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Subtract Salmons, Novak, and DeColo. Add Lou Will and James Johnson...Are we really that much better?

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  • Subtract Salmons, Novak, and DeColo. Add Lou Will and James Johnson...Are we really that much better?

    As we march towards the new season we've made a few changes and have now maxed out our payroll. We've re-signed Lowry, Vasquez, and Patterson which are all pluses and we never have to cringe again at another John Salmons brick-a-thon, Hallelujah! But we lost a suitable 3rd PG and an efficient 3pt shooting wing off the bench (albeit with defensive liabilities) in Nando & Novak. In their places we received Lou Williams who simultaneously covers Nando & Salmons roles as a slash guard combo off the bench with whom we gain some decent offense but regress a tad defensively. With James Johnson as a replacement for Novak we now essentially lose some offense but gain defensively. They are good moves but are they great moves, are we really that much better? Sure Fields & Hayes are expiring contracts so there are trade deadline options for the team but I have to wonder if we could have done better this off season. I think Vince would've been an electric signing (a lot will disagree) and might've been a better option than Lou for the same price. Also like a lot of other people I had hoped we could've landed a backup center in Blatche or Okafor to efficiently relieve JV off the bench on an affordable short term contract. I believe in Masai but just being objective here, thoughts?

    *I purposely excluded losing Stone and Buycks while gaining Bebe Nogueira and Bruno Cabolco this year. Obviously they are a talented pair of youngsters but I don't think they will make an immediate impact..although I could be wrong about Bebe.
    Last edited by Raps76; Mon Jul 21, 2014, 01:45 AM.

  • #2
    It seemed to me that going into free agency, a bigger issue than a backup center or 3rd pg was a big forward, who is good defensively. That would mean that the Johnson signing did improve the team now. Also, even though Bebe and BC may not immediately improve the Raps, they are intriguing prospects to possibly improve the depth at both the backup center spot and forward spot. Having said this, it is a little scarey to think about the possibility of losing JV for any period of time... Which hopefully doesn't happen.


    • #3
      Nando and Novak might be decent players in this league, but neither did a single thing for the Raptors, so I don't think losing those players matter in the slightest to this team. Salmons was who he was, didn't provide much on the court for us, but hopefully the yougins learned a thing or two about being a pro. If Lou Williams can regain form from a couple seasons ago, that's already an upgrade over those 3 put together. And call me crazy, but I really believe JJ will accept his role as a defensive stopper, and play within the system. I know Casey had talked to him a few times before they signed him, so he knows he's on a short leash.

      With that being said, I believe it's going to be much tougher this season in the East, as it appears to be much more balanced.
      I don't see why we can't top last seasons franchise record win total, if everything goes according to plan.

      So to answer the question of "are we really that much better?", I would say yes. Continuity in the game plans, the coaching staff, the front office, and the players will be very beneficial. I don't expect more than 50 wins, tops, but I think the playoff experience from last season will prove valuable come April, and I plan on watching them in second round.


      • #4
        i would say "that much better" makes the impression this was the year we were going all in. our goal this summer was to maintain our main roster players, check check check. shore up the bench so that marginal players aren't put into major roles. check half-check(williams knee)

        we were never expecting more than we got. i am happy we didn't shore up the center position with blatche. big, shotblocking 3 is james johnson to a t. used our own draft picks wisely and have players that can develop. our starters are now our vets who will teach the raptors system to the younger players. players have more personal investment in the team now that they can be a bit more confident they aren't here for 1 year before being sent away. no one's role is going to change at all next year.

        so many small positives. that much better is how much? i would have liked nando back, but i am pretty sure we retain his nba rights at whatever his qualifying was so if he wants to play in the league again he goes through us, meanwhile he is playing starters minutes and improving. novak was a one trick pony, looked great beside melo who gets quadruple teamed because he doesn't pass and did spot minutes fine here but he was only a means of unleashing bargnani.

        so i would say we are that much better


        • #5
          'That' much better than what?

          Are they going to hit 60 wins? No.

          Will they win more than 48 wins? I think so.

          Most importantly though, barring injury, they will be a much tougher playoff team. Salmons was literally the worst offensive player in the league among guys who actually played. Williams is an upgrade. JJ will be a huge upgrade on defense over anyone else. He is the legit big wing defender that likely would have helped contain Joe Penis and put the Raps into the second round.

          Depending on what 'that' much better means I say yes they are that much better....barring injury to those two players.


          • #6
            You said it before I could Matt.

            I liked Nando and would have liked to see how he would develop with the Raptors over the next couple of years, but he wasn't a needle mover at this point. And Casey never seemed to use Novak very well, so he had almost zero impact on the team's win/loss column. I think JJ WILL have an impact. He immediately becomes the team's best defender. I think if the Raptors had James last season they beat the Nets in six. Maybe I am remembering his defensive abilities incorrectly, but that is my belief. If he plays his role without all Rambo, he is a fantastic addition to the team.

            I can't speak that much to Williams because of injury, but if he is past that, then he is a great acquisition. And it is hard for me to express my extreme distaste for Salmons play.

