800_cp_sad_bargnani_110113

Meaningless game #45 is upon us and the entertainers visiting the ACC are the 21-23 Memphis Grizzlies, who the Raptors have lost four straight to (once this season). Memphis sit 9th in the as-usual tough Western conference, 3 1/2 games back of a playoff spot. The Raptors are 13th in the East, 4 1/2 games out of a playoff spot. Playoffs? What’s that you ask? It’s that tournament they play at the end of each season where the top eight teams from each conference get to participate in. Your memory can be forgiven because it’s been a while since the Raptors have been there, and the odd time they do manage to sneak in, they’re prone to get kicked out of it faster than Linday from rehab.

Respite might come in the form of an easier stretch where the Raptors play 7 of 8 games against competition sitting outside the playoff bracket, they face the Bucks twice in this span so could make up for lost ground. Other teams ahead of the Raptors are Charlotte, Indiana, Detroit and Washington (yes, we’re worse than the Wizards), all of whom I’d put money on making the playoffs before the Raptors. The playoffs would be a nice little reward for the team’s efforts in a rebuilding year – and they still might happen – but be rest assured that at the going rate, there will be more “rebuilding” years to come.

Please don’t confuse the tone of this post as bitter, far from it, I was just reflecting over my Raptors “fanhood” of the last five seasons under Bryan Colangelo and I believe today marks the lowest of his regime. Not because of anything particular, but because of the general clusterf**k that this team has become and how it devastates the enthusiasm of even the most hardcore of supporters, which Raptors fans are to their very core. With only one winning season and two whimpering first-round exits under his belt, Colangelo will enter contract talks with the Raptors about a possible extension. I’m sure he’ll get one, not because of anything he’s done on the basketball court, but because of what he might have been able to provide the accountants with. I’m not privy to that, I can only speak to the product on the floor which is about as craptastic as crap can be.

It’s not for lack of spending that the Raptors are losing either, the investment to keep the casual fan thinking that MLSE is serious about winning has been there. The Raptors have been 15th, 8th, 16th and 16th in the league over the last four seasons in terms of payroll. Ironically enough, the “successful” 2006-07 team had a payroll ranked 28th in the league. This isn’t championship-commitment investment, but surely it’s a competitive one if the GM is up to it, no? Instead of strategic team building, we’ve seen mid-level exceptions blown on Jason Kapono, Jarrett Jack and Linas Kleiza, and a year each wasted in Hedo Turkoglu and Jermaine O’Neal. So when I hear rumours that the Raptors are searching for a star, it makes my heart sink because rarely are stars acquired via trade, it’s through the draft which that happens.

Glen Grunwald was fired after two seasons of missing the playoffs, the last of which the Raptors went 33-49 in, and this was right after leading the team to it’s best-ever run of three straight playoff appearances and a series-win in 2001. Rob Babcock was also fired after two straight playoff-less seasons, the last of which ended with the Raptors going 27-55. You could say that Babcock was fired for mismanaging the Carter trade, but isn’t Colangelo even more guilty of neglect in the Bosh saga? The Raptors are on course for fewer wins this year than the final year of any of those two GMs, yet MLSE will not even entertain the subject of discussing Colangelo’s future elsewhere. “We like Bryan. I still believe we have two of the best general managers in hockey and basketball (in Leafs GM Brian Burke and Colangelo). I wouldn’t trade either of them for anyone, and I know my way around the leagues,” said Richard Peddie last October. Yes, Richard Peddie knows his “way around the leagues” as evidenced by his teams winning jack-squat in recent memory.

Peddie is a businessman by large, he doesn’t even view these teams as entities that are supposed to compete, as long as they’re making good coin. “We have really reduced our dependency on playoffs,” Peddie said. “At one time, in the pre-cap era, we averaged almost six playoff games a year, and when you do the math on that, that’s a healthy dollar amount. We took that out.” That’s a business man talking, when there’s no playoffs to be counted on, what you do is build a trendy sports bar, premium office-space, sold-out condominiums, and a hotel. Who cares as if the Raptors are getting blown to shreds on a nightly basis, as long as the books are balancing. I’m just glad he’s leaving MLSE, in this case any change is good change – for the fans.

Woah, that was quite a diversion. Let’s try and focus our energy towards some of the good relatively good things happening with the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan’s play on the roadtrip has caught the eye, after his 7-point stinker in Washington where Nick Young lit him up, he’s netted 23, 28, 16 and 30 points, while shooting 47% in those four games. DeMar has finally realized that this is anybody’s team to take over, and since Andrea Bargnani doesn’t seem too interested in it, DeRozan’s gone about his business making sure that his name is called by the commentators every other play at the very least. His shot-variety has also improved and he doesn’t let a failure on one possession affect the next. He’s gone into a mode where he’s recognizing that he’s one of the better players on a bad, bad team. And it’s also never too early to start putting up numbers with an eye to an extension, something our current GM loves to give.

Ed Davis is also starting to carve his role in the rotation, he averaged 8 points and 6.8 rebounds on the 0-5 trip and looks very much the part of a good substitute. The time he missed from injury has given him fresher legs and it’s nice to see him compete out there. You can tell that the losing really bothers him which you love to see. Given his work-ethic and commitment, I can see him incrementally improve himself into a consistent double-double threat as early as next year. He’s already averaging 10/10 PER36 minutes, and given his opportunistic game which doesn’t rely on touches should get him there. If you’re into win scores, he’s second on the team in WS/48 behind Amir Johnson.

