ImageImageImageImageImage

Starting center next year? Options are limited...

Moderators: 7 Footer, Duffman100, Alfred, lebron stopper, niQ, gojoorange, DG88, Morris_Shatford

Ell Curry
Veteran
Posts: 2,782
And1: 561
Joined: Oct 27, 2001
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#381 » by Ell Curry » Wed May 26, 2021 8:26 pm

Los Soles wrote:Obviously it's early, but minimum 30 minutes, this is the best playoff lineup so far:

Doncic
Hardaway
Finney-Smith
Kleber
Porzingis

Net rating: +34.9 (off rating: 140.0; def rating: 105.1)

Not a particularly stout defensive frontcourt, but five shooters and enough defense to keep Kawhi and PG13 from getting cooking (thus far).

Something like FVV-Trent-OG-Siakam-Muscala is a better defensive frontcourt and similarly loaded with shooting.


4 shooters around Luka isn't 4 shooters around Siakam.

Muscala's impact numbers were so much better than the other center options and we need spacing for Siakam so badly that he makes sense to sign to split time with Birch at the 5 and a young prospect like Gillespie or the #7 pick, I'm with you on that.

Muscala/Birch
Siakam/Boucher
OG/#7
Trent/Harris
VanVleet/Flynn

Is a solid bench, though it might be a case of Lowry leaving and we use the 19M on a center or a wing, #7 on the other spot and then the 5M exception gets us one of Birch or Muscala.
Where's the D?
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#382 » by Los Soles » Wed May 26, 2021 8:35 pm

Ell Curry wrote:4 shooters around Luka isn't 4 shooters around Siakam.

I agree that it's not the exact same thing, but I think the Raptors version would be really good on offense, and likely a good bit better defensively than that Mavs unit.

There's no Doncic-level offensive star, but with five shooters and both FVV and Siakam to initiate, there's plenty of offensive spark.
Ell Curry
Veteran
Posts: 2,782
And1: 561
Joined: Oct 27, 2001
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#383 » by Ell Curry » Wed May 26, 2021 9:31 pm

Los Soles wrote:
Ell Curry wrote:4 shooters around Luka isn't 4 shooters around Siakam.

I agree that it's not the exact same thing, but I think the Raptors version would be really good on offense, and likely a good bit better defensively than that Mavs unit.

There's no Doncic-level offensive star, but with five shooters and both FVV and Siakam to initiate, there's plenty of offensive spark.


I don't think it's comparable at all. Luka is a genius. Fred doesn't even probe inside the 3pt all that well and Siakam isn't a special passer.

We need shooting, but unless we're a top 3 defensive team AND add scorer (or Trent or OG make a leap of another 5-6 points a night into the low 20s) we won't get to a conference finals without a better offensive centerpiece, even if it's just someone who can run the show without being a huge scorer themselves like Lamelo.
Where's the D?
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#384 » by Los Soles » Thu May 27, 2021 3:59 am

Ell Curry wrote:I don't think it's comparable at all. Luka is a genius. Fred doesn't even probe inside the 3pt all that well and Siakam isn't a special passer.

Doncic-_____-Finney-Kleber-Porzingis . . . Net Rating: +12.8 . . . Off Rating: 123.4 . . . Def Rating: 110.7 (318 minutes)
FVV-_____-Anunoby-Siakam-Boucher . . . . Net Rating: +18.7 . . . Off Rating: 121.5 . . . Def Rating: 102.7 (143 minutes)

So my theory is that Muscala would be a better defender than Boucher, and his shooting would be enough for similar level offense. And the Boucher group was already better defensively -- and overall -- than the Porzingis group.
User avatar
Steelo Green
RealGM
Posts: 13,699
And1: 23,132
Joined: Feb 06, 2013

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#385 » by Steelo Green » Thu May 27, 2021 10:02 am

Muscala played 18 minutes a game and a lot of them garbage minutes.

