Posts Tagged ‘Jorge Garbajosa’

Opportunity Lost … for the Toronto Raptors

November 27, 2008

The Raptors’ team that beat the Bobcats last night … Box Score … was indicative of the roster Toronto SHOULD have been playing with from the opening tip this season … minus, of course:

* Rasho Nesterovic
* Rodney Carney
* Royal Ivey
* Jorge Garbajosa
* Carlos Delfino [depending on his interest in returning]
* the 2008 No. 17 [overall] Draft Pick [e.g. Roy Hibbert, CDR, Joey Dorsey, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute]

That line-up … right there … is a top 6 contender in the Eastern Conference, with a legit shot at winning a 1st Round Playoff series this spring and enough flexibility moving forward to become a perennial contender for a spot in the NBA’s FINAL FOUR annually for the balance of Chris Bosh’s career.

That’s the type of line-up a TOP NOTCH President/General Manager would/could/should have been able to put together heading into this season on behalf of the Toronto Raptors given the list of assets which this organization had at its disposal the day before the 2008 NBA Draft.

When this speaker talks of Opportunities Lost, on behalf of this organization, over the years … i.e. since the transfer of ownership from Mr. Steve Stavro to MLSE and the subsequent dismissal of Lenny Wilkens & then Glen Grunwald … this is the type of situation that is being referenced.

* THE problem with the current Raptors
* Of scorpions, frogs, GMs & coaches
* Staying the course in Raptorville
* More Smoke & Mirrors
* 20/20 Vision of the Toronto Raptors
* The next step for the Toronto Raptors
* Understanding Bryan Colangelo’s method of operation [good & bad]
* Toronto Raptors Player Roster 2008-2009

OH, WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN, IF THE PEOPLE RESPONSIBLE FOR RUNNING THINGS AT MLSE HAD JUST KNOWN WHAT THEY WERE DOING IN TERMS OF BUILDING A CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBRE PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL FRANCHISE.

It’s enough to make a knowledgeable NBA observer sick to his/her stomuch.

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Symptoms or Cause for the Raptors’ illness

November 25, 2008

[Part One] When the Raptors trade away three of their most marketable assets in a single transaction …

* TJ Ford [back-up PG]
* Rasho Nesterovic [back-up C]
* No. 17 [overall] Draft Pick/2008

in return for an oft-injured player with a $21 million/yr price-tag …

* Jermaine O’Neal

and a 2008 No. 41 [overall] Draft Pick, with an existing heart condition …

* Nathan Jawai

and, then …

[Part Two] Orchestrate a non-essential contract buyout for a player like Jorge Garbajosa, who was their starting PF/SF during the bulk of their wins in the 2006-2007 season, when they won the Atlantic Division and finished 47-35

and, then …

[Part Three] Make the decision not to sign a reliable, veteran PG, as one of their 15 Players Alottment, for the 2008-2009 season … because they are $1,100 under the League’s Luxury Tax Threshold at-present, with only 13 players under contract, and would like to remain in this position, as long as they can also field a ‘competitive’ team, in the NBA,  

it can create all sorts of interesting and unexpected deficiencies/vacancies in their everyday 12-man line-up …

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The Raptors need a shooting guard. Now.
The average PER of the opponents shooting guards is 19.9. The Raptors’ shooting guard PER is 11.0. There are only two teams who are at that much of a deficit at any position: The Washingto Wizards, who are down 11.2 at point guard and the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are down 9.0 at centre. Combined they are 2-23 and have fired two coaches. Oh, one other team is worse off, sorry. That’s San Antonio, who are down 12.4 at small forward, thanks to injuries, and they’re a potential Finals team struggling to stay in the playoff race out west.

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the Domino Effect of which can lead to a rampant mis-diagnosis of what actually ails their team, treating only the symptoms … which are readily visible … but not the ILLNESS itself.

Yes, overall PER at the #2 position is down for the Raptors, thus far, this season … but, according to this corner of the internet, THIS is NOT the PRIMARY CAUSE of the Raptors current set of problems.

Q1. What is?
A1. Part One, Part Two and Part Three … in combination with one another.

Cold, harsh dose of reality for Raptors fans

October 20, 2008

In general, David Aldridge’s review is an unbiased evaluation of the transactions made by all 30 teams in the NBA, since the end of the 2007-2008 season, when the Boston Celtics were crowned League Champions.

