ESPN: Raptors Roster Reload
Old 05-05-2014, 12:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
is praying Ross makes us forget Drummond so people stop whining

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For Toronto, the season began with low expectations.


Everyone was still scratching their heads at the DeMar DeRozan-Rudy Gay wing combination, and with perceived malcontent Kyle Lowry entering a contract year, how would promising center Jonas Valanciunas ever see the ball? The ESPN Summer Forecast pegged the Raptors for 33 wins and a 10th-place finish in the East. New general manager Masai Ujiri was taking stock of all of this, and it figured he'd eventually reset the roster around Valanciunas. Ujiri had already begun that process when he sent former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani to New York in July for a first-round pick and a bundle of trade filler. Predictably, Toronto floundered to a 6-12 start.

A funny thing happened on the way to the lottery, however. Three days after the Raptors' season reached its nadir, Gay was shipped to Sacramento for what seemed to be more stopgap trade filler. Instead, Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Greivis Vasquez stepped into meaningful roles in Dwane Casey's rotation, Terrence Ross moved into the starting lineup and Toronto went 42-22 to finish the season. What seemed like a transitional season saw Casey establish a core of Valanciunas, Lowry and DeRozan, and finish in the top 10 in efficiency on both ends of the floor. The grueling, seven-game loss to the Nets in the first round was a disappointment, but all in all, it was perhaps the best season in Raptors history. Now, with Lowry and other key parts hitting free agency, what does Ujiri do for an encore?


2014-15 Status quo baseline: 39.6 wins
(from Bradford Doolittle's ATH system)

I. Main assets (personnel)

Elhassan: The Raptors' exceeding of expectations began when they jettisoned Gay, freeing up possessions for the more efficient Lowry and DeRozan. By allowing Lowry to dominate the ball, the Raptors' offense was more balanced, as he was able to create for himself and others. Meanwhile, DeRozan's strongest suit (drawing fouls) helped generate easy points from the stripe for himself and for his teammates (by virtue of getting into the bonus quicker). It's hard to justify the $9.5 million per year contract extension he received in 2012, but he's much closer to earning that salary than he was with Gay on the team. Valanciunas similarly benefited from Gay's departure, becoming a more engaged roll man in pick and rolls, while Amir Johnson continues to be one of the best values in basketball and the new-age "No Stats All-Star." Rounding out the core, Ross showed signs of life as an athletic wing defender who can space the floor.

DeMar DeRozan
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette
DeMar DeRozan came into his own in 2013-14, and is now almost worth the $9.5 million of average annual value of his contract.
Doolittle: Toronto had the ninth-best scoring margin in the league, and was one of just four teams in the East to have a winning record against the West. There was little in their record that screamed "fluke," other than perhaps the track record of some of the players. Lowry had his best season statistically, with a 14.3 WARP -- 6.1 more than he's posted in any of his first seven seasons. Just as important, Lowry displayed a new-found affability and maturity that shed a new light on his on-court toughness. Now, he's a leader, not a guy with a chip on his shoulder. Was it real growth, or the expiring contract? That's up to Ujiri to decide, but players as productive as Lowry are hard to come by. For the first time, DeRozan finished above replacement level, jumping all the way to 5.4 WARP, and his .532 true shooting percentage suggests there is plenty of room for further enhancements. The track records of their stars is what keeps Toronto's baseline in middling territory, but there are lots of reasons to be optimistic.

II. Shake it up

Elhassan: John Salmons and Tyler Hansbrough both have partial guarantees that pay them $1 million apiece, so it would be prudent to release both players to free up some flexibility, unless they can find a draft day trade for someone trying to dump salary (like a trade for Ersan Ilyasova). Patterson and Vasquez are restricted free agents, and both were valuable bench contributors; depending on what happens with Lowry's free agency, there might be opportunities to sign and trade away either of those players. Toronto also has their own first-round pick, as well as two second-rounders (from Sacramento and Oklahoma City). Nik Stauskas from Michigan is a nice combo guard who might be able to handle backup point guard duties in addition to being a terrific shooter, while the second-rounders might be good draft-and-stash candidates.

