In this week's Tweet Bag we take a look at the possibility of the Raptors starting Ed Davis, whether Dwane Casey became overrated after last season and whether fans should fear a reputation-saving move from Bryan Colangelo.
As always thanks for the questions and tweet me @timpchisholm if you want me to answer one of your questions next week.
with davis' improved play and bargs apparently on the market shouldn't he be used as bait to pick up a SF rather than Gasol?
You could make that argument. However, I want to stress that while Davis is having a sort of breakout season, he isn't exactly pushing Bargnani out of the starting five. He is playing mostly against second-unit guys, which is making him look a little better than he is, he's cooled off a bit in the scoring department of late and, most importantly, he isn't as good a defender as people think.
While Davis is certainly more engaged than Bargnani, he's still giving up a 21.1 PER to opposing power forwards, according to 82games.com, while Bargnani is giving up only 15.2. Also, the team is only 1.9 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Davis in on the court, which is nothing compared, say, to Amir Johnson's 7.9. The big issue is that Davis still doesn't have the greatest defensive instincts, he doesn't read the floor exceptionally well, and he still has to learn to use his body to hold position against opposing big men.
Basically, for the Raptors to survive putting Ed in the starting five they'd need a killer small forward back in a trade. They'd need a guy that could guard his position, space the floor for Lowry, DeRozan and Valanciunas and pass the ball (because this team desperately needs passers). I like Ed's developments this year, but making him a regular starter would really shine a light on all of the areas where he still needs to improve.
I wonder with each passing game if we all might have over estimated D Casey just a bit. He has to take some of the blame
Without a doubt Casey has to take some of the blame for the start to this season. His team looks unmotivated and unprepared on a night-to-night basis, the rotations have been a constant talking point at the end of games, and any time a team sits 12 games under .500 the coach is going to feel the weight of that on his shoulders.
Of course, it's the defensive slippage that is really shocking this season, and I'm not sure you can pin all of that on the coach. Bryan Colangelo rolled the dice this summer and left several questionable defenders on the roster this season because Casey seemed to possess a supernatural ability to scheme his way around their deficiencies. These days, watching Bargnani miss a defensive rotation or DeRozan lose his man on a backdoor cut or Calderon get blown by on the perimeter, you wonder how much a coach can do to cover up all those warts while also starting a rookie centre and a revolving door at small forward.
The problem is, that's his job. Fair or not, he was hired to improve the defensive culture of the club and reinvent the team's personality on the court. He made strides towards that goal last year and the team has given them all back this year. Is this roster well-suited to his style? No, not on paper, but he made that work last year and that's why he has so many fans questioning him 20 games into the season.
Are you nervous about BC making moves to save his rep?
No, because a rep-saving move would almost, by definition, have to be a team-saving move. If Colangelo goes out and trades for an under-performing, overpaid veteran that doesn't improve the team substantially then he hasn't really improved his stock around the league. Everyone knows that he has the ability to overspend on short-term answers, and everyone knows how destructive that's been during his tenure with the Raptors.
These days, for him to make a rep-saving move he would have to find pieces that fit Casey's system, fit the short- and long-term goals that the team has and not kill their cap or over-dilute their roster in the process. No one will be impressed if he does another Jermaine O'Neal (for what it's worth, I think Pau Gasol is a FAR better player than O'Neal was in '08, lest anyone think I'm dancing around that particular name), they'll only be impressed with savvy, team-saving moves, so his needs and Toronto's needs nicely dovetail in that regard.
I can see it now, The lottery giving us the fourth pick. Deep down we all know it.
Given the way the season has unfolded that would seem just about right (fourth is the highest the pick can be and still go to Oklahoma City as a result of the Kyle Lowry trade).