Posts Tagged ‘TJ Ford’

Key early season games for the Raptors

October 3, 2008

This is the first two months of the schedule for the Dinos:

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October

Opponent

Expected Outcome

Wed 29

 @ Philadelphia  

L [1]

 Fri 31

 vs Golden State

W [1]

November

Opponent

 

 Sat 01

 @ Milwaukee  

?

 Wed 05

 vs Detroit

L [2]

 Fri 07

 @ Atlanta  

?

 Sun 09

 @ Charlotte  

?

 Mon 10

 @ Boston  

L [3]

 Wed 12

 vs Philadelphia

W [2]

 Sun 16

 vs Miami

W [3]

 Tue 18

 @ Orlando  

L [4]

 Wed 19

 @ Miami  

?

 Fri 21

 vs New Jersey

W [4]

 Sun 23

 vs Boston

L [5]

 Wed 26

 vs Charlotte

W [5]

 Fri 28

 vs Atlanta

W [6]

 Sun 30

 @ LA Lakers  

L [6]

December

Opponent

 

 Tue 02

 @ Denver  

L [7]

 Fri 05

 @ Utah  

L [8]

 Sun 07

 vs Portland

L [9]

 Tue 09

 @ Cleveland  

L [10]

 Wed 10

 vs Indiana

L [11]

 Fri 12

 @ New Jersey  

L [12]

 Sun 14

 vs New Orleans

L [13]

 Mon 15

 vs New Jersey

W [7]

 Wed 17

 vs Dallas

L [14]

 Fri 19

 @ Oklahoma City  

L [15]

 Sat 20

 @ San Antonio  

L [16]

 Mon 22

 @ LA Clippers  

L [17]

 Fri 26

 @ Sacramento  

L [18]

 Sat 27

 @ Portland  

L [19]

 Mon 29

 @ Golden State  

W [8]

LEGEND:
W – Expected Win; L – Expected Loss; ? – Undetermined; [#] – W/L Number

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With possible expected outcomes of …

8 W’s,
19 L’s, and
4 Undetermined’s

which would generate five possible W-L records for this team by January 1, 2009:

i) 0-4 on Undetermined’s = 8 W, 23 L;
ii) 1-3 on Undetermined’s = 9 W, 22 L;
iii) 2-2 on Undetermined’s = 10 W, 21 L;
iv) 3-1 on Undetermined’s = 11 W, 20 L; and, 
v) 4-0 on Undetermined’s = 12 W, 19 L.

None of which is very good.

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Q1. Is it possible that a team could trade for a 6-time NBA All-Star; line him up beside two other solid NBA players, like Chris Bosh & Jose Calderon … and, then, somehow still finish the 2008 portion of its schedule with a W-L record like one of those five options above?

A1. You bet it is.

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Each of the L‘s listed above is a very losable game for this Raptors team, this season, given (I) the losses of Rasho Nesterovic, Carlos Delfino and TJ Ford from last year’s squad, and (II) the expected improvement from other teams in the League that have re-tooled their rosters heading into this campaign … BY INCREASING their Quality Depth, e.g Philadelphia, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma City, LA Clippers & Sacramento.

If the Raptors are going to avoid this type of backwards step this season … keep a close watch on how they do in their first 6 games AND the 15 games from Nov 30 to Dec 27.

Struggle early, like they did two years ago, and the temperature is going to rise significantly in Raptorville.

Successfully navigate these two stretches … with, say, a .400 mark [or better] … then it should be clear sailing from there, as one of the 8 teams in the East to eventually qualify for the Playoffs this season.

Improved Rebounding & Defense for the Raptors

September 13, 2008

For the benefit of Raptors fans everywhere …

Sam Mitchell speaks on the FAN590 [Fri Sep 12 2008]

… about the arrival of Jermaine O’Neal, the play of Chris Bosh & Jose Calderon at the Olympics, the quality of his wardrobe, the expected improvement of Andrea Bargnani, what builds good character, which players are going to get the most playing time this season and at what positions, plus what’s needed for the Raptors to advance in the NBA Playoffs.

