Morning Coffee – Thu, Sep 23

Training camp roster finalized | Formless and fierce | 3on3 Tournament coming, signup (couple spots left!)

We still have a few slots left for our 3-on-3 Tournament. The event will be on Sunday November 28 at Mattamy Athletic Centre (Yonge/College) at 1 PM. Registration is now open with limited spots available.

The Details:

What: Survivor Series – The 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament

When: November 28, 2021, at 1:00 PM

Where: Mattamy Athletic Centre – 50 Carlton St, Toronto, ON M5B 1J2 (venue website, Google Maps)

Cost: The cost per team is $150

How to Sign Your Team Up

1. Send $150 e-transfer to
2. Buy the tickets on Eventbrite here
3. Send money using $RAPS coin here

Koreen: Raptors’ formlessness is a feature in short term, but a problem to solve in future – The Athletic

So, the Raptors are formless, or positionless, or chaotic. The point of such a roster-building strategy is obvious: maximize versatility, flexibility and, maybe most importantly, unpredictability. That last point is key when you don’t have an efficient, high-usage star: In the absence of such a player, you want to keep an opposing defence as uncertain as possible about where the ball is designed to go, allowing for the type of misdirection that can benefit such a roster.

However, even a Jackson Pollock painting requires a canvas, which is where the rub might come for the Raptors this season. If you do not have an offensive creator who grades out in the A range, almost everyone on the floor has to be a B to achieve respectability in the half court. In other words, they have to be triple threats, with both physical and processing skills to dribble, shoot or pass. You might even want to add a fourth skill there: screen setting.

That is where the Raptors have a problem in the short term.

• After shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 29.7 percent from 3-point range last season, there are legitimate concerns about Siakam’s shooting. The real questions come with his handling, though, which has looked too loose for a top-scoring option.

• VanVleet is the closest thing to a triple threat on the roster, although his height undercuts both his shooting and passing in the paint.

• Year by year, Anunoby is inching closer to 20 percent usage — or exactly a one-fifth share of the offence when he is on the floor — so it is not surprising he has a way to go as both a dribbler and passer. There are clear signs for hope on both fronts, but the sample remains small.

• Until we see otherwise, Gary Trent Jr. is a shooter and little else.

• Barnes is certainly unproven, but shooting is his biggest weakness, and the skill the Raptors will need to work on the most to get him to a level where the team does not have to contort itself to make it work. The discussion about whether or not his shot is “broken” is merely a case of semantics, but the results will need to come to make the most of his very real plus skills as a passer.

We can go further down the roster, with Goran Dragic and Chris Boucher figuring to be prominent parts of the solution so long as they are on the team, but the five players listed above represent the foundation of what the Raptors are building, or at least the players to whom they’ve meaningfully committed. The Raptors’ path to contention, then, becomes multifold:

1. Develop those players’ weaknesses to the point where they are at least passable, and hopefully stronger than that.

2. Turn relative strengths into exceptional skills.

3. Maybe package some of those players, their value improved, for a player whose playmaking skills allow for the Raptors to get away with using players who thrive in narrower roles.

4. Failing success on that front, hit the developmental jackpot either on the current roster or in the future.

Finding the real Raptors – by Tom Ziller – Good Morning It’s Basketball

Here’s what Vegas thinks: according to Action Network, Toronto’s 2021-22 over/under win total is 37. This would be the equivalent of a 6-game improvement, but still not enough to get to .500. It’s simultaneously a vote of confidence that 2020-21 was an aberration and the low point for this core and a vote of non-confidence in this core’s ability to compete at the top of the East. It is a determination that no, Toronto is not as bad as they looked last season but no, Toronto is not exactly *good* either.

It’s also a vote for regression to the mean. Bad teams tend to have higher over/unders than previous season win totals and good teams tend to have lower over/unders than previous season win totals. This is not always the case, but it’s a good rule of thumb. To wit, the two teams with the biggest positive differential between 2021-22 win total over/under line and 2020-21 wins (adjusted for season length) are Minnesota and Houston, two of last season’s worst teams.

