Raptors vs. Knicks home and home Points Per Game: Or not. How about, we look ahead

- March 24th, 2013

Let’s be frank, at this point, nobody really wants to discuss how the Rudy Gay and others-less Toronto Raptors did against the New York Nuggets. So, let’s turn our attention to next year. Here is my take on who will be back, who should be back and how I see things going:

Quincy Acy: Showed more than expected and looks like an NBA player. Should get more burn next season, especially if a big man doesn’t come back when Andrea Bargnani is traded.

Alan Anderson: Definitely made himself some money with his scoring outbursts and team-best perimeter defence, but probably has priced himself out of a return to Toronto. Would think he’ll get more than the veteran minimum and with Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Landry Fields around, might not be a fit anymore either. The caveat being a DeRozan trade were to happen, he’d still have a place. I would thank Anderson for his contributions and wish him well and commend him on getting more money than the minimum.

Andrea Bargnani: Season was nothing short of a disaster. Unless the market is completely barren until he can return to action and prove he can stay on the court for more than 5 games in a row, he’ll be dealt long before training camp. It should have been done long ago, but at least it will be done. What will the return be? Hard to say. An expiring and a late draft pick or a high second? An overpaid player who is still better than Bargnani?

DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan clearly took steps forward, particularly as a passer and finisher, but could not sustain great start, possibly because he had one of the league’s biggest workloads. It’s still not clear what DeRozan is. His defence still leaves a ton to be desired and his shot selection and outside shooting still has a way to go. If he can cut down on the tough mid-range attempts he favours, stick a few more threes and get to even a league average level defensively, his large new contract becomes close to a bargain. But if not, it’s a few million a year too much. I still don’t get why he was given the extension before this season instead of after. Yes, there’s a shortage of quality shooting guards and many teams have cap space this summer, but the Raptors could have matched any offer. With Rudy Gay on hand, DeRozan’s future in Toronto goes from a certainty to up in the air. The duo share far too many strengths and weaknesses to be an ideal long-time pair. Gay’s not going anywhere, so that leaves DeRozan, a great guy, a hard worker who is improving and still has another level or two to get to, as a question mark going forward.

Landry Fields: A tough first season in Toronto for Fields, who will always have to deal with the pressure of being rewarded with a contract that probably pays him $2 million more a season than anybody believes he is worth. Expect a much better Fields next year when he will come in not dealing with a mysterious injury and with lesser expectations. Overpaid, sure, but still a useful player because of the little things he does. If he can ever regain his shooting form, he will be able to lay claim to more minutes. He’ll be back.

Rudy Gay: Coming off of the worst season of his career, Gay will have a lot to prove. Fully healthy and with something to play for, he’ll be a lot better. Needs to get back to his prior level to quiet all the whining about his hefty contract. He’ll be back and will be expected to be the team’s leading scorer next season.

Aaron Gray: Good veteran leader and a hard worker but only useful against the NBA’s biggest bodies. Will pick up player option and return for another year if Dwane Casey’s back. If Casey’s not, might be included in a package.

Amir Johnson: Team’s best player for second time in three years. Will get some most improved player votes. Needs a summer of rest to get his achy body back in top form. Has two years left on a deal many foolishly ripped for years, without actually paying attention to how effective Johnson was. Without major changes, fits as a starter since he doesn’t demand shots and gets easy put-backs. If DeRozan and Bargnani go and a low-post scorer comes back, could return to sixth man role, but more likely, he’ll be the starter.

Linas Kleiza: Has never made it all the way back from devastating injury. Will be amnestied unless Bargnani market completely disappears, which is highly unlikely.

Kyle Lowry: By far the most disappointing Raptor of 2012-13. Most talented player on the team that has gotten most out of talent over the years (Bargnani and Gay might have more actual talent, but haven’t gotten as much out of it as Lowry has over the years). Came in out of shape and never looked right all year. Had great start and dominated training camp, but after first injury wasn’t the same and then kept getting hurt. Tried to change game too much and it hurt him. Needs to be old aggressive self on offence next year and needs to find a way to once again become a top 10 defensive point guard. He once held that status. Relationship with Casey isn’t ideal and Lowry needs to take ownership that a lot of the blame falls on him. Which Lowry shows up in 2013-14 could determine how good the Raptors are. Expect him to be strong, since he will be playing for a new contract.

