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Article: Ujiri Resting Heavily On Maintaining The Status Quo

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  • Lark Benson wrote: View Post
    He also hasn't done anything to suggest that he IS willing to take a risk or gamble, which is the point. This narrative directly correlates again to how we talk about players; we wonder if certain guys can shed their 'difficult' labels, or whether they have the makeup to be the alpha dog, or accept a smaller role as they age, etc. You can't assume someone is willing to behave in a manner that they rarely display simply because you hope they can.



    But that's the thing - he does exactly what you're accusing him of NOT doing. He repeatedly states that Ujiri's moves have been measured and positive, but that they just haven't catapulted the team to contention.

    He ends the article with
    "For an executive that has never liked to overcommit he’s one DeMar DeRozan extension from doing that with this particular Toronto Raptors roster. I’m not sure if it’s meaningfully better than the one he fielded last year, and if I’m right I wonder if we’re on the verge of seeing the first cracks in Ujiri’s longstanding tradition of maintaining the status quo."

    The whole article is setting up that point (which you, as quoted above, seem to believe is true), but it seems like because that's at the end of the article it's completely ignored.

    Of course it's all speculation, but don't we do that every offseason for coaches and players, wondering how what we've seem from them will correlate into the future? To return to DeRozan, he's hit 3s before, but would you say it's looking like he's on the cusp of adding a reliable 3 pointer? Don't we get to reserve some doubt based on past performance? Sure Ujiri may have not always played it safe, but if the bulk of his work suggests that's his MO, don't we get to wonder if that's his comfort zone and that he might be reluctant to step out of it? That maybe if his strong point is hoarding assets and that he'd be reluctant to part with them in the kind of high-risk, high-reward move that could be the difference between treadmill and contender?
    Clearly there is a difference in interpretation. I don't think we will get over that. I continue to have issue with entire article based on the half truths.

    To answer your last question, positioning the payroll to be able to acquire a max free agent in 3 consecutive years screams to me of a GM willing to make a big swing if an opportunity arises.

    Comment


    • golden wrote: View Post
      Actually, this is one of those half-truths, or un-truths of the article and JimiCliff nailed it. Trading the franchises 2 best players (Bargs & Gay) who, unlike Melo, weren't asking to go anywhere pretty much blows up the entire premise from the get-go. Those were swift and decisive bold moves, whether you care to admit it or not.
      I will not admit it.

      Trading Bargs was the lowest risk move I can imagine. He was hated by the fan base and a trade for a second rounder would have been lauded just to get him off the roster. NOT trading him would have been riskier than dumping him for peanuts.

      Ditto with Gay. Things were obviously not working and he had carte blanche to tear down the roster he inherited form another GM. Explain to me how that's a bold, decisive move.

      golden wrote: View Post
      And people quickly how the fanbase was turning on Lowry until that legendary TL/MU sit-down telling KL it was time to grow up, or something like that. Lowry was in no way, shape or form considered a potential all-star and face of the franchise. It's a completely different arc of the franchise without that little chat. Same thing with DD. I remember myself firmly on the side of DD being a net-negative player, despite the stats, and then changing my opinion pro-Demar after his all-star year. But now it seems like after-the-fact that Tim C. & MU knew these guys were all-stars & "found money". That's the second half-truth.
      You misunderstand the 'found money' statement; the 'found money' was the team's chemistry-based success. It wasn't that DD and Lowry suddenly stepped up their game and became cornerstones, it was that the team finally found some role players that filled out the roster's holes and made the team better overall. We all know they were on the block, so I don't get where you're getting this idea that there's this revisionist history going around that the raps always knew what they had.

      golden wrote: View Post
      In essence, MU has been separating the trash from the treasure and did get lucky with chemistry, but he quickly and decisively made the key "bold moves" - which was discarding the trash that was being previously sold to the fans as treasure. Like every other GM, he's trying to figure out how to trade those small treasures into a vast fortune.
      Again, I disagree. That wasn't a bold move, it was the obvious and necessary one. And of course he's trying to trade up for a superstar, but that rarely happens and involves taking risk. The kind of risk that is surely NOT Ujiri's MO.

      golden wrote: View Post
      At least we do have a long-term vision, which is Wiggins coming home to play with Jamal Murray (I hope). The Canadian angle combined with the superstars-going-home trend, is a potential competitive advantage that the Raps have over every other NBA franchise. TL/MU have set that campaign in motion and it seems to be gaining traction.
      So you're defending the guy based on a plan you HOPE is in place, and that you can't confirm?

