Sorry Chris But This Team Does Need A Trade
Chris Bosh came out in the media and said that this team did not need changes. He stood up for his team and the talent on it. I applaud that as far as being a good team leader. However, he is totally wrong and I think even he knows it. This team has not shown enough to me to make me think they have enough talent. In fact even from the start of the year I had said this team still needed to make a move to reach it's full potential. The lack of depth is glaring and that was made clear when Calderon was hurt last night. Be honest when you saw that Jose was going out of the game you thought the Raptors were toast...Right?
The Raptors were much better on defense last night but it was hard to tell how much of it was them and how much of it was Houston who was truly awful. Even though he had an up and down night how good would a Ron Artest look as a Raptor wing player. He is a solid defender and he can be a difference maker. He also is a little bit crazy and emotional which I think this team badly needs. They need someone that will kick a garbage can and get emotional. Not that the Rockets are looking to move Artest. But a guy like him would be a good fit to replace what has been lacking on the Raptor wing spot. The point is the Raptors are a team that lacks depth in general and talent at the wing positions. It is no great secret to anyone. It has been said almost from the beginning of the year. I would not be shocked if in the privacy of his own home Chris Bosh does not use the ESPN Trade Machine or Real GM Trade Checker. I did the other day before Andrea Bargnani had started to take off. It was a 3-way deal between the Bobcats, Raptors and Warriors.
Corey Maggette SF
Marco Belinelli SG
Brandon Wright PF
Joey Graham SF
Andrea Bargnani PF/C
Anthony Parker SG
Raymond Felton PG
I think this deal gives all 3 teams something they may want and it gets rid of something they don't want. As with all of these trade you can come up with in your spare time it will have some people that will like it and others that will say it is crazy. But this deal at least is realistic in terms of I am not being unrealistic in my expectations of what you can get in return for Toronto. It also factors in that in the past Toronto has shown interest in both players that they would be acquiring. The Raptors were very interested in Belinelli in his draft year. Maggette has always been rumoured as a guy that Colangelo has had interest in. One of the rumoured deals for T.J Ford was a move that would have seen Maggette come in return from the Clippers. In the end Bryan Colangelo and the 29 other G.M's are the only ones with the trade machines that actually work. The cell phone and blackberrys of those 30 guys are the real trade machines that matter. But the point that Bosh is making about this team being good enough as they stand is about as serious to me as Vince Carter's comment that dunking was overrated. Now Vince said it was a joke on his part. I don't think Chris is joking and he may truly believe it but I think deep down he knows that it is not true.
I Am Sorry Jake Voskhul
I like many was very mean and borderline cruel when the Raptors signed Jake Voskhul. But hey I am big enough to admit when I am wrong. Don't get me wrong Jake Voskhul is not the answer to all that is wrong with the Raptors. But he is a aggressive guy that has been willing to through his body around and bust his butt out on the floor. I like that kind of effort. He also wears my old high school football number 77. If he was more talented he could have more of an impact but he has done what he can with what he has got. He has been a much better signing than a guy like Hassan Adams who truly as been a bad joke all year long. The Toronto Raptors can use more Jake Voskhul mentality players. Jake is even getting a bit of love from the fan base as they have come to admire his grit and lunch bucket style attitude. Voskhul is doing so well he is taking minutes from Kris Humphries and he deserves them too. The biggest difference between Voskhul and Humphries is that Voskhul understands why he is out there to bang and get boards and lay a lick on someone. He does not suffer from the flashes that Humphries has in which he forgets he is not the star of this team. Jake Voskhul knows his role.
Playoffs your talking about Playoffs?
Jim Mora former NFL Coach made this famous rant in a post game press conference:
I think this fits what is going on with the Raptors except that part about not laying blame on the defense. Matt Devlin has been pointing to the fact that the Raptors are only like 2.5 games out of a playoff spot. While that is a true statement they also have a challenging schedule that lies in front of them in January and February. If the Raptors are still behind by 2.5 games in March I am willing to talk about playoffs then. But till that point I am much more closer to Jim Mora in just hoping the Raptors can win a game.
The Raptors really have to just take that approach as far as I am concerned. Another Sam Mitchell line was that this team is not good enough to think they can beat anyone. The Raptors lost the right to overlook anyone when they lost a game to the worst team in the league the Oklahoma City Thunder. Who came oh so close to a win last night losing 122-120 to the Denver Nuggets. That is the difference between a good team and a bad team. Denver did not allow the Thunder to get a win. Good teams are able to find ways to win even on nights when they do not have there best effort or when a bad team as a great effort. The Thunder have recorded another win since beating the Raptors and sit 4-30 on the year.
I also think that the East in general is better and to get a simple 41-41 record may not be good enough to get into the playoffs this season. A lot of teams have got better and some of those teams have rookie players that are going to grow as the season goes along. So please don't talk to me about playoffs at this point. I mean you want to keep everyone's spirit up when things are going bad but that is not the way to do it. Least it is not for me.
When the Raptors had been rumoured to be making the trade for Jermaine O'Neal my initial re-action was I didn't like it. I had a lot of concerns about what it would mean for this team in the short term. I allowed myself to be convinced that this team was better. In the end my first reaction was the correct one. I had thought my judgement was not right because I am a big fan of T.J Ford. But the reality is that Jermaine O'Neal is not the player he once was and his days of being an All-Star are behind him. I had thought his presence would make this team better on defense and allow others to play defense better by having his shot blocking presence in the line-up. But it has never worked out that way. It also has been an issue that his contract has not allowed the Raptors to build any kind of depth. This was still a great move for the long term with the cap room that will be created at the end of his contract. It could also be turned into a major trade for the Raptors should they want to cash in that cap space for a trade.
But what all that has taught me is I am going to stick to my guns. I do not think without a move this team can get close playoffs. They need some more talent and more defense. Bryan Colangelo's gamble with this trade has not worked. He does have an escape route at the end with the cap space that he will have. But in the short term this has been a failure. When you have players talking about things like chemistry at this point in a season it is a sign you have some major issues. There is still a flicker of hope as the Raptors schedule in March and April is really to their advantage if they are in a position to take advantage of it. The question is can this team be in that spot. I think without help from above meaning Bryan Colangelo and not God, I think this team is in trouble. A little help from God would not hurt as well. So I will pray for better times ahead for the Raptors and hope they will come. But I admit that my faith in this team has been shattered badly.