Matt Moore is perhaps best known by his twitter handle, HPBasketball, where he’s earned a reputation as the king of basketball twitter. Now with CBS Eye on Basketball, Matt was kind enough to take some time to speak with me about the Raptors, how is opinion on them has been so twisted by some, why he likes them and more.

*Does Matt hate the Raptors? No, he doesn’t. Quite likes them actually.
*How has DeMar DeRozan progressed this season? (This is the article mentioned in the podcast.)
*The upside of Amir Johnson and why, despite being a good player, he’s not the savior some fans make him out to be.
*Why people focus on Bargnani’s absence more than, say, Lowry’s absence or the schedule with the recent hot streak.
*Potential trade destinations for Bargnani, and why he needs to be moved.
*What is the Raptors’ upside this year, and what finish is best in the long-term?

It’s a really great interview and worth a listen.

Grab the iTunes feed or the plain old feed. You can also download the file (22:16, 8MB). Or just listen below:

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  • channel 511

    Matt Moore’s disappointment in the reaction of Raptors fans might be nudged in that direction by him reading comments on RR (and every other place where fans can comment), as he obviously does (read sites like this one). While it’s probably true that many, possibly even a majority, of fans feel at least some anger/frustration towards Bargnani, I also suspect that those who feel SO strongly about that subject repeat it so incessantly, it looks bigger than it actually is. (It’s the old story with commenters in general: those who feel strongest about a subject make the most noise … so, sometimes, it’s difficult to gauge what the actual numbers of a thing might really be. Hence the terms ‘vocal minority’  and the related ‘silent majority’.) 

    That said, as one who has joined in at flailing away in momentary frustration at ole Bargs every now and then, I’ve also always been a fan of his talent (if not his ‘motor’ as Sam Mitchell refers to it in that interesting radio interview) … and seeing how Lowry has – so far – seemed to have been watching as intently on the sidelines as I was hoping he might be while he was out, and taken the lessons to heart (with the likely persuasion of the coaching staff), I’m curious all over again (foolish fan that I am? not impossible) about what lessons Bargnani himself might be learning by taking all this (that has gone on in his absence) in. 

    There’s little question in my mind that Bargnani’s ill-advised comments to the Italian reporter he spoke to when he said the team was the worst in the league was bad – very bad – for him … but the catalyst that it was definitely a part of (imo) that motivated the team to the stepped up focus and team play that we’ve been seeing has proven it to be a kind of brilliant happenstance in its way. 

    If the players don’t hold it against him – and I sort of doubt they would (there WAS a naive innocence to his foolish comment that I suspect was quickly – or eventually – recognized by his teammates … again, I suspect [?]), if Casey wanted to give him another chance to find his game within the style of play we’re seeing now (and Casey wanting it would be key for me, with no possibility of the old coddling BS that Smitch referred to), I’d be curious to see what he can bring off the bench … and if he can find a place within the new framework we’ve been seeing. 

    Of course, it’s possible that Matt Moore and many others are right and a trade would be best for everyone. It would certainly put me out of my own misery once and for all, about Bargs. While he’s still here, though, I just see that talent waiting to be tapped into, at least in part, by someone who might know how to get it out there on the floor to the benefit of himself and the team, which … is probably a part of the similar syndrome that Colangelo has always suffered with when it comes to Bargs. (Lol.) 

    Also, I liked Matt Moore’s article on DeRozan. Nice to see someone from outside our territory having a closer look at how hard he’s been working at getting better and how it’s affecting his play and that of the team. I likely wouldn’t have seen that article, so thanks. 

    • Theswirsky

      How many chances are enough?  At what point can we accept the type of player he is?  3 years ago was supposed to be his opportunity.  2 years ago was his last chance.  To start last year he was given an additional chance, to throw it away when he returned.  Then the team ignores it, gives him the benifit of the doubt yet again, and he not only wastes that chance he shits on it.

      So how long is this team supposed to wait for Bargnani to show this so called ‘talent’ or ‘potential’?   How long until we are able to believe he is nothing more than a situational player.

      One more chance?  Yeah heard that before……

      • Raptor

        He sort of has an excuse as to why he couldn’t come out firing on all cylinders at the beginning of the season. ALL of you are forgetting that he was injured and rehabbing his knee or leg. After rehab then it’s conditioning but he put on some weight while he was in rehab. Training camp was the only conditioning for him. That isn’t even enough conditioning in my opinion to start an NBA season.