Nik Stauskas
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Nik Stauskas would add a scoring touch, as well as the ability to play the point in a pinch.
Doolittle: Since Toronto was so well balanced on both ends of the floor, it's not easy to pinpoint specific areas for improvement. They could stand to improve a 47.5 percentage on 2-pointers, which ranked 23rd. Further improvement by Valanciunas will help that, as could better shot selection by DeRozan. The contract status of Lowry is the major concern, because there is no way the Raptors could attract a comparable player to replace his value. It's hard to know how the market views Lowry, but consider this: He just posted the highest WARP of any player that we know is headed for unrestricted free agency, pending some high-profile stars who can opt out.

III. Obstacles to success

Elhassan: The most pressing concern for Toronto is Lowry's free-agent status. While Vasquez played well as a backup and has started in this league, he's not capable of replacing Lowry full-time. Furthermore, the point guard crop is extremely thin (both in free agency and in the draft), so almost any viable option would constitute a step back. At the same time, the Raptors are at risk of falling into the same pitfall they did the previous time they experienced a taste of playoff success: Doling out big money deals to good but not exceptional talents, locking themselves into a team with a low ceiling.

In 2001, they spent $140 million in contracts on Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams and Alvin Williams, but the team never improved, and now 13 years later, big-money deals to Lowry, Patterson and Vasquez (coupled with DeRozan's above-market-value deal) might do the same. If they don't pay them, however, they might end up starting over from scratch again, halting the momentum they built this season.

Doolittle: If Toronto retains Lowry and builds upon a foundation of him, Valanciunas and DeRozan, do they run the risk of getting stuck on the second tier? Considering where the Raptors were this time last year, that conundrum strikes me as a first-world issue. The best approach for Ujiri right now is status quo. This roster had exceptional chemistry after the Gay trade, and there is plenty of room for growth from a number of the younger Raptors. The summer market is the real concern here: Lowry could get an unexpectedly large offer, while Vasquez and Patterson are sure to draw interest as well. The bulk of Ujiri's roster hasn't even spent a full season together, but keeping it intact for 2014-15 won't be easy.

IV. The "ideal" roster:

Doolittle: I'm banking here that Lowry doesn't get blown away by an offer on the market. Amin had Lowry at an AAV of $8.5 million in February, and here I'm giving him a hometown bonus and bringing him in line with what DeRozan earns. I estimated the dollars for Vasquez and Patterson based on what similar restricted free agents signed for last summer.

There were two shake-ups of the status quo. I'm paying Tyler Hansbrough and John Salmons the $1 million each they have guaranteed, and bidding them adieu. Toronto has too many options up front to keep Hansbrough, while Salmons' fully guaranteed salary would come to $7 million. Too rich for my blood. I'm using my room exception to land Shaun Livingston, who gives me size on the perimeter, the ability to get points in the post and a stylistic complement to Ross. With the 20th pick in June, which I haven't listed here, I'm going for the player with the highest ceiling. The Raptors are in position to swing for the fences.

The "Ideal" Roster
Position Player 2015$ 2015 WARP
C Jonas Valanciunas $3.7m 2.5
PG Kyle Lowry $9.5m 11.9
SG DeMar DeRozan $9.5m 1.1
SF Terrence Ross $2.8m 2.0
PF Amir Johnson $7.0m 3.0
bC Chuck Hayes $6.0m -0.7
bPG Greivis Vasquez $4.5m 2.8
bSG Shaun Livingston $2.5m -0.3
bSF Landry Fields $6.3m -0.6
bPF Patrick Patterson $3.5m 2.4
RES1 Steve Novak $3.5m 1.5
RES2 Dwight Buycks $0.8m -0.

Est. Payroll: $65.4 million; Updated Win Range: 40 to 44
Notes: Est. Payroll includes built-in minimum salary slots beyond top 12 on roster; Updated Win Baseline includes a coaching adjustment. Bold = new player.
NBA Playoffs - Roster Reload Toronto Raptors - ESPN
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think we can fetch something better than Shaun Livingston, I mean people are going to want to play here now that the world knows we have the best basketball and playoff atmosphere in the league, and a beautiful city, not just that cold place up north. Grab Vince to take Salmons place, don't screw up the chemistry too much though.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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summary: add Shaun Livingston, let go of Salmons and Hansborough.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
is praying Ross makes us forget Drummond so people stop whining

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I mean people are going to want to play here now
lol
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:23 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i'd be cool with livingston i guess, but casey would fall in love

lol KL, GV, Livingston would be his fav 1, 2, 3

if casey could coach the nets this year, maybe his wet dream, could run out a line up where peirce is the only 'big'

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Old 05-05-2014, 02:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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i'd be cool with livingston i guess, but casey would fall in love

lol KL, GV, Livingston would be his fav 1, 2, 3

if casey could coach the nets this year, maybe his wet dream, could run out a line up where peirce is the only 'big'
Dude I was thinking that as soon as it was confirmed nets vs raps. I was thinking, f**k. DC must've had a wet dream or fun time in the bathroom thinking of coaching the nets with only one big on the floor at all times and a SF playing PF.
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Old 05-05-2014, 05:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
and a 1, and a 2, and a 1,2,3,4!

