Near the end of last season, the Raptors were dangerously close to becoming a mockery of an NBA team. I was shocked to watch several games in which D-League call-ups like Justin Dentmon, Ben Uzoh, & Alan Anderson were playing significant minutes, and wondered “Does Dwane Casey believe our roster is so thin that he can’t play the second unit more? Instead we need a redline phone to the Idaho Stampede and the Bakersfield Jam just to put a semblance of a team on the floor?”
As a new season dawns, the situation has changed dramatically, and (hopefully) for the better. The coach and players who will break camp are emphatically BC’s choices. (The only holdover from Rob Babcock’s unhappy tenure as GM is Jose Calderon, whose future as a Rap is very much in doubt. Watch for a post on him shortly.) BC has stated that the rebuild is over, and it’s time to win. Not a minute too soon, either, as this is BC’s contract option year. While he’s made it clear he’d like to stay, ownership is maintaining a wait & see attitude. If the Raps show significant improvement, and even squeeze into the playoffs, BC will be offered an extension. If not, someone else will be handed the reins, and this group will be blown up. (T’was ever thus.) I anticipate very little roster tinkering during the season. BC wants this team to rise as a group; in particular, to experience the crucible of the playoffs together.
Don’t be surprised if the current roster guys are the only ones to get training camp invitations next year. Colangelo, like other GMs, has been deeply impressed by the astonishing success of the San Antonio Spurs, a team which has been competitive for over a decade and has won 4 championships in that span. Judicious drafting (The Admiral, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli) and trading for their kind of player (Kawhi Leonard, Matt Bonner) has meant the Spurs are perennial contenders.
What the 12-13 Raptors need more than anything is time. No matter how much technology advances, it takes nine months of gestation before a baby appears. I believe BC & Coach Dwane want to give this group some room to breath, and to mature. The redline phone has been disconnected.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.