SOT6 Podcast - Episode 98

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 98

"KAWHI VS DEMAR RND. 2"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • Heading into the All Star Break, the Raptors are only 1 game behind the Milwaukee Bucks in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. With the additions of Marc Gasol and Jeremy Lin, the team has shown that they are ready to do whatever it takes to push the chips in for the rights to an NBA Finals appearance. Moreover, with the increase in production of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, the Raptors are becoming more robust as a unit. The sky's the limit!

  • Joining host Adam Corsair is Peter "HB" Kaye of Life in Repeat. Peter and Adam touch on a boatload of Raptors' centered topics, such as:

- Kawhi's rest.
- Siakam & OG's breakout performance.
- Linsanity in Toronto.
- DeMar coming home.
-Too Sweet Moment of the Week🤘
-Predictions

It’s a Raptors’ show you WON’T want to miss!

Follow Peter on Twitter: @lifeinrepeat

Visit Peter's Work: HERE

Visit Our Affiliates: Stadium Scene & Overtime Media

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Jim Johnston - "Sexy Boy"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


REPORT: Jeremy Lin to Sign With The Raptors After Buyout

lin_vanvleet.jpg

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)


Masai Ujiri has reportedly made good on his word to be aggressive in the buyout market for the Toronto Raptors.

I should also note that earlier this weekend, the Raptors made two signings by inking both Malcolm Miller and Chris Boucher to multi-year deals, thereby beefing up the roster even more in the wake of the trade for Gasol.

This is a solid signing for the Raptors and will provide some much needed play-making ability, as well as some decent shooting. Of the buyout candidates that have been floated out there, Lin is definitely one of the top grabs and provides stability off the bench in the event that Lowry or VanVleet suffer long-term injuries. Further, adding another veteran presence to the bench is a good thing and perhaps having Lin there for players like OG or the aforementioned two new additions to pick Lin’s brain a bit can only be beneficial.

So long as Lin doesn’t cut too deep into the minutes of say Fred or Norm, it’s hard not be like the signing.

Untitled.jpg

His numbers have taken a dip as of late, but his season average isn’t terrible. Over the course of 51 games with Atlanta, he’s shot just about 47% from the field and 33% from deep, with about 11 points per game. The numbers don’t jump off the page, but it’s probably a safe bet that the Raptors won’t expect nearly as much from him as Atlanta did. I’m guessing that the chances of the Raptors playing him approximately 20 minutes a game are extremely slim and we’re more than likely looking at 10-12 minutes, maximum, off the bench.

I understand the concern regarding his recent slump, but it’s not something I’m overly troubled with. Since being inactive on January 15th, Lin has averaged 10.3 points, shooting 43% from the field and only 29% from deep over the course of 12 games, You’d like that 3p% to creep up a bit, especially with the lack of consistent shooting from deep on the team as of late. But perhaps a change of scenery and being on a team that has a legitimate shot at a deep playoff run may bring something out of him. There really isn’t much to scoff at with the move and the Raptors are better than they were yesterday as a result.

This is definitely one of the more notable buyout transactions this season, and it was one that the Raptors needed. As I touched on above, Lowry and VanVleet have both been battling injuries this year, so Lin is a suitable piece to help supplement the load a bit and ease the tension on the two guards heading into the playoffs. Recall how much of a void there was during the first round of the playoffs last year with the absence of VanVleet. Having a guy like Lin mitigate the pressure off of both Fred and Lowry in the event that one needs a rest is extremely valuable for the Raptors right now. The last thing the team needs is to have Lowry dealing with a nagging back injury during the most crucial playoff stretch in franchise history. So having this signing is - at the very least - somewhat of a preventative measure.

Again, in a vacuum, it’s not a huge signing, but given the buyout market and what’s available, it’s certainly a move that adds some much needed stability to a depleted roster. I get that the missing piece now seems to be another big to “complete” the entire roster (Markieff Morris? Enes Kanter?), so we’ll have to wait and see if the team is done exploring the market. Don’t rule out the notion that the Raptors are done exploring.

Otherwise, good pickup for the team! (The Artist Formerly Known As) LINSANITY is coming to Toronto!


UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: Soooooo about that thing I said about acquiring Lin in the event that Lowry or VanVleet go down with an injury? Yyyyeeeahhhh….

So the signing makes even more sense now and Raptors fans can sort of breathe a sigh of relief that the team was able to scoop up Lin. Granted, the Raptors will have to wait 48 hours until Lin officially joins the team, but it’s good to have a solution in place ready to go.

It’ll be interesting to see who the backup point guard is tonight against the Nets, but at least we can rest assured that the Raptors are at least covered while Fred recovers. Also, I get that 3 weeks seems like a long time but consider that the Raptors have only 2 games before the All-Star Break and then they will be off until February 22nd (DeMar!). Point being, about a week and a half of the the 3 weeks Fred will miss, the team will be off.

Silver linings, man.  


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 97

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 97

"NO EXCUSES"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

After the trade to acquire Marc Gasol in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, and a 2024 2nd Round Pick, the Raptors are out to show the rest of the Eastern Conference that they are “all in” and are willing to do whatever it takes to push them closer to the ultimate goal: an NBA Championship. With the team just .1 game behind the Milwaukee Bucks for Eastern Conference supremacy, the time has never been better to push the chips to the center.

To discuss the trade and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Producer, Musician, DJ, and die-hard Raptors fan - Max Graham. Max and Adam touch on a bunch of topics, including:

  • Reflecting on the trade.

  • Serge/Gasol rotations.

  • Kyle’s Trend Upward.

  • Too Sweet Moment of the Week🤘

  • Predictions

It’s a Toronto Raptors Podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Raptors Acquire Marc Gasol

Marc-Gasol-Valanciunas.jpg

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)


The Toronto Raptors have made their NBA Trade Deadline presence known by trading away Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles, and a 2024 2nd Round pick to Memphis in exchange for Marc Gasol.

Before we even get into what Gasol means for Toronto, I want to first thank JV for all that he’s done for the city and team. Seriously, listening to the dude in any interview, seeing how hard he worked, and how passionate he was about the city of Toronto was nothing short of joyous. A class-act, through and through, and someone that was a staple for the Toronto Raptors since 2012 as part of the “We The North” era Raptors’ fans fell in love with. From his playoff performance against Indiana, to the dunk against Milwaukee, to the Itty-Bitty-Ballers, to his crazy shitty car, he was just great for this team.

He will be missed and will be very well received whenever he comes back to Toronto.

As for Delon Wright and CJ Miles, the writing seemed to be on the wall for each of them. Delon was on a team with two other PG’s - one the defacto starter and max salaried player, the other just recently signing a new deal with the team. Approaching the off-season as a Restricted Free Agent, it was very unlikely that the Raptors were going to try to retain him and wanted to move on from him now if it meant acquiring a game-changer. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve seen Delon’s ceiling and, ultimately, he wasn’t going to be a necessary piece in the team’s pursuit of a Finals appearance.

With Miles, he showed signs of decline throughout the majority of the season, even though he showed signs of life up until this point. It was probably somewhat of a “sell-high” for the Raptors and, like Wright, was needed to match salary to get a guy like Gasol.

Both had their moments with the team, but I don’t think anyone thought they were part of the long-term plans. At least I didn’t. I wish them nothing but the best and hopefully a change of scenery offers them better opportunities. I’m sure Jerry Stackhouse will have a lot of fun with some of his old friends.

On to Gasol.

