The criticism Bryan Colangelo has received of late got me thinking: Are we as fans unrealistic in our expectations of the Raptors? Taking Colangelo’s tenure out of the equation, the Raptors are 341-529 (39%). Under Colangelo the Raptors are 183-227 (45%), so relatively speaking the franchise has done much better under Colangelo than it has under his predecessors. The brief taste of playoff success that the Raptors achieved under Glen Grunwald isn’t there, but the record and consistency of performance is greater under Colangelo. Yet it doesn’t feel that way, does it?

Between 1999 and 2002, Glen Grunwald did post three straight winning seasons of 45, 47 and 42 wins; however, his overall record is much poorer than Colangelo’s yet we seem to have generally rosy memories of his reign, no doubt helped by Vince Carter’s theatrics at the ACC. Rob Babcock’s tenure in Toronto was painted by two consecutive poor drafts and the Vince Carter trade, yet he is often credited for stockpiling draft picks and finding Jose Calderon, paving the way for the flexibility that Colangelo inherited. Before these two there was Isiah Thomas who is credited with starting the franchise on the right foot by selecting Damon Stoudamire when everyone else wanted Ed O’Bannon.

Is Colangelo, despite having the best winning percentage of any Raptors GM, the most criticized custodian the club has ever had? Yes, because he has set the bar higher than any previous GM. If the team won 30 games under Thomas it was considered a great season, and making the playoffs under Grunwald called for a small parade. The measure of Colangelo’s success is much different because of the 2006-07 season which he best describes, and I agree with him, as “too much success, too early”. Ever since the Raptors won the Atlantic in a year when the East was weaker than a minority government, Colangelo’s management scheme changed significantly. That division-winning team gave such a strong “false positive” signal that from that day onwards, it was about taking the team to the next level instead of solidifying it’s core. Even though the latter might have been Colangelo’s intention, the former became it’s mandate.

Chris Bosh, Morris Peterson, Anthony Parker, Jorge Garbajosa and Andrea Bargnani headlined the team that lost to New Jersey. In the following summer Colangelo tried to reload with Jason Kapono, his first true effort of “building around Bosh”. Even though at the time I stated that the Raptors should acquire Reggie Evans, and that three-point shooting was not a concern, I agree with Colangelo’s line of thinking – he wanted to win now and was not afraid to spend cash at the stroke of midnight! When that experiment failed with a whimper of an effort against Orlando, the Raptors escalated their Chris Bosh appeasement efforts. This is standard behaviour across the NBA, GMs have tried to appease the likes of Kobe Bryant (Gasol trade), Carmelo Anthony (Billups trade), Chris Paul (Okafor trade), LeBron (Jamison, Mo Williams) and many others when free-agency is approaching by pulling trades/signing designed to strengthen the club’s bid for a signature on a new contract. I might be comparing apples and oranges because Bosh is a lesser player than any of those guys, but the strategy applies.

Colangelo should be credited for his proactive approach, even if it had the side-effect of losing draft picks. For the first time in the history of the Raptors a GM was put in a position where winning was no longer a nice to have, but an expectation and that too with Chris Bosh’s contract clock ticking down. Colangelo’s zeal for deal-making is a potion for fan excitement and interest, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that he has unmistakably failed at building a winner in Toronto, usually by wasting the financial flexibility he worked so hard to earn. I don’t know whether he’ll be extended or not, either way there are lessons to be learned from his tenure that can be applied as early as the next two seasons:

For example, in two years the Raptors will face a situation where they’ll either have to extend DeRozan or live with him entering the RFA market in the summer of 2013. The Raptors extended Bargnani to a big deal without seeing what his value would have been on the market, and now we have a player that is widely considered to be grossly overpaid. The Raptors will come face-to-face with a very similar situation with DeRozan, and unless he has unequivocally proven himself of being a top player in the league, there is no reason to extend him prematurely.

The franchise wasted years trying to build around a good player by adding mediocre pieces, hoping the collective sum would be greater than the parts. Chris Bosh was the only “untouchable” on the team and the Raptors went about their way trying to appease him in every which way. Recognize that mistake and avoid it by doing the same with Andrea Bargnani, and potentially with DeMar DeRozan. Colangelo’s season-ending press conference hinted that he’s finally lowered his valuation of Bargnani from franchise player to asset, too bad it happened a year too late but at least a lesson was learned. I hate the idea of compensating for a player’s lack of defense/rebounding by making up for it by overcompensating at the other big position – it’s impossible to do and a sign that a franchise is catering to a player instead of doing makes basketball sense.

The Raptors achieved their finest success under Colangelo when they had a great one-two punch at the point, and a 12th ranked defense. Both these areas have been neglected ever since, Juan Dixon, Jarrett Jack, Roko Ukic, and Will Solomon are some of the names that have passed behind Jose Calderon at the point, all with disappointing results. The defense, well, I think we all know about the defense. This is why I’m a fan of going for Kyrie Irving (even trading up) in the draft, because he’ll add dynamics to the offense and is a well-rounded defender, hopefully giving us a night-in-night-out advantage at a position in a year or so – also known as a wing double-team threat.

It’s very tough to identify a group of young guys to be part of the nucleus of the team. Most young players are looking to put up numbers so that they can get a big contract once their rookie-scale deal ends, I don’t blame them but sometimes the priorities are all out of order. This is an area which I feel good about because Ed Davis and DeRozan haven’t shown to be that type of player. Amir Johnson is under the security of a new contract, but keep in mind that at no point did he play selfishly the year before last. With the exception of the insouciant Sonny Weems and perhaps James Johnson, the Raptors have chosen the right horses, in terms of character, to take forward. Whether they have the talent is what remains to be seen.

The Raptors are not a strong organization, they have always been held hostage by their players and bend backwards to satisfy them. From Thomas to Grunwald to Colangelo, from Stoudamire to Carter to Bosh, it hasn’t ever changed despite them being burned by that approach every time. As the franchise enters a new era, one which is completely separate from its past thanks to the dichotomy created by rebuilding, they have to shed the label of a club that is desperate for player approval, and instead have the conviction of following a plan to success. If that plan is Colangelo’s, so be it, but from now on this franchise should be ruthless in what it demands of its players under contract. With two years before any serious contract negotiations with what it currently considers its core (plus a possible high draft pick), this is the prefect opportunity for the Raptors to rebrand the organization. Unfortunately, the ownership mess threatens to cause serious damage to its already dwindling dignity.

