Buyer or Seller? Perhaps Both
Bryan Colangelo is in a tough spot. Many of you are aware I am a frequent caller on the show Hoops. Last night my question was dealing with the spot Bryan Colangelo finds himself in heading to the trade deadline. The question all year has been instead of the South Park statement of "That's what Brian Boitano do". Instead in Raptorland it has been....What will Bryan Colangelo do? I wrote a blog with that title months ago. I don't think we are any closer to an answer today. It makes sense that Jermaine O'Neal would or should be moved. He has stepped aside for Andrea Bargnani. In the short term J.O has been cool with it. However everyone admits that is not likely to last. Even Jay Triano yesterday in an interview on the Fan 590 said as much. What happens then? It has the makings of being a situation that was not unlike the one with Jose Calderon and T.J Ford last season. So it almost makes trading O'Neal important not just for the cap room but for the team harmony. If the guy coming back is Shawn Marion he is a guy that tends to what is the way to put this? Shawn is an athlete in the model of T.O. He loves him some him. So that may offer it's own challenges in chemistry. It really is a tough spot to be in. Chris Bosh wants to be in the playoffs and don't tell him he can't beat the Celtics or the Cavs because he doesn't want to hear that. In fact he shouldn't want to hear that. Players should always think they can beat anyone and want to face challenges. Is it realistic to think the Raptors could win a 7 game series against the Celtics or Cavs? No it isn't but that is not the point when you are a player. There are lots of examples in sports and in basketball that go against common sense and logically thinking. The Raptors can not stop pushing to make the playoffs but at the same time there has to be a plan in place to improve this team for the 2009/10 season. How Bosh feels at the end of that season will be key to the direction this franchise goes. It is not an easy task to be the G.M of the Toronto Raptors right now. We all may think we have the answers but the things we would do are not put under the microscope like whatever Bryan Colangelo will do.
Joey Graham and Jose Calderon Keep Proving Me Wrong
I am happy when things I say are proven wrong if it benefits the Raptors. Jose Calderon has shown the ability to be a scorer and is doing a great job. I said it just recently when he is playing at the offensive end like this it makes his lake of defensive skill less noticeable. But even on that front in the last game he had 3 steals which is pretty good. In fact screw that it is great. If Jose can play this way and stay at this level it is what people expected from him when he re-signed with this team. The last and final test will be how he performs in those 4 games against playoff level teams. If he produces at a similar rate he will have made me re-evaluate him moving forward. I think he has learned a lot sitting and watching. He is doing things that help this team win and that is what you want too see be it a Jose fan or not. The other thing that he brings and has always brought is a great value for possession of the ball. The lack of turnovers has an impact in a positive way. He has however been more aware of pushing the ball and taking the odd chance with an alley opp pass or a push up the floor long pass. Jay Triano can help Jose become an even better point guard and take it to another level. Even though they have totally different games, Triano worked with Nash and he was better for it. I think at the end of the day the same will be said for Jose Calderon.
Oh Joey. I have been hurt by you so many times. I admit that it has made me totally gun shy. However it seems that Joey Graham finally gets it? He sure has had an impact lately and is doing such a good job I would not even argue if he was inserted into the starting line-up. That is a personal milestone to have me say that. I am not ready to write up the contract for him to sign to come back next year yet. I have not totally lost my mind. However If Joey was able to keep this up the rest of the year it may make it a little more difficult to just say good bye to him without at least making an offer to him. He has to me surpassed Jamario Moon and is the best option the Raptors currently have right now at the wing. I am not including Parker in that as he has been good to splitting his time as a combo guard with some point mixed with shooting guard. But to paraphrase Deion Sanders "I believe in you Joey". Sanders would take shots at Eli Manning all last season and by the end of it all even Deion bought into Eli Manning. Well Joey with each game is getting more people to believe in him. The small loyal Joey Graham fan base that has stuck with him has a lot of company these days. It is not like I have ever disliked Joey he seems like one of the nicer guys on the team. He can be a true tough guy on the floor though. If Joey can perform could he me that tough guy the Raptors have always wanted. He has a long way to go before I am going to say he is the next Charles Oakley. Jeff Van Gundy on Toronto radio yesterday said of Oakley that he had the highest basketball I.Q of anyone he had coached. That is an impressive list if you think about it. I don't think anyone is putting Joey in that kind of class at this point. In fact some have said the opposite. Still keep doing what your doing Joey. It is making a difference.
So Raptor Rewind will be late tonight as I have some work issues that will force me to miss the game. But I will throw together a game notes style version of the Raptor Rewind that you can check out with your morning coffee or beverage of choice. Also tonight is J.O Bobblehead night at the ACC. If you are ticketless and looking for a place to watch the game. Head down to Philly McNasty's and be party of the fun down there with the folks at Raptors Republic. They have been nice enough to include the Dino Nation Blog as a sponsor of the event. I guess that means I will have to get down to one of these things before the season runs out. I will do my best but not this week with all the snow and the fact I am working.
Buyer or Seller? Perhaps Both