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:
Cleveland: Kyrie Irving (their best player)
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
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.