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  • What's Different This Season

    I thought it might be interesting to explore why the Raptors might, or might not be a better team this year by having all of the substantive differences listed in one place. Which ones are important, which ones don't matter, which ones are positive, which ones are negative and which ones are not being talked about but should be.

    Off the top of my head and in no particular order ( I'd be interested in other people's thoughts and rankings of the importance) I can think of:

    1. Scola gone and replaced by a better rebounder and offensive force in Sullinger
    2. Biyombo gone and rebounding missing from the second unit
    3. JV hit a higher gear in the playoffs before his injury. He might be able to reproduce his effort and results during the regular season
    4. Carroll is back and in condition to play like the guy we were expecting to see.
    5. DeMar got paid, got respect, made the all star team a second time and has a gold medal to show for this summers work.
    6. Lowry got respect, made the all star team and has a gold medal to show for this summers work.
    7. Lowry in a contract year.
    8. Norman is starting the season in a different place in Casey's mind, in terms of understanding what he has to offer.
    9. Casey has two rookies who look he believes can actually contribute this year.
    10. Sullinger in on a "prove em" contract after watching scrubs get multi million dollar contracts.
    11. Some assistant coaches moved on and a couple of new guys are in.
    12. Casey saw a few different things last season. He may be better able to make in game adjustments, and may have learned to trust younger players a little bit.
    13. Two seven game series exposed specific flaws in the Raptors system and sequences. The coaching staff has had months to go over the videos and to come up with solutions for essentially the same players. This should lead to improved usage of personnel.
    14. The core has been together for three years and has gone through some tough times and seen some success. There should be a high level of trust and a very solid knowledge of their individual capabilities and roles. This should lead to overall improvement.
    15. DeMar has had ample opportunity to identify the flaws in his game. He seems to be dedicated to improvement. He has spent three years with the US national team and seen their system and should recognize the advantages of improving his "facilitation" game, since that has been his role with the national team. Maybe it translates.
    16. Cojo has played the biggest team role in his professional basketball life. He must have learned some things about his game and his role on the Raptors that allowed him to target some specific areas to improve over the summer.
    17. Masai has seen the result of his "stick with the core" philosophy. He should have been able to make an assessment of where it is likely to lead this team. I suspect he has made his mind up what to do about it...either go with the flow to continue to milk the current roster for steady profit, or make some kind of a move to try and kick it up to a higher level.

    That's my two cents.

    What do you think is different?

  • #2
    When I read through your post I would have rephrased a few of the points which I'll do below. I also found myself more negative than I really feel about the team, no idea why. I removed any point from the original post I full agree with or have nothing to comment on.

    1. [2 thumbs up] Scola gone and replaced by a better rebounder and offensive force in Sullinger
    2. Biyombo gone and rebounding missing from the second unit
    - Isn't it his shot blocking, intimidation factor and ability to make up for perimeter mistakes that we'll miss more than his rebounding?
    3. JV hit a higher gear in the playoffs before his injury. He might be able to reproduce his effort and results during the regular season
    - Seems like too small a sample set to know for sure as JV always showed up for the playoffs, upping his game compared to his regular season performances. This season he has the burden of a poor Olympic performance to over come. Could be inspiration or a crack in his amour.
    4. Carroll is back and in condition to play like the guy we were expecting to see.
    - Not 100% yet but if the Raptors and DC himself do the slow build towards 100% I agree
    5. DeMar got paid, got respect, made the all star team a second time and has a gold medal to show for this summers work.
    - His low ranking by Sports Illustrated and Olympic benching during critical moments isn't the kind of respect that this assertion indicates

    8. Norman is starting the season in a different place in Casey's mind, in terms of understanding what he has to offer.
    - I would suspect that TRoss is the one looking over his shoulder if he has any awareness of the situation. TRoss and his cap friendly contract already makes him prime trade bait. With a surging Powell we could see TRoss playing for some bottom feeder instead of a winner by the trade deadline
    9. Casey has two rookies who look he believes can actually contribute this year.
    - Talks cheap so we'll see but it hinges on how many natural, growing mistakes on defence Casey and the team can tolerate

    12. Casey saw a few different things last season. He may be better able to make in game adjustments, and may have learned to trust younger players a little bit.
    - I like to double down on using the younger players/bench like the Spurs do as it has a three fold effect. a) You can reduce KL&DD's minutes going into the playoffs. b) You accelerate the youth growth and the franchise say internal growth is an objective. c) In 2017 they have two 1st rounders and 1 second so the youth tree will need to be trimmed, they dam well need to know what they have so they can make the right decisions. 905 minutes won't cut it for any second year player.

    15. DeMar has had ample opportunity to identify the flaws in his game. He seems to be dedicated to improvement. He has spent three years with the US national team and seen their system and should recognize the advantages of improving his "facilitation" game, since that has been his role with the national team. Maybe it translates.
    - God, I hope so as he's signed for five years!
    16. Cojo has played the biggest team role in his professional basketball life. He must have learned some things about his game and his role on the Raptors that allowed him to target some specific areas to improve over the summer.
    - With KL entering his contact year next summer the franchise must know everything about their future options at PG so they make the best long term decisions
    17. Masai has seen the result of his "stick with the core" philosophy. He should have been able to make an assessment of where it is likely to lead this team. I suspect he has made his mind up what to do about it...either go with the flow to continue to milk the current roster for steady profit, or make some kind of a move to try and kick it up to a higher level.
    - Again, double down on this last comment