The Raptors are better as a result of this deal. Yes, Gasol is on the decline in comparison to the peak of his career. Yes, he is about 8 years older than JV. And yes, his cap hit next year will be pretty big (if he opts in to his player option which, at 34, he probably will). But what he offers is a veteran presence that has the ability to push the needle for the team a bit more than JV could. Like Kawhi and DeMar, JV and Gasol will now be compared for however long the latter remains a Raptor. That may be unfair, but I believe that will be our natural inclination.

I get that the initial sticker shock in terms of the quantity of players heading to the Grizzlies compared to what the Raptors are getting may make it seem a bit lopsided. But what the Raptors have given up on defense from Delon, they get a bit more in Gasol. What they’ve given up in 3 point shooting in Miles, they get in Gasol (especially this year) at a more reliable rate. What they’ve given up in rebounds from JV, they get better in Gasol in addition to more rim protection. In short, the Raptors are better, even if the trade isn’t the same in terms of person-to-person.

Untitled.jpg

Now, completely admitting that I have a lot more Gasol footage to watch, what I can tell you is that he’s an outstanding passer and rim protector. A former Defensive Player of the Year, he’s averaging 15.7 ppg and 8.6 boards and 1.2 bpg. He offers a bit more from the outside than JV has, with shooting about 34% from deep at a little over 4 attempts per game. With the ability to stretch the floor more for the team and provide jjjuuusssttt a bit more shooting, it’s hard to argue that the team isn’t better as a result.

On paper, that is.

The main concern I have here is chemistry. Lowry + JV’s pick & roll offense was almost flawless and I’m not sure Gasol is capable of being the same type of player. The Raptors’ offense has always been heavily reliant on the P&R, so having a guy like Gasol forcing it when it’s not a strength of his may be to the team’s detriment. He’s more of a player that sets a pick and moves to the side for a quick jump shot (pick & pop). Which is fine, if the Raptors are able to utilize that. There’s evidence to suggest that they do, as Serge is a similar type of player that thrives better with his elbow jumper than a P&R. But, if they play to Gasol’s strengths, it may mean a decent reduction in the P&R altogether.

On the other hand, maybe he’ll be utilized in the P&R just fine. With a familiar face in Lowry (they played together, briefly, in Memphis), perhaps there is a level of conversancy with each other. I may be looking into this too much as there are plenty of other dominos to fall. We can speculate as to how the Raptors will use him in terms of scheming and usage, but we won’t know until this Saturday in New York against the Knicks, the earliest.

Regardless, having a guy like Gasol on your team adds both measurable and immeasurable value. With playoff experience under his belt, the mere thought of having him as an addition for this team is encouraging. Are they better than the Bucks? At present time, no, but the buyout market will dictate a lot regarding the Raptors’ future. My hope is that Ujiri and Webster are super aggressive in acquiring shooters to solidify the bench (Miloš Teodosić and/or Wayne Ellington anyone?).

I get this pulls at the heartstrings of Raptors fans as JV was a special player. But moves like these have to be made in order to give the team a better shot at a championship. This certainly pushes the Raptors closer to that.

Let’s get it!

Oh yeah, and Monroe was traded, too….. for some money… that’s all.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 96½

Promotional Banner2.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 96½

"DEADLINE REACTION"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

IMPROMPTU Toronto Raptors Podcast!

Host Adam Corsair is joined by Peter "HB" Kaye of Life In Repeat to reflect on the Raptors trade deadline activity!

Follow Peter on Twitter: @lifeinrepeat
Visit Peter's Work: HERE

Music:
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Jim Johnston - "Sexy Boy"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


NBA Trade Deadline Updates

NBA-logo.jpg

Written by Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)


OK, here we go! Today is the NBA Trade Deadline and I, like most - if not all - of you, will be constantly refreshing Twitter in hopes for the latest Woj Bomb or Sham Slam (I think I just made that up?) to drop. Moreover, we’re looking for anything Raptors’ related with the hope that a move will be made to improve the team.

The anxiety is real.

I’ll be posting updates regarding any rumors right here, so feel free to bookmark and refresh as the day goes on if you want centralized Raptors’ related news updates without having to sift through the muck of Twitter.

Here’s what we’ve got, so far:


3:14 p.m.: NOT SO FAST!

This leaves the Raptors with FIVE open spots. There’s gotta be more to this. Stay tuned.


3:00 p.m.: Aaaaannnnnnddddd that’s it.

Depending on how you view it, Toronto made a splash at the Trade Deadline, sending out it’s longest tenured player in Jonas Valanciunas along with Delon Wright and CJ Miles to Memphis for Marc Gasol.

Milwaukee and Philly got better, whereas the Celtics and Pacers stayed pat, probably looking more towards the buy-out market. Which, of course, Toronto may be aggressive in as well.

It was fun!


2:06 p.m.: WHHHHOOOAAA!!!!

I go on lunch-break to the gym to do shoulders and all of this happens while I’m out?!?! My god!

Let’s start from the beginning.

The Bucks got better. Like, a lot better. It’s going to be really tough for the Raptors to compete with them with all of these shooters on the team, plus Giannis being able to drive it in the lane.

At this point, Raptors’ fans were practically begging for something to be done.

And then this…

Look, this is pretty big, and I know there’s a little bit of sticker shock with how much the Raptors shelled out. However, consider that Delon was going to be an RFA next season and it was doubtful the Raptors were going to extend an offer sheet. Miles was always a trade chip and isn’t a huge shock that he’s gone. The question you have to ask is whether or not you believe that Marc Gasol is better than JV?

He’s certainly more versatile than JV, and he’s under contract for one more season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. My main concern is whether or not he’ll be able to gel with Lowry in the pick & roll like JV was able to. It’s certainly going to be an adjustment, but with less than an hour left in the deadline, I don’t think Masai is done.

I’ll post a more in depth article regarding Toronto & Gasol later today.

Keep it locked!


11:25 a.m.: Not exclusively Raptors related, but somewhat - For those of you that wanted a trade the involved Bradley Beal going to Toronto, it looks like it’s not happening.

Now, all of this could change as the Wizards organization said the same thing regarding Otto Porter, Jr. and, well… yeah, he was traded. But, for what it’d take for Toronto to acquire him, it might be best to not get in on the hype.

Hopefully there’s more to come.


10:25 a.m.: OK, so maybe the whole “Raptors are out on AD” thing I mentioned earlier is inaccurate? I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be reading too much into this, but……

Now, besides the grammatical error within the tweet, I’m not sure how much credibility this has. If it is credible, what exactly does “inquiring” mean? Literally, Bobby and/or Masai could’ve just called Demps and were like “Yo, what’s the status on your trade demands for AD again?” Nothing substantial.

Of course, the counterpoint is that it could be that they called NOLA and said “Let’s make something happen.”

We don’t know, but the wheels are spinning.


8:53 a.m.: Alright, so the Lowry for Conley conversation has officially been put to bed.


7:56 a.m.: According to Marc Stein, the Raptors presently have no desire to part with either Pascal Siakam and OG Anonuby. Moreover, they are not pursuing a trade with Memphis for Mike Conley and - at least for now - do not plan to trade Kyle Lowry.

This would mean that any rumors regarding the Raptors and Anthony Davis were either short-lived or straight up false. If Masai and Bobby aren’t willing to part with either of those players, it’s safe to say that a BIG splash move is also off the table. If I was a betting man, I’d guess that the Raptors are looking to marginally improve their squad.

But I’ve been wrong before.

