Embarrassment Should Equal Change

I was going to do a re-cap of the Raptors latest humiliation but I decided to just give you a quick run down in the first paragraph. The Raptors were against the worst team in the league and a team that they had beaten twice, by 20 at the ACC in late October and by 15 in Cleveland in January. After an embarrassing performance in NYC the Raptors returned home to take the bar even lower as it turned out. To be down 22 to the worst team in the league is totally unacceptable and quite honestly a joke. You can say what you want about the talent on this roster but I think everyone would agree there is more here than in Cleveland. How anyone can not hold Jay Triano responsible for these constant embarrassments is beyond me. True the Raptors as they often do made a run, and made the game closer than it truly was. But when it started and when it mattered they were a train wreck. The effort was awful and obvious. I love Reggie Evans and he never is lacking effort. But when Reggie Evans is leading your team in scoring for most of the first half something is wrong. True when you talk about effort that points to the players. But at this level it is one of the main jobs of a coach in my opinion to motivated and extract effort from your team. Not just effort after you have shown none. Apologists be dammed, Jay Triano owns some of the responsibility for this. We have seen some of the most humiliating and embarrassing losses in Raptor history with him as the head coach.

Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani are also part of this problem. They are a defensive liability and when you play point guard in this league and can't stay with Baron Davis that says it all. In terms of Bargnani there has been zero improvement in his game defensively and if you are going to give Triano praise for the development of DeRozan and Davis, you would need to blame him for Bargnani as well. He himself has admitted to his lack of improvement. Has Bargnani ever missed a start? Has Calderon, if it was not for injury? Would Sam Mitchell have allowed this to go on without sending a message to them? Not likely as Sam Mitchell for what he might lack in offensive creativity or X's and O's he knew how to get a message across. Triano may know his O's very well but his X's are sorely lacking. This all becomes a question of not wins and loses but of a culture. If you are the young players that will be part of this team's future how are you going to react to all this? You have a player in Bargnani that seldom brings any effort at all on the defensive end of the floor but is never really impacted by it. Jose Calderon gets blown by on a consistent basis and if you can show me the last time he fought through a pick I would love to see it.

Talking about defence is wonderful. Jay Triano has talked about it a lot. But his actions do not reflect his words to any real degree as long as Bargnani and Calderon are able to exist with no fear of losing their role no matter how awful they play on that end of the floor. Yet Sonny Weems after leading the team in scoring the night before for sent to the bench in favour of newly acquired James Johnson. Weems is not setting the world on fire with his defence either. But is this a consistent message. Is this the culture you want to create? I don't know about you but it sure isn't one that I want any part of. You can talk defence till you blue in the face, until we see it have actual real consequences for everyone on this roster from 1-12 it means nothing. The reality is with and without Chris Bosh there has been on constant in that Jay Triano has coached this team to the bottom of the league in defence. How on earth their is a story floating around that Jay Trinao may stay and Colangelo could be the one that goes is a total joke to me.

Now I am the first to say Colangelo has not done a great job as well. I have felt that major moves he has made since coming to the Raptors have been failures. But I will give him this much he has been able to press the reset button a couple of times and re-position this team to rebuild itself. This with the bad contracts of both Bargnani and Calderon on the books. Colangelo has to come to grips with the fact that Andrea Bargnani is never going to grow into what he had hoped he would. He lacks the drive and desire to be anything beyond an above average scorer in this league. I would also question is true toughness. Amir Johnson has played through so many things that we know of and probably a few that we don't. To have that drastic contrast to Bargnani is something that makes it pretty obvious. I will go into battle with a guy like Amir Johnson and even if I am not going win the fight, I know that at the very least he is going give me all he has. The longer you keep Bargnani the less likely you are able to move him. You only need to look at Jose Calderon for proof of that. He is to the point he is unable to be moved. Colangelo almost pulled a rabbit out of his hat this summer moving him to the Bobcats. But nothing Calderon has done has made him any easier to get rid of now. It just confirms what everyone knows already. Calderon is a talented pass first point guard at times. His shot is on a steady decline. He can't defend a broom and can be taken out of a play with a pick easier than almost any player in the NBA. While he has proven to not be durable on top of all of that.

