Symptoms or Cause for the Raptors’ illness

[Part One] When the Raptors trade away three of their most marketable assets in a single transaction …

* TJ Ford [back-up PG]
* Rasho Nesterovic [back-up C]
* No. 17 [overall] Draft Pick/2008

in return for an oft-injured player with a $21 million/yr price-tag …

* Jermaine O’Neal

and a 2008 No. 41 [overall] Draft Pick, with an existing heart condition …

* Nathan Jawai

and, then …

[Part Two] Orchestrate a non-essential contract buyout for a player like Jorge Garbajosa, who was their starting PF/SF during the bulk of their wins in the 2006-2007 season, when they won the Atlantic Division and finished 47-35

and, then …

[Part Three] Make the decision not to sign a reliable, veteran PG, as one of their 15 Players Alottment, for the 2008-2009 season … because they are $1,100 under the League’s Luxury Tax Threshold at-present, with only 13 players under contract, and would like to remain in this position, as long as they can also field a ‘competitive’ team, in the NBA,  

it can create all sorts of interesting and unexpected deficiencies/vacancies in their everyday 12-man line-up …


The Raptors need a shooting guard. Now.
The average PER of the opponents shooting guards is 19.9. The Raptors’ shooting guard PER is 11.0. There are only two teams who are at that much of a deficit at any position: The Washingto Wizards, who are down 11.2 at point guard and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are down 9.0 at centre. Combined they are 2-23 and have fired two coaches. Oh, one other team is worse off, sorry. That’s San Antonio, who are down 12.4 at small forward, thanks to injuries, and they’re a potential Finals team struggling to stay in the playoff race out west.


the Domino Effect of which can lead to a rampant mis-diagnosis of what actually ails their team, treating only the symptoms … which are readily visible … but not the ILLNESS itself.

Yes, overall PER at the #2 position is down for the Raptors, thus far, this season … but, according to this corner of the internet, THIS is NOT the PRIMARY CAUSE of the Raptors current set of problems.

Q1. What is?
A1. Part One, Part Two and Part Three … in combination with one another.

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13 Responses to “Symptoms or Cause for the Raptors’ illness”

  1. The AltRaps Blog » Toronto Raptors Linkage for November 25th through November 26th Says:

    […] Symptoms or Cause for the Raptors’ illness – […]

  2. Dan H Says:

    Dead Horse: “I give up. No more beating please.”

    Given the current problems facing the Raptors, and acknowledging that no rehashing of past and irreversible events can solve them, what direction would you implement to solve the current problems?

    If someone gets cancer by smoking, the doctor doesn’t just say: “Well, you shouldn’t have smoked.” There are courses of action and treatment that are separate from the cause of the problem (ie chemotherapy, surgery, etc).

    Grange is suggesting a new SG. As a solution to the current problem, as compared to the reason that problem is there.

    I’ve no doubt you have an idea of what should be done, and would like to hear it. It would hold far greater value than saying “shouldn’t have smoked.” What is your cure?

  3. khandor Says:

    Dan H,

    Sticking with your cancer analogy and the effect of smoking …

    1. It’s vital to identify that you should NOT have begun smoking in the first place.

    Why is this? Because … if you don’t do this … there is no reason for you not to return to smoking again after your illness has been thought to have been cured by whatever means are necessary.

    2. When you have a cancer what is the quickest and the most effective way [long term] of dealing with it, as long as the location of that cancer is easily accessible? [and assuming that the cause of said cancer has been identified correctly, in the first place]

    If you read what I’ve written in this entry above, re: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three … you should also have a pretty good idea already what it is I think should be done to rectify the current ‘cancers’ within this Raptors’ team, immediately.

    As of Dec 15 2008, the rules of the NBA allow a team to undo Part One.

    By undoing Part One, it should then allow the team to undo Part Two and then after that Part Three, as well.


    In other words …

    First you stop smoking immediately because it’s inherently bad for your health.

    Then you cut out/remove the cancer[s] which you have already within your body.

    Then you begin your rehab.

    Then you resume building what you had going on before you got side-tracked in the first place by the cancer, ensuring that you don’t repeat the same mistake again.


    That’s what I would try to do first, if I was running the Toronto Raptors.


    If none of that is possible, however, given the NBA’s arcane rules re: the Salary Cap & permissible trades … then I would exercise Option Two, which is:

    Exceed the Luxury Tax for the current season by signing two veteran NBA players to single year contracts, one a back-up PG and the other a legit 5th Big.

