The Toronto Raptors ended the 2016-17 regular season with an impressive 51-31 record, tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
However, their season came to an unflattering end as they were swept by the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semifinals in a series that wasn't particularly close.
The team managed to re-sign star point guard Kyle Lowry this offseason, but had to make some sacrifices to keep their payroll under control, including trading forward DeMarre Carroll to the Brooklyn Nets in what was essentially a salary dump.
On his way out of Toronto, though, Carroll didn't hold back on the team's culture. He told the Toronto Sun that he didn't like the offensive style the Raptors used and doesn't think many other players enjoyed it either:
“I wasn’t surprised because I knew it was a lot of things going on last year that didn’t come out,” Carroll said on Sunday in his first interview following the deal.
“I wasn’t happy, my agent, we thought the style of ball was going to be different, it was going to be more team-oriented, but I guess it was still ISO (isolation), so I thought they would have moved me last year, but that didn’t happen.”
Obviously, the Raptors didn't trade Carroll last season, leading to this year being a lost one for the once-promising forward. He simply didn't fit into the Raptors' offensive plans this year and will be better off on a new team.
Carroll said he'll be rooting for his old teammates to have a great season, but doesn't think the new system will last very long before guys go back to the old way of doing things:
“They say they’re going to try something different, I would love to see it (work). It’s always good to do it,” he said, adding he believes they will start the season trying to stick to the new plan.
“But once adversity hits and stuff starts going wrong, guys are going to go back to ISO basketball, that’s how it is. You’ve got to trust it. It’s one of those things you’ve got to build, you’ve just got to trust each other. This year, I feel like a lot of guys didn’t trust each other and a lot of guys, they didn’t feel like other guys could produce or (be) given the opportunity, so there was a lot of lack of trust on our team, so that’s what hindered us from going (as far as they wanted to go).”
No matter what happens next season, the Raptors will almost certainly still be in a better position than the Nets, who are facing a long rebuilding process. By the time the calendar turns to 2018, Carroll may be wishing he was still north of the border with the Raptors.