        Bargnani had those big games because he was in shape and his mindset was in shape. Right now that is not the case in both cases. Just because he doesn’t show any emotion whatsoever, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about what goes on with the team. We don’t know what the situation is so we just have to let it play out and the only thing we can do is sit from the sidelines for now.  

        • RapthoseLeafs

          I watched that Andrea “injury” game again (via PVR) – specifically the injury itself – and it had me thinking about fans negative reaction to his demeanor (on or off the court).

          As Andrea’s lying on the floor, at no time did I see any “real” emotion. NONE.

          Every player – upon a significant injury – tends to writhe around the floor, with a look of agony in their face. Not Bargs. His teeth were clenched, but no “ahhhhh … f**k … look on his face.

          I have to wonder if the secret to “exposing” the talent that Smitch said over and over again (in his radio interview with respect to Andrea), is finding the “code” that opens that door in his brain which seems to be blockading the necessary emotions.

          As frustrating as AB has been – and yes, it’s been 6 – 7 years of this – the only Coach who has managed to get that talent out, is Casey.

          Smitch may have been a tough guy who was hampered in “molding” Bargnani, but I still say he’s not a Coach. Sam even went so far as to say he was instrumental in Jose’s development, due to being a hard-ass with him. I beg to differ. JC is a product of being second-guessed (and trying to prove himself), while the PG platoon situation became Raptors’ version of Groundhog Day.

          Smitch’s hard ass approach might have made better sense had he been in Jay’s position (2nd coach), whereas Jay’s stint was most definitely the wrong Coach, wrong time … way too soft.

          As much as we say 6 or 7 years is enough time, I have to ask …. why? If Casey can “return” AB to that level he was at, or even close, why does the previous 6 years matter. Fact is, we’re not going anywhere special this year. Maybe … MAYBE … play-offs, but very doubtful beyond that. If Bargs doesn’t get to that quality level, then move him. Amnesty still strikes me as complete stupidity. I doubt Bell/Rogers wants to pay for that.

          All that being said, this doesn’t mean Andrea should just return to his starting role. In fact, if one recalls how the Italian team Coach played Bargs, it wasn’t as a Starter. And for the games I saw – albeit crappy online TV version – Andrea played well in that role. Suffice to say, I’d rather wait and see what Casey can do – for whatever role he has envisioned for AB.

          Casey just needs to STOP making AB the “focus” of this team, and instead make him PART of the team, that might make for a great first step. Trading Bargs right now, only means we take back $hit, as the media has done a great job of broadcasting his troubles throughout the League.



          • Raptor


    • Raptor

      This trade or whatever it is that Colangelo is doing is not really for the teams sake. It’s because he wants to save his ass and career. Bargnani on the other hand, he is still a useful player whether Raptor fans like it or not.

      Is it Bargs fault that he’s been put on the frontlines? No, it’s just BryCo obsession and dream to have it that way. Now that it’s not going his way and not going the way of the fans he wants to put the blame on Andrea. Andrea is not a franchise player that we know, but for some people to say he is useless as a player is absolute foolery and rubbish. 

      I get as Raptors fans, we are impatient but bashing him is not going to make a difference in this particular situation. 

  • mountio

    Wow. Great rapcast. Please, please, please all RR poster listen to this .. this guys is bang on on so many topics. I cant list them all, but to reiterate a few:
    – The point that we got screwed by lazy stars (VC, CB, AB) and thus gravitate to and overvalue hustle guys with low talent is sooo true. AJ, Reggie, etc. These guys are fine, but you will never go anywhere with a bunch of hustle guys
    – You can NOT extrapolate low minute, high efficiency bench players into high minute starters and expect the same type of production
    – this one is obvious, but the whole team played like shit, including, but not just AB, at the start of the year
    – Our success is not “addition by subtraction” as AB is a good player, its more schedule and play / effort of the other players .. but at the same for everyones sake moving AB is the best option
    – I love the Gortat for AB trade (even if we throw in something to entice them). This would be amazing. Even a Ben Gordon / Tyrus Thomas wouldnt be that bad (hadnt heard much of either option before).  
    – The key to the raps getting over the hump is Lowry. The team can only go so far with JC. clearly he can take us to better than our 4-19 start .. but he isnt the guy to take us to being a real contender. KL might be .. 