  • Matt52

    Great read, Arse.

  • mikeyp

    Raptor4Ever is an idiot.

    • Raptor4Ever

      LOOOOLL, How pathetic :) and yet, you don’t have the courage to even post this garbage with your real user name of the forum !!! Are you really that pathetic ??

      • mikeyp

        im glad you could feel as annoyed and frustrated by my stupid comment as many others on this website feel aobut your garbage ;). the only pathetic part is that i had to stoopto your level. buuuuuut im glad i did.

        • Raptor4Ever

          You just demonstrated your looser mentality.
          What a Coward ?
          You can not even use your forum ID to post here with this garbage. In a section that I have no even posted :)

          P.S. you did not stoop to my level. Your level in beneath me . Look up for a second and see me SHITTIN on you and your Post.

          • mikeyp

            your hilarious .. haha thanks

            • Raptor4Ever

              hahahaha, you little coward :) :)

              • mikeyp

                lol say that to my face

                • Raptor4Ever

                  Your face !! you don’t have the courage to use your forum ID and hide behind another user name and you want me to believe that you would actually show me your face !! Alright little Coward, step by step. first gather enough courage to use your ID :) :)

                • mikeyp

                  lol ur such an idiot….

                • Steve

                  You are Douchebag mikeyp. How old are you ?

                  People like mikeyp should not be allowed to post here.

                • ithoughtbiggirlsdontcrysteve

                  Heeeeey steve, its nice your trying to play hero but mind your own buisness. :) I didnt say anything bad to you or anyone else on this site (other then raptors4ever) and i certainly didnt swear at anyone or call them a “douche bag”. Raptors4ever has a history of being an instigator so i thought id have a little fun of my own. Notice how 14 other people liked my comment… sorry i didint realize this is the WMBA forum sweetheart. you can clearly see we were having some innocent fun.

                  PS…. dont look at what Titipekpek said to Raptors4ever at the bottom of the comments… u might loose your sh*t.

                • Ardefen

                  can’t somebody ban raptor4ever and all the stupid time wasting responses he generates. i come to this site for basketball comment, not name calling.
                  grow up.

                • Steve

                  mikeyp and Ardefen
                  From what it looks like here, mikeyp is the one that started this ridicules name calling. There was no “instigation” or anything else like this.

                  Ardefen, I agree with you on baning but lets ban the person who started all this nonsense which is mikeyp first and see where that takes us.

                • ithoughtbiggirlsdontcrysteve

                  if you read any of the threads on hear… which it doesnt seem like you do you would know raptors4ever history. commenting on something you have absoloutley no clue about makes you look really stupid.
                  Go read the therad on NOAH VS AMIR and then come talk to me buddy. u keep talking but all i hear is “Waaaaah!”

                • AwesomeGuest

                  Hey guys, let’s see how slim we can make the replies go!


  • BigChris

    Excellent article.

  • Pesterm1

    Nice job, i like that you wrote about something new on Colangelo. Lately alot of writers are just regurgitating the same stuff.

  • Theswirsky

    While Colangelo has a better overral record than the rest of the GMs combined (which I think is a bit of a limited view, but makes a point none the elss), he also has some pretty damning records…. more than anything the worst D in the league 2 years running. I also think his decreasing record is also a problem.

    What I think has started to bother alot of Raptor fans with him is he has used alot of novelty instead of substance. Alot of one trick ponies (Kapono), unique players (Bargs and Hedo) and finesse guys (Bosh) instead of the things most competitive NBA franchises have. That is, toughness, diversity and efficiency.

    While most competitive teams have tough, defensive minded, low post playing bigs, this team’s bigs have generally been soft, jumpshooting, finesse players. While most teams have had athletic, dynamic, can “play from anywhere on the court” wings, this team has had either aging and unathletic or (in the case of derozan/weems to date) one dimensional wings. I think the only area where BC has been fine (with the exception of 2008/09 season) has been PG, but its not like the steady hand of Jose Calderon wasn’t handed to him.

    He basically created a take alot of jump shots on offense and can’t play defense team…. and I just think its one of the worst kinds of basketball to watch (on both ends of the floor). I also don’t think for a minute its going to lead to anything more than the Raps already achieved.

    The question to some is can he change that? Atleast to me, the answer is he had a chance to.

    • Balls of Steel

      Agreed. In its 15 years of existence, the team I prefer to watch and cheer for was the 12th ranked defence under Smitch. The decline in defensive efforts and rankings (much to his delight of him trying to replicating the Phoenix Suns of old) is disturbing. Want to see winning through grit? Just watch the playoffs. The Celts / Knicks & Lakers / New Orleans is the kind of series that is marked by toughness. Scoring in this series becomes secondary. If given a chance to continue, is BC really making a team that can crack the first round, much less face the likes of Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles? That’s really the question.

      PS> I think that his devaluation of Andrea is a moot point. He’s paid like a #2 player by today’s NBA salary structure. However, by the time the new CBA is hammered out, AB7’s salary will be significant to whoever team he is going to (or staying with the Raps). Keeping him accountable (by benching or losing the starting gig isn’t going to light a fire under him). Simply put, management will have to put him on the floor given his salary. A 10 Mil bench player for the next five years will turn this franchise into a full-time circus of a team in the NBA.

      • Raptor4Ever

        For the Raptor Team it is all about accountability. After the dismal defensive performance last year, this team had no excuse for coming out and even playing worst defensively and not improving what bit.

        Unfortunately, the presence of AB is giving the rest of the team and the Coaching an excuse to use when it comes to defense.

        Out team has had a need in PG and SF for years now under BC and he has not manged to address even one of them.

        I don’t think another GM can do worst than BC did for 5 years. We have 22 win !!! no super star and no real untouchable talent in our team.