Jerryd Bayless has also returned from injury and is showing signs of getting back into the thick of things. With StojakovicWTF gone, the backup point-guard is the lone remnant of the Jack trade, and is playing with a sense of enthusiasm despite the losing. Unlike Sonny Weems, he understands that he’s getting a shot at staying in the NBA in Toronto and he’s not going to let it slip. He’s one of the players I enjoy watching the most because he plays both ends, and is wanting to prove that he belongs. His drive-and-kick game can be very effective once he fully understands the players around him, not to mention that the lack of perimeter shooters tends to discourage a point-guard from passing back out, and instead you sometimes see him take very contested shots at the paint.

You’ll notice there’s no mention of Andrea Bargnani in this post until now because I dread talking about him. He’s had a terrible week on both ends of the floor, further solidifying the now well-accepted theory that unless his offense is flowing, he’s not going to give you much otherwise. I attribute his poor defensive play to lack of effort first, and then lack of basketball IQ/technique. Offensively, a jump shooter has bad weeks, pure and simple, no point complaining about it over and over again because that’s not going to change. And don’t let Devlin and Leo fool you into thinking that Bargnani is being more aggressive this year because he’s not taking as many threes, he’s just making up for it by taking long twos. Specifically, he’s taking 0.6 less threes this year, but he’s also talking 1.4 more shots between 16-23 feet. Not that I give a sh*t either way as long as they go in, just saying that he’s not exactly taking high percentage shots. To me, if he can’t get high-percentage buckets and put consistent pressure on the defense through his scoring, the next option is to draw fouls. To his credit, he’s increased his FTs from last year (2.9 to 4.8), but that’s still too little. If DeMar DeRozan, a guy with no handles and no jumper can put 5.0 FTs worth of pressure, I’m sure an experienced big man with an apparently vast assortment of offensive skills can do more than 4.8.

His game is predictably inconsistent. There is nothing surprising when he has a great 32-point game or a 4-14 stinker with 3 rebounds. Over four years, his strengths and weaknesses have been well-documented, the impact of his defense on the team is well-known, and his potential value on offense is also apparent. The disheartenment stems from his inconsistency and it’s perfectly normal and expected for the Raptors to fall to 29th in overall defense during Bargnani’s worst defensive stretch. In his defense, he does appear to be hampered with injuries. “[Bargnani] has been battling with the knees,” said Jay Triano. “They have been bothering him and I think it’s the schedule with as many games as we have had in a short period against tough teams, I have had to extend his minutes.” Fair stuff, but if this is a development year, why risk further injury and why not throw Solomon Alabi out there so he can, you know, develop?

Oh yes, there’s a game today isn’t there, the Grizzlies, right. Barbosa, Weems, Kleiza and Dorsey were all unavailable on Saturday, with Barbosa a week away and Weems out indefinitely. Jose Calderon rolled his ankle on Saturday night so his status right now is unknown. Kleiza or Dorsey are questionable. As for the actual game, the Grizzlies lead the league in points in the paint thanks to Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and Lionel Hollins is not keeping any secrets. “That’s our game,” Hollins said. “We lead the league in points in the paint. We led the league last year in points in the paint. That is who we are. We try to find ways to attack the paint.” Last time out their big men didn’t get going till the second half when they finally pulled away, this after the Raptors had built a healthy first quarter lead. Expect Memphis to go where they had success against the Raptors – inside.

Raptors have lost seven straight and start a three-game homestand with games against Philadelphi and Milwaukee also coming up. If you’re on the lottery-watch, we’re 5th worst.

Enjoy the game and fear not, Alexis Ajinca is coming.

  • DG88

    I wish we could just switch Andrea Bargnani with DeAndre Jordan.

    • WJF

      With the roster we have DeAndre Jordan would do nothing for this team. Can you imagine Jordan, Amir/Davis, Wright, DeRozan and Jose on the floor together as a starting unit? I put Wright in there because people think that is where he should be. The only player on the court who can spread the floor would be Jose, teams would be able to pack it in the paint and take away the driving lanes for Demar, Amir would have no space to run pick and roll because Jordan would be on teh low block, and if he is not, his defender would be. Wright would be relinquished to a passer as he brings no shot…..you think we are bad now, that trade would make the the worst team in the NBA in the last 20 years.

      • WJF

        And if you think the Defense would make up for it, guess again.

        • lakonomy

          Pretty sure that if Bargs was out and Jordan was in, we’d swap Wright for Kleiza in the starting lineup, for exactly the reasons you mention. And, yes, we’d suck. For 2-3 years.

          But after 2-3 years, with some good drafting and a sprinkle of vets, we have a chance to be really good.

          I don’t know if we’ll ever have a chance to be anything other than a first round exit team with Bargs mannign the middle…

      • cesco

        What if Dwight was our center , Andrea is playing elsewhere and the rest of the team is what we have now . Will a championship be in sight (in 2-3 years) ? of course not since the Magics will probably never win a championship during the rest of Howard career , why should the Raps succeed where the Magics fails . What I am trying to say is that you can acquire a decent defensive center by trading Andrea , you still have to trade 90% of the rest of the team and hope that the right pieces are put together . Trading Andrea will not guarantee anything.

        • sleepz

          But keeping him will?

          • lakonomy

            There are no guarantees in anything in life. But on a pure evaluation of talent, and a evaluation of “hope for championships”, it’s hard to argue that swapping andrea for dwight doesn’t vastly improve both.

