"We've played more games than everybody and a lot more road games, though I don't really like to complain about scheduling," says Colangelo. "It's just funny to hear other coaches complaining about scheduling and they've had it easier than we have. But there is no perfect schedule. You're always going to have periods that are tough, it's just been unusually tough for us so far. We're still very much in the picture and we've shown signs that we're a very good basketball team. There have also been times when it's not working and we don't look very good, and that's something we've got to stop. We've been very good offensively and very poor defensively, but there have been times when it's all worked and it's clicked and you can see the potential of this team. I think it really comes down to effort and energy, and we've talked about that. Just because you can diagnose the problem doesn't mean you can fix it easily."
Make no mistake, however, the Raptors aren't anxiously working the phone lines trying to right the ship with even more personnel moves. Colangelo prefers the patient approach, allowing more time for his team to come together. After all, despite their early struggles they're still just a game removed from the playoff picture.
"We've talked about (trades) as well, but it's only been a quarter of the season, minus a pretty significant piece like we've talked about, and we've seen enough that it makes us wonder if it might be too early to do something as far as a significant trade. Minor trades, you can always tweak and look to do things, but there have been no significant conversations. The fact that we got off to a less than stellar start has prompted the phone to ring a little bit more. ... I think it's probably more prudent to take the cautious approach. We've got to give it more time, let it come together, hope that Reggie comes back sooner rather than later, and see what the team looks like and how it reacts to his presence. We also need the guys who were brought in to play more consistently and bring more energy night in and night out. Then we'll be sure of what we have. For now it's hard to know what we have. We've seen good things from this group, but we haven't seen it consistently enough. There's no more pressure today than there was at the beginning of the season, and there's no more urgency right now. You always want to improve your team, constantly looking at ways to make your team better, and our less than stellar performance has prompted more interest from other teams who are trying to determine if we are willing to make a move. That can stimulate conversation and cause some activity, but there's no additional pressure to do that right now. I want to win every basketball game we play."
Colangelo is also quick to defend his head coach, the first one who usually catches the heat for a team performing below expectations. Some have been calling for the firing of Jay Triano, but that's not anything Colangelo is entertaining.
"I think Jay's done a very good job. A couple of weeks ago there were some fingers being pointed, perhaps unfairly, at Jay for the team's poor performance. I said blame me. Put the blame on me because I'm the guy that brought this group together. I believe this team is capable of a lot more than what they've shown thus far, and I think we'll start to see it as the schedule becomes more favorable and when we get fully healthy."