I’m not going to rehash my thoughts on Anthony Davis here, so if you want my opinion, feel free to listen (AND SUBSCRIBE! AND RATE! AND REVIEW!) to the latest episode of the South of the 6ix Podcast. Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views and I talk about it - rather emotionally - at length.


More to come. Stay tuned!


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 96

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 96

"TRADE DEADLINE"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

The Raptors have now moved to 2nd place in the Eastern Conference after a devastating defeat at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks at home. The team's shooting woes and fundamental errors are starting to bleed through and are becoming much more apparent. With the Trade Deadline approaching, it's clear that a move has to be made in order to really make a push towards

To tackle these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views. Connor and Adam touch on a bunch of topics, including:

  • The loss against the Bucks.

  • Raptors shooting woes.

  • Get AD.

  • Trade Targets

  • Predictions

It’s a Toronto Raptors Podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Raptors Handed Ugly Loss to Conference Leading Bucks

BBT1PX9.jpg

Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


After a three-day layoff for the Toronto Raptors, being back home in Toronto following a rough three-game road trip was much needed. As Toronto welcomed the Milwaukee Bucks to town Thursday night, it was the final showdown of the season between these two Eastern Conference powerhouses with Milwaukee leading the season series 2-1. From the season series possibly being tied, to bragging rights as to who can come out on top of the East, and finally to the coaching position up for grabs at the 2019 NBA All-Star game in Charlotte., was all up for grabs.

After having three days off, you would think there would be a little pop in the Raptors’ step. But instead, it was the total opposite. Despite everything on the line, this game was also being televised nationally in North America. So, Toronto was in the spotlight for this game that had so much meaning. Both teams had nearly an all healthy lineup going into the contest with Jonas Valanciunas being the only one sidelined as he nears a return with the team shortly after participating in full practices. But that’s not the point. The point is that both teams are a lot healthier than they were in any of the other three meetings they had prior to last night. All that had to be done going into the game was dig in, stay focused, and grind out the win.

But it was far from that.

It was a sloppy start to the game for Toronto with four early turnovers in the first five minutes leading to eight Milwaukee points. But a quick timeout by Head Coach Nick Nurse saw that change. Serge Ibaka has had monstrous games against the Bucks this season; averaging 27.5 points in the three meetings. He came out putting up ten points in the first 12 minutes of play to give Toronto a slim three-point lead. But that didn’t last long. The Raptors’ sluggish play returned and the Bucks were making a statement, starting the second quarter on a 19-6 run. Toronto’s three-point shooting woes continued yet again, starting the quarter 1-of-9 from beyond the arc, and it got worse. The Raptors lost the second quarter by 11, 33-22 and shot an abysmal 2-of-17 from three while Milwaukee shot 9-of-17.

Coming out of the half, it was all Milwaukee as they extending their lead by as much as 22 points halfway through the 3rd quarter. Some boos were heard raining down as this is the first look of a defeated Raptors team that didn’t come to play in such a highly anticipated match-up that had so much on the line. But shockingly, the Raptors made a push. With Bucks’ All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo in foul trouble, Spicy P took over. Toronto ended the third quarter on a 22-9 run to trail the Bucks by 11 heading into the final quarter.

So, you’re telling me there’s a chance?

Siakam continued his dominance in the 4th, getting Toronto closer and closer to that Bucks’ lead, trimming down the 22-point margin to just six. But the Bucks didn’t flinch. They stayed composed as a unit in what was a tough road game. Although Antetokounmpo was in foul trouble late in the game, he is the Greek Freak, and Milwaukee put the nail in the coffin and shut down Toronto’s late hopes of a comeback. The Raptors couldn’t find a way out of the big hole they dug themselves into. Although Siakam put up a career-high 28 points in 37 minutes of work, that is about the only positive from last night as there is a bunch more negatives.

The Raptors shot a combined 37-of-93 as a unit last night, as only two Raptors shot above 45%: Pascal Siakam (63%) and Norman Powell (ten points 66%). All-Star reserve, Kyle Lowry, had just ten points on 4-of-11 shooting and has shot 1-of-20 from three in 3 games against the Bucks this season. Kawhi Leonard also had a rough outing, only putting up 16 points in 7-of-20 shooting. Leonard’s 16 points saw his streak of scoring 20+ points in 22 consecutive games snapped; one game off of tying Vince Carter for a franchise 23rd straight game of scoring 20 plus points.

With this loss, Toronto drops the season series to Milwaukee 3-1, which would result in Milwaukee taking the tiebreaker if both teams had identical records after 82 games. This loss also means Bucks’ Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, will coach Team Giannis at this year’s All-Star game.

With 29 games remaining in the season, the Raptors currently sit second in the Eastern Conference with a 37-16 record; the same exact record the Raptors had last season with DeMar DeRozan and Dwane Casey. Remember them? There is no doubt this isn’t the newly cultured Raptors we watch night in and night out, but something is still missing. Maybe it is time to just go all-in? With huge names around the NBA getting tossed around in and out of places trying to make super teams, why doesn’t Toronto join that exact same company? With the trade deadline looming on February 7th, you can’t help but think if Raptors’ front office Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster could have yet another blockbuster deal up their sleeves.

 We’re going to just have to wait and see to find out.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Raptors Mid-Season Grades

raptors-kawhi-leonard-pascal-siakam.jpg

Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


The Raptors just played their 52nd game of the season, and even though it’s not exactly halfway through the year, we’re approaching things such as the trade deadline and the All-Star Game. So it’s a good time to evaluate the team. This article will feature my grades from A to F each of the Raptors’ players. This will only feature regular rotation players, so I won’t be doing grades for Chris Boucher, Malachi Richardson, etc. These grades are mostly based on overall play, but also on the expectations for the players coming into the year and whether they’ve exceeded them or not.

  • Note: These Stats are as of Game 52 (Win in Dallas)

Kawhi Leonard: A

38 GP, 27.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.2 APG, 50%FG, 37%3PT, 1.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG

kawhi-leonard.jpg

Coming into this season, it was hard to predict what Kawhi’s season would look like. He only played in 9 games last year, so it was unknown if he could get back to his All-NBA form from two years ago. So far, Kawhi has been incredible for the Raptors and has probably passed my expectations to this point. Aside from his normal dominance on defense, Kawhi has been excellent offensively this year, scoring at a career-high rate. Kawhi is also rebounding the ball more than he ever has in his career and that’s been key for a team that has lacked an elite rebounder for a large portion of the season. He has missed 14 games due to rest and a few nagging injuries, but when he has played, he’s been a joy to watch for Raptors fans on both ends of the court.  

Kyle Lowry: B

41 GP, 14.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 9.4 APG, 41%FG, 32%3PT, 1.4 SPG, 0.5 BPG

GettyImages-955130222.jpg

Just like Kawhi, Kyle Lowry has been in and out of the lineup this year for the Raptors and hasn’t played an extended group of games with Kawhi in a while. Lowry has been good defensively this year, among the league leaders in charges taken, but his year offensively has been puzzling. He’s getting the most assists of his career, which is great, but all of his scoring numbers are down from last year. He’s currently shooting his lowest percentage from 3 since the 2009-10 season, and he’s also not taking as many looks as he normally does. I’m fine with him being a pass-first guard, but at some point the Raptors will need some scoring from Lowry and he has to be able to provide that.

