José Calderón es un jugador desafortunado

The durability of Jose Calderon has again come into question after the Spanish point guard injured himself on international duty. In other Raptors-related international news, Linas Kleiza was described as a “hero” and a “villain” in the same game.

Jose Calderon just became a little more untradeable. This guy can’t catch a break, when he’s not being shoved in a trade to any team that’ll take him, he’s tearing his hamstring or some other muscle in his leg, which was the case on Sunday (video, see if you can spot it, I can’t). Not to be insensitive to the situation, but this further proves that he’s as durable as a diaper. I love his heart, his soul and all that good stuff, but the Raptors unknowingly ruined his basketball career by inflating his bank account and labeling him a starter. He was just fine as a backup and would’ve won Sixth Man of the Year by now if we didn’t give in to this incessant tendency to promote an in-form reserve player to a starter.

If you thought it was difficult to trade Calderon, it’s going to be doubly hard now. I might convince myself that this is a blessing in disguise and that we’re better of with him staying on the team and being the full-time backup point guard, something I know he’s not going to be averse to, being the team player and noble citizen that he is. It’s the only role he’s proven that he can excel at, and the Raptors need to recognize this and return him to his comfort zone.

His talent level appears to be somewhere between a backup and a starter, but not a starter, so there’s a solid chance that he’s going to outplay a lot of the point guards he faces in the second unit. The same could be said for Jack but he’s proven to be a durable player (zero games missed in the last three seasons), something Calderon has not (24 games missed in the last two seasons), and that alone should be enough to make this decision. His contract is a bit on the unsightly side, but there’s no reason to trade away a potentially big advantage in the second-unit just for the sake of it. It’s better to have him stick around, play backup till the trade deadline, get his trade value nice and high, and then evaluate our options.

I understand it’s a duty for for an international player to respond to a call-up by his country, and that should always remain the case, but both the Spanish Federation and Jose Calderon should know better than to play the latter in the summer given his bill of health the last two seasons. Well, it’s water under the bridge now, so all we can do is hope that Calderon gets better and ready to play 21 manageable minutes a game, which is what he did in his best season with the Raptors. Jay Triano is optimistic that he’ll be ready by training camp:

“It’s unfortunate that he will miss the worlds and playing for his country which he loves to do. The timing for him is not good, but he should heal sufficiently to be ready for camp and that will now be his focus.”

OK, let me get this straight. When he says “ready” does he mean ready to play basketball, or does he mean ready to stink the joint up and have a ready-made excuse for the first three months of the season? Because if it’s the latter, I’m not interested one bit. We’ve seen this song and dance before with Calderon and need to wait till he’s 187% before bringing him back, because when Rajon Rondo or Raymond Felton blow by him, I don’t want people to whip out the convenient injury excuse. Jose’s got a mild strain? Don’t play him. Headache? Call an ambulance and put him on the injured list. Sneezed too hard? Give him the night off. Simple as that.

If he’s not playing at his full ability, he is absolutely worthless to us because that’s when opposing PGs make it a point to go at him. In a decent defensive unit, Calderon’s hard work just might be enough to hide his individual weakness, but when he’s on one leg he’s no good on either end, because it’s not like he’s a scoring machine and will make up for what he gives up. Here’s a hint to Triano, and something that has known to happen numerous times over the last two years. When you ask Jose before the game if he’s 100% and he gives you a smile, that’s a sign his ass needs to be in civvies. If his answer to that question is anything other than “Yes sir, 100% sir, ready to go, sir!”, bench him.

The US beat Lithuania 77-61, the Raptors interest in the game was Linas Kleiza who went 5-12 for 12 points, 4 rebounds, three turnovers, and a technical which he picked up after Mantas Kalnietis fouled Rudy Gay on the break. Kleiza was described by the Lithuanian press as the hero of the first half and the villain of the second, because of the momentum shift his technical caused. Here’s a box score which, for unknown reasons, happens to be made available by the Team USA website in PDF format.

Snooping around the forums we receive further confirmation that Chris Bosh is a tool. I know this is a Raptors site and Bosh-talk doesn’t belong here any more, but I had to point out some pretty explicit words by NESN columnist Jill Steward:

Bosh packed it in when the Raptors could have made a legitimate run toward a playoff spot letting down the organization and the fans alike. He faked an injury in April, a key contending time for Toronto. He tweeted pictures of dinner dates with Dwyane Wade. He made a spectacle of himself during his free agency, and during that WWE-inspired introduction to Miami fans. And now he’s pulling out the stone face and saying “it was a business decision.”

Finally, we have received more evidence that Michael Jordan is closer to senility that we thought. I honestly believe that the greatness of a player is inversely proportional to his abilities as a GM. Jerry West being the exception.

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