Charlotte Bobcats v Toronto Raptors

After refusing to talk playoffs for the longest time, I’ll admit that even I was fooled into false hope after the late February win over the Knicks and subsuquent Bucks loss which brought the Raptors to within four games of the top eight in the Eastern Conferences. I quickly came to my senses, however, with back-to-back losses against the Wizards and Cavs.

But while talk of playoff games in 2013 evaporated weeks ago, there is still a portion of this fan base that seems to assume that this exact same roster will magically turn into a playoff team in 2014. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why.

On paper, a team consisting of Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan and a developing pair of sophomores in Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross should contend for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and if they stay healthy over the course of a whole season, I don’t doubt that they can. But even so, the most realistic outcome if this team returns for Toronto and stays healthy is probably a team that hovers around .500 for the majority of the season and finishes in a dog fight for the eighth and final playoff spot. The fact that they were virtually a .500 team for months following the 4-19 start and for the first six weeks after the Rudy Gay trade only solidifies that argument.

If they address the need for a backup point guard and another competent big man while actually getting something of value out of a possible Andrea Bargnani trade/amnesty, then sure, I can envision this team making some noise in the East next season. But there are 14 other teams in the Conference with their own off-season agendas and the Raptors are capped out, so assuming that the pieces will all magically fall into place for Toronto is about as safe as assuming that this team left untouched will become a playoff team simply by flipping the calendar, which in turn is about as safe as assuming that once they got back in the race this season, they would beat teams like the Wizards, Cavs and Bobcats, and we all know how that turned out.

Yes, there is a smidgeon of hope for the future thanks to some of the young talent assembled here (mostly Valanciunas) and there is the possibility that a productive off-season will make 2013-14 a season worth investing in for Raptors fans, but as presently constructed, they’re still far from a playoff shoe-in.

Believing anything to the contrary is letting this management group and ownership get off a little too easy, if you ask me.

Comments (18)

  1. The Raptors are definitely on a knife’s edge this off-season. A couple of good moves, a good coach, and I could see them becoming a high-40s-winning team. A couple of bad moves (or, god forbid, no major moves) and they could easily be a 30-win team again.

    Step 1: Get rid of Colangelo.

    Step 2: Get anyone else to GM.

    Step 3: New coach, some trades.

    Step 4: ???

    Step 5: Winning!

  2. Gotta agree Joe….uh, Joey….Joseph.

    Flip DeRozan, ala Chisolm, back up point, Bargnani for something. I’m thinking a fine block of Parmesan.

    Let’s face it, we’re about five years away from the franchise high of 47 dubs. With some draft luck. OK, six years.

    Could be worse though. Hockey and all that.

  3. The coaching has to get better as well.

    Right?

  4. i strongly believe the rudy trade sent us back a few, as much as i hate to think like this, before every single transaction every single team makes they should unfortunately ask themselves “does this get us closer to beating the heat in a 7 game series” and rudy isint even arguably in the top 15-20 players in the league ( IMO ), would of much rather kept ED, and amnesty LK and trade Bargs, and should of went big for the 2014 draft and beyond

    laugh all you want, chris bosh had hall of fame numbers here, and averaged a double double multiple seasons, and is better then rudy ( IMHO ) so if we couldnt win with him, why did everyone get so pumped for rudy…?

    even if we didnt get parker or wiggins in 2014, i still wouldnt of traded for rudy IMO

    • Well, Chris Bosh was never the guy to hit a clutch 3 (although he would hit one twice a year.. and when that ball went up, Raps fans everywhere would gasp.) Gay still has that and the Raps are hoping he takes a 180 and becomes the man again. A gamble I would agree with since he’s still well under 30.

  5. I don’t quite grasp how people can suggest organization altering changes like a GM/coaching change yet at the same time expect this team to make the playoffs next season as if the new people in charge won’t completely alter course.

    • 100% agree with this. Everyone thinks if they get rid of BC this organization is now a contender

    • This organization has been selling hope for a while, rather than a good team. Even the hope’s drying up. A new GM would at least renew that.

      Find an RC Buford assistant that will pick up the reigns in TO, and I’ll be a happy camper, for the offseason at least.

