Wednesday September 2 2009 – 10:06pm Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

I’ve had a number of people email me, message me on Twitter, and leave comments on this blog page about the recent feature on ESPN.com that had the Raptors finishing 9th in the East this season.  If you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here:

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=OffseasonPredictions09-EastStandings

Anyway, here are a couple of points …

1 – It’s SEPTEMBER.  Training Camps don’t open for another month and the regular season doesn’t start for another TWO months.  So everyone needs to just chill a bit.  Fans freaking out over ESPN’s prediction need to chill … and ESPN pretending like they have a clue how the season will unfold before seeing any of these teams together (chemistry, injuries, and so on) needs to chill as well. 

2 – The margin of error in ESPN’s prediction seems pretty big to me … given the fact that they have Atlanta finishing 4th again (with 45 wins) … while the Raptors are 9th with 39 wins.  That’s only SIX games separating 4th and 9th in the East.  That’s nothing.  You’re telling me their prediction can’t be wrong and the Raptors can’t, at the very least, pick up at least 6 more wins over the course of the season?

3 – If the Raptors don’t win more than 39 games and they fail to make the post-season … we will all be worrying about or talking about much bigger issues than ESPN’s prediction coming true!  Heads will roll.  Missing the playoffs is not an option for Toronto this season and with the talent that Bryan Colangelo has brought to town this summer, I’d imagine that anything under .500 would be considered a major disappointment by those in the organization. 

How do I see things stacking up for the Raps?

Well, this whole blog is about the ridiculousness of “predictions” coming 2 months before a meaningful game has even been played!  So I think it’d be a little hypocritical of me to start tossing out my bold forecasts.

However, speaking in generalities, I have said in recent weeks that I think the conversation about Toronto’s win total should start at 44 and there is no reason in my mind why they can’t or shouldn’t compete with the likes of Atlanta, Miami, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, and Chicago for seeds 4-6 in the East.

But again … it’s SEPTEMBER.  Let’s all chill.  Me included.

E. Smith

18 Responses to “ESPN’s Gloomy Forecast”
  1. 1.

    well, its an improvement from last year.

    - TomGfromBrampton
  2. 2.

    Yes, we all “Got’s to Chill… (à la EPMD) :D

    - James Ballswin (Realizar)
  3. 3.

    Well said, Eric. Power rankings in September are even more meaningless than power rankings in February.

    - Vittorio De Zen
  4. 4.

    No, TomGfromBrampton it is still a failure just like last season!

    - Raps Fan
  5. 5.

    Winning only 6 games more than last year seems a bit pessimistic. My prediction is that they will start slowly, until all the new faces gel, then time will tell. I’m looking for guys like Evans, Wright, and Johnson to change the team culture from nice guys to tough guys.

    - GeorgeNfrom Cobourg
  6. 6.

    Hi, Eric.

    If the Raptors fail to make the playoffs this coming season … at this point, a distinct possibility given the way the roster and coaching staff stack up against the other Middle-of-the-Pack teams in the EC … which specific heads do you believe would be in position to get cut off next spring/summer by “those in the organization” who would consider this a major disappointment?

    Thanks, in advance.

    - khandor
  7. 7.

    I believe everyone had the Raps pegged as finishing anywhere between 3rd and 5th in the East last year and we all know how THAT turned out.

    - MacKay
  8. 8.

    Khandor … everyone will be held accountable. From the top … right on down to the cleaning crew! Missing the playoffs is not an option this year

    - Eric Smith
  9. 9.

    ESPN can suck an egg. They are jealous and furious that Bosh landed in Toronto. They always do this to the Raptors and to the BLue Jays, putting idea’s in people’s head’s and words in their mouths. Here’s my prediction:

    WHO CARES WHAT ESPN HAS TO SAY???

    Just some old coats lineing their pockets.

    - T.J.
  10. 10.

