I haven’t seen Band of Brothers, couldn’t get past the first 10 minutes. But I reckon it’s one of those shows when a man in injured in war, a “brother” comes and helps him out, maybe even does the fighting for him or at the very least makes sure that the poor sucker sees a doctor or something. That’s what today’s situation is like here at RR, Sam is injured, not by fighting in a war but likely by an overdose of cheetos and Friends re-runs, so I step in.

Last I spoke with the loyal and benevolent audience of RR was after the Minnesota game where the Raptors snapped a 13-game losing streak. Since then the road to a top three pick has gone according to plan with defeats to Milwaukee and San Antonio, both teams better than the Raptors. Tonight it’s no different as the Blazers visit the ACC sans Marcus Camby, Greg Oden (LOL) and Brandon Roy (HA HA! – Nelson from Simpsons style). Too bad they still have LaMarcus Aldridge, who makes it a point to stick it to Andrea Bargnani every time they meet – the head-to-head isn’t lying. The Raptors have also lost five straight to the Blazers, who have often benefited from late-game Brandon Roy heroics. There was this one-time where the Raptors overcame a Jamario Moon brain-fart to win the game in double OT.

Tanking is a very strong word with all around negative connotations about the players, the coaches and the franchise as a whole. This year, just like the ones before, I’m completely against it, yet at the same time I’m secretly hoping that the Raptors play hard in every game but end up on the losing end. Why? Because this team needs an infusion of talent. In the last month DeMar DeRozan has shown a considerable improvement in his jumper (thanks to assistant coach, Eric Hughes) and Amir Johnson has displayed a notion of consistency on both ends of the floor. However, the rest of the bunch have shown nothing. Sonny Weems, Jerryd Bayless and Andrea Bargnani are being sold by the Raptors as part of the “core”, except that if you’ve got half a brain and an honest disposition, you know that all three are very mediocre players for their position. It’s not even that DeRozan and Johnson are “better” players, they just happen to be unknowns that can be termed as interesting, much like Bargnani was three years ago.

Oh yeah, infusion of talent. Let’s look at next year’s potential depth chart lineup:

C: Bargnani
PF: Johnson, Davis
PG: Bayless
SG: DeRozan
SF: Kleiza

That’s only six players, and Kleiza’s only there because he’s signed to a long-term deal. At this point, Calderon, Barbosa, Evans and Weems don’t factor into the long-term picture, Ajinca, Dorsey and Wright are free-agents, and Alabi is closer to playing in Europe than summer-league. Who do the Raptors slot into next year’s roster? That’s where Calderon, Barbosa, the upcoming draft, and that TPE comes in. Ignoring the impending lockout for a moment, there’s an opportunity for Colangelo to take the next step in this rebuilding process, i.e., get some talent in here worth building around.

Rebuilding is always going to be a painful process, I expected a little more from year one but things are what they are. If we stop seeing this season as a development year and start looking at it as an evaluative one, we’ll find that it’s been a rather successful. one. We’ve identified about six players that don’t really fit and are candidates for replacement. The problem from my end is that I have no faith in Bryan Colangelo to actually be able to get the right six players to fill out next year’s roster.

The foundations of this Raptors team need to be defense. I cannot put it any simple terms, without that being the case we are going nowhere. The Raptors need to change their identity from pansies who let anybody walk into the lane to a team that doesn’t tolerate when guards prance around their checks and do a little skip on their way to a layup. Any tolerance of the kind of defense we saw by our guards against San Antonio, and the timidness displayed by our starting center against the Spurs lineup cannot be tolerated. It simply can’t. Somebody has to put a foot down and say enough is enough, for all intents and purposes, this year is over but the Raptors can still lay the foundations and principles for next season. Here’s some ideas:

  • Blow a defensive rotation, sit your ass on the bench.
  • Didn’t bother raising your arms on a three-point contest, sit your ass on the bench.
  • Didn’t fight through a pick hard enough, ass, meet bench.
  • Didn’t fight for rebounding position or make interior rotation, monsieur, s’il vous plaît s’asseoir sur le banc.
  • Didn’t run back hard enough in transition, Señor, por favor, se sientan en el banquillo.

