready to cover game 81, I could definitely understand if the players for two non-playoff bound teams were performing at slightly below peak-levels tonight. The Bucks will finish ninth in the East, missing a golden opportunity to sneak into the playoffs with even just one hot streak, while the Raptors are down to roughly half a healthy roster and are in a battle for ping-pong balls.

As it is, the Raptors were also on the second night of a back-to-back, a day after their flight was delayed getting into Milwaukee. With only eight warm bodies ready to play, only one of whom played on opening night back on October 27, tonight’s version of the Raptors were far different from what we thought we’d see this year. Solomon Alabi, Joey Dorsey, and Julian Wright were forced into action; Ed Davis has since returned from injury; Jerryd Bayless, Alexis Ajinca, and James Johnson have since been acquired. Meanwhile, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson, Jose Calderon, Reggie Evans, Sonny Weems, Linas Kleiza, and Leandro Barbosa have been bitten by injuries, while Jarrett Jack and David Andersen have moved on.

Add up that kind of in-season roster turmoil and that many inuries, as well as what is one of the league’s youngest and least experienced rostesr, and it’s no wonder that the Raptors will finish with the third worst record in franchise history (behind their first and third seasons). While I’ll save the post-season poetics for after game 82 on Wednesday, this will be my last post-game of the year. I finish with a record of 1-12 in games I cover, and after covering 12 all-too-similar losses it feels like we’ve all rehashed the same game-by-game topics, so forgive me if my analysis is a little forward-thinking. Watching last night’s game, I found myself evaluating the Raptors strictly in terms of what they can do for us in the future.

Speaking of the future, this loss coupled with a Wizards win (over the Celtics, who curiously rested their four best players even though they still had a chance to secure the number two seed in the East) should help the Raptors’ bid for the third best lottery odds this offseason. They are now one game ahead of the Wizards in the inverse standings. The Wizards close out against a Cavaliers team that will actually be looking to lose – they beat the Pistons tonight and lost their tie with Minnesota for the best lottery odds – while the Raptors host the Miami Heat, who will still need the win to guarantee themselves home court advantage in a potential Finals matchup with the Lakers and Mavericks. The importance of that can’t really be overstated, since Heat/Lakers is a popular Finals pick, and it seems completely reasonable that such a series would stretch to seven games. I’m not saying that’s my prediction, but it’s a reason for the Heat to beat the Raptors, securing us the third best lottery odds in the process.

Jerryd Bayless was my main focus when watching tonight. When he was first acquired, I jumped the gun in claiming he should take on the starting role to better acclimate himself with the young starting unit and begin to build chemistry for the future. I was under the impression the Raptors were still shopping Jose Calderon, and stupidly believed Jose’s early season struggles were legitimate. I admit, I spoke far too soon. Tonight he took over the scoring load in the second half, but it completely unravelled late in the fourth when Bayless committed three straight turnovers (two lost balls and an offensive foul), allowing Brandon Jennings to go on a personal 6-0 run. To that point Bayless had outplayed him, but in the end it was probably a wash, or an edge to Jennings on efficiency alone (7/16 for 21 points versus Jerryd’s 7/20 for 20).

Still, people have been impressed with Bayless’ play when forced into the starting role. Over 13 starts, he’s averaged roughly 18-4-7 with 2.5 turnovers, 47% shooting, and 5.5 free throw attempts per game. Jose, for comparison’s sake, averages 9.8-3-8.9 with 2.2 turnovers, 44% shooting, and just 1.5 free throw attempts per game. Jose shoots 37% from long range, an advantage over Bayless’ 34%. The numbers clearly illustrate two very different point guards; Jose is much more of a distributor and facilitator, while Bayless is a score-first creator. Both roles have their place, and Bayless is a marginally better defender, but despite the gaudy scoring numbers I don’t think I’ve seen enough from Bayless that I would skip a high-upside point guard in the draft. It will probably be a case where the Raptors take whoever they feel is the best player at their pick, regardless of position, and work out any roster imbalances afterward.