Pascal Siakam: A+

51 GP, 15.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 56%FG, 32%3PT, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG

924659073cd6b41404b3147d8bb63fd4.jpg

Siakam has exceeded everyone’s expectations this season, and has made himself into a borderline All-Star. He went from being a nice bench piece last year to now being the 3rd option on the Raptors. Siakam has improved in basically every aspect of his game, and that’s why he’s one of the lead candidates for the Most Improved Player Award. Along with being very good at driving to the rim, Siakam has also developed a decent jumps shot and is now shooting 10% higher from 3 than last year.

Danny Green: A-

50 GP, 10.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 45%FG, 42%3PT, 0.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG

Many people viewed Danny Green as a throw-in from the Kawhi/DeMari trade, but so far this year he’s been a great contributor for the Raptors. Green has been the team’s best 3-point shooter and has hit a few clutch shots in close games. He’s also been excellent defensively this year, and is probably the team’s 2nd best defender behind Kawhi. He’s had a few off nights here and there, but overall, Green has been a great addition to the team so far.

Serge Ibaka: A-

48 GP, 16.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 53%FG, 27%3PT, 0.5 SPG, 1.3 BPG

8b5e087aba3151ffb9a404f52bdb5d93.jpg

After a disappointing 2017-18 season, Serge Ibaka has bounced back and been a very important player for the Raptors this year. Despite having a poor year shooting the 3, Ibaka has raised his overall shooting percentage to 53%, and that has a lot to do with him mastering the mid-range jump shot off the pick and roll. Ibaka has played primarily as a centre this year, and that has worked out very well. He’s fit in perfectly in that role, and instead of just being a spot up shooter from the perimeter like he was last year, Ibaka is getting much better looks and scoring more because of it.

Fred VanVleet: B-

46 GP, 10.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.6 APG, 40%FG, 37%3PT, 0.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG

572571_n.jpg

Fred VanVleet has had an interesting season to this point. It’s not that he’s been bad it’s that he hasn’t taken that step forward from last year. He’s had some great games, but he’s been pretty inconsistent overall. VanVleet’s 3-point percentage is down from 41% to 37% from last year, which makes him a less valuable player. I expect him to improve down the stretch, but to this point, VanVleet’s season has been a bit underwhelming.

Delon Wright: C

46 GP, 6.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 44%FG, 35%3PT, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG

download.jpg

Wright’s numbers are down across the board this year. Although some of that is because of a slight down-tick in minutes, it’s on Delon to improve his game right now. With VanVleet being more of a scorer, I’d like to see Delon take on the role of a distributor off of the bench. When he and VanVleet are both trying to score themselves, the bench unit can become stagnant, so I’d like to see Delon develop into more of a pass-first guy. That being said, he still needs to improve his shooting and at least get back to his mark from last year. (37%)

OG Anunoby: C

41 GP, 7.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 APG, 44%FG, 34%3PT, 0.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG

usa_today_11963384.0.jpg

OG has missed a handful of games due to personal reasons this year, and I imagine it’s been tough for him to focus on basketball. This probably has something to do with his slow first half of the season. I expected him to play a bigger role on this team, but his poor shooting makes him almost unplayable in late game scenarios. Not only is his 3-point percentage down 3% this year, his free throw shooting has been extremely poor. He’s shot just under 40% from the line this year, which is just unacceptable at the NBA level. With all of that being said, I do expect OG to bounce back and play well down the stretch once he gets back into the rhythm of playing more often.

Norman Powell: B+

30 GP, 7.9 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.5 APG, 49%FG, 36%3PT, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG

norman_powell_dribble.0.jpg

After having a very disappointing 2017-18 season, Norman Powell has bounced back and has been a solid contributor this year. I wasn’t expecting much out of him this season, but he’s played well enough to get consistent minutes. Powell was sidelined for a while with a shoulder injury, but since returning from that, he’s been a crucial player off the bench for the Raptors, and is showing that he’s still got some upside. He’s raised his 3-point percentage exactly 10% from last year, and is shooting 57% from inside the arch. He may still be a bit overpaid, but it’s at least good to see him bounce back and play good minutes for the team.

C.J. Miles: D

38 GP, 5.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.6 APG, 33%FG, 30%3PT, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG

C+J+Miles+Chicago+Bulls+v+Toronto+Raptors+q9v4DOi2d42l.jpg

He’s picked it up recently, but overall, this season has been a disaster for C.J. Miles. His main role on the team is to shoot 3’s well, and he’s currently shooting his lowest percentage from deep since the 2006-2007 season. Like I said, his main role is to be a shooter, and when he’s not doing that well, he doesn’t do much else for the team. I’m hopeful that he’ll continue to shoot like he has as of late, but it’ll take a really hot stretch to make up for how much he struggled to start the year.

Jonas Valanciunas: B

30 GP, 12.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 57.5%FG, 30%3PT, 0.4 SPG, 0.8 BPG

toronto-raptors-jonas-valanciunas.jpg

Valanciunas has been out since December 12th with a thumb injury, but is apparently nearing a return to action. He’s had his minutes decreased this year, but he’s adjusted well to his new role and has played pretty well. Nick Nurse has been putting him in positions to succeed, with match-ups against other big men that Valanciunas can play well against. I’m looking forward to JV’s return to the lineup, because the Raptors need some rebounding help (They also need to stop giving Greg Monroe minutes).

Greg Monroe: D

35 GP, 4.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 0.4 APG, 46%FG, 0.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG

USATSI_11347918-1024x683.jpg

Greg Monroe is a good depth centre to have, but watching him continue to play over Chris Boucher has been frustrating for me. Monroe doesn’t excel in any specific area of the game, and is a liability in pretty much every area. His defense is subpar, he misses too many layups, and he’s the king of missing 2 free throws in a row. I don’t mind seeing him play every once in a while, but once Valanciunas gets back, I hope that’s the end of Monroe’s consistent playing time.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


The Raptors' Opportunity to Go All-In is Now

anthony-davis-raptors.jpg

Article Written by Rodrigo Albizurez (@rodzyalbizurez)


A great man once said “you have to risk it to get the biscuit,” and the Raptors are prime contenders to free fall into the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. Before I continue, a great man didn’t once say you need to risk it to get the biscuit. I got that from the movie, Fired Up. Please don’t ask me why I watched it, it just kind of happened. Now back to the topic at hand, Anthony " The Brow" Davis.

When you think about NBA superstars, you think about LeBron James. Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and of course, Anthony Davis. Davis is a top-tier talent and the fact that people are reluctant to let go of their young talent for Davis is outrageous. I'm talking to you Raptor fans. I was one of those fans going into the season, but I've woken up and seen the light. It's time to go all in!

Yes, the Raptors have some youth that will be promising in the future, but from management’s perspective, it's their opportunity to turn their coveted 25$ chips into 1000$ chips. You would need to trade away some role players to get away with this trade, which would include Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, Jonas Valanciunas, and their most coveted 100$ chip, Pascal Siakam. By giving up those assets, your bench would be depleted down to Norman Powell, Fred Vanvleet, CJ Miles, Greg " don't play him" Monroe, and Patrick Mccaw.  I mean, it could be a lot worse, considering you would still be keeping Powell who has proven that he can be a scoring threat in this league off the bench this year. The other guys are up in the air, but if you're the Raptors coaching staff, you're going all in with your starting lineup and maximizing their usage.

