The Score: Projecting the Raps depth chart and expectations
Old 08-01-2013, 09:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Raptors The Score: Projecting the Raps depth chart and expectations

Projecting the Raptors Depth Chart and Early Expectations In the East | RaptorBlog | Blogs | theScore.com

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Dwane Casey’s*coaching staff*is all but set, free agency and a trade have addressed the team’s needs of three-point shooting, a third big man, a backup point guard and the longstanding need to rid themselves of Andrea Bargnani, Summer League is already*behind us*and the Raptors have even bought a couple of players out.

Assuming that Quentin Richardson is dealt with as Marcus Camby was and if no major trades are in the cards for the remainder of the off-season, we seem to have a pretty good idea of what this team will look like when they take the floor in October.On that note, here’s how I see things shaping up right now in terms of Toronto’s depth chart…I’d usually break the players down into three categories (point guards, wings and bigs), but since Steve Novak and Quincy Acy will probably play both forward positions and not much else, I listed them separately as forwards.
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As of right now, I think we’ll see an eight-to-10 man rotation that involves a starting lineup of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas with D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and Tyler Hansbrough joined in the usual second unit by Terrence Ross and Landry Fields.Ross and Fields will likely battle for minutes as the team’s third wing since there will usually be one or two starters on the floor with a combination of the second stringers, while Hansbrough should join one of Johnson or Valanciunas on the floor.I’d imagine that if the season started today, Buycks, Acy and Gray would make up the third string portion of the roster, but each will also have plenty of opportunity to earn more time.Buycks has the advantage of being able to play off the ball as well as running the point, so he can step into primary backup duties if one of Lowry or Augustin gets hurt (or if he simply outperforms Augustin, which may not be that far-fetched) and he can play the two with one of Lowry or Augustin working as the lead guard in a small-ball lineup.

Acy and Gray will fight with Hansbrough for the majority of their minutes, but Acy can eat up some time at the three as well if the Raptors need him to, while Gray should see his share of time on the floor when the Raps match up with a bigger, bruising centre.Toronto’s starters should be solid, as the combination of Lowry, DeRozan, Gay, Johnson and Valanciunas ranked as the*fifth-best five-man unit*in the NBA last season with a net rating of 12.9 and afourth-ranked defensive rating*of 92.5. When you consider that neither Lowry nor Gay were at their best in 2012-13 and that Valanciunas appears poised for a breakout season, there’s reason to believe that the Raptors’ starting unit can be as good, if not better in 2013-14.The real questions surround the bench. Augustin was awful last season, Buycks is unproven in the NBA, Ross has just one season under his belt, Landry Fields’ first season in Toronto was a disaster, Hansbrough, while effective, has his limitations, Acy can’t be relied upon for heavy minutes yet and Aaron Gray is Aaron Gray, with all due respect to The White Panther.The only sure thing in the second unit seems to be Novak’s three-point shooting, as 633 of his 767 field goal attempts over the last two seasons have come from behind the arc, where he’s converted at a 44.5 per cent clip during that time and 43.3 per cent over his seven-year career.Having raised those questions however, the bench appears to be balanced if nothing else. Augustin can distribute (and shoot threes), Ross and Fields can run and defend at the wings, Novak can spread the floor and Hansbrough can provide excellent interior defence while keeping possessions alive for the shooters on the team with his offensive rebounding, while Buycks, Acy and Gray can each fill a role towards the end of the bench.So what does that mix of talent get you in the changing Eastern Conference?The East seems to have three five-team tiers right now. The Heat, Bulls, Pacers, Nets and Knicks should be safe bets for the playoffs. The 76ers, Celtics, Bucks, Bobcats and Magic should be pretty safe bets for the lottery, and the Raptors, Cavs, Wizards, Pistons and Hawks should slide somewhere in the middle, filling the holes from 6th place to 10th place.In recent years, the Raptors have gone into the season needing a lot to break right for them just to even get in the post-season hunt.

This season, if things stay relatively quiet in the East over the next couple of months, they can be a playoff team by just having their starters play up to their potential and having the second unit players each fill their modest roles. It’s really not asking that much, and if the Knicks succumb to their vulnerabilities, (because trust me, they’re vulnerable), then one of those middle-tier teams in the East can suddenly find themselves in a race for fifth.Whether entering the season as a 6-to-10 team is good for the long-term outlook of the franchise is a debate we can save for another day (though finishing 6th to 8th is a lot easier to stomach for a young team trending upwards than it is for an older team reaching the end of its rope). For now all we can do is analyze the team in front of us, and 6-to-10 seems to be the most realistic landing spot for that team

Point Guards: Lowry, Augustine, Buycks

Wings: Gay, Derozan, Ross, Fields, Daye

Forwards: Novak, Acy

Bigs: Amir, Valanciunas, Hansborough, Gay

Last edited by jeffb; 08-01-2013 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm sure 10th is not in 's plans this season, just hoping he doesn't wait to long (like previous GMs) to pull the trigger on moves to get this team into one of the other "tiers".

Strange how our goal with this new executive is to have the exact same season we had last year ... and to be satisfied with it, again.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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"The White Panther" !!!???
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidd View Post
I'm sure 10th is not in 's plans this season, just hoping he doesn't wait to long (like previous GMs) to pull the trigger on moves to get this team into one of the other "tiers".

