May 4, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors fans after a loss to the Brooklyn Nets in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. Brooklyn defeated Toronto 104-103. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Raptors Analysis: Win Shares and the Eastern Conference

By last season’s end, the Toronto Raptors had much to celebrate. Despite the gut-wrenching loss to the Nets, the Raptors certainly surpassed even the most optimistic pre-season expectations.

Great chemistry? Check.

Strong leadership by star players? Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan fit that bill. Check.

Heck, even the ambassadorship of lint-rolling singer Drake seemed mostly spot-on, right? Sure. Check.

Everything in Rapsville pointed to the first-round loss as a learning experience, sure to help this group improve for next season.

But that’s where my fear started. I bet I’m not alone.

Put your hand up if you’ve worried that…

a) Kyle Lowry’s physical style can’t be repeated year after year

b) DeMar DeRozan’s shooting touch could evaporate

c) Jonas Valanciunas may have peaked

d) Drake may forget his lint roller some night, leading to general “lintyness”

Hand still up? Don’t worry. So’s mine.

Believe, Raps Fans!

Apr 30, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;Toronto Raptors fans in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Brooklyn 115-113. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

I’m here to quell those fears. At least, I’m here to quell fears a), b), and c). A look at last season’s win shares with next season’s roster in mind shows that the Raptors faithful have much to look forward to next season.

Looking at next season’s Eastern Conference rosters for teams that matter (sorry Milwaukee, Detroit, etc.) brings hope. Let’s check out win shares for the likely 8-man rotations of the upper crust of the East.

*note: sorry Miami. You’re not upper crust. In Toronto, we have a real good sense of  where Chris Bosh-led teams wind up in the standings.

Washington  –> total = 40.9

Marcin Gortat (win share = 8.1), John Wall (7.9), Paul Pierce (5.2), Martell Webster (5.0), Kris Humphries (4.1), Bradley Beal (4.0), DeJuan Blair (3.4),  Nene Hilario (3.2)

Cleveland –> total =43.7

LeBron James (15.9), Kyrie Irving (6.7), Tristan Thompson (5.7), Anderson Varejao (5.4), Andrew Wiggens (4.9 in college), Mike Miller (3.9), Dion Waiters (1.6), Anthony Bennett (-0.4)

Indiana –> total = 43.3

Paul George (10.8), David West (8.1), George Hill (7.8), Roy Hibbert (5.4), Ian Mahinmi (3.3), C.J. Watson (3.2), Luis Scola (2.5), Rodney Stuckey (2.2)

Chicago –> total = 44.8

Joakim Noah (11.2), Doug McDermott (7.7 in college), Jimmy Butler (7.1), Mike Dunleavy (6.5), Taj Gibson (5.7), Kirk Hinrich (3.8), Pau Gasol (3.0), Derrick Rose (-0.2)

*note: Derrick Rose, if healthy, will obviously out produce the negative score but McDermott will be in tough to produce a 7.7 WS. Let’s call it square.

Toronto –>total = 48.1

Kyle Lowry (11.7), DeMar DeRozan (8.8), Jonas Valanciunas (6.7), Amir Johnson (6.3), Terrence Ross (4.2), Patrick Patterson (3.8), Greivis Vasquez (3.6), Tyler Hansbrough (3.0)

*note: Lou Williams not included…WS of 2.6

*note part 2: all stats (except college) courtesy of Check this chart.

Sure, there are a lot of ifs and buts. But, as a rough guide, if players perform similarly from one year to the next, Raptors fans can expect our team to be right in the mix with the best of the East next season. Heck, if these numbers hold true, we should expect the Raptors to be the class of the East.

Now how’s that for quelling your fears?

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Tags: Toronto Raptors

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