Everybody’s Doing It!

Apparently the Raptors finally “get it” and have decided to sit Jose Calderon, as well as Gary Forbes, in an important game against Cleveland tonight. Important because the Raptors still have a shot, although slim, at the 4th slot in the lottery, which would give them 119 chances out of 1000, or 11.9% chance at the top pick. Right now, they are sitting at the 7th slot which would give the Raptors less than half the chance at the top pick. See the chart below:

And while it may not seem like a big difference between the 5th and 7th slot, keep in mind that the 5th slot will give you more than double the chances at the top pick. I’d say doubling your chances at getting a franchise player is FAR more important than winning a few meaningless games in the name of  “changing the culture” of the team. While I don’t follow hockey at all, it’s been brought to my attention that the Toronto Maple Leafs often win a bunch of games at the end of losing seasons, and while I may not know anything about hockey, I do know the Leafs do not have a culture of winning.

Besides, it’s not like most of the other bad teams in the league aren’t trying to lose these meaningless game for a better shot at drafting a franchise changer. Look at what players have been sitting out of games for their respective teams:

New Jersey: Deron Williams and Brook Lopez (their two best players

Cleveland: Kyrie Irving (their best player)

Washington: Nene, Trevor Booker, Rashard Lewis (on the other hand, they’re also sitting Andre Blatche, so maybe they aren’t trying to lose)

New Orleans: Emeka Okafor (their starting PF and best interior defender)

Even Charlotte has been sitting some key players, although I have no idea why because even at full force, they are by far the worst team in the league.

Now, it could be that Calderon really is injured. I mean, the pictureto the right does show Jose with a rather swollen eye. So whether or not this is intentional, the result is still the same. The Raptors have a chance of losing against Cleveland tonight.

There are other important games on the schedule tonight. They are:

Pistons at Hawks

The Pistons have a slightly better record than the Raptors, but the Raptors could easily climb above them if they continue to win. The Hawks are still fighting for home court advantage in the playoffs, so they should be playing hard tonight.

Wizards at Nets

The Raptors have no hope of “catching” Washington, who is comfortably ensconced in the 2nd position, they aren’t far behind/ahead of the Nets and can still beat them in the lottery standings if the Nets win a couple of games and the Raptors don’t win anymore. GO Wizards Nets!

The Hornets and Bobcats are also playing, but have so mastered tanking this season that they are uncatchable, as far as the Raptors are concerned.

Lastly, I don’t often criticize Bryan Colangelo, but if Jose is sitting for legitimate reasons, I have to question Colangelo’s plan. Losing intentionally isn’t fun for anyone, but he has to understand the stakes here. Without a guy like Anthony Davis, the future of the Raptors will be severely limited. A few wins at the end of a losing season is not going to change the culture of a franchise. The only thing that will do that is an elite talent.

8 thoughts on “Everybody’s Doing It!

  1. Jose can only open one eye. I think depth perception is important for point guards. Really, if they were going to tank, they should play him.

    of the injuries you mention, i think only Deron is at all iffy, and I think that’s more about him saying ‘screw this’ than new jersey trying to tank. They traded their pick anyway, unless they are one of the three worst teams, which ain’t going to happen.

  2. Why do you question Bryan Colangelo’s plan if Jose sits? I mean he is the best point guard on the team is he not?

    One advantage the Maple Leafs used to have in the NHL that the Raptors have never had was free agency. Like the Yankees, the Leafs could overspend their opponents and spend to mask any draft deficiencies. The NHL then went on strike for the entire 2004-2005 season and ratified a new collective barganing agreement. Plenty of rules in the league’s game were changed, but the biggest change was the introduction of the hard salary cap. This one change alone hurt the Leafs both immediately going forward and the most of all teams. They were no longer able to shell out cash carelessly for the best free agents (they still handed out some bad contracts though, many with no-trade clauses that prevent teams from trading contracts to certain teams regardless of potential return). The hard cap greatly encouraged building through the draft (like Edmonton, Washington, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver).

    The combination of mediocre/traded draft picks and untradeable contracts make it no real surprise why the Leafs have missed the playoffs each year since 2004.