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Ranking the off season moves
PROJECTION: If you think the oft-injured O’Neal has a lot left, the Raptors made a great trade. Pairing O’Neal and Chris Bosh down low gives Sam Mitchell a lethal inside presence, one that will pay off with open looks for the likes of Jason Kopono and Anthony Parker and Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, and make Toronto a force in the Eastern Conference.

If you don’t think O’Neal has much left, the Raptors aren’t going to do much better next season than they have the previous two-going out early in the playoffs-even though Calderon is ready to take over the point full-time and Toronto has shooters that many other teams would love to have.

The guess here is that O’Neal isn’t the player he once was, but may not have to be playing alongside Olympian Bosh. And if Bargnani, the former first pick who took a noticeable and decided step backward in his second pro season, doesn’t get back on track, whatever O’Neal has to give won’t matter much anyway.

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Although this corner does not agree with a number of Mr. Aldridge’s specific assessments … this ↑↑↑ entry is a ruthless slap in the face for mis-guided Raptors faithful who may think their team’s acquisition of Jermaine O’Neal, in isolation, was amongst the most substantial moves made this off season across the NBA.

Unlike the Boston Celtics [28] , San Antonio Spurs [27], Cleveland Cavaliers [23], Phoenix Suns [22] and LA Lakers [21] … generally considered to be included in the top tier of teams in the NBA … the Toronto Raptors finished last season with a .500 record and have been eliminated swiftly from the playoffs each of the past two years.

Given the quality of moves made by other outfits in the Eastern Conference this summer, in relation to the Raptors, it is simply not a given that the Dinos are going to make the playoffs this season, and be able to maintain their present status as one of the up-and-coming teams in the NBA.

To those in Raptorville who might be more inclined to listen now

October 13, 2008

Since the Jermaine O’Neal trade was first announced, this corner has said repeatedly that this move alone was NOT going to solve the Raptors’ REBOUNDING problem … which occurs when they play against a high calibre opponent with as much or more ‘athleticism’ at the 5 positions on the floor, in comparison with Toronto’s line-up.

When this current collection of Raptors matches-up with a team like this current group of 76ers … what you’re going to get, more often than not, is a ‘Board Deficit’ like you saw in yesterday’s encounter:

Box Score: Philadelphia 85, Toronto 79

There are specific ways to effectively address a team’s REBOUNDING problem … when it’s the type of problem the Raptors have had for the last two years … but, one of them is NOT:

* To trade your team’s 2nd best Rebounder [who is also your best Low Post Defender, i.e. Nesterovic]
* To include a flip-flop of 1st & 2nd Round Draft Picks [which turns out to be … THEY get Roy Hibbert; YOU get Nathan Jawai!!!]
* To include your back-up PG in the deal [Ford]
* To include a throw-away Big from the end of the bench [Baston]
* Plus, decide to let another throw-away Big from the end of the bench to walk for nothing [Brezec]
* Plus, decide to let a useful player like Carlos Delfino walk away for nothing
* Plus, decide to let a VERY useful player like Jorge Garbajosa do the same

… in exchange for adding:

* Either inexperienced and/or marginal players like Jawai, Roko Ukic, Hassan Adams, and Will Solomon
* Plus, a veteran player like Jermaine O’Neal, who is returning from a series of leg injuries.

That ^^^, right there, is like making a 7 for 4 deal, where …

Toronto Loses: Nesterovic + Ford + Hibbert + Baston + Brezec + Delfino + Garbajosa

and

Toronto Adds: O’Neal + Jawai + Adams + Solomon

[strictly speaking Ukic cannot be included amongst the additions since his rights already belonged to the Raptors]

in which 5 of the 6 players who you know already can play effectively in the NBA, in some capacity, are going the other way … while you are getting ‘the best player’, overall … but, who you can only HOPE is going to regain his effectiveness coming off his most recent injury.

THAT ^^^, right there, is a BAD TRADE.

