View Full Version : Raps 6th Most Improved

08-04-2014, 04:47 PM

2013-14 RECORD: 48-34, lost in first round

ADDED: F Bruno Caboclo (first round, 20th pick overall); F James Johnson (two years, $5 million); G Lou Williams (acquired from Atlanta); C Lucas Nogiera (acquired from Atlanta)

LOST: G John Salmons (traded to Atlanta); F Steve Novak (traded to Utah); G Nando de Colo (signed with CSKA Moscow); C Joey Dorsey (signed with Houston)

RETAINED: G Kyle Lowry (four years, $48 million); G Greivis Vasquez (two years, $13 million); F Patrick Patterson (three years, $18 million)

THE KEY MAN: C Jonas Valanciunas. Still just 22, Valanciunas progressed in his second NBA season, averaging nearly a double-double in just more than 28 minutes a night. Staying out of foul trouble should inch up the minutes, and the production, next season. Toronto doesn't need Valanciunas to be a big scorer, but he needs to be more effective; his PER ranked 30th among players that regularly played center last season, behind the likes of DeJuan Blair and Timofey Mozgov.

THE SKINNY: It takes a losing franchise a long time to change its spots. After years chasing their collective tails, the Raps finally turned the battleship around last season. Whether it was by design or luck (GM Masai Ujiri had a deal to send Lowry to New York, only to have Knicks owner James Dolan veto it), Toronto has some momentum now, an exciting style of play, a great hashtag (#wethenorth) and a renewed fanatical fan base around which to build. So keeping the still-young core together was crucial, and Ujiri did it without overspending. Lowry's new deal puts him right among most of his point guard peers, but below the elite. That's right where he should be. Patterson really helped change the geometry of the Raptors' offense when he arrived from Sacramento as part of the multi-player deal that sent Rudy Gay to the Kings. In 48 games in Toronto, Patterson shot 41 percent on threes and had a PER superior to that of Marvin Williams, who got more money per season in free agency, and Josh McRoberts, who signed with the Heat. Another solid single for Ujiri. Williams faltered last season in Atlanta and was deemed expendible, but Coach Dwane Casey (also re-signed with little muss or fuss) will no doubt give him opportunities to regain his form in Philly (pre-ACL tear) as one of the league's most dangerous scorers off the bench. Time will tell whether Caboclo was worth the reach in the first round, but the early signs in Vegas were promising.


08-11-2014, 04:54 PM
Hey Doc - nice post.

Interesting but I also note teams ahead of us in "most improved" are Eastern Conf representatives:


I know a lot of people think Toronto is lock 3 due to divisional format. I mean Nets/Knicks have big questions and 76ers /Celtic don't seem to be ready. Still never going to win 100% of division games.

But in terms of (wins/losses) Eastern Conf teams which of these teams on paper should Toronto consistently outplay during the regular season ??? Really tough to predict.

1) Cavs (with Love ?) Heat 2.0 ?
2) Wizards add Pierce and Humphries to replace Ariza.
3) Bulls (with Rose full season?)

and then...

4) Hornets
5) Pacers (George out but still a reasonably deep team).
6) Heat - Bosh and team not fully blown up.