He would be another Baynes.
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#386 » by Los Soles » Thu May 27, 2021 12:49 pm

Steelo Green wrote:Muscala played 18 minutes a game and a lot of them garbage minutes.

He would be another Baynes.

The biggest problem with Baynes was he couldn't shoot. Muscala has a much longer, more consistent track record making threes. He's also younger, with a good multi-year record as a defender. E.g., by three-year RAPM, he's listed at the 34th defender of 755.
User avatar
Steelo Green
RealGM
Posts: 13,699
And1: 23,132
Joined: Feb 06, 2013

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#387 » by Steelo Green » Thu May 27, 2021 1:00 pm

Los Soles wrote:
Steelo Green wrote:Muscala played 18 minutes a game and a lot of them garbage minutes.

He would be another Baynes.

The biggest problem with Baynes was he couldn't shoot. Muscala has a much longer, more consistent track record making threes. He's also younger, with a good multi-year record as a defender. E.g., by three-year RAPM, he's listed at the 34th defender of 755.

Small sample size and depends on the matchups. My guess is a lot of it is against benches and bench warmers.

If Muscala was so valuable on D, it would have been known by now and he would have been used as such.

He’s also really bad on O. Just not going to be useful.
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#388 » by Los Soles » Thu May 27, 2021 2:03 pm

Steelo Green wrote:Small sample size and depends on the matchups. My guess is a lot of it is against benches and bench warmers.

If Muscala was so valuable on D, it would have been known by now and he would have been used as such.

He’s also really bad on O. Just not going to be useful.

I think we need the best combo of shooting + defense we can find. JJ Redick blended with Bill Russell doesn't exist. We get imperfect.

Regardless, someone has to start at center next year. We either stick with what we already have, target a bigger name who probably doesn't come (e.g., Myles Turner), draft a starting center, or find someone under-the-radar (e.g., Muscala or Portis). There's no perfect answer. Whatever we do is a risk.

What's your solution?
Ell Curry
Veteran
Posts: 2,782
And1: 561
Joined: Oct 27, 2001
Location: Newfoundland

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#389 » by Ell Curry » Thu May 27, 2021 6:53 pm

Los Soles wrote:
Ell Curry wrote:I don't think it's comparable at all. Luka is a genius. Fred doesn't even probe inside the 3pt all that well and Siakam isn't a special passer.

Doncic-_____-Finney-Kleber-Porzingis . . . Net Rating: +12.8 . . . Off Rating: 123.4 . . . Def Rating: 110.7 (318 minutes)
FVV-_____-Anunoby-Siakam-Boucher . . . . Net Rating: +18.7 . . . Off Rating: 121.5 . . . Def Rating: 102.7 (143 minutes)

So my theory is that Muscala would be a better defender than Boucher, and his shooting would be enough for similar level offense. And the Boucher group was already better defensively -- and overall -- than the Porzingis group.


I agree that we should prioritize shooting at the 5 if we don't move up in the lottery and get an initiator like Green, Suggs or Cade, and it's possible we'd be a decent regular season team on O, but unless OG makes a leap or Siakam gets back to being a 2nd team all NBA kind of guy, we'll still be the team we saw against the Celtics unable to score in the halfcourt.

Our D was a mess this year, but a team with Freddy at the 1 and OG and Siakam at forward not playing in Tampa should get back to being a top 10 D I would think, even if Trent is meh at the 2 and we're playing a rookie decent minutes off the bench.
Where's the D?
User avatar
Pooh_Jeter
Lead Assistant
Posts: 4,687
And1: 7,590
Joined: Apr 29, 2008

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#390 » by Pooh_Jeter » Thu May 27, 2021 8:05 pm

I don't know how you can justify Muscala being the answer for anything. His on/off numbers are gaudy for this year, but he played limited minutes for a team actively tanking then was shut down for the last 2 months of the season. There is no track record of him ever being even close to that effective in the NBA other than this year.