Here’s what I think about Toronto going into this season: the Raptors are clearly no longer a 60-win team. But that performance is closer to the truth for this group than last season’s disaster. Lowry is amazing, a true winning player. But when considering the impact of his absence you can’t ignore that he was around last season, too. “Without Lowry this whole thing falls apart.” No, it fell apart with Lowry there. To me, that speaks to a broader problem with last season specifically.

The center position suffered enormous downgrades from 2019-20 to 2020-21, as well: Ibaka and Gasol both left, and Aron Baynes stepped in. He was one of the most disappointing free agent acquisitions of last season, period. Boucher, Achiuwa and Khem Birch are not Gasol and Ibaka, but there’s no way Nick Nurse will give them a long enough thread to play as poorly as Baynes did last season. If Masai Ujiri thinks this is a playoff team and the center position is as much a disaster as it was a year ago, chances are he’ll do something, despite his famous patience.

One thing NBA analysts and fans have trouble doing is properly rating defenses. Toronto should have or could have a spectacular defense. Siakam, if engaged, is superlative on that end. VanVleet is tough. Anunoby is an All-Defense competitor. Barnes has shown real promise. Nurse knows how to coach an elite defense. If you’re a top-5 defense — a believable goal, to me, they were No. 2 two years back, albeit with Lowry, Gasol and Ibaka — then even an average offense will get you above .500. The Raptors had an average offense last season, despite everything. VanVleet, good scorer. Siakam, good scorer. Anunoby, great shooter who should get more looks. Trent was a clear offensive downgrade from Powell last season — far less efficient — but nevertheless, he’s a good scorer. Flynn is a potential surprise rising star here. VanVleet and Siakam will be required to move the ball more to get better looks for their teammates — to me, that’s where Toronto will miss Lowry the most, in setting up scoring opportunities for others — but it’s doable. VanVleet and Siakam are good and willing playmakers.

If that’s what Toronto gets out of the team this season — elite or near-elite defense, average offense — that’s a team closer to the 60-win equivalent squad of 2019-20 than the 31-win equivalent squad of last year.

Toronto Raptors sign Svi Mykhailiuk and Reggie Perry, bring camp roster to 20 – Raptors HQ

As usual, no official financial terms have been released in either deal, though as previously reported, Mykhailiuk’s deal is for two years, with the second being a player option. Blake Murphy, formerly of the Athletic, reports that Perry’s deal is an Exhibit 10 deal — in other words, a training camp invite with a small guarantee.

Mykhailiuk’s longer-term, guaranteed deal seems to indicate the Raptors expect him to make the team; Perry, though, will be fighting for a roster spot with a bevy of forwards who also have non-guaranteed contracts, including Yuta Watanabe, Freddie Gillespie, Sam Dekker, Ish Wainwright and Isaac Bonga.

Perry was picked in the second round of the draft by the Brooklyn Nets in 2020. He’s 6’8” (of course) and in 26 games with the Nets, he scored three points per game in about eight minutes a night. He even managed to sneak into five playoff games! He also played in the G League bubble with the Long Island Nets, where he averaged 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists over 15 games.

Raptors finalize training camp roster with two more signings | The Star

The announcement Tuesday that the team signed forwards Svi Mykhailiuk and Reggie Perry brings the roster to 20 players — the maximum allowed — who will vie for spots when training camp opens Monday at the OVO Athletic Centre in Toronto.

Mykhailiuk, a six-foot-eight forward who has spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder, signed a multi-year deal that includes a full guarantee for the upcoming season; Perry, a former United States under-19 teammate of Raptors first-round pick Scottie Barnes, will have to make the team amid some significant competition for two, or maybe three, roster spots.

Mykhailiuk has averaged 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 18.5 minutes in 164 NBA games and is a career 36 per cent shooter from three-point range.

The Raptors now have 12 players with guaranteed deals — Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic, Malachi Flynn, Dalano Banton, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch, Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher and Mykhailiuk — and six others who will fight for the rest of the roster spots.

Teams are allowed to carry 15 players and two others on two-way deals in the regular season; in the past, they have had 14 on the NBA roster to leave room for in-season moves.

The disparate group fighting for spots: Yuta Watanabe, Freddie Gillespie, Isaac Bonga, Sam Dekker, Ishmail Wainright and Perry.