Apr 27, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) and guard DeMar DeRozan (10) react during the second half in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. The Raptors defeated the Nets 87-79. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Are “No-Star” Raptors the team of the future?


Apr 27, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

I’m mulling the results of the voting for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award, which is the only one in which the Toronto Raptors had a player (well, players actually) who received some top-ten votes. Kyle Lowry finished sixth, and DeMar DeRozan eighth, well behind winner Goran Dragic, the Phoenix Suns’ point guard. No Raptor garnered a single vote for Defensive Player of the Year, won by Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls. [20-second timeout: Honour is due to coach Dwane Casey, who finished fifth in Coach of the Year voting. While Gregg Popovich was a worthy winner (his San Antonio Spurs were a league-best 62-20), one wonders whether our coach shouldn't have finished higher. Our team improved by 14 games over last season, and without a defensive stalwart, our D ranked ninth. Our team plus/minus was plus_3.2, which also ranked ninth, and represents the most important "snapshot" datapoint.] Our guys won’t be garnering much consideration for any of the other hardware the Association is due to hand out, like Most Valuable Player. That bauble is being shined up for Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and LeBron James will get all the second-place votes. We have no Rookie of the Year candidates, as we had no rookies! Sadly, there’s no prize for Sophomores, or Jonas Valanciunas would be in the running. Anyway, I think it’s time to recognize that star power is over-rated, and a balanced lineup is as likely to lead to success as searching for a needle in a haystack, i.e., a superstar. Those guys are extremely rare, insanely expensive and ruinous to a team’s chances if they are injured (cf., Los Angeles Lakers, whose season crashed and burned when Kobe Bryant went down).

What was the critical decision of the season for the Raptors? Surely The Trade ranks #1. We shipped Rudy Gay (and two others) to Sacramento, and received in return four rotation-grade players. If one believes the cliche which says that whichever team gets the best players wins the trade, then we got badly burned. But we didn’t, did we? We traded a (perceived?) star when our record was 6-12, and proceeded to win 42 of our last 64 games.

I doubt any Raptor player wins an individual award in the next three years, but I suspect we’ll be in the playoffs. I’ll take that trade-off, every time.

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  • Guest

    no stars? typical stupid fan who doesn’t know what star means if he doesn’t consider Lowry and allstar

  • M T

    No stars? Here’s another typical ignorant fan who doesn’t know what star means if he doesn’t recognize Lowry as an allstar…….and Demar DeRozan as well for that matter

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hello M T:
      I don’t know who this “typical ignorant fan” is you’re referring to. Assuming you read the post in its entirety, you will know that my point is the unlikelihood of a Raptor winning a major personal award in the next few seasons; those trophies are reserved for superstars, of which we have none. I made no mention of the fitness of DeRozan or Lowry to be named as All-Stars, which is a totally different matter.
      I like our team. I think we’re better off with balanced scoring, and a ball that’s constantly in motion on offense.