Ed Davis continued to show improvement and an ability to get over the rookie wall he hit a few weeks back. His 15-and-11 tonight pushes his April averages to roughly 14-and-9, and he has shot 60% for the month. Lately he seems less hesitant with his jumpshot, although that only holds true as far as the free throw line. It’s easy to forget that Davis missed a ton of key development time with his wrist injury in college, and then the injury that kept him out of training camp and the start of the season. With a full offseason of unrestricted work on his game, I’m excited about what tools Davis will be able to add offensively, and what size he might be able to add to help on the defensive end.

DeMar DeRozan had one of his worst games of late, shooting 4/14 but getting to the line 10 times to finish with 17 points. While I understand that most of his statistical improvement has been in the “points per game” column only, I couldn’t believe that he didn’t even get a mention in John Hollinger’s Most Improved article (he named 16 players). DeRozan’s PER has improved from 12.58 to 14.64, an appreciable jump considering his usage rate has ballooned from 16.2 to 21.1 (it is generally difficult to maintain efficiency as usage increases). His points-per-40 minutes has been the key driver, moving to 19.8, a near-elite level. If he can add any semblance of a three-point shot to his game, he’ll be considered an elite scorer at this time next season. Of course, contributions in other areas would also be appreciated.

Joey Dorsey was the only other player who differentiated himself tonight, grabbing a ridiculous 20 rebounds to go with 10 points. While that’s a phenomenal stat line, he had 10 offensive boards and shot just 3/12. He could have just as easily had a 16-16 game with a bit more touch around the rim. Dorsey should always have a place towards the end of an NBA bench as an extra big body, someone who can rebound and play tough, if not overly skilled, defense in the post. Whether that future is with the Raptors or not is yet to be seen, but it will likely depend on what direction the Raptors head in with the draft and with free agents Reggie Evans and Alexis Ajinca (and, I suppose, if they see anything at all in Solomon Alabi).

As for Ajinca and Alabi, I haven’t seen much from either that screams roster spot, but I guess both may have some upside. Ajinca has shown range but little willingness to play in the paint, while Alabi is obviously extremely raw and needs a good deal more seasoning.

I should be back sometime following the season with some more detailed long-term thoughts, but for now I’ll just say it’s been a pleasure covering 13 games for the site this year, 12 of them excruciating. This is one of the best communities of fans for any team on the internet, and one of the best writing teams to work with as well. Enjoy game 82 and what should be a phenomenal playoff season.

93 Comments

  1. A little harsh on Bayless? He played 43 minutes on a back-to-back with no discernible back-up PG. I’m surprised it took Jennings so long before he exploited Bayless. Kudos to the whole Raptors considering they were playing seven deep (I’m not counting Alabi, but then again, neither is Triano).

  2. Comments on Bayless was pretty dumb. He played well, considering the amount he’s played. Comments you make sometimes are really stupid. Our team played good. We tried hard and that’s all you can ask for. Encompass ALL aspects before dishing judgement. Oh, by the way, you article is a 2 out of 20. You suck, so you should be fired. Your stats suck.

    • I agree with the writers assesments of Bayless and if he was tired maybe he should just pass the ball as a pg usually does instead of feeling he has to force the issue which resulted in turnovers.

      Jerryd always gives a honest effort but he doesn’t need to be a hero. Just play your role and don’t force the issue.

    • In regards to bayless’ shooting percentage i itnhk his numbers woulf have been closer to 50 percent. the team puts bayless in alot of late clock sittuations. or end of the qtr jumpers. i counted 3 like that last night.

      • Bayless is the PG. If anyone puts the team in late-clock situations, it’s him. No excuses. And to his credit, he’s not making any for himself, either. Took the blame for the loss based on his 3 crucial TOs in the last few minutes.

  3. Thank God we went from that middle aged, middling talent of a roster to a bunch of youngsters. With the former, it’s really depressing when you don’t win – with the latter, at least there is hope.

    This year was fairly successful in reaching its goals. Lots of losses for a chance at a good draft pick, youth that was developed, no extra-large contracts to clog the cap. It’s exactly what needs to happen for a proper rebuild, let’s hope it proceeds with the proper focus and a bit of luck.

    • Disagree. I was looking for defensive improvement and it just didn’t happen. What is most disappointing is that the improvement didn’t even happen when one or both of Bargnani and Calderon weren’t on the floor, suggesting that this team has defensive holes all over the place.