      Comment


      • mcHAPPY wrote: View Post
        Clearly there is a difference in interpretation. I don't think we will get over that. I continue to have issue with entire article based on the half truths.

        To answer your last question, positioning the payroll to be able to acquire a max free agent in 3 consecutive years screams to me of a GM willing to make a big swing if an opportunity arises.
        Agreed, we're not going to see eye to eye.

        But I think the key here lies in that last bit; making a big play for an obvious superstar upgrade isn't in doubt - that's clearly the plan. But if he signs DD and paints himself into a corner, will he be willing to take a risk like trading for a 'low character' guy with big upside, like Cousins? Or make a lateral move like trading DD for another flawed player that might not work out but gives them a chance to improve if it breaks right? Those are the kinds of moves that I don't think he's displayed in the past, and as Chisholm points out, he's a DD extension away from being in that kind of position, with limited flexibility and dwindling options.

        Comment


        • Lark Benson wrote: View Post
          Agreed, we're not going to see eye to eye.

          But I think the key here lies in that last bit; making a big play for an obvious superstar upgrade isn't in doubt - that's clearly the plan. But if he signs DD and paints himself into a corner, will he be willing to take a risk like trading for a 'low character' guy with big upside, like Cousins? Or make a lateral move like trading DD for another flawed player that might not work out but gives them a chance to improve if it breaks right? Those are the kinds of moves that I don't think he's displayed in the past, and as Chisholm points out, he's a DD extension away from being in that kind of position, with limited flexibility and dwindling options.
          "Ought" implies "can". You can't say that someone "ought" to have done something if you cannot reasonably demonstrate, or fairly assume, that it was within the realm of possibility to do it.

          In a star-driven league, but where stars are only typically attracted to marquee or winning franchises, it is only fair to judge Masai, at this point, by how successful he has been in creating the "Goldilocks conditions" or "critical mass" necessary to attracting a FA (who might put us "over the top"). I think this is how others are judging Masai. And why they are insisting it's too early for any real criticism. In other words, we're still judging him on his effectuation of a process that might yield the desired results.

          Once the 2017 FA period is over, I think many will feel it is much fairer to judge Masai on results. It's still hard to say, though, because many began seriously questioning Alex Anthopolous some time after last season's trade deadline "failure". But such judgments are made partially in the dark, given our ignorance of what deals were available and at what prices. Seems he might have proved his doubters wrong this year.

          Alternatively, one can judge him on his drafting, of course. This is also a nuanced process, though, and often takes time. But by 2017 we'll be able to draw some conclusions about Bruno and co.

          On a personal note, Lark Benson, you're obviously a capable interlocutor. So I'm hoping that we can find a way to bring the temperature of this discussion down a wee bit. And I'm hoping this last sentence wasn't patronizing ...
          Last edited by Wild-ling#1; Tue Sep 1, 2015, 03:20 PM.

          Comment


          • Lark Benson wrote: View Post
            I will not admit it.

            Trading Bargs was the lowest risk move I can imagine. He was hated by the fan base and a trade for a second rounder would have been lauded just to get him off the roster. NOT trading him would have been riskier than dumping him for peanuts.

            Ditto with Gay. Things were obviously not working and he had carte blanche to tear down the roster he inherited form another GM. Explain to me how that's a bold, decisive move.



