Posts Tagged ‘Rob Babcock’

Key early season games for the Raptors: Part II

December 9, 2008

On Oct 03, this corner of the blogosphere identified for you two key stretches of games this season for the Toronto Raptors:

1. The first 6 on the schedule;
2. The set of 15 from Nov 30 to Dec 27; and,

said the very real possibility exists that this team, with its roster as is, might in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs entirely, despite the fact others [i.e. NBA observers and the team’s general fanbase] were considering it to be a “legit contender” for a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals this spring … based, primarily, on their off-season acquisition of a former 6-time League All-Star, Jermaine O’Neal [C].

In addition, a variety of different W-L scenarios were developed that explained just how this possibility might come to fruition this season for the Raptors, a team most NBA observers had put into the up-and-coming category, based on their Atlantic Division Title, 2 seasons ago, and their 2nd consecutive appearance in the EC Playoffs last year.

Key early season games for the Raptors

Should the Raptors happen to lose this evening, to the Cavaliers, in Cleveland, a likely scenario … considering they are +11.5 point underdogs … this would then give the Dinos a rather inauspicious 8-12 [.400] W-L record at the 20-game mark of the regular season schedule [i.e. approximately at the 1/4 pole of the NBA’s Playoff Race].

While the Raptors were able to get out to a quick start, winning their first 3 match-ups, they eventually finished that initial stretch of key games with a 4-2 mark. 

October Opponent Result
 Wed 29 [#1]   @ Philadelphia   W 95-84, 1-0
 Fri 31 [#2]  vs Golden State   W 112-108, 2-0
November Opponent Result
 Sat 01 [#3]  @ Milwaukee   W 91-87, 3-0
 Wed 05 [#4]  vs Detroit *   L 93-100, 3-1
 Fri 07 [#5]  @ Atlanta *   L 92-110, 3-2
 Sun 09 [#6]  @ Charlotte   W 89-79, 4-2
 Mon 10  @ Boston *   L 87-94, 4-3
 Wed 12  vs Philadelphia   L 96-106, 4-4
 Sun 16  vs Miami   W 107-96, 5-4
 Tue 18  @ Orlando *   L 90-103, 5-5
 Wed 19  @ Miami   W 101-95, 6-5
 Fri 21  vs New Jersey *   L 127-129, 6-6
 Sun 23  vs Boston *   L 103-118, 6-7
 Wed 26  vs Charlotte   W 93-86, 7-7
 Fri 28  vs Atlanta *   W 93-88, 8-7

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* Indicates game against a plus .500 Opponent
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That said …

it’s the 2nd stretch of key games … several of which fit into the winnable category [i.e. against less-than-stellar opponents] … that might prove to be the Raptors undoing this season:

November Opponent Result
 Sun 30 [#1]  @ LA Lakers *   L 99-112, 8-8
December Opponent Result
 Tue 02 [#2]  @ Denver *   L 93-132, 8-9
 Fri 05 [#3]  @ Utah *   L 87-114, 8-10
 Sun 07 [#4]  vs Portland *   L 97-98, 8-11
 Tue 09 [#5]   @ Cleveland *   ? [L-?]
 Wed 10 [#6]  vs Indiana   ?
 Fri 12 [#7]  @ New Jersey *   ? [L-?]
 Sun 14 [#8]  vs New Orleans *   ?
 Mon 15 [#9]  vs New Jersey *   ?
 Wed 17 [#10]  vs Dallas *   ?
 Fri 19 [#11]  @ Oklahoma City   ?
 Sat 20 [#12]  @ San Antonio *   ? [L-?]
 Mon 22 [#13]  @ LA Clippers   ?
 Fri 26 [#14]  @ Sacramento   ?
 Sat 27 [#15]  @ Portland *   ? [L-?]

Survive this 2nd set of 15 games … under the direction of their new head coach, Jay Triano … for example, with a humble 6-9 W-L record … and the 2008-2009 season remains salvagable for Toronto.

