Sheridan Hoops: Five things to watch, Raptors.
Old 08-25-2013, 09:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
is praying Ross makes us forget Drummomd so people stop whining

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1. To Tank, or Not to Tank.

This is the biggie. The Raptors go into this season as one of the only teams in the Eastern Conference this past summer that didn’t take a definitive step toward either the playoffs or presumed top overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Ujiri’s offseason instead was filled with moves that wouldn’t lock the team into either scenario.

Depending on how the season begins to unfold, Ujiri can still make changes on the fly.

This might be easier said than done, however.Ujiri’s predecessor, Bryan Colangelo, left the reigning Executive of the Year with a bit of a financial quagmire, and it may take more than one season to dig out.

DeMar DeRozan is making $9.5 million over each of the next four seasons. Landry Fields may be the most grossly overpaid player aside from Richard Jefferson, making $6.25 million. Kyle Lowry is coming off the books at the end of this season, and Colangelo mortgaged last June’s draft pick to get him, waving goodbye to Jose Calderon in the process. Does that give Lowry leverage? Or does it make him a prime post-Colangelo trade asset?

If the tanking is in full force by February, Lowry can be dumped if Ujiri has no intention of keeping him, and D.J. Augustin can hold down the fort.Regardless, the club needs to make more trades at some point, and one of the most intriguing things to watch this season will be which direction Ujiri takes the franchise.

On one hand, the playoffs aren’t completely out of reach in a top-heavy East. On the other, Wiggins looks to be a once-a-decade type talent, and a Canadian kid to boot. And the Raptors are the team he wants to play for.
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2. Rudy Gay's Future. A Tied directly to the first point of intrigue for the Raptors this coming season is this second one. Gay's gargantuan contract (2 years remaining at $37.2 million) puts a damper on any major roster readjustments. A decision by Ujiri and Co. to go after Wiggins and the 2014 draft's top talent appears to be inextricably linked to moving Gay.

But Gay is no Andrea Bargnani, who had to be moved at all costs – something Ujiri magically did this offseason – fleecing the Knicks in the process. Contract aside, Gay is still one of the top wing talents in the league. To move him for little in return simply to clear his contract might equate to “one step forward, two steps back,” especially if such a contract dump doesn't result in enough losses to clinch a top lottery pick.

Keeping Gay is equally problematic considering he has a contract extension looming and the Raptors have a glut at the wing position already. It's a tough situation and one that fans and media alike will be keeping an eye on as the season unfolds.
Toronto Raptors 2013-14 NBA Preview Five Things to Watch
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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U can tell this writer wants a tank.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good read and it is mostly facts. I think the writer brought up some good points.
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Old 08-26-2013, 05:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Another tank commander, sheesh, haven't we lost enough over the past 5 years?
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Another tank commander, sheesh, haven't we lost enough over the past 5 years?
um, no, and that's the problem ...
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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When you give it another look, we're not that far from Pacers/Grizzlies. We got good a PO caliber starters, we got some decent backups, we got a good GM AND we're defensive minded. we might need to change coach, but I prefer changing SG/SF positions first, we got too many good players Vs. overpaid players there (Fields, Novak, DD, Rudy). I hope Masai will fix that without touching our starting five and invest into getting few draft picks while clearing some cap.

We can defend well, rebound well, run the floor and drive the basket well. What needs changing is ti improve shooting wise, but since Rudy and DD trained all summer, I hope they improved their 3pt shooting!
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zxcvbn193 View Post
we might need to change coach, but I prefer changing SG/SF positions first, we got too many good players Vs. overpaid players there (Fields, Novak, DD, Rudy). I hope Masai will fix that without touching our starting five and invest into getting few draft picks while clearing some cap.
How can he clear much capspace (you even included 2 starters), invest into getting draft picks and not touch our starters?
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zxcvbn193 View Post
When you give it another look, we're not that far from Pacers/Grizzlies. We got good a PO caliber starters, we got some decent backups, we got a good GM AND we're defensive minded. we might need to change coach, but I prefer changing SG/SF positions first, we got too many good players Vs. overpaid players there (Fields, Novak, DD, Rudy). I hope Masai will fix that without touching our starting five and invest into getting few draft picks while clearing some cap.

