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Mired in Monotony: Seven Teams in a Rut (Raptors Included)

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  • Mired in Monotony: Seven Teams in a Rut (Raptors Included)

    Good read courtesy of Jonathan Hartzell from

    There are very few ways to build a championship contender in the NBA and they’re all centered around obtaining a superstar.

    Option 1: Sign an already established superstar through free agency (the Miami Heat model)

    Option 2: Use young talent and Draft picks to trade for a superstar (the Boston Celtics model)

    Option 3: Draft well and stockpile young talent in hopes they develop into superstars (the San Antonio Spurs model)

    The first option is usually only available to organizations in major markets that have the appeal to attract superstars. So for non-major market teams, the more feasible option is to acquire young talent and high Draft picks and hope one of those players turns into a star. But this route requires a lot of luck and usually a lot of losing for cities that usually can’t afford such a steep decline. It’s a tough but necessary route.

    Organizations find themselves stagnated in obscurity when they fail to get lucky in the lottery or they spend their money unwisely. It’s an unfortunate place to be and it’s where seven teams find themselves going into this season. They’re not bad enough to get better and not good enough to matter.

    Let’s breakdown how each of these teams got here and what their plans seem to be moving forward.

    Toronto Raptors

    Winning percentages, last five seasons (2008-13): .402, .488, .268, .348, .415

    Biggest mistake, last five seasons: Signing Hedo Turkoglu to a 5-year/$53 million contract in 2009.

    Past: The Raptors have experienced some of the NBA’s longest stagnation this century as they have not advanced past the first round of the playoffs since 2000-01 and they’ve only been over .500 once in the past ten seasons. They botched their chance to obtain relevancy when they drafted Andrea Bargnani No. 1 overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. Bargnani never developed into the elite offensive center the team imagined and Toronto recently unloaded Bargnani on the New York Knicks for a package centered around sharp-shooter Steve Novak. Last season, the team dug their heels deeper into the middle of the road when they acquired Rudy Gay. This move made the team better, but nowhere near championship caliber and Toronto found itself again on the playoff fringe.

    Future: The Raptors are now under the control of former Denver Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri and some of his moves this summer signal a new direction for the organization. This must be a welcome sign for Toronto fans who haven’t had much to cheer for in a while. But it most likely won’t be a quick turnaround with the amount of bad contracts the team still has on the books.
    Source - Click here

  • #2
    Yeah, sure they're bad, and they've been bad. But I don't think they're as bad as all the anylysis say. I'm not sure if it's because I'm a Raptors fan or not. It probably is. Either way, with Colangelo out and Ujiri in, there's nowhere to go but up from here.
    A wise man once said: F*ck Brooklyn!


    • #3
      When i think of the term "mediocre" the first team that comes to mind is the raps, so yeah id say the article is pretty spot on.


      • #4
        I'm generally in agreement with this peice.

        But he still managed to make that one comment I hear time and time again that really bothers me:

        fail to get lucky
        First off it gives so little credit to the scouts and decision makers who have nailed these picks. It also removes the bad decision thats been made by decision makers and scouts from the equation. Just because selections over time aren't perfect, we shouldn't pretend that the draft is just a wild shot in the dark. There is a very clear and obvious decrease in the value of players with each lower draft spot.

        Secondly, what form of building a contender doesn't involve luck and how much luck is needed compared to something else? I'll call this 'relative luck'.

        He makes note that you have to be a major market to sign a superstar as a UFA (something I've agreed with many times), so assuming thats true we'll call that a 0% chance. So lets pretend drafting a superstar is extremely unlikely, we'll call that a 0.1% chance. Well here is the thing: 0.1 > 0. So the idea that drafting a superstar is 'lucky' may or may not be true, but it is relatively less lucky than an impossible/improbable chance.

        Now thats just an example and we don't really want to compare against something thats improbable anyways. So lets compare against Option 2:

        Option 2: Use young talent and Draft picks to trade for a superstar (the Boston Celtics model)
        We need to get some sort of idea of how often this happens (even if we can't necessarily map it easily statistically). Since, and including, Boston we've seen KG, Harden, Melo, Paul, Deron and Dwight being trade while still under contract. Of that list Melo, Paul and Dwight were all available for UFA that coming year, requested (demanded) a trade and controlled where they would land (they had to approve the move for it to happen). They landed in NY, LA and LA respectively - not suprisingly major markets. I think its reasonable to plop them into the 'Option 1' category.

