Raptors HQ: Finishing Fourth
Old 07-27-2009, 02:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Whether it is at work, at dinner parties or just out and about I have found myself talking Raptors ball a lot lately. There seems to be some genuine excitement in the city about this team. The excitement is not misplaced, but what will it take for the Raps not to disappoint?

We can all agree that BC has done a pretty darn good job changing this team. With the additions of Hedo, Jack, Rasho, Wright, George and DeRozan he has completely remade the roster and addressed most of the weaknesses that were so readily apparent last season.

This team definitely has more grit and toughness, it's deeper, and finally there is a guy who can create off the bounce and be (hopefully?) the clutch scorer this team has been desperate for.

There is reason to be excited. As of today, the debate amongst readers is how high a seed the Raps can grab this season rather than wondering if the playoffs are a possibility. There is a sense of optimism in the air.

I am also excited about the season. Late last year recapping games became more of a chore than anything else. The fans were down and out and all the while we were forced to listen about how that Raptors team with Marion might be able to turn things around. It was a bit of a farce. This year the Raps should be competitive and that will make for covering this team a lot more enjoyable.

My expectations are tempered however. The top three teams in the East are absolutely stacked. The Celtics, Cavs and Magic will undoubtedly be the class of the East and each of them will be entering into the season with a "Finals or bust" mentality. Toronto, despite all the recent moves, is just not there yet.

That's not to say the Raps can't have a very successful 2009/2010 season, but the margin for error is small. We have seen recent Raptors teams play good ball all year and then get knocked out in the first round. Been there and done that. This team will be looking to go deeper into the second season. We all know BC didn't make these moves to see this team make the playoffs and then in turn make a quick exit. I fear however, that this will be the result should the Raps not manage to secure at least the fifth seed in the East. This year the sixth seed won't be any better than the seventh or the eighth...they all result in a first round match-up with one of those top three teams. They will all result in a disappointing ending to the season.

There will be a number of teams fighting for that fourth spot. Finishing fourth will not only ensure avoiding a dreaded first round match-up with the elite but it also means home court advantage. Given how crazed Raps fans are come playoff time this advantage can't be overvalued.

Toronto will likely find itself in dead heat race with that second tier of teams including Atlanta, Washington and depending on an Odom/Boozer acquisition, the Heat. All of these teams will be battling for that precious fourth spot and it will be the games against these teams that will really capture my interest come the fall.

So the goal for this season is a simple one...place fourth. It doesn't sound too lofty a goal but it is not something that will be obtained easily. A fifth place finish wouldn't be the end of the world but the goal has to be four. Should they finish 6-8 it doesn't take a crystal ball to see what the result is likely to be. Do the Raps have enough to challenge for it? To do so would require a pretty big leap based on last year's results. Based on our poll from last week however, the answer seems to be yes.

Hopefully that optimism is a sign of things to come.
Source - FinishingFourth - Raptors HQ
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Old 07-27-2009, 02:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds more than realistic - in fact, anything less than fourth-fifth seed and an advancement to the conference semis should be viewed as a disappointment, major injuries aside.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Raptors at the very least must hope to finish in the 5th seed. As the article states finishing 6th-8th GUARANTEES a first round exit. In order to keep Bosh after the coming season the team must be successful and making it to the 2nd round would certainly be viewed as successful.

2nd round or bust!
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
So the goal for this season is a simple one...place fourth.
The goal is fourth?
I wonder if that's what BC has in mind?

Realistic expectations notwithstanding, I'd hope that the goal is to win a championship.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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ya know, when I look at all the other teams, they look just as good. Parity is afoot!!!!

Should be a fun year!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dann38 View Post
The goal is fourth?
I wonder if that's what BC has in mind?

Realistic expectations notwithstanding, I'd hope that the goal is to win a championship.
I would say a championship is an unrealistic goal if MLSE doesn't decide to open up their wallets more. Look at the three contenders here, the big 3 in the East are all going to be paying the luxury tax. It's tough to hang with the big dogs without having the financial backup.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:22 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I would say a championship is an unrealistic goal if MLSE doesn't decide to open up their wallets more. Look at the three contenders here, the big 3 in the East are all going to be paying the luxury tax. It's tough to hang with the big dogs without having the financial backup.
your right about that, and i think i did hear BC at one of the signings talking about going into the luxury tax when they resign bosh. i think he will have the green light next season
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yeah it'd be nice to have MLSE spent unlimited $$ to get a ring. Never going to happen though. They'll spend to the cap or more but never tax level.
Frankly, the "tax" shouldn't exist. Kinda defeats the purpose of a salary cap, don't ya think? Forcing teams under a hard cap evens the playing field better than allowing the teams willing to spend more the opportunity to buy whoever they want. It should be interesting when the CBA expires. I wonder if the owners will try to claw that back?