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By trying to make a ‘blockbuster’ trade this summer … instead of simply moving TJ Ford for a back-up, serviceable, Wing player like Rodney Carney … and promoting Calderon to the starter’s position … and, THEN, holding onto Nesterovic, Delfino & Garbajosa, until further notice … what the Raptors have done now is, in fact, ROLL THE DICE big time that they do not pick up any sort of serious injury to Bosh, O’Neal or Calderon, and can survive these next two years with their current line-up intact, while not dropping down into the #9-12 spots in the EC, where they would be a DEFINITE ‘treadmill’ team … i.e not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough to get a high NBA DRAFT Lottery Pick anytime soon … waiting for the 2010-2011 season when they will once again have some wiggle room under the Salary Cap/Luxury Tax Threshold to add/subtract players to/from their roster.

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Which, in turn … given the Raptors’ current player roster … is part of the reason they SHOULD think long and hard, right now, about:

* Removing Anthony Parker from their starting line-up
* Shifting Jamario Moon to the #2-spot
* Inserting Joey Graham into the starting line-up
* Using AP as the primary back-up PG/OG, coming off the bench
* Removing Jermaine O’Neal from the starting line-up
* Inserting Kris Humphries into the starting line-up, as the partner for CB4
* Using O’Neal [PF] and Bargnani [C] together, as the Bigs with their 2nd Unit
* Using Jason Kapono for instant offense off the bench, as a spot player on the Wing with either the 1st or 2nd Units, at a later point in the game when the situation dictates
* Using a system of higly structured set plays which would allow limited offensive players like Graham, Moon, Humphries, and Bargnani to function at their maximum level of efficiency by only shooting ‘designated’ shots …

and, thereby, create a better balanced rotation for this Raptors’ team, which accounts for and integrates the areas of Rebounding, Defense and Team Offense.

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Then, again … this corner could always be proven wrong about this … over the course of time. 😉

Hoops 101

August 24, 2008

This corner hates to say, “You were told what was going to happen”, in advance, but …

* USA vs Spain for Olympic Gold
* Upside and Motor: Team USA Blogger Roundtable

The USA will NEED to send its VERY best players in order to win Gold Medals in Olympic Games’ men’s basketball.

If not … the rest of the the world is quickly becoming good ‘enough’ to capture Gold or Silver should the USA slip up.

Top flight basketball … like soccer/football … is now truly an international game … with good players and coaches scattered everywhere around the globe. -)

Kudos to …

* Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Mark Gasol, Pau Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, Carlos Jimenez, Felipe Reyes, Jorge Garbajosa, Berni Rodrigues, Raul Lopez, Alex Mumbru, Jose Calderon (injured), their coaches & support staff

* Kobe Bryant, Leron James, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Tayshaun Prince, Carlos Boozer, Michael Redd, their coaches and support staff …

Box Score & Game Summary

for giving such a good account of yourselves.

That, right there … ^^^ … my friends … was first-class basketball.

Toronto Raptors Player Roster 2008-2009

July 29, 2008

According to Bryan Colangelo (GM), the player roster is now set for the start of next season.

Raptors add Will Solomon (G)

2008-2009 Toronto Raptors

STARTERS: Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker, Jemario Moon/Jason Kapono, Jermaine O’Neal, Chris Bosh
BENCH: Roko Ukic, Jason Kapono/Jemario Moon, Andrea Bargnani
RESERVES: Will Solomon, Hassan Adams, Joey Graham, Kris Humphries, Nathan Jawai

When you compare the ‘content & quality’ with the team that began the 2007-2008 campaign … i.e.

2007-2008 Toronto Raptors

STARTERS: Ford, Parker, Kapono, Bosh, Nesterovic
BENCH: Calderon, Delfino, Bargnani, Humphries, Garbajosa
RESERVES: Martin, Dixon, Graham, Moon, Baston

… it’s apparent that this year’s squad (as constructed) will not be taking a step up the ladder in the Eastern Conference anytime soon.

Jose Calderon is a significant upgrade at the Starting PG position over TJ Ford but other than that lone improvement the ‘quality depth’ on this roster is far below where it needs to be (and once was, at the height of the Glen Grunwald regime) in order to be considered a LEGITIMATE CONTENDER in the NBA.