        The Only way is up because thanks to BC are as low as we can get.

  • Bo4

    I think Bryan can be commended for getting us to the point where two players may be all we need to compete in our division … a scary Center to complement Amir & Ed in the rotation, and a scary Point Guard who can knock down 3s at will. Marc Gasol & Jimmer Fredette come to mind. Both can be gotten. Andrea could then be our SF, with James as the swing sub … What do you all think?

    • Balls of Steel

      Andrea at the 3 was a failed experiment. I fail to see it’s advantages. If he’s having trouble guarding centers and most 4’s, what makes you think that a more quicker 3 would be better. Forget Lebron or Durant for a second. How about Andrea guarding Minnesota’s Wesley Johnson or Indiana’s Paul George (2 new players in this league)? You think Andrea can handle those assignments?

      Perhaps your suggestion of AB at the 3 is borne out of his ability to exploit his opponents through mismatches. Quite frankly, as a center, he’s already exploiting the big men on offense as most of them are not comfortable guarding him on the perimeter. One doesn’t need to take him out of his current position. The new Raps philosophy should be Andrea adapting to the team and not the other way around. Much has been given to him over the years and the franchise (including its current coach and GM) has paid dearly for those accommodations.

      • mountio

        Agree in principal .. but switching things up from time to time (something that good NBA coaches know how to do, but JT hasnt figured out) would benefit us. Going three big (Ed, AJ, AB or AB, AJ, Reggie, whatever) could change the flow of the game. Could work in man to man situations sometimes if the other 3 is bigger .. could maybe play zone the other times. Zones tend to be more effective with more length and greater height can help with rebounding (a key weakness of zones typically since box out assignments are tougher).
        Key point, I think is there is no point in having flexible players that can play multiple positions if you dont actually use them like this from time to time. For example, I loved it when we played JJ at the point at the end of the year in streches. It was out of necessity, I know .. sometimes, espeically when you lack talent, you need to create mismatches …
        And as for AB specifically, i dont think weve tried him at the three in probably two or more years. Maybe hed fail miserably, but one of the things he has improved is his footwork, so maybe he could be more effective now? Again .. when you are a 20 win team, why not try these things?

        • Theswirsky

          that is one thing I agree with. Even when the team did play him at the 3 it was for such small stretches of time, and all the while he was being groomed for the 5.

          It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the team had brought him in as a 3 instead of a big (or even played him there the last couple months of this season). Not saying it would have been succesful, but looking back it hardly could have hurt.

      • Bo4

        1) Andrea can score. 2) We need a Swing Forward who can score. Therefore, play Andrea there, since we want to replace him at C, too.

    • Tim W.

      There’s a difference between simply competing and having the building blocks to contend. I think Colangelo certainly has been able to acquire some decent assets, but I see only a few of them as being the types of players you want to build with.

      And while Fredette might certainly be a very good NBA PG, considering the Raptors inability to defend, I think staying away from acquiring ANY player who might struggle defensively is the way to go.

      Lastly, moving Bargnani to SF takes away his biggest strength, which is the ability to take bigger, slower players off the dribble. More and more as the season went on, teams purposely would put their PF or SF on Bargnani because it took away his advantage. And Bargnani played SF when Jermaine O’Neal was a Raptor and it did not work. He can’t defend SFs.

      • KJ-B

        The thing about the NBA game with the non-trapezoid lane and its propensity for man to man D even in the days of zone, defensive 3 seconds, no goal-tending, is that to be a BIG man of value, a player has to have good mobility in all directions, unique quick twitch reflexes and superior conditioning…

        None of these attributes describe #7–he is as ill-suited to the NBA game as a guy like Iverson is to the Euro game, where the game is still too slow more methodical for AI at 35 and less of his value is based on individual stats… It’s not a diss one way or the other–he, #7, just doesn’t fit into ANY discernible pigeon-holes of the NBA front court at the 3, 4 or 5 positions.

        So no matter what he does over the summer, I don’t think he’ll start to “get it” until he’s traded to some team that didn’t draft him at #1 overall and has no rose-coloured glasses in hand to prevent them from viewing him as increased value asset to the ‘team’ by moving him to a 6th man non-starting role… Trading him, might be the best thing that could happen to #7’s at this point in his career when he’s no longer considered a “high-ceiling 18/19 yr old 7 foot phenom…”

        • Tim W.

          I don’t disagree. I just think if you play him at SF you lose any offensive advantage you might have with him, and you get killed at the defensive end. I think the ultimate role for Bargnani will be a 15-20 mpg big man off the bench.

      • Bo4

        1) I want us to build around Amir, DeMar, Andrea & Jerryd. 2) Fredette can shoot 3s better than most. 3) This regime does not care about D enough to even play its best defenders. 4) If Andrea has José passing, DeMar driving, Marc in the low post & Amir in the high post, I think there’s enough possibilities there to compete within our division. Add Jerryd as the PG sub, Leandro as the SG sub & Ed as the C/PF sub, and it’ll be four good teams in the near future … with the Celtics at the bottom soon.

        • Tim W.

          1) I don’t.
          2) Great, but I don’t think that’s a reason to draft him as the starting PG
          3) It doesn’t mean you accept it and forget about the team ever becoming good defensively
          4) I notice there was no mention of defense, which is why that team might one day compete, but probably won’t ever be a contender.

          And you’ve got Ed Davis and Amir Johnson coming off the bench. How many minutes will everyone play? There’s also no way in the world I’d keep Davis on the bench. I would be surprised at all if he becomes the Raptors best player.

          • Bo4

            1) We can agree to disagree here. My primary focus is next season. Yours looks like its beyond that.

            2) I’m not drafting JF as a starter. JC is our starter.

            3) I’m just giving up wishing for a D focus with BC as GM & JT as coach. They generally pay it lip-service, but start their O-oriented players, and glue the D-oriented players to the bench. Actions are speaking louder than words, in this case.

            4) We can compete with NJN, PSS & NYK, once BC’s big 4 (SO, not RR) start to decline, or retire, which will be sooner than most expect. Once one goes, the others will all follow soon afterwards.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      BC should be commended for getting us to this current standing in Raptors basketball? Seriously, wtf are u talking about?