Fail to capitalize on the winnable games in this set, though, and the Raptors might just be better off … from a long term development standpoint … focusing their efforts [under Bryan Colangelo, President/GM] on, How exactly to get into the NBA’s Draft Lottery Again, without really trying to, as they did during the 2005-2006 season, under the direction of their vilified former GM, Rob Babcock.

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Long time passing

November 23, 2008

If this most recent bit of news is, indeed, accurate …

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Time running out on MLSE’s Peddie

The winds of change are blowing at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., and Richard Peddie soon may be swept out the door.

The change involving Peddie may not necessarily have anything to do with the impending hiring of Brian Burke as president and general manager of the Leafs — maybe as soon as late this week — but it’s likely. And Peddie likely is on his way out at the end of the season.

Peddie has been under fire for failed sporting decisions — primarily the hiring of Rob Babcock and John Ferguson as inexpensive and inexperienced general managers for the Raptors and the Maple Leafs — and has been put on notice with a changing and more aggressive board of directors. And while he has clung to the job on the basis of the financial strength of the company, there are those who look at failed television networks and other problems within MLSEL and figure the time is right for change.

This won’t happen quickly. Peddie has been a marvellous survivor, but time is running out.

THIS AND THAT

Name to know: Erol Uzermeri, the newest board member of MLSEL, and unlike his fellow Teachers’ Pension Plan flag wavers, isn’t happy just to get a parking pass and dinner at the directors’ lounge. He, not chairman Larry Tanenbaum or Peddie, is considered the power broker on the board and not interested in the status quo …

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then it’s a godsend for the dedicated and beleaguered fanbase of the Maple Leafs and the Raptors.

An unequivical Halleluiah! … should be the Word of the Day, in Raptorville & Leafs’ Nation, if this specific action ever comes to pass, and a coronation ceremony planned for Erol Uzermeri, should he truly be able to clean house at the very top of MLSE.  

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Oh, when will THEY … ever learn?

Chris Bosh should be starting for Team USA

August 15, 2008

This is the answer which was given in this space [August 4, 2008]  to the following question:

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5. Carlos Boozer and Chris Bosh will be fighting for the back-up Center minutes; who should win the job?

This is a silly question.

If Team USA wanted to dominate the international competition this year … the most potent line-up it could put on the floor would see Carlos Boozer at the 4/Power Forward AND Chris Bosh at the 5/Center positions, not ‘fighting for the back-up Center minutes.

For further explanation, see the link provided in the answer to Question #3. -)

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that was asked by the good folks at Upside and Motor, in their Team USA Blogger Roundtable [to which this corner had not received an invite 🙂 ].

10 days later …

Raptors’ Chris Bosh emerging as a leader for the U.S. team: Draws rave reviews from coach, teammates with strong showing on defense

and it is somewhat gratifying to see that one or two others in the basketball community [at-large] have at last begun to ‘see’ what this corner has known about this young man [Chris Bosh], as a Center in the NBA, for a VERY LONG TIME …

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh [April 21, 2008]

It never ceases to amaze what some so-called ‘NBA experts’ think they understand about the game.

De-constructing the mystery that is Chris Bosh

April 21, 2008

In the NBA, Chris Bosh is … and has always been … a Finesse Center/5.

Chris Bosh (6-10, 230, Lefty) is not a Power Forward/4.

Never has been; never will be.

In fact, Chris Bosh is not a Power player, at all.

In the NBA, Chris Bosh has few, if any, ‘Mismatch Advantages’ when he isn’t playing the Center position.

Is Chris Bosh a franchise player?

YES, he is … but not THE kind of player many THINK he is …

nor the kind of player he’s been made to play as, to this point in his pro career, as a Core Member of  the Toronto Raptors, under the Leadership of Rob Babcock & Bryan Colangelo (the team’s General Managers) AND the coaching of Kevin O’Neill & Sam Mitchell.