      • It’s funny but I thought I noticed defensive improvement when Bargs and Jose were out even though Amir should have been shut down a few games earlier than he was. Even last night with Amir out and the back to back the defense looked a lot tougher in the paint than when Bargs and Jose play. Maybe the stats don’t back me up on that but I’m hoping they both come off the bench if a deal isn’t made to move them for next season. I’m loving a bench with them and Barbosa against any other bench in the league.

        • Just my thought, but maybe it’s the addition of Ed Davis in the starting lineup, and not the removal of Jose and Bargnani. Who knows?

          Maybe a starting front court of ED and Bargnani could be alright. We didn’t get to see enough of them together as a starting unit.

          • When Andrea has a decent defensive game, it is on the rare occasion that he puts in the extra effort to at least try and do the things a good defender does on a consistent basis. Most of the time it doesn’t matter who he is paired with in the front court they are looking at him with that look of resignation that he is hopelessly lost.
            Probably the best we can hope for is that a bell will go off in his head and he’ll become determined to win back the support of Raptor fans who feel so let down by his nonchalant attitude towards the weakest parts of his game. It’s not impossible that he becomes a better defender.
            Unfortunately I’m not sure he possesses the humility to even admit that part of his game sucks. Since his teens he has been given the star treatment and that has continued for the last five years as a Raptor. Instead of coddling him he needs a steady reminder that his 30 point games mean shit if his team doesn’t win.

          • Defense at this level has a high “trust” component. So far Bargs has rarely shown a commitment (I shall pass on whether this is purposeful or incapacity or whatever) to defend. It doesnt really matter who the interior partner is in this matter. After a few games of Bargnani missing his assignment/not moving/helping/blocking out/anemic shot blocking effort/not rebounding…ED shall get burned by his own mark in covering for Bargs. So, in effect this becomes a team/trust issue leading to a breakdown in team effort on defense. This is what I fear. A centre in the NBA cannot be absolutely deficient on defense. I cant think of a single successful team where this was possible especially since the rule against hand checking of guards was made illegal.

        • That would over 20 million coming off the bench in the form of two players…not as bad as one player in arenas coming off the bench in Orlando, but the Raptors can’t afford to do that.

          • I thought it was the over all payroll that determines whether or not you can afford something. If you’re getting great value from the starters you can put more into the bench.

  4. It was funny listening to Matt and Jack argue about “volume shooters” vs. “chuckers” when discussing Jennings.

    Then Jennings ends up outscoring Bayless on less attempts…

    • I’ve lost consdierable respect for that broadcasting duo this year. By their comments you’d swear the Raps were on the way to the playoffs.

      Listening to Jack tell me about how the Raps with a high pick (in a very weak draft if Barnes doesn’t commit to it) and salary cap space (which they won’t use including the ‘TPE asset’) are poised to move upward next year is laughable.

      Not the biggest Leo fan around but at least he tried to provide a balanced perspective this year.

      • After buying Roger’s sportspak and listening to just about every NBA home broadcast, I gained a newfound respect for Matt and Jack.

        There are some truly awful duos out there.

        I agree with you though, the endless, mindless homerism bothers me too.

  5. Watching the game, Raptors up for most of it, I was thinking that it might just be best to end up losing this game, but I couldn’t muster up the resolve to really hope that they would.

    Intellectually, I understand the upside of losing in this situation – yes, tanking (I hate that f’ing word) – but I can never get my head around it … or really, even understand how others so easily can. But that’s just me … and my own honk-ness, I guess.

    Anyway, the fatigue that the Raptors were fighting through caught up with them and that took care of that. But I started thinking how too often, I begin to hate this time of the year, right about now, when the end is nigh. Cutting slack all over the place, I even thought how Leo is pretty good when he’s doing the in-between stuff with Rod Black (it might be his real niche … if only someone there would realize) … and even Matt sounded good to me last night. I’ll watch the playoffs and enjoy them for what they are, but I’ll so miss having Raptors games to look forward to. Next year can’t come soon enough.

    • It’s nice to look forward to next season, until it comes and we realize how bad we suck again.

      I just hate having to look to the future, instead of enjoying the moment.

    • Hey at least we have playoff basketball and hockey.

      After that, it’s the long dark tea time of the sportsfan’s soul.

