The Tank-Force is getting stronger around the NBA. Are the Raptors up for the "challenge?"

With just a day remaining until the NBA’s trade deadline, most teams have played around 40 games or so. Even in a shortened season, this should be the point where contenders and pretenders are separated (hence, the Knicks’ recent disappearing act).

The time is now for contenders to assert their will or make a move to put them in position for a run through May and June. Those moves get all the publicity and all of the blogger love, but just as important and future-shaping are the moves that pretenders make to position themselves for a draft day bonanza.

Ridicule Tank Nation all you want, talk about the valuable experience young teams can get from meaningless first round sweeps as the eighth seed (which is only valuable if it’s a young team on the rise with already set core pieces). The truth is that this is the time for NBA cellar-dwellers to stake their claim to futility in the hopes that it will lead to sustainable future success.

The Warriors replaced an inefficient scorer with an oft-injured centre. Between Andrew Bogut’sĀ and Stephen Curry’s injury problems, Golden State should be on the cusp of a heavy duty tank job. If it works, and they end up with a top-five pick in 2012 to add to Curry, Bogut, David Lee and Klay Thompson, they may not be in bad shape.

The Nets, who are right in the thick of the lottery chase with the Raptors (Toronto’s a half-game better right now), will sit Deron Williams when the two teams meet tonight in New Jersey (Not suggesting Williams isn’t really banged up, but it doesn’t hurt to sit him either). If the Nets don’t land Dwight Howard before Thursday’s deadline, I assume we’ll see a schooling of epic proportions on how to tank.

The Bobcats, Wizards and Hornets couldn’t avoid tanking if they tried, and I’m still convinced that the Cavaliers, if they know what’s good for them, will come crashing back to earth soon. The Kings are somewhat of a Wizards West.

What that leaves us with, as Raptors fans, is the realization that although Bryan Colangelo and co. seem committed to the rebuild, something likely needs to be done, or some good luck disguised as bad luck needs to interfere, to help the Raps in their lottery quest.

Dwane Casey is too good of a coach and too competitive of a guy to stand by and facilitate a proper tank, so the Raptors’ only hope of out-losing their Tank Nation opponents might have to come “from above.” I’m hoping it comes from valuable trades that net Toronto draft picks and/or young assets in exchange for serviceable veterans, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of trade chatter out there involving the Raps right now.

What exactly can be done though? Trade Calderon? Trade Barbosa? Trade ‘em both? Sit Bargnani, Calderon and Barbosa for random games?

It’s been a concern of ours all season, and I’ve tried to avoid thinking about it in great detail, but seriously, look at the standings right now (Good God, the 14-28 Raptors are just four games back of a playoff spot) and tell me you’re truly confident with this team’s chances at a top-three or even top-five pick.

As things currently stand, I don’t know if I can.

Comments (9)

  1. I still believe.

    Just some of the games over the next week or so: Pistons @ Kings, Wizards @ Hornets, Pistons @ Suns, Hornets @ Nets, Cavaliers @ Nets, Wizards @ Nets, Warriors @ Hornets.

    All the Raptors have to do is not go on an extended winning streak and that is likely as they have a very tough stretch starting next week. All the Raptors have to do is finish with one of the Top 5 worst records, they don’t have to finish with the worst.

    • Agreed. I actually don’t want them to finish with the worst record, since you end with more of a chance to move down than anything else. In fact, it’s not until you get to the fourth or fifth worst record that you have more of a chance at moving up or staying in place than moving down.

      If this team can remain competitive, get some solid play and development out of its younger players, throw in a couple of upset W’s here and there, and still end up with a bottom-five record, I’d be ecstatic.

      But with the general futility at the bottom of the standings, the Raps could just as easily end up with the seventh or eighth pick, which would be a massive letdown.

      • Well, just like everything else the GM has done in his tenure here, he went into the tank job half assed and kept Calderon and Barbosa which were both huge mistakes so he’s going to have to live with a lower than expected pick.

  2. TANK HARDER B*TCHES!!! We haven’t put up with this UTTER BS all season long to wind up with the 9th seed.

    We has sure as hell better be limiting Bargs minutes, and watching the GARY FORBES SHOW for the rest of the season or I’m gonna be REALLY PISSED OFF!!!

    BLOWN OPPORTUNITY. Beating Cleavland 3 times this season. Morons.

  3. this team is disgusting. can’t win. can’t lose. sigh. what a shitshow. does anyone even trust colangelo to make a deal or competently make a draft selection at this point? bargs was a monumental blunder, as was triano, as was trading hibbert etc. and on and on.

    what a disaster this team is. i’m actually glad when raptors games are blacked out on NBA League Pass. I wish the whole season could just get blacked out.

  4. Even though they’re only 4GB of 8th in the playoffs, they have a pretty tough schedule coming up to end the year. I don’t see them winning very many games near the end, especially against teams pushing for a higher seed.

    I think I said 22-44 at the beginning of the year, I’ll stick with that. 8-16 to end the year seems reasonable, and I think could still get them in the top 5 pick range.

  5. I think the only way to tank effectively is to put Casey on the injured list.

  6. Sigh. Complain complain complain. Sigh. Everybody is a moron of epic proportions. Sigh. Complain complain complain. Sigh.

    Didn’t realize the forecast was calling for steady drivel today.

  7. Supposidly Barbosa going to the Pacers

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