2012, 2013, Basketball, Sports

Your 2012-13 Toronto Raptors

I think this year has to be viewed as a major disappointment for Raptor fans. Though I didn’t watch nearly enough games to properly judge this team I will do so anyway. [Note: the real title of this piece should be “Riley cannot evaluate basketball talent.]

I think the slight uptick in winning percentage – from just below .350 to .415 – has to be viewed as a pretty big disappointment given the expectations going into the season. The Raps were an average offensive and defensive team this year – by PPG not by PP-100-possessions – but the more in-depth stats suggest that they weren’t very good defensively (surprise surprise) and they were worse than last year. They were pretty much in the bottom third of the league, despite what many of us hoped would be a season which would see them just missing out on the playoffs; instead they were 8.5 games out in the weaker of the two conferences.

And there is little to be optimistic about going forward, I think, as we will see when we go over the roster.

DeMar DeRozan, 23, SG, signed through 2017 at $9.5 mil

  • 3013 minutes:
    • 36.7 MPG,
    • 14.7 PER,
    • .523 TS%,
    • 4.7 win shares,
    • 12 assist %,
    • 9.6 turnover
  • %Per 36 minutes:
    • 17.7P,
    • 2.4A,
    • .9S,
    • 3.8R,
    • .7B

With Bargnani stinking it up this year, DeRozan became the de facto “star” of the team until Gay showed up.

His numbers hardly reflect that though; DeRozan remains a shooting guard who can’t shoot. DeRozan’s true shooting percentage is not great for a shooting guard, his PER is nowhere near all-star levels, his assist-rate is scary bad. Sure he scores a lot, but so inefficiently that the team suffers as a result. He doesn’t pass even though he is a capable passer. He doesn’t rebound. His defense isn’t anything. And now he’s locked up for years.

My only hope is that Tim Chisholm is right and that DeRozan can be used as part of a trade.

Personally, I am fully off the DeRozan bandwagon. He might be a useful 7th man somewhere else, but he is not a star. At least he’s improved his handle.

Amir Johnson, 25, PF/C, signed through 2015 at $6.7-7 mil

  • 2325 minutes:
    • 28.7 MPG,
    • 17.3 PER,
    • .591 TS%,
    • 7.3 win shares,
    • 15.6 rebound %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 12.6P,
    • 9.5R,
    • 1.7B,
    • 1.9A,
    • 1.3S

Of the players who managed to play a full season this year, Amir definitely had the best one. Playing the most minutes of his career, he managed to have one of his most offensively efficient seasons since he became a regular starter. You could argue that he was the most consistent player, if rarely the best. Certainly he was one of the bright spots of the season.

Unfortunately, Amir remains small for his position and he lacks a certain finesse. You can count me among those who see him as more of a 6th man on a legit contender, or maybe a 5th man, but not much more.

Kyle Lowry, 27, PG, signed through 2014 at $6.2 mil

  • 2020 minutes:
    • 29.7 MPG,
    • 17.5 PER,
    • .543 TS%,
    • 5.6 win shares,
    • 34.6 assist %,
    • 17.7 turnover % but almost a 3-1 turnover ratio
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 14.1P,
    • 7.8A,
    • 1.7S,
    • 5.7R,
    • .4B

Lowry got off to an amazing start to the season before getting injured. And even though he regressed, his numbers still look good. But that hides the fact that he lost his starting job before the Gay trade and that he doesn’t exactly had the full faith and credit of his coach.

He remains injury prone and he is not as effective as he could be, but I for one am willing to give him a year without a point-guard controversy to see what he’s made of.

Alan Anderson, 30, SG/SF, unrestricted

  • 1495 minutes:
    • 23 MPG,
    • 12.6 PER,
    • .509 TS%,
    • 1.6 win shares,
    • 11.7 assist %,
    • 10.5 turnover %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 16.7P,
    • 2.5A,
    • 1.2S,
    • 3.7R,
    • .2B

The fact that Anderson played this much is a perfect sign of the problems with the Raps – and also the transition from the Bargnani era to whatever the post-Bargnani era will be.

