Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part VI: Let’s speculate wildly, but Reasonably™, about the trade deadline

Title: Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part VI: Let’s speculate wildly, but Reasonably™, about the trade deadline
Date: February 10, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: Eric Koreen and I will be doing a semi-regular email exchange column about the Raptors, dubbing ourselves The Reasonablists. The latest edition finds us talking about potential options for help ahead of the trade deadline.

Welcome to another edition of Raptors Reasonablists with Eric Koreen and Blake Murphy. Throughout the year, lead NBA writer Koreen and regular contributor Murphy discuss hot-button issues surrounding the Raptors, but with an even-keeled approach in pursuit of finding reasonable middle ground. If we have faith in anything, it is that reasonable middle grounds lead to: a) workable long-term solutions; b) increased empathy and understanding for others; and c) more wins — at least more wins when they truly matter — probably. We hold these truths to be self-evident, and we hold these truths to be good truths.

Murphy: It almost seemed like the Raptors, and by proxy we, were out of the weeds a bit there. Had Toronto come away with a victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, they would have secured a third consecutive victory, building a semblance of momentum (or whatever the more proper psychological term is for the apparent exponential and self-fulfilling growth of confidence a winning streak provides) and shaking off one of the worst six-week stretches in recent memory. With plenty of rest coming up — they’ll play just three official games over 15 days — concerns about the workload of Kyle Lowry or the absence of Patrick Patterson would have been temporarily assuaged, and the Raptors could have entered their mini-break focused on more positive building blocks than their current 10-14 stretch.

Instead, a handful of curious decisions and minor mistakes at the margins cost the Raptors an eminently winnable game, and they’re back on the losing side of the ledger as a result, surely frustrated with their new-found inability to beat mid-level teams or win tight games.

Their play in close games is concerning. They’re 15-19 in “clutch” scenarios as defined by NBA.com despite a plus-1.9 net rating (a mark that’s cratering of late), and they’re 5-13 in games ultimately decided by five points or fewer. There is almost certainly some noise here. They’re still outscoring opponents in tight situations, just coming up on the wrong end quite often. A free throw here, a whistle there, a lucky break mixed in, and their performance late probably looks better, and “close game” record ignores things like the fact that the Raptors can hang around in losses or pull away in wins (they’re 27-9 in games decided by more than five points, after all).

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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