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  • Can we still tank?

    Just kind of wanted to put this out there for everyone to see.

    A lot of people keep mentioning how we only have 6 more wins than the 2nd last place team in the East, etc. Seems like a pretty small win differential to "overcome" right? Well unfortunately, basketball and sports in general don't really work like that. I'd assume a lot more people would have clued into this with the Leafs finishing just outside of the playoffs a few times, but I digress.

    There are 22 games between now and the trade deadline of February 20th. For argument's sake, let's say Lowry is moved on January 31st, so after 14 games.

    Now again for argument's sake, let's say the Raptors slow down their winning pace significantly and only win half of these games (despite playing an easier schedule). So we're 23-23.

    We hear this talk from those people still advocating that we can tank constantly about finishing in the bottom 4 giving us a 99% chance at a top 6 pick. Ok then. Hell let's just talk bottom 6 then shall we?

    The bottom 6 teams in the league currently are all on pace to win at most 27 games. Even if we assume the bottom 6 teams don't remain stable over the remainder of the season, statistics tell us that teams tend to play at about the same pace for most of the year (especially after being 30+ games in), so in all likelihood to be a bottom 6 team you will need <= 27 wins.

    So that would mean if Lowry is dealt at the end of January (3 weeks before the trade deadline) we would need to go 4-32 over the final 36 games of the season to land in the bottom 6. That is nearly twice as bad of a winning percentage as our 4-19 start to last season. This isn't even taking into account the fact that the bottom teams will just start sitting out veterans in the last 10 games or so, causing their losing rates to pick up even further.

    So in all likelihood this "tank" would result in a pick somewhere 8th-10th more realistically at best.

    That is all.

  • #2
    Based on these numbers you've provided I don't think a top 5 pick is possible
    "Both teams played hard my man" - Sheed

    Comment


    • #3
      There are some assumptions made in the OP. With the current trajectory it doesn't appear possible but other teams can change as well.

      - Currently Cleveland is 5th worst but just upgraded by getting Deng.
      - Sacramento is playing better with Gay.
      - NY is starting to play better (and are healthier), and doesn't have a pick to fall back on, so they would like to avoid the tank if possible.
      - With MCW in toe Philly plays better (they beat Portland for example).
      - Rondo still needs to lace up his shoes and get on the court.. that should help Boston
      - Chicago was playing okay without Deng but they still have Thibs as coach who hates to lose.

      The teams that will remain bad are Milwaukee, Orlando, and Utah. You could add Brooklyn but they have a lot of vets and a need to win or LAL but only if they trade Gasol (but Nash has the ability to create wins as well).

      I personally don't think the tank is over until we see what happens with Lowry. And if MU does not trade him (which is possible) he could walk. If MU waits until the deadline the Raps could slip from 4th (first in division) to 8th or 9th and that's a bad place to be (ie, 'no man's land). So despite the success of the team he might still get moved sooner than later and that could begin the tank watch again.

      Comment


      • #4
        As planetmars alluded to, there are simply too many unknown variables to reach any sort of definitive conclusion this early in the season, some of which MU can somewhat control and many more he can't.

        I do think an outright tank (ie: relying solely on their own 1st round pick) is very likely out of the question right now.

        I think there are some teams that are going to be much better than they have been (ie: Cleveland, NY, Brooklyn and possibly Milwaukee, as well as Utah and Sacramento, though playing in the WC hurts them). However, there are several teams that are likely going to be worse once they commit to the lottery (ie: Orlando, Philly and possibly Chicago, LAL and maybe even Memphis). Too many teams with win totals that are too close (13 teams have between 11-15 wins currently) to call at the moment.

        A rebuild, where additional assets (ie: prospects and draft picks) are accumulated AND the Raptors target the lottery as a result, could still be a possibility.

        I think what happens to Lowry will be MU's 'tell', as to whether he plans to rebuild/retool or push for the #3 seed.

        Comment


        • #5
          Can we tank? Yes. Will it be a successful tank? Probably not.
          "Masai WILL win us a championship"
          - Tim Leiweke

          Ujiri: "One thing I can say for sure is that we will not be stuck in the middle."

          Reporter: "How can you say that?"

          Ujiri: "Because I can say that."

          Comment


          • #6
            KazanTheMan wrote: View Post
            Can we tank? Yes. Will it be a successful tank? Probably not.
            Yeah that's sort of what I'm getting at.

            I remember how a lot of Raptors fans (I was more of a RealGMer back then though) were bitching about only getting 8th in the 2012 tank... well people should expect the same or worse if we tank now imo.

            Comment


            • #7
              Masai Ujiri wrote: View Post
              Yeah that's sort of what I'm getting at.

