Does This Mean We Can Plan The Parade Route Again?

Well, I guess all is right with the world since the Raptors won again. Whew!

The Raptors certainly didn’t look great against the Nets, but with three main players, including two starters, missing, I wouldn’t expect a perfect game. If it wasn’t for the Raptors vaunted depth, New Jersey might be riding high on win #5 right now.  Despite the Raptors missing over 31 ppg, however, they still managed to score over a 100 points for their 15th straight game.

I was having a discussion with someone over at Raptors Republic about, of all things, the Raptors. This fan, after the loss to Indiana, jumped to point out all the problems with the Raptors, insisting that the loss was an indication of everything that was wrong with this team. A fact he at first dismissed and then grudgingly accepted was the fact that the Raptors are a young team. Regular readers know that I’ve discussed this before, but it’s worth going over again.

The ten players on the Raptors roster who play at least 10 minutes per game and have played in most of the games, so can be considered regular rotation players, have an average age of 24.6 years old.  And only two rotation players are above the age of 26, Turkoglu and Calderon. That’s very young.  It’s especially young when you look around the league a little…

Orlando: 27.8
Charlotte: 27
Miami: 27.2
Chicago: 26.4
Atlanta: 26

Even Atlanta, which has been discussed so much about being a young team, has a lot of older rotation players. Bibby and Joe smith are over 30, and Jamal Crawford is 29. Joe Johnson is 28.

And notice that the three teams the Raptors are currently battling for the 5th seed are all pretty veteran teams, even Chicago, who have Brad Miller, John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich all 29 or over.

It turns out that the Raptors have the fourth youngest rotation in the entire league.

Golden State: 24.9
Toronto: 24.6
Portland: 24.5
Memphis 24.4
Oklahoma City: 23

Interestingly, Toronto, Portland, Memphis and Oklahoma City all are within 1½ games of one another in the league standings.

So to get back to this discussion I was having, this fan felt that I should not be happy with where the Raptors are right now, and that, since it was obvious the Raptors would not be going deep into the playoffs, that the season was pretty much a failure.

Well, unlike this fan, I tend to look at the big picture. The Raptors are an extremely young team that has played .625 basketball since November, and look to have a bright future ahead. Hopefully Chris Bosh will view things the same way come the summer.

18 thoughts on “Does This Mean We Can Plan The Parade Route Again?

  1. Hey Tim, I have a feeling that you are referring to the conversation with Fluxland…if so, I can’t beleive the patience you had to discuss over and over the positve circumstance the Raptors appear to be in at moment and BC’s tenure as GM…some people are in the own little world and there’s nothing anyone can say to change that…I can only imagine how angry he gets when is watching the games…lol

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  3. Holy cow…a post about me? Could have you mentioned me by my handle at least.. gee.

    Look, you are constructing your argument to fit into your excuse. That’s fine.

    But, you are wrong about the big picture. You are the one missing it. And the simple fact is that you have blatantly ignored the simple philosophy of this team being built on zero defense.

    That will not work in the playoffs, and it’s very highly unlikely BC will change his stripes now. This man has not valued defense his entire career and he’s not going to in the future. How can you possibly deny that? How can you deny that offensive teams don’t win jack?

    You can be happy as a pig about the regular season all you want… but you and I both know the playoffs are a grind that this team is not built for. And it never will be while BC is running it.

    I’m book marking this page… this will a lot of fun to watch develop.

    • No, it wasn’t actually a post about you. It was inspired by our discussion, though.

      And anyone in the basketball world who actually knows me, knows how much I understand defense and rebounding are crucial to team success. I couldn’t even begin to tell you. Keep in mind that one of the first teams I followed were the Detroit Pistons of the 80’s. I completely agree with the fact that you can’t win a Championship without great defense. Facts you may or may not know that I have picked up over the years:

      – No team has won a Championship in the last 35 years without, at least, one player on the first or second All-Defensive team.
      – Only one team since 1980 has ever won a Championship without being in the top 10 in opponents field goal percentage. Houston for their second Championship, but they were for their first one the previous season.

      So I’m obviously aware of the importance of defense in winning Championships. It’s why I wanted the Raptors to go after Trevor Ariza, instead of Turkoglu.

      And that Pat RIley quote about “No rebounds, no rings” is still brought up for a reason. It’s why I’ve consistently been critical of Bargnani and have been a proponent of trading him.