Pay particular attention to the final half of the interview … from the 7:15 mark on …

“We’ve got to rebound the basketball. I think we’ve proven, since I’ve been here, that we’ve been able to score the basketball fairly well … but our Defense & Rebounding, it starts with the Defense and you finish it off [on the] on the Defensive Boards. We got to play D and Rebound the basketball … you’re not going to win, you’re not going to win … being 29th in the league in Rebounding.”

and, then, what he has to say in his closing comments:

“We’re not going to change a lot of things. A lot of the stuff we run Chris & Jermaine can do. We run a lot of Double-High Post-ups, which is great for those guys … and the difference is … you know, also … we can put both Chris and Jermaine down on that Low Post, at times, [and] and command the basketball … we’re excited with the team, I like our basketball team, on paper … if we can stay healthy … but, again, it’s all going to be decided once we get on the floor.”

It is going to be a most interesting season in Raptorville.

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.

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‘.

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.

=====================

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.

 

 

 

 

THE problem with the current Raptors

April 24, 2008

Let me ask you these two questions:

If you flipped TJ Ford for Steve Nash (let’s say in a fantasy world) … do you think the Suns would stand a snowball’s chance in h*ll of getting past the Spurs this year?

How about the Raptors vs the Magic?

If your answers to those two queries are a resounding,

No Way, Jose!

and

Like, for sure, dude!

then you’re beginning to see that the major problem with this team is that … unlike what happened in Phoenix when Colangelo, Jr. COMPLETELY LUCKED OUT that Steve Nash WANTED to return to the Suns when Mark Cuban cut him loose BECAUSE NASH’S WIFE & KIDS ALREADY LIVED IN THE PHOENIX AREA (not because BC is a top notch GM who knows what he’s doing) … THERE IS ONLY ONE STEVE NASH AND HE ISN’T PLAYING FOR THE RAPTORS, JUST YET.

Steve Nash is/was the architect of Phoenix’s rise from the ashes … which Bryan Colangelo orchestrated with their once-proud team … no one else.

Because Steve Nash wanted to live in Phoenix, he signed with the Suns when Cuban said, “Thanks but no thanks, Stevie boy, I don’t think you’ve got what it will take to Win a Championship for me with the Mavs, at the price you’re asking.” FULL STOP.

Because Steve Nash is the best ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ PG in the History of the NBA (so sayeth an authority like Mark Jackson, during the Suns/Spurs Game 2 match-up) … when Colangelo fired Frank Johnson (who he had previously picked to run the Suns) and appointed Mike D’Antoni … IT WAS D’ANTONI WHO INSTALLED THE SUNS’ 4 OUT/1 IN OFFENSIVE SYSTEM, tailored specifically for Steve & Amare (who is the perfect under-sized but super athletic Center to run that system) and deserves 2nd billing on the Suns credit roll for their resurgence as a first-tier franchise in the NBA.

If not for Colangelo’s decision NOT to re-sign Joe Johnson … Phoenix might well have its 1st NBA title already.

Then … “when the going actually got tough” in Phoenix and daddy was out as the principal owner … that’s when the ‘Golden Boy’ decided to ‘Bolt the Ship’ and head for greener pastures … in mid-season 2006 (think about THAT for a second or two) … for the comfy ‘international’ confines in The Great White North, with free reign to call the shots AND a Big Ticket contract.

Want to know THE reason this version of the Raptors isn’t quite ‘tough enough’ to get the job done in the post-season?

When a fight breaks out (like it did in Phoenix) … what does a really tough ‘hombre’ decide to do … FIGHT or RUN?

(what did Colangelo, Jr. do in the Valley of the Sun?)