I am willing to believe in Bryan Colangelo one last time. But only if some things change. Triano needs to go and Bargnani needs to go. While Sam Mitchell and Bryan Colangelo was not the best marriage in the world. Sam had some good core values about basketball that Colangelo is lacking. Colangelo has never put a high priority on defence and this team needs a coach that does. Not just that will talk about it but act on it.

The one thing that is extremely clear to me is this. If Bryan Colangelo, Jay Trinao and Andrea Bargnani all remain when we start playing basketball again the Raptors are doomed to failure. If no changes happen at all to these 3 key positions in this franchise, how is anyone suppose to believe other wise. This team needs to have a culture of accountability, and it is clear with this group it is lacking that accountability. Why this is very important is you have a very young team that could easily fall apart if this does not change. Demar DeRozan and Ed Davis have still bright futures ahead. But if they grow frustrated with losing and nothing being done to change that, how on earth are they going to grow. People are human after all and if they are in an environment of losing after awhile it is going to have an impact on them.

Ever Raptor fan that was been on board with this franchise from day 1 can tell you all about it. For 16 years we have had to endure a team that has seldom performed to a level of a good team in the NBA. We have watched countless stars grow tired and frustrated and walk away from this franchise. The one theme between all of them is that they lost faith in this franchise to produce a winner. Fans don't have contracts or become free agents. Bloggers don't either to any degree. I have been both and still am both. I have endured 16 years of frustration and have had enough of this constant cycle of failure. The Raptors need to make bold aggressive changes if they are going to truly fix things. They need to look into the mirror and honestly look at where this franchise is at. Which is in a really bad place with people clinging to any small sign of hope they can find. Jay Triano is a great guy, he is and will be a real icon in the sport of basketball in this country. But he also is a guy that has shown no reason for people to have the blind faith they do in him. People always point to his job with Team U.S.A. That is not the NBA. Coach K that is the head coach of that program is smart enough to know what Jay brings to the table in that environment. He has a wealth of experience about the international game as a player and a coach. That doesn't make him an NBA head coach anymore than it does Coach K. Have you ever stopped to wonder why he stays at Duke? Simple answer is he is smart enough to know the NBA is a different, and while coaching an All-Star like roster for a couple of months can be successful, coaching even a great NBA franchise does not offer such guarantees

Change must happen for the Raptors and if it doesn't more embarrassing nights like last night are going to happen. Your future stars are going to develop in a losing culture and get frustrated and want out. Ask Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and so on they will all tell you. 16 years of this is more than enough and having some of lowest points in this franchises history only serve to drive that fact home. Change or fail. Simple as that.


  1. Well said James. I couldn't agree more. The losing culture and lack of accountability while adopting teams that are so far removed from being playoff ready even if they miraculously get there one of these years just continues our losing endless cycle.

    My feelings on Vince have changed over time. While once feeling resentment for him quitting on the team, and I still feel he acted unprofessionally, I can certainly see why he got frustrated as the franchis both seemingly did not want to, and/or not know how to take it to the next level. Too many promises were made to VInce, and not delivered.

    At this point, I would have no problem retiring his #15. At least Vince made the players around him better, something #4 never did. He did it on his own and in the team concept until he got fed up.

  2. You say Bargnani, Calderon and Triano all need to go, at various points in this post. Don't forget the "Legomaster" who brought them all here (or, in the instance of Calderon - kept him here for 40 million dollars, after signing TJ Ford for 64 million dollars, who was traded for Charlie V. - then flipping Ford into Jermaine O'Neal for 22 million a season to make way for Jose to start, then rolling O'Neal into Shawn Marion for 4 months, before using the cost savings on Hedo Turkoglu's amazing 5 year deal - and then jettisoning him for the Suns' near-crippled backup point guard, who is, apparently, a blur of some sort).

    Don't miss the forest for the trees.

    While its nice that you are willing to give Bryan Colangelo one last chance, I think he's proven that without having his father in a supervisory role, about the best he's capable of is hitting the "reset button" once every 10 months. While the Derozan/Davis picks seem to look promising, lets remember that every team that experiences compete, total and utter collapse gives undue minutes to the lesser talents on its roster. These alleged "stars" of the future are guys who would be fighting to be second string on some of the finer outfits in the league. Remember Sonny Weems? James Johnson? Amir Johnson? Mike James? Andrea Bargnani?

    If BC is still around next season...expect more of the same!! His track record didn't invent itself.