The Raptors Riddle

Where do we go from here?

It's a valid question, and a rather polarizing one for Raptor fans. I've personally gone back and forth on this one since the Raptors were swept away by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.

For the second year in a row, the Raptors lost in the playoffs to LeBron and his Cavs. There's no doubt we're not good enough to beat them. Heck, except for game four, it wasn't even a contest. At least we won a couple of games against Cleveland last season.

Now the question is whether Masai Ujiri tears it down and rebuilds or works this summer to improve the team. On Sunday night, I wanted the tear down, but today I'm leaning towards remaining a great and entertaining regular season team that wins a round or two before losing to LeBron James.

What would you do? What should Masai do?


Share this entry

Comments (14 - click here to join in!)

Al The Royal Pain

I'd rather they just built on what they've got...which is the 2nd or 3rd best team in the East. Lebron is a generational player...no one is going to beat him right now...but he's getting older and eventually, he'll slow down and become beatable, we've got to be in the right position to take advantage.

If you tear down now, who knows how long before we're in contention again? I say enjoy the success while it lasts. I'm not saying they should stand pat, they should make moves to try to improve, they should just not be sellers...try to get a legitimate 3-point shooter...maybe get better at passing.

DD said he was going to work on his passing. Every time he sets his mind on improving something, he succeeds. So I say, keep building. Success rarely goes in a straight line.

May 9, 2017 @ 5:02 PM

Anonymous

LeBron James is about to go to his 7th championship in a row. It's not like he's beatable right now either way. So retool, don't rebuild.

May 9, 2017 @ 5:23 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

Wow, this is a tough one Mike. I have been adamant that committing to Lowry turning 32 who will be looking for at least 4 years and likely 5 years is not the wtg. If Masai wants to sign and trade him that is the best scenario to get a return, as there are plenty of NBA teams willing to pay that price.

Lowry is going to see his production start to fall and he is injury prone as well, regardless of what McCown said the other day. It is not just that he is injury prone, but how he plays hurt, often to the detriment of the team. LeBron will be dominating the East for at least the next 3 years, so what is the point in soaking up cap dollars if MLSE is not prepared to go into paying luxury tax, something they always claim to have the ability to do, but in reality Never Do!

Lowry is our best and most important player, but I accept the fact that our roster is ill-equipped to compete at the highest echelons of the league. Should we continue to eke out around 50 wins and hope to get a favourable draw and avoid Cleveland until the Eastern Conference Finals? If we could guarantee that I would say yes, but our roster, as Masai said today, is flawed in how the NBA game is being played with 3-pointers galore and being able to defend them, something we suck at on both ends.

Is our coach capable with his defensive background to coach personnel like that? I say No to that, and maybe a different ear is a good thing for a capable offensive coach who can bring that. Ironically trading Ross is in retrospect the kind of player that we need back, just a more consistent one. Having said that, Ibaka is a useful piece and I hope we can sign him along with Tucker, while letting Patterson and Lowry go. We are stuck with Carroll unless Masai pulls another Bargain miracle out of his hat, and I love how Masai is already setting that up, saying Carroll will be healthy next year for the first time in two years. Maybe he should call the Knicks now!

Masai has to do everything he can to acquire or develop a starting point guard who can take over from Kyle. The other big issue is DeMar, who as valuable as he is does not have a game to win in the playoffs lacking a 3-point shot and being strictly a mid-range 2-point shooter. I say keep him, but build not so much around him, but to complement him, but he has to continue to develop as a passer to some ew sharpshooters on the team and also work for real on his own 3-point shooting.

Bottom line Masai will look at both extremes, and there is no middling this off-season, there are two directions to go i.e. Sign Lowry and keep him, while picking up pieces made for today's NBA game, or blow it up, and that may even include DeMar going too, as a valuable trade asset, although that would be a longshot.

May 9, 2017 @ 5:28 PM

Matt

Keep going. They are right there. LeBron is LeBron. Retool. Theres no need to rebuild. To borrow from Brian Burke "retool not rebuild"

Hopefully Ibaka is signed long term. Lowry is gone imo.

May 9, 2017 @ 7:09 PM

Urooj Islam

Staying the course along with some significant retooling (Huge, HUGE emphasis should be placed on adding perimeter shooting) is the only way to go. They're not in the best position to rebuild cap wise and there's no sensible way to justify a teardown in the midst of the most successful stretch in franchise history.

Losing to LeBron during his dominating run is not disappointing enough to me to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

May 9, 2017 @ 8:10 PM

Cheryl

I'm a Cavs fan. Cavs will repeat for years to come. They will do that unless my Suns or Nets can do it.

