Toronto: Grade-C-: A few weeks ago the Raptors looked like they had the Playoffs locked up, however that is when the injuries to the team proved to be too much of a burden to overcome. As New York Vinnie has written all season long about Toronto, there is talent on that roster. Now the question becomes can they play as a cohesive unit: And is Jay Triano the right bench boss to get them to become that team?
Often times, you hear the phrase, "coach is too soft on them, he’s not tough enough". In my opinion, it’s not about being "tough" on your players, it’s about making them accountable. Players have to know what is expected them, what is acceptable and what is not. You don’t have to be "tough" on them to make your players accountable.
What kind of culture are you striving to create? What are your non-negotiables?
I always like to watch the benches when I watch games, I can always tell the culture of the team by watching the bench, and how players behave when on the bench. When I look at the Raptors bench this season, I didn’t always see a team that was business-like and focused on the same goal.
Thirty years in the business and I have never seen such acceptance of choking down the stretch as I saw in the Toronto Raptors locker room after they failed to make the playoffs. Other than Chris Bosh beating a hasty exit and looking properly annoyed, my lingering memory will be Sonny Weems singing. Of course, considering the ovation the Raptors were given after choking – not to mention the insipid cheering that greeted free pizza when the Raptors hit the 100-point mark – you could argue they were just feeding off a non-discriminating home crowd. Jose Calderon was booed louder when his mug was shown on the Rogers Centre video-board at Friday night’s Jays game.
Then there’s Chris Bosh. He’s playing in the first round against the…oh, wait, he’s sitting next to us on the couch. Mr. Bosh plays for the Toronto Raptors and doesn’t want the postseason to be an apparition. So it’s possible he’ll fly south to Miami. Or wind up in Chicago. Or maybe he’ll play for subway fare and join Mr. James, Mr. Wade, the ghost of Wilt Chamberlain and Katie Couric on a New York Knicks superteam for the ages.
Today’s feature is focused upon another new acquisition for the Raptors in 2009-10, point guard Jarrett Jack, who signed as a free agent with the Raptors after spending some time with the Indiana Pacers. Jack was brought on with the intention of being a solid back-up to Jose Calderon, that would provide the Raptors some leadership and scoring punch off of the bench, something they lacked the previous year in Roko Ukic. Another factor that drew Jarrett to Toronto was the year he spent together with Raptors all-star Chris Bosh at Georgia Tech -a camaraderie that many organizations love to have whenever possible.