I think the team is not far off from being a serious contender in terms of the roster and talent level. In my mind, the issue is the inability of the Sam and the coaching staff to bring it all together.
Sam needs to bring regularity to the team, a sense of base. It's hard to fall into rhythm when the head coach plays with the starting lineup like it's a bad case of musical chairs. Sam had all of last year and this pre-season to figure out who will play what role. As much as I like going with a hot hand, I firmly believe that roster consistency is more important to develop a routine. Routines reinforce roles, and oftentimes it looks like some players are still unsure of their roles.
As for the strategical importance of coaching, I'm sure most can agree that Sam is still lacking in technical knowhow. How many blown plays have we seen out of timeouts?
If it takes until April to get things together, then so be it. I am a firm believer that this team can go deeper in the playoffs. It's all a matter of defining where everyone is supposed to be and what everyone is supposed to be doing. Then there IS no hesitation. That's how well-oiled teams like San Antonio can be such a monster in the playoffs.
Every team deals with injuries and streaky players. You just have to define a system that can accommodate that while still being efficient. That's what the Raptors
are most in need of.