    Just ran a fan poll on the Bleacher Report.
    92% thought the Raps will win 44+ games. About 1/3rd think they’ll win 50+.
    There is a lot of optimism out there!

    - Brothersteve
  11. 11.

    I just don’t get

    the Miami Heat is still in 5th place! They didn’t make any moves and I think Utah is going to keep C.Boozer.

    the Chicago Bulls would be in 6th seat because they don’t have a good front line and Ben.G is gone and I don’t think Janerno Pargo will give them 20+ points any given day!

    The Philadelphia 76ers, give me a break they don’t have a point guard Lu Williams is not good enough and True Hoilday is not ready. And with a major piece (Elton Brand) coming back and I don’t think he fits into the run and gun game.

    The Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors are in the 4-5 seat and they really have a good front line:

    M.William, Al Holfard, Jason Collions, Joe Smith and don’t forget ZAZA Pachulia!

    Can’t wait till the NBA season finally starts!!!!!!!

    - Raps Fan
  12. 12.

    Hi, Eric.

    Thanks for the reply.

    From your perspective, does that “everyone” also include Bryan Colangelo?

    FWIW, I had a well-known American columnist email me directly in the midst of last season to say that, according to his perception of the current [then] situation with the Raptors, he felt that there was going to be considerable “heat” placed on Bryan Colangelo this summer [2009] if the Raptors’ W-L record wasn’t turned around soon.

    What this columnist wanted to know from me was whether or not this was my impression, as well.

    What I told him was this:

    “Bryan Colangelo is NOT going to be fired anytime soon by the people running MLSE … regardless how poorly the team performs on-court for the foreseeable future, since the organization is under the [mistaken?] impression that he is by far the best GM they could possibly attract. Period.”

    Curious to know your answer to the question I asked above.

    Thanks, again, in advance.

    - khandor
  13. 13.

    All I’m going to say is **** ESPN!!THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY.

    - Matt
  14. 14.

    Lol ESPN probably just did that because it’s mostly Americans who visit their site, and they want them to be happy with the predictions. For the ones who are angered by them, just chill, their predictions are just as legit as anyone else who knows what they’re talking about.

    - Spencer C
  15. 15.

    i’m sure that opinion is held by almost everyone khandor, however, when i said everyone, i meant everyone. I didn’t say everyone would be fired – but everyone will be held accountable and will be looked at if this team has another sub-par or sub-.500 or out-of-the-playoffs season. that won’t be tolerated.

    - Eric Smith
  16. 16.

    Eric,

    In what way do you think Bryan Colangelo [GM] “will be held accountable”, if this team fails to make the playoffs this season?

    - khandor
  17. 17.

    If the Raps can play at least .500 during a difficult opening stretch, thereby avoiding the “it’s going to take time to gel” excuse, they will be fine. The bottom two thirds of the East can alomost be a pickem’ with injuries and unforeseens so a 4th to 9th is very possible with a 5-6th finish likely.

    I would MUCH sooner ESPN pick the Raps to finish 9th and provide fuel to the fire, rather than pick them to finish 3rd and crearte unrealistic expectations.

    - Gary
  18. 18.

    I’m stumped by the amount of time wasted on predicting how many games the Raptors will win this coming season.

    Do you think any fans in winning cities (ie. Orlando, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, LA, Phoenix, Utah, San Antonio, etc etc etc) care how many games their teams win?

    The answer is a resounding “NO!”.

    What they do care about is how far their team will advance in the playoffs and how likely it is they will reach the NBA Finals.

    All of this talk of 44, 39, 50 wins is so indicative of Raptors fans, who are just happy their team is in the NBA. I am so fed up with the low expectations and excuses this team throws at it’s fans…Colangelo is a complete joke…has achieved almost nothing in his run as both Phoenix and Toronto GM, and absolutely must go!

    Eric…in the context of your conversation about “heads rolling”, what happens if our Raps finish 5th to 8th and then get knocked out in the 1st round — again?

    Is that good enough for you?

    - brento
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