      Unless you’re 80 years old and into baseball.

  6. According to Mike Ganter:

    “If the Raptors finish alone in third worst, they would have a 156 ping-pong balls in the drum of the 1,000 total. If they finish tied, they would get the average of the total chances of the third- and fourth-place teams combined which would work out to 137 chances of the 1,000 ping-pong balls.

    The Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers will fight it out for the worst and next-to-worst record with the worst record earning that team a 25% shot at the first pick.

    The only combination that will see the Raptors tie for third worst record on Wednesday is a Raptors win over Miami and a Washington loss to Cleveland. Any other combination leaves the Raptors with 156 ping-pong balls.”

    Is this true? It was mentioned somewhere that we’ve already clinched the 3rd worst record. But we split the season head-to-head matchup 2-2, and we have a better division record than Washington, but Washington has a better conference record. If we win on Wednesday, and Washington loses, we both finish with 23-59 records. What happens then?

    • I’d like to see the Raps beat Miami, and Washington to beat Cleveland. Ends the season on a high-note (I guess lol), and secures sole possession of 3rd pick. Also screws up Miami’s chance of possible home court advantage in the finals. That would be the perfect scenario.

    • Ganter is right, there is no “tiebreaker” nonsense that you’ve been hearing, that doesn’t apply to draft positioning. If there’s a tie with us and the Wizards, both teams average out to 137 chances of the 1,000 ping-pong balls. T-Wolves and Portland tied for 6th worst record in the 2007, and they averaged it out.

      Basically, right now, Raps have a 15.6% chance at 1st pick, and the Wizards have an 11.9 chance at first. Now, if we end up with identical records, average those (add both numbers and divide by two) it works out to 13.75% chance at first pick for BOTH teams, or 137 ping pong balls.

      All in all, a tie isn’t exactly the end of the world, just decreases the chance by 2%. That being said, I’d still like the Raps to have 3rd all to themselves.

  7. I totally agree with the comments regarding Bayless. A good basketball team needs both type of PG’s just to give a different look, a different tempo to the “enemy’. The way Raps roster is constructed, at least for the next year, we will still need Calderon to facilitate an offense which will be short of people who can create their own shots. In my opinion, we will be better off to adress the 3 and 5 spot problems before PG, and more than anything we will need to adress the “defense concept” because we have holes all over. Somebody was mentioning that it’s different if a young team loses compared to a middle aged team. Let’s not forget that in 3-4 years ( when if we are very lucky everybody will be ready for stardom) these young guns will become 24-25; if that particular season is a bad one, than what?…recycle?

    • It’s probably a safe bet to assume that 10-12 of the 15 players on this roster wont even be on the team in 4 years.

    • I tihnk its best to acquire a center through free agency than through the draft at this point. It takes too long to develop a center and we need help inside NOW so that our youngens learn how to play with a decent post presence as opposed to having to adjust their games to one in 3-4 years.

      • I agree with you 100%. What I was trying to say is that doesnt matter which way we go, we should adress the center and SF problem first ( most preferably thru free agency). I’m also not saying dont draft a PG if he is the best player available ; however, if that will be the case, we should think long and hard which PG will keep because I dont think we need 2 redundant Point guards. ( sometimes the best 2 players is not giving you the best combo possible to run a team; all depends about the pieces you ahve around)

      • that sounds like a nice idea on paper, but who exactly would fill this role? Tyson chandler and Marc Gasol would be nice, but it would be extremely difficult to pry them from their teams who see the same value (probably higher) in those players than we do. Personally I think the only way we can get a centre who will be part of the core is to draft him (difficult given the high bust rate)

        I wouldn’t be against bringing in a veteran centre to play limited minutes, and set a good example for a young centre if we draft him. (Im thinking Erik Dampier would fit the bill)

          • Yeah we’ll get Leo to interview him. : )

            Joking aside, Dalembert has an attitude problem and would be a cancer on a team whose chemistry is one of its few strengths.

            • Couldnt agree more. Although I acknowledge the need for an interior defensive presense – Dalembert sucks and has a brutal attitude. In addition, given his $12 mm contract for this year, not sure if hed be willing to take the ~$6 mm (or less) that hes actually worth ..

