Courtesy: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

I knew someone growing up who had a recurring dream in which he was falling.  Granted, this is a common enough dream, but his had a unique twist to it.  He was walking down a yellow brick road, all the while being taunted to keep going by those on the edges of the path.  Without fail he would reach the end and wake up from falling off the edge.

So what does this have to do with the Raptors?  Absolutely nothing.  I just needed a transition to mention the Wizard of Oz.  You know, the movie about a fake all-powerful wizard who people/animals/things seek out to ask for gifts from??  Well I’m going to step into the role of the fact wizard and distribute some gifts.

Sure, this sounds like a dumb thing to do.  But it’s only preseason and I’m writing this well watching the Jays take on the Rangers.  I only have so much attention span write now, and research isn’t in the cards for tonight.

In other words, here’s what I would give to a few of our Raptors this season if I could.

Terrence Ross: Live Every Day Like It’s Preseason

Preseason Terrence Ross is a real thing.  This is the second year in a row that I’ve entered the season mentally ready for a Ross trade.  In fact, I’ve been expecting it for some time now.  And for the second year in a row, preseason Terrence Ross has shown up and tricked me into caring about him again.

His handle looks improved, his pull-up game has been on point, he is shooting without hestitation, and he is making the right decision more times than not.  If Ross plays like this for a full season he drastically changes what the Raptors can do on the court.  He would also greatly improve his trade value…which isn’t a bad thing either.

Jakob Poeltl: Courage

Yes, he’s a rookie.  And yes, there are going to be growing pains.  But through three preseason games he has looked hesitant to bang with the big bodies underneath the basket.  There are, as we knew upon his selection in the draft, glimmers of serious talent, but there seems to be a toughness lacking early in his career.

Pascal Siakam: Minutes, and Plenty of Them

I love Siakam.  He has shown many raw tools within a package of pure energy/effort.  What’s not to love?  I’m already imagining a future where Siakam becomes the starting power forward, and he’s already making a case for earning NBA minutes early this season.

But the NBA minutes he is earning will likely not be enough for the developmental goals that I’m picturing.  Playing in front of him is Valanciunas, Patterson, Sullinger, and possibly Nogueira, along with small-ball units that feature Carroll as a big man.  Even if he plays ahead of Nogueira, we are still talking about limited minutes with the Raptors.

Every chance there is Toronto needs to send him to the D-League for extended run.  We need another Norman Powell situation here.  Spotty minutes early with Raptors, followed by dominating in the D-League and learning the system, before returning to the big club for extended run.  Siakam could follow this same pattern this season.

Fred VanVleet: The15th Man

Kidding.  I don’t need to give him this since he’s already done enough to take it himself.  Capable defense, has shown the ability to run the offence, and does a great job of Nash-ing the pick-and-roll.  I entered the preseason hoping that Jarrod Uthoff would make it a battle, but Fred’s running away with it after three games.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry: Rest

I’m fine with not winning as many games as last year.  The important thing is that the Raptors need both Lowry and DeRozan to be healthy and rested when the playoffs start.  I’m in the camp that minute usage was a reason that both struggled for long stretches against both Miami and Indiana in the playoffs last year.

And this isn’t new.  This has been a general fan request for more than a year.  The Raptors shouldn’t ask either to be top 10 in the league of minutes per game this season.

I suppose this is what happens when it’s preseason and the Jays are in the playoffs.

If you could grant one wish to a Raptor, what would it be?


  • Jo6ix

    Cojo would become Joe 6ix. It’s about time

    • Dunkenstein

      Do you think know he is a top notch backup pg in this LEAGUE…. If so who is ahead of him?

      • Jo6ix

        Oh, sorry. I believe he is already there. I was purely positing a new nickname. I love Joe 6ix. I think there are plenty of Starting points in the league that pale in comparison. I just think the cojo moniker is uninspired, tired and derivative. Whadyasay?

  • TheGreekGeek

    Health! If healthy, we are really good.

  • R.D. Vaughan

    My wish to actually see Uthoff play during the preseason to show that he shouldn’t be the 15th man. Like you and many others I wanted Uthoff as the 15th man based on YouTube videos and various write ups. I’d at least like some minutes of eye time to see whatever the Raptor coaches are seeing.

