I decided just to watch the game and not make game notes or anything like a Raptor Rewind. I figure if the Raptors are going to experiment and try new things why not me. So this is just some overall impressions I walked away with after watching this game.
Hustle is a 48 minute thing- In the last game Pops Mensah-Bonsu blew me away with his energy and effort. It was just something I really had forgot what that looks like. A guy that is hungry and will bust his tail just to stay on the floor. He reminded me a lot of a JYD type guy. Not saying there games are anything a like. Just the same feeling of energy and hustle and they do bring some of the same skills. In today's game the Raptors were pretty much in the basketball game for 48 minutes. The Jazz had won 10 in a row and were the hottest team in the NBA. I didn't see any level of excitement or energy in the Raptors. They were flashes of hustle and effort that is not what I am talking about. There was just no fire in peoples eyes. I looked down the stretch of that game and I looked at Williams and saw that fire. Raptors never seemed that excited or energetic about anything. The had the one moment where Bosh hit the deck and the crowd went crazy in the 4th. However for me, it seems this team is lacking some serious chemistry. That cloud has hung over this team from when T.J Ford returned from injury last season. T.J is no longer here and that cloud remains despite many changes along the way. I am not sure what the reason is and I am sure many will say it is Bosh's fault cause that is the cool thing to do these days. I am not sure if it is about Chris or what exactly it is. Just seems this team has never got on the same page. A lot of folks may have though it was Sam Mitchell but he is gone too. This team needs someone that can walk in the room and change things. That was not J.O and I don't think it is Marion. Something major has to happen to shake this team to the core. Jay Triano is trying to do that by benching Calderon the last game and making Pops Mensah-Bonsu the first sub off the bench. However with that interim title wrapped around his neck does any off it really matter? How many of you out there think Jay is going to be back next year? Players are just as smart as us, so really what can Jay really do.
Jose Calderon Is What I Thought He Was- I have stood firm in what I have said about Jose Calderon and now a lot more folks agree with me. However a year ago at this same time I was deemed as crazy and just another T.J fan hating on Jose. I always said that if Jose would be made the starter of this basketball team it would not be as easy as everyone seemed to expect it would be. Well this season has more than proven what I was saying. Really at the core of all this how much different was what Jose was saying and what T.J was saying. T.J said he wanted to start. Oh and he had the guts to say it here in North America. Calderon would pretty much duck the issue until he returned to Spain and than said the basic same thing. T.J was a greedy self-centered guy that only was thinking of himself. Basically that is how he was pegged. But not Jose he just wanted what was best for the team. Guess what Jose wanted what was best for Jose. He got a pretty nice contract out of it and he got the starting job and his main competition for that job was shipped out of town. That is a pretty nice deal where do I sign. That would be like me getting a huge pay raise and trading Raptors Republic and Raptorblog to other NBA Cities to cover other teams. But here is the thing. If there was no Raptors Republic or Raptorblog,Cuzzy, Hoopshead North, Raptors HQ and on and on. If all of those blogs did not exist would we all work as hard? You as a person with pride would like to think so but human nature suggests not. I like to use wrestling examples sometimes in the blog. I rarely watch wrestling anymore to be honest. WWE use to have WCW as it's rival but they crushed them and the product suffered. Well the Jose vs T.J war had a clear winner and the product has suffered. When you factor in this new running style it seem very clear to me that Jose Calderon no longer is what people thought he would be or could be. You can hit me with your numbers and all you stats you like. 10 points and 11 assists today. But I will respond with a letter and the is L. I don't care where Jose ranks in stats for assists or assist to turnover ratio. I care about W's and L's. Calderon in that respect has not got it done. He maybe a very nice guy and I don't doubt that but he is not the style of point guard that is designed for this new way of playing for the Raptors. Which honestly I am a fan of. So that being said he needs to go. I heard Eric and Paul talking about people changing there opinions based on expectations but I have always said these things go look it up. Go on the old Dino Nation Blog site on word press and you will find many of the things you read on posting boards and blogs in modern times. I have thought long and hard about this all year and looked deep inside myself and asked if it is about T.J to me or not. Ultimately it isn't. I just do not like the style of player Calderon is. I could live with it if he could play any kind of defense but when you add that fact in it is a land slide case against Jose.
Andrea is Good? I Think?- Ok I am starting to have some faith in Andrea Bargnani. I still have concerns and honestly Andrea can't do much about them. In my rants about Joey Graham (which we will get to later) I always go back to when it means nothing Joey G is your guy. Now I am not so cold that I am going to tag that on Andrea it is not his fault that is natural progression happens to come at the same time the Raptors have a terrible season. In the case of Joey there is a lot more evidence to judge from. So Andrea has become a decent defender not great but acceptable for sure. He is becoming a better rebounder. Still nothing like what you would expect from a traditional big. However a traditional big can not camp out behind the arc and drain 3 pointers. He is becoming a consistent driver of the basketball. It still look weird and strange and out of control but it is effective. A base of a post game to build on and expand. Lastly a consistent scorer. The issues? He fades away at times and late in games. Fouls are still an issue for this guy in year 3. However I can live with those and I think you can eventually fix them. I am not ready to hand the guy the keys to the franchise and tell Bosh to take a hike. Not a chance of that. However that brings up a good point, the chemistry that never seemed there with J.O and Bosh seems to be there with Bosh and Bargnani. I like what I see though and for now I give an I am sorry that is conditional and can be revoked should things change. However for now I am sorry Andrea keep doing what your doing. Not so much that he will ready that but it is a public acknowledgement on my behalf. Andrea was good today minus the things I said about fouls and down the stretch.
Thanks for Coming Out- So long A.P and Joey G best of luck to you in future endeavors. I refuse to be fooled by these guys and get stuck with a contract that I will hate. Not that I am the one handing them out. However I hope that Colangelo is not thinking that AP or Joey G belong on this team going forward. Both today were pretty good and I think that is why I make the point. What happens as this team plays down the stretch is not a true reflection. Joey G and A.P like any guys in there position would be. They want to get paid. So effort and energy regardless of record should be there for them. It is fool's gold and do not buy it.
Lastly Bosh Is Still Who I Think He Is Too- CB4 is a guy that is part of making this work. 30 and 10 today and honestly he did it pretty easily. I mean that is was not an obvious type thing. If anything Bargnani seemed to catch all the attention at least for me. But 30 and 10. You tell me the guy that gets 30 and 10 that is going to come here. I just do not have a name that I can think of. I believe in Chris Bosh and think he takes far to much blame for all that has gone wrong. Back at the start of the year there was talk about him getting help leading this team this season from J.O and Jose. Well guess what Bosh got 0 help and that speaks to why J.O is gone and maybe Jose should be as well. Bosh has had to grow into being a leader and it has not seemed to be something that comes to him naturally. He leads by an example and it takes people following that example for it to work. It takes a second guy to say hey look it how Chris is busting his butt why aren't you. Sadly this season the team has dragged Bosh down rather than him lifting them up. There are all different kinds of style of management and many ways to be successful. So Bosh is not a Kobe or Lebron type of leader. That does not mean he can't be an effective leader with help and support. Bosh is more a Tim Ducan kind of leader than he is a Lebron Kobe or Wade.
That really ended up being not much about the game which like the title suggested it was a same song with a terrible ending. It was a clear difference of need and want. The Raptors wanted to win and the Jazz needed to win. Simple as that.