  6. What I find funny, is fans talking about getting guys like Paul Millsap in the offseason. In 7 years, the best free agent Colangelo could get was Hedo Turkoglu. And that was when the team had cap room (although technically it was a sign-and-trade). This summer, they’ll be over the cap, and most likely pretty close to the luxury tax, plus they’ll be coming off a 28-32 win season, no All Star on the roster and a history of losing. What chance do you they have of being able to sign ANYONE who will make an impact without vastly overpaying them?

    And with Colangelo proving time and time again to be rather iffy when it comes to judging talent and team building, how secure should we be that any move he makes will actually improve the team?

  7. Yeah, I agree with this post. Maybe it is a result of being spoonfed too much Colangelo produced pessimism, but I expect more of the same next year. Maybe a slight improvement by 6 to 8 wins if the Raps get a few bounces going their way for a change.

    Plus, when you factor in that probably two of Cleveland, Washington, Philadelphia or Orlando will take a step forward in their development, the ‘quest for 8th’ will be a bit more difficult for the Raptors. A full season of Wall will help Washington, Cleveland has 4 picks this draft which should help to add at least a few useful pieces. Orlando could improve next year, but 2014-15 looks more likely once Turkoglu’s horrible contract is off the books. And as for the 76ers, they have a wack of cap space available for the 13-14 season, so with a few savvy signings they should improve upon their current 28 wins.

  8. I wonder if the team should just Amnesty Bargs if they can’t get a deal for him. He seems to bring the whole mood of the team down.

  9. Do you even consider yourself a raptors fan. Everything I have read this year from you has been about how shit the raptors are. Show some respect for the players and the team. Im sure the fan base could lose a negative shit like yourself without a look back. Ya the raps are in a tough time… get off their ass. I hate reading this garbage, write something positive.

    • Have you seen the state of the franchise?

      The Raptors have had just 4 winning seasons in 18, and only one in the last 10. And sure, their 5 playoff appearances in 18 years puts them ahead of only the Clippers and Golden State.

      After adding $20 million in annual salary over last season, adding two lottery picks, trading away a lottery pick and trading for a max salary player, the Raptors are on pace to have pretty much the same win percentage this year as last and are currently 3.5 games away from third last in the league.

      The team will have the 6th highest payroll in the league this summer, with a team that will be lucky to play .500 ball next season, with your two primary scorers being inefficient, high volume jumpshooters, your two primary ball handlers being not good decision makers and your core not being very good defensively.

      And the architect of the team the last 7 years, who has got the team into this mess is probably going to continue to run the team.

      On second thought, maybe the Raptor fans need less reality and more stories about unicorns and rainbows, because, really, how many stories about Amir and Valanciunas can you write?

    • Stew Gibson,

      Coud you give me 10 lines please on whats been positive about the franchise this year? (Crowd attendance isn’t eligible)

      Thanks.

  10. This post just reassures, how much i hate the fuckin raps organization for screwing their fan, and reassures how stupid raps fanbase is (except for hardcores) for beliving gay is a star. Bosh was ten times the player gay will ever be and he could not do anything with this hopeless team. I just wanted raps to rebuild but they are gunna be medicore for years to come. I wish gay leaves ASAP. DD fuck him. AB had a lot of potenial but fuck him too. Most of all fuck BC and DC (one of worst raptors HC)

  11. I’ll admit that I was one of those people that actually thought if we kept the current roster as it is with only a good backup point guard added we’d somehow make the playoffs. But it’s true, it doesn’t really make sense.

    Ya sure, technically Rudy would be more in tune with the team and our ‘sets’, whatever they are, and Ross and JV would be a year older, thus supposedly better…but that’s not enough.

    However, as you mentioned, we’re capped out thanks to BC’s brilliant moves, so what else can you hope for? I mean, I honestly don’t see BC being let go and even if he was and some GM comes in to blow it up (that’s really the only solution I think to trying to build a real contender) we’d have to go back to square one with another rebuild. As a fan, I’d rather hope they somehow gel, grow, and become some kind of entertaining threat in the east.

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