2/28/10

The Elephant In The Room Is Obvious

If there was ever a game where most folks were not paying attention this is it. No Chris Bosh tonight or tomorrow as he did not travel with the team. I bet he is watching thought as most are busy partying over a Hockey win for Canada.

If he is like me he probably was not enjoying what he was seeing. In fact I wasn't ether. So if you were out partying the Canada's victory in hockey you really should feel fortunate you missed the Raptors. I watched 3 quarters and decided to watch the Closing Ceremonies from Vancouver. Canada won more gold medals than any country in the history of the Winter Olympics with 14. If the Raptors plan on winning they will need a much better effort like they had vs Cleveland. Bosh is not on this trip so he will not be there to save the day in Houston. The 119-99 win for the Oklahoma City Thunder was domination from the word go. It is a much different story from the embarrassment the Raptors suffered in this same place last season. That was on par with what the Celtics must be feeling in losing to the Nets recently. If you remember back to my season preview in the Dino Nation Blog, I picked the Thunder to make the playoffs in the West. I also picked Scott Brooks to be coach of the year. Both are looking solid and the Thunder showed why in this game. This is now one of the more talented and youngest teams in the NBA.

So rather than explain what was a total meltdown for the Raptors. Much like some of their epic losses early in the season. Instead I wanted to focus in on the fact this team without it's star is no where close to good enough. The entire Bosh 2010 thing has been done to death. However in the last few games you have got to see why. Chris Bosh is by far the best player on this team. Some have suggested this team can survive and remain competitive without him. If these games have not made it crystal clear that is myth and not reality, I honestly don't think you have been watching.

The 2 obvious people that would be expected to rise if Bosh is gone in 2010 would be Hedo Turkoglu and Andrea Bargnani. Hedo has had a train wreck of a first season in Toronto. Everything that defined him in Orlando has failed to clear customs in his move north. The guy who made so many big shots for the Magic has misfired more than made shots down the stretch of games. From day 1 that the deal was signed I was not a fan of it. But my issues were about term of contract and amount of money. Never did I expect Hedo to be so awful in the first few years of his deal. However he has just never seemed to be able to get on the roll with Raptors. It seems every great moment as few as they have been have been followed by injuries and other misfortune. I think it clear that Hedo at best is a secondary piece on this club. At worst he is struggling to find his offense and it has become painfully obvious the having Dwight Howard made him look far better on defense than he actually is.

How about the Raptors only first overall pick in their history Andrea Bargnani. Bosh in a much deeper draft class that featured many of the games stars was selected 4th. However to compare Bosh to Bargnani is pretty laughable. Don't get me wrong Andrea has come a long way and shows more and more signs of greatness. However that has been done in the large shadow that is cast by the Raptors 5 time all star CB4. When Bosh is not around Andrea has been inconsistent at best over his career. Should Bosh go for good, I am not convinced Andrea is ready for that. Andrea in the past more under Sam Mitchell than Jay Triano showed a lack of confidence. I fear should Bosh leave and the spotlight shifts to Andrea he will melt in it. Andrea also has not shown any kind of ability to be a rebounder on any kind of consistent level. The double doubles that Bosh makes seem routine are an event for Andrea. I am not confident Andrea will ever be ready to be a team's Batman. I am totally certain that is not going to happen next season.

Beyond that it would be a stretch to suggest anyone else. Jarrett Jack at times has tried to carry this team with no Bosh. He, much like T.J Ford tried to do in past years, turns up his offense with no #4 in the line-up. Jack can be a leader in the locker room and already is that. However as the guy to be top dog in terms of scoring and leading this on the floor is unrealistic. Demar DeRozan is still finding his way and is not as far along as a Bosh was when the Vince Carter Era came crashing down. When Vince Carter said he wanted out all eyes turned to Bosh. Even he took time to grow into the role of franchise player. I really still believe in Demar and see a bright future ahead for him. However is he ready to be the face of a franchise like a Evans in Sacramento or a Jennings in Milwaukee. The answer is no and that is no knock on the young man. He can still be great and even some day might be able to be that A guy to carry a team. However 2010/11 season is definitely not the time for that.

I would imagine some of you are saying but wait a second, the plan has always been to move Bosh in a sign and trade. That is true and I have no doubt Bryan Colangelo if forced to trade Bosh will do a much better job than Rob Babcock in moving Vince Carter. However even Bryan is not going to be able to bring back a player that is going to be able to carry this team as Bosh does.

Which leaves the Raptors no where without Bosh. I wonder what Chris thought about all the hockey madness on the streets of Toronto. Did it give him a view of what could be for him in Toronto if he could lead the Raptors to a title, or was it the ultimate reminder that no matter what he does here in Canada it will finish with a silver medal to hockey. Only Chris knows the answer to that. However Raptors fans you should have an answer to one question. What is that question. What would the Raptors be like if Bosh leaves? The answer to that is a team with no on court leader. A team that would have to struggle and fight for ever win. A team that likely visits the lottery more than the playoffs.

If Bosh can be convinced to remain the core group that is here with a commitment by MLSE to enter into the uncharted waters of being a tax team. Something that Bryan Colangelo has claimed the board is willing to do upon his recommendation. Seeing is believing thought, not that I don't believe Bryan. I do have a hard time believing that MLSE will do it thought. But the best way to sum this up is as simple as this in terms of this team being a contender in the near future.

Boshless = Hopeless



You may see that as being a little over dramatic. However that is how I see it. My track record on these things is pretty good. I was the one that told you first that Jarrett Jack would be this team's starting point guard. I was also the guy that said the Magic would play the Lakers last year. That happened too. Oh and I also said about my predictions for The Thunder this season. The point to this pat on the back festival to myself is pretty simple.

The Raptors can not afford to not re-sign Bosh and anything less would be somewhere between a complete disaster and a team that is scrapping and clawing to make the playoffs. Those days have got old for most Raptors fans. I think just like this country has got a new attitude about itself with the games in Vancouver. Raptors fans to must have a new attitude and hopefully MLSE as well. Raptors need to keep building and not once again fail and have to rebuild. After 15 years Raptors fans not only deserve but expect more. The time to demand it has come.

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