How Bad Was It? Breaking Down The West Coast Trip

I may need my head examined to have done this. But I decided to sit down and crunch some numbers of this past 3 game road trip out west. So here are some of the scary numbers:

  • Raptors lost by an average of 26.3 points in the 3 games
  • Raptors allowed 358 points an average of 119.3
  • Raptors only scored 279 points for an average of 93
  • Raptors shot only 39.5% (104-263)
  • Raptors 3 opponents combined shot 53.9% (145/269)
  • From 3pt Range Toronto was 33.8% (20-59) opponents were 40% (22-55)
  • Raptors were out rebounded by an average of 50.6 -34
  • On offensive glass it was 10.6 - 8.6
  • The Raptors only bright spot was they out shot opponents from the line on avg 82.2% - 75.4%
There are lots of scary numbers in that mix. The most shocking of which is the shooting. The Raptors as a team our suppose to be a team with a lot of dangerous shooters. It is suppose to be the strength of this club. But you see no evidence of that in these stats. The obvious is of course the lack of defense and the glaring difference on the glass. I also looked at turnover numbers which were fairly close actually but it is a case of when they were being made. The fact these were blow out games offer reserves that are in general more prone to make turnovers extra time on the floor. So those numbers did not reflect the true numbers in my view.

That is the stats but basketball is only in part stats to me. They are the evidence that people use to make their points. But seeing as these are humans and not robots we need to look at the human aspects. Those are just as disturbing as well. In the process of this trip as we all know Sam Mitchell was fired. That was done for a lot of reasons. But the one main reason you make a coaching change is to get the attention of your team. Also the next game the Raptors would play was on ESPN in the United States. I am not sure what that means to guys like Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. But even they understand it is a big deal. So you had a brand new coach and you were playing on National T.V. That would be a clear combination that should energize a team. But much like in Denver that energy lasted all of 2 minutes.

Something is fundamentally wrong with this Raptor team. What it is I can not tell you. No one in the established media says that they see any kind of problems in the locker room. I mean it is kind of like the Raptors have been turned into pod people. I say that joking around but seriously if this was happening to you wouldn't you be angry? I would. I'd like to see J.O kick a trash can, or Jose chuck a gatorade bottle at halftime. Show me some kind of anger and emotion. I am begging you. But the way things have gone for the Raptors if J.O kicked the can he would break his foot. The gatorade bottle who hit Bosh in the head and cause him to forget how to play basketball. Maybe that would not be a bad thing. Forget all of it. The expectations, The M.V.P talk, the future. Just worry about this next game. Worry about getting 1 win and not 50 wins.

I do not envy Jay Triano the task he has seems to be a hard one. This team has lost it's way and is in need of some kind of energy injected into it. Everything that has happened is making everyone look backwards instead of forward. Did the Raptors pick the right point guard? Did they make a good trade to get J.O? Was is worth risking the cap space for two years? What is Chris Bosh thinking and what is Bryan Colangelo thinking? Is Colangelo losing the heart and mind of his star player? Can he get it back if he has?

Raptor fans are getting frustrated and angry. But if you listen to Charles Barkley he would say we only have ourselves to blame. I base this on his recent comments that the Raptors are a good team but basically a .500 team and people who had higher expectations had been wrong to think that. Kenny Smith went further in attacking Jose Calderon and saying that he was a first rate back-up point guard in this league. That is a far cry from the best point guard in the Eastern Conference and deserving All-Star talk in Toronto until very recently. Chris Webber also chimed in but he also was on the record as calling the Raptors his surprise team earlier in the year. So he seems to flow with the way the wind is blowing.

To me all of this can be summed up in one word PRIDE. A classic example of that was shown in the NBA last night. Kevin Garnett who is a guy that I may respect but do not like. He got in the face of Glen Davis to the point he made him cry. Garnett demands accountability from his team and he is willing to make sure it happens by any means necessary. Maybe to extreme but still. Chris Bosh and Jermaine O'Neal how bout showing some of that to your team. I remember Bosh laying into a young Andrea Bargnani in his rookie year. He didn't make cry but the point was made. This Raptor team seems to accept it's fate far to easily of late. Someone in that locker room has to say enough and instill some pride into this Raptor team. Without that this team will be doomed to be at best a .500 team just praying and hoping that will be good enough to make the playoffs.

I did get to have a positive thing to do despite all of this negative stuff going on. I was able to contact our contest winner Brett. He is going to be taking his final exam of the his semester at Western. He will be able to focus on the fact he is going to be seeing the Return of T.J Ford with me. I hope that a lot of folks have learned just how important T.J Ford was over these past few weeks. He deserves to get cheers from the crowd at the A.C.C when he returns. I am not thinking that will happen but I will be at least on person that will clap my hands for him. I am not going to get into a Calderon vs Ford rant but let's just say without Ford you can see just how special that combination was together here in Toronto. Forderon was really a great combination and when we look back on this season if it goes wrong many may wonder if we should have tried to keep that together. Were there issues between the two and the team? Absolutely but the team has some serious issues right now. It is just a case of if those issues could have been worked through. At this point you may even wonder if it was a terminal case that could not be solved if the Raptors should have taken the risk on Ford. But this is all could have and what if. Raptors can not worry about any of that. They also can not wait for Bryan Colangelo to make a trade to save the day. Sam Mitchell being fired was meant to send a message and to this point the message still has not been answered.

It is not as much that the Raptors have lost 3 games as much as it is about how they have lost. Win or lose on Sunday against Portland the effort and energy must improve. That is the only way out of this whole. Chris Bosh wants to be a leader and an M.V.P well that is done through helping you team recover from tough times like these. It is his team by being the franchise player and he needs to address his team and let them know this is not acceptable. That is the first step on the road back.


  1. First off congratulations Brett on a fine win.I hope you really enjoy the game and return of TJ. Your passion truly shows

    I will keep this brief as to what I think the problem is.
    This team lacks one key ingrediant and that is leadership.This has been an existing problem for quite some time now. At this point Bosh in my mind does not deserve an mvp. He still lacks leadership skills.It was starting to show and then he went into oblivion. Jermaine certainly is not taking that responsibility either. I am not liking the direction or attitude Bosh has taken of late and he needs to wake up a little otherwise his production will continue to drop.He needs to wake this team up.Clearly this team also needs to step up the D. Its one thing to change this team to a fast break offense but you also have to fast break on the defense. The raps are horrible protecting the arc.
    Trades may be the answer but these guys are well paid and should be putting out a better product day in and day out.I highly doubt Jay will be interim till end of the year.
    Time will tell with this current roster

  2. Thanks Maurice and I am proud to have had such great finalist for the first contest we have had here at Dino Nation Blog. You all have been great and it is nice of both the finalists that did not win to congratulate Brett.

    This was a really rewarding experience to have had the chance to do this for the readers from my point of view.

    With all the bad things going on with the Raptors this has been a positive thing for me to focus on as well.

  3. Great article James. Thanks Maurice too for your kindness. I really agree about the lack of leadership on the team, but hopefully Triano can come in and force Bosh to step that part of his game up and become a true MVP.