When LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers came into Toronto and won both games, then headed back to Cleveland to sweep the Raptors in the Semifinals for the second consecutive year, fans knew something was going to happen. They just didn’t know what would happen.
Would the front office give up on the current roster and start selling pieces off to stockpile draft picks? Should the team add to the roster and go after a free agent? Should they be happy with a 59-win season and leave the roster alone?
Or would they put the blame on the head coach and fire Dwane Casey?
Sure enough, they opted to get rid of Casey. But that doesn’t mean that the team is going to stand pat with the roster as it is. Could a new head coach get something out of this group that Casey couldn’t? It’s possible.
But does Toronto’s front office want to risk the season on that? It is not like Casey was a poor coach. He was named Coach of the Year after the Raptors let him go. Whoever they do hire could bring that certain something that’s missing.
However, it’s impossible to know if he/she can until next season gets underway.
So, if they stand pat and give the new head coach a chance, they risk having their core get older while not being any more successful than they already have been.
The prudent thing would be to do something— but what? Buy or sell? It depends on where they need the most help.
On the offensive side of the game, they averaged 111.7 points a game during the regular season, third-most in the NBA. They have five guys who averaged in double figures with DeMar DeRozan leading the way with 23.0 points/game.
On the defensive side of the game, they were pretty stingy allowing just 103.9 points/game during the regular season. Only five teams allowed less.
Their regular season point differential of +7.8 was the second-best mark in the NBA and led to them winning 59 games. Only the Houston Rockets won more (65).
On paper, they appear to be one of the better teams in the league with a powerful offense and a stingy defense. But for some reason, they can’t seem to compete with LeBron James and the Cavaliers come playoff time.
It seems that a very good regular season team turns into just a good team in the postseason. A good team can make it past the first-round but it isn’t going to beat the kind of competition it will see in the second.
That’s not a personnel issue. That’s a coaching issue and the Raptors have already addressed that.
For now, the smart play would be to hire the best coach possible and see what that person can do with the roster. If the opportunity arises to add someone that could make the team better without taking anyone away, they should. But they should try to hold onto their guys (for now).
However, if the new coach doesn’t make any headway next season, all bets are off next offseason.