Needing to upgrade their 2007-2008 roster with improved REBOUNDING & Defense the Raptors addressed neither of those primary concerns with the acquisitions they made this off-season …

* Adding O’Neal while discarding Nesterovic + Garbajosa is a zero-sum gain
* Adding Adams, Jawai, Ukic & Solomon while discarding Delfino + Baston + Martin + Dixon is a zero-sum gain
* Elevating Calderon while discarding Ford … and not getting a significant Wing player or an established back-up PG in return is a zero-sum gain

Looking back to what was written in this space on July 2 …

Understanding Bryan Colangelo’s method of operation (good & bad)

very little has changed over the years in the way that their GM conducts the business of basketball … i.e.

* Field a competitive team which wins its fair share of regular season games
* Concentrate efforts on finding ‘solid’ players at a ‘reasonable’ cost
* Include a sporadic ‘high end’ player acquisitions which comes with considerable ‘risk’
* Construct a player roster which falls short of what’s actually required to be considered a Legitimate Contender for an NBA championship
* Always come in under the Salary Cap
* Make a lot of money for the team’s ownership

Despite the fact that this year’s team will have 5 (of 13) new faces on the player roster … the more things (seem to) change the more they (actually) stay the same in Raptorland.

More smoke & mirrors

June 26, 2008

Make no mistake about it.

The recent goings-on at Bay & Lakeshore (where the headquarters for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment [MLSE] are located, at the Air Canada Centre [ACC]), are rotten to the core, involving both of the professional sports franchises operated by this organization, i.e. the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

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re: Maple Leafs

There’s no Wing-ing it with Leafs’ new strategy
If you were to ask Ken Holland, GM of the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, to identify the quality his scouts look for when it comes to the annual entry draft, his answer would be succinct.

“Skill,” he’d say, just as he’s said it many times before.

Nine teams followed that mantra when it came to making selections with the top 10 picks of the NHL entry draft on Friday night.

One did not.

That team would be your Maple Leafs.

Peddie era continues to linger like a bad smell
Like a bad odour, you just can’t make this guy go away.

From the day Peddie ascended to the power position of having both the Raptors and Leafs report to him in 2003, the hockey club has gone straight downhill. You’d think his bosses might wonder why there hasn’t been a Stanley Cup playoff game at the ACC since 2004.

Instead, he’s managed to survive. Again.

Wilson hire raises red flags
Of more concern, however, is that this might be an indication that Fletcher has grown fond of grasping the levers of power again and intends to keep the job permanently. He denies this, but also said recently that he would not be the one to hire the next Leaf coach.

So the story keeps changing. Hiring an expensive, big-name coach like Wilson certainly isn’t evidence of a caretaker administration, that’s for sure.

If Fletcher wanted the president’s job and would hire a GM, well, that might work. But the original plan, to hire a new president and GM, remains the most sensible plan with the greatest chance of success.

re: Raptors

O’Neal deal a step backwards
Colangelo built the seven-seconds-or-less Suns, but so much for sticking to the vision. The bog-it-down Celtics are the NBA champs. The Suns are ripping to shreds what Colangelo wrought. And Colangelo, in acquiring a hobbled O’Neal à la Phoenix’s Shaq, has chucked the dream, too.

Perhaps even worse, another of Toronto’s perceived advantages – the in-house knowledge of European talent – is moot. Talented Euros aren’t yearning for the lagging U.S. greenback.

“They’re fighting back a little bit,” said Colangelo of the European sides.

The Raptors, by contrast, are doubling back in the direction of the Babcock era, without cap room to yield more talent. Not that Colangelo is about to show up in Dockers, not that they’re a laughingstock. But a year ago the GM was billing his team as more carefully constructed than some disposable fashion. Suddenly his killer wardrobe is looking far more thoughtfully put together than his roster.

Jorge Garbajosa gone from Raptors
“After a long, difficult and sometimes emotional process stemming from a traumatic injury to a key player, it was concluded that parting ways was the best thing for both Jorge and the Raptors organization,” GM Bryan Colangelo said yesterday.

The move ends the lengthy, contentious negotiations between Colangelo, Garbajosa, the Spanish Basketball Federation and its insurance company.

Draft’s just like pant-leg debate for the Raptors
Colangelo, to illustrate the difference, bent over and grabbed the cuff of his skinny-cut trousers and held it next to Mitchell’s ankle. The contrast in the silhouettes was cigarette to fat cigar, and Colangelo made a joke at the expense of the coach’s choice, quadruple-pleated and roomy. Mitchell, meanwhile, was not shy about defending his haberdasher’s handiwork.