The starting lineup should be Lowry, Green, Miles, Leonard, & Davis. By moving CJ into the starting lineup and Serge to the bench, that would space the floor better for Davis and Leonard to attack defenders and find shooters in their spots. Davis provides another scoring threat that can be utilized in so many ways. He’s able to create his own shot, expose teams in a pick n roll, and he’s also able to hit the jimmy from beyond the arc. He’s shooting 31% career wise from beyond the arc which isn’t spectacular but it’s not terrible either. The point of landing Davis isn’t to utilize his 3-point skills, but to add another threat that can free up shooters and expose opposing teams bigs. He also brings in his rebounding prowess which could really help this Raptors squad.

Now with Serge moving to the bench, that adds another offensive threat to there, which depends on Fred running the sets properly. Serge needs to get the ball in his spots and that’s up to Fred to get him those looks. Overall, that starting lineup is - as the kids say - "lit," and it would challenge the Warriors in the Finals. If you look at the Warriors, their bench isn't that deep anyways, and they rely on their starting unit.

At the end of the day, there are other teams that can bid in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, like the Lakers and the Clippers. But the most important fact is that the Celtics can't. Due to a certain rule (Rose Rule), they cannot trade for Davis unless they are willing to part with Kyrie Irving. They must wait until Kyrie’s contract is over, which is this summer, until they can try to trade for Davis. Boston would be an ideal location for Davis, but there are rumors swirling around the organization that Kyrie may not resign with them in the offseason, and perhaps take his talents to the Lakers franchise. With that being said, the Lakers could also offer up a fair-trade package for Davis, but they will probably wait until he's a free agent to make a play at him.

At this point Davis is a very valuable chip to whoever can land him. Odds are that whatever team lands him in a trade won't keep him around long term, so they could flip him for future assets. The Raptors’ organization should be willing to take that chance and maximize his talents for this year’s championship run and flip him for future picks or players.  Like I wrote earlier, you need to risk it to get the biscuit and Masai should be putting all the chips into the championship winning pot.

There’s no better time than the present.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


BREAKING: Anthony Davis Requests Trade

usa_today_10367336.0.jpg

Article Written by Adam Corsair (@AdamCorsair)


Nothing like a Monday morning Woj Bomb to kick start the day, amiright?!?!?

By now, the NBA Trade Machine is probably being (over)used by fans in order to find a way for their favorite team to acquire the 5 time All-Star. And why wouldn’t they? Davis is a bonafide game changer for any organization and would instantly offer a boost towards the playoffs - at the very least - for any team. Simply put, if a team is able to trade for Davis, they instantly become a threat (or a more dangerous threat), period.

Much of the rumors centered around the Boston Celtics aggressively pursuing Davis in the off-season after July 1st. Remember, as I’ve mentioned on Twitter (numerous times), the Celtics are forbidden to make a trade for Davis during the current season due to the 5th Year 30% Max Criteria (commonly known as the “Rose Rule”) so long as they have Kyrie Irving on their roster. Thus, if Davis is to be moved by the deadline, he will be kept out of the hands of the Celtics. A more detailed explanation of why the Celtics cannot acquire Davis this season can be found here (credit to Celtics Blog).

I lean more towards the direction of Boston not acquiring Davis because history shows that players that request a trade don’t typically do so with patience. It seems unlikely to me that Davis’ agent would make such a request public with the understanding or expectation that it would be honored five-ish months from now. Recall when Jimmy Butler made his feelings known that he wanted to be traded away from the Timberwolves and how urgent he wanted the request to be fulfilled. This may be similar in vein. It seems counter-intuitive to have someone on your team that simply doesn’t want to be there. Morale is probably low as it is. Why exacerbate it?

Of course, the Pelicans could tell Davis to pound sand and trade him when they’re good and ready when a package that would benefit the future of the organization becomes available (i.e. from Boston). But, as of this writing, all signs point to Davis being in the driver’s seat on this one.

Which brings me to the second part of the Woj bomb -

This automatically eliminates certain teams from the equation. We can cross out the obvious teams like Phoenix, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, etc. There are only a handful of teams that fit the criteria of “championship contenders” with the necessary chips that it would take to pry Davis away from New Orleans not named the Celtics. The Lakers seem to be everyone’s favorite choice for a couple of reasons.

First, playing along side LeBron James is almost a guaranteed path to success in terms of having the opportunity to compete for a ring. Rumor has it that LeBron and the Lakers’ brass are looking to shake things up and improve their squad. Making a trade for Davis would certainly accomplish this.

Further, Davis and James share the same agent - Rich Paul - of Klutch Sports. Could it be that Paul is offering the Lakers the opportunity to jump the gun and offer the best deal to the Pelicans while the Celtics have their hands tied? It’s possible and I wouldn’t rule it out.

The problem is that in order for NOLA to be willing to part with their franchise player, they would obviously want not just picks in return, but also quality young talent to solidify the future of the organization. The Lakers could offer a package centered around Kyle Kuzma+ and picks to land Davis, and they may see this as their only opportunity to do so. The question is, is that enough for Davis? Regardless, I expect them to be aggressive in their pursuits.

However, seeing as this is a Raptors’ blog, I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t entertain the idea of the lone Canadian team in the NBA making a push for Davis.

I want to stress this before diving in - it is very unlikely that the Raptors land Davis in a trade at the deadline.

We clear?

Good.

But we can have fun with the trade machine, regardless!

If I’m Masai, you make the call. Anyone not named Kawhi Leonard is available.

Period.

Yes, that includes Pascal Siakam. You make that move 100 times out of 100 if it’s for Anthony Davis. Don’t even bother convincing yourself otherwise. You make that deal if it’s agreed to.

I said it on the latest episode of the Podcast and I’ll say it again here - Raptors fans tend to overvalue their young talent. This is a win-now move.

The Raptors have a lot of young talent that can serve as a foundation for a rebuilding team. Players like Delon Wright, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and even Norman Powell can be enticing chips for a team that is looking for a fresh start. Such players presumably have yet to reach their ceiling, and in the case of Siakam, could become All-Star caliber (if he’s not already, this year. But that’s yet to be seen). A package centered around Siakam+ would be interesting and I think New Orleans would consider it, but that’s as far as it would go. Of course, it would take a lot - and I mean a lot - more than just Siakam to get the wheels spinning. To boot, according to the Trade Machine, a package of Jonas Valanciunas, Pascal Siakam, and Norman Powell for Davis would get it done. However, and I don’t think I’m alone on this - realistically, even with a couple picks thrown in to that mix, it’s not attractive enough to land Davis. I would expect New Orleans to pass.

To put it bluntly, don’t hold your breath Raptors fans.

Should Masai try? Absolutely.

Do I think he’ll pull it off? My heart says “yes,” but my mind says “no.”

I echo what Lewenberg suggests in the tweet above. If New Orleans really wants to cash in on a trade involving Davis, it’s in their best interest to wait until Boston is able to make an offer in order to have a Kyrie/AD tandem. Yet, if Danny Ainge starts to feel the pressure, it’d be interesting to see if he’s willing to move on from Kyrie and include him in trade talks in order to get Davis now. Remember, as long as Irving is on the Celtics this season, the Celtics cannot acquire Davis. If you ask me, I’d much rather have Davis than Kyrie. Terry Rozier showed that he’s at least capable of being an adequate starting point guard, and with some combination of Hayward, Davis, Tatum, and/or Brown around him, it would mitigate the loss of Irving. As I mentioned, I think Davis is in the driver’s seat on this one, and I don’t think NOLA will have the luxury of waiting it out. Team morale is a legitimate thing.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how this shapes up. Will New Orleans feel the pressure and move Davis by the deadline? Will Davis even want to report to the team if they decide to hold their chips and he isn’t dealt? Will Boston get anxious and make a move now? Will GM LeBron come back?