            And I believe that the continuity that results from keeping the bulk of the rotation together will have a big impact. When was the last time Raptors had rotation players with that many games behind them going into a fresh season, able to all be at training camp. preseason and then, potentially play a full 82 games together. I think that is huge.


            • #7
              We all knew going into this particular offseason that there wasn't going to be any room for major signings. I'd say that having even a marginal improvement is a major accomplishment considering the real task was to keep our free agents without overpaying too much. Looking at some of the deals that were signed this summer, I'd say we came out looking golden.

              I'm a bit less optimistic than Matt for the regular season but I do think that 48 wins and the Atlantic Division should be reachable goals. The key thing for me is I expect to get out of the first round this time around now that we have playoff experience. Not getting out of the first round would be a failed season in my opinion.
              your pal,


              • #8
                Removing Novak, De Colo and Salmons for Lou Will and JJ and you think this team isn't better? Is OP serious?

                Next year gonn' be Raps best year, 52 wins next season.
                Myself (March 2014):
                The raptors are a tremendous young team and will win a championship in the following five years.


                • #9
                  i do think we'll be better... but it really depends on a lot of things on how much better

                  is diamond lou healthy again and going to regain form?
                  is Bebe going to be able to contribute?
                  does the bench mob (GV, PP) play at the same high level?
                  same goes for Lowry?
                  do Val and Ross improve? substantially?
                  we were extremely lucky last season in regards to injuries, do we lose anyone key for long stretches?


                  • #10
                    Salmons is now gone so yes, we are better.
                    The name's Bond, James Bond.


                    • #11
                      Unless you upgrade a starter it's hard to get much better. Upgrading the sixth man to Lou Will and adding JJ while dropping Salmons is a big upgrade. Moving Hands out of the rotation into a bench scorer is an improvement. Adding Bebe means not using Novak-Hayes-Hands as PF or C and let's 2Pats and Amir play their natural position. The depth has made the team better. MU will probably make a couple moves.


                      • #12
                        OptimalOptimist wrote: View Post
                        Removing Novak, De Colo and Salmons for Lou Will and JJ and you think this team isn't better? Is OP serious?

                        Next year gonn' be Raps best year, 52 wins next season.
                        Sig bet? I'll take the under on 51.5 wins. Winner chooses loser's sig for next offseason (through to game 1 of 2015-16 regular season).


                        • #13
                          The issues we had roster wise was...

                          1) Backup C
                          2) Defensive 3 (or two way player)
                          3) 3rd string pg

                          We have addressed all three of these weaknesses while giving away, Salmons (useless I'm sorry) and two other guys (in De Colo and Novak) who rode the bench.

                          You have to remember that Bebe was also part of the trade. So we got Williams, Bebe, and Johnson.


                          • #14
                            well everyone is looking at the scoring (Lou) and defense (JJ) both move the basketball and will contribute more towards a free flowing ball moving offense...when everyone touches the ball they become more engaged on defense. If you improve your offense by 2pts a game and you take away 2pts a game on the other end net win a substantial amount of games.
                            For still frame photograph of me reading the DeRozan thread please refer to my avatar


                            • #15
                              I don't see how we wouldn't be better. Of those 3 guys, only Salmons had a regular role, and after the first couple of months with the team, he was actually one of the worst basketball players I've ever seen suit up for the Raptors. Up there with Rasual Butler.

                              We were 7 deep last year...the starters plus Pat and Vasquez. We were 8 deep for a couple of months, until Salmons turned into a corpse. Guys like Novak and Nando were only bit players. Nando was great as a 3rd PG, but that's a minimal need. I think it would be great to get a real PG in that spot to not force Lou into heavy PG duties if there's an injury, but Lou can give what Nando did.

                              This year we'll be at least 9 deep, with the same 7 plus Lou and JJ. We have some decent talent and experience on the bench further down as well.

                              The real question is, will Casey manage the rotations well? Last year it was pretty easy to at least settle on a main rotation. They had 8 guys they used, and anyone else was only really in case of emergencies. This year he's going to have more responsibility to figure out what combinations to have out there. Lou and JJ thrown into the mix gives us pretty different options for what we can do. I mean, even just going small can mean different things. We can play "small ball" with JJ at PF, and Ross, DD and Greivis, giving us a small ball lineup where everyone is 6'6''. Or we can go really small with lots of ballhandlers, with Vasquez, Lou and Lowry all on the floor at once.

                              I have no problem on missing out on a guy like Carter, who is old and Lou can bring a lot of what he would...maybe more in some ways. Carter has nice size, but really isn't the big wing we needed defensively anyway. The big crop kind of sucked. The only guy I was hoping for is Okafor, but also realized he might be too pricey or just risky with his injury. You knew things were bad in the free agent market when people started talking themselves into Andray Blatche.

                              Things are good with the team now. The roster isn't perfect, but they strengthened areas they needed to while everywhere else we'll be at least as strong as last year. So yes, we are that much better, and I'm far from convinced any of the alternatives in the OP would've been as good.