        This leaves us KG, Deron and Harden. KG's situation was similar to those mentioned above. He had an ETO to his contract - however, there is little to indicate he would have used it. But either the threat of that ETO (UFA after), or Minnesota's willingness to rebuild and work with him, left KG controlling his trade destiny.

        Deron Williams trade was rather abrupt and shrouded in a bit of mystery. Jerry Sloan had just been fired a month or two before, and it was assumed to be due to Deron himself.

        The Harden deal is perhaps the only one that has taken place outside the control of the player itself (although Deron may also fit here aswell).

        So thats 1 or 2 superstars who have been traded without the superstar themselves controlling the deal (ie. chosing the destination) in the last 6 years.

        (worth noting aswell - they ended up in NY and Houston, two major markets again).

        So if we take a step back and look at the 'collect assets and trade for a superstar' build, we also see it is extremely rare. Most reasonably 2 events (3 if being very generous, 1 if not being generous).

        To make a broad comparison, 'superstars' drafted in the top 5 since 2007.

        Durant, Rose, Westbrook, Love, Griffin, Harden, Irving, (maybe) Davis

        Now I'm sure people will pick and choose names above that aren't superstars and thats fine if they choose to do so. But I think there are enough names on that list that its reasonable to believe drafting a superstar is relatively less lucky than trading for one.

        This to me is no small point, and very bothersome when I see people discussing team building. Calling the opportunity of drafting a superstar as 'luck', makes it sound like teams have no, or little, control. But if have no other choice, are you going to play black jack where you can have some level of control over the odds or are you going to go straight to the slot machine?


        • #5
          Haven't been past the first round since 2001, and yet fans are up in arms if anyone mentions blowing it up


          • #6
            Mediumcore wrote: View Post
            Haven't been past the first round since 2001, and yet fans are up in arms if anyone mentions blowing it up
            lol, perspective is always appreciated.


            • #7
              Mediumcore wrote: View Post
              Haven't been past the first round since 2001, and yet fans are up in arms if anyone mentions blowing it up
              How would you blow it up?


              • #8
                Biggest mistake, last five seasons:Signing Hedo Turkoglu to a 5-year/$53 million contract in 2009
                no not Hedo because we were able to fix that mistake within a year, the biggest mistake was gambling with Chris Bosh free agency and let him walk for nothing.


                • #9
                  Hotshot wrote: View Post
                  no not Hedo because we were able to fix that mistake within a year, the biggest mistake was gambling with Chris Bosh free agency and let him walk for nothing.
                  I would also say the return on Vince would have to be up there for colossal fuck-ups.


                  • #10
                    The creation of the franchise! Rofl


                    • #11
                      psrs1 wrote: View Post
                      How would you blow it up?
                      I applaud RR for not replying to this.

                      There are only 1,618 threads on this topic.


                      • #12
                        psrs1 wrote: View Post
                        how would you blow it up?
                        If Your Uncle Jack Helped You Off An Elephant, Would You Help Your Uncle Jack Off An Elephant?

                        Sometimes, I like to buy a book on CD and listen to it, while reading music.


                        • #13


                          • #14
                            That said, Portland has other solid players and a decent coach. A team left to Lillard/Batum is better than one left to Jose/DD


                            • #15
                              Also worth mentioning is that two two of the options are based around quality drafts, ideally with multiple picks over several years.

                              Drafting a star (and as many sidekicks as possible) and using picks and players to "aquire" one are both based around being out of the playoffs (on purpose folks, not like the Raptors who try every trick in the book to make it and still miss, acquiring useless picks, that they still screw up, T Ross vs Drummond...) for multiple years.

                              I know it's hard but we just can't have it both ways, all the people arguing over whether to tank and/or "blowing it up" need to take a breath and realize what the ENTIRE basketball world already knows... We are stuck in mediocre( and that is being extremely kind) for no other reason than our ridiculous half assed attempts at sneaking into the post season and being jobbed by our own management... Figure out what your priorities are; building a championship with bonefied stars or rolling along "stuck in a rut" with Andrea and Hedo ...
                              Change the name...Give this city and this country something we can be PROUD of... something we can EMBRACE... something that REPRESENTS us... Please MLSE any name except Raptors...anything, please?