DRAPM is extremely noisy, you can't use that alone to justify him being a plus defender. Everywhere he has been, he has been a stretch big off the bench, counting on him at 29/30 to be any sort of break out candidate would be a bad idea.

Even his shooting is noisy, he projects as slightly above average, but he hasn't been that consistently throughout his career.

What makes any Luka surrounded by shooters lineup work is Luka. It's working backwards trying to find a stretch 5. Spacing has become paramount in the league, but those lineups work when you have that alpha ball handler/playmaker. A FVV/Siakam combo isn't going to get it done unless you're simply aiming to sneak into the playoffs.
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#391 » by Los Soles » Thu May 27, 2021 11:40 pm

Ell Curry wrote:I agree that we should prioritize shooting at the 5

Pooh_Jeter wrote:I don't know how you can justify Muscala being the answer for anything.

Let me just state the big picture idea again: best combo of Defense + Shooting at center that we can find. That combo is rare, and there's no perfect.

Just basic shooting minimums, that list is already small for "centers". E.g., min 30 made threes at 35% for "centers" (as defined by nba.com/stats) gives this list:

  1. Vucevic
  2. Randle
  3. KAT
  4. Markkanen
  5. Porzingis
  6. Jokic
  7. Boucher
  8. John Collins
  9. JaMychal Green
  10. Dean Wade
  11. Muscala
  12. Reid
  13. Embiid
  14. Love
  15. Horford
  16. Gasol
Then strip out the "impossible to obtain" and "older than Lowry" and "pretty clearly bad at defense" guys (by DRAPM or defensive RAPTOR or something along those lines -- using non-negative defensive RAPTOR this time), and you're left with a very short list:

  • Vucevic
  • Boucher
  • John Collins
  • Muscala
  • Reid
  • Horford
^ One is already on our team, one is pretty old, and others are really expensive (or will be next year). Muscala isn't Rudy Gobert on defense, and he isn't JJ Redick on offense. But by the best objective measures we have, he's one of the best/only options in the NBA for Defense + Shooting at center that might be possible to obtain/afford.

As I've mentioned multiple times, I'm open to other ideas -- guys that don't quite hit these marks (e.g., Portis, Turner, Olynyk). But I'm asking you to at least consider engaging with the basic parameters I'm putting forth: Defense + Shooting (and obtainable/affordable). If you have a brilliant solution that I'm missing...GREAT!!! Let us know.
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#392 » by Los Soles » Thu May 27, 2021 11:48 pm

Los Soles wrote:
Steelo Green wrote:[something condescending and defeatist]

What's your solution?

Anything?
islandboy53
Sophomore
Posts: 202
And1: 102
Joined: May 09, 2016
 

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#393 » by islandboy53 » Fri May 28, 2021 2:08 pm

Los Soles wrote:
Ell Curry wrote:I agree that we should prioritize shooting at the 5

Pooh_Jeter wrote:I don't know how you can justify Muscala being the answer for anything.

Let me just state the big picture idea again: best combo of Defense + Shooting at center that we can find. That combo is rare, and there's no perfect.

Just basic shooting minimums, that list is already small for "centers". E.g., min 30 made threes at 35% for "centers" (as defined by nba.com/stats) gives this list:

  1. Vucevic
  2. Randle
  3. KAT
  4. Markkanen
  5. Porzingis
  6. Jokic
  7. Boucher
  8. John Collins
  9. JaMychal Green
  10. Dean Wade
  11. Muscala
  12. Reid
  13. Embiid
  14. Love
  15. Horford
  16. Gasol
Then strip out the "impossible to obtain" and "older than Lowry" and "pretty clearly bad at defense" guys (by DRAPM or defensive RAPTOR or something along those lines -- using non-negative defensive RAPTOR this time), and you're left with a very short list:

  • Vucevic
  • Boucher
  • John Collins
  • Muscala
  • Reid
  • Horford
^ One is already on our team, one is pretty old, and others are really expensive (or will be next year). Muscala isn't Rudy Gobert on defense, and he isn't JJ Redick on offense. But by the best objective measures we have, he's one of the best/only options in the NBA for Defense + Shooting at center that might be possible to obtain/afford.

