Were you hoping that Colangelo would come out and say, “It’s my fault, blame me” instead of “Our best player missed 12 games down the stretch”? No matter what you thought of that presser, you have to wonder just how he’s going to clean this mess up. Just how is he going to impress Chris Bosh before July 1st with the assets he has at his disposal. How can he turn Jose Calderon, Reggie Evans, Marco Belinelli and Co. into something Bosh would feel can compete for supremacy in the East. Steve Fruitman better be working overtime to come up with a trade that’ll blow our minds away and land us Chris Paul in the process.
The lasting impression of Colangelo for me was of a desperate man clutching onto the one true asset that he has, hoping that the extra $30M that the Raptors can offer Bosh will be enough to sway his decision. The sign-and-trade was added to the CBA as safety-net for teams who were resigned to losing their best player, and a more apt situation has never come to be. Perhaps Bosh, who already rejected an extension once, can be swayed by factors other than basketball to re-sign with the Raptors. Factors like an existing comfort-level with the city and organization, marketing opportunities in Canada (although, I never bought that), and friends like Hadi. That’s what Colangelo hopes, the more likely route however, is that Bosh sees the talent on the roster, the coaching, the ability of the GM, the Euro philosophy, the lack of progress over the last three years, and comes to a realistic decision that this is not the best place to win a championship. Hell, the word wasn’t even mentioned in Colangelo’s press-conference, we’re just aiming for 50 wins here.
Should we have faith in Bryan Colangelo? The question doesn’t matter because we don’t have a choice. The ownership seems committed to him and he’s committed to Andrea Bargnani and an offense-first mentality. Paying lip-service to the cause of defense is all well and good, but whether it’ll manifest itself on the court remains to be seen. Showing faith in your coach is an honorable thing to do, but when that coach has done very little over two years to prove that he can manage the personalities and strategies that come into play at the NBA level, it looks like you’re just hoping for things to change rather than forcing the issue.
Colangelo says he’s not selling himself but the desperation with which he was trying to point out the positives – Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, average win total over his four years compared to the four years before him, the 29 wins at the break – says otherwise. It’s a plea to the fans and Chris Bosh that there is a silver lining to this mess and that all is not “gloom and doom”, as he so stated numerous times. The HD-quality broadcast went some ways in making the usually stolid Colangelo appear doubtful of his own abilities. After all, he’s up against a lot. Talking up Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu and Jose Calderon to the media and ownership might even work, but selling that to NBA GMs who know only too well what the limitations of those three are is near impossible. So we were told that GMs – unnamed of course – think Bargnani’s got a great contract, how much of that is true and how much total fabrication we’ll never know. But hey, at least we can mention Andrea Bargnani in the same breath as LaMarcus Aldridge so all’s not bad.
Marc Iavaroni’s name wasn’t even mentioned and defense didn’t seem to be a great priority, instead we were treated to stats spanning 35 games of the soft part of the schedule. You can’t view an NBA season as a game by splitting it into four quarters and analyzing them independently, as Colangelo did. That viewpoint completely negates strength of schedule which is the main ingredient in a team’s W/L record over any given stretch. The number that I’d hope would be mentioned was our record against teams above and below .500 but that’s simply too inconvenient to mention, blaming injuries and the mysterious events at the All-Star break are far more easier. We were 26-9 against the teams under .500 and 14-33 against team’s over .500. How important is that number? It’s not a surprise that the final NBA standings are almost exactly sorted by the win total against teams over .500.
I don’t think I was the only one disappointed to hear that Jay Triano and Hedo Turkoglu would return, the latter likely because nobody else wants him although that’s not what Colangelo would have you believe. “You’ll see a [better] Hedo Turkoglu next year”, said Colangelo. Of course we will, it’s hard to be any worse. Colangelo needed 82 games to figure out that having Jack, Calderon and Turkoglu on the same team playing heavy minutes isn’t going to work out. It was evident after the first 10 games that we had too many cooks in the ball-handling kitchen and even when an opportunity presented itself at the deadline, Colangelo didn’t pull the trigger which would have improved the team.
The NBA summer is long and let’s kick it off with our first Rapcast of the off-season. You can click the play button below or listen directly in iTunes (58:31 min). If you’re having trouble with iTunes, just use the direct download for now. You may also download the file (20MB).[audio:http://raptorsrepublic.com/audio/2010-04-20-weekly.mp3]