Part of the reason for Toronto's disappointing season is that there were very few Raptors who came close to meeting expectations...and as Franchise notes, those who did meet or surpass expectations, might not be coming back.
A quick Friday thought.
Watching the Phoenix Suns-Portland Trailblazers series last night it occurred to me that a good chunk of Phoenix's unexpected success this season was not only due to the tweaks Alvin Gentry made to the club's offense and defense, and the re-emergence of Amare, Nash and Hill, but also the emergence of an actual bench. Yes, for the first time in the Nash-era, the Suns actually had players they could turn to to relieve the starting group.
In the past, the Suns typically went 7 deep in the playoffs, with maybe an eighth man thrown in during foul trouble.
This year, players like Leandro Barbosa are still coming off the pine, but so are the likes of Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, Goran Dragic and Jared Dudley; all of whom, Lopez aside currently because of his injury situation, have played prominent roles for the Suns in the playoffs.
This was the case all year in fact, and watching Phoenix last night made me realize that the majority of these bench types exceeded expectations this year, hence the Suns' surprising third place finish in the West. (If you recall, many didn't expect Phoenix to make the playoffs at all this year!)
Of course, this whole line of thought was then carried over to the Raptors...
...where it promptly fell on its face.
Think about it for a second.
This was one of the biggest underachievers of the year in terms of NBA teams and it was the individuals that comprised this club that too fell way short of the mark many had set.
In fact, the only players I truly felt surpassed my expectations this year were Chris Bosh, Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems!
Jarrett Jack, Andrea Bargnani and Antoine Wright performed pretty much as I expected, but the rest of the club, from small disappointments such as DeMar DeRozan to huge ones like Hedo Turkoglu, just didn't cut it.
And the results were felt in the team's final record.
With so many disappointments then, how can Bryan Colangelo effectively evaluate this group?
Were the under-achievements due to fit? Was the bulk of this group overhyped to begin with? Is it a coaching issue, one that with another training camp, will help to iron things out?
I'd lean towards option b) right now, overhype, but it's a quandry for sure, especially in terms of who should be staying and who should be given their walking papers.
And the frustrating part is that the most eggregious cases of "hit the road Jack," are those with the biggest deals, folks like Hedo and Jose. And some of the more useful pieces, Amir Johnson and obviously Chris Bosh, Toronto may not be able to afford to retain, or may not want to return.
Bryan Colangelo meet your neighbour, rock.
Oh, and this is your other neighbour, hard place.