Chisholm: East struggles may affect Ujiri's decisions
Old 11-22-2013, 03:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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In recent weeks, as Dwane Casey struggled to find workable rotations, Rudy Gay struggled to find his shot and the Raptors as a whole struggled to find wins, the popular assumption was that it was only a matter of if – not when*– Masai Ujiri would hit the self-destruct button and blow this roster up in the name of tanking for the 2014 draft. After all, this roster looked like a mess. There was noflow to the offence,*the pieces didn’t mesh, and the rumours were abundant that Ujiri was willing to deal*just about anyone*on the roster not named Jonas Valanciunas.

Perception has a funny way of distorting reality, however.First of all, the Raptors have never been all*that*bad this season. Their ugly-as-sin offence has been floating around the middle-of-the-pack in terms of efficiency all season (currently ranked 14th in the NBA) while their seldom-discussed defence has actually been ranked in the top-ten for weeks (currently their defensive efficiency sits at sixth-best in the league). Plus, with the Eastern Conference floundering as a whole and the Atlantic Division struggling even more so, the Raptors currently possess the East’s seventh-best record and the lead in their division. While that’s hardly an achievement to write home about right now given the competition, life in the NBA is as much about the teams that surround you as you yourself.With all that said, you have to wonder not only about the likelihood of Ujiri choosing to tank, but the advisability of it.

After all, the Raptors have exceed their preseason expectations (at least as it pertains to their place in the standings) because so many teams have failed to live up to theirs. Washington looks as bad as ever and Cleveland, somehow, looks worse. Milwaukee is nowhere near where they hoped they’d be after some ill-advised summer spending and the less said about New York and Brooklyn the better.Now, not all of these teams will continue to struggle, but you have to imagine that at least a couple of their front office staffs have to be considering refocusing after seeing their squads actually play together these last few weeks. If they are going to lose more than they anticipated anyway, they may as well go for broke and throw their hat into the tanking pool and try their luck in next June’s draft. The problem is that the more teams that choose to go the tanking route, the more it dilutes the chances for everyone else when it comes to actually securing a top-tier pick. As strong and deep as this draft is believed to be, not*everyplayer is worth tanking for. If you get to a point where seven or eight organizations are either actively tanking or allowing for a cavalcade of losses (and you could argue that point pretty strongly for Philadelphia, Boston, Utah and Phoenix, already, with Milwaukee, Sacramento and Denver healthy bets to join them) then how much sense does it make to become the ninth or tenth club to play for draft picks?

At what point are you letting a trendy – and unproven – strategy dictate policy at the expense of a less destructive mode of operation?More specifically, if you’re Masai Ujiri, how badly do you want to work to pull apart this club (a club that has some workable pieces mixed in with some less desirable ones) when you may never be able to make yourself worse than the fifth- or sixth-worst team? Think about it: the teams that are going all-in on taking have gone in in a way that is nearly unprecedented in terms of it’s transparency. Does Ujiri really want to give away everything he has for pennies on the dollar in order to compete with the Philly’s and Phoenix’s of the NBA basement?
Three in the Key - NBA Blog by Tim Chisholm - East’s Struggles May Affect Ujiri’s Strategies |

Last edited by jeffb; 11-22-2013 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't think the struggles in the East are affecting what Ujiri wants to do at all. You don't make moves in your team based on how the other teams are faring. You make moves based on what your team's needs are. Chisolm is just writing because he's got a keyboard and he gets paid to use it.
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yuck.

So when these bad teams all add a stud prospect next year, we'll be prime to continue our organic growth!
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by carp View Post
Yuck.

So when these bad teams all add a stud prospect next year, we'll be prime to continue our organic growth!
Prospect? They can turn out good or shit the bed. If the rest of your roster is horse manure, your still stuck in the barn.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Right now I'd say Ujiri has 3 big tasks for this season:
- Trade Bargnani for a decent return (=done)
- Trade Fields if he underperforms and you can get a decent return
- Trade Gay if he underperforms and you can get a decent return

If Ujiri can fulfill 2 of 3 by the end of the year I'd say he did a reasonable job. Not sure if we can expect more from him, he's not a god or something.

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Yuck.

So when these bad teams all add a stud prospect next year, we'll be prime to continue our organic growth!
Remember how every team in the East supposedly got better during the summer and we didn't?
How does that look now?

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Old 11-22-2013, 04:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ZanTheMan View Post
Right now I'd say Ujiri has 3 big tasks for this season:
- Trade Bargnani for a decent return (=done)
- Trade Fields if he underperforms and you can get a decent return
- Trade Gay if he underperforms and you can get a decent return

If Ujiri can fulfill 2 of 3 by the end of the year I'd say he did a reasonable job. Not sure if we can expect more from him, he's not a god or something.



Remember how every team in the East supposedly got better during the summer and we didn't?
How does that look now?
Fields and Gay will still be here at season's end. DeRozan and Lowry won't.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ZanTheMan View Post
Right now I'd say Ujiri has 3 big tasks for this season:
- Trade Bargnani for a decent return (=done)
- Trade Fields if he underperforms and you can get a decent return
- Trade Gay if he underperforms and you can get a decent return

If Ujiri can fulfill 2 of 3 by the end of the year I'd say he did a reasonable job. Not sure if we can expect more from him, he's not a god or something.



Remember how every team in the East supposedly got better during the summer and we didn't?
How does that look now?
It's early Bro. My oh my, if people think we're winning the division now....wait till those teams get healthy and we're still one game ahead
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Fields and Gay will still be here at season's end. DeRozan and Lowry won't.
Are you the Amazing Kreskin, or just the man they call Reveen?