    My own additions:
    18. This is Bruno's make or break year. Either he shows consistent growth, dare I say leap, at the 905 level or the experiment is over and the 2017 draft goes for a replacement high risk development pick.
    19. BeBe is on the edge and I'm leaning right now that he'll not see the end of the year with the Raptors but that doesn't necessarily mean Poetl sees major minutes as the backup centre. The team limped along with Scola at PF and still won so I suspect they'll be more cautious unless he gets infected with Powell syndrome.
    20. Powell will have both highs and lows with increased minutes, mainly due to Casey's love of his defence. He supplants TRoss, minutes wise, but those minutes are what he needs to get to be the player we all hope he can be. It may take a little luster off his current aura but in the end it will leave the team with a much stronger player.
    21. Is Powell a fluke or can the Raptors find a new unrevealed Powell in this crop of new bloods? I'm personally hope that there is a second success, not necessarily as flashy as Powell, because it may show the franchise has the draft/develop mojo for diamonds in the rough as the Spurs. It will sorely be needed in the coming years.

    Thanks for an interesting, thought provocative post.

    That's my two cents.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nothing.

      They will make the playoffs. Probably finish in the top 2-4. But this team already reached their ceiling and that's the ECF. If they meet the Cavs again in the playoffs, the result will be the same.
      Mamba Mentality

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      • #4
        RDV wrote: View Post
        2. Biyombo gone and rebounding missing from the second unit
        - Isn't it his shot blocking, intimidation factor and ability to make up for perimeter mistakes that we'll miss more than his rebounding
        Also his energy , leadership and all around positivity. Big void to fill.


        RDV wrote: View Post
        21. Is Powell a fluke or can the Raptors find a new unrevealed Powell in this crop of new bloods? I'm personally hope that there is a second success, not necessarily as flashy as Powell, because it may show the franchise has the draft/develop mojo for diamonds in the rough as the Spurs. It will sorely be needed in the coming years..
        For the Raptors sake that player better be Siakam. Masai overreach for that one while passing on a few good prospects, so I really
        hope he will be good.

        Comment


        • #5
          carroll is not back. his minutes are limited. doubt he'll even play in preseason.

          Comment


          • #6
            iblastoff wrote: View Post
            carroll is not back. his minutes are limited. doubt he'll even play in preseason.
            Not surprising. Admittedly, I'm more pessimistic than most, but I'm already out on Carroll being a significant contributor this season. Something deeper is up with his knee/leg that the organization won't talk about-- just like last year.

            Comment


            • #7
              iblastoff wrote: View Post
              carroll is not back. his minutes are limited. doubt he'll even play in preseason.
              Yeah? Got any basis for that? Every sound bite suggests they are limiting his minutes in pre-season (not sitting him) and ramping him up to regular play once the opener gets here.

              Besides just pessimism (which I understand).
              twitter.com/dhackett1565

              Comment


              • #8
                DanH wrote: View Post
                Yeah? Got any basis for that? Every sound bite suggests they are limiting his minutes in pre-season (not sitting him) and ramping him up to regular play once the opener gets here.

                Besides just pessimism (which I understand).
                you're right. based on josh lewenbergs tweets, it looks like they 'expect' carroll to be healthy and without limits for the actual season. but somehow i'm not buying it. hes already had an entire summer of rehab and hes still not 100%. not sure how 3 more weeks is gonna make much of a difference.

                Comment


                • #9
                  iblastoff wrote: View Post
                  you're right. based on josh lewenbergs tweets, it looks like they 'expect' carroll to be healthy and without limits for the actual season. but somehow i'm not buying it. hes already had an entire summer of rehab and hes still not 100%. not sure how 3 more weeks is gonna make much of a difference.
                  It's difficult to give the Raptors the benefit of the doubt on Carroll's knee issues for two reasons:

                  They're notoriously closemouthed regarding injuries, so if something was wrong, they wouldn't say anything publicly.
                  They strung the public along last year, and kept pushing back the timetable.

                  It didn't help that Carroll kept on saying cryptic things about his health in post-game pressers. He might really be close to 100%. Who knows. But I doubt it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Carroll himself, in interviews so far this season, has expressed confidence that he would be back at 100%. He specifically mentioned that he is being brought along properly this time. He never sounded that confident last season, to my recollection.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I can't wait to see a hungry norm taking tross' minutes away. If norm can hit the 3 at a decent clip there really isn't much of a reason to play tross over him. If norm regresses back to the lacklustre shooter we all expected him to be, then tross will be vital for our spacing.


                      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        iblastoff wrote: View Post
                        you're right. based on josh lewenbergs tweets, it looks like they 'expect' carroll to be healthy and without limits for the actual season. but somehow i'm not buying it. hes already had an entire summer of rehab and hes still not 100%. not sure how 3 more weeks is gonna make much of a difference.
                        Carroll's knees have not been the same since his injury in the playoffs over a year ago with Atlanta. I'm all for restricting/limit his minutes until the playoffs cause we don't really need a heavy output from him until it's playoffs time.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Carroll + Sullinger add another level of veteran physicality. And Ross has become a man.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think the experience we gained last year in the playoff run is what will prove to the ultimate "difference". Only way to learn how to win is to do it the high pressure situations.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Joey wrote: View Post
                              I think the experience we gained last year in the playoff run is what will prove to the ultimate "difference". Only way to learn how to win is to do it the high pressure situations.
                              Yeah that is going to help... They won their first game 7 and followed it up with another in last years playoff run. Adds a degree of confidence that in close games you have a little bit of "been there done that" under the cores collective belts.
                              Canadas election mantra #Dump the Chump

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