            You misunderstand the 'found money' statement; the 'found money' was the team's chemistry-based success. It wasn't that DD and Lowry suddenly stepped up their game and became cornerstones, it was that the team finally found some role players that filled out the roster's holes and made the team better overall. We all know they were on the block, so I don't get where you're getting this idea that there's this revisionist history going around that the raps always knew what they had.



            Again, I disagree. That wasn't a bold move, it was the obvious and necessary one. And of course he's trying to trade up for a superstar, but that rarely happens and involves taking risk. The kind of risk that is surely NOT Ujiri's MO.



            So you're defending the guy based on a plan you HOPE is in place, and that you can't confirm?
            He was ready to pull the trigger on a lowry deal...that was risky....

            Comment


            • Lark Benson wrote: View Post
              Agreed, we're not going to see eye to eye.

              But I think the key here lies in that last bit; making a big play for an obvious superstar upgrade isn't in doubt - that's clearly the plan. But if he signs DD and paints himself into a corner, will he be willing to take a risk like trading for a 'low character' guy with big upside, like Cousins? Or make a lateral move like trading DD for another flawed player that might not work out but gives them a chance to improve if it breaks right? Those are the kinds of moves that I don't think he's displayed in the past, and as Chisholm points out, he's a DD extension away from being in that kind of position, with limited flexibility and dwindling options.
              Yeah I can't see the value in questioning or criticizing Ujiri on:

              1) a move or signing that hasn't happened yet and may never happen, or
              2) possibilities to make moves which we have no way of knowing actually ever existed.
              Last edited by mcHAPPY; Tue Sep 1, 2015, 02:27 PM.

              Comment


              • Reading through the thread, as well as the original article, I get the feeling that there's a bit of a disconnect caused by 'big move' vs 'high risk/reward move', and how each of us interprets both.

                There's no doubt that MU has made big moves, in terms of their significance. However, I'd tend to agree that most of them were 'no brainer' type deals. Getting a 1st round pick for Bargnani and getting two young prospects for Gay (with no bad character or long-term filler included) were both easy trades to make. Re-signing Lowry to a value contract, signing Carroll and Joseph as free agents, signing Biyombo for a specific role on an uber-cheap deal, trading Vasquez for a pick, trading Salmons for a past 1st round pick and a solid bench player on an expiring contract, etc... were all easy moves to make.

                On one hand, I do get what TC is saying. After the series loss to Brooklyn, MU came out and said that the following year, the team (players and coaching staff) would be evaluated on their playoff performance instead of regular season performance, with an expectation from management to improve - which could only mean making the 2nd round. However, after an even worse 1st round performance, DC was retained and the core is largely intact. Even decisions to let Amir (injury prone) and Lou (one-trick-pony chucker) walk were pretty easy, given the cash they were seeking (which wound up being used to sign Carroll).

                Having said that, I definitely take issue with TC on a couple fronts.

                First, without having intimate knowledge of every trade proposal on the table, there's simply no way to properly evaluate a GM's decision making process. Did he say no to trades that the majority of RR faithful would have taken in a heartbeat, which in hindsight he should have said yes to? Maybe. Did he say no to trades that would have led to the fanbase rebelling and the team imploding, leaving him looking like a genius for walking away from? Maybe. There's simply no way of knowing, especially given how tight the good ship Raptor is under MU.

                Second, I think that intent speaks volumes. It is widely known, as has since been confirmed publically, that MU did attempt to trade Lowry to the Knicks after the Gay trade, in a move that would have signaled a rebuild (if not an outright tank). Had that trade gone through, who knows what the fate of other players (ie: DeRozan) would have been? Same goes for the coaching staff. It's one thing to deal away a highly overpaid and inefficient player (Gay) who had an uncertain and massive ($19M) contract looming. Dealing away your best player, who's the heart & soul of the team, in a trade that is very clearly a 'win later' type deal, is something completely different. That tells me that MU is willing to make a move that is both big and risky, but won't pull the trigger unless he feels that he's clearly coming out the winner (whether it's 'win now' or 'win later'), and won't make a trade simply for the purpose of making a trade (see: Colangelo, Bryan).

