Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part VIII: The Riverdale Unreasonablists edition

Title: Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part VIII: The Riverdale Unreasonablists edition
Date: March 15, 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 is mostly just me yelling about Riverdale.

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.

Koreen: To quote late ‘00s/early ‘10s garage pop queen Ida Maria, expectations are such a drag.

It has been more than two weeks since Kyle Lowry had his wrist surgery, and precisely 10 games that the Raptors have played without him. The Raptors are 6-4 in those games, with a middle-of-the-road (if occasionally unwatchable) offence and the seventh-ranked defence during that span. They have picked up a game and a half on Cleveland, a game on Boston and nudged another half-game ahead of Atlanta since Lowry has been out. Despite losing Lowry, they are outscoring opponents by 2.7 points per 100 possessions since the all-star break. Before the break, in the 640 minutes the Raptors played without Lowry, they were outscored by 5.3 points per 100 possessions. No doubt, this has a lot to do with the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker. The Raptors are surviving as well as you could have hoped.

Yet, it seems as if the negative is lingering more than the positive right now. On nights when they look bad, such as at home to the Wizards or in Miami, things appear disastrous — the ball doesn’t move, the 3-pointers are not only not falling, they are not even being launched. The defence has obviously improved, but as those aforementioned games have proven, the Raptors can still be torched in the pick-and-roll, with open 3-pointers all over the floor. The young, inexperienced bench is meeting expectations: spry and useful one night, anemic the next. In their three games played on the unfriendly ends of a back-to-back, they beat the Knicks by one point and got clocked two other times. (Another one in Detroit awaits on Friday, but then they are on every-other-day mode for two weeks.) Bebe is not playing, and that is sad.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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