Posts Tagged ‘Rodney Carney’

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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Game Review: Raptors vs Minnesota, Oct 16 2008

October 17, 2008

FINAL SCORE: Raptors 90, Timberwolves 86
Game Summary

POSITIVES

Joey Graham – As good as advertised, in advance, by this corner. 🙂 Will need to play a lot, and play well, if this team is going to earn at least 45 W’s this season. If he doesn’t … their goose is cooked.

Andrea Bargnani – As good as advertised, in advance, by this corner. Can flat out score the ball in the NBA … if he gets a Lot of shots AND the PT that was once being designated to Jermaine O’Neal, the Raptors’ superfluous off-season acquisition. One dimensional. Remains a liability on Defense, for the most part, and is still a non-factor on the Boards, when playing against superior NBA athletes.

Kris Humphries – As good as advertised, in advance, from this corner. Energy. Rebounds. Shots. What you see is what you get. That’s who Hump is. Get use to it, cause it’s going to get a LOT of play this season. At this stage of his career, might well be a better investment than Jermaine O’Neal.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Will Solomon – Turnovers. Poor decisions with the ball. Struggling with the re-adjustment to the NBA game. More than athletic enough to succeed in back-up role. Difficult to change the spots on a full-grown leopard.

Jason Kapono – Was a little used ‘back-up’ in Miami for a sound reason. ‘Game stroke’ is still not ‘wet enough’ to overcome defensive and rebounding liabilities, as a PrimeTime Player, in the NBA. Game-to-game performance will be a barometer for the Raptors this season. When he’s good, they’ll have a solid chance for a W. When he’s not, look out … there’s probably an L coming their way.

Jermaine O’Neal – Right now, nowhere close to being the player he was 5 years ago. At $21 million per season for the next two years? Hmmmm …

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In general, not a good sign of things ahead when the Raptors struggle mightily in three consecutive pre-season tussles at home against non upper echelon teams in the NBA … i.e. Philadelphia [an athletic squad this year], CSKA Moscow [Euroleague] and Minnesota [an improved athletic squad].

[Note 1: FWIW … Rodney Carney (6-7, G/F) showed last night some of the reasons he would have been a solid acquisition for the Raptors, this off-season, in a straight-up trade for TJ Ford, as advocated by this corner. Not a great player, by any means, but precisely the type of young 2/3 that the Dinos NEEDED to add.]

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. 😉

You make the call … on the Raptors’ roster

October 6, 2008

Which one of these two player rosters would you prefer to have, going forward from this point, if you were Jerry West and you were the GM for the Toronto Raptors?

[please read the question carefully]

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2008-2009

 

 

A) Raptors’ Current Roster

B) khandor’s Raptors’ Roster

 

 

1 PG – Jose Calderon *

1 PG – Jose Calderon *

2 OG – Anthony Parker

2 OG/SF – Jamario Moon *

3 SF – Jamarion Moon

3 SF – Joey Graham *

4 PF – Chris Bosh *

4 PF – Kris Humphries *

5 C – Jermaine O’Neal **

5 C – Chris Bosh *

 

 

6 PG – Will Solomon **

6 PG/OG – Anthony Parker *

7 OG – Jason Kapono

7 OG/SF – Jason Kapono

8 SF – Joey Graham

8 PF – Andrea Bargnani

9 PF – Kris Humphries

9 C – Rasho Nesterovic

10 C – Andrea Bargnani

 

 

 

11 PG/OG – Roko Ukic **

10 OG/SF – Rodney Carney **

12 OG/SF – Hassan Adams **

11 PG – Roko Ukic **

 

12 PF/C – Austin Croshere **

 

 

13 PF/C – Nathan Jawai **

13 SF/OG/PG – Carlos Delfino

14 ? PF – Jamal Sampson **

14 PG/OG/SF – Julius Hodge **

15 ?

15 PF – Joey Dorsey or SF – CDR **

LEGEND:

* New Role this season; ** New Player Added

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1. Make a choice between A or B.
2. Provide your rationale, if possible.

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

July 2, 2008

The Other Side of the Indiana-Toronto Trade, by David Berri, should be mandatory reading for those who still don’t understand the strengths AND PARTICULARLY the weaknesses of the Raptors’ current GM, who has (i) de-constructed one solid franchise (Phoenix I), (ii) built one regular season but not playoff great good franchise (Phoenix II), and is in the process of (iii) re-building a second one of a similar ilk today (Toronto I).

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Let’s summarize all of this by considering the recent big moves in Toronto. 

  • This year we have the O’Neal trade. When we consider O’Neal’s lack of productivity in 2007-08, the loss of T.J. Ford, and the loss of Toronto’s first round pick, it’s hard to see how this trade helps the Raptors.  
  • Last year the Raptors signed Jason Kapono, who produced -2.0 wins this past season.  Not Bargnani bad, but still not a level of productivity that helps.   
  • And then in 2006 the Raptors drafted Bargnani with the first pick overall.  Clearly this move hasn’t quite worked out either.

If we consider each of these major moves, it looks like the tenure of Bryan Colangelo has not been successful.  But then we consider the following names: Calderon, Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker, and Carlos Delfino.  Each of these players are above average talents who were acquired very cheaply by Colangelo. 

In sum – as I noted last January – Colangelo seems to have a knack for finding productive players who are also quite cheap.   It’s just the big decisions – trades, free agents signings, and the draft – that seem to cause problems.

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Do yourself a favour and read the entire article; it’s filled with pertinent information, if you’re a keen observer of the Raptors.

As with many people in Life, a strength is (simultaneously) also a point of weakness.

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Option 1: If the Raptors would have been able to acquire Jermaine O’Neal in exchange for Andrea Bargnani, straight-up, while keeping Rasho Nesterovic, then that would have been a solid trade for Toronto (if they wanted to try and win now and down-the-road), according to these eyes. Part II might have then involved trading TJ Ford (to Philadelphia) for a young, athletic and serviceable G/F, like Rodney Carney, and. keeping their #17 (Overall) Ist Round Draft Pick (i.e. Part III).

Option 2: If the Raptors would have been able to acquire Jermaine O’Neal in exchange for Andrea Bargnani plus TJ Ford, while keeping Rasho Nesterovic, then this, too, might have been a solid trade for Toronto (if they wanted to try and win now, plus down-the-road). Then, Part II would definitely have involved keeping their #17 Draft (Overall) 1st Round Draft Pick.

Option 3: What the Raptors actually did, though, is the one which presents the most risk (comparatively speaking) to the short & long term prospects for success of their team … when coupled with other cost-minimization decisions like (a) signing a low-end Free Agent for roster spot #12 (i.e. Hassan Adams) and early talk of signing only 1 more low-end Free Agent player, prior to the start of training camp, and going into the 2008-2009 season with a tighter playing rotation and a 13-man (NBA minimum-allowed) roster.

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In general, ‘activity‘ should not be confused with (actual) ‘accomplishment‘.