May 10, 2017 @ 7:56 AM

Anonymous

Estimate that Lebron will be on the downside of his career 4 years hence and make that your target date to win the east. Rebuild now if you want a championship. Retool if you want to be competitive but not win it all.

The choice is fairly clear.

May 10, 2017 @ 10:22 AM

jilly

Kyle will probably not win a ring here, but I love him and want him to stay.

I'm sick at the thought of keeping DeMarre, as he also plays injured and is inconsistent. I don't miss TRoss, he was also inconsistent, Patterson inconsistent, so many inconsistent guys.

I am a new Raptors fan though, so I cannot give a better opinion. It seems like they've been rebuilding since they started, since they had to get to a point where players wanted to come here and play!!

Also, I didn't even realize Sully was back to playing in Jan - and I wished we saw more from him but my friends are sick of me talking about him, haha.

So I vote to build on what we have now with adjustments - and Casey may have to go. And Kyle too :( also I'd love to know why he didn't play Norm from Game 1 of the Bucks series?

May 10, 2017 @ 11:41 AM

James Edgar

I'm not very much of a basketball fan so i haven't watched much of the Rapters ,especially this season.

I think i have to agree wit Damian Cox and get rid of the coach. If Masai Ujiri thinks they need a culture change and they need to play differently isn't that where to start? Also it's on Masai Ujiri's shoulders to get 3 point shooters.

No easy answer for the Rapters from what i understand listening to the Radio and unless they do something just more disappointment going forward, and they sure aren't going to make a Basket ball fan out of me.

May 11, 2017 @ 10:23 AM

The Voice of Reason

The only way the Raptors can compete for a championship is to identify big three talent and open the vaults. With the Canadian dollar being so low and taxes so high, there is minimal incentive financially for anyone to come here.

Andrew Wiggins is a target we should push for. We have enough home grown talent to become viable, it just will not be cheap to bring them home.

May 11, 2017 @ 7:17 PM

Brian Gerstein (Raptors Devotee)

Players are all paid in American dollars. More to it than opening up the vaults, as with Lowry for example, the Raptors still can offer him more term and $ than any other team. If you mean going over the luxury tax, most teams are reluctant to do so as you are taxed so much more at that rate.

Wiggins may be a target when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, but we are still a ways away from that happening and while he has developed into a solid player, he is not a Superstar.

May 11, 2017 @ 7:40 PM

The Voice of Reason

Brian, good point on how they are paid, however there are few financial benefits to live and play in Canada. Wiggins is on his way to elite player status.
I suggest that they let Lowry leave. Lowry is a solid role player, but not someone who will lead a team to a championship. In fact most GM's would trade Lowry for Wiggins but Toronto would have to add more to the equation to make it feasible.

"If you mean going over the luxury tax, most teams are reluctant to do so as you are taxed so much more at that rate."

The only way the Jays could win in the 90's was to out spend. They did and they were successful. The Raptors are in the exact same position.

May 11, 2017 @ 9:07 PM

James Edgar

"The only way the Jays could win in the 90's was to out spend. They did and they were successful. The Raptors are in the exact same position."

just like the Leafs there's a salary cap. A soft cap but still a cap. And no matter how much they spend they aren't getting Lebron.

So spending into luxury tax makes no sense , financial or achievement wise.

May 12, 2017 @ 8:16 AM

stephen

Blowing it up isn't the way to go.
You don't toss away 56-26 & 51-31 seasons.

Sure they spit the bit both times vs Cleveland in the playoffs. But the difference between the clubs is as significant as the Harlem Globetrotters vs the Washington Generals.

Mind you, this year, it was more like watching Men vs boys as Cleveland cruised past the Raptors. Raptor players should be ashamed of themselves for mailing it in against Cleveland, pure gutless.

Here's where I'm at.
They can't beat LeBron, certainly not with players like Kyle and DeMarre publicly worshiping the King - that isn't the kind of leadership that wins championships. Hated how meekly the Raptors performed, too often, too many players disappeared when they needed someone, anyone, to take the lead.

Final point, Coach Casey can't win big games - his players don't respond.
Promote Stackhouse, or loose him, so let him re-tool while LeBron plays himself into retirement.

Ujiri is a smart, shrewd man, re-tool or not, pretty sure he doesn't loose sight of how much better Boston & Washington are getting.

May 12, 2017 @ 11:57 PM

Leave a comment


Only 14 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!


« A Canadian Expat's Guide to Feeling at Home in London Some fascinating facts on Bitcoin! »