7 Seconds or Less … is the Coward’s way to play NBA hoops … and will never ever be rewarded with the championship.

The old Boston Celtics … with my MAN, Bill Russell at the CORE … and the ShowTime LAKESHOW … with my MAN, Earvin at the CORE … both shot it plenty quick enough to rack up devastatingly Big scoring numbers but neither operation would EVER have been referred to as TOO SOFT to get it done in the playoffs … cause their success was built upon a BALANCE between

OFFENSE … DEFENSE … and, most important of all … REBOUNDING,

not an “offensive philosophy of 100 shots per game”.

MLSE does not know what it’s doing AND should not be in the business of running ‘pro sports teams’ in Toronto … cause they KEEP HIRING THE WRONG PEOPLE to head up their basketball & hockey operations (e.g. see the current debacle with Anaheim’s GM, Brian Burke).

As the old Chinese Warlord could tell you from his personal experience … the strategy that works best when training an army of men … is decapitating the heads of the two most favoured concubines appointed to lead the masses in the first place.

(know who the concubines are in this case?)

It ain’t rocket science, to be sure … but, dem Chinese Warlords sure did know what they were doing … when it came to BUILDING & MAINTAINING their Dynasty.

Food For Thought … as always.

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In Peace, Victory & Excellence.

A winning line-up for the Raptors vs the Magic

April 22, 2008

During Sunday’s Lakers v Nuggets Game 1, Jeff Van Gundy (NBA Analyst) made an insightful comment – one of many he makes, per game – about the value of a coach’s ‘words’ alone toward the performance of his team, vs what their habits are, on a daily basis …

“(as a coach) You cannot influence a team with your words, at halftime or in the pre-game talk … they are going to do what they do.” – JVG

… which is exactly what I thought of while evaluating the Boxscore from Toronto/Orlando Game 1 … where the the Rebounding numbers were, as follows:

Toronto 35 (Individual) + 11 (Team) = 46
Orlando 42 (Individual) + 6 (Team) = 48

meaning that the Raptors and the Magic both performed pretty much as expected when these two teams are matched-up against one another, since during the Regular Season …

Orlando (+0.31) finished 16th in ‘Rebounding Differential’; while,
Toronto (-1.54) finished 22nd.

For Toronto to effect some type of fundamental change to the ‘Rebounding Differential’ numbers in Game 2 … they will need to address their Individual Player match-ups vs the key ‘board men’ for Orlando, who are D12 (22), Turkoglu (6), Bogans (5), Lewis (4), Evans (2) & Nelson (2) … for example, by going to a player rotation that I suggested on different web sites several weeks ago …

STARTERS
1/Calderon v Nelson
2/Moon v Bogans
3/Graham v Lewis
4/Humphries v Howard/Turk
5/Bosh v Turkoglu/D12

KEY SUBS
G/Parker v Dooling/Evans
F/Kapono/Delfino v Evans/Dooling
C/Nesterovic v Foyle

which is what a ‘Top Notch’ GM & Head Coach combination, like RC Buford & Gregg Popovich, would have done with the Raptors’ player personnel … several months ago … e.g. when TJ Ford was pulling his ’sulking’ I’ll-only-play-as-a-Starter-for-this-team B.S.

Unless you can ‘think the Individual Player match-up game’ like a ‘Top Notch’ NBA head coach, it’s very difficult to truly understand what THE DIFFERENCE is between ‘the Winners’ & ‘the Losers’ in this League, in the games that have a lot of meaning … i.e. versus Plus .500 Teams.

Enjoy Game 2 this evening! … which Orlando will probably win to go up 2-0 in this 1st Round series.

Two solitudes in Raptorland

April 16, 2008

When a local beat writer the quality of Dave Feschuk includes this type of straight-forward ‘observation’ in his article about the current state of this year’s Raptors’ team … with 1 game left in the 2007-2008 regular season and a looming 1st Round playoff series vs the Orlando Magic … it does not come out of nowhere:

If you’re just tuning the Raptors in . . .
Sam Mitchell, the Toronto coach, calls the 41-win regular season “unbelievable,” in a good way. Bryan Colangelo, the GM, calls it disappointing, in the six-wins-fewer-than-last-year way. The coach implies he has maximized a flawed roster. The GM, seeming convinced the Raptors haven’t made the most of the assembled talent, presumably calculates the buyout on the coach’s contract, currently $9.5 million (U.S.) and perhaps thinks, “Wait ’til next year.”