        • yertu damkule

          uh…if that was the only change (swapping bargs for dwight), i can see that team at least being in a position to compete for one. would they be favourites…probably not, but that has more to do with the competition around the league than the makeup of that team.

          let’s pretend that such a swap was realistic, and let’s further pretend that dwight would actually stay in TO (neither would happen, of course, but it’s a monday in january, and there’s literally nothing else to look forward to with this team, so why not).

          we’ll fast-forward to the start of the 2013 season. dwight’s been refining his low-post game, and he’s now hitting his FTs at a 65% clip (seems reasonable). ed davis has bulked up, and his offensive game – while still raw – is showing signs of breaking out. kleiza is still around, though BC continues to shop him…he’s actually become quite a good facilitator & 3-pt shooter, akin to hedo when he was playing with dwight. demar has improved, but only marginally…he’s still inconsistent, and doesn’t have a great handle, but he’s extended his range, and is now legit 3-pt threat, hitting at a respectable (for him) 35%, but his defense is still suspect (though much-improved). jose is still around, his defense has gotten worse (the legs just don’t move like they did, not that they did move all that well anyway), but he’s become a better spot-up shooter, and combines with dwight/ED to form a difficult-to-contain PnR group. he’s currently mentoring the raps young PG kyrie irving, drafted 3rd overall in the ’11 draft, and who’s primed to supplant jose as the starting PG after making tremendous strides the 2nd half of his rookie season (oh yeah, we’re going to pretend that the lockout never happened, so the ’11/’12 season actually took place). the bench is made up of actually decent players, some of whome were FAs who wanted to play with an exciting young PG, a stalwart franchise cornerstone in dwight, and of course, who doesn’t love the effect global warming has had on the weather in TO in just two short years!! it’s like monte frickin’ carlo by ’13…

          aaaanyway…is that a team that’s going to win a chip? probably not – there are still some weaknesses & unknowns…i mean, only one team out of 30 wins it all. but i like that team’s chances over this one’s. it’s not as simple as replacing one guy (it never is)…but it starts with one move, and that leads to another, and before you know it (ok, that’s usually a few years, but still), the pieces are in place.

          ok, back to your regularly schedule doom & gloom…

          • cesco

            I used Howard as an example to accentuate the fact that trading Andrea for a good defensive centers (not super stars like Dwight since it is not possible) , is not going to make the rebuilding any easier (thus the mention of the Magics having the nearly impossible task of winning a championship as they are currently constituted). I would rather espouse BC vision of finding a decent defensive center without losing Andrea and continue the rebuilding that way. I think that people in the know how will agree that trading your best player is not a wise decision . In a couple of years down the road , it may change.

            • Paps

              Andrea would be a great 6th man. Probably the best in the league.

            • RapthoseLeafs

              Howard wouldn’t make it pass the 3rd Quarter – he’d be fouled out by opponents taking it to the rim.

              Bottom line is, replace Bargnani with an average defensive Center & you’d have a mediocre 7th or 8th seed. Raps have 4 poor defenders starting most games – Bargs, Demar, Jose & Kleiza. Neither is better than the other. Demar may get it – he’ll have to soon, otherwise why have a SG who can’t defend, and can’t shoot a 3.
              .

              • yertu damkule

                uh, other than dwight, the magic are a pretty shyte defensive team. bass is decent, but undersized. losing gortat & pietrus hurt their depth defensively…it’s why few pundits are giving them a shot unless they pick up a decent back-up 5. your assertion that he (howard) would be fouled out before the end of the 3rd Q doesn’t pass the smell test.

    • Daveyboy

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut7nja5pJ9I

      DeAndre Jordan is awesome.

    • knickz

      been a fan of deandre since a&m

    • KJ-B

      I wouldn’t mind seein if Alex Ajinca has any game.

      • yertu damkule

        he doesn’t.

        • Sam Holako

          +1

        • KJ-B

          And how do you know–people don’t make it to the NBA for lack of talent! You never know, he could be decent… I know it’s fun to spout out opinions on random blogs BUT in the end of the day the athletes are the ones who decide where they’ll live on the NBA totem pole–which is why I defended an inexperienced 21 yr old DeRozan all season long when being unfairly compared to Weems, I mean DD was probably better than Sonny as a Sr in school when he played HS ball in Compton…

          The Mavs are a funny situation, so who really, really knows…

          I’m not expecting Andrew Bynum but hey, I figure the eventual preparation of the loss of ol #7, and I mean old–the game’s looking awfully fast for him as opposing teams are seeing him for the 2nd/3rd time this year as ‘the guy’, the eventual preparation at this inevitability is Addition via Subtraction… less #7 por favor, MLSE!!!

          • yertu damkule

            because i know, damnit! that is all.

            seriously, here’s a little secret…teams don’t let players they value rot away on their bench, and then give them away so they can sign a guy who’s three years removed from being an impact player, and who they hope can give them 15 minutes off the bench.

            i get the argument that he (ajinca) is an unknown, given he’s been behind chandler & haywood, but if the mavs (or bobbies, for that matter) thought he had much of a game, he wouldn’t have been a throw-in in two transactions in the span of a few months. i’m sure he’ll have a game or two where his jumper will be falling, and he’ll block some shots & rebound a bit, and the ‘everything is coming up roses’ crowd will proclaim him the 2nd coming, but the reality is, much like this roster, he is what he is.

            but hey, i’d love to be proven wrong. maybe he’s the defensive stalwart they’ve been lacking at the 5, and it’s just gone unnoticed so far.