    (The Chicago Blackhawks had been historically mismanaged under then-owner Bill Wirtz. He had games blacked out purposely from local television to the point where the experience at the United Center was dead and fans started following the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, and yes the Blackhawks were unsurprisingly bad. After he passed away (after the team had already drafted franchise players Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane), his sons took over operations and immediately repealed many of the rules imposed by their father.)

    (The Edmonton Oilers gambled on a quick fix at the 2006 trade deadline to improve immediately for a playoff run (they didn’t). They clinched the eighth seed in the west and went on a surprising playoff run by upsetting league-best Detroit Red Wings, then ousting the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Mighty Ducks subsequently until reaching the cup final where they lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in a full seven-game bout. They have not returned to the playoffs since.)

    (Leafs GM Brian Burke was general manager when the Anaheim Ducks won the 2007 Stanley Cup.)

    (Detroit, Philadelphia, and Vancouver have had the longest string of recent success of teams I mentioned above (though only Detroit has any recent cups to show for it). Although Anaheim (Ryan Getzlaf – #19, Corey Perry – #28 from Dallas), Philadelphia (Jeff Carter – #11 from Phoenix, Mike Richards – #24), and Vancouver (Ryan Kesler – #23) got lucky and found shortcuts, 2003 was by far the best draft of recent memory. The Detroit Red Wings are the NHL’s model franchise. Like the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, they have unearthed a lot of international gems late in drafts that have become studs. Many people don’t remember that the Spurs and Red Wings both used to be bad until they drafted studs who changed the fortunes of both franchises forever.)

    (The Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals represent some of the many small-market franchises that typically have had to draft their stars because they were not attractive free-agent destinations (sound familiar?). Even original-six teams Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks had neither Montreal or Toronto’s money or prestige to leverage top-tier free agents and had to go the draft route to become good again.)

    (The Columbus Blue Jackets are easily the worst organization in the NHL. Like the Los Angeles Clippers, no team has blown as many high picks in recent time like they have, including 2003 when so many stars were drafted after their pick. Rick Nash by himself is basically the entire history of their franchise. They tried to pair him with Jeff Carter but that didn’t work (their games are too similar to complement each other and they gave up Jakub Voracek and their 2011 first-round pick (Sean Couturier – #8), who would have looked good on them going forward to Philadelphia in the deal) They also hamstrung themselves by signing worse contracts than the Leafs to mediocre underachievers for more years.)

    There are many more desirable teams to play for than the Leafs, but if they draft well and manage well from here on out (and they can), then they will easily become a top-five team to play for again. I think that the biggest problem with Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment is not that they are trying to be good enough without winning or wanting profits first and hopefully winning to come with it. It’s that the suits are savvy business people who are just plain sports-dumb regardless.

  3. @malefax, New Jersey better hope that their traded pick is one of the three selected by the lottery regardless of where they finish. That doesn’t include Houston making the playoffs and Deron resigning with them.

    • @Stephen Waugh

      You misunderstood. I questioned Colangelo if sitting Calderon was NOT intentional. As for all the hockey stuff, I’m afraid you completely lost me. I find my attention span wanes when the subject of hockey generally comes up.


      It is hard to say which teams are holding players out to tank and which ones are doing it legitimately, but it does say something that the vast majority of teams near the bottom have core players missing games.

  4. Yeah, my replies can be extremely long at times. I was trying to prove that you need picks at the top of the NHL draft to get franchise players to win championships (Detroit Red Wings are the exception, but their drafting and management are leaps and hounds better than everyone else), just like you need to in the NBA.

    The Leafs and the Raptors woes are mainly because of mediocre drafting, overpaying mediocre free agents, and simply being owned by a group that seems to be expert at generating revenue but does not know hot to build winning sports teams even with a “how to win a championship for dummies” book.

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are basically the NHL’s LA Clippers.

  5. Uh, it doesn’t really look like a lot of the players you mentioned are sitting intentionally. After just looking at 2 guys: williams and lopez, tanking seems to have nothing to do with their sitting. Williams only missed one game, and that was due to the stomach flu. And lopez has only played 5 games all season. Did the nets start the season tanking? He’s been injured for basically the entire season. And you’d think the nets would want to play him, so it would’ve made a trade with the magic for howard more plausible.

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