Buckle up. February 7th is just around the corner.


UPDATE 3:51 pm:
Well this is interesting….

I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the hype, but this is interesting to say the least. By no means do I think this means the Raptors will land Davis, but at least according to the above odds, they seem to be the favorites.

All I can say is, strap yourself in. This is going to be one hell of a ride!


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 95

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 95

"SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • With a gut-punch of a loss at the hands of the Rockets on the road, the Raptors are falling back into familiar bad habits. The use of Kawhi-Iso ball has been something that Raptors have utilized almost exclusively when it comes to how they close out close game situations, and it’s becoming more and more predictable for the opposition. This, in turn, may cost them some key victories during the regular season, as well as their playoff hopes later this year.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Marshall Vic. Marshall and Adam break down the week that was and hit on topics such as:

- Team Chemistry.

- Scheduled Maintenance for Kawhi.

- Kawhi’s All-Star nod.

- $13.3MM home.

- Too Sweet Moment of the Week.

- Predictions.

It's a Raptors podcast that you won't want to miss!

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshalVic

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Auxl Audio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Danny Green – The Forgotten Man

danny-green-011919-ftr-gettyjpg_shg77krgnrfw1mw4nivkr08v8.jpg

Article Written by Ryan Grosman (@RyanGrosman)


When I woke up on July 18 of last year to see that DeMar DeRozan and Jokab Poeltl had been traded to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, and a first round pick, I thought two things.

First, I must be dreaming.

Yes, Masai Ujiri is some kind of Jedi mind-tricking wizard when it comes to trades. He did, after all, convince the New York Knicks to take Andrea Bargnani (and in a bit of irony, the first round pick they got back from the Knicks turned into Poeltl.).  

But, still, I thought there’s no way Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster pulled this thing off.

Second, I thought - how the hell did the Raptors also get Danny Green? Was it a typo? Did the ESPN push notification guy (or gal) drink too much the night before? Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green? Are you kidding me?

I’m not in the habit of pinching myself. But I did that morning. Twice.

For full transparency, I’m a San Antonio Spurs fan. I have been long before the Toronto Raptors were even a thought in someone’s brain. So I have some bias when it comes to Danny Green.

So, after the trade, when I heard people referring to Green as purely a throw-in, I was ready to throw down. But instead, I took to Twitter, tweeting to anyone who’d listen that nothing could be further from the truth.

Danny Green and “throw-in” do not belong in the same sentence. They don’t even belong in the same paragraph.

There’s no question that Leonard was the centerpiece of the trade; and Green is no Steph Curry or Clay Thompson. But to overlook his value to a team would be a massive mistake.

If you’ve been following the NBA for the past eight years, you’d known the type of player Danny Green is. A role player, yes. But a highly effective one at that. He was the starting shooting guard for a Spurs team that appeared in back-to-back NBA finals, winning it all in 2014. He’s an elite 3-point shooter, up there on the Spurs 3-point Mount Rushmore with Chuck Person, Steve Kerr and Bruce Bowen. And he’s an elite defender, making the NBA All-Defensive team in 2017. Basically, he’s the 3 and D wing the Raptors had desperately been searching for (sorry DeMarre Carroll).

But none of this seemed to matter (or none of this was apparent) to Raptorville. Because not only did people refer to Green as a “throw-in,” they were also questioning whether he should start. Guess what? If he can start on a Gregg Popovich championship Spurs team, he can start for any team. Raptors included.

Now, fast-forward to January 19 vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.

None of what Green did in this game came as a shock to me. Not the seven 3’s in a quarter – a Raptors franchise record. Not the eight total 3’s, which matches his career high. Nor should it have been a surprise to anyone. Like I said, he’s been an elite 3-point shooter almost his entire career. He’s just not getting the ball enough to show it.

That’s because not only is he the forgotten man in last summer’s blockbuster trade. He’s often the forgotten man on his own team.

Sure, he’s not always going to be this hot. But the fact of the matter is Danny Green can be a game changer. We’ve seen it. But right now, he’s a heavily underutilized offensive weapon.

It’s like being Nightcrawler in the X-Men arcade game, but never using his special power.

Perhaps a better analogy is playing with one hand tied behind your back. A 3-point hand that can get very, very hot. If the Raptors want to have any success in the playoffs, this needs to change.

Let’s look at why Green should get the green light more often and be more of a focal point of the Raptors’ offence.

He’s the Best They Got…by far

Danny Green is the Raptors’ best 3-point shooter and it’s not even close.

According to Basketball Reference, as of January 21, Green is shooting 42.1% from three.

Not including Jordan Lloyd and Chris Boucher, it’s the best percentage on the team by leaps and bounds. The next best is Leonard at 36.8%. Yet Green still doesn’t get the touches he deserves.

He’s Been There, Drained That

He’s been one of the NBA’s elite 3-point shooters for the last eight years, shooting nearly 40% from deep for his career. He’s actually shot over 40% in four different seasons.

Sure, he dipped last season, shooting just 36.3%. But guess what? He was playing with a bum groin, so those numbers are pretty good considering.

As previously mentioned, he also has playoff and championship pedigree.

He’s a proven big time 3-ball arsonist, shooting a staggering 48.2% and 47.5% from three in the 2013 and 2014 playoffs respectively.

And that wasn’t just over a single series. In both years, the Spurs went all the way. Anyone who watched the 2013 finals bore witness to Danny Green’s torching of the Heat.

Half-court Offence

It goes without saying that the Raptors will desperately need Green’s 3-point marksmanship in the playoffs. As the games slow down, there will be fewer transition opportunities (sorry SpicyP) and much more half-court offence.

When this happens, 3-balls will be a big factor in swinging the game and the series. So isn’t it better that Green gets his reps in now so he’s good and ready come playoff time?

So why is Danny Green often ignored by the Raptors on offence? There must be a reason.

There are two big reasons, actually.

Lack of Ball Movement

The Raptors are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league; shooting just 34.3%, which ranks 24th. Yet, they’re 5th in attempts. Yuck.

Why is this happening? Maybe it’s because the wrong guys are launching way too often.

Let’s look who’s taking the shots. Other than Green, the majority of 3’s come from an ice cold C.J. Miles (28.9%), Serge Ibaka (28.9%), an injured Kyle Lowry (31.1%), Pascal Siakam (31.6%), OG Anunoby (33.8%) and Delon Wright (34.1%).

We can give Fred VanVleet and Kawhi Leonard a pass here because they’re at least both above 36%.

That’s a lot of shitty percentages.

It’s not that you don’t want these guys taking 3’s because you do. It just shouldn’t always come at the expense of your best 3-point shooter.

So far, the Raptors have chucked 1622 threes this season. Green has launched 258 of those, which means he’s only shot about 16% of the team’s total 3-point attempts.

For a guy who’s currently shooting 41.9% from deep, that’s not nearly enough.

There are a thousand other factors involved here, but J.J. Redick of the Philadelphia 76ers, who is a very similar player, is taking about 24% of his team’s 3s.

I first noticed Green’s lack of 3-ball attempts in the January 1 game vs. the Utah Jazz. Green played almost 31 minutes, but got up just two 3-pointers.

Two friggin attempts. In 31 minutes. WTF?

So why is your best long distance shooter only taking two attempts in a game?

It’s a lack of ball movement.