Should Sam Mitchell want to keep his job as Raptors’ head coach his team best do two things between now and Advent (which begins annually the first week of December):

1) Get past the Magic in the 1st Round of the 2007-2008 Playoffs;

2) Be above the .500 mark in the first 20 games of the 2008-2009 regular season schedule;

… as ‘the writing’ is already beginning to appear on the wall that his tenure with the Raptors might not extend beyond that point … which, interestingly, coincides with the approximate date by which the rookie contract of the team’s No. 1 Overall Selection from the 2006 NBA Draft will need to be extended, in all likelihood, should he remain ‘the Apple of the GM’s eye’ in Toronto, as a long term project for the Raptors and a Center-piece for their team’s future development.

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Q1. How important is the series between Toronto & Orlando?

A1. Plenty.

(at least, if you’re Sam Mitchell, and you understand Bryan Colangelo’s M.O., i.e. Tic toc, tic toc, tic toc …

Since the start of the 2006-2007 season, in Toronto, there has been a stark contrast between how the GM and the Head Coach ‘see the NBA game’, in terms of Offense, Defense & Rebounding, and how the Raptors use their player personnel – e.g. the abandonment of the ‘100 Shots Per Game‘ philosophy; the flip-flop between (i) Nesterovic & Bargnani (C), and (ii) Calderon & Ford (PG), as Starters; the sporadic use of Jason Kapono (last summer’s primary Free Agent signee) & Kris Humphries (who was also given a contract extension last summer). 

If the Raptors are going to continue to improve they will need to be on the same page moving forward.

Hubie Brown’s take: Toronto @ Detroit, 2nd Half

April 14, 2008

The best in the business did the American national broadcast of yesterday’s Raptors @ Pistons game. This is what he had to say about Toronto & Detroit, as these two teams finish off the regular season schedule later this week and look ahead to the start of the post-season tournament.

Enjoy!

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Hubie Brown on the Raptors & the Pistons

 

3rd Quarter

9:14 Rasho has been solid … 1st unit v 1st unit

9:00 Excellent trap by Bosh

7:21 Pistons are getting killed by the 4 TO’s this quarter … abnormal for their 1st unit

7:06 Every chance Bosh gets he MUST take Rasheed to the basket from 15-18 ft … Rasheed cannot stop him and Rasheed is the Pistons only shot-blocker … Bosh gets to the line 8 times per game but the rest of the team only gets there 12 times per game

6:10 Billups shoots 40% from 3 and shoots 4 per game … any time he crosses center in transition he is a definite 3-pt threat … Doc Rivers should be the COY because he kept all the balls in the air and the Celtics are the best Defensive half-court team in the League and THAT’S coaching

4:55 I like Delfino’s game … playing more minutes for Toronto, he can get you points in a hurry

4:47 If Billups is going to post-up Ford … whether he backs him down or he gets the pass in the post … the double-team has got to come quick …you cannot give Chauncey that high % shot in the lane

4:10 I’d like to see TJ Ford put on the afterburners for the rest of this game … get out on the break and make things happen

3:20 When things aren’t going well the Pistons will put you to sleep … they will maximize the clock, make extra passes and get a quality shot … appreciate their game, they will give the ball up to a guy who has a higher % shot

2:59 The Pistons are no longer playing soft vs any high screen with Rasheed, they are coming hard at Ford and not allowing him to turn the corner as they did in the 1st half, they are trapping and making Toronto play 4 on 3, wanting to what kind of game you (the Raptors) have ORGANIZED

