What is it with this city and glorifying blue collar players? The fascination with these types reached a new level on Wednesday night as Aaron Gray heard MVP chants a couple of times when bricking free throws. It’s great to see him get decent burn. He just makes life hard for bigs on the other team with his big body and constant motor. The defensive glass stays clean and he does a good job of challenging players in the paint.

You know those point guards who actually got better with time in the NBA? Jose Calderon is one of those guys. The last few games he’s been urged to create his own offense, and it’s almost unbelievable how he was able to just turn up that part of his game on the drop of a hat. No doubt, teams are starting to pick up on this like the Pistons did last night, and Calderon responded with 15 assists. What I think is happening here folks, is that Calderon’s offensive prowess is starting to and will continue to open up the floor for him. It’s what separated a Steve Nash from a Brevin Knight. The hope is that Jose continues to maintain that offensive edge, and not revert back to that passive point guard play that has infuriated many a fan over the years.

What we’re seeing now is an elite point guard, not just some guy you trade away because his value is high right now. He’s one of the best in the league when he’s playing like this, and as mentioned before, point guards are a different breed. Some of them are like a fine wine, they age well. The decision-making improves, the shooting tends to get better, and that’s a lot of what being a 1 is all about. If he does end up getting traded, it had better be for a significant price.

DeMar DeRozan and James Johnson had decent games. The seven rebounds for DeMar were nice to see. He was actually a decent rebounder in previous levels. Johnson continues to add a little bit every game. It’s actually exciting to see, because plays like facial on Jason Maxiell show how much raw talent the man has.

I’m glad to see the first half end on a good note. It really was a summation of everything good that’s being poured into this organization, from better direction to better defensive effort and scheming, to the maturation of Andrea Bargnani as a complete player. While we may not end up drafting first overall because of these improvements, it’s clear now that there actually may be some value in these intangibles like accountability and “culture”. The Raptor faithful saw these elements on full display last night and Aaron f***ing Gray was the unlikely target of their appreciation.

On to All-Star Weekend. Get the props ready. Ugh.

  • c_bcm

    Nice “feel-good” article here. I’ve been missing these almost as much as i’ve been missing wins.
    I’m glad to see someone who writes for this site that agrees with my opinion of Jose. Give that man the keys to make decisions on the court. He’s been beasting this year, and I can’t help but think that Casey is the cause of this more than anything else. G-D Triano.

  • Alb perjet

    Nice article… I like the part about Calderon. I think he has developed into a complete player this season… when he is asked to score he is covered he makes the right reads. I would really hate if he got traded now. I believe he is the right guy to run this team to the play-offs next season. 

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Playoffs next season- what are you smoking?Lol

  • AD

    please dont ever compare nash and brevin knight again

    • Theswirsky

      did you even understand what he was comparing?

      • Lorenzo

        He clearly doesn’t

      • Marc Macdonald

        Hey swirsk you are out to lunch. He clearly was saying that Jose’s emerging scoring touch is similar to Nash’s which is what separated him from Brevin Knight, who had no touch. 

    • 2damkule

      pretty sure a-dub was contrasting them (nash did somthing that knight did/could not). 

  • cesco

    So what happens when Jonas arrives next season and plays like a starting center should play , blocking , rebounding and scoring and maybe be this summer pick is playing like a ROY  and AB is playing like an all-star and don’t forget JC , who will they be chanting MVP for , ACC will be like a nuthouse with MVP chants from drunken patrons not knowing who they cheer for .

    • cb

      you are fucking delusional.

    • What the

      Lets go Cesco !!

  • OttyWoods

    Derozan Looks like Smeagol! “Da Pro’s is Back!” lol Gray did play tough though, nice win.

  • DC

    I have been thinking this about calderon more lately. The last couple of years before this one him firing up a shot almost made me want to throw up in my mouth dude always made good decisions with the ball but his shot was terrible and his d. Both of these aspects of his game have grown. Nash had the same type of career starting out with weaknesses early but then getting much better as he reached his 30’s. I think calderon has this type of career swing coming. Not to say he’s ever going to win 2 mvp’s or score as much as nash. But he’ll get better. JJ is getting alot better this year I believe and is becoming more consistent from game to game. I continue to believe that he has more natural basketball skill then demar. I think he can be a gerald wallace type of player oneday soon as in he was in a spot that he didn’t get a chance with (bulls) then becomes a really solid player. Demar needs to play everygame like he did today.

    • Theswirsky

      what?  Jose has shot 48, 44 and 46.7% over the last 3 years… those are pretty good numbers for a PG. 

      Sure they aren’t as good as his 50-40-90 years, but they are still extremely solid, and you won’t find many more consistent shooters from the PG spot that aren’t annually invited to the all-star game.

      Guess we have to add terrible shooter to the list of out-of-left field Jose myths, which also include bad passer and turnover prone.

