Posts Tagged ‘John Hollinger’

Wait a second … what’s really going on here

December 4, 2008

What to make of the Raptors’ decision yesterday to relieve Sam Mitchell of his coaching duties?

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Well …

First.

This whole business that …

Sam Mitchell was somehow never Bryan Colangelo’s CHOICE to run the Raptors’ team …

* Smitch is Out, Bring Back the Cursing

… is completely false.

The simple FACTS are these:

1. Sam Mitchell was the Raptors’ head coach when Bryan Colangelo was hired as the Team’s GM [Feb 2006].
2. At the conclusion of the 2006-2007 season Sam Mitchell was voted the NBA COTY Award.
3. During the summer of 2007, Bryan Colangelo CHOSE to re-sign Sam Mitchell [to a multi-year contract worth millions of dollars] as HIS coach for the Toronto Raptors.
4. Approximately 18 months later, on Wednesday, Dec 03 2008, Bryan Colangelo relieved Sam Mitchell of his coaching duties with the Raptors.

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Second.

A list of sights and sounds observed, thus far, by yours truly, regarding the explanation of events provided by Bryan Colangelo:

Part A – From the individual Conference Calls of Bryan Colangelo and Jay Triano with the Toronto media on Wednesday afternoon

* Sam Mitchell was a good coach for the Raptors during his 5 seasons with the Raptors.
* Sam Mitchell is a highly intelligent basketball person, who understands the ins and the outs of the NBA game and was well-paid to coach the Toronto Raptors.
* There comes a time when a change is needed in the lead voice within a NBA team’s locker room.
* Sam Mitchell has always had a good relationship with the players he’s coached, who have always seemed to play hard for him, save for specific periods, so far, this season.
* The feeling still exists within the Raptors’ basketball brain-trust that this collection of 13 players is the “most talented” team put together yet by Bryan Colangelo.
* There’s an expectation that this team, as is, is under-performing.
* There’s an awareness that this team, as is, has a flawed roster.
* There’s a belief that this team, as is, has not been playing its best players enough.
* There’s a belief that certain players were not being put in specific situations offensively to maximize their abilities to help this team perform at a level which is consistent with its perceived talent-base.
* There’s a strong belief in the ability of Jose Calderon, as the PG for this team.
* There’s a belief that Jermaine O’Neal has shown, in a period of 5 or 6 games, so far this season, that he has what the Raptors’ basketball brain-trust was looking for when they traded for him this summer, i.e. 16 pts, 9-10 rebounds and 1-2 blocked shots per game.
* There’s a belief that this team should be “running” in offensive transition [and scoring] more consistently than it has been, to this point, this season.
* There’s a belief that the players on this team have a strong belief in one another.
* Jay Triano is the new coach for the Raptors, at least, until the end of the current season, at which time he will have an opportunity to be named the permanent head coach, along with any other candidates who might be available at that time.

Part B – From the Raptors’ Official Website

* The events of Wednesday do not coincide yet with the specifics of what this observer saw and listened to in the post-game interviews from Tuesday’s debacle vs the Nuggets:

I. re: Sam Mitchell II. re: Jermaine O’Neal III. re: Jose Calderon and IV. re: Bosh

“Cause, as you know, I played in the League. Mike Evans played in the League. Alex English played in the League. You know, at the end of the day, coach’s coach, but the players go play. You’ve got to out and compete every second you’re on the court.”
Sam Mitchell [former Head Coach, Toronto Raptors]

… which is most intriguing.

————

Third.

John Hollinger’s take on the situation … which has considerable merit.

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Fourth.

The exact timing of this decision yesterday [early Wednesday afternoon] … of all days, when there was a “players only” meeting scheduled for the morning, in place of a regular practice session between games, that followed the post-game “players only” meeting  … is a key to understanding, in part, some of what is still insidiously wrong/corrupt with MLSE, and the way in which this organization chooses to conduct its pro sports related business.

Trust that this corner will be seeing and listening intently over the next little while to the words and the quotes which come directly from the different parties involved in this decision, made abruptly yesterday … to decipher accurately what it means for this franchise, short and long term, going forward from here.

—–

To wit:

Analysis: Mitchell firing not a surprise
This team’s a lot better than an 8-9 record,” Colangelo said during a late afternoon teleconference. “Despite the criticism of this roster, this is a roster that was put together on a consensus basis…you might look back at last season, and the games, a series of games, where we underachieved. Expectations were high.”

