Last night’s 9th consecutive loss for the Raptors means that Toronto has now plummeted to the 4th worst W-L record in the NBA:
30 Cleveland Cavaliers, 8-37/.178
29 Minnesota Timberwolves, 10-35/.222
28 Sacramento Kings, 10-33/.233
27 Toronto Raptors, 13-33/.283
26 Washington Wizards, 13-31/.295
and, once again, has a legitimate chance to secure a Top 3 Selection in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery.
If the Raptors management group actually has the necessary level of Basketball Acumen to take full advantage of the team’s recent spate of injuries there is no legitimate reason Toronto cannot make a gradual rise in the standings over the course of the next few seasons and become firmly entrenched in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
1. Top 3 Selection in the 2011 NBA Draft Lottery [?]
2. No. 1 Selection in the 2006 NBA Draft Lottery, i.e. Andrea Bargnani, C
3. No. 9 Selection in the 2009 NBA Draft Lottery, i.e. DeMar DeRozan, OG
4. No. 13 Selection in the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery, i.e. Ed Davis, PF
5. $10.8 M Traded Player Exception [TPE], obtained in exchange for Chris Bosh
6. Expiring contract of Reggie Evans [$5.1 M]
7. Expiring contract of Leandro Barbosa [$7.1 M]
8. Starting calibre PG, i.e. Jose Calderon [$9.0 M, plus 2 more years]
9. Rotation calibre PF, i.e. Amir Johnson [$5.0 M, plus 4 more years]
10. Rotation calibre SF, i.e. Linas Kleiza [$5.0 M, plus 2 more years]
11. Rotation calibre PG/OG, i.e. Jerryd Bayless [$2.3 M, plus 1 more year]
12. Salary Cap space … if the team chooses not to re-sign Sonny Weems [$0.9 M, 1 yr], Joey Dorsey [$0.9 M, 1 yr], Alexis Ajinca [$1.5 M, 1 yr] and Julian Wright [$2.9 M, 1 yr] after this season
13. World-class city with the 3rd largest market in North America
14. 10th most valuable franchise in the NBA
15. Rabid, loyal fan base
1. The absence of a deep pocketed ownership group that SHOULD BE prepared to EXCEED the Salary Cap and the Luxury Tax Threshold on an ANNUAL BASIS.
2. The absence of a highly respected General Manager with first-hand experience in the construction/operation of a championship-winning organization.
3. The absence of a highly respected Head Coach with first-hand experience in the construction/operation of a championship-winning organization.
4. An organizational culture which has failed to prioritize the winning of the League Championship as The Standard for Team Success.
5. An organizational culture which has failed to prioritize Team Defense, Team Rebounding and Team Offense as the THREE MAIN COMPONENTS required for Team Success.
The fact is …
In the 16 year history of the Raptors franchise, there have already been 3 prior occasions when the team was well-positioned to begin a gradual climb towards the top of the Eastern Conference:
First, when Toronto used the No. 4 Selection in the 1998 NBA Draft to pick Antawn Jamison/PF and then immediately traded him to obtain Vince Carter/SF-OG [No. 5 Selection, Golden State Warriors];
1998-1999, 23 wins
1999-2000, 45 wins [up ... but, failed to retain the services of Tracy McGrady]
2000-2001, 47 wins [up]
2001-2002, 42 wins [down]
2002-2003, 24 wins [down]
Second, when Toronto used the No. 4 Selection in the 2003 NBA Draft to pick Chris Bosh/C-PF;
2003-2004, 33 wins [up]
2004-2005, 33 wins [same ... but, traded Vince Carter]
2005-2006, 27 wins [down]
Third, when Toronto used the No. 1 Selection in the 2006 NBA Draft to pick Andrea Bargnani/C;
2006-2007, 47 wins [up]
2007-2008, 41 wins [down]
2008-2009, 33 wins [down]
2009-2010, 40 wins [up ... but, failed to retain the services of Chris Bosh]
2010-2011, 13 wins so far [down?]
and, in each instance, the opportunity has been wasted by the relatively poor work of their:
i. Ownership Group, whose chief responsibility is to hire the right GM and then stay out of his way;
ii. General Manager[s], whose chief responsibilities are to: A. Hire the right Head Coach & Staff, and B. Obtain the right mix of players, and then stay out of their way;
iii. Head Coach[es] and staff[s], whose chief responsibilities are to: A. Fully develop the players on their roster into a highly effective and cohesive group, and B. Win as many games and playoff series as possible, on an annual basis;
with the prime directive being, “The Winning of the League Championship.”
Hopefully, this time around …
Kyrie Irving/PG, Duke University
Harrison Barnes/SF, University of North Carolina
Jan Veseley/SF, Partizan-Belgrade
the Raptors’ management group doesn’t screw it up, again.