  • matt

    I love google.

    • KJ-B

      AhahahA!!! +1 …

      Very good read Arse, very good indeed! When you’re on you’re dead on!!!

  • FLUXLAND

    Nice work, Arse.

    The worst part about this…as I said years ago, this is the “setting the bar low” year in BC’s method; meaning if the team exceeds this year’s win total next year, he will be proclaimed a genius by his armies, handed the EOY and the team will be called a “contender”. On paper, I assume.

    • Jose

      Well put. Well put, my friend.

  • Seeten

    I just don’t know where to start, much like this post of Arse’s. Its sort of going nowhere, doesn’t know where to start or end, and kind of feels ramblim=ng, but it totally feels like it has the pulse of the team, at the same time. Sigh.

    • KJ-B

      Uhhmmm, I like Perry Jones, from Baylor and Kris Joseph, the Montreal Baller from Syracuse as one of our 1st rd picks! In a perfect world we’d get Kyrie Irving #1 and Kris Joseph, 1ST CDN, with our 2nd pick of the first rd… These guys @ MLSE are scouting for the draft and tanking, maybe not on purpose but it’s probably the only thing they can all agree on for the future.

      Like I posted on Saturday’s Magic game Roll Call, ” Rebuild. Recommit. Reconnect. Rebirth of the Franchise in ’12-13… Let’s tear this thang up for the next year and half..! TODAY IS GROUND ZERO!”

  • sleepz

    More scrutiny is needed on BC. Where would there be justification for an extension? Because attendance hasn’t dropped to all-time lows? It can’t be for winning or putting a prgressively better team on the floor. He has no business running this team anymore. Same for Triano. Mitchell was fired for considerably less. The swearing “Canadian Tough Guy” theatrics by Jay is sad.

    I’m not blaming the players anymore cuz this is all on the hands of the most overrated GM in sports. Anyone wanting to convince me with Bosh leaving and Colangelo building around him so he has to reinvent this squad, has been duped. This team has bottomed out and the ‘assets’ BC has assembled during his tenure are pitiful and mismatched. He’s now talking about not using his TPE which was a huge asset at the start of the year….not so much now though. The fans need to start revolting and stop attending games cause this is going to get much worse before it gets better and it starts with high collars.

    No need to retain someone who hasn’t done anything of record to begin with. Colangelo, Gherdhini, Triano all should be looking for employment at the end of the year. Their results speak volumes.

    • slaw

      sleepz, just look at history. In the ’06 offseason the Raps had Bosh, a #1 pick, capspace and BC had carte blanche with the roster. What do we have to show for that? 2 early playoff exits, 1 wining season and 3 lottery picks.

      So, here the Raps are, it’s ’11 and they are back rebuilding with a lottery pick, no Bosh and limited capspace. What indication is there that BC won’t screw it up again? Even if you don’t blame BC for this year, how can you trust him when he has already made a mess of things under almost identical circumstances?

      • Theswirsky

        “Bosh, a #1 pick, capspace and BC had carte blanche with the roster.”

        This has always been the most misleading argument that people like to use. Regardless of what one thinks of BC:

        1) Bosh is not a guy to build around. Was always going to be a problem. Sure an asset, sure a good player… but he was good enough to keep you from the bottom, not good enough to take you to the top. A guy you add later… starting with him is not what you want (see Pau Gasol).

        2)Cap space – does not have nearly the same meaning in Toronto as it does most other markets. Yeah yeah I know “4th largest media market in NA”… ofcourse that doesn’t account for the demographics of people who don’t care/watch/follow basketball. Simply put (and this is very basic) there is a finite amount of $/attention available for sports… the majority goes to hockey. Just listen to the radio, watch sports highlights, read the paper… its hockey hockey hockey. Thats not to say that Toronto can’t handle a basketball team, its just always going to be a small, undeseriable market for players. Don’t belive me? Then just look at the number of players that didn’t want to stay or come. Oh but if they win they’ll come right? Well how do you win if players don’t want to come or stay? JP Riccardi said it himself (and I realize this is baseball and not basketball but I don’t see how it doesn’t apply)… NA players don’t want to come to Toronto. They like to visit, but they don’t want to stay here. Its always going to be an issue.

        3) #1 pick – I don’t think this needs alot of explanation. Worse draft in recent history? Guys who turned out to be the best were unexpected… Rondo, Milsap and to some degree Roy. Aldridge was a no go as Bosh was here.

        That said I’m not complimenting BC tenure… I just don’t think its nearly as simple as people like to claim. Having Bosh, a horrible draft, and nearly useless cap space isn’t exactly the asset people make it out to be.