              I remember how a lot of Raptors fans (I was more of a RealGMer back then though) were bitching about only getting 8th in the 2012 tank... well people should expect the same or worse if we tank now imo.
              Yeah, we'd probably f*** ourselves over.
              "Masai WILL win us a championship"
              - Tim Leiweke

              Ujiri: "One thing I can say for sure is that we will not be stuck in the middle."

              Reporter: "How can you say that?"

              Ujiri: "Because I can say that."

              Comment


              • #8
                32 games in they have 16 wins with 50 more games?

                This the last game in the toughest part of there schedule.

                The East will likely have two teams with games under .500 make the playoffs. There could be 2 teams with 30+ wins in the playoffs in the East. So the Raps could go 20-30 and potentially make the playoffs. They would have to get less than 30 wins total to guarantee a top 10 pick. That would mean winning less than 14 games as their season softens.

                It would be really difficult. Yes, there are teams trying to get in the playoffs, but for every Cleveland trying to make it, there's a Chicago that's throwing in the towel.

                Comment


                • #9
                  It's pretty much go big or go home at this point lol fuck. oh well. Make it interesting, Toronto.
                  You come at the King, you best not miss.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    KazanTheMan wrote: View Post
                    Can we tank? Yes. Will it be a successful tank? Probably not.
                    I agree with this, all though I'm not quite ready to abandon my tank avatar

                    Mr.Z wrote: View Post
                    It's pretty much go big or go home at this point lol fuck. oh well. Make it interesting, Toronto.
                    Not sure if I understand or agree with this point... from the fan perspective I agree it's go big in your support or go home, and I've got pitcher of Kool-Aid Lemonade in the fridge... so I'm ready to go big!!!

                    But the last thing I want Masai to do is make a win now move that sacrifices future assets or flexibility, trading for Asik would be a no no.

                    If you can get something great for Lowry you trade him otherwise you ride this team out hopefully to 6+ wins in the playoffs.
                    "They're going to have to rename the whole conference after us: Toronto Raptors 2014-2015 Northern Conference Champions" ~ ezzbee Dec. 2014

                    "I guess I got a little carried away there" ~ ezzbee Apr. 2015

                    "We only have one rule on this team. What is that rule? E.L.E. That's right's, E.L.E, and what does E.L.E. stand for? EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY. Right there up on the wall, because this isn't just a basketball team, this is a lifestyle. ~ Jackie Moon

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Some random points:

                      1. Was doing the same math after the game and came to the same conclusion, but one factor nobody has mentioned is that if the Raps could secure even something in the 6-8 range then it would likely be a lot easier to trade up from that position. That option isn't really open to you if the pick is outside the lottery unless you want to give up far too much in return.

                      2. Good players drop from the top 5 into the 6-10 range all the time for a variety of bullshit concerns, and someone that right now considered a top 5 pick might not be come draft time. Take a guy like Exum, with the lack of time in college. I wouldn't normally say it, but this draft might be the one time that being in the 6-8 range is just as good as the 3-5.

                      3. Realistically though, Ujiri's best move might be to trade out of this draft if he keeps the team intact. With first rounders being so overvalued and the pick likely outside the lottery (even in the 20s), trying to swap for a pick in next year's draft with as little protection as possible would be a good way to avoid salary commitments until some of the ugly contracts come off the books and potentially take advantage of the group of players that decide this year's draft is too crowded and stay another year.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Masai Ujiri wrote: View Post
                        Just kind of wanted to put this out there for everyone to see.

                        A lot of people keep mentioning how we only have 6 more wins than the 2nd last place team in the East, etc. Seems like a pretty small win differential to "overcome" right? Well unfortunately, basketball and sports in general don't really work like that. I'd assume a lot more people would have clued into this with the Leafs finishing just outside of the playoffs a few times, but I digress.

                        There are 22 games between now and the trade deadline of February 20th. For argument's sake, let's say Lowry is moved on January 31st, so after 14 games.

                        Now again for argument's sake, let's say the Raptors slow down their winning pace significantly and only win half of these games (despite playing an easier schedule). So we're 23-23.

                        We hear this talk from those people still advocating that we can tank constantly about finishing in the bottom 4 giving us a 99% chance at a top 6 pick. Ok then. Hell let's just talk bottom 6 then shall we?

                        The bottom 6 teams in the league currently are all on pace to win at most 27 games. Even if we assume the bottom 6 teams don't remain stable over the remainder of the season, statistics tell us that teams tend to play at about the same pace for most of the year (especially after being 30+ games in), so in all likelihood to be a bottom 6 team you will need <= 27 wins.

                        So that would mean if Lowry is dealt at the end of January (3 weeks before the trade deadline) we would need to go 4-32 over the final 36 games of the season to land in the bottom 6. That is nearly twice as bad of a winning percentage as our 4-19 start to last season. This isn't even taking into account the fact that the bottom teams will just start sitting out veterans in the last 10 games or so, causing their losing rates to pick up even further.