You get the point. Bench is where it’s at. Now, I don’t know if Jay Triano has the balls or authority to do this. That’s the subject of a different post. I’d like to end with a clip from an ESPN 30 on 30 clip I saw about Reggie Miller and the Knicks yesterday. I’ve taken the liberty to cut up the clip to a part I enjoyed the most and want the Raptors to emulate:

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  • KJ-B

    I like your passion Arse… Good luck Raptorland in waiting this one out like this frigid winter, the worse is yet to come–my feeling is that it’s gonna stink year round till the end of next season (i.e. infighting, power struggle etc. at all levels from coach, management and ownership changeover) where we’ll have a slightly better record between 28-34 wins…

    Rebuild. Reconnect. Raptor Rebirth in ’12-13.

    • Dr Bball

      Band of Brothers is awesome! quit wasting your time with shoddy blogging and rent them on blue ray

  • sleepz

    “The problem from my end is that I have no faith in Bryan Colangelo to actually be able to get the right six players to fill out next year’s roster.”

    Me neither.

    I do have faith in him to ensure that there will be more than 6 new players on the roster next year though. Revolving doors stay spinning.

    Watching those clips made me long for the good ole’ days.

    • KJ-B

      Yah sleepz, the thing that keeps me going is that I’ll be at work, home or somewhere and I’ll read on some website/ticker or the other that the BryCo era is over, that Triano has been mercifully canned and somehwow, someway #7’s been traded with Jose and we get an expiring big… Might as well dream, right? Because this reality is barely worth living through unless we consider it in terms of the future gold it is paving with the promise held in our future team captains DeRozan/Davis.

    • slaw

      sleepz, haven’t you heard that Colangelo needs to stay for stability? They need to keep completely changing the roster every year or there won’t be any stability.

      As for the good ol’ days, I’ll never forget that play where Parrish punched Laimbeer in the head in the 87 playoffs and there was a brawl and at the end they just gave the ball out of bounds to Detroit. If the same thing happened today, players would be tarred and feathered, banned for life and we’d be subjected to 300 hours of sports radio about how it was worse than Hitler.

      • Nilanka15


      • sleepz

        I hear you.

        It’s really crazy when you see how physical the game was (and should be) and how it has been reduced to quick flagrants from refs for good fouls or dudes wanting to fight cuz they got bumped in the air going to the rim.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        Do you thinking tossing BC out, would help us? Stability or not, this franchise would have even less hope on attracting free agents. The “talented” guys are not “avoiding” Toronto because of BC. They’re avoiding Toronto because:

        1) we’re Toronto, Canada

        2) we’re Canada

        3) we’re above the 49th parallel

        4) we just built a new government building out of snow – a big Igloo (I loved that Rick
        Mercer piece)

        5) we’re not the U.S.

  • JezusP

    “either win the game or win the fight”.

    Love it!

    I agree with the JT remark. Maybe we can convince Jerry Sloan to come to the great white north, LOL.

  • Brian B

    “ass meets bench” is a great idea – except the rules require 5 players on the court at all times, and I am not convinced Jay could keep five on court if he enforced your rules.

    • arsenalist

      Thanks for taking it literally.

      Wright, Davis, A. Johnson, T.Johnson, Bayless. Play these five 48 minutes to get the point across. You get what I’m saying, lay the rules for next year starting this year.

      • jimmie

        Good point, Brian. If Triano sat everyone who didn’t pull their defensive weight, there would be a revolving door at the check-in table, and the same player he just sat down would have to be re-inserted minutes later because they’d have rolled through the roster…

        Arsenalist, your rebuttal is naive at best. It’s an unworkable idea. And it discounts that effort isn’t always the problem — often it’s ability. The deficiencies of those guys you list as hard workers would be exposed if they played that many minutes, plus Amir would be either fouled out or injured beyond repair in such a scenario. Davis isn’t 100% on effort, nor is Bayless.

        Just silly to, on one hand, advocate for a rebuild, and on the other constantly criticize every aspect of the roster and coaching staff. A lot of you people asked for this (a rebuild) and now you’re whining that you’re getting it, but too much, too fast. Waaah.

        • arsenalist

          Not at all, I’m glad we finally did this. Read back to posts from two years ago and I was calling for it then, which would’ve meant we would’ve been towards the end of it by now.