      From Division champs in year 1 to Conference chumps in year 5 & BC should be in your words- commended?

      2 players-CP3 & DHoward? is all we need to compete in our Division?

      NJ acquired f/a magnet & super duper NBA All Star pg DWill.

      NY acquired Amare & Melo.

      Boston has it ageless Big 3 NBA wonders in KG, PP, RAllen w/ Rondo leading them.

      Philly has hit a rebirth w/ AI being joined by Brand, Holiday.

      Only team in the Division on a down swing is the Rap’s.

      Didn’t we win the Division in year 1 of BC’s tenure?

      & now we can’t even compete within that very same Division?

      Do we want scary players- this ain’t Halloween, or talented players?

      Gasol & Ferdette?

      Gasol is staying in Memphis- part of the reason ZBo re-signed.

      Fredette- select him 3rd overall?, will be lucky to have a JJ Reddick type of career- if he works extra hard in the gym.

      Didn’t Sam play AB at the SF spot and he failed miserably at it?

      And now that he is even bigger and slower you suggest that he play SF again?

      The Rap’s have had the worst defense in the NBA 2 years running, playing AB at the SF spot would make their swiss cheese defense more NBDL/NCAA like vs NBA opponents.

      BC has fucked up the Rap’s- point blank his Ivy League Chit does stank!!

  • Mike D

    I would say the primary reason for the disparity between other Raptor GM’s and BC’s winning percentages can mostly be explained by the poor “expansion” hand early Raptor GM’s were dealt. Those early teams posted some truly horrific records, but at least we knew why: What else could you expect when you were a new player in the game, inheriting only the #6 pick, Willie Anderson and little else? Those early expansion seasons helped artificially keep the overall winning percentage of Raptor GMs low…and it could have hardly been otherwise. It wasn’t until the middle of Grunwald’s term that we finally began climbing out of the hole.

    BC took over 10 years into the club’s history – so the stench of the expansion deal other GMs had to contend with was long removed. Through a near cataclysmic display of ignorance, Babcock managed to reinstate it; Colangelo – after one year we now know to be a fluke (2007) – managed to institutionalize it. Perennial Raptor crappiness is now synonymous with our city – in 15 years, we’ve won one playoff series. When the Clippers do it, everyone laughs at their ineptitude. Here in Toronto, we talk about letting Bryan “re-up” and justify it by saying “Who can we get that’s any better?”

    Somehow I gotta feel his winning percentage is inflated because he inherited CB4, Jose, Charlie V. (who, while truly garbage, at least had trade value) and the #1 pick. Even he couldn’t turn that hand into a 22 win outfit right away. It took a lot of incompetence over a sustained period of time, a series of poor decisions and a helluva slick wardrobe that made about as much basketball sense as the “Young Onez” marketing campaign. Now, he wants to talk us into another “exciting” rebuild.

    Man, I miss the days when we were Atlantic Division Champs.

    • Balls of Steel

      The stench of expansion cannot be used as an excuse if the brand name GM we have in Colangelo is a proven commodity. The two botched trades / signings that involved Chandler and Barnes left me with the impression that BC’s once suave and savvy management acumen has lost its luster around the league. If he is this powerful GM, backed by years of success and a 5 million dollar annual salary, he can stop the stench of expansion as soon as he entered his office. Yet here we are now feeling like we’re back in 1995.

  • Bigbubbamac01

    I like the article and the sentiment. I agree that management needs to have a game plan, and have the balls to follow through with it. Hopefully the new owners will demand this from whomever is GM. I was a big Colangelo fan when he was introduced, I liked year one, but it soon became obvious that the game plan, or lack thereof, began to go down hill.
    Unlike most, I like Chris Bosh, and still do, he wasn’t what we all thought he should be, but that is hardly his fault. He is what he always was, a very good PF, and a key component of a good to great team. Our problem, as fans, was that he was only component and not the cog that turned the wheel, and we faulted him for it.
    I would like to keep Colangelo. For lack of better descriptor, he has street cred. He’s a known commodity in the league and he has many in roads and contacts that a new GM may not have.
    I would like to see Triano go. No offense to him or his skill or ability, but he is not the coach to go with going forward. I would love to see Rick Adelman come in. I think that given a GM that is on the same page as him, he could make a real difference here, and give this team a real identity. Of course Sloan would great as well, but I think he’s is just done with B’ball all together.
    All in all for the first time in years, I have been really paying attention to the Raptors, because there is definitely a feeling of change here for this franchise. A rebuild can be a good thing if done correctly, and if we can actually build a team with an identity, we make actually have a chance to be remembered for more than a stepping stone for players before they emerge as stars.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      The game plan was/is Euro based basketball as BC-Gheradini-Jay-AB-Jose form the core of the Rap’s as is.

      You can add Kleiza as well since he was 1 of 2 guaranteed preseason starters along with Barg’s due to his strong FIBA play-as per BC & Jay.

      The 2 longest tenured Rap’s are- Jose (I know BC tried to trade Jose) & Andrea, the 2 that exemplify exactly what is wrong with the Rap’s in the TDot- defense.

      Yet they continue to start, BC even traded away JJ so that Jose could feel comfortable instead of having roster competition for his starting pg job.

      I stopped giving BC the benefit of the doubt when he prematurely fired Sam then extended Jay for doing an even more worse job than Sam.

      Street cred? If the Elitist Ivy League bred BC was in the streets he would be dead by now.

      BC isn’t the only person with NBA contacts or

      Everything he has is because of his daddy- str8 up & down.

      Jay, in my mind, should be remove from the Franchise altogether under new ownership no assistant coaching or front office jobs- just go fuckin’ relax a bit.

      As to initiate true change one must dig out the roots of the old front office regime (people, ideas, direction, structure) and replace them with new roots (people, ideas, direction, structure) as if one just trims the hedges on the bush it just gives a new appearance on the very same ol bush- same ol’ same.