  • R.D. Vaughan

    I came across this article on the potential, in the new CBA, for two way contracts with the D-League.
    http://www.ridiculousupside.com/2016/10/6/13192466/new-nba-cba-nba-dleague
    The article is worth reading for a few predictions what the results may be. I Assume it’s ratified, that it would be in effect for the 2017 season and with the predicted 1st round rookie scale increase. What effect will having extra 2017 1st round picks have on the Raptor’s poor cap position in a year that both 2Pat, Sully and KL are all FAs?

    With the Raptors using their NBA roster for plenty of young player development and having two 1st round picks, plus a 2nd rounder in 2017 the new CBA may result in a shift in Raptor’s player development roster balance strategy. Interesting developments ahead particularly for our team.

    • Dunkenstein

      I remember the Montreal Expos in the good old days. They couldn’t land top notch free agents but they had the best farm system in the league.
      Maybe this will hold true for the Raps as well.

      • WarriorPriest

        Those weren’t the good old days for the Expos, the good old days were in the late 70s and early 80s when they still could get big names and were still largely Canada’s team… it wasn’t until after those big years that they became the league’s farm system (both in terms of players and executives).

        • Dunkenstein

          On the contrary. The Spoz were never able to land top notch free agents. They tried to land Reggiemail Jackson but he went to the Yankees, stating that if he went to NY they’d name a candy bar after him.

  • james

    DeMarcus Cousins.

    • Jo6ix

      For picks

    • Dunkenstein

      From your mouth ( or keyboard ) to the big guys ears.

  • Dunkenstein

    1. A healthy Demarre Carroll.
    2. A slim, fit Sullinger ( don’t call him Sully ).
    3. A consistent Terrence Ross.
    4. Some solid end of quarter plays instead of the iso to DD.
    5. Improved 3 point shooting and D from DD.
    6. More touches for the big man from Lithuania.
    7. More Jack Armstrong.
    8. Less Leo Rautins.
    9. The return of Chuck instead of the boring fat guy we have now.
    10. A rested, healthy DeRozan and Lowry going to the playoffs.
    11. A return to the ECFinal.
    12. 4 wins in the eastern conference finals.
    13. An ankle injury to Lebron James at just the right time. ( nothing too serious ).
    11. 4 wins in the NBA finals.

    • Jo6ix

      I can get with that.

    • R.D. Vaughan

      Assuming all your wishes came true, would the commentators on RR still find things to complain about? My answer is a resounding YES!

      • distorsun

        We can always complain about the refs.

        • R.D. Vaughan

          You forgot, having no XMass game for the Raptors.

      • Dunkenstein

        LOL!

        No doubt, but they have a right to gripe.

      • Dunkenstein

        Let them complain. I’ll be celebrating.

      • n8

        If Chuck Swisrky actually came back I wouldn’t complain a day in my life again LMAO!

      • ramed nazored

        They’ll complain about Casey, as usual

    • james

      Wishes 4-8 are pure GOLD.

      • Dunkenstein

        Thanks , but I’m really holding out for wish 11.

    • Patrick

      hilarious

  • Partfoop

    Keep all injuries minor and brief!

  • NewMan

    1. DD to work on a 3pt shot (corner threes) and keep in motion before shooting for open looks
    2. KL to feed Valanciunas for 12 shots a game (esp. alley hoops)
    3. V to target 3 blocks, 12 rebounds a game
    4. DC to stay healthy
    5. Sully to Train Siakam to be an experienced Starting PF, when he cashes out next year
    6. CoJo to attack and look to dominate the game / scoring more
    7. Trade T-Ross after a HOT Preseason … for Okafor / Noels
    8. Push Norman to take TRoss spot (may not need to push … consistent 3’s)
    9. Patterson to average double-double
    10. Trade Nogueira, Delon and/or Bruno for 1 solid rotational player (perhaps as throw in for no.7)
    11. Put Heslip on the Bench for Scoring Punch (You need a man like that on your DD, team)
    12. Siakam to get 10 then 15 then 20 minutes a game … He can clean up alot of misses and rotate when Heslip, DD or Ross looses their man …
    13. Casey to use his most effective Scoring Lineup at least 30% of the time (which doesnt incl DD)
    14. Ujiri to keep finding steals on the cheap, Powell, Biyombo, Sully, Siakam,
    15. Prepare VanVleet to take over for Retiring Lowry in 3 years

  • ramed nazored

    A Derozan monster dunk over Jae Crowder