        BC’s 2 biggest gaffs were having success in his first year, when the team was supposed to originally be rebuilding. But I don’t think anyone saw that coming… maybe BC would but I would say he was lieing. Not that there wasn’t some potential that came from that (Garbo and Forderon… but I personally think those two injuries were devastating to the team) The other, not trading Bosh the minute he wouldn’t sign an extension (I’d say even earlier but tough to do when you made the playoffs 2 years in a row) You could see him leaving coming a mile away…

        Ofcourse he is now compounding his problems by throwing in a third mistake in using Bargnani as a ‘center peice’ to the team. Its just asking for long term failure…

  • Valit

    Excellent post Sir,
    I wish more people would pay attention to the fact that MLSE is a business and their goals are totally different that the goals of the fans ( which btw should support their team no matter what). I remember back in Europe my soccer team was pummeled 8-0 in the rain and 40000 people were still singing… but sport means something totally different here. Regarding your points though, I have to humbly disagree regarding Jarred. I really dont see him as a future PG unless he develops a court vision and a selfless attitude. It’s one thing to be assertive and other to be arrogant and from what i’ve seen him live and on TV the jury is still debating. Having said that, he’s very articulate and hopefully he is willing to learn.
    Regarding Bargnani, he is what he is…no point to bash a dead horse. Having said that, I think that it comes to mostly defficient technique and in this case there is still hope for progress. I would like to see the organization taking a stand on this. You either trade him and make sure that you have somebody better ( because I can guarantee you that in a better team, he will look darn good) or you’ll keep him and then surround him with players that will hide his weaknesses.

    • yertu damkule

      ‘…you’ll keep him and then surround him with players that will hide his weaknesses.’

      yikes. i guess i have a hard time stomaching the notion of building around a player with flaws so extreme that there must be a conscious effort to ‘surround him with players that will hide his weaknesses.’ was nothing learned from the 4+years of trying to build around bosh, a guy who’s certainly not an all-nba talent, but who’s OVERALL skillset is – at worst – considerbly better than bargnani’s? (cue cesco’s innane post about how i’m pining for ‘christine.’ that sort of brilliance never gets old.)

      but i guess it is what it is, they are who they are, and the point of the article, at least as i read it, was that while there are some young guys with potential on the roster, that potential isn’t all that great. what is demar without 3-pt game & lousy D? a 6th man on an average team. what is bayless without court-vision? a 12 mpg back-up. what is davis without (significantly) more bulk and some semblance of an NBA-calibre offensive game? a defensive/rebounding specialist who can’t be given extended minutes due to his lack of offensive ability (great, a bigger reggie evans) – btw, i actually think he’s got quite decent offensive potential, but unless/until he adds that strength, it will be a question mark…and it doesn’t appear as though he’s going to be one of those bigs who can extend the range on his jumper to stretch defenses. and, of course, what is bargs? uniquely skilled? to what end? is ‘unique’ in his case a good thing, or a bad thing?

      i like the IDEA of building through the draft…i just curse the karma gods that the years in which the raps have (or appear to have) high picks have traditionally been lousy drafts (and this year is shaping up to be the same).

      • sleepz

        Don’t lose all hope with this years draft. While there are no players that will make you go bonkers immediately there are some good talents and of course there will be players that turn out to be good pros that scouts let slip through the cracks.

        Not confident BC is the man to make these picks happen though.

        • KJ-B

          Austin Rivers, Doc’s son who’s going to Duke next season, is gonna be a Superstar! Too bad these picks couldn’t be saved for next yr!! But I do like Irving, Perry Jones and Kris Joseph!!!

          • yertu damkule

            oh, don’t worry…i’m sure the raps will be in a position for a high lottery pick in ’12 as well. er, if there is a draft in ’12…

      • cesco

        I think that GM’s do not try to rebuild around their best player if he is not a superstar . They will try to find additional pieces (draft , trades) without losing that top player otherwise it would be like throwing darts with your eyes and hoping for a bull eye.
        And I promise not to use the moniker ‘christine’ any more but some people will keep using the ‘ru paul’ one which is more or less the same thing.

        • cesco

          ,,,with your eyes closed

      • Milesboyer

        Bargnani is not getting paid max money. $10 mil/yr. is somewhat reasonable. When talking about building around him, it only means having a strong rebounder or two on the court with him, it doesn’t mean the whole franchise has to be catered to his needs. He has flaws, but most players not named LeBron James do. Pieces have to be complementary, it doesn’t mean you’re building around one player, in this case Bargnani.

    • Rapture

      Die hard Fan right here

    • RapthoseLeafs

      Bayless – I agree. Until he starts getting better court vision, he’ll be gone by next year. I think he has potential, but to say he’s doing okay is BS. His PG abilities (at this point) are pretty weak, and it’s extremely frustrating to see him charge into the paint with tunnel vision. Personally, he seems to be regressing to a SG only – and we have enough of them.

      • yertu damkule

        i get the feeling that few raptor fans watch much non-raptor basketball…i think we’re pretty used to seeing how jose operates from the PG spot, and expect that to be ‘the way’ it’s supposed to be done. think of the elite PGs today – paul, rose, dwill, rondo, westbrook, etc. what do they all have in common? an ability to create for themselves that is on par (or exceeds) their ability to create for others. as good as paul or willimas are at distributing the ball, creating excellent scoring opportunities for teammates, controlling the flow/tempo of their offensive gameplan, they are equally (or more) adept at taking over & getting their own…and that ability is directly tied to how effective they are at distributing. difference is, because they’re playing the majority of their team’s minutes, over the course of a game, the distribution aspect evens out with their scoring. to think that paul, williams, rose or any of the other PGs in the ‘greatest of the moment’ debate would be nearly as effective if they weren’t capable of creating for themselves is just silly. does anyone buy the notion that each of these guys is looking at each of their teammates on every possession before looking for their shot?

