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  • How much have we improved?

    It looks like Masai has the team he wants. The core of Lowry, DeRozan, Powell, Miles, Ibaka and JV are all in their primes and locked up for three years. However, this group was not cheap. The bankroll is strained and we have given up five draft picks (2 firsts, 3 seconds) since last season's trade deadline in order to put this roster together.

    What has changed?

    Patrick Patterson to Serge Ibaka (+4 wins)
    Masai signed Ibaka for 65 million dollars while having no interest in Pat - even as a bargain basement bench player. Ibaka logged far more points and rebounds. Shot a higher percent on both twos and threes and is considered a solid rim protector. Given the cost, Masai is clearly counting on Serge as a big time upgrade.

    Demarre Carroll to CJ Miles (+3 wins)
    Despite high hopes at DeMarre's signing, by the end of his Toronto stay, he was considered such a drag on the team that Masai sacrificed a first and a second just to be rid of him. Carroll's minutes go directly to CJ Miles who scored more points in less minutes and shot threes at a 70 point higher clip. Addition by subtraction has got to be worth a couple of games and if Miles can sustain his .416 three-point shooting he may be worth another win or two.

    TRoss to Powell, Tucker to Anunoby, Mc? (No change in wins)
    Masai was willing to include a first round pick with TRoss just to rent Ibaka for a couple of months. That tells you how frustrated the team was with Ross. Norm is a better two-way player and now signed to a multi-year contract. Tucker was terrific in his brief stint, but only played a couple dozen games (25 mpg) and, of course, wasn't even on the 2015-16 roster that went 56-26.

    Cory Joseph to Delon Wright, VanVleet (No change in wins)
    Cory's numbers were weak last season and his stock with management had slipped to the point that he was set adrift for nothing but cap space. Kyle seems healthy now, so pencil him in for about 500 more minutes than last year. The rest of Cory's minutes go to Wright or VanVleet. Delon was a top 20 draft pick and is already 25 years old. He really should be a decent NBA backup. With Kyle playing more minutes, point guard may actually be a small upgrade.

    Lots of upgrades. No major downgrades. Team is still young. On top of which Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony have all moved to the Western Conference.

    The Raptors averaged 53.5 wins with the old roster. Surely this is a much improved team.
    25
    50 wins or less... After all the money and all the picks sacrificed the team is somehow worse.
    36.00%
    9
    51 to 56 wins... We mortgaged the future without actually improving the team.
    52.00%
    13
    57 to 59 wins... Serge and CJ are major improvements. We should be better.
    4.00%
    1
    60+ wins and another ECF... Serge gives us three legit All-Stars.The East is pitifully weak.
    8.00%
    2

  • #2
    I voted 51 - 56 wins.

    Mostly because I am conservative when making predictions and I think that's the safe choice. But, I can easily see us doing either a little worse or a lot better.

    This is actually a pretty interesting situation from a predictive analysis standpoint. The Raptors new players have much better individual stats than the outgoing group. We don't really have any players old enough to expect serious decline.

    Everything looks good and yet the line-makers and other experts seem to expect us to regress.

    This is likely because many number-crunching experts rely heavily on advanced stats which have a different view of the Raptor's roster changes.

    For instance according to ESPN's Real Plus-Minus, despite the huge salary difference, Patterson (2.31) has been more effective than Ibaka (0.57) the last couple of seasons. Likewise, despite an inferior shooting percentage and complaints about his defense, Carroll's RPM (0.83) was actually better than Miles (0.35). Also, Ross (0.13) and Tucker (1.09) were well ahead of Powell (-1.25) and McDaniels (-2.22)

    The saving grace, according to RPM, is that replacing Joseph (-2.44) with Wright (-0.30) is a no-brainer. If Lowry (5.88) stays healthy PG should be a major improvement.

    The 2017-18 Raptors should be an interesting test case for traditional stats versus adjusted Plus-Minus.
    Last edited by BrieflySpeaking; Fri Oct 6, 2017, 01:52 PM.

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    • #3
      The team is worse than it was at the beginning of last year and much worse than the end of last year where we were effectively 10 deep.

      I'm predicting 45-49 wins.

      I'm not sure why the category is just 50 wins or less or why 60+ wins is even listed there. This team could easily win between 41-45 games if Lowry misses 20 games like last year (which he might since Casey is going to ride him like hell considering how bad our 7-10 guys are), since there will be no Ibaka/Tucker trades to bolster the roster.

      The fact that someone called 51-56 wins a "conservative" prediction shows that people are really overrating this team.