  • Matt

    The city would go nuts if a GM came into Hockey Town and build a gritty, knock opponents in the mouth kind of team.  It just seems like a no brainer and last night’s MVP-for-Gray chant only validated that  (JYD, Reggie etc.)

    Asking Toronto fans to embrace Kapono and Turk prancing around the three point line with perfectly gelled hair is lunacy.

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      I think that the TDot would embrace a winning Raptors basketball team no matter their style of play- just win………………

      >>> Gray MVP chants

      • Tre

        Ya right buddy, then there’s guys like you who just want to make the playoffs, even if it means being the 7th or 8th seed, and then getting blown out in the first round, that’s what keeps you guys satisfied.

        The TDot would embrace a competitive playoff threat that could go all the way, not short-term, short-lived satisfaction that involves patchwork solutions. You have no clue what the majority of fans embrace. 

        Either be a legit threat to win it all, or gtfoh, there’s no in between.

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          Guys like me…lmfao gtfoh herb….

          The Raptors have never in their history been a legit threat to win it all as a matter of fact only 9 Franchises have won an NBA title since 1980- Bos, LAL, Phi, Hou, Chi, Det, SA, Mia & Dallas.

          I think that you need to pump your brakes- kiddo….

  • IROR

    Is that a light at the end of the tunnel you are seeing, Arse?   I used to really not like Calderon on this team, mostly because of his limitations on defense (last year couldn’t stop penetration) and a little because he was too unselfish.   But now, I’m all for keeping him around til next year he is just playing at such a high level… very impressed and he has made me a believer (and I had all but written him off)

    • cb

       it’s the oncoming train.

  • brother

    If I read things right, there are two reasons that Calderon has been a go-to guy when trade talk begins:
    (1) his salary
    (2) his defense.

    What’s become much clearer this year is that when the team defense is better, Calderon’s defensive weakness isn’t that big an issue.Nobody can stop Derek Rose from blowing by at the three point line, but you’d better have help that stops him from getting to the rim. This year, the Raps have better help /team defense.
    So now why would you trade him? Money? For what? Another draft pick? Another emerging point guard who dreams of one day being the next Calderon (but never gets there, e.g. Assist to Turnover ratio, 3 pt shooting, raw assist numbers) and then you give that kid a big payday in 18 months when his rookie contract is over? Why?I agree with A-Dub, you trade this guy and you had better get back a guaranteed contributor. I don’t know how you’d ever get that. I don’t think he gets traded. Righting this ship with donkeys like Ed Davis, Derozan, Butler and Gray can’t be easy; giving away the one guy who’s had any success in doing so ain’t a great idea.

  • Statement

    Jose Calderon, WP/48 (.099 is average)

    2006-2007 = .192
    2007-2008 = .287
    2008-2009 = .239
    2009-2010 = .144
    2010-2011 = .169
    2011-2012 = .232

    Career = .200

    Yet this is the one guy that consistently is on the trading block – why?

    Put Derozan on the block.

    • Pizzaman

      I absolutely agree. Jose has played amazing considering who he has had for teammates this year. If you look at the Statophile stats the one that should be traded is Demar. JJ has shown that he is already a far better overall player and teammate than Demar and is still improving and yet he is not starting caliber. Demar should be traded and we should focus on getting a decent SG and if we have to we can be ok with an improving JJ and Kleiza at the 3.
      Jose should stay unless we get a great great deal back.

      • Statement

        Jose is a below-average defender.

        But the thing that gets overlooked is that if you have good offense, then your defense improves. 

        If your team puts the ball in the basket then they get to play half-court defense and opposing runouts and transtition play gets nullified.

        • Pizzaman

          Yes for sure. Jose is a below average defender, however he is playing defense somewhat better this year because the team is. Meanwhile Jose is the second best offensive player by a wide margin  on this team next to Bargnani.
          Derozan is a weaker defender than even Jose and his offense is at best a crapshoot.

        • Pizzaman

          I also think derozan (like some black people)doesn’t have his priorities in order.    

          It should have been obvious he should have spent the summer working on ball handling instead of his 3 point shot….. 

          he should also have the sense to eat sensibly, and not pig out with his friend at rocoes.      

          he doesn’t have the right attitude to be a star in the nba……

          • cesco

             I don’t believe this is the real Pizzaman because of the racist remark which is unlikely him .

            • Pizzaman

              cesco you nailed it. I’m not sure why idiots post as someone else other than they are complete morons.
              I do not believe the hype around Derozan and never did, but I don’t justify it with racism

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    No wonder BC keeps on getting over on a segment of the fan base with his continuous pr spins- Gray MVP chants- get real people.

    Get Calderon the fuck out of the TDot while he’s healthy and playing good- trade high!

    • CJT

      Maybe you should go ahead of him to make sure it’s safe.  At least Jose contributes something to the team unlike you.

