Yes, training camp is almost here. The first sign of the new season is media day, that’s the day when they take those pictures you’ll see for the rest of the year next to box scores, player comparisons and such. They measure their height (in shoes) and weight and re-introduce the team to the local media. There’s tons of interviews on the Raptors home page and there’s also Hoops Addict who’s got all the scrum audio including Jermaine O’Neal. See, I’m very jealous of the Hoops Addict, the man happens to have a press pass and if I ever meet the guy I’ll be sure to strike him down, rob him and leave him for the dead. Watch out buddy.
My brother from another mother Nathan Jawai has suffered an injury setback and will miss the early part of training camp. Something came up during his “cardiac screening”. Hopefully its just a heavy heart from missing Fosters beer and nothing more. I’m really curious to see what energy-level and hustle (if any) this guy brings to the table, maybe he can be the Joey Dorsey we never had. Just for the record I’m expecting zilch from him this season. Maybe a few instances of hilarity and couple Hump moments here and there but that’s about it. I’ve also decided to give him a nickname from here on out, people want to call him “Jaws” and such viscous names but given his rather raw skills, massive physique, I’ve come up with the name The Manatee. I will explain myself no further.
Michael Grange has made a post titled “Top Issues Facing Raptors”. He’s bringing up the points that we’ve been talking about for the past three months. Welcome Michael. There is a little quote in his article that is borderline shocking and offense and its attributed to Bryan Colangelo, here it is:
“Team president Bryan Colangelo thinks this is the most talented team the Raptors have had.”
The team that lost to the Knicks and then the following year beat the Knicks were vastly superior to these Raptors: True superstar. Check. Athleticism. Check. Talent. Check. Team balance. Check. Experience. Check. There’s really no comparison, just because we have O’Neal and Bosh on the same roster doesn’t mean we’re the best Raptors unit ‘ever’. This is media hype and quite frankly a hot steaming pile of bullshit.
On to the other writer that covers the Raptors, he’s saying that the Raptors are “a team with much promise but not much depth”. To me that’s an oxymoron statement, I think you need to be deep to have promise, unless by ‘promise’ he means how Colangelo’s promising that this is the most talented Raptors team ever and how one would expect the appropriate results to follow. Anyway, I”m getting caught up in semantics, his article’s about Andrea Bargnani and how he needs to play better for us to have a chance at climbing the Eastern Conference ladder. Enter Bryan Colangelo’s defensive quote:
“Different players react differently to the league and the circumstances. You’re talking about a guy who came in with the pressure of being the No. 1 pick, then the pressure of being the starting centre on a team with high expectations, a team that made the playoffs the year before. Guys evolve. He’s still just 22 – 23 soon – and it’s interesting to see people evolve. I do think that he’s feeling more comfortable in the locker room, on the floor with these guys. I think you’re going to see a different player and a different person this year.”
I hope he’s right but I don’t buy the “pressure of being the No. 1 pick” argument. What was that Caliper test all about? I thought Bargnani had the nerves to shoot a child in the face at point-blank range and not flinch as the blood trickles down his sleeve. He didn’t seem to show that pressure his rookie season so what happened? Here’s what happened: the scouts caught up with him and he/we failed to react. Him and the Raptors expected things in year two to go as swimmingly as they did in his rookie year without much further effort – a very wrong assumption. My take on Bargnani.
Apparently Bargnani didn’t back down once from Jermaine O’Neal over the summer while the latter was going “as hard as he could” at him. This is good news and might be a sign of his new found mental and physical toughness. According to the Sun, he’s gone through a “metamorphosis” and has turned into a female polar bear. Actually he’s gained 12-15 pounds, is stronger, more agile, got rid of his adenoids and fixed his deviated septum (God, I hate those). I’ll reserve judgment until I see him play but gaining physical strength is only the start of the rehab process of Bargnani. His technical issues last year were about as concerning as his physical “can’t box out” issues. We’ll see soon. Soon.
The Bleacher Report (I know, I know) ranked the 10 worst trades of the decade and surprisingly the Vince Carter fleecing isn’t on there. They do know that Aaron Williams sucked balls and Eric Williams never scored a meaningful hoop for us? On a parting note I’d like to remind you that Josh Howard loves America.
I go now. You there. You there on computer. Take this feed and eat it.Follow @raptorsrepublic