      There’s one problem with your argument, though, and why I’ve been arguing against it. The Raptors aren’t trying to win a Championship. Not yet. RIght now, the Raptors are trying to get their foot in the door, whatever way they can. Sacramento and Phoenix both built extremely successful teams that did not focus on defense. Now the main reason they never achieved their ultimate success is because they never became great defensive teams.

      Now as I previously said, I was a big 80’s Detroit Pistons fan. It’s where I became such a fan of great defense. The Pistons success through their style of defense is what many feel brought down the game (and the scoring) in the years that followed. New York’s low scoring team that went to the Finals has it’s roots in Pistons ball.

      There’s a very interesting thing about those Detroit Pistons. They weren’t always a great defensive team. In fact, just a two years before their first Finals appearance, they weren’t even a good defensive team. They started out as a high scoring team with little interest in defense. In fact, just two years before the Pistons reached the finals, they allowed their opponents to score 113 ppg on .492 shooting. That makes what the Raptors are doing seem downright stingy. Meanwhile, they still managed to win 46 games and make the playoffs.

      This is why my argument has focused so much on how young the Raptors are. They have time to grow and learn and eventually become a good defensive team. Jack, DeRozan, Wright, Weems, Belinelli and Johnson all have the ability (and youth) to become very good defensive players. Even Bargnani, with the strides he is making, could become a very good defensive player. And Bosh is actually, for the most part, an above average defender, despite what some fans think. The thing that is important to remember, is there’s time because this team is so young.

      Your argument makes one believe that the Raptors window is closing, when that is simply not true. A team with the firepower the Raptors have, with the ability to play very good defense, will be a very tough team to beat.

      Right now their defense and rebounding are inconsistent, which is fine for where they are now and considering the overall age of the players. First they walk, then they run. Next season, should Bosh decide to stick around, I would expect more improvement in their defense and perhaps a second round series and possibly beyond. For this year, after winning only 33 games last year, I’m content with 45 wins and a playoff berth. The reason is because I see potential for improvement in the future.

      • Now as for Colangelo, you have to play with the cards that you are dealt. In our discussion on Raptors Republic, I discussed what transactions I agreed and disagreed with. And to say that Colangelo will never value defense is a lie, or at least ignoring the facts. The first team he built in Toronto was predicted more on defense, which is why it stumbled so badly when the defensive lynchpin, Garbajosa, went down. The problem with that team is that it really didn’t have much potential beyond the 47 wins and first round berth that it got. They were a grind it out team with mostly above average defenders, but without much youth or offensive potential.

        Now Colangelo did not have a TIm Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon or Shaquille O’Neal to build around. It’s pretty easy to build a great defensive team around them. Colangelo never had the chance to draft a Greg Oden, or Dwight Howard. The year he had the number one pick, there was no defense star available.

        And it’s not as if Colangelo DIDN’T try to grab a great defensive player this past summer. Ariza turned down more money to sign with Houston. Marion didn’t want to play for the Raptors again. And you do remember he did gamble in a trade for Jermaine O’Neal in order to shore up the defense and rebounding. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

        Colangelo built the team he did in Phoenix because that’s what he needed to do to be successful. He signed Nash, and then surrounded him with above average defensive players (Raja Bell, Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw). Phoenix’s defensive shortcomings had more to do with D’Antoni than the players Colangelo brought it. And it wasn’t Colangelo that traded those three players away for worse defenders.

        I don’t agree with everything Colangelo has done, but he’s certainly done a very good job with the cards he was given.

  4. So I inspired you? Still could have acknowledge me … come down from your ivory tower.

    At least we agree on the fact we disagree.

    I really cannot believe you just compared the 80’s Pistons to the Raptors..that’s beyond ridiculous.

    I’m not saying the window is closing, I’m saying there is no window.

    And what BC TRIED to do and what actually happened are two different things. After 4 years you are still excusing the guy, as if he’s a victim in this whole situation.

    You write quite a lot, but your really never say anything out of the ordinary. You continually write excuse posts – typical TO media stuff. You are completely aware of the swiss cheese holes this team is filled with, yet you keep pushing the hope propaganda – and again that’s fine, just don’t expect everyone else to see things from your little world, as our boy 007 would say.

    Overall, you sound like those Suns fans from back in the day…blind and hopeless.

    Let’s just see how things play out.

  5. Okay, you don’t actually seem to be reading my comments, just scanning them. I’m trying to bring up facts and back up my argument, to which you don’t actually respond. Either do it, or I don’t see any point in continuing this.