    • I completely agree. Needs are: 1) new coaching staff that addresses defence 2) True center who can defend the paint and rebound 3) SF who can shoot the J and defend.

      Picking up on anything yet? DEFEND, DEFEND, DEFEND

      • People put too much of the defensive woes on the coaching staff.

        Surely they are partially to blame, but you need on-court leadership to manage the defense and make others accountable, and this team doesn’t have that.

        If this team had KG (leaving everything else the same), the defense would improve exponentially. One player can make all the difference in basketball. Unfortunately, those guys don’t grow on trees.

  8. Now I hate using this comparison because Bayless IS NOT at the level of these players I will mention, but when Tony Parker/Gilbert Arenas(BEFORE his surgery) was initially drafted and played for their respective teams, the initial thought was they were not a “REAL” pg, and well if you look at them a couple of years later(3-5), Parker is a lead guard in championship team and Arenas is being hailed as an assassing, agent zero, blah… blah… So why can’t Toronto fans just be patient with a pg who can actually create his own shot, we haven’t had one in YEARS!

    • Parker was 19 years old, lightning quick, and had plenty of veterans surrounding him to help him ease into his role. The Spurs were an already established champsionship team when Parker joined them.

      Arenas isn’t even a PG.

      I just don’t want management getting into the mindset of not drafting Kyrie (if he’s available) because we already have Bayless. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to assume that Bayless can be our quarterback longterm.

      • Irving did not play much, but at the same time is being alluded as a franchise savior SMH.

        LOL just thinking about the draft what would be the general reaction if the T-Wolves got the 1st pick and chose Irving

        • The thing about the T-Wolves too is that all of the PGs they drafted suck. I loved Rubio, but he’s having a HORRIBLE season-think poor man’s Jennings-this year. Worrying at the very least.

          Lawson, the PG they gave away makes an NBA record 10 3s in a row in a rout.

          They could of had a very, very, very, very nice core of Curry, DeRozan and Kevin Love. They were SO close to it.

          They’ll probably pick Irving if they could though.

          • Funny if they pick him and they still suck ballz. Say if he did have great stats for rookie of the year, but win only 15 games again. Would you blame the player or the shit-system of Minnesota, Glen Taylor, Dumbass Kahn, and Rob Babcock?

      • As little confidence as you might have in BC – i dont think there is any chance that he (or anyone else in raps nation) is going to think we should pass on Kyrie because they think Bayless is the PG of the future. I think JB has some potential .. but lets be clear, hes probably 7th or 8th on the depth chart here .. you dont pass on top 3 picks for anyone who fits that mold ..

        • I agree that Bayless is probably 7th or 8th on the depth chart, but the flip side of the coin tells Colangelo that Bayless is much better as a starter, than coming off the bench.

          I’m not sure how much confidence I have in Colangelo, but if we miraculously win the lottery, I can’t say with any certainty that Colangelo would take Kyrie over Williams, given Bayless’ recent play.

          • I certainly hope you’re wrong and that no one would draw any strong conclusions from a few weeks of play in what have been (primarily) meaningless games ..

            • I only need to look as recently as the 2008-09 season, when the Raptors went on a meaningless 9-4 run to end a forgettable 33-49 season, for Colangelo to think to himself, “Hey, we’re really good! All we need is one more piece to put us over the top. I wonder what Hedo is up to right now…”.

  9. this team cannot attract top tier american talent. we can attract top tier euro talent. we can attract top tier american talent through the draft although with contractual bindings, then they leave when free of their shackles and bindings. we have a minority portion of the fanbase so inferior that they just yearn for american ballers to love us and profess their every love for us and our city. many of these fans also bought all chris bosh’s bullshit and bought his dvd first ink. they talk shit about the euro content on this squad and bash bargs every chance they get whether it be justified or not. All of us need to embrace whatever talent we can get over here from europe because thats our ADVANTAGE. euro’s feel the same way about the states as Americans feel about Canada. thats our advantage. so to all those lamenting all things euro be carefull what you wish for or were gonna end up the sad sack timberwolves or bucks or even the pistons. teams that nobody wants to play on.

