Ranking the Raptors in the Eastern Conference

To think of where the Boston Celtics were in the NBA standings last year, at this time (#30?) … what they accomplished in the 2007 NBA Draft, despite the fact they lost out on both Greg Oden & Kevin Durant … compared to where they are today … (1) with established All-Stars like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen & Paul Pierce … (2) to go with a few solid young players, e.g. Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, Leon Powe, Kendrick Perkins, Glen Davis & Gabe Pruitt … (3) plus the best W-L record in the League (55-13) … and, (4) just having completed a 3-game sweep, on the road, vs the ‘dreaded Texas Triangle’ (W’s at San Antonio, at Houston – ie Where 22 in a row once happened! – and at Dallas) …

in contrast to where the Toronto Raptors are today (35-33, 2nd place in the Atlantic Division, 5th place in Eastern Conference … but teetering just ahead of Philadelphia/Stefanski & Washington/Ernie Grunfeld, who are both gaining fast) … almost 2 full years after finishing 27-55, under the direction of Rob Babcock (former GM) … and, then, bringing Bryan Colangelo (President/GM) on-board (Feb/06) … trading Charlie Villanueva for TJ Ford, selecting Andrea Bargnani No. 1 Overall (2006 Draft) … with Chris Bosh (a young all-star) and Jose Calderon (a burgeoning all-star) on their roster prior to Colangelo’s arrival … and ‘winning’ their 1st Atlantic Division ‘banner’ (47-35, 1st Round Playoff loss) last season.

An unbiased ranking of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, right now, but which also looks forward to the next 5-10 years, would see an astute NBA observer develop a list that looks like what exactly?


(for example)

#1. BOSTON (55-13)/Danny Ainge … Notable Vets: Garnett, Allen-R, Pierce, Posey, Brown-PJ & Cassell; Solid Pups: Rondo, Allen-T, Powe, Perkins, Davis & Pruitt
#1A. DETROIT (49-19)/Joe Dumars … Notable Vets: Billups, Wallace, Hamilton, McDyess, Prince & Ratlif; Solid Pups: Maxiell, Johnson, Stuckey, Affalo & Hayes


#3. CLEVELAND (39-30)/Danny Ferry … Notable Vets: James, Ilgaukas, Smith, Wallace & Szczerbiak; Solid Pups: Gibson, Pavlovic & Varejao


#4-7 (what order?)

ORLANDO (45-25)/Otis Smith … Notable Vets: Turkoglu, Lewis, Evans, Dooling, Cook, Foyle & Garrity; Solid Pups: Howard, Nelson, Bogans, Redick

TORONTO (35-33)/Bryan Colangelo … Notable Vets: Bosh, Nesterovic, Garbajosa & Parker; Solid Pups: Calderon, Ford, Bargnani, Humphries, Moon & Graham

PHILADELPHIA (34-34)/Ed Stefanski … Notable Vets: Miller, Iguadalo, Dalembert, Evans & Green; Solid Pups: Young, Carney, Williams & Smith

WASHINGTON (34-33)/Ernie Grunfeld … Notable Vets: Jamison, Arenas, Heywood, Daniels, Butler, Stevenson & Songaila; Solid Pups: Blatche, Young, Mason, McGuire & Pecherov


#8-11 (what order? … and, how far behind #4-7?)

NEW JERSEY (29-39)/Rod Thorn … Notable Vets: Jefferson, Carter, Krstic, Diop & Nachbar; Solid Pups: Harris, Williams-M, Williams-S & Boone

ATLANTA (29-39)/Billy Knight … Notable Vets: Johnson, Williams, Childress, Smith, Bibby, Pachulia & Claxton; Solid Pups: Horford & Law

CHICAGO (27-41)/John Paxson … Notable Vets: Gordon, Hinrich, Hughes, Gooden, Deng & Nocioni; Solid Pups: Sefolosha, Thomas, Noah & Gray

INDIANA (27-41)/Larry Bird … Notable Vets: O’Neal, Dunleavy, Foster, Tinsley, Murphy, Murray & Daniels; Solid Pups: Granger, Williams, Diogu, Diener, Graham & Harrison (Rush?)