“Dude, I’m a big guy. I’ve gotta have some room to let my (self) flow. All my pants fit like this,” said Mitchell. “Those pants Bryan had on, I told him he looks like a maintenance man …”

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This is an organization that …

* Lies through its teeth … habitually

* Is riddled with internal cross-wiring

* Has no legitimate plan in place to ever win a League Championship

and

* Is primarily concerned with making oodles of money for its ownership group.

Staying the course in Raptorville

May 1, 2008

Moving on up in the East side

 

What do the Raptors need to do this off-season in order to advance to the 2nd Round (or further) of the NBA Playoffs next year?

 

CURRENT STARTERS

 

TJ Ford (Point Guard) must be traded to solidify the team’s identity and create PG stability.

 

Anthony Parker (Off Guard) must be shifted to a Back-up role.

 

Jamario Moon (Small Forward) must improve his perimeter Jump Shot.

 

Chris Bosh (Power Forward) must be installed as the permanent Center, continue to get stronger physically and add a consistent “Turn-around Jump Shot in the Low Post” to his game.

 

Andrea Bargnani (Center) must be shifted to a back-up role.

 

CURRENT BACK-UPS

 

Jose Calderon (Point Guard) must be installed as the permanent PG.

 

Jason Kapono (Small Forward/Off Guard) must be installed as the permanent Designated Shooter (OG).

 

Carlos Delfino (Off Guard/Small Forward) must remain in a back-up role.

 

Kris Humphries (Power Forward) must be installed as the permanent PF (or become Jorge Garbajosa’s back-up).

 

Rasho Nesterovic (Center) must remain in a back-up role.

 

CURRENT RESERVES

 

Joey Graham (Power Forward/Small Forward) must be developed as a Defender/Rebounder/Spot-up Jump Shooter who can either start or come off the bench if need be as a “Mismatch Creator/Combator”.

Maceo Baston (Power Forward/Center) must be shifted to an Extra role or be released.

CURRENT EXTRAS

 

Darrick Martin (Point Guard) must remain in an Extra role or be released.

 

Jorge Garbajosa (Power Forward/Small Forward) must be re-installed as the permanent PF (or be able to back-up Kris Humphries).

 

Primo Brezec (Center) must remain in an Extra role or be released.

 

 

Then, if the Raptors re-shuffle their everyday line-up, for example, like this:

 

STARTERS

 

Calderon (PG); Kapono (OG); Moon (DF); Garbajosa/Humphries (PF); Bosh (C)

 

BACK-UPS

 

Parker (PG/OG); Delfino (OG/SF); Garbajosa/Humphries (PF); Bargnani (C/PF); Nesterovic (C)

 

RESERVES

 

Graham (SF/PF); Brezec (C)

 

EXTRAS

 

* An open roster spot for a Point Guard (replacing Darrick Martin)

* An open roster spot for a Off Guard/Small (obtained in a trade for TJ Ford, which could bring a Starter or a Back-up)

* An open roster spot for a Power Forward/Center (replacing Maceo Baston)

 

These moves will allow the Raptors to accomplish several goals simultaneously:

 

  1. Increase their 3Pt Shooting Efficiency with Calderon & Kapono receiving more MPG;
  2. Improve their Team Defense & Rebounding by becoming bigger & more physical at the PG & OG positions, replacing Ford & Parker with Calderon & Kapono – which allows for more ‘Switching’ but without being caught in a cross-matched situation and having a too small-sized player at either of those two spots – as well as at the PF & C positions, replacing Bosh & Bargnani with a combination of Garbajosa/Humphries & Bosh.
  3. Improve their Offensive Efficiency by increase their 3Pt Shooting Percentage with Calderon & Kapono (their best 3Pt Shooters) receiving more MPG;
  4. Create & Combat an assortment of mismatch player personnel combinations.
  5. Keep their group of Core Players together for another season.
  6. Firmly establish their Team Identity with Chris Bosh at Center & Jose Calderon at Point Guard.

 

By staying the course for one more year, essentially with this same group intact, adjusting only slightly – by removing TJ Ford from their roster and replacing him with a solid young Wing player – and focusing their attention on Team Rebounding & Defense, the Raptors are actually not that far away from establishing themselves as a perennial ‘Top 4 Team’ in the Eastern Conference.