I’ve seen it a thousand times. Lowry or someone kicks it out to the 3-point line, but then the ball gets stuck. Instead of making the extra pass to swing it over to Green, one of the lesser 3-point shooters chucks it up.

And Green is left holding his green ranger in his hands.

Finally, finally they got him the ball in the Grizzlies game. But his teammates were only looking for him after he got hot. No plays were being run for him.

This brings me to my second point.

Lack of Play Calls

Danny Green is hardly ever featured in the offence.

Yes, Leonard is their best offensive threat and should get a lot of the touches. As should Lowry, a much improved Siakam, and a re-energized Serge.

But would it hurt to draw up a few plays to get your best 3-point threat open? After the Grizzlies game, Nurse said there was only one set play for Green. Just one.

And Nurse only did so after Green started draining multiple 3’s.

I don’t know, maybe try running more plays to get him going in the first place. Why wait until he’s hot?

Green, himself, said it was weird getting the ball in his hands and having plays run for him, as referenced by Josh Lewenberg in this tweet.

Now, it’s obviously not as easy as just giving Green the ball. Many teams are keying in on Green defensively. They know what a threat he his, especially when he gets going (which the Grizzlies found out the hard way).

That just means Nurse has to find ways to get him open shots.

With all the complaints about the Raptors’ lack of effective 3-point shooting, we often forget that there’s a perfectly good 3-point weapon sitting right there, just waiting to be deployed.

His name is Danny Green.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 94

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 94

"NO ONE’S SAFE"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • With the loss to Boston this past Tuesday evening, the Raptors have found their way out of 1st place, while maintaining a half game lead over the Milwaukee Bucks. With a current record of 35-13, the team is starting to find that they cannot (and should not) solely rely on Kawhi Leonard to be the guy to carry them to victory. With the season more than half way complete, the team needs to come to realize that the other members of the team are crucial to their success.

  • To tackle these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Kelsea O’Brien of Raptors HQ. Kelsea & Adam touch on numerous Raptors' centered topics such as:

    • The significance of the loss to Boston.

    • - Norm’s reawakening.

    • - Serge’s “no one is safe” comment.

    • - Closing out close games.

    • - Too Sweet Moment of the Week.

    • - Predictions.

It's a Raptors centered show that you won't want to miss!

Follow Kelsea O’Brien on Twitter: @kelsea_lately

Check out Kelsea’s Work HERE

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Raptors Struggle Closing Games

usa_today_12013922.0.jpg

Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


After a tough loss in Boston on Wednesday night, the Raptors returned home Thursday to play the Suns, in what many considered to be an easy win. Despite Kawhi Leonard and OG Anunoby not playing, it still looked like this would be an easy home win to get back on track. After all, the Suns came into the game with an NBA-worst 11-35 record, and also a 4-17 record on the road.

But despite all of those factors, it was a really tight game and it went down to the very end. The Suns hung around all night long and it took a Pascal Siakam buzzer beater to win it for the Raptors. By looking at the final score of this game, it’s concerning that the Raptors couldn’t beat Phoenix without a buzzer beater, but in the long run, it might prove to be a positive for them.

This has been a trend for the Raptors recently; barely beating bad teams. Just over the past week, they beat Atlanta by 3, Washington by 2, and then Phoenix by 2. I would obviously prefer that they blow these teams out, but I also see a way in which these tightly contested games could help the team in the long run.

This is a team that, as we saw Wednesday in Boston, is still figuring things out in crunch time. They’re not playing as well as they should be down the stretch in big games, and one of the only ways to get better at that is by playing in tight games. Now, I know Kawhi was out Thursday, but he’s not the guy who needs to get better in crunch time. One of the guys who disappeared on Wednesday was Pascal Siakam (only 6 points), and for him to be put in a close game the very next day and perform shows me that he learned something from the Boston game, and that he can be trusted to play in big spots.

According to a tweet from Josh Lewenberg of TSN, the Raptors have played 102 “clutch minutes” this season, which is 4th in the NBA. To compare, they had only played in 73 clutch minutes at this point last year. So, clearly this team is getting more experience in big moments, and it should translate to the team being better down the road.

I know it’s frustrating to watch a team like the Suns or the Hawks somehow stay in a game against the Raptors, but in my opinion, the more minutes that this group can get in big spots, the better. And I’d rather the Raptors struggle to close out games now than in the playoffs, when it really matters.

That being said, if they could win these next few games my a bigger margin, that would be nice. The downside of having Phoenix play you close is that you have to play Lowry 40 minutes in a game in January. So if you can give Kyle and Kawhi some low-minutes nights, that would be helpful going forward.

Looking ahead, the Raptors’ next 2 games are at home against non-playoff teams. They host Memphis tomorrow, and Sacramento on Tuesday. Both of those teams are tough to play against. But, at the end of the day the Raptors are better than them, and they should come away with 2 more wins.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Raptors Fall Apart in Final Minutes Against Celtics

maxresdefault.jpg

Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


After three days off, the Toronto Raptors were in Boston last night to take on a familiar opponent in the Celtics at the TD Garden. These two teams have met twice already this season, both splitting those games at one win a piece. Going into last night’s match up, the Raptors had won five in a row while, the Celtics have been heading in the opposite direction, with many rumors going around on social media about Kyrie Irving possibly leaving Boston at the end of this season. The Celtics haven’t exactly lived up to the hype just yet and seem to really be struggling as a unit from time to time as they sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Although the Celtics have lost three in a row, they have been absolutely dominating at home in their last six games, winning all six games and averaging 120 points per game. The Raptors looked to end that hot streak the Celtics had as Toronto would be without CJ Miles with a hip injury and OG Anunoby who left the team to be with family for personal reason. There was some good news as Toronto would welcome Fred VanVleet back Into the lineup after missing the double overtime thriller against Washington on Sunday.

It was a high-scoring affair to start the game as both teams came out of the gates rolling, both shooting 59 percent after the first 12 minutes as Toronto led 36-30 behind Kawhi Leonard’s nine points. Although Toronto led through the first quarter, the Celtics put up a total 13 bench points compared to Toronto’s 4 points, courtesy of Norman Powell. All looked good, until the second quarter.

Toronto struggled in the following 12 minutes. Easy and open shots were not falling for Toronto and the Celtics’ bench completely controlled the pace, out-playing Toronto as a whole. After shooting nearly 60 percent in the first quarter, that percentage dropped to 42 percent for Toronto at halftime, while Boston stayed right at 59 percent. Gordan Hayward was a big contributor off the bench for Boston as he carried the load, leading them to 24 bench points to Toronto’s 10. It’s also been no secret that Toronto’s three-point shooting has not been up to par recently; as a matter a fact, all season. That continued last night, not making one three-pointer in the second quarter, combining 2-of-15 from beyond the arc at halftime. This poor performance cost Toronto, which resulted in losing the second quarter 34-17 and trailed Boston by 13.

The third quarter was tremendously better for Toronto as they took better shotsr and played every defensive possession with high intensity. The Raptors shots started to fall as Toronto started feeding the ball into the paint to Serge Ibaka as he was the leading point scorer for Toronto with 22 points, 1 point ahead of Leonard. This dominate 3rd quarter from Toronto resulted in the Raptors only trailing Boston by 4 when they were down by as many as 16.

One thing many Raptors’ fans know and love is that this team never quits and always makes a case for a great comeback. Although they were down 16 at one point, it was no surprise they made another comeback, battling all the way back on the road and actually gained the lead over Boston late in the 4th quarter. But that’s when it all came crashing down. With Toronto up 4 with 4:22 to play, and all the momentum heading into the final minutes, they let it slip away and by a lot. At the 3:54 mark, Boston ended the game on a ridiculous 17-4 run to stun Toronto and end their five-game winning streak, while snapping their own three game losing streak. As a result, the Celtics also remain perfect at home over their last seven home games.

