Great Night for Canada But Maybe Not The Raptors

Well the Raptors and maybe you will all be pleased that I can't say I told you so about Tristan Thompson in a few years. Why I can't, is because the Raptors did not pass on Tristan Thompson because he was not there. He was gone to Cleveland with the 4th pick. The Texas freshman will be joining Irving the number 1 pick trying to fix the broken down kingdom that Lebron James left for South Beach. Tristan is a great talent and as much as some people were skeptical about how he would fit here in Toronto, I still fail to understand that. He blocks shots, he rebounds and he is a great force on the defensive end. He also happens to be Canadian and now the highest ever picked Canadian.

Ironically the Raptors would pick next and the mood would change. Jonas Valancinunas was the Raptors pick with both Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker still on the board. Needless to say the Raptor fan base for the most part was not exactly thrilled. Oh and not only is Jonas from Europe he likely is not putting on a Raptor jersey for a year or maybe even two. No the NBA lockout is not the reason, his contract with his European club team is. So we drafted the Ricky Rubio at Center position? Oh and then there is that whole Andrea Bargnani thing. He was the first ever European drafted first overall. How is that working out for the Raptors? Now all indications are Jonas is nothing like Bargnani. He rebounds, he blocks shots and he seems on paper to be a good fit. That being said as much as this may be a global game the Euro League is not the NBA. While some players have been able to translate very easily. Others do not make that transition as well. The NBA is the best league in the world for a reason and it is a different style of basketball.

Sorry to break it to Bryan Colangelo but because of Bargnani there is not a lot of patience for Jonas Valancinunas. Remember when Andrea was drafted and what people said at this time about him. He tested off the charts and had a extremely high basketball IQ. He was mentally tough. So how did that happen to pan out? I think Andrea Bargnani is mentally fragile at best. He may have a high basketball IQ but it is all on one end of the floor. While Colangelo is 100% correct in the need for Raptors to acquire a center. This may not be a guy that will be able to fit in this city. From day one he will face the ghosts of Bargnani and other non North American players that have been complete failures.

While Colangelo seems convinced he is right and the fans and his doubters are wrong, I am sure he felt and may still feel that way about Bargnani. While you can not obviously run a team based on the fans desires. At the same time to have complete disregard for the growing disconnect with this organization and it's fan base is not wise. Colangelo promises the money that they do not have to use likely to sign Jonas will be put to work in free agency. But here is the trick there is that lockout that Bryan is not allowed to talk about. So who knows when that free agency would be? Colangelo in his so called first term in office worked on a plan to build the Raptors through Europe and I think we can all agree that he failed in that goal. So the first move of his second term is to once again look to Europe? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The Raptors in the last two seasons steered away from that euro direction in the draft and have been rewarded with two solid players in DeRozan and Davis.

Another thing that bothers me is the lack of respect for the overall knowledge of this fanbase. I heard the example used of how fans booed the pick of Damon Stoudamire and the crowd at Skydome chanting for Ed O'Bannon. The fan base is far more educated from those days and the amount of access they have to information and the ability to watch guys play in the NCAA. Back in the days of mighty mouse there were not many that got to see him play out at Arizona. But times have changed and this fan base is far more educated and have much stronger opinions with that knowledge behind them.

While some praise Colangelo for his guts in making this pick. I am not one of them. Ultimately the Raptors can try and avoid the elephant in the room all they like but it is still there. For the Raptors ultimately to be successful they need to be able to make this an attractive destination for Americans to come here and after tonight maybe finally a Canadian or two. That is the problem this franchise has faced for 16 years. Colangelo I give credit for trying his Euro experiment the first time around. It was a good attempt to try and avoid the issue. But it ultimately failed and to head down that same path again is just not wise in my view. It would be nice to think that the Raptors could have a united nations type approach and be successful but the reality is as it has been proven over the past few years it doesn't work.