      Raptors President: Julius Erving

      Raptors GM: Chris Mullin

      Raptors Coach: Rick Adelman

  • JohneRay

    Have you ever felt that a parent, a teacher or an employer UNFAIRLY favoured others over you?

    Have you ever wondered whether the NBA has UNFAIRLY treated our Toronto Raptors team and created, amended or delayed amending rules to ensure the Raptors will always be worse than the rest? Has the Raptors historically poor record been a product of intentional NBA intentional acts or omissions?
    Has Brian Colangelo been handcuffed by changes to draft rules made by the NBA or delayed by the NBA?


    BC’s connection with Toronto goes way back. Oddly enough, it was BC’s dad, JC, who headed the NBA expansion committee that arrived in Toronto in mid-1993 to meet with the initial bid groups. When the NBA Board of Governors finally decided to let Toronto and Vancouver join, they set a record expansion fee of $125 million, 4 times the previous amount in 1989.
    Vancouver was ultimately crushed partly by the excessive cost but the Raptors managed to survive.


    The NBA had an agreement with the expansion Raptors and Grizzlies so that neither team could win the 1996, 1997 and 1998 drafts even if they won the lottery. The lucky Raptors won the 1996 lottery but were forced to settle with the second pick. The Philidelphia 76ers ended up with the first pick, Allen Iverson. Similarly, the Grizzlies won in 1998 but had to give their first pick away.


    Starting in 2006, NBA teams were unable to draft any players under 19 (during the draft calendar year) and any players who were at least one year removed from high school. That change would have previously delayed players like Lebron, Dwight, Garnett and Kobe.

    As a result of the change despite winning the NBA draft lottery in 2006, Raptors picked Andrea Bargnani. If the NBA did not make the changes, the Raptors likely would have picked Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. In retrospect, Bargnani has had a better career than Oden although either of those choices would have worked better with CB$.

    Why in 2006? Why the Raptors?

    4. NBA is NOW talking (after CB$ has left) about applying a “FRANCHISE TAG” in NEW CBA

    In the NFL, to avoid losing a team’s best player in free agency, owners can tag one unrestricted free agent as a “franchise player” each free-agent period. Chad Ford has a nice article on the concept here:

    No matter which way we look at it, the Raptors were crippled by Chris Bosh under the present CBA. For years, Raptors development plans have been hijacked due to the necessity of appeasing Chris Bosh in this star driven league. Chris Bosh was not primarily to blame, the system was.

    Despite dancing around the topic for the longest time, David Stern acknowledged in February that a “franchise player tag” could become a factor in the negotiation process aimed at getting a new CBA, though it has not yet been put on the table.
    Too little too late David Stern.


    Do you start wondering whether the rules for the Raptors are the same as the rules for the rest of the NBA?

    Is this just another conspiracy theory to try and save Brian Colangelo? Is this just another example of the Canadian inferiority complex rearing its not so ugly head?

    Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.

    • Theswirsky

      I think you can make some conspiracy arguments but:

      1) don’t think this really matters (as much) to the franchise as a whole. Thats purely owners $. I bet a franchise tag now is much more than it was in 1993.

      2) they were prevented from winning drafts, but if I’m not mistaken they also could not draft any lower than 5 or 6(?) in those same years. So it was a trade off.

      3) tough break. This is one that could be viewed from a conspiracy angle.

      4) I would imagine Lebron leaving, Carmelo wanting out and the mini-Chris Paul incident had a bigger influence on this than Bosh.

    • Ihatehaters

      …get out the tinfoil hats…

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

        That’s a bit dismissive to his posted particulars.

        The NBA Front Office basically sunk the Grizzlies in Vancouver as they made the recommendations of who to hire and oversee the Franchise- no tin foil hats needed.

        BC hasn’t been handcuffed though maybe the earlier GMs were by the Lottery draft restrictions but not BC he has made just about every move he has wanted to, to his own current demise.

      • pesterm1

        i tihnk there is something fishy going on . its hard not to IMO. you can choose to disagree but dont mock people for their opinions. everyone is constantly told that “this is coincidence” , “thats lucky” or “thats ironic”. sometimes we have to look at what is going on and come to our own conclusions rather then listening and following what the majoriy is telling us. this applys to everything, not just the NBA.

    • Rpssfan95

      should also add that Stern took away basketball from proline, as part of the deal

  • John_tracey29

    Yo Arse, great post, made me think. Here’s a question: Where would this Raptors team be if the moves Colangelo wanted to make had actually gone through? Think Matt Barnes. Think Chandler and Diaw. Hard to say whether the second trade would have been made the same way if the Barnes signing had taken place (it probably would have), but think about a Raps team that would have the following players: Barnes, Diaw, Barbosa, Chandler and maybe Jarret Jack (or Bayless if they still make that trade).

    Colangelo wanted these players because he wanted the team to compete every night, he only bought into the rebuilding plan when it was pathetically obvious this team needed to let the young players grow. How much time would Amir and Ed Davis have seen if Diaw and Chandler were around? If we signed Matt Barnes, would we have traded for James Johnson? Would DeRozen have developed? I think we need a GM who is committed to rebuilding over the course of 3 or 4 seasons. I respect Colangelo’s desire to win, but he seems satisfied aiming for a middling 45-win team, and I just don’t trust him not to trade away middle talent for more middle talent.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      Rebuild is just another Bull Chit pr media spin form BC in order to rationalize all the losing to Rap’s fans while giving BC more time to throw shit up against the wall to see what sticks.

      Rebuild is an excuse for losing- nothing more, nothing less.

      What we need is an influx of new talent & leadership from the front office down to the locker room that will make the Rap’s competitive in the boardroom & on the court- reality over image.

      According to BC at the time the Barnes signing did take place- another one of his President/GM

      The fact is BC did not complete those transactions for various reasons- coulda, woulda & shoulda.

      Btw- Jack (&DAndersen) was traded for Peja- Bayless was acquired using part of the CB TPE.

