D- (Defense) It has been talked about a lot, but really it is pretty amazing what Dwane Casey has been able to produce in his first season, with all the obstacles this season has provided by it's very nature. Raptors currently rank 11th in points allowed, 9th in FG%, 19th at defending the 3. Last year the Raptors were 26th in points allowed, 29th in FG%, 28th (tied) with Utah at defending the 3. Pretty much any stat new school or old school will show you that Raptors have improved significantly on defense. Is it the system or the guy running the system? It likely is both as Dwane Casey has changed the mentality of this team and that is him as a coach. While his system has made even a guy like Jose Calderon look like an average defender at times. That is some amazing stuff to do that. So credit to Casey and if the Raptors add a few more defensive minded guys it could even get better.
N- (No More Jonas Talk Please?) One of the guys that will help improve that Defense is likely Jonas Valanciunas. Still, why the Raptors are continually throwing him out there and promoting the hall out of him I both get and also don't get. It is nothing more than simplest media trick in the book really. The art of distraction at it's finest. When you learn Magic the art of it is all about distracting the eye. Get your focus and attention away and distract you. Then suddenly where the hell did that quarter go? But here is the thing, while the Raptors are busy distracting you from the fact that they are not good. Getting you to dream of the future, they are setting this kid up for more pressure than he deserves or needs. Honestly the Raptors should know better based on their experience with Andrea Bargnani. Thanks to all of the hype for the coming of Jonas and huge expectations, what happens if he doesn't explode out of the gates? The odds in general suggest big men regardless of where they come from have a tougher time adjusting to the NBA. It will take this young man time not only to learn in the NBA but adapt to a whole new culture. So why would you create this hype and added pressure on this kid? It is irresponsible and short sighted on the part of the Raptors. There has been more than enough praise for the pick outside of the organization that this PR driven distraction was not needed or required. I hope for the sake of this kid, he can overcome this hype and deliver right away. If not people who have bought into the hype will be quick to turn on him. You don't believe me? It didn't take long for Andrea Bargnani to find his critics and it likely is part of the reason his path has been so long. He had the unfortunate situation that he was drafted first, so it was hard to avoid it. In this case, Jonas wasn't the first pick and there was no real reason to hype this kid other than to distract from this awful season and get people to buy season tickets next year. MLSE is great at filling their pockets with money that has never been a question. However, in doing that, they sometimes cost themselves in terms of that whole idea of winning.
B (Balls) As in Lottery Balls. Tired of this stupid tanking stuff. The ship has sailed. The Raptors are not tanking their way to anything better than the 4th worst record overall. Losing has an impact and you saw it in the recent Twitter outburst from Demar DeRozan. It seems to have got Demar back on the right path now though. Still, losing never does you any good at the end of the day. The Raptors need to have the odd win here and there to keep this thing heading in the right direction. While some folks won't be around, like Anthony Carter who is expected to be released, many will be. In terms of the guys like DeRozan, Ed Davis, James Johnson and others they need to see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. It is not like this team is two players away from winning an NBA Championship. If you think that you really are a little crazy. So whatever comes based on your merit, take it and roll with it. Chances are in this draft you can find a good player picking anywhere in the lottery. What is also true is as far as I am concerned, there is not that Franchise Changing Superstar in this draft. Not to mention the stats on the NBA Lottery are pretty clear in that being the worst only gives you a top 4 pick guaranteed. It seldom works out for the team with that worst record. It is a moot argument at this point because there is no way you can convince me the Raptors can be worse than the Bobcats, Wizards and Hornets.
So that was it DNB in the DNB. Will it last as a feature? As long as we can keep finding topics that start with D N B it will.