    Im sure Im missing some, but as I was listening, I was just nodding my head and thinking that I hope the posters here are listening, because he should set many of you straight .. 

    • voy

      yep. absolutely terrific podcast. 

    • KJ-B

      Chris Bosh – lazy???

      • mountio

        agree – lazy is unfair for CB (whereas is bang on for VC, AB) .. but hes certainly not a hustle guy on the court diving for loose balls, nor is he a guy known for putting in the extra work in the offseason. At best, hes an “ok” work ethic guy

        • truth be told

          Disagree with that assesment entirely.

          He added things to his game every year in a Raps uniform. That is a testament to working on your game.

          • mountio

            huh? elbow jumper and …?
            Im not saying hes a bad player (vince wasnt bad either .. in fact he was great) .. Im just saying hes not known as one of the harder workers in the league .. and you didnt watch him on the court and see him eat up loose balls etc

            • truth be told

              You think he just had an elbow jumper and that was it?

              Because you see him in Miami now understand that his role is well defined. Did you see CB’s numbers in a Raps uniform? You think he was getting those all-star nods based on his elbow jumper? Dude was going to the line almost 10 times a game in his best year here.

              He wasn’t getting loose balls (not sure where that came from) but he was averaging 10 boards a game regularly? 

              How many 4’s in the league are true stretch 4’s, can rebound, defend, shoot 80% from the line 50% from the field and has one of the best face-up games in the league for a player at his position?

              Sam always said Chris would come back after the offseason with more skills to his game and the numbers proved it.

              You’re not giving him enough credit. When he makes the HOF we can look back and marvel at how a player with only an elbow jumper achieved that.

              • mountio

                whoa .. easy tiger. Im not saying hes got a good player. (I think I said that twice already). HOF youre getting ahead of yourself .. but a very good player for sure. But the whole point is theres a difference between being good and being a hard worker. Vince was GREAT. WAAAAAY better than Bosh at their comparative Raptor peaks. All the shit you are talking about, array of moves, 3pt shooter, take it to the hole, FT%, clutch [no for Bosh] .. Vince had it all. But he was lazy as hell (just super talented). The whole point is the two things are not the same. If your point is to tell me that you love Bosh and hes a great player – point conceded. If you remember him hustling and diving for lose balls .. you remember different games than  I do. Hes a good rebounder, yes (solid 7.7 pg as the Heats biggest player this year .. 9pg career) .. but not cause hes an energy guy – because he knows how to box out and get the ball. None of these things are bad .. they are just different than if youre star player is westbrook, blake, even kobe, who are talented but literally play their ass off every night. Bosh doesnt do that.  

                • truth be told

                  Look at the numbers.

                  He only needs to play a few more healthy seasons with consistent numbers as he has been putting up and HOF fo’ sho.

                  You mentioned Griffin. You think he’s a better player than Bosh?

                • mountio

                  do you listen? THIS IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS BETTER OR NOT BETTER!! ITS ABOUT WHETHER A GUY IS A HUSTLE GUY / HARD WORKER OR NOT (and thus whether TO fans connect with him for that reason).
                  Reggie Evans is MUCH worse than bosh. SO are JYD, AJ, the list goes on. But they have the STYLE of game and reputation as hardworkers / hustle guys first. Kobe is a prime example of a star (MJ also). The others I mentioned are current examples. Its not a massive knock on Bosh .. hell Lebron isnt a hard worker or hustle guy either (and hes the best player weve seen in 20 years!)

                • john g

                  Wow so Bosh wasn’t a good rebounder for the Raps in his last season yet he averaged almost 11 rebounds. Your consideration of a guy as lazy in his time in Toronto is a guy who doesn’t dive on the floor for balls. Why don’t you just call Kobe or Nash lazy then because I don’t remember the last time they were hustling on the floor.

                • mountio

                  Im done. The lack of reading comprehension when people think Im dissing a player they like is unreal. READ what Im saying .. if you still disagree, then fine. If you know of any evidence of Bosh being a hard worker/hustle guy (on or off the court) .. Im happy to hear it. 
                  Like I said above .. Lebron isnt a hard worker, despite being the best all around player in the league by a WIDE, WIDE margin. Being good and being a hustle guy / hard worker arent necessarily the same. 