          There are about six players we can take forward to next year (listed in the post), the rest are big question marks. And even those six have issues on defense. The main culprit here is Bargnani, a message needs to be sent to him that his defensive play of this year isn’t going to be tolerated next year. If the season ends today, all he’s going to get is a pat on the back and a mild note to improve his defense. That’s it, we haven’t sent that message to him EVER (well, Smitch did it once) and now would be a time to do it, no?

          I’m not criticizing the rebuilding process, I’m taking it in stride with the best of them, just pointing out that now’s the time you start looking at next year’s roster.

          • RapthoseLeafs

            Your 6 players (Bargs, Amir, Ed, Jarryd, Demar, & Linus) might be next year’s lineup, but that all depends on the draft, and some trades.

            If some team came shopping, and asked for Amir – do you trade him if the price is right? Johnson & Davis may become too similar to keep both, and depending on Davis going forward, the temptation might be to resolve the situation now (as I might imagine it), rather than later.

            Bayless will depend on the draft. If we get a young stud at the Point Guard spot, and Jose is still not moved, then I can see Bayless going somewhere else. In effect – ride Jose, and develop the new PG.

            Linus (and his blanket) is too far off to be imaginable as a Raptor player. And even further off from being traded, so he’s sort of a wash. Not here, but still here.

            If all this came to fruition, you might find next year begins with a core of:
            Davis (a bulked up version – ala JO)

            Of course, this is like any other vision – all subjective and pure guessing. And all without knowing what’s going on in BC’s head, or other GM’s for that matter.

        • sleepz

          I’m not taking the rebuilding in stride.

          For me it’s frankly not enough rebuilding going on.

          It should be from the top down (BC-coach-players) to hopefully remove the stench of “buddy ball” that has become synonymous with the Raps and head in the direction of far more defensive priority and accountability.

          If the mandate ever becomes about trying to win Championships (I can dream can’t I?) this up-tempo, let me out-score you, jump shot mentality has to end. Colangelo is the catalyst so I can only hope the head is removed.

          • smushmush

            Sleepz, if they were even playing “buddy” ball – I don’t care but the fact that they are playing “we are nice guys that shake your hands after the game even if you punk us on the court or annihilate us” ball is a real source of concern. I have not seen any pillow soft basketball players until I saw the Raptors teams assembled by BC lol.

  • Statement

    By Wins Produced

    Bargnani = -3.9 Wins Produced
    Derozan = -1.0 Wins Produced
    Weems = -0.7 Wins Produced,

    The three most unproductive players are in the starting lineup playing the most minutes – LOLZ.

  • Sam Holako

    God damn I missed those Knicks/Pacer teams from the 90s

    • Nilanka15

      Hellzzz yes!

    • smushmush

      and the Detroit Bad Boy pistons too with Bill Laimbeer – those guys were feisty lol.

  • knickz


    • c_bcm

      Sloan’s retirement demonstrated that anything is possible. Next thing we’ll see is Bargnani traded by the deadline and Wright starting in place of Weems.

    • Mack North

      haha, That guy was brutal! I was listening to WGR 550 whenever 102.1 was on commercial…

  • Valit

    Totally agreed with you Arse; Having said that, I’m very afraid that if the revolving door will continue, we will have another 5-6 years of revaluating, rebuilding, so far, so forth. Let’s try to build with a solid foundation this time, 1-2 pieces at a time and keep a balance between stability and infusion.

  • voy

    whoo. Mason and Oakley vs the 2 Davis’ on the court = pure awesomeness.

    I wish someone would establish the “no lay-up rule in Toronto. I know everyone whines about bargs softness but just as that clip shows you, you dont need to be 7ft to lay a forearm across someone’s forehead as they’re going for, whats thought to be, the uncontested lay-up.

  • cb

    band of brothers is a fantastic series. you’re missing out.

    and it’s never a good idea to start a piece by first admitting ignorance, and then passing judgement on the subject you’ve admitted to never watching. sigh.

    • Sam Holako

      lol +1

  • Paps

    90’s b-ball is dead. You will never see that again. Stern likes the finesse game too much. He would rather have LeBron dunk 5 times in a half.