Chris Bosh’s Strength, as a basketball player, is as a Finesse Center/5 … who is:

1) A terrific Team Defender, in the Middle of the action, in the Lane, where & when he can defend each of the other 4 players on the court … in addition to his own individual check, which he isn’t very good at doing to begin with, as a Finesse, Shot-blocking 5 … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell‘ (6-10, 220, Lefty);

2) A terrific Rebounder, capable of averaging 15+ boards a contest, if made to emphasize this aspect of the game … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell’;

3) A terrific Character Guy, with the Core trait of Un-Selfishness that is shared with the other truly great Centers who have ever played the game … e.g. Men like Miken, (the Great Bill) Russell, Reed, Abdul-Jabbar & Walton (plus, in today’s environment, the ‘Big Fundamental’, Tim Duncan);

4) A solid Mid-Post and Elbow scorer (i.e. within 15-18 feet of the basket) … when he’s matched-up exclusively vs THE opponent’s Bigall of whom he can simply ‘out-quick’, relative to this position on the floor … but which can only be dictated by Bosh’s coach, if said coach plays Bosh as THE Biggest player within his own ‘Group-of-5’ and not the 2nd biggest, who can go into the Post and command an ‘Inside-Out’ double-team, based on his ability to score the ball from this position on the floor … with his FINESSE ‘Face-Up’ game; rather than a ‘power game’ which Chris Bosh simply does not and will NEVER EVER have.

Unfortunately for Chris Bosh, since he was drafted into the NBA by the Toronto Raptors he has yet to play for a GM or a coach who knows what his ACTUAL STRENGTHS are as a pro player, and as a person, in general … and has not yet been developed into the type of dominating ALL-PRO individual he is truly capable of eventually becoming in this League … similar to ‘the Great Bill Russell’.

But, for anyone to claim that Chris Bosh is not a franchise player … is just plain WRONG.

When a player handles the ball a lot off the bounce, or on the dribble-up … something which Chris Bosh does not do … it is irrelevant if that player is being played out of position, on Offense, in the NBA.

That player can simply ‘go and get the ball’ and take the game over by himself, off the bounce, when need be … e.g. like MJ, Kobe, LBJ, Chris Paul, Oscar, Magic, etc.

Likewise, when a player has an ‘interior’ Power game (i.e. Drop Step, Jump Hook, Turn-around Jump Shot, Up & Under, etc.) … in general, something which Chris Bosh does not have … this player’s teammates can simply throw the ball inside to him whenever he is using his SIZE & PHYSICAL STRENGTH to gain an advantageous position, in the Low Post, and allow him to ‘go to work’ inside, either scoring the ball himself or by creating open shots for his teammates … e.g. like Shaq, Duncan, Wilt and Miken have all done.

However, when a player is a Finesse Center/5 … like Chris Bosh or Rasheed Wallace or Hakeem Olajuwon or Jack Sikma or Bill Walton or Dave Cowens or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Willis Reed or ‘the Great Bill Russell’ … on Offense, he is dependent (i) on his coach to play him in the correct position, for his unique skill set, and (ii) his teammates to get him the ball in the spots on the floor that he can be the most effective, either as a passer or a scorer; while, on Defense, he is dependent on his coach to match him up correctly against the individual check that allows him to not only defend this player BUT the other 4 players on the court, as well, especially if he can ‘block shots & rebound’ like Chris Bosh, Olajuwon, Walton, Abdul-Jabbar and ‘the Great Bill Russell’ can/could all do at the peak of their NBA careers (i.e. from 27-to-35 years of age).

Chris Bosh (at only 24 years of age) is a Finesse Center/5, in the NBA … who, if used correctly, is a Franchise Player that can be a Centrifugal Force in the League for years to come … in the mold of ‘the Great Bill Russell’ … unless, of course, the best years of his career are frittered away playing for a hapless team whose GM’s and coaches do not have a clue about what his actual strengths are, as a player and a person, and just how good (i.e. talented, unselfish & hard-working) he is, relative to the other players in the League who play the Center position.