                • Theswirsky

                  Bosh wasn’t and still isn’t a hustle player. And while some fans want to point to Bosh’s 10 rebounds a game as good or great, when pace is accounted for he comes out as an average rebounder.  Don’t let the fanboys bring you down Mountio.

                  I disagree with you on Lebron though.  He’s not reckless  but he also has no problems going gound for a lose ball, lunging into the crowd or banging when he needs to.

                • mountio

                  somewhat fair on the hustle side .. but lebrons career has been frought with criticism of him just relying on his natural talents and not putting any work in in the offseason (until maybe the last season or two) .. which is more what I was referring to. You are right though .. come game time .. he plays hard as hell

                • john g

                  I’m not an fanboy of Bosh, but stating that Bosh was a player who sort of quit like Vince is absurd.

                • Ecrapsfan

                   People forget he said he just wants to chill, that he went to MIA and thought it would be easy and saying Asik shouldn’t dive on the floor for balls because he might hurt some one.   He also let people push him around and never stood up for teammates.   Is he a good/real good player yes.  Good rebounder, yes.  Hustle guy, or grinder, no. tough guy, no.

                • john g

                  But tell me, when was the last tell you saw Kobe on the floor for a loose ball. I am not defending Bosh as a tough guy but just because you don’t dive for balls on the floor, it doesn’t mean he isn’t a competitor and isn’t bringing his A game every night

                • john g

                  How do you know LeBron isn’t a hard worker, the guy is the fucking MVP for 3 of the last 4 years for a reason. Adding an post game in the offseason is not hard work. Sure, LeBron has the physical talents, but if it was all about that, then Dwight would be just as dominant as LeBron.

                • mountio

                  Im just speaking to the fact that he was knocked (almost his entire career until the last year or two) for not putting in the work in the offseason that many of the greats have (MJ, Kobe, Hakeem, Duncan). The whole point of this thread is that TO hasnt got a player whose reputation was “hardworker” (obviously Vince and AB worse than CB) .. and thus the overcompensating by loving low minute energy guys like AJ.  

  • tweed8

    I think the reason why people go over the top with AB is because as fans, we have been dealing with his “mental weakness” and lazy play for a very long time now.  Fans have also suspected what Sam Mitchell confirmed the other day. He’s been coddle and while this might be the fault of management, this also has to be on AB; He seems to have no ambition whatsoever. It’s really just a matter of the pot boiling over. Fans don’t want to deal with him anymore.

  • Theswirsky

    “The upside of Amir Johnson and why, despite being a good player, he’s not the savior some fans make him out to be.”

    what?  Who makes him out to be a ‘saviour’? 

    Fans ‘revere’ Amir types for their hustle, but I don’t know a single person who believes Amir (Reggie Evans, JYD, Matt Bonner etc) would or could lead this team to a championship. 


    • j bean

      It’s funny cause you could have said a few other guys, especially Lowry but Amire?

    • mountio

      Yes .. maybe. But I do know ppl (yourself included) who have made several arguments for either more playing time for hustle guys vs talent guys. AA vs T Ross is a recent example (T Ross should be playing double the time .. despite the fact he will make some mistakes, hes just a WAY better player (same with MP)). Other past examples would have been the start AJ over AB arguments. Another example would be the hacking on DD (albeit some of it deserved) when he clearly had more talent than our other wings (even though his D, shooting and dribbling were frustrating as hell) .. hes turned out ok vs, well any other 2/3 that we could have been playing the last few years (weems, JJ, bosa, beleni) or someone we could have traded for

      • Theswirsky

        while I’ve never argued for AA getting minutes over Ross, I have numerous times with Amir over Andrea. 

        And thats because Amir is a better player than Andrea.  But perhaps where this gets mixed up is that this has more to do with how bad of a player Andrea is rather than how good Amir is. 

