- @ Clippers (8-19 and 3-10 @ Home)
- @ Kings (7-21 and 5-7 @ Home)
- @ Trailblazers ( 17-10 and 9-2 @ Home)
- @ Warriors ( 8-20 and 4-9 @ Home )
If this Raptor team was playing well this would be an easy 3 out of 4. However this team is in a free fall losing 5 straight. A lot of Raptors fans are trying to remember a worse point for this franchise that they can recall? I am not sure it was worse but the season this is starting to remind me of is the one that saw hope reach record levels. Vince Carter had re-signed and so had Antonio Davis, Alvin Williams and JYD. Not to mention the cherry on top Hakeem "The Dream" had signed to close out his career in Toronto. Glen Grunwald was thought to be a genius and was widely regarded as having one of the best off seasons of any G.M in the league. I even remember David Stern himself saying what a wonderful job had been done here in Toronto. The Raptors were declared to be pre-season contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Now we all know how that turned out. The Dream was a bust. The Raptors over paid for Davis and the two Williams. Vince Carter would get injured and start the path to going from hero to zero in Toronto. The Raptors were declared for dead. It would take an amazing late season push with Vince Carter injured for this team to sneak in the playoffs. As the 7th seed they would push the Pistons to the (at the time) 5 games series limit in the first round. However the damage that had been done in that off-season would be long lasting.
For all the beating that Bryan Colangelo is taking let's at least give him credit, for the fact that he is not invested in anyone long term beyond Jose Calderon at this point. He has given the Raptors a chance to be players in 2010. The question becomes home much of that is he willing to give away to save this team from a short term disaster. I don't know this for a fact and I highly doubt Bryan Colangelo would admit this in any way. However my thought was always that he made the Jermaine O'Neal trade to be in the 2010 game. He may have truly thought that Jermaine could help this team and keep them in the playoffs. But he would have to count on finding a lot of talent at a discount rate. That part of the plan has not worked out. Moon, Adams Solomon and a second round guy with upside and raw talent in Nathan Jawai. Still the bottom line goal was to create cap room in 2010. If the Raptors could just manage to make the playoffs and perhaps win a round things would be on course for Colangelo. He could have fired Sam Mitchell if the team did not have playoff success this year and brought in a coach for 2009 to get the team prepared for 2010. It all seems very logical and it had a chance of working.
The things he was not counting on was that Jose Calderon would not play to a level that he would expect. He really could not hold on to T.J Ford and let Calderon walk or do a sign and trade that would not bring back the value people would want. Ford was to high of an injury risk to make him the winner of the point guard battle. I think if that was not the case that the Ford and Calderon choice would have been a much tougher one to make.
The other thing he was not counting on is his star player being at odds with the fan base and frustrated. I never thought I would be reading people seriously talking about trading Chris Bosh at this point in the season. But that is what I am seeing and hearing. It really makes no sense to trade Bosh now. He will come out of this and be the guy fans chanted M.V.P for again. Besides even though 2010 seems like it is only weeks away it isn't. The short term out look for the Raptors is not good. But the long term outlook can be fine. The only thing that might screw that up is if all of this hostility between Bosh and the fans and media grows. The comparisons to Damon, T-Mac and Vince are not fair. Bosh has done nothing to convince me he has not been committed to working hard and making things work in Toronto. He is no doubt going through a tough time at the moment. But I think he has the character to come out of it on the other side a better player and person for it. The only question is will people give him reason to walk away in 2010. Bosh said that fans are important and play a role. If that is true I think they can at least play a minor to major role in where Bosh ends up in 2010. Unless you can find me some proof that Bosh is behind the rumours that see him going to places like New York in 2010, I am not going to blame him for them. Bosh has said a lot of things lately but the one that sticks out the most for me is when he said that if fans are upset how do you think he feels? This is a kid that when Vince Carter was here laughing and joking after a loss. Chris Bosh was in tears because he wanted to win that much. Remember that the next time you want to talk trash about CB4. He cares and I never question that.
Last Night With Spurs
I think no one expected the Raptors to win that game and they did not. They did show a lot of effort and fight despite a humiliating loss the night before. But the Spurs exposed the Raptors perimeter defense in a major way. Tony Parker did much of the same to Jose Calderon. The one thing that I took away from that basketball game was about a former Raptor. Matt Bonner really has come a long way in his time with the Spurs. In the starting line-up and making key baskets. I am very happy for Matt Bonner. I still can not get use to the fact he has an NBA Championship ring. It seems wrong in some ways that he does and great players like a Barkley or Ewing do not. But that is not Matt Bonner's fault. He is becoming a pretty quality player in the NBA. I hope he gets to become a pretty quality player for Team Canada as well. Matt still comes back to Toronto and has a home. He married a girl from Toronto this past summer. I will always enjoy Matt Bonner he may never be an all-star or a huge talent in this league but he is a good person. However after last night I venture to say he is becoming a better player than a lot of people would have thought in his time in Toronto.
There was also Roger Mason Jr. He on the other hand I just can not stand. He always seems to get up for the Raptors and seems to be fired up about it. I seriously don't understand what the Raptors did to him? I mean players come and players go. What did we do Roger Mason Jr? I mean if we were wrong I am willing to admit it. But it is hard to say sorry for something that you do not know what it is. Although I am not married and I am sure many married men can explain to me how you can be sorry for something and not know what it was. Anyway whatever it is Roger Mason Jr. has been a Raptor Killer no matter the uniform he is rocking.
Christmas Is Coming Thank God
The best news of all is just one more game prior to the Christmas break. I think players and everyone connected to this team will be happy for that (even bloggers). So it is the Clippers on Monday on the TSN that we all can get. What a concept a game on T.V that everyone can watch. I may be forced to get NBA League Pass to watch my home team. How crazy is that. I think I will send a copy of the bill to Rogers, TSN and the Raptors. They can all pitch in and pay it for me. I expect that would take a month just for them to agree on who should pay and how much. They could do that or they could ignore my request for payment just like they have ignored the fans left out in the cold by this mess. Anyway that is not very Christmas spirit like. I hope despite all the Raptors troubles people are enjoying this holiday season. I had spoke with one reader who had been at a Christmas Party and missed the Oklahoma City game. We both typed in the same word...Lucky. Raptors could use some luck or anything that equals a W and not an L. Please Santa Just one early gift I have been really good this year. The Clippers have no fans anyway we need a win more.
Correction: Seems I was mistaken. The game is on TSN2. I was watching TSN this morning and they had done a promo for the game saying it was on TSN. That was the reason for the mistake. I should have realized being Monday they have the contract for Monday Night Football. I guess we are all allowed a turnover ever now and then. Sorry for that. Santa is going to have to bring me league pass that is all there is to it.