As I've mentioned multiple times, I'm open to other ideas -- guys that don't quite hit these marks (e.g., Portis, Turner, Olynyk). But I'm asking you to at least consider engaging with the basic parameters I'm putting forth: Defense + Shooting (and obtainable/affordable). If you have a brilliant solution that I'm missing...GREAT!!! Let us know.


Your analysis is excellent, and appreciated, and the conclusion is solid. Next year is a transition year. In my opinion, we have the talent right now to be a top six team, but getting to the second round of the playoffs, or beyond, will be a stretch. We'll add a decent piece when Lowry leaves, either via sign and trade or using cap space freed up, but that's highly unlikely to be our long term starting centre. We'll add talent at the draft, of course, and, if we're lucky, that WILL be our longer term starting centre, which will make this discussion moot. Most likely, though, it will be a wing or guard, and won't make us substantially better in the short term. Muscala, along with Birch and Gillespie, would give us a solid centre rotation in the short term as we develop our talent and build to the next championship.
planetmars
Rookie
Posts: 1,014
And1: 791
Joined: Jun 15, 2018

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#394 » by planetmars » Fri May 28, 2021 2:29 pm

Does OKC trade Horford with a pick attached to unload his contract? Or do they keep eating it? If we want another pick and a center, we could guarantee Hood, Baynes and Boucher and trade all three for Horford and one of their many FRP's. We don't really need the cap space.. and Horford can be penciled in as a starting center on day 1. We can get that pick for Boucher that many wanted anyway.
User avatar
Pooh_Jeter
Lead Assistant
Posts: 4,687
And1: 7,590
Joined: Apr 29, 2008

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#395 » by Pooh_Jeter » Fri May 28, 2021 5:06 pm

Los Soles wrote:
Ell Curry wrote:I agree that we should prioritize shooting at the 5

Pooh_Jeter wrote:I don't know how you can justify Muscala being the answer for anything.

Let me just state the big picture idea again: best combo of Defense + Shooting at center that we can find. That combo is rare, and there's no perfect.

Just basic shooting minimums, that list is already small for "centers". E.g., min 30 made threes at 35% for "centers" (as defined by nba.com/stats) gives this list:

  1. Vucevic
  2. Randle
  3. KAT
  4. Markkanen
  5. Porzingis
  6. Jokic
  7. Boucher
  8. John Collins
  9. JaMychal Green
  10. Dean Wade
  11. Muscala
  12. Reid
  13. Embiid
  14. Love
  15. Horford

  16. Gasol
Then strip out the "impossible to obtain" and "older than Lowry" and "pretty clearly bad at defense" guys (by DRAPM or defensive RAPTOR or something along those lines -- using non-negative defensive RAPTOR this time), and you're left with a very short list:

  • Vucevic
  • Boucher
  • John Collins
  • Muscala
  • Reid
  • Horford
^ One is already on our team, one is pretty old, and others are really expensive (or will be next year). Muscala isn't Rudy Gobert on defense, and he isn't JJ Redick on offense. But by the best objective measures we have, he's one of the best/only options in the NBA for Defense + Shooting at center that might be possible to obtain/afford.

As I've mentioned multiple times, I'm open to other ideas -- guys that don't quite hit these marks (e.g., Portis, Turner, Olynyk). But I'm asking you to at least consider engaging with the basic parameters I'm putting forth: Defense + Shooting (and obtainable/affordable). If you have a brilliant solution that I'm missing...GREAT!!! Let us know.


The issue is that you're attempting to fill a hole with as you noted is something the league has a dearth of. If the answer becomes pursuing Mike Muscala, perhaps the better solution is attempting to find defense and shooting elsewhere and fill the centre spot with someone else.

