The Raps may have been "out-classed" last night by the Pistons, but the HQ notes that it wasn't only a matter of an experienced team beating a novice group...
"I think they're veteran players with the ability to post up and play one-on-one and we struggle guarding them."
That quote was from Jay Triano prior to the Toronto Raptors' 107 to 93 loss last night to the Detroit Pistons.
And it scares me.
Not so much because the statement is false, or misrepresented in some way, such as Triano's recent "we are 9th in the league in 2 point field goal percentage" notation.
No, it scares me more because it's true.
I took in last night's match from the comfort of my couch but failed to do much in terms of live-blogging or tweeting. For the second game in a row, I wanted to really get a sense of this club, without all the distractions of social media.
And what I saw was partly what Triano noted.
I saw a Raptors' team that was thoroughly outplayed by a more experienced and well-versed Pistons team.
Yes, there was a lack of effort apparent, especially in the first quarter when Toronto got down big, somehow allowing Detroit to pin nearly 40 points on them.
But even when the Raps got their act together a bit in the game's final three quarters, it wasn't enough. The Pistons simply "ran their stuff," and the Raps kinda stood around and watched helplessly.
However lost in the media's dissection of last night's game is not just that an inexperienced team got torched by one who knew what they were doing. Said inexperienced team is also not very good, and together, it's a pretty lethal and lottery-bound combo.
But we already know all of this right?
The Raps are on pace to win about 22 freakin' games, which would be the their worst mark since the 1997-98 season when they were essentially still an expansion club. As well, yesterday evening's L continued TO's franchise-high road losing streak too, which is now stuck at 14 games.
So the loss to the Pistons in some ways is no surprise.
On the other hand though, the Detroit Pistons are hardly the Miami Heat, having won only 24 games themselves. If you had to ask an NBA expert to name the dregs of the Eastern Conference, I'm quite certain Detroit would be one of the teams included.
Yet here they were, spanking the Raptors from start to finish.
Again, there's indeed an experience factor at work. As many have noted, Toronto has one of the youngest teams in the league with an average age that's just shy of senior year in college.
But let's not forget that there's also a major talent issue at play here too.
I watched RIP Hamilton on one sequence in last night's game drain a contested 3-pointer, then hustle back on D to lock down Jose Calderon, eventually blocking his jump shot. Hamilton finished with a game-high 24 points, filled up all the categories, and hardly look like he broke a sweat.
Yes, the same Richard Hamilton that's basically been deemed untradeable, a team cancer, someone who doesn't belong in the league any more, skill-wise, and who has barely played this season.
Yet he's still a major upgrade over almost anything Toronto currently has to offer.
Reclamation projects that management has been forced to roll the dice on.
Solid yet one-dimensional players, over-valued due to the lack of talent that surrounds them.
You mean "he who's needed 364 shots to score his last 364 points?", a stat that the Score used this morning in their "Final Score" summary of the previous night's sports' action?
Jeesh, if the local sports' coverage is starting to jump on stats like this, it's getting ugly.
Bottom line is that guys like DeMar and Ed Davis may have the upside, but there's no way you can tell me that adding Richard Hamilton to the Toronto Raptors wouldn't improve the team's on-court performance.
Throw away the contract.
Throw away the locker-room issues that have plagued him this season.
A healthy Richard Hamilton, even on the downside of his career, would be a boost, even if only a minor one.
Not that I'm suggesting the team should have gone out and traded for him, but I think that in itself is a pretty strong statement and unfortunately this loss only drove home just how far this Raptors' team needs to go to get back on track.
A top draft pick should help.
But this club's management, whomever it is, needs to do some major soul-searching this off-season or risk trotting out the Minnesota Timberwolves of the East for the next five years.
And this brings me back to Triano's quote.
Yes Toronto has issues with experience that have led to losses this year.
But unless they begin to counter some of that inexperience with simply superior talent, fans may have to brace themselves for many more 22 win seasons.