This guy is a role player, and he played role player minutes averaged out throughout the season, but he is somehow still fourth on the team in total minutes which tells you that the Raps were injured but it also tells you that they didn’t know what to do about the 3 or the backup 2 until Gay showed up.

There is no reason to resign him. He will want money for his career year.

Jonas Valanciunas, 20, C, signed through 2016 at $3.5-4.6 mil

  • 1482 minutes:
    • 23.9 MPG,
    • 15.6 PER,
    • .618 TS%,
    • 3.9 win shares,
    • 14.9 rebound %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 13.5P,
    • 9R,
    • 1.9B,
    • 1.1A,
    • .4S

I for one couldn’t be more excited about Valanciunas, especially after he returned from his injury. He looks like he is a few years away from being a legit centre in the league and my hope is that he is one day something of a Marc Gasol – I understand that is a somewhat ridiculous hope – which would be the greatest thing to happen to the Raptors since Bosh at the very least. I would love to see what he does starting all next season and I feel like he is the one Raptor that fills me with promise.

The problem is that this team is built around DeRozan or Gay or Lowry – I can never figure out which – and not around JV.

Jose Calderon, 31, PG, traded mid-season

  • 1273 minutes:
    • 31.7 MPG,
    • 19.2 PER,
    • .594 TS%,
    • 4.4 win shares,
    • 43.1 assist %,
    • 15.1 turnover %,
    • 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 14.1P,
    • 9.4A,
    • .8S,
    • 3R,
    • .2B

Jose was having one of the best offensive years of his career when the Raps moved him.

Now I know he had to be moved with both the Lowry trade and his expiring contract. What bugs me is what they got back: not just that they got Gay, whom I will deal with in a moment, but that they traded Jose and Ed Davis for him.

Yes, Calderon is a bad defensive player – though Casey was hiding him better than previous coaches – but everybody knew that. Jose is, on the other hand, absolutely great in the half court set. I feel like that was worth more than slightly more than one half of Rudy Gay. I like the trade less now than I did at the time.

Terrence Ross, 22, SG, signed through 2016 at $2.6-3.5 mil

  • 1239 minutes:
    • 17 MPG,
    • 10.4 PER,
    • .491 TS%,
    • .9 win shares,
    • 7.2 assist %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 13.6P,
    • 1.5A,
    • 1.2S,
    • 4.2R,
    • .4B

I for one was not in favour of drafting Ross. (In fact, I am not part of that revisionist history group that prefers Drummond now, I did at the time.)

However, though Ross has had his trouble this year, I am feeling a lot better about him now. I am not sure he is a legit 2 – he seems to me to be more of an undersized 3 – but I like aspects of his game. I don’t exactly know what he will do on a team with both DeRozan and Gay, but I have been more impressed with him than I expected to be.

I still don’t think he will be a star, but he might – might – turn out to be the 8th best player in his draft. I can only hope.

Rudy Gay, 26, SF, signed through 2015 at $17.8-19.3 mil

  • 1146 minutes:
    • 34.7 MPG,
    • 17.6 PER,
    • .513 TS%,
    • 1.6 win shares,
    • 11 rebound %,
    • 15.3 assist %,
    • 13.1 turnover %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 20.2P,
    • 6.7R,
    • 3A,
    • 1.8S,
    • .7B

Gay’s per 36 look pretty great but they belie that terrible true shooting percentage and the PER that is nothing special – certainly not all-star.

As has been said many times before, Gay is a rich man’s DeRozan so it made no sense to trade for him and it made especially little sense given that DeRozan had just been extended. Don’t get me wrong: Gay can be really impressive and can be really dominant. But he isn’t most of the time and he is shockingly inefficient.

I am with some NBA writers in believing there are some smart teams out there. For me, Memphis is absolutely one of those teams. Memphis didn’t want Gay. Moreover, Memphis was right – at least in the short term: they are doing better without him.

I for one am not going to enjoy the Rudy Gay era. He costs to much for the team to bring in the star the team actually needs.

