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A Q&A with Raptor HQ
1. So last time we talked there was still hope in our seasons. Not anymore. What's gone wrong for the Raptors?
In short, just about everything has gone wrong for the Raptors so far this season. They have had significant injuries to their two best small forwards (Fields, Anderson) as well as arguably their best player (Kyle Lowry) and, more recently, Andrea Bargnani.
Speaking of Bargnani, he has also been a huge problem for the team this year. He was in the midst of one of his worst seasons statistically since becoming a regular starter for the team, and that was before he suffered an injury that will keep him out indefinitely.
In addition to the injuries, Dwane Casey's rotations have also been an issue. His over reliance on both Andrea Bargnani and lineups that feature two point guards have been the biggest issues there. And, on top of all of that, there have been evenings where effort has also been an issue.
So, basically it's been Murphy's Law in Toronto all season long.
2. I'm going to assume the main culprit is injuries. That said then, where to the Raps go from here?
This is an extremely tough question to answer. As it currently stands, the organization is at somewhat of a crossroads. The season has been a disaster and it is unlikely that is is salvageable with the roster as it is currently assembled, but the one player that makes the most sense to move - Bargnani - is injured for the foreseeable future, making him extremely difficult to trade.
I think it then comes down to either letting team President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo go - the popular choice among fans - or head coach Dwane Casey - a move that would generally be met with dismay from fans as well as the players. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen, but if somebody has to go, I would hope that given his track record, as well as his contractual status - it expires after this season - that Bryan Colangelo will be the one to take the fall for this season and not Dwane Casey.
3. Do you think we might see a Quincy Acy sighting with so many injuries?
The Raptors actually just recalled Quincy Acy from the D- League prior to Wednesday night's game against the Nets. He traveled all day just to make it for game time, a fun story that Erick Koreen of the National Post wrote about earlier this week. Unfortunately it wasn't used in that game, but Casey mentioned after the game that he had wanted to get him in game, but just didn't have the opportunity. However, he would like to try and use him going forward. I imagine you may see some spot minutes from Acy here and there - perhaps more if the team continues to suffer these blow-out losses - but I wouldn't expect to see him play too many minutes, even with the injuries.
4. Your fan base seems generally done with Bargs. Do you see the team moving him?
To be honest, the majority of the fan base was done with Bargnani after last season. This season though, his uninspired play has alienated just about every single Raptors fan on the planet.
Trading Bargnani seems like the logical thing to do, but there are at least two major roadblocks to making that move right now. The first is obviously his elbow injury which seems to be pretty serious and will keep him out indefinitely. The second roadblock is simply the fact that he has driven his value into the ground with his play this year. There will probably still be suitors for a guy with his talent, but given the Raptors situation and the year that he has had, I can't see any team offering up anything that will improve this club right away, other than the potential for addition by subtraction.
5. What advice can you offer to our fans; we're probably heading for a disappointing season.
Well, looking at the standings as of today, the Mavs are sitting at 11 and 11 which actually isn't too bad. But, coming from somebody that has followed a perpetually disappointing team for years now, I think the biggest key to following a team like that is a) managing expectations and b) enjoying individual performances.
The hot start that the Mavs got off to at the beginning of the season may have altered some of the expectations for the season, but I wouldn't say that it is out of the question for this team to make the playoffs this season.
As for the other piece of advice, I would say that watching O.J Mayo play in a contract year might be worth the price of admission this season.
Most importantly though, if these things don't work for you, always remember that things could be worse - you could be a Raptors fan.
Thanks Scott! Everyone be sure to visit Raptors HQ.