    • Let me paraphrase what you just said: “blah, blah, blah, blah blah, blah, blah”

      Do you honestly think Pau Gasol would rather play in Toronto than LA? How about Dirk, or Tony Parker? European players don’t hate America, and American players don’t hate Canada. Besides, the Euroleagues aren’t a hidden gem that only Colangelo and Gherardini have access to.

      Aside from money, there’s only one thing that matters when attracting free agents….WINNING! Once we start winning, the (note-worthy) free agents will come.

    • vc and bosh both signed contract extensions once they were “free of their shackles and bindings” so explain that one. I found so many things wrong with your “rant” and if you really feel that way and aren’t trolling, I pity you.

    • “euro’s feel the same way about the states as Americans feel about Canada.”

      Wrong. Euros general negativity about Americans is cultural/socio-political. Americans negative feelings about Canada are generally based on ignorance.

    • Didn’t CB re-sign in TDot? Didn’t VC re-sign in TDot?

      Many American ballers that can’t make it in the NBA go over to Europe/International teams to play pro ball- recognize.

      If the Rap’s are a good team players will want to play here but with BC & Jay lying on CB (saying he quite on team, no leadership) after he left the TDot the Rap’s reputation among NBA players is not good as palyers talk amongst themselves.

      Tyson Chandler, one of the best NBA big men in relation to defense, was going to come here w/ no problems until the deal fell through.

      In the end money talks, bullchit walks- build it and they will come.

      • I highly doubt the Raptors rep among players suffered from the Bosh thing. Bosh himself seems to have a worse rep among players than the Raptors franchise. He’s seen as a soft crybaby by a lot of the more vocal players. If that represents the majority view, his treatment by management won’t have much effect on other players who might consider signing with TO.

        And I know you hate BC and Triano, but what they said about Bosh after he left weren’t lies — they were opinions based on appearances. Did he or didn’t he quit? I don’t know for sure. I can say, though, that he was never the leader TO envisioned. They provided every opportunity for him to become that leader, and he never did. Some of his teammates have already confirmed this fact, to the point of saying Bosh was actually sort of reclusive and quiet — the polar opposite of what a young team needs from its leader.

        I do agree, though, that the main factor in attracting veteran free agents is winning. Until then, the team can still attract younger free agents looking to prove themselves, and that’s a good thing in a rebuilding phase.

        • BC isn’t widely respected by players League wide- bank on it.

          Turk talked a bit about the Rap’s Front Office funny style ways as well.

          None of the players (Bargs, Turk, Jack, Jose, Weems, DeMar) questioned in the media supported that CB had quit on the team last season or lacked leadership abilities as BC & Jay put forth in the media after CB left for Miami- yet BC & Jay wanted CB back in the TDot- do the full math not the pr spun half.

          CB may not have been a really vocal person but I believe that he talked to teammates and used his on court play, efforts to lead as well.

          Much more than Bargnani did as Barg’s flat out quit on the Rap’s after the All Star break this season.

          The Rap’s have missed the playoffs the past 3 season under BC & Jay after Sam was fired at 8-9.

          Rebuild? Rebuilding from what? Rebuild is just a BC pr spin on losing games with a purpose- recognize.

          A true Raptor rebuild is getting rid of BC, Gheradini, Jay, Embry, Bargnani & Jose.

          • 1. Sorry, I’m not banking on your rhetoric re: BC’s rep across the league. That would be irresponsible of me.

            2. Turk? Turk?? You’re taking his opinion on the Raps front office? I think our discussion could end here.

            3. More than a few of those players certainly HAVE made statements that implicitly questioned Bosh’s leadership qualities and commitment to the team. Weems in particular was quite candid about it.

            4. You can believe what you want, but I’ll believe the players first.

            5. I never mentioned Bargnani.

            6. Rebuilding is not spin. It is inevitable in professional sports. It’s happening in Toronto right now, just look. Whether or not that rebuild is proceeding to your liking is immaterial.

            7. Keep on keepin’ on with your key messages. And you talk about “spin”…………

  10. Bayless should have been starting 20-25 games ago to ge ta better read on his consistencies & tendencies over a larger sample size as end of the season games can be fool’s gold in relation to stats & playing abilities.

    The thing about Bayless is what he does best- score, Barbosa does only better.