        as for bayless, i look at a few things – he’s had limited minutes over the course of his career as the primary ball-handler responsible for initiating & executing an offensive gameplan. he’s been a backup at the 1 (playing backup minutes), and often sees time at the 2, so if his first instinct, at this point in his career, isn’t as a ‘pass-first’ pg (a la jose), it doesn’t mean that he can’t learn to be…like anything else (defense, rebounding, shooting), developing court awareness & the mentality to be a facilitator doesn’t just happen…at least for some (most?) guys. i’m hopeful that this year will be an opportunity for jose to provide some mentoring in that area. i don’t necessarily see him as anything more than a solid backup at the 1, but i wouldn’t rule him out as being an effective starting PG…i see him as a bit of a smaller (at least in bulk) jameer nelson.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_47IOUM3SOHK4X4RXCB7NEXOFWM John N

    Arsenalist a very confusing article.
    What the Raptors need to compete and win is a healthly 12 man roster available to pick a rotation from, nothing more, nothing less. An 8 man available rotation, with a rookie and a 10 day signing included, and half of them playing with minor injuries, and not at 100%, as in Miami will not cut it. A wing rotation of DeRozan, Wright, Bayless, and Gaines (including back-up PG) would have a tough time in the NBDL.

    • KJ-B

      Obviously, you’ve never seen an NBDL game–Terrence Williams averaged a triple double down there!

  • albertan_10

    What the raptors need is Andrea Bargnani to work in the post. I don’t know what it is but we played good defense for 10 games and then it disappeared. In that time span Bargnani played in the post too. What is going on?

  • Milesboyer

    Steer the course people – everyone knew and wanted this to be a rebuilding year and it’s unfolding pretty much as expected. It can definitely be disheartening but it’s like amputating a limb with gang green – it needs to happen. We can try and predict the future but Colangelo, for all his deficiencies, is a wild card and I still have faith in him that in the next year or two he’ll keep what’s worth having and throw out the trash, and pick up a few key pieces along the way.

    • yertu damkule

      ‘stay’ the course?

      ‘We can try and predict the future but Colangelo, for all his deficiencies, is a wild card and I still have faith in him that in the next year or two he’ll keep what’s worth having and throw out the trash, and pick up a few key pieces along the way.’

      i think predicting the future of this team – with BC at the helm – is fairly simple. y’see, those ‘key pieces’ to be picked up ‘along the way?’ those usually turn into the ‘trash’ that’s not worth having. draft picks? those are good for trading to acquire said ‘key pieces.’ cap space? MLSE luuuuvs cap space (means no paying lux. tax AND they get the portion of lux. tax revenue. sweet. plus, fans forget about money that’s ‘earmarked’ to buy draft picks with). wow, i’m nostri-friq’n-damus…

      • Milesboyer

        You would obviously fire Colangelo. But his track record isn’t as bad or as predictable as you suggest. He’s always swung for the fences but I think he’s realizing that that instinct needs to be tempered a little bit, hence going with a youth movement this year. As far as his drafting – Bargnani may have problems, but he’s arguably one of the top players (not including the damaged “Brandon Roy”) from that class. DeRozan seems to be a very good pick for his spot as does Ed Davis. So I guess the “trading away draft picks” that you’re referring to are……Roy Hibbert, who may or may not amount to anything.

        As for your cap space argument, you obviously missed this part of the article: “The Raptors have been 15th, 8th, 16th and 16th in the league over the last four seasons in terms of payroll. Ironically enough, the “successful” 2006-07 team had a payroll ranked 28th in the league.”
        Their payroll or lack of going into the luxury tax is not the issue, it has far more to do with not having a star player or two who are worth what they are getting paid. How do you get those? Luck of the draft, keeping top free agents, or being an organization that can attract top tier players, which is really a catch-22 for most bad teams. I’m not sure you or anybody knows what this team will look like in a few years, but I don’t see anything being done at this point that would make it any better.

    • Alucart999

      The issue though is that the team seems to be making many of the same mistakes defensively that it did last year, when it was one of the worst defensive teams of all time (from an efficiency perspective). Is that a talent problem? Is it a coaching problem? Is it an effort problem? It seems to be mostly talent-related, with smaller parts coaching and effort related. And while we expected this team to be a train wreck, I think many were at least hoping that the silver lining would be a vastly improved effectiveness on the defensive. Instead, we’re still in the bottom 5 when it comes to defensive efficiency.

      That’s the problem I see, at least, and hope for future years is in short supply when it is so clear that there are just so many parts that need to be swapped out for upgrades.

  • Blasted

    I don’t know how you guys are surprised by this. Colangelo knew what this team was going to be this year. But luckily 2 first rnd draft picks + Cap Room + tradeable pieces + Derozan developing + Ed Davis being good and i know you guys will hate what i have to say after this, but this team sorta reminds me of OKC a couple years ago when they were terrible. If we can get some prudent drafting of say a legit Defensive center and a startable 3 player and hope bayless can develop into a legit point guard then i think this team wont be half bad. Bayless+Derozan+Davis+Draftpick+DraftPick+2 more years to develop with the bargs machine chucking shots until then and im not totally disheartened.

    • slaw

      OKC had Kevin Durant. That makes any comparison ridiculous. Secondly, again, BC had a great rebuilding situation when he came to Toronto and the team has nothing to show for it 5 years on. You write that all Toronto needs is a centre, a starting 3 and a legit PG. Well, they have needed a centre and starting 3 since BC got here in ’06. Left out of your analysis is that they also need Derozan and Davis to develop in starting calibre players on a good team (never a sure thing). That’s every position on the floor! After O’Neal, Turk, Kapono, Kleiza, etc. I just don’t know how anyone can trust BC to make the correct decisions as they rebuild.