                Third, I'm not sure how you could argue that drafting Bruno was the safe move. Several seasoned NCAA players who were much more NBA ready, were available to be drafted at that slot. Many of them would very likely have been able to become rotation players as early as their rookie season. Bruno was definitely a high risk/reward, swing-for-the-fences type move.


                MU has definitely played it safe so far. Hell, he's even spoken about the benefits of largely maintaining the status quo, especially when the team's core is relatively young and inexperienced. However, he has made many big moves, that appear to have been big wins. He's filled the team with young players and prospects, removed any bad character and/or bad fit players, removed any albatross contracts and avoided taking on new ones, while accumulating extra draft picks. He's also spoken for years about the 2016 (and potentially 2017) offseason, as the time for serious change to happen. Given all the expiring contracts (including the head coach), all the assets on the roster, and all the draft picks, it's hard to think that his talk about 2016 has simply been lip-service. There's definitely a feeling that even bigger moves are on the horizon this offseason, to the point that the entire team - coaching staff and roster - could be completely overhauled.

                As McHappy has said, this type of article is better suited for this time next year.


                * sorry for the novel... lol
                Last edited by CalgaryRapsFan; Tue Sep 1, 2015, 02:25 PM.

                Comment


                • I think Masai has made some risky moves.. but I guess that's pretty subjective. Drafting Bruno was very risky (the kid couldn't even play basketball -and some might argue that he still can't). Almost trading Lowry was risky as that would have signaled a tank (at the time the backup PG was DJ Augustin). He dropped Amir (defensive anchor) and Lou (6th man of the year). He brought back JJ who had a falling out with the same team just 2 years prior. In Denver he resigned Nene just to trade him a few months later. What if he couldn't trade him? Or what if the cost was too high?

                  Masai hasn't brought in a "star" like Bryan did with JO or Hedo. Or didn't tank like Hinkie did with Philly. There is no one way to win a championship.. but I suspect he's following in Morey's path to success. Building an analytical sound team with good contracts (ie, rookies/prospects being developed and cheap role players) and looking hard for a star to join so that they can build around them.

                  Although because it is a players league and the Raptors so far have not been considered a free agent destination he can try to continue to build/hype up the team so that it can eventually become one. He chose this instead of tanking (which he would have done if Dolan agreed to take Lowry) because he felt it was the better option.

                  I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens. If he screws up he only has 3 years left on his contract.

                  Comment


                  • Snooch wrote: View Post
                    OK, so a MASSIVE sample size of 28 games!!!!

                    That surely goes against anything he has done in the previous 5.5 years of his career.....

                    But ets investigate, but please no raw stats because they do not tell the story.
                    Net Rating: -1
                    Assist % 18.2
                    Rebound % 7.8
                    Usage % 29.1
                    TS% 53

                    and sure he shot 35% on a whopping 44 shots from the 3pt line.

                    but lets ignore the 21% on his 41 shots from the 3pt line before the allstar break.

                    It isnt an improvement mate, its a return to the median, he shot worse than his career average from three before the allstar break, and shot a little better after...the end result is the same.

                    You can flip a coin 10 times and that coin might lant on heads every single time, but after 100 flips it will end up very close to 50-50.
                    The argument was that he performed well to close out the season, including shooting better from 3, and that's what happened.

                    Comment


                    • IDK how this thread is still going. This is crazy over an article that doesn't provide anything constructive to say. lol
                      #JaysWinningLikeItz93'

                      Comment


                      • Discretion is the better part of valour, no?

                        Comment


                        • Snooch wrote: View Post
                          He was ready to pull the trigger on a lowry deal...that was risky....
                          Why? He was already halfway down the road to blowing things up and had the support of the fans and presumably of management. Where's the risk there? If you've already put the tank in motion, trading Lowry was the next logical step.