Strange how our goal with this new executive is to have the exact same season we had last year ... and to be satisfied with it, again.
Exact same season?

We have 5 different players on thod team that we didn't have for the first half of last season including a starter.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Exact same season?

We have 5 different players on thod team that we didn't have for the first half of last season including a starter.
I never mentioned anything about the players. I brought up our place in the standings last season.

Exact same season = we finished 10th last season, bounced around between 8th and 11th, the same thing that this article is predicting, based on the current team and offseason moves.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I think the piece makes the point that it isn't last season - that instead of struggling just to get within reach of a seeding, they should progress enough to be looking at one without too much trouble. It will resemble last season if they are at the bottom of the second tier, but they have enough to be able to be at the top of the second tier, which is a big enough difference as to make it a different tier in many respects.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I also think the Raptors will use an 8-10 man rotation.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I also think the Raptors will use an 8-10 man rotation.
Yep. Not having to choose from 3 or 4 guys that might do something if they get some of the minutes they expect will be a big bonus. The roles will be defined better and play into more specific 5-man units rather than have a constant guessing game, shuffling players around to try to find something working with constant holes to worry about. I'd be pretty happy if they didn't see 10 on the floor a lot of nights.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I also think the Raptors will use an 8-10 man rotation.
Lowry
Augustine or Buycks (whoever impresses most in camp)
DD
TR
Gay
Fields
Novak
Amir
TH
JV

Ridind the bench:

DJ or Buycks, Acy, Gray, Daye. I do think Acy will get SOME minutes.

Last edited by jeffb; 08-01-2013 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Only 5 new players, eh? That seems like the smallest off-season player turnover I've seen around here in years! I could be wrong
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:09 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Only 5 new players, eh? That seems like the smallest off-season player turnover I've seen around here in years! I could be wrong
Yeah, Buycks, Augustine, Hansborough, Daye, Novak
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I used to work at Sportsnet & I am now confused...

Is The Score website owned by sportsnet? I thought they purchased The Score & are now SN360.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah, Buycks, Augustine, Hansborough, Daye, Novak
This has to be one of the few (if only) summers that the starting 5 wasn't messed with.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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This has to be one of the few (if only) summers that the starting 5 wasn't messed with.
Agreed.

But it's also the first time in years that we have 5 legit starters
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:27 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Agreed.

But it's also the first time in years that we have 5 legit starters
It's also worth pointing out that our starters at the end of the year last year were different from the starters at the beginning of the year, so our year over year turnover is still significant.
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:32 PM   #16 (permalink)
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it's also worth pointing out that the expectations last season were that we'll make the playoffs fairly easily and everybody was outraged when hollinger predicted 33 wins for us.
At least we made him eat his words by winning 34

and while our starting 5 is better, our bench is a joke compared to what we had last season for 60% of the season (jose + ross + anderson + amir + ed davis). So replacing Bargnani and fields with amir and gay will make our starting unit much improved, while our bench is significantly worse.

it will all come down to health and luck (way below average last season). A simple reversions to the mean in both areas should be enough for about 7-8 wins while a near perfect health and more luck in end game scenarios could provide 5-6 additional wins,

Any significant injuries (long term) to gay or lowry will most likely result in us repeating last season's win total. Particularly devastating would be two starters being injured at the same time, because than you'd rely on guys like daye and augustin to play long minutes off the bench (if fields and buycks move to the starting lineup).

Worst case scenario by far would be a good start so we're around .500 at the deadline, followed by a streak of injuries, enough to make us finish 9th or 10th and no chance to blow the team ...
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Old 08-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by moremilk View Post
it's also worth pointing out that the expectations last season were that we'll make the playoffs fairly easily and everybody was outraged when hollinger predicted 33 wins for us.
At least we made him eat his words by winning 34

and while our starting 5 is better, our bench is a joke compared to what we had last season for 60% of the season (jose + ross + anderson + amir + ed davis). So replacing Bargnani and fields with amir and gay will make our starting unit much improved, while our bench is significantly worse.

it will all come down to health and luck (way below average last season). A simple reversions to the mean in both areas should be enough for about 7-8 wins while a near perfect health and more luck in end game scenarios could provide 5-6 additional wins,

Any significant injuries (long term) to gay or lowry will most likely result in us repeating last season's win total. Particularly devastating would be two starters being injured at the same time, because than you'd rely on guys like daye and augustin to play long minutes off the bench (if fields and buycks move to the starting lineup).

Worst case scenario by far would be a good start so we're around .500 at the deadline, followed by a streak of injuries, enough to make us finish 9th or 10th and no chance to blow the team ...

Well said, and also reasonably said, though also well read.

It's not hard to fathom that fans in Cleveland, Boston, Detroit, Washington, Milwaukee also look at their rosters and suggest they're going to compete for the playoffs.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by halphbreedballer View Post
I used to work at Sportsnet & I am now confused...

Is The Score website owned by sportsnet? I thought they purchased The Score & are now SN360.
I think sportsnet bought the Score and now it's called sportsnet 360.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:29 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I think sportsnet bought the Score and now it's called sportsnet 360.
But the website is still the score? Weird.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I don't remember much of anyone suggesting it would be a fairly easy ride to the playoffs. I know I wasn't expecting it at all. The main word last year as far as I recall, was that they should compete for the eighth spot, and they did have a chance through a good part of the season. It's hard not to see them having a much better chance this season.
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