It’s #RRMailbag time. Keep in mind this is one person’s opinion on the questions, and by no means are we experts. We’re fans, exactly like you, so if you think you have a more informed answer, feel free to answer it in the comment section, which is what it’s there for. I am a little distracted writing this because I’m about to watch the Season 4 finale of Better Call Saul, and I have a strong feeling of what’s about to happen. Also, one of the RR forum drafts is happening, and I had no idea that there was a $200 limit to spending. I ended up with three players, about $12 left, and 7 roster spots to fill. Here’s the final team.
You can click on the tweet to see the actual tweet on Twitter.
Lineups are so matchup and form dependent that I’ve never felt it worth discussing who will start or come off the bench. One way of looking at it might be to see where the Raptors have a comparative advantage against other teams, and to ensure that we enhance and not lose that advantage. Say there are two options. Option 1: We start Siakam as you suggested and we face the other team’s “best” lineup. All other things being equal, our starters might be better than theirs by X. Option 2: We keep Siakam on the bench and he continues playing with our proven second unit. All other things being equal, our bench is better than their bench by Y. Now, if X > Y, then your idea makes complete sense. If Y > X, then it’s better Siakam comes off the bench. Again, all other things being equal. Right now, in my mind, Y > X.
Delon Wright has to be the answer here. There are three factors contributing to this: First, the Raptors are already deep at the ball-handling wing position, with players of similar/better skill-sets, e.g., Green, OG, FVV. If FVV builds on last season, Delon, as nice as he’s turning out to be, becomes surplus to requirements. Second, his contract expires at the end of the season and he’s due a big pay raise on his $2.5m/year. The Raptors will be reluctant to match any high number, considering they have to start thinking about paying guys who are further up their list, i.e., OG. Third, the Norm deal which averages to about $10m/year is blocking the money that, in hindsight, we probably should’ve paid to Wright. Unless we can offload Norm, the money tied up makes paying Wright difficult.
No. Lowry is a more dynamic player that gives you far more than DeMar. He’s a better defender, better shooter, and better ball-handler. Most of all, he’s able to complement other players better than DeMar did. Lowry doesn’t force you to design a particular kind of offense around him and doesn’t demand high usage. DeMar, from what we’ve seen so far, thrives when his usage is high. I’m sure that’ll change in San Antonio for the better, but given the Raptors context, Lowry is the better fit for them.
I got to go with the Charles Barkley 34s – Nike Air Max. Comfortable, very good ankle support, and light. A close second is the Scottie Pippen Nike Air Uptempo’s. It’s a classic.
Kawhi as MVP is definitely more likely. I think his usage is going to go through the roof, and if he’s fully fit, that weak East will benefit him more than JV. Though JV is leaner and meaner, there are still some legitimate questions on whether he’ll be able to stay on the court, and where he’ll fit in the offense. There’s no doubt we’ll see an improvement from him, but All-Star talk requires consistent minutes and point production, both of which have always been spotty. Kawhi just needs to do what he’s already done before, and against weaker opposition.
I find it more likely that Ibaka will see spurts off the bench than JV. Three main reasons: 1) the older Ibaka’s skill-set is more suited to the bench lineup (i.e., three-point shooting) which prefers an up-and-down affair, and JV hasn’t proven that he can be successful there, 2) JV can be used to establish a particular kind of style to start the game, and brings better rebounding, allowing the Raptors to stay in games early. This is especially important on the road. Yes, I understand facing GSW or someone, Ibaka’s versatility is a better fit, but on average, I feel JV’s better suited, 3) Ibaka is an older player (listed at 29, closer to 40) who needs his minutes managed more than JV.
Kawhi Leonard – Face: I wouldn’t be surprised if he secretly donated half his salary to tsunami victims.
Greg Monroe – Heel: Will punch you in the gut under the pretense of boxing out.
Danny Green – Heel: This was a tough one. I find Green to be a sneaky player who can get under your skin and annoy you until you flagrant foul him. I like him.
Chris Boucher – Face: He’s happy to be here, he’s not antagonizing anyone.
I don’t think Masai Ujiri “needs” to swing for the fences to have a shot at the NBA finals. Boston will be difficult, but there’s enough in the tank to overcome them, even when they’re on. The Raptors have the coveted playoff experience that has held them back in the past, and applying in a post-LeBrexit era should be energizing. Now, assuming things are going swimmingly and we’re planning for the Finals, it depends on who’s there to face us. If it’s the Rockets, not sure we need more than what we got. If it’s the Warriors, getting a guy like Jimmy Butler at the expense of half your bench might just be even returns at best. That’s a long way of saying, no. But Tim W made a an argument the other way which you might want to check.
A bit surprised. I think the Montreal link perhaps came into play when making this decision. It also depend on how the franchise sees the deep end of the bench. If it’s about player development, then you go with Boucher who is more of an unknown, and could actually draw somewhat of a crowd at the 905 with the Canada connection. If it’s about depth, then Moreland was a known quantity who could help you now. If JV, Ibaka, or Monroe get injured, this position could get playing time, which tells you how confident the Raptors were in Boucher. Another argument in the decision’s favor is that these spots should focus more on long-term gains/potential, and Boucher is the one with the highest potential ceiling (but also the lowest floor). I’m happy with the decision, adds a bit of flavor.
Maybe the NBA should just stop classifying people in five positions and just have Guards and Forwards to make things simpler. Offensively, of course he’d have a quickness advantage against bigger fours and given his jump-shooting, he’d probably kill them. However, can he defend bigger fours? Or better question, do you want him to spend energy defending bigger fours who are likely to wear him down? The Raptors have to use where the team is in a strong position to succeed, and that’s by exploit his skill by creating mismatches.
Two quick notes: First, if you’re looking for some Raptors merchandise, check out 47brand.ca who have some excellent selections. Second, if you’d like to a better experience reading RR, we now offer ad-free options.
The next #RRMailbag will be soon. Follow us on Twitter for that.