                          To McHappy (and Wild-ling): Why not? I mean why bother speculating on anything Raptors-related then? Isn't that what we come here for, for articles that speculate on the team's win total with new personnel based on previous performance, on team fit with new players, on what might happen next offseason, etc? If you're only interested in waiting for results, why do we talk about sports at all other than to recap things? Where's the fun in that? Why can't we ask what a GM might or might not be willing to do to in order to bring the team a championship, just as we can a player or coach?

                          I mean of course we can't judge Ujiri's overall performance until that performance is complete, but that's not what Chisholm has done in the article. At no point does he state that Ujiri is set to fail, that he's risk-adverse or overly cautious, etc (in other words, at no point does he state that 'maintaining the status quo' has HURT the team) - he simply wonders if there's a pattern that indicates danger ahead. He's pointing out a potential hazard down the road that Ujiri might have trouble navigating, not saying that the driver is surely going to crash because he's a bad driver.

                          Anyway, this all comes down to whether or not you're willing to speculate about something or just want to wait to see how things pan out. I like to speculate and daydream, just like I have a weakness for arguing on the internet. I'll tone it down.

                          Comment


                          • I think Masai has had an amazing ability to make the right moves and sign the right contracts with such an effortlessness that in hindsight the transactions are labelled easy, no brainers, safe, etc. when they were anything but at the time.

                            Again, this "status quo" GM took over a team and put 3 of 5 starters on the block one month into a slow start. But he plays it safe and maintains the status quo?

                            Everything is window dressing here except for the most basic criticism that MU has not made a big enough move yet to silence these critics, when, as has been mentioned, the critics have no idea if any bigger moves than Gay/Bargs/Carroll were ever on the table. Now, if we knew a Cousins trade was on the table and MU shied away from it to keep this core together, THEN you could have this discussion. If 10 months from now the last two seasons have repeated themselves amd DD and DC are retained, THEN you can have this discussion. But these are not minor points, these would be the cornerstone of an article like this. In the meantime you are literally questioning a guy's job performance based on hypotheticals.

                            One more point - BC was a swing for the fences guy, but what were his biggest moves? He wasn't willing to pull the trigger on a Bargs trade. He acquired Gay, Lowry, JO, Hedo, resigned DD... Is trading for Gay a big swing but trading him away is safe? Is signing Bargs a big swing but trading him away is safe? Is resigning DD a big swing but resigning Lowry and JV is safe? Is signing Hedo a big swing but signing Carroll is safe?

                            I really think about half of what's going on here is how easy MU makes his job look, and how often he makes the right move. The reaction is usually "Well of course he should have done that." Have we already forgotten 7 years of BC to such a degree that we're already taking this for granted?
                            "We're playing in a building." -- Kawhi Leonard

                            Comment


                            • SkywalkerAC wrote: View Post
                              The argument was that he performed well to close out the season, including shooting better from 3, and that's what happened.
                              That holds as little weight as air.

                              Bargnani kicked ass for 13 games too. Should all future claims of his talent be based on that?

                              Demar stunk to start the season....doesnt matter....it balances out in the wash.

                              Liek I said it is fliping the coin, Demar was better, yes, but that is not a reason to expect an overall jump in improvement, it was a "returning to the median" he shot better in the second half because he shot worse in the first half.

                              Demar is what he is and there is NO statistical support, or eye test support to lead anyone to believe that he all of a sudden has become a shooter that is a full 10% better at shooting 3 pointers.

                              Comment


                              • Lark Benson wrote: View Post
                                Why? He was already halfway down the road to blowing things up and had the support of the fans and presumably of management. Where's the risk there? If you've already put the tank in motion, trading Lowry was the next logical step.
                                I think tanking is a very risky move, no matter what is potentially available for rewards.

                                I was very on board at the time with a full out tank, but it is incredibly risky.

                                You could be Minny and mire in the dredges of the lottery for decades....or you could luck out and get a Lebron James(although hindsight tells us that there wasnt any of those that year.)

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