#12-13 (what order? … and, how far behind #4-7?)

CHARLOTTE (24-44)/Rod Higgins … Notable Vets: Richardson, Wallace, Okafor, Felton, Mohammad, Harrington & Carroll; Solid Pups: Dudley, May, Morrison, Davidson & Hollins

MILWAUKEE (23-44)/??? … Notable Vets: Redd, Bogut, Williams, Bell, Mason & Simmons; Solid Pups: Villanueva & Jianlian


#14-15 (what order? … and, how far behind #4-7?)

MIAMI (12-55)/Pat Riley … Notable Vets: Wade, Marion, Haslem, Mourning, Williams & Davis; Solid Pups: Wright, Alexander, Cook & Banks

NEW YORK (19-48)/Isiah Thomas … Notable Vets: Crawford, Randolph, Curry, Richardson & Rose; Solid Pups: Lee, Robinson, Balkman, Collins & Chandler


Q1. With the changes (improvements?) that have been made to the Basketball Operations side of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), since Feb/06 (when Bryan Colangelo was hired to run the show), have the Raptors clearly separated themselves from ‘the pack’ of middle-of-the-road teams in the Eastern Conference … as so many of their ardent supporters would have you believe, parroting the propoganda put out by the team’s ownership group … or, are they, in fact, firmly entrenched in the midst of an expanding group of (mostly) mediocre organizations … with little tangible reason for overt optimism, relative to the other members of this group?

A1. Only time will tell for sure … but it certainly appears that … there is no definitive answer yet … and, the proverbial ‘clock is ticking’ for the Raptors, as a 1st-Class ‘pro’ sports franchise with legitimate designs on capturing the NBA championship one day in the no-too-distant future.

No. 1 (Overall) Draft Picks don’t just drop in a team’s lap everyday.

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6 Responses to “Ranking the Raptors in the Eastern Conference”

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  4. AltRaps Says:

    Hindsight is always 20/20, but it is funny to look back on those at the beginning of the year that said the big 3 in Boston would get tired, their bench was made of nothing, and Rondo couldn’t carry the load. Seems to me those pundits struck out on all three.

    Couple that with the people who claimed the Raptors bench was the deepest in the league.

    Rose coloured glasses….

  5. Raps Fan Says:

    more like beer goggles Alt. i actually was on opposite ends from those pundits on both. i still think either boston or detroit takes it this year.

    great breakdown on the talent khandor…looking at what aldridge does RIGHT now, Bargnani is projected to be doing that in the future. aldridge clearly has much more upside, and plays much better now, sucks for us.

    taking bargnani over aldridge is worse than taking araujo over iguadala in my books. yea, i said it. i still think bc is better than babcock tho, that gave took YEARS off my life. at least bc put a more exciting team on the floor for my dumb ass.

  6. khandor Says:

    AltRaps & Raps Fan,

    The ‘pundits’ who struck out … K, K, K … really don’t understand how the NBA game works … or, they would have never made such assinine proclamations about a team with 3 possible HOF-ers on its roster, spread amongst the Guard, Forward & Big positions … each of whom, in his own right, is a multi-dimensional player with (A) good size, strength & quickness relative to the position he plays, in the NBA, (B) a solid skill set, and (C) an unselfish attitude & work ethic.

    When you get 3 players like that … on the same team … LOOK OUT! especially if 1 of them has a COMMITMENT to DEFEND & REBOUND like Kevin Garnett.

    Straight-up … (i) Rondo has more ability as an NBA Point Guard than TJ Ford; (ii) Tony Allen is a ‘top notch’ NBA talent who just happened to get hurt last season; (iii) Leon Powe is a ‘stud’ in the Post who led the Pac 12 in scoring; (iv) Glen Davis is a special ‘physical’ specimen who has a very high bball IQ; the list goes on and on …

    Does Danny Ainge actually know what he’s doing as an NBA Executive?

    Just maybe.

    And, if I recall correctly … he was actually fired as the coach for a certain Western Conference team by another current NBA exec who has already received 2 EOY awards … but whom, I think, might not be able to carry his jock-strap, either, in a game of horse or in terms of knowing what it takes (first-hand) to put together a championship NBA team.

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