    And by the way, the Phoenix Suns ended up going to the Western Conference Finals twice during their peak, so I don’t know if bringing them up really advances your argument.

  6. What this really comes down to is expectations and the definition of success.

    For you making the playoffs is enough.
    For you going to the second round is enough
    Heck, you might be on top of the world with a Conference Final.

    None of that stuff means anything to me – our bars of success are at different levels… you take comfort in comparing the Raptors to other half ass teams and feeling good about them. I compare them with the elite – and feel sick.
    It is appalling and sad that MLSE has conditioned people to accept making the playoffs as definition of a successful season.
    This team has not gotten better year in and year out since BC got here. You can brag all you want about the 47 win season, but that was complete crap and you know it – the division sucked bad. Since then what has BC done to make you think things are looking up.. you said yourself you don’t agree with all the moves he made, but still support him and give him a pass because that’s the cards he was dealt. That in my book is BS – TO media type activity.

    To each his own, I guess – my only beef with people like yourself is that you don’t allow for others to have a different opinions – or one that you perceive as being negative.
    There is no reason for you to ask anyone how long they have watched ball… they are entitled to think what they want.. just like I think your high optimist is founded on flawed theories and ideas of this team.

    Again, to each his own.

    I read your stuff don’t worry – I guess, just like you when you read mine, I perceive what you write in a different way. Not only that, but you don’t write anything that I couldn’t read in the local media, you are just another blog supporting the Raptors no matter what happens or how bad things get – pretty much what 95% of Raptor blogs do… straight HOMERISM.

  7. You don’t seem to get it. I’m not saying I’m happy with a first round appearance, or a second round one. I think the ultimate goal for every team should be a Championship. I’m saying that I understand that you can’t build a contender in a season, not without a crap load of luck.

    I’m happy with the Raptors making the playoffs and getting a 5th seed…THIS SEASON!!!!!!

    Next year, I’d expect more. And eventually, I’d expect a Championship.

    And who on earth said that this team has gotten better every year? Why even bring that up? Of course they haven’t gotten better every year. Colangelo remade the team when he arrived, but partly due to injuries (and Ford), that team was derailed. This past summer, he decided to start again.

    You think he would have been able to build a contender in one summer?

    And I stuck my neck out and detailed what I would have done, why don’t you do the same? Let’s hear what you would have done. You can easily research what free agents were available. Let’s see what you do?

    And as for my unbridled optimism, my very first post was blasting the O’Neal-Marion trade, I’ve been highly critical of Bargnani since day one (which you can verify by looking at my posts), I wanted to blow up the team long before it was actually done, wanted to trade VInce a year and a half before he finally was, bashed the drafting of VIllanueva and Graham, had been derided for being a hater on the Hoopsworld Raptors forum several years ago due to my constant criticism of the team.

    I’m most certainly not shy about being critical when I disagree with something. And if you can point to any instance when I was actually wrong, then you might have a leg to stand on. Take a look at my pre-season predictions, or just wait a few days when I intend to write a post looking back at them. One thing about the NBA, is that I’m usually not wrong. I’d put my track record on the line against just about any real NBA expert. Arrogant? Sure, but I’ve pretty much got a reason to be. I’m usually right and have been for longer than most Raptor fans have even been NBA fans.

    You don’t seem to understand that I actually agree with you when you say this team is flawed. I agree that the team, the way it is at the moment, will never win a Championship. But what you don’t seem to realize is that, at this point, that’s okay. For now. I’ve no doubt that changes need to be made, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to make good trades and sign free agents when you’re a 5th seed than in the lottery. Its also a lot easier to figure out what you need.

    Me, I think the trade I proposed for Igoudala would do a heck of a lot into turning this team into a contender. He’d bring the defense, rebounding and attitude the team lacks.

    The team obviously is not built the way any other Championship contender has, but all but two Championship teams had MVP’s on it. Does that mean the Raptors should scrap the team until they can get an MVP candidate? Does that mean Portland, Oklahoma City, and all those teams without MVP candidates should just dump everyone on their team and start again?

    No team without a dominant center had ever one a Championship…until the 80’s Pistons did. Then no team without an All-Star big man had ever won a Championship…until the Bulls did. Then no team without two All-NBAers ever won a Championship…until the Rockets did. Then no team without at least one All-NBA player ever won…until the Pistons did.