  • RapthoseLeafs

    [ “Wright, Davis, A. Johnson, T.Johnson, Bayless. Play these five 48 minutes to get the point across. You get what I’m saying, lay the rules for next year starting this year. “]
    Final Score for the Dream Team
    Opponents – 92
    Raptors – 72

    92 points is being generous. Boston has the current NBA best of 91.5 pts allowed. Fact is, and I know this is all in jest, but this line-up would affect morale even worse, than what it’s been.
    In regards to BC, I can’t help wondering how fans are chewing his ass so much these days, and yet, he’s doing exactly want we want – patience (no hero drop-in trades), development of a young & inexperienced group, and adherence (so far) to the program (ie. getting a good draft pick). I despise tanking – and anyone who likes it, is not a true sporting person – but I can handle this sorta “tanking” process.
    Colangelo has a lot on his plate for next season, and I like his approach right now. Maybe not during the first 4 years – which should be better left as a learning process – but how he is sticking to the difficult task that this year has been all about. That includes, slowly but surely, exorcising all remnants of the past (ie. Smitch, Jay soon enough, Bosh etc).
    I believe Jay was somewhat a Tan-de-Bum coaching suggestion / company man, and once he’s been evacuated, Colangelo can never use the past (anymore) as a subtle or implied excuse. Jay is still here, because who the hell would want to finish out this season. Except maybe a rookie guy, and we need to move beyond that. What I want out of the next Coach, is a Popovich style. Stops a play and gives shit – as he did a few times with players (ie. Blair, Splitter & the Red Rocket) – as they unsuccessfully guarded Bargnani (for example). Triano is in a tough spot, caught between raw talent, development, and doing his best to keep away the Toronto mentality – losing is normal. Unfortunately, his tenor is gone beyond saving, and as such, it’s time to move on.
    When we look back at this season, one has to NOT dismiss injuries as one of the bigger factors to our nightmare. I know people say – “suck it up” – but with such a raw & inexperienced amount of talent, that’s just not possible. Lakers & Celtics can suck it up, but they’re Contenders, and examples of a solid nucleus. One with quality spare parts, that is a function of how much they spend. Like the Yankees, if one Star goes down, there always seems to be an abundant amount of replacement talent.
    To diss this team, is really dissing the process. Raptors have played so many Starting combinations – the anti-thesis of Contender style – that it’s been impossible to remain consistent. Lethargy, and a losing mentality all begin to weigh on the team (and us). And without a TRUE leader – which is so understated sometimes – this year’s version is doing just fine (and tolerable) by me …. warts and all. Hope is what keeps things going – for me at least.

    • KJ-B

      Based merely on the moniker “RapthoseLeafs”, are you a plant working for MLSE???

      • RapthoseLeafs

        Actually KJ-B … the moniker came about because I had lost faith in being a Leaf fan. Somewhere during the past few years, I’ve found myself choosing a Raptor game over a Leaf game – when both were on the tube. Some might consider that a monumental shift in sport favouritism, but it is, what it is.

        A pessimist might say, now it’s Raptor time for me to lose faith.
        As for BC, I don’t hold him up like some golden goose. I’m far from seeing this as a Jack in the Beanstalk fairy tale. All I know is, Toronto sports (not the fans in this case), have seen some of the most bi-polar years, that any sporting city could have. I’ve watched Neilson (bless his soul), be asked to emulate the Gong show, and come as the “unknown Coach”, bag on the head and all. I’ve watched Yvonne (remember her), be the Za Za Gabor to Harold (lol). I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.
        Toronto needs to learn how to hold steady, and bring some stability. To me, BC has not had the opportunity, nor the experience to do that. I liked Bosh, but from my perspective, he was the one who called the shots – not Colangelo. A GM can’t be like that. And learning on the job requires faith – a commodity that’s in short supply for this city.

        • KJ-B

          Thanks for enlightening with that–seriously tho…+1

        • smushmush

          Rapthoseleafs, there is no difference moving from the Leafs to the Raps – they both lose(trading misery for misery lol). Should have stayed with the Leafs instead.

          • Rapthoseleafs

            … it’s something in the air … that must account for the misery thing. CB did have a nose for value.

    • pran

      if colangelo makes a move at the deadline, be prepared to eat your words…….

      • Nilanka15

        Let’s hope any move(s) Colangelo makes involves us getting picks and/or young talent in return…and by “young talent”, I don’t mean more Ajincas.