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      • #4
        Nice post....expect some cynical responses. There was one category you alluded to but should have factored in. When the Raptors play a game, part of what determines the outcome is the opponent. Yes, many stars have gone west but Melo and George left bad teams that we usually beat anyways. Butler leaves a team that we should have beaten but cosmically, could not. In our division, Boston, Philly and even maybe the Nets will be improved. Same for the Bucks, Wiz, Heat...maybe Bobcats. Not to mention the now improved West teams that we still have to play. I see a bit more parity this year. We're a better team than the one that started last year but that still might result in fewer wins in the regular season. So, 50 wins or less but still a better team.

        edit....Hornets, not Bobcats. that will take a while
        Last edited by Jclaw; Fri Oct 6, 2017, 02:47 PM.

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        • #5
          I understand someone saying the team is worse than it was in the playoffs last year - the front line talent is just as good, but the depth is definitely less proven.

          But I do not remotely understand the thinking that the team is worse than they were at the beginning of last year. They traded depth for front line talent since that time (generally a good idea), and much of the presumed depth they started with failed them miserably last year, with Patterson basically useless by the end of the season and CoJo crapping the bed for most of the year.
          twitter.com/dhackett1565

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          • #6
            DanH wrote: View Post
            I understand someone saying the team is worse than it was in the playoffs last year - the front line talent is just as good, but the depth is definitely less proven.

            But I do not remotely understand the thinking that the team is worse than they were at the beginning of last year. They traded depth for front line talent since that time (generally a good idea), and much of the presumed depth they started with failed them miserably last year, with Patterson basically useless by the end of the season and CoJo crapping the bed for most of the year.
            I don't think Ibaka's impact on the game is significantly larger than Patterson's if at all. Not to mention 2Pat can switch 3, 4, 5 defensively.

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            • #7
              I love how your name is brieflyspeaking but every single post is a mini essay
              It's Klaw Season. Time to hunt.

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              • #8
                Not sure how we mortgaged the future with how many young players we have on the roster. Giving up a pick to move Carroll?

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                • #9
                  Shaolin Fantastic wrote: View Post
                  I don't think Ibaka's impact on the game is significantly larger than Patterson's if at all. Not to mention 2Pat can switch 3, 4, 5 defensively.
                  Patterson when he was playing well? Or the broken, useless Patterson from half of last season? Even if you think Ibaka = Pat and Miles = Ross, both of which I'd disagree with, the simple upgrade of Powell over Carroll is a huge difference, never mind the extra year of experience from Poeltl and Siakam. So it ultimately comes down to trusting Wright to replicate Cory's season last year.

                  So if Wright is as much a step down from Cory's down season last year as Powell is an upgrade on Carroll's horrendous year last season; and we take at face value the idea that we didn't really improve elsewhere (which again I disagree with) and ignore any improvement from young players, we still come to about break even, right? Really hard to see how we are worse off a year later.
                  twitter.com/dhackett1565

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                  • #10
                    At this point I'm really done debating this. Let's see how the year turns out with you folks putting us at like a 50 win floor.

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                    • #11
                      Hard to say, a lot depends on our young guys staking a modest step forward, and being able to hit open 3s.

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                      • #12
                        This poll isn't going to tell us anything because it's both skewed and the language is loaded.

                        Vegas has us at 48.5 wins, your best intervals will be equally split above and below that. Something like: 36 or fewer, 37-42, 43-48, 49-54, 55-60, 61 and over.

                        That said, I feel like talentwise we're in a slightly worse position than last year because we have limited depth and I'm not sold on Ibaka being enough to outweigh that loss. I think I predicted 46 wins in another thread and I'm fine with that prediction.

                        Organizationally we're in a much worse position than last year, because the limited flexibility we had left available to us is now gone, along with our picks for this year. Our only hope is that a few of our pieces boost their trade value enough to engineer a deal for a legitimate game changer. Sadly I think most of the potential targets are off the board and there will be little activity at the deadline this year.

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                        • #13
                          As always, the team goes as Lowry goes. No back to backs and being used off the ball more this season will hopefully keep him healthy. I voted 51 - 56 wins based on this.

                          Might be some growing pains with the youth movement, but I'm hoping the young players really adopt a scrappy mentality as coach has mentioned before. If Lowry is any leader and young players look up to him then I think this can be accomplished.

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                          • #14
                            I don't know if they improved.. maybe stayed the same. I think we'll miss 2Pat and Tucker. I am worried about our defense more than anything else. If Serge continues to regress that's going to hurt especially since the drop off from him to the next PF in our rotation is really far.

                            I guess around 48-50 wins would be a decent season. The season is probably going to be a bit of a grind. Especially off the bat. First 15 or so games look rough. Could see them starting below .500 and getting one of those "Will the Raptors make the Playoffs?" type of threads really early this season.

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                            • #15
                              For the record, I voted 51-56, though I disagree entirely with the commentary associated with it.

                              The only real risk to the team's continued success IMO is if Serge's game falls off a cliff.
                              twitter.com/dhackett1565

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