Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part IX (the playoff rotation/Bryan Adams edition)

Title: Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part IX (the playoff rotation/Bryan Adams edition)
Date: March 28, 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 tries to break down what the Raptors’ playoff rotation will look like.

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 feels a little odd to be reasonablizing right now, not because the Toronto Raptors have won six games in a row but because there hasn’t been an episode of Riverdale since our last encounter here. Without the proper diet of heavy-handed Jughead prose, dead-as-chopped-wood Archie moroseness — “Is there worse music than what Archie is producing?” the 30-year-old emo-man wondered — and CoverGirl product placement, how can we properly continue to argue it’s bad-bad-but-good status and its proper place in the pseudo-teen-drama pantheon?

We cannot. And since the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement mandates a certain number of days off for players, meaning no practice for the Raptors on Tuesday, we have to turn our attention to the larger picture. That’s the entire point of this series, anyway — to contextualize the ebbs and flows of a very long NBA season (and to occasionally get mad online about music and teens and their #HotDads).

Things are good around the team, Eric, and good things are good. But a team should never be measured for what it looks like at its best, and with the playoffs just around the corner, there are a few warts that warrant our particular brand of lancing. This isn’t finding flaws for the sake of finding them; 12-5 stretch without Kyle Lowry be damned, the Raptors are not yet perfect.

The thing that stands out most, and not just because of the primacy effect, is that the Raptors tend to start games a little slowly. This was the case last year, too, necessitating some tweaks come the postseason. That group with DeMarre Carroll has been outscored by 6.7 points per-100 possessions in 164 minutes. It’s also been bad with Norman Powell in that spot (minus-9.4 net rating in 48 minutes), and the Carroll-DeMar DeRozan-Jonas Valanciunas trio (the team’s most commonly used), while strong a year ago, has been a slight negative in 1,077 minutes.

Continue reading at The Athletic.

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