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40-44 wins, if we keep lowry, and add livingston?

this dude's a wanker. Also: Demar STILL overpaid? Show me a player making 9.5 million a year right now in similar contractual situation (I.e locked in long term, and not on a rookie scale contract, for the same money) who's better value than Demar?
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Add livingston? I think we need a SF who can gaurd bigger wings which Ross can't. I don't think livingston fits that bill.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Add livingston? I think we need a SF who can gaurd bigger wings which Ross can't. I don't think livingston fits that bill.
This is extremely important. We can't get abused by player's like Joe Johnson simply because we don't have the strength to guard them.

Hopefully Demar and Ross will continue to work on getting stronger in the offseason.
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Old 05-05-2014, 10:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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This is extremely important. We can't get abused by player's like Joe Johnson simply because we don't have the strength to guard them.

Hopefully Demar and Ross will continue to work on getting stronger in the offseason.
I'm a fan of Ariza.....he would fit in well imo and address a couple of needs for the team.
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm a fan of Ariza.....he would fit in well imo and address a couple of needs for the team.
everyone here hates ariza, lol
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Old 05-05-2014, 12:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
finally we made the playoffs!

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i think if Lowry is going to stay here , he will demand better players around him , just like Carmelo Anthony would demand better players around him. If we can't offer him better players then he will go to Houston or a better team.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:50 PM   #13 (permalink)
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i want carter
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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dont think lowry will go back to houston, lol. even though that would be a great fit for him
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We would likely have to trade up for Stauskus if MU had interest in acquiring him since he's projected as a lottery pick right now. IMO, if we do trade up, we would be better off with McDermott, though I'd love having either on our team.

Free agency: Target Ariza, Livingston, Okafor, Diaw and Gortat.

I want to keep Vasquez as well but if MU does decide to let him go, I think Patty Mills could be a viable option to back-up Kyle provided he re-signs.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:40 AM   #16 (permalink)
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We would likely have to trade up for Stauskus if MU had interest in acquiring him since he's projected as a lottery pick right now. IMO, if we do trade up, we would be better off with McDermott, though I'd love having either on our team.

Free agency: Target Ariza, Livingston, Okafor, Diaw and Gortat.

I want to keep Vasquez as well but if MU does decide to let him go, I think Patty Mills could be a viable option to back-up Kyle provided he re-signs.
Not a fan of McDermott - not sure if he has the athletic ability to play at the next level a la Adam Morrison.

I love what Vasquez said in his exit interview and his desire to stay in Toronto is genuine. But I think Patty Mills would be fantastic pick up.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
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everyone here hates ariza, lol
I've always liked Ariza. Even when he was a Laker.
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Old 05-06-2014, 07:43 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I've always liked Ariza. Even when he was a Laker.
Yeah. He was almost a Raptor, if you recall. One if BC's better moves, if he pulls it off.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:56 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Not a fan of McDermott - not sure if he has the athletic ability to play at the next level a la Adam Morrison.

I love what Vasquez said in his exit interview and his desire to stay in Toronto is genuine. But I think Patty Mills would be fantastic pick up.
You raise a good point about his athleticism but were talking about a lethal marksman here. He consistently shot north of .500 from the field and above .400 from deep throughout his four years in college. His offensive game is complete; whether it's shooting off the dribble, off pull-ups, or off step backs, you name, he can do it. He can create for himself, he has a quick release and he can play inside and out ala Ryan Anderson. I think he's described best as a rich mans Korver since he's significantly more polished offensively. He may not have a superstar ceiling but the kid is going to be special. His style of play would be perfect for this team imo.

But anyway, if we don't trade up, I think Cleanthony Early is the right choice.

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Old 05-06-2014, 02:56 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Do not want Ariza. As talented as he is, he's had on-court beefs with our players in the past which could affect our chemistry in the locker room. Remember when he swung at DeRozan?
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