2 Weeks To The New and Improved Raptors?

You would never know the incredible amount of stress that Bryan Colangelo is under by looking at him. Colangelo could easily land a job selling deodorant, as he never let's you see him sweat. He should be though, with all that is in front of him this summer. In speaking with the media yesterday he stated the Raptors could look very different in two weeks when everything plays itself out. He repeated the mantra several times, that the Raptors are prepared to move forward with or without Chris Bosh. The same seems to apply with Hedo Turkoglu. That being said, Colangelo was not ruling out entirely the fact Hedo, at least in theory, he could be back next year. However, it seems very unlikely based on what has gone on. Colangelo clearly is aware that his big signing has become public enemy number 1 in Toronto. He isn't Mr. Popular within the organization as well you would have to imagine. Even the point guard situation Colangelo refused to tip his hand. He stated that the team is by no means mandated to trade Calderon or Jack. He says that he has had conversations with both and if both return he thinks they could co-exist. However with all of that said he also said in two weeks this team could look vastly different.

But change is coming and you only needed to look at this year at the Muchmusic Video Awards show. Last year CB4 was on hand, but this year it was the Young Guns. If I am talking about Muchmusic, I guess it should be gunz... right? While Chris Bosh is very tight lipped on where he wants to be, Amir Johnson seems very open to a return to Toronto at least by his actions. Bosh leaving would open up a ton of time and opportunity for Johnson should he decide to stay. He along with Demar and Sonny could really in my view, see this as their shot to collectively have their own team. While no one would think Weems, DeRozan or Johnson could lead a team alone, as this group maybe they can and will. Safe to say Andrea Bargnani is not going to take on the role as the face of the franchise.

Colangelo made it no secret the Raptors are shopping for a second first round pick. So maybe when all is said and done on Thursday the Young Guns will grow by 2 members. Avery Bradley playing his ball at Texas would seem like a natural fit. At times he has been thought of as the best defender in college basketball by some. However the NBA is a different animal, he can ask Demar DeRozan about that. Bradley is a streaky shooter and when he is hot looks very good. But as was with Ray Allen in the Finals, the same can be said for Bradley. He has some days where he clearly is not hot. Even the draft experts are not sure what to do with Bradley, as he jumps around mock drafts like a Mexican jumping bean. Ebanks is another player the Raptors may consider, if they acquire a second 1st round pick. However, if they take Bradley, that would seem less likely he would be selected with a second pick.

If Chicago was the landing spot for Chris Bosh you would likely assume that Taj Gibson may come back as part of a sign and trade package. I guess what I am getting at is, The Young Guns could be a gang of many by the time the summer ends. What they all would have in common is the fact they come from the USA and it would change the Euro/ North American balance of this team. When you consider Rasho, Hedo and Jose are all good bets not to return. Then you add 2 draft picks that every indication suggests they will be NCAA products from the United States.

The United Nations approach clearly has not worked for the Raptors. Some could even go as far as saying that is part of the reason that Chris Bosh will not return. I am not going that far thought. But it did create a divide in the Raptors locker room. Hedo and his hot mess of a season clearly did nothing but add to that. Colangelo insisted that his team has a lot of talent based on the phone calls he is getting on players and trade possibilities. I am not here to argue with him on that as only he knows how much his phone rings. However the collective group, however talented they were or are, were unable to win and succeed.

While I think the short term outlook for the Raptors is clearly bleak. Even if Colangelo manages to pull several rabbits out of his hat. The long term future is unclear at best. The Raptors seem like they want to get younger and less European in nature. I don't think many fans will complain about that second part. The Raptors lack of defense only feeds the stereotype of Euros being soft on that end of the floor. Something even Pau Gasol has had to fight hard to lose the tag of being. It was not just the Euros that were responsible for the Raptors poor defense though.

However you cut it the Raptors will be starting a new era and it begins tomorrow. Bryan Colangelo if Chris Bosh does in fact depart will have a ton of pressure on him to make this team better in the long run. Colangelo pointed to Bosh as a reason to why he took this job in the first place. He has failed to build a successful team around him. This may indeed be the off-season in which he pays for those consequences. Yet he still remains the confident guy that he always has been since he walked in the door in Toronto. Wish I was as confident as he is.


  1. I agree completely with your post James. If there is one thing that Colangelo knows how to do, it is being an expert poker player, who never shows his emotions and is able to bluff anybody out of a hand just by his aura.

    If you take his fancy suits and persona away, and look at the actual results, he has been as big a disaster as any GM in Toronto, and I am including Babcock.

    His executive of the year award was made up mainly from his predecessor, plus it started the ball rolling by making bad decisions i.e. signing Sam Mitchell to a long term contract and not getting his own coach, only to be followed by signing Triano, his lapdog, who is not qualified to be an NBA head coach.

    His personnel decisions have been knee-jerk at best, and they have all been done to win and keep Bosh, which has failed. I strongly recommend that we do not keep him as a GM, as he only knows how to try and win now, and not to rebuild the franchise. I am tired of mediocrity, and we need to blow this baby up and rebuild the right way, like Oklahoma. If they can do it in Oklahoma, then we can do it in Toronto, which should be a top destination for U.S. players as long as we build a winning team that can stay and grow togther.

    It speaks volumes that Colangelo was not offered a new contract. He is clearly a lame duck, and on a very short leash, along with Triano, and Kelley should be as well.

    Time to clean house.

  2. I also agree. The end of Bosh's stay in Toronto should mark the end of an era - I think at this point, it'd be wise for the Raptors to try and rebuild around youth.

    After all, it's not like the team is built to contend right now, even if they somehow land a free agent. I'd love it if they used a couple years of not-being-good if it meant they could develop DeMar and Amir and Weems and whomever they pick this draft. If nothing else, it'd be neat to root for a team with some roots together.

    Oh, and of course BC isn't sweating. Have you felt the heat in Phoenix? 30 degrees is like a white Christmas down in the desert.

  3. Andrea will be MVP this year

  4. Of the League....lay off the dope....Of Raptors I don't think so but they sure hope so.

  5. excellent post james. your blog has great content during the off-season...

    as for your suggestion that the raps may be moving away from the 'euro' approach, i would disagree. the teams revenues have increased substantially since colangelo has been gm and this is largely due to merchandising and tv rights in europe as well as added interests from various demographics in canada that may not have shown as much interest in the sport previously.

    keeping euros on the roster and promoting them helps market them team in canada and internationally and is something encouraged by david stern.

    we may see more ncaa players coming to the roster through the draft, but i wouldn't be surprised if we added a euro or two through free agency this summer and beyond.

  6. He will be MVP of the league.