  • mountio

    Good article .. with the exception of AB being “a player that is widely considered to be grossly overpaid” .. even the haters tend to agree his contract is resonable. Im not saying we should have extended him early .. that was dumb (unlike CB he wasnt going anywhere if he turned into a superstar this year) .. but the contract itself is fine for what he brings, his age, etc…

    • Theswirsky

      “even the haters tend to agree his contract is resonable”

      his contract is reasonable for a 7ft C in the league. Its hardly reasonable for his productivity. It was also given to him without any challenge to the market.

      • jimmie

        It’s a fine salary for his productivity, too.

        And letting it go to market can work both ways. If you believe AB wouldn’t have got offers bigger than what he signed in Toronto, I think you’re mistaken. If you value your own players and have a chance to sign them without letting some other team jack their pricetag on the market, you do it.

        I actually think the reasonable salary that AB is signed to is one of the things that will make him moveable — along with the tantalizing, ego-driven “he didn’t do it there, but maybe we can get him to rebound here” mentality of all GMs — if that’s what management decides is best.

        • Theswirsky

          “And letting it go to market can work both ways”

          it could and thats the chance you take any time you buy a product or service. But, atleast the Raps had an out in that he was an RFA… so if another team was willing to give him more, the Raps could have, at the very least, matched it.

          What BC did was jump the gun thinking that Bargnani was turning into the player he thought he would/could be. I guarantee you this, if BC truelly thought Bargnani was worth the money he is making (and is going to make for 4 more years), he would not be considering moving him right now.

  • albertan_10

    Great read. I hope that they up his contract because I think we have a superior talent at GM who is just now starting to show what he can do. He has a lot of experience in the league so going forward with younger guys and starting from scratch, he will be an asset to the organization.

  • 511

    Just when I’m clicking here and there, wishing Arsenalist was as big a Blue Jays fan as he is a Raptors fan, an Arse column appears to fill the Saturday morning void.

    Terrific read (on my only other favorite sports team in the world).

    In some ways, Colangelo might’ve been hog-tied right from the start. Before he could roll out the signing of whichever coach HE probably had in mind coming in, Smitch went and won Coach Of The Year, messing up whatever timing he might’ve had in mind for that. And then, while he could’ve known that Bosh wasn’t really the PERFECT player to build around, he could also see that Bosh was about as close as he was going to get (to a franchise player) for a while … so he likely had little choice there as well, except to build around what he had.

    That Bosh didn’t have the strength of character (balls) that Carmelo Anthony (say) had, to be straight-up about his intentions is much more on Bosh, I’d say, than it is on Colangelo. I mean, he had to take him at his word, didn’t he? While it might’ve been a ‘safer’ thing to trade Bosh away before he had a chance to screw us over, with free-agency looming for Bosh, I mostly doubt it was likely that anyone would’ve given us fair-trade value for what we would’ve been giving up. So Colangelo pretty much HAD to take Bosh at his word. As I see it, anyway.

    I won’t go as far as saying that Colangelo is without a share of the blame for all the Raptors woes right now, but for my money, factoring in events that were more out of his control than in it … and also considering that (as I see things) many of a person’s best lessons that really smarten us up are from those things we’ve learned about the hard way (mistakes), (as long as one has any brains at all, that is) I think it’s not unlikely that Colangelo might be ready — and maybe only now, really — to be the very good GM that some thought he was going to be when he first got here. He’s taken some knocks and he knows the landscape. I’m tending to think that the lessons he’s learned may prove to be valuable to a basketball organization, somewhere, if not here. If he goes elsewhere, it won’t surprise me if one day, we really wish we’d have kept him.

    Of course, having some accountant-with-attitude or one that has a some sort of chip on his shoulder (if that’s what’s going on) in charge of our fates in this regard is what’ll probably make all this moot in the end. But … such is life as a Raptors fan.

    • Theswirsky

      “I mostly doubt it was likely that anyone would’ve given us fair-trade value for what we would’ve been giving up.”

      that is almost definetely true… but would what BC have gotten back been better than James Johnson, Ajinca and a 2nd round pick? (Raps got their first round pick back, but since they are a lottery team again it would have been their 2nd round pick the Heat would have given to the heat). I will say the rest of the TPE could still be used, but if what Colangelo said is true, it likely won’t be.

      I imagine a team would have given up much more than that, especially had he traded Bosh after he turned down the extension. So while the team wouldn’t have gotten value = to Bosh, they would have (likely) gotten value > than they did for Bosh.

      (It also would have likely meant no JO deal, no Hedo, and recognition of Bargnani’s abilities sooner. It would have also then likely meant keeping the 17th pick, and not giving away 2 2nd round picks to the heat.)

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      Kool aid time!!

      BC fired Sam @ 8-9. Jay goes 25-40 and gets a 2 year contract w/ a team option on a 3rd year? What part of the game is that?

      Then Jay, who hasn’t led the Rap’s to the playoffs, proceeds to make the Rap’s among the worst defensive teams- if not the worst, in the NBA 2 years running?

      Was BC really building around CB or AB?

      BC never brought in another All Star player to play with Chris instead he filled the Rap’s rosters up with marginal players and expected CB to do all the work.

      If BC would have traded AB for a real quality NBA center to pair up next to CB instead who knows?

      BC tried to posture on CB in the media and send him to a team that offered the most assets in return then CB threatened to sign w/ Miami outright which called BC’s bluff. BC knew a week in advance of the f/a period that CB was leaving.

      If CB wasn’t a leader, quit on the team and the rest that BC & Jay erroneously implied via the media then why did they want to re-sign him?

      Why didn’t BC just trade him at the All Star break when BC said that someone got in CB’s ear?

      Why hasn’t any Raptors player (AB, Jack, Turk, Jose, Weems, DD) said that CB quit on team that season when questioned- only BC & Jay?

      BC without his daddy overseeing everything is 100% pure Bull Chit.

