Chisholm: Are the Raptors a playoff team?
Old 09-17-2012, 02:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are the 2012-13 Toronto Raptors a playoff team?

Let's be honest, that's the only question worth asking heading into this season. With training camp only two weeks away, you're going to hear all sorts of lip service paid to internal growth, to the defensive culture and to great additions brought in this summer. However, the Raptors are past the point where any of that stuff 'really' matters. They've played that game. They played it for Chris Bosh's last two seasons in Toronto and then they played it again for the two seasons since he's left. They've talked around the playoffs, they've made excuses for not making it there, but at the end of the day the 'real season' has to be seen as more than just a pipe dream.

And so we route back around to the original question: Are these Toronto Raptors a playoff team?

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In their favour is one very important stat: Last season, every team in the top-13 in defensive efficiency went to the playoffs except one: Toronto. Historically, defensive efficiency is a great measure for teams to use in order to determine who is going to make it to the playoffs in April. It's not the only measure (clearly), but great defense is usually the mark of a consistent ball club and over the course of the long NBA season, good, consistent play is a great way to ensure your place in the postseason.

The problem for Toronto - at least last season - was that their offense was so bad it completely negated their gains at the defensive end of the floor. It wasn't just scoring offense, either. It was passing. It was movement. It was getting to the free throw line. It was creating easy baskets with steals and blocked shots (despite their strong defense, they didn't create many turnovers). That's why when the club went shopping this summer it wasn't for pure scorers; it was for guys that facilitate offense.

Guys like Kyle Lowry, who can score, sure, but can also pass, get to the free throw line and create turnovers. Guys like Landry Fields, who move without the ball, create offense for others and get out into the open court. Guys like Jonas Valanciunas, who know how to set screens and roll to the basket. They needed players who could score, but more than that they needed players who could help other people score. Plus, they needed to do it with guys that wouldn't hurt their defensive standing because as important as an improved offense is, defense is going to remain their key to the postseason.

Looking up and down the roster this may be the best construction job that Bryan Colangelo and his team have done in fielding a roster in Toronto since Colangelo arrived in 2006. They have balance, they have role definition and they have financial flexibility. They also have the right coach to lead this particular group of players, and a core that is young enough that if they click this season, they can expect even better years thereafter.

However, for all that management has done this summer to construct a playoff-ready roster, they are gun shy about committing to the playoffs as a serious, end-of-season goal. Yes, management has been burned in the past promising the playoffs and not delivering, but no one is saying that they need to promise the playoffs to anyone. They just need to acknowledge that they are the desired endgame to this season. They need to acknowledge that if they fail to make the playoffs, then the season was a failure. They need to make it known that if the club doesn't make it to the playoffs, then on some level everyone failed, and they need to do that to start growing the hunger that that kind of pressure instills.

Over the last couple of years, the organization has taken their foot so far off of the gas pedal that they are having trouble finding it again. There needs to be internal tension applied to everyone associated with the Raptors to start kicking this franchise into gear. No more being satisfied with slow and steady growth - growth now needs to yield something more tangible, something for fans to get really excited about. The standards need to be higher so that there is no way for a player, coach or general manager to hide from the ultimate goal of making the postseason. Everyone needs to start holding themselves to a higher standard because becoming a good team is hard, and the first step towards becoming a good team is demanding of everyone that they commit to doing what is necessary to become a good team.

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This Raptors squad is ready to start looking towards the playoffs. Whether they are good enough to make it there or not will be determined by how they play together over the course of the season's 82 games. Regardless, that's the yardstick the club needs to start measuring itself by. They need to become singularly focused on becoming postseason staples, becoming a team that everyone expects to make it every season, and that starts with the organization demanding that level of performance from themselves. Will it be easy? No. If it was easy then the club wouldn't find themselves in the sorry state that they're in seventeen years into their existence. Until they start expecting more from themselves, though, they're going to be the same also-ran that they've always been. This team can be a playoff team, but it starts with them taking on that responsibility and all of the demands that come with it.

Chisholm: Are the 2012-13 Toronto Raptors a playoff team?
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I agree that the playoffs should be the Raptors goal.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This Raptors squad is ready to start looking towards the playoffs.
Agree, but not this year yet, in my opinion.
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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when i think of the potential of this team i get dangerously excited!

all the guys who think we can finish around 4-6th and get rubbished (including by me,) i don't actually think they're miles off. I do believe we can play at a really high level for large parts of the season. But chemistry might be an issue at first for a while and also i don't think our offense will be there every single night, all season long. I think there is potential for us to have a fair few tough scoring nights, maybe even runs of bad games. That's what will takes us down to more like 7-10th territory.

i'm so excited for the season, we'll definitely be worth watching imo and there's a chance of play-offs.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm your Huckleberry!
i'm in ma priime.
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Old 09-17-2012, 09:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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IF we don't lose Bargnani and Lowry for significant games this season we make the playoffs.
Everyone else has a backup that's good enough to sustain a bit of time, but those two spots will generate our largest offensive gaps if either goes down.

And yes, I said that, with Calderon as backup, come shit a brick Raptor123.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:22 AM   #8 (permalink)
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And yes, I said that, with Calderon as backup, come shit a brick Raptor123.
awesome
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think they could be,but at the moment they shouldn't be penciled in as a playoff team. 3 things needs to happen for them to become a playoff team this season

•they need Derozan and Bargnani to stay healthy for majority of the season and average at least 40 ppg and 42% shooting from the field combined.
•they need Calderon to embrace the back up PG role where he can really manage the second unit.
•they need to play better on the road because usually they're a decent team at the ACC.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think a big factor would be a possible Calderon trade during the season. If we get a nice piece back for him, we can make a run for a lower playoff seed.

But as of now, I think we are only good for about 38 to 41 wins.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I think a big factor would be a possible Calderon trade during the season. If we get a nice piece back for him, we can make a run for a lower playoff seed.

But as of now, I think we are only good for about 38 to 41 wins.
In the east that scrapes you the 8 spot methinks
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