So. Here we are early in the season and the Toronto Raptors have a 3-9 record. Are they really that bad? Actually, no, not really. They have a ton of issues, yes, but they are not as bad as everyone seems to think.
The lineup of Lowry, DeRozan, McGuire, Bargnani and Jonas V is actually a fairly solid group. That lineup packs a scoring punch but for some reason rarely take to the floor all together for very long.
Coach Dwane Casey has made some bizarre rotations during the course of games thus far this season, especially in the fourth quarter. One of the most notable of these is that he keeps leaving in the lineup of Jose, DeMar, Andrea, Amir and Lowry.
Simply put, that’s not the lineup that will close out games for you.
Jose and Andrea can’t play defence. We all know this. As soon as the younger, quicker, stronger point guard gets by Jose, who’s the next line of defence? Bargnani?! And people wonder why the Raps keeping getting throttled in the fourth quarter on defence.
And for some reason, even when he’s hot, the team resists going to DeRozan to close out the game. This is absolute madness! DeRozan has worked very hard on his game and has shown this season that he is clearly capable of taking over and making a lot of shots down the stretch. He should be the closer for this team. The only other player acceptable to take the role of closer this season that I’ve seen is Lowry; but he’s still rusty after being injured for a time.
It is also important to note that the Raptors have lost a few games now due to very bad calls made by the referees. DeMar is a great example of one of the Raptors who gets knocked around the most; almost every time he drives to the basket. I’d say he gets a call about 68% of the time. Recently, the same thing has been happening to Jonas V as well and it’s making him look soft in the paint, even though he’s clearly not at all.
This actually got so bad that the NBA recognized that the refs had missed a huge call late in a game where the Raptors were playing the Bobcats. Bargnani was taking a jump shot and was obviously fouled on the wrist by Kidd-Gilchrist, which the refs simply let go.
It’s things like this that reveal how little respect the Raps actually have in the NBA. And ever since Bosh left to create the Big 3 in Miami, it has gotten even worse. It’s almost as if the refs are expecting the Raps to lose and that giving them a call once in a while just wouldn’t make sense.
The Raptors’ less-than-adequate record isn’t merely due to things things, but they sure are a big part of it. Hopefully, the team will get the rotations and personal things sorted out. I’d really like to see DeMar getting those late opportunities. But as for the rest, I fear that the Raps will forever be a team with little-to-no respect from the NBA officials.