        • mountio

          Yes .. wasnt thinking about you specifically with AA/TR.. (although many have and its the most recent example in my mind), but pretty sure the other two are relevant to you

    • mountio

      and to clarify, what he means by “saviour” isnt that he can save the team. Its a response to the fans who say “look at this guy we have! Look at the PER! Hes sooo awesome, if he could just get more playing time!” .. in that sense, our fans overrate our low usage bench guys as “saviours” (I agree its not the best word .. but Im pretty sure thats what he means)

  • Ecrapsfan

     Listening to it now, one thing that would be great to solve is the difference in volumes of the two.  As to hear the interviewer, you have to turn it up so loud that it’s blaring when ever Matt speaks.

    • BlakeMurphy

      I’m trying to work on this, as it’s been consistent for the Rapcast and the baseball podcast I do. I THINK a part of it is the call recording software but I haven’t figured out exactly what the issue is yet. Working on it!

      • mountio

        hey man – this one was much better than the other ones .. I found it pretty good to listen to. Youre gettin there .. 

  • KJ-B


    -7 + BryCo = $14 mil of unwanted commitments… Good luck try with those 2 tryna exercise leverage over Casey’s Raps that are making MLSE millions!!!!

    Especially with the Leafs not playing and the possibility of Playoff revenue–NOT a chance that -7 comes in and wrecks MLSE’s $$$ by reinserting him as a significant player on this team…NOT A CHANCE!!!

    • KJ-B

      “Good luck/try with those tryna exercise leverage over Casey’s Raps that are making MLSE millions!!!” — I’m not one for trade rumours but my point being is there any way that we could trade -7 + BryCo (back) to Phoenix for Gortat???

  • Ecrapsfan

    Just finished listening to it, good podcast.   

  • 2damkule

    i’m tired of the hyperbolic statements about how raptor fans are so over-the-moon with ‘hustle’ guys & fail to recognize talent when it’s in front of them.  it’s a total bullshit strawman argument: raptor fans are excellent gauges of talent, ‘we’ just also happen to recognize when said talent is being wasted (we’ve had lots of experience, as is pointed out in the ‘cast).

    no one suggests that amir (for example) is a ‘better’ player from a talent perspective than bargnani…but only a fool would think that bargnani puts in nearly the same effort in the areas of the game that are exceptionally important as does amir.  y’know, those little things like defence, rebounding, trying, etc. that help a team, oh, i dunno…win.

    the most singularly frustrating aspect re. bargs is the simple fact that he’s had more than enough opportunity to just show that he gives a shit, and he’s squandered each & every one of them.  he needs to be in the PERFECT situation in order to not be detriment to whatever team he’s on, and i’m sorry, in this day & age, trying to build such a team around a guy like bargs is a fool’s errand.  it’s one thing if that team is already assembled & can pick/choose when to use bargs as it sees fit…but any team that relies on him for most of the things that ANY playoff contender needs out of their bigs is in for a rude fucking awakening.

    i like matt, i follow him on twittah, but i disagree pretty much wholeheartedly with his assessment of bargs.  it’s not a talent issue, it’s a ‘give-a-shit’ issue, and i have a really hard time understanding how he is so willing to separate what vince did (which he appears to loathe him for) and what bargs has done for his entire career. 

    nothing is more crippling to a franchise than building around a guy with talent who doesn’t care enough to actually use it.

    • mountio

      I think the difference is “lazy” is what VC has been his whole career (even the part when he was a top 10 player in the league.) Flat out insubordinate is what he was the year before he got traded. By parallel – AB has been lazy his whole career (hes just not as talented or physically gifted as Vince, thus he capped out at top [100?] in the league. Other than shooting the ball worse this year (hes been all time bad the  few games hes played this year), AB has been no more or less lazy than he has for the vast majority of his career. 

  • tmk

    That was a good listen. However, I don’t know if the Suns would do a Gortat for Bargnani swap. If Bargs was at least shooting  better, perhaps, or if they still had Steve Nash, then maybe. But they’ve already gambled with Beasely and that failed miserably. Now Beasley is a headcase, but he’s more or less a scorer just like Bargs, and if he can’t have a good shooting season, I don’t understand why Bargs will suddenly turn it around. Also, Gortat, last I checked, is cheaper and has one less year. I don’t see why they’d want to take a gamble on Bargs when they’re clearly not even close to contending or making the playoffs and the only other ‘real’ center they have is Jermaine O’neal.

  • Guest

    bargnani for nene? okafor a possibility too, but I’d rather have nene