  8. Trade scenarios are a complete an total waste of time. Sorry, if you followed RR for a while, you would know I think this. (Looks like you are new there.) You cannot just punch in names on a site and think that because it says it works – a trade will go down. There is a reason trades need to be “league approved” and it sure has nothing do with salaries matching up. That stuff is a complete and total waste of my time, I would rather do something else more productive. You do realize any trade scenario you offer cannot be tested and however strong you feel about it cannot be proved, right? Why would you even bother? At the end of the day.. you will eat the trade BC pulls.

    You really need to stop bringing up teams with HOFs on them, in any discussion of the Raps. It’s offensive to those teams.

    So, what this boils down to is your window of patience…it’s huge. Mine is small…the ownership and management of this team has done nothing that resembles action towards winning a chip. No THING! You seem to think that the way things are going (or have been for the last 15 years) are leading to a chip. I don’t. You are happy with this year, the now. And next year you will adjust your expectations according to the team and find excuses for why everything is going the way it is.

    That is not big picture at all. Big picture is the entire story.. and it’s not spelling out a good ending, based on the history of this league and it’s operations.

  9. I disagree about trade scenarios. I think a lot that are proposed are crap because the person doesn’t look at both sides, but a trade scenario is a good jumping off point for a discussion. It gives the other person/people a good indication of the direction you’d like to see the team going, what type of players you covet, etc.

    Plus, they’re fun and interesting, which is really the whole point, isn’t it?

    Besides, it’s pretty easy to say something is wrong, it’s quite another to actually propose a possible solution. Let’s say I’m MLSE, and I’ve just fired Colangelo and I’m interviewing you. Here’s my question:

    What would you do?

    “You really need to stop bringing up teams with HOFs on them, in any discussion of the Raps. It’s offensive to those teams.”

    What on earth are you talking about? I haven’t compared the Raptors to one single team. You have. I’ve brought up EXAMPLES of other teams and what they have done, but never once have I compared them. In fact, I even said they weren’t built like any previous Championship contender. I actually wrote that out!

    Besides, it’s incredibly difficult to have a discussion about what makes a contending team without mentioning teams with Hall of Famers on it.

    “You seem to think that the way things are going (or have been for the last 15 years) are leading to a chip.”

    Or having been for the last 15 years??????????? Have you read ANYTHING I have said? I’m looking at this season! Why on earth would I look back at anything with the Raptors before four years ago, at the most? That’s got absolutely nothing to do with how the team should be built now. That’s bringing far too emotion into it, which is always dangerous.

    Lastly, your accusations about me being a homer etc are baseless, insulting and make you look ignorant. The problem is that it appears you are saying it simply because I disagree with you. I must be a homer and agree with everything Colangelo does if I don’t hate where the Raptors are at the moment. It’s a blanket insult that allows you to ignore a point of view. It’s like calling someone a hater. People have called me a hater, in regards to Bargnani, instead of actually trying to understand my point of view. These accusations are a way to cloak yourself from opposing opinions. If you want any more responses. Don’t do that.

  10. “To put it mildly, these people are morons who have no business watching an NBA game let alone sharing their opinions on one. Okay, maybe that’s not putting it mildly.”

    – TimW, the one and only..ladies and gentlemen.

  11. “I wasn’t in discussion with anyone at the time. I was writing a post. Big difference.”

    This is getting funnier by the second.

  12. Uh…the rest of the post was backing up that opinion. It’s not as if I had nothing else to say.

    And you are now trying to insult me in order to take the argument off course.

    By the way, I’m not banning you because you disagreed with me, or tried to show me up. I’m banning you because you purposely steered the discussion away from facts and into insults.

    My comment had a lot of arguments which you chose to ignore, and instead, headed for the low road.

    And since it’s my blog, you can now fuck off and go away.

    Bye, bye.

  13. Tim W., that was fascinating reading. I kept wanting to shout at the computer to you, “You’re wasting your time! He’s not reading anything you write!” Guys like that you want to sit down face to face and force them to listen to each sentence and then comment on each one just so you know he’s it’s getting into his head. He just seems like such a lonely and angry man. Why even watch sports? Maybe get yourself a girlfriend and relax a little.

  14. Yes. I came to finally realize the futility of arguing with a person who’s not listening. I kept thinking I’d make a good point he’d have to respond to and he just ignores it.

    I just found it frustrating that he’d just write off anything as I said to being a homer, which I am not in the least. What makes it even funnier was that I got a lot of flak during the bad years for being so critical of what was going on. It’s finally going well, and because I like it, I’m a homer! There’s just no winning!

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