It was a tough decision, but the HQ has settled on two new members of its team...
It's a big week here for us at the HQ with numerous announcements on the way.
First, we wrapped up our intern contest on the weekend and are thrilled to announce that Sasha Kalra and Sean Tepper will be joining the HQ team!
All of our intern finalists did an outstanding job but in the end, we decided on these budding journalists to help us provide Raptors' fanatics with even more content, coverage and analysis. The HQ though would like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who participated, and to our readers who helped in making the final call.
Second, we hope to roll out another contest this afternoon, one that will have us partnering with LG and their "Fanbassador" initiative.
And finally...well...we'll stop there for now but with a day off in Raptors' action, let's get some thoughts going on a topic that's been showing up more and more in the comments section of late; tanking.
Considering the Raptors are currently projected to win 31 games, but miss the playoffs yet again, what's Bryan Colangelo's best move here?
Should he be making suspicious transactions to further cement this team's status in the NBA basement?
Or should he look at his team's play to date, a good chunk of it missing key personnel, as a sign that with a few upgrades, the Raptors will be back in playoff business in the East?
And there's a third option too I suppose...
...leave things be.
It's a tough decision and we've heard arguments on all sides of the dice.
For me, it really comes down to how you feel about the current personnel.
If you think in a year or two there are 45 to 50 wins in the core of Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Jerryd Bayless and Ed Davis, then you probably leave well enough alone.
If you think there's closer to 35 in that group, like I do, then something's gotta give. As we've seen in the NBA, the worst place to be is stuck in that 28 to 38 win range; usually poor enough record-wise to miss the playoffs, and yet not atrocious enough to get a top spot in the NBA Draft Lottery.
So what to do?
From my perspective, I think Bryan Colangelo needs to keep accumulating assets in the form of draft picks and youth. Cap space is nice to a certain extent in terms of flexibility, but the reality is that Toronto still isn't a primo destination for free-agents. This club still needs a major influx of talent, and it's tough to do that without overpaying since TO has neither the cache of an LA or Miami, nor the heritage of a Utah or a San Antonio.
That doesn't mean I think he should suddenly mortgage the farm, but as Tim Chisholm notes in his recent piece on the subject of trades, Colangelo should continue to seek out opportunities to collect said assets when they arise.
The Bayless deal was a good example of this, and even smaller moves prior to the season like snatching up Joey Dorsey echo this philosophy. We've seen teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder use this methodology in the past, and I'm hoping BC goes the same way instead of making another swing for the fences.
It will still take some luck, and it would help if there was no lock-out, but this approach would allow the Raptors' to stay lean on salary until they were sure they had a solid base to build from.
Right now that simply can't be said.
As much of a fan of Weems, Bargnani, DeRozan etc, etc, as you may be, none have proven that they can carry a club at this point in their young careers.
They may down the line however, and that's why our crew here at the HQ delights in breaking down games the way we do, even seemingly meaningless Raptors wins over the Nets in December. The point is that all of these games are important for a young developing team such as this, and this season and probably the one after will be instrumental in shaping the Raptors' franchise for years to come.
Unfortunately that means fans will likely be playing the waiting game for a while, perhaps not only for the remainder of this season but the next one as well.
However I'll take that plan of action over the quick-fix "trade for Elton Brand" any day of the week...