I stress again that the Raptors are walking a very thin line with their fans and to totally ignore what they feel is wrong. The only way it is right is if you win. Colangelo kept mentioning patience but if he hasn't noticed patience has run out here. He has a shorter term contract to remind him of that fact. If you expect this fan base to have patience, while you ignore their displeasure that is a recipe for disaster. I think everyone can agree that attendance and overall interest in the Raptors has declined. This is not a pick that will do anything to change that in the short term. If you lose fans in a town where you are always fighting against the monster down the hall that is the Maple Leafs that is never a wise idea.

Try marketing your draft pick that is not playing for your team coming off a certain labour stoppage and tell me how that works out for you. Now if you had a player that people wanted to see in a Kemba Walker or a Brandon Knight you are in a better spot. Ultimately I feel sorry for Jonas because it is not his fault. But he is walking into a hornet's nest and he has done nothing to deserve that. But Bryan Colangelo and Andrea Bargnani have. Along with a checkered past that Bryan Colangelo chooses to ignore dating back before he came here. But this fan base has endured it all and you need to understand that as well.

As for myself ultimately I got what I wanted out of this draft in a way. I really had no real passion or love for anyone in this draft other than wanting what is best for our Canadian kids. This draft will go down as one of the worst ever. I have no doubt about that. But at the end of the day the Raptors still have a glaring need at point guard. That leaves a door wide open for Myck Kabongo to walk through next year. I think he could ultimately be the guy out of the three players from Texas that will be the best fit. I am very confident he will follow the same path as Cory and Tristan have and also confident that he can be a potential lottery pick. Which realistically the Raptors should likely be in once again assuming we play a season. So I will try to remain optimistic and look forward to that brighter day. I know this much if Myck Kabongo is a Raptor he will be ready to roll from the moment his name was called.

Myck will be taking over the reigns at point guard for the now departed Cory Joesph. While I totally understood why Tristan Thompson was in this draft in terms of Cory I was a bit concerned. It turns out my concerns on if he would even be picked at all were far from the reality. The San Antonio Spurs who do this whole draft thing better than most surprised everyone by taking Cory Joesph. While it seems Tony Parker will be sticking around this could be a great situation for Joesph to play behind him. Hill looks to be the odd man out for the Spurs.

I am pretty sure this is the first time two Canadians have been drafted in the first round. But the exciting thing is this may only be the start of a group of kids that I like to call the Raptor Generation. One of the things in having the NBA come to Canada and the Raptors being part of the NBA since 1995 it has given kids in this country reason to dream and believe they can be in the NBA. The great success of Steve Nash has been part of that as well. But the presence of the NBA and the growing acknowledgement of NCAA programs that have started to notice Canada as a viable place to recruit talent. The future for Canada in the NBA had a very big night. The Toronto Raptors did not even if they think that they did.

Colangelo is off to a rocky start in his second tour of duty. This time around there is less desire to think that Colangelo is all knowing and will save the franchise as there was when he road in on his white worse from Phoenix. There is an old expression that Bryan Colangelo might want to take note of. If we forget our past then were are doomed to repeat it. The fans clearly have not forgotten the Raptors past even if Bryan Colangelo chooses to ignore it.

There is one thing that you have to admit in terms of Colangelo that he is always a guy that will make bold moves. But the problem is in terms of the Raptors a lot of his bold major moves have been failures. While I admire the sentiment in Colangelo feeling he did what was best for the franchise in the long term. I just don't agree with the decision he has made.

I want to thank Manu and the staff at St Louis Wings for a great night with working together on this draft party. I had a lot of fun and think everyone that was there did. I have enjoyed working with the folks at St Louis Wings and it is great to have a business that is so supportive of basketball. We have all had those experiences of going out to places and having to beg to get a basketball game on T.V. That is never the case there and they give basketball the love it deserves.


  1. Great night for Canada indeed, good to see!

  2. Until MLSE fires Colangelo, Mauricio ( or whatever his name is ) and even Wray Emery this franchise will continue to head in the wrong direction. How many of the same type of players can you have playing on the same team ...its like knowing what's bad for you yet still seeking to embrace it !! We need a GM that has played in the NBA. I preferred Glen Grunwald . Colangelo has never accomplished anything of significance.

    As of last night i stopped supporting this team !! I'm done i've had it with this freakin GM !!!