    Failing to make a bottom-line profit in any single year of operation for my team, as a NBA franchise, should not be enough of a deterrent to create a state of rigamortous in me, as the President/GM of my team, especially with the cap space I’ll have access to next season, and the potential for additional home playoff dates I’ll have this season if I can field a legit playoff contending team in the spring.

    Players like Mateen Cleaves [PG] and Austin Croshere [PF] would be possibilities.


    If that was not a possibility … I would exercise Option Three, which is:

    Re-align my current line-up, as a stop-gap measure to address the present symptoms of my illness while awaiting the date of my scheduled ‘cancer surgery’ next summer, thusly:

    Until Calderon is healthy …

    1. Parker is my starting PG, come h*ll or high water.
    2. Moon is my starting OG, come h*ll or high water.
    3. Graham is my starting SF, come h*ll or high water.
    4. Humphries is my starting PF, come h*ll or high water.
    5. Bosh is my ROCK, as the C, come h*ll or high water.
    6. Solomon is my back-up PG.
    7. Kapono is my back-up SG/SF, in a 3-player rotation with Moon & Graham.
    8. Bargnani is my back-up PF/C, in a 3-player rotation with Hump & CB4.
    9. Ukic is my 3rd string PG. He doesn’t get to play except in blow-outs.
    10. Adams is nailed to the bench, permanently.
    11. Calderon is in rehab until he is 100%
    12. O’Neal is in rehab until he is 100%.
    13. Jawai is in sick bay pending his heart test results.

    Whatever games we win, we win; whatever games we lose, we lose.

    Then, once Calderon & O’Neal are both 100% healthy my line-up looks like this:

    1. Calderon is my PG. [35 MPG]
    2. Moon is my starting OG, and my 3rd SF.
    3. Graham is my starting SF.
    4. Hump is my starting PF.
    5. Bosh is my ROCK, at C. [35 MPG]
    6. Parker is my back-up PG & my back-up OG. [25 MPG]
    7. Kapono is my back-up SF.
    8. Bargnani is my back-up PF. [30 MPG]
    9. O’Neal is my back-up C, and my 3rd PF.
    10. Solomon is my 3rd-string PG, who plays only in emergencies.
    11. Ukic is my 4th-string PG, who only gets to play in blow-outs.
    12. Adams is pinned to the bench, permanently, except for blow-outs.
    13. Jawai is in sick bay, until further notice.


    Those are three options which I would employ as the Raptors’ President/GM, at the presnt time.

    One thing I would not do … is fire Sam Mitchell … this season.

    As a Leader, I do not believe in making Scapegoats of others. 🙂

  4. Dan H Says:

    Thank you sir. 🙂

    ^^^ That, right there, is the kind of FORWARD looking analysis that brought me here in the first place, and, in my opinion, gives you your credibility.


  5. Raps Fan Says:

    what is the difference between starting hump at 4 for 18min/game, and bringing bargnani off the bench, then starting bargnani at 4 for 30min/game, and bringing hump off the bench?

    if hump is only playing about 18min/game, then does it really matter if he starts? i like hump, but question his insistence on making an offensive play every time he gets the ball. wouldn’t that sort of mentality jeopardize a starting unit who’s job it is to hit the ground running-hard?

  6. Raps Fan Says:

    by offensive play, i mean take it to the rack regardless of who is covering him, or what the defense is showing.

  7. khandor Says:

    Dan H,


  8. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    From a coaching and a playing standpoint there’s a big difference.

    When a team has a player like Hump, generally speaking, it is far better off having him start the game and then juggle his MP according to the in-game situations which might develop; in comparison with, starting Bargnani, bringing Hump in off the bench, and then juggle the MP for Bargnani.

    Although Bargnani is a better scorer than Hump, at this level of competition, Hump is still considered to be an offensive-minded scorer who needs to shoot the ball frequently when he touches it at that end of floor. Using Hump early in the game, would allow the team to take advantage of his energy off the get-go; take the offensive burden off Bosh, in the 1st Q; and put the offensive focus on Bargnani when he plays with the team’s 2nd Unit.

    In general, I’d want Hump playing a lot early on in games; Bargnani playing a lot in the middle section, along with O’Neal; and, then, have the luxury of matching-up with my respective opponent’s bigs, coming down the stretch of close games, with the versatility of going to either one of the three, beside Bosh, to close it out.

    As well, in my experience, a player like Hump feels differently about hmself if/when he is in the starting line-up, as opposed to coming in the game off the bench.

