Raptors Olympics Fallout

So the Raptors had 3 players in the Olympics on the current roster. Linas Kleiza, Jose Calderon and of course Jonas Valancuinas. Let's first take a look at Jose Calderon who won a silver medal again with Spain. His experience with Spain are a reflection of his time with the Raptors in a way. In 2008 he did not play in the Gold Medal game as he was out with injury. This time around he did play and was terrible in doing so with no points in 17 minutes and found himself glued to the bench for his lack of defense. In addition make no mistake that had Ricky Rubio been healthy, Calderon would have been the back-up for Spain. Just like he will be with the Raptors if in fact he is still a part of this roster by the time training camp roles around. After a brilliant game in the Semi Final vs Russia in the 2nd half he once again failed to deliver in the biggest game for his team. This was the case with the Raptors as well in playoff series with the Nets and Magic. Safe to say his terrible performance in the Gold Medal game did nothing but hurt his trade value for the Raptors. While everyone just assumes Jose will return and accept his fate and not be a problem, I think that is a bit of an optimistic point of view. Calderon would have every reason to be fed up with what has happened with him in Toronto. After being basically traded to Charlotte not that long ago, this off-season he watch his team go all in to get Nash and when they failed agreed to trade a lottery pick in the future to acquire Kyle Lowry. Jose Calderon for his squeaky clean reputation has still driven out indirectly T.J Ford, Jarrett Jack and Jerryd Bayless. All of those scenarios saw him as the chosen starter. The writing is on the wall he will not win this battle with Lowry.

One thing I have learned is the both Calderon and Linas Kleiza care far more about playing good basketball in their national team jersey than they do in their NBA Jerseys. Kleiza was a key part of his squad at the Olympics and put up impressive numbers. However I have seen this movie before and so have you. The year the Raptors signed Kleiza he went nuts for Lithuania in the Euro Basket tournament. He would arrive for the Raptors season and be often injured and seldom a factor. Which pretty much can sum up his entire time with the Raptors. He is here as much to be a buddy for Jonas Valancuinas if for nothing else. So if you think the fact Kleiza leading his team with 13.8 points and having 6.3 rebounds means anything for the Raptors you might want to think again.

That said, most Raptor fans were concerned with one guy at the Olympics and that was Jonas. Some look at his performance and see it as concerning for his NBA Future. Others are still on this Jonas is the next big thing train. He did only manage 4.2 points and 4 rebounds in 6 games. I would say to both sides of the debate it really didn't tell us anything. What everyone seems to conveniently forget is these games are played under FIBA rules which makes these projections of failure or greatness a little out of whack. We could have learned a lot more about Jonas playing in Summer League under NBA Rules against lesser competition but with much more minutes than what we did from 6 games in London. Still maybe this will bring some sanity to what have been unrealistic expectations for the start of his NBA career. Both he and Anthony Davis didn't prove a thing about what they will be in the NBA. I have heard this constant noise about what a great experience this was for Anthony Davis. May I remind you all of the only other college player to be on a Dream Team or Pro U.S roster. That would be Christian Laettner, who was a college superstar at Duke, but in the NBA while he had longevity was far from a superstar in his NBA Career. He played for Minnesota (Drafted 3rd Overall), Atlanta, Washington, Detroit, Dallas and Miami in 17 seasons in the NBA 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds for his career. He played with all due respect to Kobe, the greatest ever version of the "Dream Team", but it never translated to a great NBA Career. Davis and Jonas for that matter, will succeed or fail this season and it will have very little to do with how they spent their Summer in London barely playing for their respective nations.

Calderon in case you wondered averaged just 7 points and 2.5 assists in his 8 games with Spain. He did manage to not get himself hurt which ultimately is all I care about when any Raptor plays internationally. As for the tournament itself, it has become a complete joke and any time the U.S sends the best possible roster they have available they are going to win. It really is that simple. I enjoyed the Olympics for everything other than Men's Basketball. It was much more thrilling to watch Canadian Women's Soccer for me than any game in this tournament. When Canada has a horse in the race my feelings will change. But as we all know Canada only had an entry on the Women's side of basketball in this Olympics. Hope is high that will change for Rio in 2016. Now with the Olympics behind us we enter the dog days of summer before the NBA Season. Still we had a big Dwight Howard trade finally happen so maybe it will be more exciting than we think. In terms of the Raptors I wouldn't hold my breath I think what you see is what you get at this point.  

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