It has been a tough a painful season and it just keeps getting worse if that is possibly at this point. While other teams are stepping on the gas to get ready for the playoffs the Raptors are just getting stepped on at this point. It is clear that some major changes need to be made to this basketball team. However the one thing that you have to be careful of is not over reacting. That is something that in Toronto is never an easy thing to accomplish. People would like to blow up this team and start all over. I am not sure if you need to break out the TNT. The one thing that I think beyond people being believers in the J.O trade that people took for granted was Jose Calderon. He was at the start of this year called upon to be one of the leaders of this team. He was expected to mentor young Roko Ukic. Take on the starting role and become an all star point guard. He has failed to deliver and he has not been the guy that people expected and hoped for. I was one of the few that was not convinced the transition for Jose Calderon would be an easy one. I said it all summer and most just dismissed me as a bitter T.J Ford fan. Injuries have been part of the mix for Jose but part of why he was kept was because he was suppose to be the more durable point guard. Even in that regard he has failed. Maybe the writing should have been on the wall in the summer time when Ricky Rubio was stealing minutes from Jose in the Olympics. When Rubio hits the league Calderon may not even be the best point guard in the league from Spain. Jose has been pulled and benched from 2 games now. I mean given what is behind him on this roster that speaks loudly. Calderon got paid this offseason and with all those new dollars comes a lot more responsibility and he has failed to live up to that.
Chris Bosh was a leader of a Raptor team that won a Division Title a few years ago. He is now the leader of this group that is as far from a Division Title as you can get. Chris Bosh has he changed all that much? I don't think so. The team around him has to a degree. You hear a lot about team's tuning out on coaches. Can the same thing happen with a leader of a team? Bosh said in his post game remarks that they have talked about the issues over and over. He seems frustrated and rightfully so. Here is one thing that has changed for Chris is that he does not have Sam Mitchell backing him up as the head coach. The relationship between the two was special. Chris Bosh was pushed by Mitchell to get to new levels and he challenged him daily. Jay Triano as the assistant in that dynamic would work with Bosh and help him do the work that Mitchell pushed Chris to put in. When you take Sam out of the mix what is the impact on Bosh. It is a good question and not one that likely draws an answer if asked. But honestly the answer would be interesting. The leadership of this team has been turned upside down on this team around Bosh. He is the main leader but the people in the supporting roles have all changed I guess is the point. I still say that Bosh is not the issue as much as it is the team around him. The easy answer is what most are taking in saying trade the leader because he is going to walk away anyway in 2010. The simple answer is seldom the right one. I refer you back to the whole Ford and Jose thing and Raptors made the simple choice there and it has been awful. There is really two ways you can go with this in my view.
You can bring in someone that will be able to just take over as the leader of this team that even Bosh would be willing to follow. That would be a short list of guys. Perhaps a Canadian two time M.V.P? Maybe. That is the safe route. The non safe route is you bring in someone that is not afraid of the leader and doesn't care. A guy that is not afraid to say whatever he thinks and will challenge everyone that puts on a jersey. Ron Artest is a guy like that. Maybe you bring in both. Really turn this thing upside down. The one thing that is for sure beyond how you try to reconstruct this team is they must get it right in the draft. A lottery pick can not fail. Raptors need to take the guy that is most ready to contribute to the NBA now. They can not draft a project. They have enough of those already.
The Boston Celtics were at one of the more lower points in that franchise history not that long ago. They would turn that around in a hurry and have the ultimate success instantly. Basketball can change fast is the point. It has turned in the opposite way for the Raptors but as bad as it looks now that not mean it is doomed. It is very hard to have perspective in the midst of this losing season. However if this team is going to improve quickly ever move has to be perfect and come together. Things in life are never as bad as they appear or never has good. Reality is always somewhere in between all of that. If you honestly don't think Bryan Colangelo has been hard at work preparing for next season already than you just have not been paying attention.
A lot have lost faith in Bryan Colangelo this season. However when you come into a franchise deemed to be the saviour of it there really was no room for advancement. So Colangelo has fallen to earth in the minds of fans. It was going to happen at some point. However I have faith that Bryan is the real deal and will make this work. He has a gambling nature and with this season he gambled and lost. But a new poker game gets started this off-season and Colangelo will be back at the table looking to gamble again. I like that the Colangelo way of thinking is go big or go home. In other words he is always thinking towards a Championship not just making the playoffs. If he was interested in just making the playoffs he could have kept his roster in together from last season.
Maybe I am crazy to still have faith for the future. However I am much more confident in Bryan Colangelo than I ever was in Rob Babcock. I can not explaining to you the utter fear I lived in during the Babcock era. I had no faith or belief that he would do anything but run this team into the ground. Colangelo inspires a confidence in me that I never felt with Babcock. If it turns out that Bosh does in fact end up leaving you will see the difference from a Babcock to a Colangelo in the trade that Bryan will make for Bosh. He is not going to just give away Chris Bosh. Hopefully it never gets to that point but if it did I sleep easy knowing it is Bryan making that trade.