  • Toshmon

    “I can only speak to the product on the floor which is about as craptastic as crap can be. ”
    product= win loss record i guess so this is true.

    However, the parts that make up this product are not craptastic.
    No mention of his draft picks Demar or Davis?

    Colangelo has done well, he tries to hit homeruns and he has struck out with turk and O’neal. But thats what I want in a GM: Willing to swing. Kinda like Danny Ainge with the Celtics when they got the big three. I wouldn’t put it past Colangelo to pull something like that off when the time is right.

    Its weird, everyone wanted a proper rebuild, now they are crying about the process.

    • yertu damkule

      how has he (BC) ‘done well,’ if he is – by your standards – continually ‘striking out?’ i mean, it’s one thing if a guy’s a homerun hitter who also happens to strike out a lot (say, adam dunn); it’s another thing if a guy…just strikes out a lot. those guys suck BECAUSE they strike out so much; if they didn’t suck & but were striking out a lot, they’d at least sprinkle a double or a triple or a – GASP!! – homerun in there occasionally. that’s how we’d know that they didn’t suck.

      ok, maybe i’m being a bit harsh. i mean, he turned hedo into barbosa when no one thought turk was tradeable. of course, that’s only impressive if one remembers that the reason turk was considered untradeable was the contract BC gave him. but i’m not one to let minor details like that get in the way…

      • yertu damkule

        sorry, that was a reply to blasted, not toshman. i’m a re-TARD.

    • Jose

      “Colangelo has done well, he tries to hit homeruns and he has struck out with turk and O’neal. But thats what I want in a GM: Willing to swing. Kinda like Danny Ainge with the Celtics when they got the big three. I wouldn’t put it past Colangelo to pull something like that off when the time is right.”

      Yup, he has done well. Being paid millions over past 5 years for the products that are good “on paper” only. Sounds like a dream job to me. Another 5 years and dude can retire comfortably.

  • Sam

    For rebuilding to work the rebuilder has to know how to build a team and scout draft picks and FA’s well. I don’t think Colangelo’s tenure here and in Phoenix should give anyone confidence he can rebuild properly. If Dallas had matched his Steve Nash offer, I’m not sure his Phoenix teams would have made the playoffs consistently. MLSE needs to get a new GM but probably won’t because they don’t care about the team, it’s just another asset.

  • Louis Papa

    did I miss something, but what the sH*t is going on with weems? what kind of ‘injury’ does he have???

    • yertu damkule

      i think it’s a case of ‘we-can’t-play-him-’cause-then-teams-will-see-he-sucks-&-it’ll-kill-his-trade-value-itis.’ or, his back really is completely fucked, and he’s untradeable AND unplayable. i wonder…will that be enough to keep BC from throwing a 5 yr, $35M contract offer at him?

      • KJ-B

        I’ve been preaching the Gospel of Sonny Weems NOT being an NBA player all year long while others wanted him ‘extended’ … Won’t make a Roll Call of bloggers who ‘guaranteed’ this day wouldn’t come but Clarence is headed well on his way to a Euro vaca–hopefully it does him well, and if he’s living right then he can come back stateside near 27/28 a la Anthony Parker, and have BC throw a Linas Kleiza bone his way, lOl…

        Even if he’s ‘suddenly’ healthy, I don’t think BryCo would risk DD’s development at a minimum guy’s expense…That’s NBA Life!

        • yertu damkule

          looks like he’s ‘suddenly’ healthy.

    • cesco

      They should send Weems to a good specialist for back problems wherever he is (obviously not TO) .

  • FAQ

    Triano is coaching a team on which he doesn’t know from game to game what he will get out of any of the players. That creates a coaching conundrum for which there is no answer.

    I heard that Barg’s knees were bothering him thus accounting for his lousy scoring record. He can’t really post up because of the added strain on his knees.

    DD is scoring, but he just doesn’t have a NBA body. He needs to find 20 lbs of muscle over the off-season even though his acne will worsen and his bitch tits will pop out.

    Jose may be going the way of Alvin and getting easily hobbled.

    The rest of the team is lucky to get playing time in the NBA … so obvious.

    Toronto Raptors will become the repository of international players who don’t fit in with Da Boyz ….!

    • KJ-B

      Doesn’t have an NBA body??? 6’7″ 220lbs is not a prototypical NBA body swingman?!

      Honestly, some posters here post so much garbage that do NOT even recognize truth from fiction… You are a sorry FAQ of RR!!!

      • FLUXLAND

        I don’t know what his wingspan may be, but I’m willing to be it’s below what it should be for his height.

        FAQ already mentioned he’s underweight. He also has an anti athletic stance.

        Prototypical body? Not even close, bud.

    • FLUXLAND

      Maybe DD can call the same guy in TO that Bosh used to get the juice?

      Btw, did you see DD handing out his business card to LBJ and the rest of the Heat at the end of the Miami game?

  • AnthonyF

    Classic Toronto fans….. Have you given up on the Leaf’s and now come over to the Raptors and slobber over lunch bucket players….. This is the same city that makes a star out of Tie Domi, John Kordic, Tiger Williams and the only one with at least some offensive talent Wendel Clark.

    Yep dump Bargnani and enjoy a team that averages 80 points a game and would be in disarray offensively each night.