Ed Davis, 23, PF, traded mid-season

  • 1087 minutes:
    • 24.2 MPG,
    • 18.1 PER,
    • .549 TS%,
    • 3.3 win shares,
    • 17.4 rebound %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 14.5P,
    • 9.9R,
    • 1.3B,
    • 1.8A,
    • .8S

The other reason I don’t like the Gay trade is that Davis had regained his promise this season after having a very disappointing second season.

Yes, he is undersized. But he was playing a real role in Toronto and he was excelling in it. Yes, he is, in many ways, another Amir – albeit with a somewhat different skill-set – but they were actually working well on the floor together. In limited minutes, Davis was actually the second most efficient offensive player on the Raps. (The first was Calderon, if we want to continue to bang our heads against the wall.) And he was starting to show promise at both ends.

Memphis isn’t using him that much, as expected. It’s too bad. I could have totally bought in to a Lowry-Ross/DeRozan-?-Amir/Davis-Valanciunas core going into next season, with Bargs moved for the “?” at the 3 – and even leave DeRozan off there and trade him away. They wouldn’t have made the playoffs, they might have been fun and they might have been cheap enough to allow management to acquire an actual star instead of a wannabe star.

Landry Fields, 24, SF, signed through 2015 at $6.25 mil

  • 1037 minutes:
    • 20.3 MPG,
    • 10.3 PER,
    • .487 TS%,
    • 1.1 win shares,
    • 11.9 rebound %,
    • 8.9 assist %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 8.3P,
    • 7.2R,
    • 2.1A,
    • 1.1S,
    • .3B

We all know the story of this disastrous faux-signing that turned into a multi-year commitment to a player who subsequently had the worst year of his career.

The thing that kills me and so many other fans is that we know Fields is actually a player. However, the team isn’t using him like he should be. I feel like he would be excelling in a better system.

I hold out hope that he will eventually be a good backup 3 for us.

Andrea Bargnani, 27, PF/C/SF, signed through 2015 at $10.7-11.5

  • 1003 minutes:
    • 28.7MPG,
    • 11.2 PER,
    • .483 TS%,
    • .2 win shares,
    • 7.6 rebound %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 15.9P,
    • 4.6R,
    • .8B,
    • 1.4A,
    • .8S

Nearly career lows across-the-board, and the few areas where he improved are not really significant. Everyone is pretty much agrees he is done. The problem is how to get rid of him. Hopefully there is some idiotic GM somewhere who will take a flyer on him. But I don’t know who that would be. I mean, would you trade for a guy who just had his worst season of his career at over ten million? I wouldn’t.

I still don’t think drafting Bargnani was a terrible move but I think trying to build a team around him post-Bosh has turned into an unmitigated disaster. The only way that disaster is partially averted is if he is somehow moved for an actual player.

John Lucas, 30, PG, team option at $1.5 mil

  • 827 minutes:
    • 13.1 MPG,
    • 12.8 PER,
    • 1.1 win shares,
    • .483 TS%,
    • 21.7 assist %,
    • 7 turnover %,
    • 4:1 assist to turnover ratio
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 14.5P,
    • 4.5A,
    • 1S,
    • 2.8R,
    • 0B

Lucas has served well as a role player; as well as he can. But there’s no reason in my mind to pick up his option if they can find a cheaper backup PG, especially given the current cap situation.

A younger and cheaper option is definitely desirable here.

Aaron Gray, 28, C, unrestricted

  • 513 minutes:
    • 12.2 MPG,
    • 9 PER,
    • .544 TS%,
    • .5 win shares,
    • 15.4 rebound %
  • Per 36 minutes:
    • 8.4P,
    • 9.3B,
    • .4B,
    • 2.3A,
    • .5S

Gray definitely regressed from last year. He remains a usable third string centre but that is it. It’s too bad. I like his hustle.

That’s everyone who cracked 500 minutes. Kleiza regrettably has a player option which we must assume he will exercise. (Wouldn’t you?)

Nothing about this roster inspires me with hope. I’m pretty sure it’s about time to launch a Campaign to Fire Bryan Colangelo.

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