—–

* Did that 2nd “players only” meeting happen Wednesday morning?
* Did it happen prior to this decision being made?
* Or, did that 2nd meeting not take place at all?
* If it did … Who exactly was running this team, at that moment, when Sam Mitchell was relieved of his coaching duties with the Raptors, from amongst this specific group of players?
* And, if it did … To whom is that person[s] reporting?
* What was really accomplished by making this move yesterday?

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When dealing with an entity like MLSE, and a most intelligent person, like Bryan Colangelo, know that it’s an elaborate Game of Chess … and, Every Move Must Have A Purpose.

Part of the fun, therein, lies … with trying to figure out what that purpose actually is.

Reviewing off-season transactions in the NBA

September 9, 2008

Despite one or two or twelve or more points of disagreement … this

Summer Transactions: Let’s Review

is … by a wide margin … the best and most comprehensive recap of all that’s gone on, thus far, this off-season, re: shifting player rosters in the NBA.

Specific moves which this corner has liked?

* Atlanta retaining Josh Smith
* Atlanta adding Maurice Evans
* Atlanta adding Randolph Morris

* Boston retaining Tony Allen
* Boston retaining Eddie House
* Boston adding Patrick O’Bryant
* Boston adding Darius Miles

* Charlotte retaining Emeka Okafor
* Charlotte adding Shannon Brown
* Charlotte retaining Ryan Hollins

* Chicago retaining Luol Deng

* Dallas adding Desagana Diop

* G-State adding Ronny Turiaf

* Houston adding Brent Barry

* LA Clippers trading for Steve Novak
* LA Clippers trading for Marcus Camby
* LA Clippers trading for Jason Hart

* LA Lakers retaining Sasha Vujacic
* LA Lakers adding Sun Yue
* LA Lakers adding Josh Powell

* Milwaukee trading for Richard Jefferson

* Minnesota retaining Craig Smith
* Minnesota trading for Rodney Carney

* New Jersey adding Eduardo Najera
* New Jersey adding Jarvis Hayes
* New Jersey adding Keyon Dooling (who isn’t as good as A-Johnson but, at this stage, is better than D-Armstrong)

* New Orleans adding James Posey
* New Orleans adding Devin Brown (who’s primarily a back-up PG not a Wing)

* Oklahoma adding Desmond Mason
* Oklahoma adding Joe Smith

* Orlando adding Anthony Johnson
* Orlando adding Mickael Pietrus as a defensive-minded/rebounding Small Forward (which is his natural/best position in the NBA and in sharp contrast to how he was mis-used by G-State)
* Orlando retaining Adonal Foyle

* Philadelphia retaining Andre Iguodala
* Philadelphia retaining Louis Williams
* Philadelphia adding Royal Ivey
* Philadelphia adding Kareem Rush
* Philadelphia adding Theo Ratliff
* Philadelphia adding Donyell Marshall

* Phoenix adding Matt Barnes

* San Antonio adding Roger Mason, Jr.
* San Antonio retaining Michael Finley

* Toronto retaining Jose Calderon

* Utah retaining CJ Miles

* Washington retaining Antawn Jamison
* Washington retaining Gilbert Arenas

The rest?

Time will tell how they pan out in the not-too-distant future.

The 10 worst words heard in Raptorland …

February 29, 2008

… were just uttered, a few moments ago, live on-air, during this evening’s TV broadcast of Toronto’s game (at home) vs Indiana … in the aftermath of Chris Bosh being substituted out (in favour of Jason Kapono) at the 02:23 mark of the 1st Quarter (TOR 17, Ind 26), with what looked to be an injury to his right knee:

2nd Quarter
08:47 … Chuck Swirsky (Toronto’s Play-By-Play Announcer, reading an official report passed along from the team’s locker-room): Chris … Bosh … with … a … sore … right … knee … will … NOT … be … back. (TOR 29, Ind 43)

Yes, it’s still early and, hopefully, this is simply a ‘cautionary’ move by the Raptors’ athletic training staff …

but, on the same day that John Hollinger (Espn.com) annoints the Raptors as one of the dark-horse teams (from the Eastern Conference) to make it to the NBA Finals this spring … this news bulletin strikes with ‘Lethal Force’ to Toronto’s playoffs aspirations this season.

If Chris Bosh is forced to miss any significant number of games for the Raptors this season, from this point forward, this team:

i) Will not be able to secure the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference Standings;

and, without home-court advantage in the 1st Round of the Playoffs

ii) Will not be able to advance to (at least) the Conference Semi-finals this year.

The next 24-48 hours … awaiting formal diagnosis of Bosh’s injury, will hold the key to the Raptors’ long term prognosis as an elite level team in the NBA. 

Everyone who’s a fan of CB4, specifically, and the Raptors’, in general, should be holding their collective breath until then.