    The Rap’s current pg depth is laughable with Jose the Spanish X Ray being an injury waiting to happen backed by Bayless & Barbosa (a scoring guard). With Jack the Rap’s had an 82 game a year player that the team could count on be ready to play now they have a quagmire at the point w/ JuJu & JJ taking over as point forwards during games.

    This draft isn’t that deep on pg’s either as after Irving, Knight (if he declares) & Walker it all depends on what a team likes in a pg.

    The Rap’s could have potentially selected someone like spark plug pg Isaiah Thomas (University of Washington) late in the 1st round with the Miami pick that they traded away for JJ.

  11. In the “What do you think of the Raptors’ young prospects?” poll, more than half of voters think we have a chance to be good, and 20% think the future is bright.

    Are these the same voters who thought we’d make the playoffs this year?

    • The Raptors do have a chance to be good next season. Do you think everyone who thought the Raptors would be in the 20-30 wins this year thinks the Raps will suck next year?

        • New Orleans, Houston, Philly – 14 through 16 in the NBA as of today. Those are the middle of the road teams. Are they “good”? Depends on your definition. At least two of them are playoff teams (and Houston’s in the West). Gotta crawl before you can walk…

        • So what is the point of your post? Is it that you think you’re so knowledgeable while most of the fans on the site don’t have a clue? Why don’t you just tell us how the standings will look after next season and then we won’t have to go through the trouble of playing the games.

          • My point is that casual fans in Toronto exaggerate the potential of above-average or good young players, to the point of blind belief. This is damaging and problematic for several reasons:

            1) it allows MLSE to foist marketing on us (e.g. Young Guns), this drives tickets sales for a team that the rest of the league laughs at
            2) we don’t commit to a true rebuild (trading Bargs or Jose for picks) because “greatness is only a few years away” (hint: it took even MJ and LeBron 3-4 years to start winning)
            3) the best we can hope for is mediocrity from players who have good numbers on a poor team. In truth most of our prospects would not start for the majority of NBA teams.

            I’m not saying I have the answers, but I will say that 75% of the people who answered that poll are wrong, and that by being wrong they support many of the things that keep this franchise in the doldrums.

            I understand that optimism unfettered by fact or history is just the way of the world. But I don’t have to like it.

            • If you read it again you’ll see the points you just tried to make weren’t in the post I commented on.
              As far as your new post goes, to blame the quality of of a sports franchise on the optimism or blind belief of casual fans seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

            • “by being wrong they support many of the things that keep this franchise in the doldrums.”

              This isn’t a political game. Management isn’t reading polls on RR and determining how they run the team based on that. Come on. There are fans with blind hope supporting every team in every sport. It has no impact on how the franchise is run.

              • You’re right, MLSE doesn’t give a crap about RR, nor should they, but management does keep an eye on the gate and apparel sales. Blind optimism here is reflected there on a much larger and profitable scale. To me, that’s a bad thing.

                If you’re a business owner with a product that’s inferior to others in its class, yet sells well, what’s the impetus for you to change? With MLSE at the helm, we’ll be just like the Maple Leafs, content with making the playoffs.

                Maybe this isn’t a factor, maybe Toronto is just too large of a market for dissatisfaction to register at the …. register. Then again, if 75% of fans are positive about the future, maybe there isn’t enough dissatisfaction at all.

                Or maybe I’m wrong. I’m clearly in the minority on that poll. But frankly, after winning one playoff round in 15 years, I wonder how anyone can be that optimistic.

                I don’t want to seem like a fairweather fan, I watch almost every Raptor game, and lots of basketball beyond that, but based on what I know about basketball, and the prodigious talent (and depth) I see around the league (nevermind the developmental timeline of teams) I don’t understand where people get such a sunny attitude, at least for the next 3-5 years.

                And realistically, for some time after that.

                Writing this makes me wish Carter had made that last-second shot in Philly.

    • What did you vote for then? I’d like to hear your opinion. Do you think that all our young prospects are crappy and we should blow up the team?

  12. Raptors writers and bloggers should stick to hockey a sport you know well. I know more about basketball than Blake Murphy. This
    goofball should not be commenting as someone in the know! Too many writers for the Raptors Republic are truly clueless when it comes to basketball.