                        So in all likelihood this "tank" would result in a pick somewhere 8th-10th more realistically at best.

                        That is all.
                        Even if we assume all your assumptions are true (and they are not unreasonable), the idea is predicated on waiting for an additional 14 games (17% of the season) to pass by before starting. How much changes if we assume Lowry is traded today, and the Raps go 4-10 over the next 14, or 2-12?

                        Tanking is still possible, but it has become significantly more difficult to do as time goes by - which is precisely why, for ideal tank results, it should have started in the offseason not months into the season.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Craiger wrote: View Post
                          Even if we assume all your assumptions are true (and they are not unreasonable), the idea is predicated on waiting for an additional 14 games (17% of the season) to pass by before starting. How much changes if we assume Lowry is traded today, and the Raps go 4-10 over the next 14, or 2-12?

                          Tanking is still possible, but it has become significantly more difficult to do as time goes by - which is precisely why, for ideal tank results, it should have started in the offseason not months into the season.
                          I agree, if Ujiri wanted to truly tank, it should have been the offseason when he got the ball rolling. I don't doubt it's still possible, but the Raps would have to really suck for the remainder of this month to make it possible to get a good lottery. He should have also kept Gay, he's good for tanking!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Craiger wrote: View Post
                            Even if we assume all your assumptions are true (and they are not unreasonable), the idea is predicated on waiting for an additional 14 games (17% of the season) to pass by before starting. How much changes if we assume Lowry is traded today, and the Raps go 4-10 over the next 14, or 2-12?

                            Tanking is still possible, but it has become significantly more difficult to do as time goes by - which is precisely why, for ideal tank results, it should have started in the offseason not months into the season.
                            Considering how easy the sched is over the next fourteen games, even without Lowry, I see us at much better than 4-10. Because again, we have to take assets back right? And seriously, we've been here before and ended up getting edged out at the last second by teams that had absolutely no integrity...I'm looking at you, Portland and Golden State.

                            Look something has happened. A winning culture has been created in Toronto. What's the potential short/long term value of that? These guys are bleeding and scrapping on a nightly basis because they want this city to see its' first significant play off run in a very long time. What do you do to the will of this team by gutting it right now? Beyond the stat sheets and the crystal balls, what kind of value in the development of Jonas and Ross can be gained if this team was allowed to be as good as they could be this year? In the biggest free agent hall in recent memory, maybe Magic Masai can get MLSE to go into the red this summer and if we do reasonably well in the playoffs...maybe somebody would consider playing here. Somebody serious.

                            I trust that Masai can make incremental changes to this team that will continue to make us better. Blowing this up after what they've done would continue the narrative of Toronto as a joke and not worth a free agents time. And has been said, even if we seriously defy the odds and get us a 6-8 draft pick (anything else is just a pipe dream), we have absolutely no idea who that player will eventually be. None...

                            Right now we are competing with and winning our share against the best teams in the NBA. Only in Toronto would they be looking to tank with this happening. Seriously.

                            What's happening is real, tangible. You can see it on the court. Anything else is speculation and neurotic gambling.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This is more for reference because anything can happen in the NBA. We are currently 16-17 at the 33-game mark. Here's last years draft order. I know that lottery odds also play a factor, as well as teams who traded for a pick.. maybe someone can update this with that information. Anyway, the order is below along with the teams' record at the 33 game mark.

                              3. Washington 5-28
                              1. Cleveland 7-26
                              6. New Orleans 8-25
                              4. Charlotte 9-24
                              8. Detroit 11-22
                              2. Orlando 12-21
                              5. Phoenix 12-21
                              7. Sacramento 13-20
                              9. Minnesota 16-17
                              10. Portland 18-15

                              Here is their record at the 55-game mark, which is an estimate for trade deadline:

                              4. Charlotte 13-42
                              2. Orlando 15-40
                              1. Cleveland 18-37
                              3. Washington 18-37
                              5. Phoenix 18-37
                              6. New Orleans 19-36
                              7. Sacramento 19-36
                              9. Minnesota 20-35
                              8. Detroit 21-34
                              10. Portland 25-30

                              I can't be bothered to confirm but I'm guessing Minnesota's sudden collapse had something to do with Kevin Love's injury. But anyway, I'm thinking that the Raptors would need some sort of epic collapse to nab a top 8 pick, Minnesota narrowly missed out on one by winning just 4 games in the next 22 last season. That or we have to get extremely lucky during the lottery -- nothing short of a modern day miracle.

                              Edit: I've changed the appearance to show where they were based on standings.
                              Last edited by ebrian; Wed Jan 8th, 2014, 09:11 AM.
                              your pal,
                              ebrian

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