John Lucas III: Played some good minutes and kept team alive in many games but isn’t the answer as a backup point guard. Has a place as a scorer off of the bench, but it might be back in Chicago, not in Toronto. Great team guy and one of hardest workers in the league. My guess is he’s back if Casey is and he’ll go elsewhere if Casey is gone.

Mickael Pietrus: A non-factor who might be done as an NBA player.

Terrence Ross: More struggles than success as a rookie, but still showed enough flashes for everybody to realize that he has considerable potential. Needs to live in gym and get stronger in off-season. Team believes he will be a good starter in the league in a couple of years.

Sebastian Telfair: Hasn’t turned any heads as a Raptor and trading a second, even if the reasoning made some sense and seconds rarely work out, remains a bit of an unnecessary move. Probably plays elsewhere, but Toronto will need to find a backup, so could be in mix.

Jonas Valanciunas: The Big V is the Big Hope of Raptors nation. Considering how young bigs usually perform in their first crack at the NBA, season has to be considered a significant success. Yes, there were mistakes a plenty, but there was also a ton to like. Valanciunas is going to be a very good player for years to come. Like Ross, needs to get stronger in off-season and would be wise to spend time with a master of low-post play. If he gets better footwork and some effective moves inside, he would solve a major problem for the Raptors.

Dwane Casey: The most encouraging part of the 2011-12 season, Casey had a tough second act in Toronto. Nobody saw this coming after the previous season was directed so well. But it’s been a bad year for Casey, his staff and his players. From botched inbounds, to late collapses galore, to curious rotational decisions, things just never came together. He and Bryan Colangelo are at odds with each other and it will be very interesting to see what happens. Lowry’s inability to get on the same page as Casey hurt the team greatly. I’d give him half a year to see what he can do with a healthy roster and maybe add another x’s and o’s guy to help out with the play-calling. If you let Casey go, who do you bring in? None of the elite coaches will take the job. And if you let him go, can you keep Colangelo who will have let go yet another head coach?

Bryan Colangelo: Almost a lock to be back at this point, but should he be? He held on to Bargnani for far too long, jumped the gun on a DeRozan extension, gave Fields far too much money and has built a non-playoff team that has no cap space and no picks this summer. On the other hand, he’s drafted pretty well here (give him a solid B for his draft work) and has been able to fix a lot of his mistakes (Turkoglu, etc.) so maybe he can fix the Bargnani mistake as well? And, again, who else is going to take on this team? You could hand it over to Ed Stefanski, but does that change much. MLSE has already gone this far in with the Raptors. Nobody is going to come in and unravel everything. Like Casey, give Colangelo half a season to see what this group he has built can do.

If they’re still no good at that point, clean house and finally do a proper rebuild.

 

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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5 comments

  1. truth be told says:

    ‘He held on to Bargnani for far too long, jumped the gun on a DeRozan extension, gave Fields far too much money and has built a non-playoff team that has no cap space and no picks this summer.’

    Yet we are still asking the question if Bryan Colangelo should be back? The answer is right there. The Raptor organization rewards failure.

  2. unknown guest says:

    Great read. Sad that BC will most likely be re-signed. Too bad we can’t trade him and AB to OKC for Sam Presti and spare parts.

  3. ryan.wolstat says:

    Again though, you can’t only look at what he’s done wrong and completely ignore what he’s done right.
    The other thing is, who do you get to replace him?

  4. :) says:

    how can u say the guy that brought rudy gay in for almost nothing should not be back? Sam Presti just traded away one of the top 5 scorers in the league and got kevin martin and a draft pick back….he also traded jeff green for Kendrick perkins and then gave perkins so much money they could not afford to keep harden…

    I am thrilled someone finally acknowledges that Dwayne Casey is part of the problem here. In my mind he is the main problem. We added more talent and got worse results. Something tells me BJ carlisamo had a larger part in the successses of last year than casey. New coaching candidates:

    Nate Mcmillan
    Alvin Gentry
    Stan van gundy
    Scott Skiles

  5. Dave says:

    :) stated that, “Something tells me BJ carlisamo had a larger part in the successses of last year than casey. ” I wonder how PJ did that when he wasn’t a part of the coaching staff last year.

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