      • 511

        Ya know IhatesBC, or whatever your handle is, I see that you post an awful lot and a quick scan once or twice some time ago, told me enough to know that I can generally skip whatever it is you go on about — and I’m truly not meaning to offend you … yet — but this time, as you responded to something I wrote, I took the time to read what you wrote. And you know what? Not one single point, if one can call them ‘points’, holds any water at all. I won’t bother to take time to deconstruct each bit of nonsense that you actually spent time typing out, but … in regards to some of what you confusingly droned on about re Bosh, either you’re a new Raptors fan … or you weren’t paying much attention to what was going on during Bosh’s last year here … or you’re some sort of not-very-effective plant that an anti-Colangelo member of MLSE is paying fifty cents a post to spew your nonsensical garbage to … whatever it is they might want you to do. Other than that … well, there is no ‘other than that’. So … see ya.

  • Malefax

    Bargnani is widely considered to be overpaid… by people who don’t know any better.

    • Theswirsky

      I’d say Bargnani is widely considered to be fair value…. by people who don’t know any better.

      Then again I think players are of value when they are productive on the floor… not just based on the number of shots they take. But thats just me.

      • jimmie

        It doesn’t matter what you think. It only matters what other GMs think. And someone out there will see AB’s offensive skillset and say, “we can get him to play D and rebound”. Guaranteed. If you’re as astute a basketball observer as you seem to think, you know this already, because we see it every year around the league.

        • Theswirsky

          indeed.. so can you quote any GM other than BC who has to date said, yeah thats a good value for a player?

          The reality is, as of now, no one knows what other GMs think…. this conversation is EXACTLY about what we (you or I or anyone else) think.

          Question though… what if Bargnani doesn’t get traded? What can we ‘think’ then?

    • Tim W.

      For his current role, Bargnani’s contract is fine. Where he is overpaid is in the role he SHOULD be playing. But that is really the case with A LOT of players in the league.

      • Tim

        At the end of the day, it is all about AB. Without him, all the problems are gone :) . Without him, this team is on his way up and the focus should be on him on every single post, every single article and …

  • Toshmon

    Such a big period in the history of the raps…I just wish we had basketball people making the basketball decisions up top.

    This summer is like a tetter totter the raps can go eihter way in terms of development and progress. (I hope to God we dont lose this franchise)

    Imagine if your Derozan and Davis and then CEOs decide that they are gunna fire a guy(party) cause he took a chance and drafted you.

  • barenakedman

    If this team had a clear team identity and concept that everyone had to conform to, it would still take a coaching staff able to communicate that on an individual basis to the players. Does this organization have that staff in place? It’s hard to say because there is a common conception that BC is involved in what should be coaching decisions regarding the playing time of the players. BC may be a pretty decent GM but as a coach forget it. One thing about Sam Mitchell was that he was man enough to stand up for his integrity as a coach but it cost him his job.
    If this “rebuild” is to go ahead, besides not bending over to pacify the egos of it’s players it needs a clear vision and identity so that a player not fitting in will stand out like a sore thumb and will dealt with appropriately.

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

    Nice read even though I don’t agree with the premise of everything stated as the Colangelo brand is a fad, trend that has run its course in the TDot.

    BC, whose Raptors Pres/GM tenure has been similar to his big off season f/a signing Kleiza- injured and in need of repairs, needs to join Kapono, JO, Marion, CB, Turk & Jack in other-words get the hell out of the TDot!!

    Excuses are like assholes- everyone has one, it’s just that some expel more Bull Chit than others ie losing with a purpose, rebuild.

  • RapthoseLeafs

    *** My 2 Cents On Raptor future, MLSE, and all things Glenda Silvestri ****

    As we wait for a pencil pusher to decide Raptor future, one has to look at MLSE and wonder if this Conglomerate has been a positive factor for the Raptors.

    1) The Teachers Pension fund is bracing for a negative cash flow, with the number of retiring (or pay-outs) outstripping the inputs (pension contributions & investment returns). As such, the pressure is on to cut costs, and maximize revenue. Cue the – Sylvester the Cat – and the minion of human pencil pushers making basketball decisions.

    2)MLSE has NEVER spent into the luxury tax. This is a significant issue with me. For all the fans who say that MLSE has been (perfect last 2 words) receptive to “supporting” the team’s endeavours if the need arose, the facts are – Raptors have NEVER … EVER … spent into this tax zone. To say they would, is no different than saying Bargnani could be a good rebounder. Truth is, I’d bet on Andrea being a better rebounder (first), before I bet on MLSE spending over the luxury line. For Toronto to overcome the “Canadian” issue, we need to pay a premium in order to attract, or keep, top level players. That means luxury tax.

    3)MLSE is making Toronto a laughing stock in the NBA. There are enough issues to deal with, that we don’t need a moron like Glenda, at the top f*@king it up any more.

    4)Personally … I’d fire Sylvester, as he’s impacting Raptors value more than not.

    Arsenalist … I liked the scope of your assessment, that BC hasn’t been as bad as he’s been painted. A few exceptions/comments to your analysis though:

    1) Bargnani is not “grossly” overpaid. Trade him if that’s the only solution, but to say he’s overpaid, is just allowing a biased perspective to override a reasonable analysis. I think other GM’s would disagree with you. Let’s hope they do.

    2)Building around a player. Bosh was a mistake, but he demanded that the team build around him (via Youtube and such – “I’m MVP material”). Not in so many words, but we all know that’s what transpired. Andrea didn’t ask to have this team focused around him. Raptors made that mistake – in absence of a Star. With the media needing someone in a role (especially to pick on), the whole thing snowballed. Same goes for Demar – he shouldn’t be put into a similar role, as we’ll be hunting for his head in due time (assuming Bargnani is gone). Neither are Super stars, nor should they be treated as such. That was the mistake this year. I always felt the offensive side of the team game (and offense is what garners fandom), should be a mix of Andrea & Demar. That 1-2 punch.

    3)Defense. It’s time to stop pussy-footing around, and demand Defense from not only our Centre position, but also PG, SG, and SF positions. I’m assuming AB is gone eventually – so f*@k off to those who’ll turn this statement around (lol).

    We’re horrible at these 3 (other) spots. No way in hell we ascend to Contender status (or legitimate play-off status) with Jose-type defense, musical chairs at the SF spot, and DD’s lack of D as well. Derozan has to dramatically improve at this part of his game, and he’s young, so we should be patient – assuming we see progress.