        • pran

          yes i meant big moves

      • RapthoseLeafs

        To say I don’t want BC to make a move at the deadline would not be the gist of my post.

        If for example, Colangelo was to take on a “lousy” contract (2-3 years @ 12 million per, for example), but extract a good draft pick, or a quality young player playing behind a Star, I say … GO FOR IT.

        • RapthoseLeafs

          As a further to that, the “lousy” contract might affect our CBA situation, but for me, Raptors have to take some chances here. Countering the “Canada” effect, sometimes requires extreme (or unpleasant) measures.

        • pran

          I’d rather have money to spend on talent rather than getting another prospect that won’t pan out tbh.

    • pran

      and i think the whole problem as arse stated above is no one really trusts BC to make the big moves he must make this summer, hopefully he’s learned and we wont be stuck with 5 soccer players and derozan next year….

    • sleepz

      “In regards to BC, I can’t help wondering how fans are chewing his ass so much these days, and yet, he’s doing exactly want we want”

      Speak for yourself please. He’s doing exactly what you want, not I.

      • ballingsinceayounging

        …Did you expect a playoff team this year?:S

  • Get us one more first rounder in this year’s draft…that’s what I’m hoping for at the deadline.

  • Ryan-v

    Im all for defense, and toughness, but that clip was just a bunch of thugs….I think we have two extremes here…you can foul someone coming down the lane without being a dirty jack ass….

    • smushmush

      What do you expect? Basketball in the NBA is played by thugs that would otherwise be selling crack or rapping in the hood – you can’t expect them to be “buddy buddy”. If you want a non-violent game, go watch golf or kids high school games lol.

  • Allow me to illustrate the problem with your coaching philosophy, Arse:

    1st quarter
    11:26 DeRozan doesn’t fight through pick.
    Substitution: Barbosa for DeRozan
    10:55 Barbosa blows rotation, doesn’t cover corner 3.
    Substitution: Julian Wright for Leandro Barbosa
    9:58 Julian Wright doesn’t raise arms to contest 3-point attempt
    Substitution: Trey Johnson for Julian Wright
    9:55 Trey Johnson blows defensive rotation.
    Substitution: Solomon Alabi for Trey Johnson
    9:48 Solomon Alabi fails to contest 3-point attempt.
    Substitution: PJ Carlesimo for Solomon Alabi.
    9:30 PJ Carlesimo, Flagrant 2, ejected
    Substitution: DeMar DeRozan for PJ Carlesimo

    • Nilanka15

      Hahaha, well played.

      PS – I’d kill to see one of us get tossed for a flagrant 2 (even if it is a psychotic Carlesimo running onto the court attempting to stab the opposition with his Sharpie). This team is in DESPERATE need of a toughness infusion.

      PPS – This is not an invitation to comment on the need to get Reggie back. Reggie is a mirror-image of Bargnani. As a result, he’s just as much of a liability on one end of the floor. Not exactly the type of player we need going forward.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        Actually Nilanka .. and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Raptors (considering the Expert predictions), fared much better with Reggie. Of course, injuries did affect things as the season progressed, but the stats are as such:

        With Reggie – 6 wins, 10 losses (.375)
        Without Reggie – 8 wins, 29 losses (.276)

        While 16 games is a small sample stat (and I really do hate focusing on small stats), but the Raptors record … extrapolated to this point .. would be 20 wins, 33 losses. That would put us about 3 wins away from a play-off spot. lol

    • Jackie Moon

      PJ does know how much force around the neck is required to choke someone out. Is that what his flagrant 2 was for?

  • Dn

    “want the Raptors to emulate”

    Basketball is not a contact sport. Whoever likes things like that should watch UFC.

    • sleepz

      LOL, since when is basketball not a contact sport?

    • Jackie Moon

      Anyone that says that has never played before.

  • Bo4

    I love your requests re: MORE D!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Since I want us to get rid of Bargnani, to get Marc Gasol, it might be prudent to keep Calderon.

    I’m still trying to decide whether Weems is worth keeping as a sub. He may not be! He may just be a #9/10 player!!

    And I’m still trying to decide whether Barbosa is worth keeping as a sub. He is, however, making too much (3rd on the team) for what he brings to the table (9th in Efficiency/48mins).

    • EdDames

      I have no idea what the role of Sonny Weems is on this team.