Just to clarify:
I'm not saying I think they can win it all.
I'm saying that should be the goal, not finishing fourth.
What kind of defeatist attitude is gunning for fourth?
We're number 4, we're number 4!!!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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your right about that, and i think i did hear BC at one of the signings talking about going into the luxury tax when they resign bosh. i think he will have the green light next season
The green light for the luxury tax is really dependent on two things: how the team performs this year and whether or not there right players are going to be available to take us over the hump. Assuming this team is a middle of the pack playoff squad this year, maybe all it takes is the signing of a key guy to make that push for the top. That guy has to be there for MLSE to allow BC to go into the luxury tax. Even then it might take some serious lobbying on BC's part.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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anything can happen
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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1. short term objective is to keep bosh
2. long term is to win a title
3. mlse will spend if we are good - bc said so last year, and he doesn't struck me as a lying type
4. this roster is very flexibile - if andreea averages 19/7 next season, his 10 million are a bargani. So are 8 for a healthy jose , and hedu at 10 is still easily tradeable imo. Obviously Bosh has a lot of value, and it seems that derozan has a good future ahead. That will enable us to trade ANYBODY on this roster if we hit a wall. If bosh/bargnani doesn't work, we can always trade one of them, as long as they are at their max trade value (andreea now is not even close).

I think that as of right now, we have a lot of very good assets on this team, which will enable us many trade combinations.


Of course, the super optimistic view is that if Bosh gets stronger, andreea becomes an all star and a strong defender in less than 2 years, Calderon stays healthy and becomes a better defenderm and derozan meets expectations, this team could contend for a title in the current configuration in 3 years or so. Once we lose banks, we could turn his contract into a big scorer off the bench or some other missing piece.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Please, please keep in mind that this is not MLB. Simply having unlimited budget will not get you a championship caliber team, even if you manage to dance around the CBA somehow. See NY and Dallas, to a lesser extent.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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if andreea averages 19/7 next season, his 10 million are a bargani.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I think making the playoffs should be priority #1 to be honest. It's definitely DEFINITELY not a sure thing. Last year proved that

After Bos/Orl/Cle there's 5 spots open and these teams with a shot

Atlanta (likely)
Washington (likely barring injuries)
Chicago (likely)
Toronto (likely)
Miami (likely)

After that you've got

Charlotte (will be very good, especially if they sign AI as expected)
Philadelphia (underrated if Brand is healthy. He's > Miller)

If Charlotte is as good as I think they'll be next year, it'll likely take us picking off Chicago or Miami just to get in. I think we're better than those teams, but it's no sure thing
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
everybody get off ur arses and vote CB4 to the All Star Game!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The MVP of West Hollywood View Post
I think making the playoffs should be priority #1 to be honest. It's definitely DEFINITELY not a sure thing. Last year proved that

After Bos/Orl/Cle there's 5 spots open and these teams with a shot

Atlanta (likely)
Washington (likely barring injuries)
Chicago (likely)
Toronto (likely)
Miami (likely)

After that you've got

Charlotte (will be very good, especially if they sign AI as expected)
Philadelphia (underrated if Brand is healthy. He's > Miller)

If Charlotte is as good as I think they'll be next year, it'll likely take us picking off Chicago or Miami just to get in. I think we're better than those teams, but it's no sure thing
And Charlotte just added Chandler for Okafor which IMO is an upgrade when Chandler is healthy.

No matter how u look at it the east will be very tight, especially 5-10/11.

You basically got about 7 or 8 teams who can possibly make the playoffs competing for four spots.

Toronto, Washington, Miami, Chicago, Charlotte, Philly, and Detroit are all teams who will be fighting to make the playoffs
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:56 PM   #16 (permalink)
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chandler is never healthy, and that team will not score 80 ppg ...

chicago will not make the playoffs with the current team, and miami will only have a chance if they add a player, which is unlikely. As far as philadelphia, without miller they will struggle, and brand is arguably a downgrade over young right now ...
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I would say a championship is an unrealistic goal if MLSE doesn't decide to open up their wallets more. Look at the three contenders here, the big 3 in the East are all going to be paying the luxury tax. It's tough to hang with the big dogs without having the financial backup.
Every team in a league should aim the championship. It's got to be the nature of the competition. I'm not saying you can do it every year but it should be a target you can have in mind and you'd develop and adjust your team accordingly. Eventually it will happen.
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