More Questions, Few Answers For Raptors

Could things be any more confusing for the Raptors at the moment? Let's see the major stock holder in MLSE is selling out but yet blocking Bryan Colangelo from being extended. If there is no Bryan that would mean Jay Triano's future would be up in the air as well. The team enters an off-season with a draft class that was not stacked to begin with that with a looming lockout might end up even worse than that. Oh yeah and then there is that whole if there will be a season thing. So next season things could be very different or very much the same assuming it happens at all. What a frigging mess.

I am not sure where I expected this team to be at this point back in 1995. But I am pretty confident that I expected better than this. I just hope Raptor fans do not become like Leaf fans that just becoming accepting of garbage. I always use to see a difference between the two groups of fans even though many out there like both. But there is still the difference when you look at the crowds. The ACC is not filled to the rafters for the Raptors regardless of what they do. The last game I was at was the game vs the Pacers and the attendance was listed at 14,726. It sure didn't look like it. Raptors have also given away some seats. The Raptors attendance is not to the point of some places in the NBA. But there is a noticeable difference this season.

What will it look like on the other side of an NBA lockout? Baseball got totally rocked by the work stoppage in 1994. Attendance for the Blue Jays has never been the same. That is only 2 years removed after a World Series and it has been on the steady decline ever since until this past season where I think they started to win a few fans back. The Raptors have never won anything, in fact the Raptors have never even be close to winning anything. Slam Dunk titles, Division Title, couple Rookie of the Year Awards, and a GM and Coach of the Year award do not count. When you look at things Raptors fans have ever reason to feel frustrated and fed up if you have been on this ride since it started.

The Raptors have also still not solved the fundamental problem with this franchise. You may hate Chris Bosh now, You may hate Vince Carter till you die. But the Raptors have not solved the fundamental issue of how to keep a star player in this town. The new CBA may help them solve the problem that they have not been able to solve themselves in 16 years. At least you hope that is the case. I mean Demar DeRozan has not even reached the peak of what he will be and I already hear some folks talking about "when he leaves". Which is a shame because it robs you of the true enjoyment of watching a player grow and get better fully. The drafting of Andrea Bargnani if he had turned into what they had hoped might have been the answer. But he isn't that star player and franchise guy to build the team around. The fact he wants to stay or go is a moot point. If you look at the NBA as a whole has there been an NBA Team led to an NBA Title by a foreign player? Dirk came close but as of yet has not got it yet. You could make argument that technically the Spurs have with Tim Duncan from the Virgin Islands. He along with a cast of talent that was foreign based has won.

But for a team to win without U.S based talent is like going to a gun fight with a butter knife. While basketball has grown and is a much more global game the best players in this game still come from the U.S. Make a list of the top 20 players in the NBA and you are still going to have a list dominated by Americans. This whole chicken and egg argument on if players like Toronto and want to play here is really getting old. Here is the reality as I see it. Guys like Toronto as a city. It will always be one of the top cities players visit. But living and playing is a different thing. While losing is part of the problem and winning can solve things that is not a long term answer unless you win consistently. There are inconveniences to living in Canada that even we as Canadians put up with. Take a simple example from the last few days. ESPN aired the documentary on "The Fab 5" and here in Canada you needed to be resourceful to see it. I noticed Ed Davis was not thrilled he could not turn on his T.V and just watch it. I am with him. American Players learn what we all in Canada have known for a long time. T.V is this country is a joke. Networks hide behind the CRTC and Canadian content rules keeping out networks like ESPN and commercials from the Super Bowl. There are lots of stupid and outdated rules when it comes to television.

If you follow me on Twitter you have seen this topic come up and how the sports coverage in this country is so hockey driven. If these networks are so confident that everyone is this country wants 26 hours of hockey programming in a 24 hour day then open up the border. Let ESPN in this country let other U.S Networks in this country. Have true competition. But that is not going to happen. Simple things like that make a difference for U.S players. The other issue for players is taxes. Now I am far from an expert here to understand this. But here is what I do know if there is a perception the tax situation is bad here for players. As far as the players are concerned the perception is the reality. Which makes it the Raptors reality to change it.

There will be lots of time to talk about all these things. But at the end of it all the Raptor Franchise is in a state of organized chaos at this point. When all of that chaos comes to an end whoever is running this team better have some answers on how to fix this thing. Raptor fans have had enough of false hope and false expectations. They want and demand more. There is a reason the Leafs have not won since 1967 because there is no motivation for them to win. As long as the money keeps rolling in there really isn't a lot of motivation to go all out and try to win. Empty seats, lower ratings send a clear message. Raptor fans do that...Leaf fans don't.

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