      • What the

        you are starting to remind me of someone who is suppose to be away on holidays

        • CJT

          I suppose I don’t understand why anyone would want one of the leagues best point guards statistically speaking “the fuck” out of toronto.  And this clown is a broken record with his uninformed opinions.

        • Joey

          You are starting to remind me of a 3 year old.

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          Well, well, well after awhile you can recognize his posting style…smdh lmfao

          • CJT

            I have always posted with this handle and always will.  I just happen to agree with that guy you are talking about on this subject.  i.e. that you are a useless turd of an opinion.

  • Ppellico

    People like to root for the underdogs. IMO Gray has been an underdog. Taken out of the Bulls line up because, although playing JUST as well as another rookie Noah, was sat because BIG money was just spent on the skinny punk.
    He gets traded and breaks his foot the preseason of his first full season with his new team.
    Gets in finally after the winter and is over weight (who here can stay in NBA shapoe with a broken foot???)
    Once he does get into the spin of things does very nicely.

    He bigins to steal time away from the #! Okafor who cannot seem to stop opposing centers.
    He becomes a fan fav and even heroic after stopping the Lakers in the playoffs.

    So he opts out and sign with the Raps. Why? Well, maybe he is told you get tons of time and even as a starter.
    He thinks great…time is great.

    Look…enjoy it. He is emerging just about when really REALLY big men do in the NBA. The mature in and around their 5 and 6th year.

    Hopefully he stays. When the Euro stud gets here, Gray can start when needed and most certainly be the emntor the new big kid will need.

    The real question is IF the Raps keep him and what other teams try to get him.
    TRUST me…other teams talked to him this lockout and they are certainly watching now.

    IMO…I would not be surprised to see offers for him from teams needing him now…THIS season for the playoffs.

    • What the

      so what your saying is Gray is our Lin .

    • Robert Archibald

      Ppellico,

           After that game, it is your perfect time to make a return to the HQ!  I’ve missed you there bro, don’t be put off by all the haters!  You don’t have to limit yourself to just one site.

           I also quite like Gray.  He does what he is supposed to do.  The Raps don’t have enough guys that play consistently.  Everyone always wants players with potential, the problem with that is you usually have to sacrifice consistency.  If a good player has reached his potential, he is usually an all star or close.  If a player has one good game, one bad game; we call that potential and hope for less and less bad games.  The Raps are littered with this type of player. 

           Gray is what he is.  He plays tough, rebounds and sets good picks.  he will never be an all star, but he does what is asked of him.  Not many Raps can say that.

  • Lorenzo

    Please Brian, keep Jose. What point guard would replace him?

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Draft Tony ‘Black Steel’ Wroten Jr………………….

      • CJT

        HAHAHA.  I decided to check out Tony “Black Steel” Wroten.  The only statistically category that he shows up in is turnovers.  Which are higher than his assists.  You effin clown.  Maybe you should start following tennis or something.

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          I have actually watched him play the game- every game this season, shows how much you really know as he’s been named one of the top 5 freshmen in the Nation (Jay Bilas) and is consideration for National Freshman of the Year, is the Pac 12 Freshman of the Year and is among the finalist to be Pac 12 Player of the Year..

          The kid is 18 years old.

          You need to go find p00ka and take a long walk off of a short dock together….

          Turnovers….sheesh…..Jeremy Lin anyone…..

          • CJT

            exactly, you seem to want to lick Lin’s dick too.  The numbers are speak for themselves.  4 turnovers a game and 3 assists.  Perfect for a point guard.  Is going to get the MVP of your Wednesday night men’s league team too?

    • What the

      good lord man get a hold of yourself “what point guard would replace him” really, Calderon plays good two season before contract this one and next year, look at his pattern I hope BC doesn’t fall for this again the old “look at my 2 previous season” then after the contract is sign it’s right back to being unselfish we need a point guard that scores

  • Guest

    I was at that game…pretty sure the MVP chants were sarcastic. I mean the guy bricked like 4 consecutive free throws. This isn’t a knock on Gray at all, I think he’s played decently, I just feel like the fans were being assholes about it. 

    • What the

      i can’t wait for the MVP chants that the FRANCHISE is going to get when he comes back from his injury after the allstar break 

      • cesco

         Reals MVP chants will start pouring down from the upper reaches of the ACC next year when the combination Andrea/Jonas will become the
        top big duo in the league . Buckets being poured  from all over the court by our two unguardable raptors . Which of the two will be the MVP ? , does it matter ? .

  • Tonious35

    The MVP for Gray was just plain weird, but oddly appreciative.  He had a good game, but he didn’t haul down 20 rebounds.  How much were the people drinking that night?  I only appreciate that he contained Monroe enough in the 2nd half from 2nd chance points.

    • SR

      I’d say it was a tongue-in-cheek statement from genuinely appreciative fans. The critics need to relax a bit.