It's game two of the regular season.
So let's start there.
The club was has a ways to go obviously at both ends of the court, and is still working in a multitude of new options in its bench rotation.
So we can give it some time.
I'm not sure we can give it very much.
The Toronto Raptors lost to the Atlanta Hawks 102 to 95 last night in a game that likely made all this club's non-believers smile from ear to ear. The inefficient shooting, the porous defence, the Rudy Gay-DeMar DeRozan black hole, the lack of ball movement, the whole kit and kaboodle, it was all on display. No good. Just bad, and ugly.
The bad was the Dino's inability to knock down three-point shots as they went 7 for 23 on the night. The Hawks in contrast took and hit a chunk more, going 10 of 23 and early on, this was a key difference in terms of the score. Toronto struggled overall to hit shots (they were only 8 of 14 from the line) and just didn't have the requisite jump right out of the gate. Nevertheless, the Raps hung around early thanks to some timely offensive rebounds and didn't seem to be too far away from making a big run to take the lead.
Then the second quarter happened and things went from "bad" to "ugly" in a hurry. The ball movement stopped, what little defense existed in the first quarter vanished, and the team suddenly found itself in a major hole. Toronto scored only 15 points in the quarter and had but FOUR assists on 15 buckets.
Had it not been for a heroic performance by DeMar DeRozan late in the game, this one would have been a blowout before the last quarter started. DeRozan finished with 31 points on a very efficient 14 of 23 shooting display and the only reason I lumped him in with Gay above, was because together, the duo attempted 46 of the team's 88 shots!
Again, that's fine if they're open looks due to great spacing, or both players are making them at a good clip, but that wasn't the case. Gay finished with 14 points...on 6 of 23 shooting. With such a high volume of the offense going through two players who don't exactly excel at moving the ball, you're going to have plenty of "four assist" nights.
As well, other, more efficient players, are relegated to standing around and watching. Jonas Valanciunas took five shots on the night. No, he didn't play 30 minutes nor was he demanding enough in the low-post, but FIVE SHOTS TO RUDY'S 23?? This just can't continue and if Dwane Casey doesn't get the message through, Masai Ujiri may have to. This is two games in a row now where the Raptors' offence looked like it had been conceived at the local YMCA and while that may be enough against the Celtics, against the Hawks or the bulk of the rest of the league, it likely gets you the big L.
Obviously this loss isn't all on Gay, the rest of the club apart from DeRozan was hardly stellar either. If it wasn't Amir Johnson jacking up unnecessary three-pointers, it was Kyle Lowry trying to do too much on O, resulting in turnovers. It wasn't a pretty sight.
And while it wasn't all bad, if there was an early-season "Exhibit A As To Why The Raptors Should Tank," this was it.
At least until tonight's match...