The Vicious Cycle

There's a trend here.

From an X’s and O’s point of view, the thing that sticks out for me from this weekend is Philly’s decision to have a guy guard the inbounder when they knew the Celtics were going to looking to throw it in the back and run the clock out. In that situation I’m a believer that you get all your guys in either a deny position or a fouling position. Granted, Philly did have a foul to give so it was going to be tough to get the ball back for a chance to tie with three seconds left, but still, in theory you don’t guard the inbounder there. IMHO.

On the Raptors front, things are dead quiet as you can tell by glancing at the Latest Web Articles section. The next date of significance is the lottery on May 30th, which will provide the Raptors with a sense of what players they should be bringing in for workouts. A nice enough piece speculated on some options the Raptors might have if they get creative with the draft. If I know my Bryan Colangelo, he’s no good at that so there goes that. I expect him to draft a shooting guard with the pick because we got nothing there right now.

I sense it’s going to be a positional pick, which could be a mistake as this humble servant of yours believes that the Raptors definitely have to go the “best player available” route and not the “needs” route, so if it happens that Jared Sullinger is available, you grab him and figure out your options. Targeting positions in the draft is risky with higher picks, because you’re essentially acquiring fit at the expense of talent. Looking at the draft from a position point of view, there are arguably needs at the 1, 2, and 3 positions, leaving the Raptors with a range of options. If you subscribe to the theory that the 4 is up for grabs too, you’re not alone on that either and here’s why.

Remember all those years we spent building around Chris Bosh, knowing fully well that he’s not actually a centerpiece to build around? We kept plugging away, drafting around him, signing free-agents around him and it never quite worked. We hoped that he would somehow transform into the player we wanted him to be, when his ceiling had long been hit and he was what he was. We wasted five years in that process, knowing deep-down that it was a fruitless proposition to begin with. Now, here’s what I don’t want: I don’t want the Raptors to repeat the same mistake with Andrea Bargnani.

We drafted Bosh to play alongside Carter, hoping it would be the combo to take us forward. We then drafted Bargnani to play alongside Bosh, thinking that was the answer. We then drafted DeRozan to play alongside Bargnani…in each combination, there’s been a lead man and a secondary option. Batman and Robin type deal, except it’s more like Beavis and Butthead, but you get the point. In every mini-rebuild the Raptors have undertaken, they’ve carried forward a remnant of the past which has more often than not been, well, overrated.

Back to the point about the PF also being open. The main argument for that is that if the Raptors truly want to turn a new leaf they should shred the tie to the past, and if that’s not feasible (and it might not be), management need not make the mistake of portraying Bargnani to the fans and to themselves as something he’s not: a franchise guy. We’re still looking for our franchise guy, it doesn’t look like it’s DeRozan, and the hope has shifted to Jonas Valanciunas. Casey recently said that at the worst he’s a Joakim Noah, so we have a high enough starting point for him. In two years, though, he better be the clear-cut best player on this team, or this vicious cycle only bears to repeat.