Kawhi Leonard finished the game with 33 points, meaning Leonard had now scored 20+ points in 20 straight games for Toronto. An incredible stat, as he is now three games shy of tying Vince Carter for the most consecutive 20 plus point outings for the franchise. Fred VanVleet had a dreadful night off the bench with 0 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Also, off the bench, only two Raptors made it onto the score sheet: Norman Powell and Greg Monroe; both putting up 11 points. On a night without OG Anunoby, someone else needed to step up of the bench, but to no avail.

The fourth and final meeting of the season between these two teams will come February 26th in Toronto, with Boston leading the season series 2-1.    


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 93

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 93

"RECLAIMING 1st"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • The Raptors have reclaimed the top spot in the NBA, with a record (currently) of 32-12. They no longer have to flip-flop with the Bucks, as they now sit a game and a half ahead of them, securing supremacy in not only the Eastern Conference, but the entire NBA. Most of this has to do with Kyle Lowry returning from injury and operating as his old self. With him and Kawhi starting to click, it’s hard to view this team as anything other than unstoppable.

  • To tackle these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by South of the 6ix's very own Rodrigo Albizurez. Rodrigo & Adam touch on numerous Raptors' centered topics such as:

    • The significance of DeMar’s revenge game.

    • - The importance of Kyle Lowry being back.

    • - Serge Ibaka’s improvements.

    • - The Patrick McCaw signing.

    • - Too Sweet Moment of the Week.

    • - Predictions.

It's a Raptors centered show that you won't want to miss!

Follow Rodrigo Albizurez on Twitter: @rodzyalbizurez

Subscribe to the Rodcast HERE


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 92

Promotional Banner.jpg

Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 92

"MIDSEASON ROUND TABLE"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • As we reach the halfway point of the season, the Raptors currently hold the best winning record in the NBA at 29-12. We’ve seen the growth of Pascal Siakam, who many are claiming to be the sure-fire nominee for the Most Improved Player of the Year; we’ve seen the impact a player that Kawhi Leonard can have on a team that has otherwise coasted on repeat; we’ve seen how crucial and valuable resting can be for certain key players on the team can be (Serge and Kawhi, for instance); and we’ve seen how successful this team can be if they are running on all cylinders.

  • However, we’ve also seen how negatively impactful injuries can be and how it can mess with the team’s chemistry. Injuries to Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas have made the Raptors a bit more vulnerable and, at times, exposed to the competition. Is a trade on the horizon to mitigate these issues? How long can the Raptors go with such key players on the shelf?

  • To discuss these and other topics, we have our annual Midseason ROUND TABLE! Host Adam Corsair is joined by a familiar crew of Demar Grant of Tip of the Tower, Jordan Kligman of the 416 Basketball Podcast & Hash Tag Basketball, and Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views to revisit their respective preseason predictions and to review the half season that was. We get into detail as to what has encouraged us, what has us concerned, where we think the team is heading, and we revisit our win total predictions.

It’s a Raptors podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @416Basketball

Subscribe to the 416 Basketball Podcast on iTunes: HERE

Visit Jordan's work: HERE

Follow Connor on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews & @connorchambers

Visit Connor's work: HERE

Follow Demar on Twitter: @DemarJGrant 

Visit Demar's work: HERE

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


DeMar DeRozan and Spurs All Business in Anticipated Match-Up

AP19004081328563.jpg

Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


“I wanted to break every record that was there and to be the first to do every single thing there. I always expressed that.” is what former Raptor, DeMar DeRozan, said to the media hours before going up against his former team where he spent nine seasons with. This was one of the most highly anticipated match-ups of the season for both teams. Not only was it the first time DeRozan was going up against the Raptors, but it was also the return of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to San Antonio.

Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard were a huge part of the San Antonio Spurs’ Championship run in 2014 and there’s no denying they were among the top fan favourites alongside Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan at the time. But times have changed. For the first time ever, Kawhi Leonard entered the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas for the opposing team. After spending seven seasons with the Spurs, winning a ring and multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards, this was just another game for Leonard.

“It meant a lot, I put blood, sweat and tears wearing that jersey, believing in something, I put a lot of work in.” Leonard said when asked about his time with the Spurs. He was ready for anything that was going to be thrown at him from the media or during the game. Although Leonard wasn’t asked about what kind of reception he’d think he’d receive from the Spurs’ faithful at game time, Green did. He said pre-game, “I think it’ll be loud, like a playoff game. There’s going to be a ton of emotion from the fans, especially towards Kawhi.” And there was exactly that.

The ovations from the crowd began earlier than expected. As the Raptors came onto the court for their shoot-around, the boos reigned down. But that wasn’t all. Every touch Leonard had during shoot around; whether it be a shot, or a lay-up, he would receive boos. Meanwhile every time Green touched the ball, he would get cheers. I think you know where this is going.

Shortly before the player introductions, a video tribute was shown thanking Leonard and Green for their time in San Antonio.. There were shots of Green looking up at the video tribute, while Leonard continued to do his pre-game stretch, not even taking a look. As the introductions occurred and the tribute ended, fans were heard chanting “Dan-ny.” A loud cheer and chant of “Danny Green” quickly went to loud boos for Leonard.

As the game got underway, and the Raptors won the tip, the boos immediately were heard as the ball got straight into Leonard’s hands as he fought his way to the rim for a strong And-1 to start. But that quick start didn’t last long. DeRozan and the Spurs came to play, quickly turning the game around. The Spurs went on a 15-5 run and head coach Nick Nurse was forced to call a timeout, but that didn’t help either. The Spurs were hot and didn’t let up. The Raptors were down by 19 after 12 minutes and allowed San Antonio to shoot better than 65 percent.

Not only were the Spurs hot straight out of the gate, but so was DeRozan. After 12 minutes he was on pace to record a triple-double, the first of his NBA career (a total of 764 games). The Raptors didn’t stop chipping away at that Spurs lead, but the Spurs never stopped applying the pressure, pushing the tempo and making Toronto feel uncomfortable with the pace they were playing. Toronto’s 3-point shooting woes continued as they shot 2-of-12 come halftime from beyond the arc and trailed the Spurs by 16. Coming out of the half, it was all Spurs, going on a 9-0 run growing their lead back up to 25. From that point on, it was basically over and all eyes were on DeRozan to see if he could notch his first ever triple-double.

Going into the fourth quarter, DeRozan was just one assist shy of the milestone. At the 7:10 mark in the final frame, DeRozan got his assist, and for the first time in his career he recorded a triple-double against his former team. Only fitting. Not only was DeRozan all business, so were the Spurs who dismantled Toronto 125-107.

Many now will be looking forward to the rematch on February 22nd in Toronto at Scotiabank Arena, including Danny Green. Green finished with zero points in 26 minutes of work on 0-of-7 shooting. OG Anunoby also finished with zero points in 18 minutes of work. The Raptors, as a team, also shot a combined 6-of-30 from 3-point range. Some sweet revenge is in the making. As for right now, Toronto cannot look in the rear-view mirror and must move on because they are no longer sitting atop of the Eastern Conference.

Toronto now sits beneath the Milwaukee Bucks in conference as these two powerhouse teams face off on tonight. 


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)