    When players like Hump get only spot duty off the bench, they enter with a shoot first & ask question last mentality.

    However, when they know they will be starting … and, then, getting more burn latter in the game, as well … they are much more receptive to passing the ball to their teammates during that first stint on the floor, because they know no matter what else happens, they are going to get another chance to play again latter in the same game … perhaps even for extended minutes on a given night when they’re going good or in a highly favourable 1-V-1 match-up.

  9. FLUXLAND Says:

    Khandor, the only question I always/ever had was how do you convince some of these players and the GM to make those adjustments. I don’t think JO is all joy and balloons over coming off the bench and I don’t think Bargs and Kapono coming off the bench is something the GM wants to see for the money he is paying these guys and for his marketing strategies.

    How do you back up Moon and Jose with Parker at the same time?

  10. khandor Says:


    re: implementing Option Three

    First Step
    Someone within the Raptors organization already would need to be able to see and think the game in an ‘outside-of-the-box-way’. Then that person would need to approach Colangelo about these changes in a non-judgmental way making these types of suggestions as a possible alternative to what is going-on right now, should there be a need for further change if this team continues to struggle over the next 2 weeks.

    Second Step
    That person then needs to leave the situation alone and do nothing further about pursuing these types of changes at this time.

    Third Step
    If the current set-up works itself out … then those proposed changes would never get a chance to see the light of day, the rest of this season. If, however, the team continues to hover around the .500 mark, then that person should re-visit the possibility of enacting the positional re-alignments suggested here.

    Fourth Step
    If they’re accepted then those changes get implemented right away. If they’re not accepted then that person needs to leave the situation alone again and do nothing further about it for another 2 week period.

    Fifth Step
    Repeat Steps Three & Four a second time.

    Sixth Step
    That person needs to seek employment with a different organization. 🙂


    Good players the world over want to play on a winning team that maximizes its ability.

    O’Neal and Kapono and Bargnani are good basketball players.

    In my experience, good players are willing to try new things.

    When good players are shown a different way of doing something, in contrast to the way in which they’re accustomed to working … which itself has become associated with mediocrity [or failure] … AND THE NEW WAY HELPS THEM TO ACHIEVE THEIR GOALS [i.e. Succeed], they will adapt very quickly and then adhere to the new way of operating without any further difficulty.

    [If in doubt of this, it is highly recommended that you read, The Horse-whisperer.]

    It’s a question of gaining a good player’s trust and then earning his respect.


    re: Parker as a back-up PG/1 & OG/2

    * Calderon/1 & Moon/2 start the game.
    * Parker/2 enters for Moon.
    * Moon/2 enters for Calderon, as Parker shifts to 1.
    * Calderon/1 enters for Parker.
    * Repeat, ad infinitum.

    [with Moon’s shifts being shorter; and Calderon/Parker’s being longer]

  11. FLUXLAND Says:

    I think you would be surprised how many players have personal goals, (or not) that they put before the team success, regardless of how good they are. I think your thinking would be perhaps valid on a team that has a realistic chance of competing for a chip, sadly the Raptors do not and I personally doubt (the GM) or the players would go for the changes. Not saying they wouldn’t or would work.. just that it would be much harder to convince the parties involved to accept “outside of the box” thinking. Not to mention, we are not talking just a few players, essentially the entire team.

    Does anyone within the Raptors organization strike you as someone who sees and thinks about the game in an “outside of the box” way?

  12. khandor Says:


    I think you might be surprised how many individual player’s goals can be achieved within an integrated team concept … when a top notch person sets the agenda with and for them.

    It’s a mistake to think that good players can’t see the forest for the trees, as in my experience, it’s the mediocre-to-bad players who most frequently suffer from this specific illness rather than the good ones.


    It’s actually the opposite to the way of thinking you have right now.

    i.e. The more players effected by the proposed changes … the easier it is to get each one of them to buy into this new type of set-up. How come? Because it effects everyone; not just 1 or 2 individuals. Good players everywhere like and appreciate making sacrifices for one another. What makes them upset, is when not everyone is made [or willing] to work as hard as they are. Good players will accept the challenge, if they can be shown what the good is in it for them, both, as individuals and as Brothers in Arms.


    No. There is no one within the Raptors’ organization right now who strikes me as being an ‘outside-the-box’ seer, thinker, and doer.

  13. FLUXLAND Says:

    When you say “my experience” are we talking at the professional level?

    Thanks for the pearls of wisdom, as always. ; )

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