Show idea: The fifteenth man of the Raptors should be selected based on a reality TV show. You got to keep it simple: one cage, two lions, three players. Take that idea and suddenly being the guy on the deep end of the bench means something. Imagine the respect Patrick O’Bryant would’ve garnered if he had “earned” his spot on the bench by suffocating a lion in single-combat? Hell, that’s MVP material to me any day.
It’s promotions and raises all around at the club. Marc Eversley takes Masai Ujiri’s job, and Alvin Williams takes the title of Director of Player Development where his responsibilities include providing “life skills training”. Damn, I’m happy for Alvin but that is a seriously deep responsibility. It’s one thing to screw up a play and lose the game, another to give the wrong ‘life’ advice and be indirectly responsible for somebody’s baby mama and alimony. Good luck to Alvin, I suppose this is what we all wanted from him, he gets an authoritative title which will make him get into players’ ears more easily. It’s much easier to take the Director of Player Development seriously than, say, the semi-assistant sitting in the front row.
Does this mean that there’s an opening for Alvin Williams’ old job? If so, what kind of an assistant coach would be valuable to the team? A bit tired of seeing a figurehead in that role, would much rather have a specialty coach, say a Dave Hopla. Imagine how much a guy like that could help out DeMar DeRozan or Amir Johnson, two guys desperately seeking to improve their jumper so that the rest of their offensive game can fulfill its potential. Hopla is an in-demand coach who does three-day coaching contracts, so getting him on-board would require some cash. Another option could be to focus on our young core of big men in Johnson, Davis, Alabi and Bargnani, to try to improve their games. Again, I couldn’t tell you who to get in here, because it seems the only people good enough to take on this kind of role are great, great players. Based on that, I’d say Kevin McHale would be a sound choice.
Jay Triano gave an interview to the Fan 590 in which he said an utterly stupid thing. When speaking about the different challenges Team USA faced, he decided to give two examples:
It just seemed there was a different challenge everyday. To play the Russians in the quarter finals on 38 years to the anniversary of the date the Americans were denied gold by Russia in that very controversial game in the ’72 Olympics. Then to play in an Islamic country on the anniversary of 9/11 in the semi-final game and then to beat Turkey in Istanbul for the gold medal.
Really? That’s the angle he chose to look at things from? It’s like he’s thinking Team USA was exacting revenge for 9/11 by beating Lithuania and Turkey in a Muslim country. Triano’s got to get a grip on things here, he’s been a politically correct guy and there’s no reason to not keep on towing the line, I’ll write this slip-up off to momentary idiocy.
The World Championship part of this interview is mostly giving credit to Coach K and talking about how to motivate Team USA players. He’s talking about replacing Bosh but doesn’t point to anything specific and just says everybody else has to step up. A caller asked him about what relationship the coaches and players have over the summer and how the organization keeps tabs on the players. Triano responded by saying that the organization is “very diligent” about that sort of thing and assistants like Eric Hughes, Alex English and Scott Roth take turns visiting players and have face-to-face meetings every two to three weeks just to ensure that the regimen is being followed. He also mentioned that on the European reconnaissance missions, the coaches reported that Andrea looked “bigger and stronger”.
Another caller asked about defensive responsibility and Triano said that “in Chris we lose a good defender” and in losing Hedo we lose a guy “who didn’t pay a whole lot of attention at the defensive end”. He says that since we have improved athleticism (we do?), instead of always “protecting the paint”, the Raptors will be aggressive, force turnovers and try to score points of them. Sounds like somebody’s been watching OKC. He says that instead of letting teams run their stuff and then trying to stop it, the Raptors will be the aggressors. The philosophy makes sense, but why this is happening now and not last year remains a mystery.
Triano’s also talked to Reggie Evans and Jose Calderon and says that “their feelings might have been hurt” but he believes that they’re both professional and that they’re not going to be a problem. He dismisses that Calderon and Jack will be an issue, and states that the competition will be healthy and that “Bargnani is probably the only guy that is maybe guaranteed a spot and everyone else has to earn it”. Wow! He goes on to comment that Bargnani “is a five defensively and a four offensively”, and that over the summer with Italy he played more with his back to the basket.
Regarding Bosh, Triano said: “We noticed a little bit of a change in Chris after the All-Star game last year but I can’t say that he knew 100% that [he was going to leave] and I can’t say that he didn’t know”. When asked whether Bosh shut it down late in the season, Triano wisely avoided the question. He also reiterated how not being “centered around one guy” is a good thing.
Regarding Turkoglu, he says that beating Turkey was “extra special” and that it was a bit of “sweet revenge”. He also called Hedo a “great person”. Go figure.
Finally, his comments on Chris Bosh being a leader are absolutely refreshing. I cannot thank Triano enough for finally saying this out in the open and debunking the myth that Bosh was anything close to a leader. After a caller asked how the Raptors were going to fill the leadership void created by Bosh, Triano said:
When you talk about Chris being the leader in the lockeroom, I think it’s the one thing that he wasn’t for us. He did a great job of getting 24 points and 10, 11 rebounds on a regular basis, but Chris did not really take the leadership role into the locker room. He’s not a vocal person, he’s not a guy who really did that. I think in the years that he’s been here, he’s almost deferred to different people: Jermaine O’Neal, Jalen Rose, and Vince Carter in his earlier years, didn’t really defer to anyone last year and everybody kind of waited for him to take the reigns last year and it could’ve been been part of the issues we had.
As for this year, he singles out Jarrett Jack and Linas Kleiza as the leaders of this team. Unfortunately, he also mentions Reggie Evans which took the wind out of my sails. He also says that the Raptors can do what the US team did, i.e., generate offense from defense. That and ball movement seems to be the underlying theme of this season’s offense, no doubt it’s greatly influenced by what Triano learned over the summer. I’m always wary when someone tries to copy someone, let’s hope this is intelligent emulation, not an unfortunate instance of plagiarism gone horribly wrong.