We can defend well, rebound well, run the floor and drive the basket well. What needs changing is ti improve shooting wise, but since Rudy and DD trained all summer, I hope they improved their 3pt shooting!
yes, you are right, but what's the glory in being not that far from a couple of teams who are moderately good. When everybody is healthy, the Pacers and Memphis are probably somewhere in the 6-12 range, in that middle tier below contenders and above marginal playoff teams. We are currently in the marginal playoff teams bracket and, if a few thigns go right, we may be able to move in the next tier. Which, save for a miracle, will be our ceiling.
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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How can he clear much capspace (you even included 2 starters), invest into getting draft picks and not touch our starters?
that's obviously impossible, since our starting 5 makes nearly 45 million and with the CBA rules, even if we shed ALL other contracts, we'd have no relevant cap space since you have to account for another 8 (I believe) minimum contracts to fill the team.

In essence, without losing a starter for no salary in return, we cannot have more than MLE level cap space and even that is only possible on paper, not in the real world.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by zxcvbn193 View Post
When you give it another look, we're not that far from Pacers/Grizzlies. We got good a PO caliber starters, we got some decent backups, we got a good GM AND we're defensive minded. we might need to change coach, but I prefer changing SG/SF positions first, we got too many good players Vs. overpaid players there (Fields, Novak, DD, Rudy). I hope Masai will fix that without touching our starting five and invest into getting few draft picks while clearing some cap.

We can defend well, rebound well, run the floor and drive the basket well. What needs changing is ti improve shooting wise, but since Rudy and DD trained all summer, I hope they improved their 3pt shooting!
In order to get better he will have to touch the starters. At this point only JV is untouchable. You have KL who is expiring, Gay with a player option after this season, and MU won't let them walk away without getting anything in return, at least something. If we try and bring them back that's a another story though. The problem is that our core is just not good enough.
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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How can he clear much capspace (you even included 2 starters), invest into getting draft picks and not touch our starters?
Etc. trade Fields, DD and into that spot fill another, more fitting SG. Same goes with SF, PF and PG positions, but since we got T.Ross waiting for his chance, I would say SG/SF is probably the best way to do it and look for a SG who is more scoring and better shooting. Someone like K.Thompson(GSW) or M.Ellis. We need a clear leader on offense, because I doubt that R.Gay could be a n1 option. 2nd best, would fit him better.

Or, you can skip searching for that someone and try to trade DD or Ross for the next years draft pick. With that we would keep either Ross or DD and could go strongly into top 10 draft for next year without even a need of tanking and look for a good PF/SG/PG. I would be personally most intrigued to get a good young PG. Maybe that's what Masai planned, but i believe we and he needs to wait for now to see how team does at start and bring the topic back nearing the trade deadline!
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Old 08-26-2013, 12:52 PM   #12 (permalink)
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DD is a starter.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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3. The progression of Jonas Valanciunas. Itís not all doom and gloom for Raptors fans. The most exciting thing to watch will likely be the development of Valanciunas, their young center. The fifth pick in the 2011 draft showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season. But it was his MVP performance in the Las Vegas Summer League that really turned heads.

If Valanciunas stays healthy, this season could represent a breakout campaign and would give the Raptors their first elite big man since Antonio Davis. (With obvious apologies to Rafael Araujo.)
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4. The progression of Terrence Ross. Torontoís other recent lottery pick is Ross, an athletic wing and another player fans will be watching this season. While his rookie season didnít prove to be as big of an on-court success as that of Valanciunas, Ross still had his moments, including an exciting win in the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend.

However, Rossí recent Summer League performance could be classified as invisible at best. Pistons big Andre Drummond, drafted right after Ross in 2012, continues to cast a long shadow.

Should Ross take a big step forward, it could push management to move one of the larger wing contracts (Gay, DeMar DeRozan). But if Ross struggles, he could easily find himself being used as trade bait in an effort to shake up the roster.Kyle Lowry
Lets try to make this match the tread title maybe.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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5. The Point Guard Situation. Last season, the Raptors looked to have a dynamic 1-2 punch at the point with pass-first Jose Calderon backing up ever-in-attack-mode Kyle Lowry. Unfortunately that combination never materialized due to injuries to Lowry and his rocky relationship with the coaching staff, issues that eventually saw him sit in favor of Calderon.

Calderon’s expiring contract was moved in the deal that landed Gay, so the show is Lowry’s and Lowry’s alone to run this season. Sure, he will have some backup options thanks to Ujiri’s offseason acquisitions of D.J. Augustin and rookie Dwight Buycks. But the bottom line is that it’s Lowry’s job to lose.

Considering his reputation with coaching staffs isn’t exactly stellar and the fact that Lowry is in a contract year, there are myriad reasons it is essential that Lowry gets his career back on track this season.
.............
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:56 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The problem is that our core is just not good enough.
+1000000

Unfortunately
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