Chisholm's piece looks like it might have borrowed from moremilk's thread. And i used pennies on the dollar just yesterday in a similar discussion. Maybe he's Kreskin!
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Are you the Amazing Kreskin, or just the man they call Reveen?

Chisholm's piece looks like it might have borrowed from moremilk's thread. And i used pennies on the dollar just yesterday in a similar discussion. Maybe he's Kreskin!
Nostradamus' 2nd cousin, once removed.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't think the struggles in the East are affecting what Ujiri wants to do at all. You don't make moves in your team based on how the other teams are faring. You make moves based on what your team's needs are. Chisolm is just writing because he's got a keyboard and he gets paid to use it.
Well said.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ZanTheMan View Post
Right now I'd say Ujiri has 3 big tasks for this season:
- Trade Bargnani for a decent return (=done)
- Trade Fields if he underperforms and you can get a decent return
- Trade Gay if he underperforms and you can get a decent return

If Ujiri can fulfill 2 of 3 by the end of the year I'd say he did a reasonable job. Not sure if we can expect more from him, he's not a god or something.



Remember how every team in the East supposedly got better during the summer and we didn't?
How does that look now?
Sorry you're forgetting probably the most important thing MU has to do - PG. KL is a UFA this summer (at the moment).
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:47 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It's early Bro. My oh my, if people think we're winning the division now....wait till those teams get healthy and we're still one game ahead
I wouldn't say we'll win our division, luckily I never even had that ambition coming into this season.

But I think it's entirely reasonable to believe we can leave the Bucks, Wizards, Cavs, Pistons behind us, which a lot of people here didn't expect in October.

The Knicks and Nets are a mess, and getting healthy might not even be the solution to all their problems. I could see one of them finish under us, but maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic right now.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Nostradamus' 2nd cousin, once removed.
And I thought Reveen was an obscure reference.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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And I thought Reveen was an obscure reference.
LOL. But you got it.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Chisholm's piece looks like it might have borrowed from moremilk's thread. And i used pennies on the dollar just yesterday in a similar discussion. Maybe he's Kreskin!
not following the logic - the tanking concept was first raised by TL and MU in their first press conference, it was, at the very least, a legitimate strategy considered by them. The massive reward in this draft is the driving factor, balanced by two things: how easy is to trade gay/lowry (i.e. how much discount are they willing to take) and how good this roster is. Both of these were, again, mentioned by MU in various interviews. Nothing new here.

I was always somewhat skeptical about the last argument, given that even if he was 100% sure the roster is not good enough, he would still have claimed we're taking our time to evaluate etc, in order to strengthen our position in trades (not give the appearance we're doing a fire sale and so on).

All the threads on this forum on the subject of tanking really revolved on two main aspects, whether it's proper to do it at all (academical since management is clearly ok with it) and whether this team is good enough so that tanking is not necessary.

In essence, this last point is the only one under contention.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say we'll win our division, luckily I never even had that ambition coming into this season.

But I think it's entirely reasonable to believe we can leave the Bucks, Wizards, Cavs, Pistons behind us, which a lot of people here didn't expect in October.

The Knicks and Nets are a mess, and getting healthy might not even be the solution to all their problems. I could see one of them finish under us, but maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic right now.
If those other teams are becoming desperate, it's the perfect storm for us to sell off all of our overpriced assets! Now that's optimism baby!
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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If those other teams are becoming desperate, it's the perfect storm for us to sell off all of our overpriced assets! Now that's optimism baby!
You see in theory, that would be great. However, both NYK and the Nets have no picks to deal. The only trade proposal I think I remember somewhere on here was something revolving around Shumpert and STAT for RG.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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not following the logic - the tanking concept was first raised by TL and MU in their first press conference, it was, at the very least, a legitimate strategy considered by them. The massive reward in this draft is the driving factor, balanced by two things: how easy is to trade gay/lowry (i.e. how much discount are they willing to take) and how good this roster is. Both of these were, again, mentioned by MU in various interviews. Nothing new here.

I was always somewhat skeptical about the last argument, given that even if he was 100% sure the roster is not good enough, he would still have claimed we're taking our time to evaluate etc, in order to strengthen our position in trades (not give the appearance we're doing a fire sale and so on).

All the threads on this forum on the subject of tanking really revolved on two main aspects, whether it's proper to do it at all (academical since management is clearly ok with it) and whether this team is good enough so that tanking is not necessary.

In essence, this last point is the only one under contention.
I wasn't referring to tanking, but the expectations being somewhat exceeded, which your thread pointed to. I'm not quite sure what you're going on about here. Seems like a lot of hard thinking about something requiring not so much thought.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:43 PM   #19 (permalink)
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You see in theory, that would be great. However, both NYK and the Nets have no picks to deal. The only trade proposal I think I remember somewhere on here was something revolving around Shumpert and STAT for RG.
There are other teams in there.... Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland.... all with multiple assets to deal!
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:58 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I wasn't referring to tanking, but the expectations being somewhat exceeded, which your thread pointed to. I'm not quite sure what you're going on about here. Seems like a lot of hard thinking about something requiring not so much thought.
just trying to simplify things, we can debate all we want whether tanking is good or bad, masai believes it's a legitimate option. The only question is if it's worth to tank, or even better, how cheap are we willing to sell in order to tank.

the fact that east is lousy may have all sorts of unintended consequences, on one hand, some teams that would have tanked, may suddenly develop an interest in winning. On the other hand, some teams may be in the opposite situation. If Milwaukee start to consider tanking, they may put players like mayo/knight/ilyasova or even sanders on the table. With guys like afflalo and turner having great seasons, our wings are harder and harder to move period.
There used to be a time when we were concerned about not selling guys for cheap, we may get to a point where the concern is not being able to move them at all ...
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