A number of peeps want to know my prediction for the Raptors vs Pacers series.
My MoVernie Prediction? Raptors in 6.
2016 is the year the Raptors will shine & get pass playoff round #1.
And this will also be the first time in franchise history that Toronto will win and take Game #1, which they have never done in the franchise history. Believe it or not, that’s freaky.
Here is the breakdown on the strengths and weaknesses for both Raptors & Pacers:
- Solid starting 5: Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are all-star this year and both have been the backbone of this team. In fact, one of the best guard tandem in the NBA this year. Newcomer DeMarre Carroll (before getting injured) blend in well with the group, doing what he does best, guarding the opposition top dogs. Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson played well in various periods of times over the season. They may have their flaws but each of them bring something unique to the table. Last but not least, manning the centre, Jonas Valanciunas got 4th quarter minutes this year with his improved defense and more complete, all-around offensive skills down the stretch of every game.
- Deep Depth of Bench Players: Raptors also have deep bench. Coach Casey has a number of players who can be slotted in different slots and be able to contribute in many different ways and looks.
3) Home Court Advantage: Whether the Raptors fans are inside the ACC or outside the ACC (aka Jurassic Park), the fans are noisy, full of energy and full of passion. That is a loud place to play against, it definitely affect the oppositions.
X-Factor: Norman Powell and DeMarre Carroll. I know it’s too much to ask a rookie to play an important role in the playoffs but I truly believe in Powell, who can shoot 3’s, play defense, drive inside for a nice layup or a slam dunk. He is fearless. That’s what I like, a guy who isn’t hesitate to take the shot or afraid to step up his game, while doing it quietly.
Meanwhile, Carroll, the $15M addition over the summer, despite injury, will still be important to guard guys like Paul George or Monta Ellis
- Coach Casey: Casey often has questionable rotation and stubborn on who to put in or out, despite a bench player could be shooting the lights out. Casey also like to stick with the same starting 5, which is quite predictable. If Casey continues to be out coached or fail to make good adjustment during the game or the entire playoff series, Raptors will be kick out the 3rd time in a row.
Raptors GM Masai Ujiri had said that whether to re-sign Casey or not does not depend whether if he can guide the team to the next round. To be honest, that was just full of bullshit. Remember, would any GM be stupid enough to say anything to affect the mental part of a team heading to the playoffs? Let’s sit down and think about this, would Masai tell the reporters that “Yes, if Casey get kick out of Round 1, he is gone?” before the eve of the playoff series? Most likely not, let’s use common sense here.
- Raptors have not won game #1 ever in franchise history. Will history repeats itself or become a new curse for the franchise? We will find out.
Coaching. What Raptors lacks in coaching is a major gain for the Pacers. Pacers major strength is strong coaching in Frank Vogel. Vogel has been a great coach guiding the Pacers year-in, year-out. Look at his roster this year, other than Paul George and Monta Ellis, there basically not much in the roster that you would call stars or core groups, but they get the job done and made the playoffs.
Think about this, their starting point guard, is George Hill, who only averages 3.4 assists per game this season. Are you kidding me? A starting point guard with only 3.4 assists is in the starting lineup and the team is making the playoffs. That’s because Vogel runs a system that guys like Ellis and Paul George can be a point man.
If Vogel wants to go small, Coach Casey better find a way to counteract Vogel’s tactics. Will Casey be out coach again? We will find out.
Weak bench: The roster is relatively weak compared to the deep bench players the Raptors got.
X-Factor: I really like Jordan Hill over the years and I think he will be a key contributor and expect way more playing minutes in this playoff. This guy can shoot and defend and grab key rebounds.
Anyhow, my MoVernie Prediction, Raptors in 6!