Khem Birch is an objectively better player than Muscala. Bigs in general have been undervalued in the pursuit of extra spacing/shooting. Every year there are quality bigs who sign for cheap. The ability to roll to the rim hard provides spacing too and those players typically are much better rebounders as well.

Luka Doncic is what makes the Mavs tick. Parsing through all these random lineup combinations to find the perfect balance of +/- and DRAPM is not going to make up for not having Luka Doncic. A player like that elevates every single role player around him. This is the point, you don't build from the role players out, you build from the star out. Mike Muscala isn't going to unlock FVV and Siakam into stars.
User avatar
Los Soles
Starter
Posts: 2,401
And1: 789
Joined: Sep 29, 2010
Location: الوطن العربي
   

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#396 » by Los Soles » Fri May 28, 2021 5:58 pm

Pooh_Jeter wrote:Khem Birch is an objectively better player than Muscala.

Huh? By what "objective" measure? :dontknow: Muscala has the better rating in three-year RAPM, total RAPTOR, and RPM. That doesn't mean Muscala is "objectively" better than Birch...but I'm not the one making that kind of claim.

Pooh_Jeter wrote:Mike Muscala isn't going to unlock FVV and Siakam into stars.

The Raptors finished second in the East post-Kawhi with a young core. It is of course possible that with good development, the right complementary additions/replacements, and some breaks, that same core could reasonably compete to win the East. My theory is that shooting at the 5 is a key "complementary" piece for this particular core.

The "stars" narrative is superficial. You need effective offense and effective defense. If you have effective offense, and one particular guy scores a lot, pundits call him a "star". If you have effective offense, but no particular player scores a lot...you still have effective offense.
VanWest82
RealGM
Posts: 12,711
And1: 12,629
Joined: Dec 05, 2008

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#397 » by VanWest82 » Fri May 28, 2021 6:03 pm

Are there any decent options in Europe? I expect we'll re-sign Birch and draft a big (likely 2nd round) to develop.
User avatar
Steelo Green
RealGM
Posts: 13,699
And1: 23,132
Joined: Feb 06, 2013

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#398 » by Steelo Green » Fri May 28, 2021 6:19 pm

People keep referencing the 19-20 season as if Kyle aging two years isn’t a big factor as to why we can’t replicate that.

He was your best player.
VanWest82
RealGM
Posts: 12,711
And1: 12,629
Joined: Dec 05, 2008

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#399 » by VanWest82 » Fri May 28, 2021 6:36 pm

Steelo Green wrote:People keep referencing the 19-20 season as if Kyle aging two years isn’t a big factor as to why we can’t replicate that.

He was your best player.


Good point. Also, people keep referencing the 19-20 season as if our young veterans gaining another year of experience has no impact on our ability to develop other aspects of our team.

We have new best players now. Driven, hard working players who are only 23-26 don't just stop improving.
User avatar
Steelo Green
RealGM
Posts: 13,699
And1: 23,132
Joined: Feb 06, 2013

Re: Starting center next year? Options are limited... 

Post#400 » by Steelo Green » Fri May 28, 2021 6:42 pm

VanWest82 wrote:
Steelo Green wrote:People keep referencing the 19-20 season as if Kyle aging two years isn’t a big factor as to why we can’t replicate that.

He was your best player.


Good point. Also, people keep referencing the 19-20 season as if our young veterans gaining another year of experience has no impact on our ability to develop other aspects of our team.

We have new best players now. Driven, hard working players who are only 23-26 don't just stop improving.

Doesn’t matter. None of these guys will ever be as good as Kyle.

Having good players is irrelevant. You need the best players. Kyle was a top 15 player leading us to 50 wins year in and out before Fred and Pascal were even in the NBA. He was the key factor.

The second half is moot. You act like all NBA a players aren’t driven and hard working for the most part.

This core is mediocre. Simple as that.

Return to Toronto Raptors