    3)Centre. Like it or not, I doubt we’ll find that true defensive Centre in free agency. Especially if our “projected” cap situation has only 5 or 6 million available. The irony of this situation, is that BC’s probably our best hope for pulling off a any miracles with this, considering almost EVERYONE else needs that elusive Centre.

    We could search in the draft for such a commodity, but chances are, that’s a 4 to 5 year process. Can we really wait that long (or more appropriately – the Owners), or will we do what we’ve done so often – try it for a couple of years, and then reboot everything again (including the acquired Centre).

    Suffice to say, we need to develop from within. And this is where I think we should try a stronger Davis at the position (ala J.O.). With AB virtually gone, someone will have to fill the role. Amir is too fragile, and foul prone to even play 10 minutes (unless it’s against a team going small ball).

    4)Amir is our best bargaining chip. I’d say Bargnani might fetch more, but we’ve managed to screw up his value with all the derision going on. Johnson is a perfect 20 – 25 minute guy on a quality team. On our team, he’s not redundant, but a part of the over-supply at PF. Raps need to balance things out (ie. PG, SF, Centre, SG back-up, 3 point specialist, defensive specialist, and on and on).

    5)I’ll get tatooed for saying this, but I believe Bargnani could be a quality PF back-up to Davis (in 6th man role), as he could fill in temporary on the Centre position – depending on his ability to grasp his “new” status – when injuries happen. And injuries will happen. His salary will be 9 million next season – not a crazy amount for this role – and his potential upside to really get it this time, now that Coddling 101 classes have been cancelled. If it doesn’t work out, then move him at the trade deadline.

    If we force a trade, we’ll end up doing another Vince deal, where we pretty much get nothing back. And that nothing could (more likely) have a salary coming back in the 9 million dollar range.

    6)It’s imperative that Demar also develop a 3 point shot, especially with this team. Normally, one can pass that responsibility on to another player position, but we can’t. Once Andrea is gone, our 3 point shooting will get even worse. And it’s last right now, so ….

    7)Leadership. Someone has to step up, as this issue needs a solution SOON – with such a young team. A Leader would call out lackadaisical effort, and WOULD NOT allow dissention (Europe vs America), or subtle statements directed at other players. If Amir was dissing AB at his press conference (and that’s a debate in itself), a Leader would take him aside and straighten him out.

    A Leader would take Demar aside, and wipe that stupid “wtf” look off his face real fast, when he gets robbed on the foul situation. Again, DD is young, so don’t take this any other way.

    A Leader would pull Bayless aside, and change that “petulant” behaviour real quick (re: Starting and producing vs Bench and not). I like Jarryd’s enthusiasm, and his questioning at times, but he has to show me the money first, before he thinks he can assume a Leadership role.

    In the end, a Leader has to have the respect and ability to kick ass when needed – but not to the extreme of the real “KICK-ASS”. lol

    I’m optimistic about our team – one has to be in Toronto – but I’m also seeing that we need direction within the team. I still don’t see Jay as that “director” of such a situation, but he’s cheap, and this is MLSE … so wtf do I know.

    • Harry S. Truman

      Honestly, with MLSE screwing up this situation so badly, how come nobody has considered the possibility that Colangelo himself actually wants to leave now? The writing’s on the wall clear as day. If Colangelo was coming back, he’d be extended by now. Like how long are you gonna make the guy wait?

      How would you feel going into work everyday and nobody’s told you if you’ll still be working there seven weeks from now? The guy’s probably disillusioned with the whole MLSE outfit now, I know I am. He’s not native to this country, and probably just wants to head the f*** home – and who could blame him?

      The sad thing is that as long as these corporate tools are running the sports teams here, nothing will ever change. In their view, the Toronto Raptors basketball club is neatly stored on the same bookshelf that holds the files for Condo towers, Sports Bars, the Maple Leafs, and a couple other teams nobody really gives a rat’s ass about. I would bet dollars to donuts that there actual members on this “Board of Directors” who have no idea the Raptors have the third best chance to win this year’s NBA lottery.

      This is the true crux of the matter, and the fact the MLSE has done nothing to address the state of the Raptors just goes to show you to what regard they hold the organization, and its fans – which is depressing, because the fans are the true “shareholders”.

      • Raptor4Ever

        “how come nobody has considered the possibility that Colangelo himself actually wants to leave now? ”

        He is not going to go any where because nobody would want him. He is the GM of 22 win team right now. A GM who was not able to get the result for past 5 years, went through an array of Coaches, was not able to solve any of his team’s problem, have a very questionable draft pick in AB and finally was not able to keep his star Player in town.

        There is nothing in BC’s resume that makes other teams in NBA want to pay him the kind of money ( If I am not mistaking we are paying him 3 million a year which is making him one of the highest paid GM in this league) and bring him.

        He needs more time here to try to redeem himself. There are alot of talks around NBA that contributes his earlier year success to the influence and help of his father. They believe without his Dad, BC does not have the magic which once was though he posses.

        He needs Toronto more than Toronto needs him at this stage of his career.

        • Harry S. Truman

          I disagree. Nobody connected with the Colangelo family’s estate “needs” anything from Toronto – the NBA’s novelty act – whether its 3 million per year or 30 million per year.

          In any event, I wasn’t trying to lead a cheer for BC – my point was this whole situation will ultimately reflect on the Raptors image as a stable, competent organization that has a long-term viability in this region. I believe that it does, because its fanbase is renowned. However, the current generation of sports fans are much more informed, connected, and savvy than the ownership gives it credit for, and that I feel is a bigger problem than the question of extending Bryan Colangelo as GM.

        • Toshmon

          “He is not going to go any where because nobody would want him”


  • Toshmon

    The thing that keeps me sane among all this madness right now is knowing that the Raps have drafted DeRozan and Davis and we should have them for the the next 2-3 years.

  • Raptor4Ever

    I just finished watching Memphis beat SA. This Memphis team is something to be excited about. Just imagine adding Gay at the SF forward and this team has all the element to make noise for next few years.

    • Titipekpek

      imagine you weren’t such a cunt.

      • Steve

        Grow up Kid, He is not your Mother.