  • Rapture

    i wish i could express how defensively lazy our team looks sometimes. Especially from Bargs hopscotching around in the middle. I say, cut the head off, BC and JT gotta go.. and we gotta start getting players who are defensive animals. I’d much rather us be high among the league in defense, then attempt to be an offensive powerhouse with inadequate talent

  • Albertan32

    I love the no layups rule! It’s like playing as though giving up a layup or a dunk is a sin. Play like you will be damned if it you just allow it to happen

  • BC&JayHaveGot2Go!

    Until BC, Jay & Gherizado(sp) are removed from the picture the Rap’s will struggle in futility praying for ping pong balls while drinking poisoned BC kool aid.

    BC & crew will continue to throw shit up against the wall seeing what sticks and spinning media stories ie BC/Jay lying about Bosh’s commitment to Toronto which none of his question teammates supported, while allowing Bargnani to continue to play anything other than offense when he feels like it. Jose & Barg’s are the longest tenured Raptor’s and exemplify on the court what’s wrong with the rap’s.

    Then remove Bargnani & Calderon and build anew from the front office to the locker room- it’s time for a complete engine overhaul on this current Raptor vehicle.

    As well, get rid of Devlin aka Matt Devil & Leo aka I Played With Dr J as game announcers- talk about bland.

    Salami & Cheese shirts >>>> Matt & Jack shirts/song

  • dribbles

    Watching the pick and roll defence against the Spurs was too much to bear. I swear to god a high school team could do a better job. If this team can’t make some significant defensive strides next season, I’m going to have an affair with another team until the pathetic softness and ineptitude ends.

    • Jackie Moon

      Please just not Miami. That would be like your girl sleeping with your brother.

  • BC&JayHaveGot2Go!

    What happened to XXL?

  • Dagger

    A few remarks to those waxing nostalgic about 90s-era “defensive” basketball:

    1. Watching teams like the Knicks, Heat or Pacers from that era was boring and flatout ugly. There’s a reason for the rule changes in both the NHL and NBA.
    2. Half of the “great” defensive plays featured in the video posted in this story were just dirty. Knocking out someone’s legs as they go for a layup doesn’t take skill, can seriously injure the opposing player and ruins the beauty of the game.
    3. The NBA would never tolerate brawls like we saw during the mid-90s after what happened at the Palace. But does anyone really want to see that? If so, MMA is legal in Ontario now.

    How about we get Bargnani to box out and go for blocks, while getting our wings to raise their arms and stay in front of opposing guards. Just leave that other 90s stuff in the 90s.

    • smushmush

      Guy, the hard fouls were meant to send a message – you are not waltzing into the paint with a layup without expecting not to get knocked down on your ass. The idea is intimidation and a re-think from opposing players(knowing they will be hit hard). Why do you think Steelers are sucessful defensively even though people say they are dirty? As an opposing quarterback or receiver, being exposed to the Steelers defense guys already has you clenching your teeth or squinching before you make a play. You might not support it but it works(same thing too with Green Bay’s defense, the defense played the right way is that of the Philadelphia Eagles that did not do jack shit in the playoffs). As for me, I am tired of seeing all these “and 1” fouls in the current NBA – it is sickening imo.

  • Toshmon

    I think most people agree with the attitude that these teams displayed. The “not in our house mentality.”

    Guys just stroll into the paint on the raps and come out smiling at our bench.

  • Old Man Jasper

    Dont get back on defense…thats a paddlin
    Let opposing guards waltz their way to the rim…thats a paddlin
    Dont show any pride in your interior defense and rebounding?…thats a paddlin
    Paddlin the team canoe?…Oh you better believe thats a paddlin

  • kaine

    I can help you:
    Didn’t fight for rebounding position or make interior rotation, caro Andrea, il tuo culo finisce sulla panchina!

  • Dpi

    I agree with the evaluation now idea.
    Here is what I would do;
    1. Start Bayless at PG. He doesn’t need more min. as much as he needs to start.
    When he sits to start the game, he gets too up tight and when he goes in,
    it’s either 20 or 2 but when he starts he’s much more consistant.

    2. Start Andrea on the wing. He is much more of a wingman anyway.

    3. Start Johnson in the middle and let him set screens and block shots.

    4. Find a swatter.