    This is the NBA and the league is going to hell in a handbasket thanks to the star treatment and the haves/have not make-up of teams. There maybe a one year anomaly (New Orleans this year), but generally the only hope is hitting the jackpot in the draft (Durant/Griffin/Rose), getting lucky (Rondo), not screwing up (Granger vs. Graham, Araujo vs. Igudola) or be a glamor/warm weather destination.

    Right now we have had no such luck and mid-level draft picks that are a crap shoot.

    • Bendit

      Truculence….thats what we need.

      • yertu damkule

        it’s certainly working down the hall…

  • WhatWhat

    The tank’s running on full speed now. If some of you are getting motion sickness, there a disposable bag to throw up into. No worries though, we’ll be arriving at our stop eventually.

  • Mister E

    Gonna keep this post simple. Making the playoffs makes MLSE nothing but profit. Suggesting that Peddie or any of the board members do not want to make money is absolutely absurd.

    • Arsenalist

      Nobody’s suggesting that they don’t want to make the playoffs, of course the revenue generation that the post-season brings is attractive (not to mention the publicity across the city). And I’ve given MLSE credit in this post for shelling out just enough money to keep the Raptors a playoff team (~15th in payroll), but that doesn’t mean they’re looking to build a contender, just a team that’s giving them a few gates without demanding too much investment.

      Leaving the money factor aside, the larger point is that what basketball qualifications and expertise does Richard Peddie have that will enable him to hire a proper GM with a solid long-term vision? Nothing, there’s no love for the game, just a business sense, that’s all. His love for Colangelo despite the poor results is sickening, that’s what I don’t “get” about him.

      • Toshmon

        Arse…How long does it take to build a championship calibre team?

        my guess is about 5 -8 years.

        Colangelo drafts well.(we got screwed with Charlie V and Hafa)…I say give him more time to see what he can do. Instability and a change of direction is NOT what the raps need right now. That why MLSe “loves” him, hes the President of Basketball operations! when is the last time our franchise had such a thing?

        Who would you rather Peddie hire?…I say extend BC about three more years and judge after that.

    • slaw

      Your premise is flawed.

      If you have to increase the payroll by $10mm to make $10mm then it is a wash. Even if you have to increase payroll by $10mm to make $15mm it may not be worth it for two reasons: the outcome is unknown (may not make the playoffs so the $10mm is just gone), and, two, there may be another way to spend that $10mm to make $15mm that entails less risk or is guaranteed (or even less than $15mm cause all that matters to Teachers is IRR). Also, again, only IRR matters, so even if making the playoffs meant guaranteed profit (not just revenue) it may not be a material sum or may not impact the IRR enough for them to care. That’s why Peddie’s musings are troubling from a fan’s viewpoint and good for Arsenalist for pointing them out cause I hadn’t seen that.

    • smushmush

      But the fact that Toronto teams even when they don’t go to the playoffs still breaks even for the MLSE is an incentive not to make the required effort and finance(big MLSE problem) to enable Toronto teams in the playoffs. Why waste unnecessary money when you can still break even? It is a business to the MLSE(makes sense since it is retired pension fund dwelling on most returns for the minimum investment).

  • cesco

    According to Marc Stein the trade for Ajinca has been approved by the league . Alexis is 22 years of age , has played on average 6 min/game in 2 1/2 years and according to an authority such as yertu , he doesn’t have a game . We shall see.

    • yertu damkule

      oh, yes you will. if he’s played an avg of 6mpg in 2.5 years in the L, some other authorities think the same….

  • pran

    someone should assasinate bcolangelo if he’s still here next year, just throwing that out there….

    • cesco

      Go and see the school psychologist , please .

      • yertu damkule

        agree. let’s try to remember that it’s a fucking game. if basketball disappeared from existence tomorrow, we’d all get along just fine.

  • Copywryter

    I hope Betelgeuse does go nova in 2012 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20/two-suns-twin-stars_n_811864.html) because it’s the only extra sunshine I expect this team to have for a long time.

  • Richardtaylor70

    Pretty much another useless,self serving,speculation based article.
    Funny how some people confuse bloggers with talented writers.

    Similar to confusing the Raptors with a playoff ready squad.

    Realistic expectations are hard to come by, especially when we’ve all be taught to be so unrealistic.

    • arsenalist

      Self-serving?

  • Krespino

    The Raptors are hopeless, plain hopeless. They are spending the money but not achieving anything. Every coming year is a rebuilding year…That rebuilding will never happen. Because you lack the needed mentality. The management doesn’t know what they’re doing. And the GM is still considered succesful… Could not happen anywhere else… Give him another 25 years maybe he can finally rebuild…The people are complacent about losing. They’re used to losing, being a sub-20 NBA team. That is the only franchise that does not possess a drive to win. No excitement, no motivation. No star player will ever be happy there, or stay there. Bargnani is probably unhappy and waiting to get out. You’re not gona be any better 4 -5 years from now… Face reality, you are boring to watch, you are plain hopeless.

    • yertu damkule

      hmm…pretty doomy-gloomy, even by my wretched standards. make sure you aren’t one of the yo-yo-ers that’ll be on here proclaiming them the most underrated team in the L & the championship’s just around the corner the next time they have a big, unexpected W.

  • Jamesk

    What really happened to Sonny Weems?

    • yertu damkule

      pissed off someone by singing in the shower after a blow-out?