    Here’s the truth folks. Jay is a terrible terrible coach. How this idiot has lasted this long is shocking. Colangelo is complicent in this years mess. Jay should have given the reps from day one to Bayless. Calderon is not going to take this team anywhere. This team was not going to go anywhere in the first place this year.
    Bayless has serious potential but he is young. You have to give a player like him the minutes. Jay/Colangelo blew it big time here.

    As for the draft.. For once the Raptors need to think and draft the best and safest player available. If they do….it will not be a guard.

    • If you really do know as much as you say, why don’t YOU write a blog. It’s fine to criticize, but until you are willing to put step up to the plate, you’re just blowing smoke. You may not agree with what they say, but they’re at least putting themselves out there, instead of sniping from the stands.

    • Jerryd, is that you, you sly fox? Trying to get more PT for next year by posting on a fan forum — you’re a bad, bad man!

    • Bayless wasn’t on the team on day 1. He joined us in late November.

      Bayless is a backup playing for his third team. I guess the Trailblazers and Hornets are idiots too. Also, replacing a starting PG with a newly traded backup is not a good idea for any team.

      Don’t call Republic writers idiots. It’s crass.

      And it’s complicit. Not complicent. As in ‘your English teacher was complicit in stunting your writing skills because they recognized how poorly informed and crudely opinionated you were at a young age’.

    • I heard about him, apparently he put on a show at the Nike Hoops summit record the first triple double in history with 12 points 11 rebounds and 10, yes 10 blocks.

      6’9, 243lbs, 7’7 wingspan, it’s too bad he’ll probably be around 15-20th pick on the draft board, or possibly later, he’s only 18 and still a bit raw. Scouts are very high on him, I think he’ll do very well in the NBA, his athleticism is off the charts, and they think he’ll develop his skill set. A name to watch out for for sure.

    • thats the best part of the draft, hearing how guys who go 50th are the steal of the draft or are game changers.

    • Good question. Tore up the hoops summitt on the international squad last weekend. Apparently his age is ‘undetermined’ at this point but they say he’s a B. Wallace type. The limited footage they have of him would give cause for that comparison.

      • I watched the Hoops Summit game and he was a beast in the paint (US team had no real bigs) but he has no offensive game outside of put backs & dunks.

        Could be another Ibaka type or another Solomon type- time will tell. But he is a currently 2-3 year project- as is.

        Plus dude does look a litle older than 18 (21-23 imo).

        I just see Bismack Biyambo as the most likely pre draft hype riser into the Lottery especially if more players (Barnes, Sullinger, PJones) pull out of the draft before May 8th.

  13. Please: Rick Adelman to Toronto NOW!

    P.S.= I didn’t know the Young Gunz might get the excuse to have gotten tired! At 20-22 years old?

    • I’ve always like Rick Adelman to come here, as he has been one of the most successful in working with Euro guys. We could have been 2002 Kings Jr.
      garbo?=divac
      Rupaul=cwebb
      crapono/bargs=punjabi peja
      AP/joey/jamario= doug christie
      caldy=bibby

      Too bad, we stuck with sam fucking mitchell. yes, we did win 47 games, and the atlantic division; only because with the exception of the nets, the atlantic divsion was shit. that’s why in the playoffs, mikki moore looked like shaq.

      but i don’t think he would want to come here. and right now, the coach ain’t the problem.

  14. The coach isn’t the problem?lol

    Jay aka Mr No Accountability is the problem as he seemingly does whatever BC dictates ie Company Man. it’s good foer a GM & coach to be on the same page but when the GM is writing & reading that page ie BC consensus, then you have a front office svengali calling all the shots via the coach who implements those thoughts inot reality.

    Jay has had 2 training camps to clean up the Rap’s defense and has failed. it’s time for Jay to go- fucking relax a bit.

  15. The coach isn’t the problem?lol

    Jay aka Mr No Accountability is the problem as he seemingly does whatever BC dictates ie Company Man, it’s good for a GM & coach to be on the same page but when the GM is writing & reading that page ie BC consensus, then you have a front office svengali calling all the shots via the coach who implements those thoughts into reality.

    Jay has had 2 training camps to clean up the Rap’s defense and has failed. it’s time for Jay to go- fucking relax a bit.

    *Edited

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