2:35 Detroit has missed their last 6 shots BUT none were bad shots … their coaches are getting what they want … their players are reading the defense perfectly and making the 2nd and 3rd extra pass … they are just missing shots right now

2:05 Right now the Pistons are going into Hamilton BECAUSE HE HAS TJ Ford on him … Rip kicks out to Billups who makes a 3 … you have to close out hard at Billups and MAKE him put on the floor inside the 3 because he is shooting 40% from 3

1:32 Bosh showed great presence of mind to recover on Rasheed’s blocked shot and make the put back … I like his game today … he has been excellent

0:50 If you are going to trap on the baseline, like the Raptors just did, that’s fine but where’s the rotation … the man who trapped cannot come back out to defend the 1st pass out (which is what Toronto just did when Billups was quick trapped by Bosh & Calderon on the baseline out-of-bounds play

                      

4th Quarter

11:08 I just don’t understand why we are seeing all this 3-pt shooting from Toronto

10:50 Toronto’s PPG drop from 100 to 88 when they play the Pistons during their last 9 games over several years vs Detroit … the Raptors have their problems scoring vs Detroit

10:15 This is a big game for you Toronto … you must dominate the 2nd unit in this 4th Q … you cannot match them basket for basket like you did during the 2nd unit when Flip Saunders left his 2nd unit on the floor for 12 straight minutes

9:35 Toronto must get out and get some easy baskets between now and the end of this game by getting out on the break

9:10 Now that was an example of a player using his body to get a basket … Stuckey wanted the contact (vs Calderon), didn’t get it but was still able to make the layup

8:55 Kapono is a great shooter, period.

8:15 When Linsey Hunter came into this league he was a one of the best scorers in US college basketball but he has learned to adapt his game … when he plays with the 1st unit he is defensive stopper but when he plays with the 2nd unit, he is a big-time scorer

8:00 Ford & Bargnani are struggling for Toronto … if they are going to get major minutes between now and the end of the game they need to give major production for the Raptors

7:35 It comes down to stops for Toronto, that’s their biggest challenge night in and night out … especially 4th quarter defense in the last 6 minutes of the game

6:55 That was sheer athleticism by Stuckey (who scored on a TO run-out)

6:34 I like what Detroit is doing vs Calderon … Calderon is one of the premier offensive guards in the NBA … the Pistons are not going to allow him to shoot the high % 3 … because Jose is just too good

6:20 You have to like what going on with Detroit’s 2nd unit (as Stuckey blows by Delfino and scores)

5:45 Bosh has been solid doing yeoman’s work … the Big Thing is CAN THEY GET THE STOPS THEY NEED

4:55 The Detroit bench is terrific … they have better defenders than last year AND they can score the ball

4:30 I give Calderon a lot of credit for that … he passed up a shot and gave it to Parker who had an open look and missed … Toronto needed that one

3:54 That was an athletic move by Stuckey in transition

3:36 Detroit coaches will tell Afflalo right now that he just forced up a shot … force up shots in the playoffs and you will find yourself on the bench

3:07 Toronto NEEDS to get the ball inside right now instead of taking long jumpshots

2:30 there’s a tonne of talent here in Detroit with these young guys (referring to Aaron Afflalo, Jason Maxiell, Rodney Stuckey, Jarvis Hayes and Amir Johnson, coming off the bench)

2:03 Toronto is still in the game but they have to get some defense here … credit to Amir Johnson there vs the Raptors good Defense

1:15 Rodney Stuckey is for real … he can score the ball and he is playing with a lot of confidence right now

36.6 Detroit has outscored Toronto in transition 15-6, which is a major advantage … you want your PG to be able to go to the FT Line at crunch time and make those shots, Stuckey can do that for you

30.0 Detroit is one of the best teams in the League because they can win at home AND on the road

5.0 Detroit is terrific inside, outside and from the 3pt line; their defense is top notch; their defensive FG% & their defensive 3-pt % are terrific