Who Should Start For The Raptors?

Posted on March 9, 2010 | 19 Comments

[Bloggers Note: Yes, I said I would do a post trade deadline analysis, but I got busy and now I just don't want to.  Sue me.]

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether DeRozan should be replaced in the starting lineup, which might stop the Raptors from digging themselves in a hole early in games, as they have been. With the way the Raptors have been playing all year, however. the question that needs to be asked is whether this team is building around the wrong players.

Now, I’ve never been a big fan of +/- stats, or any stats in particular, when gauging a player’s worth to a team. I think it ignores factors that simply aren’t logged in the box score, such as defense, hustle and veteran savvy. Sometimes, however, it does give an interesting picture of what’s going on. Take for example, the stats on 82games.com. What previously was called the Roland Rating, but now seems to be called the Simple rating, is an average of a player’s +/- production and on/off court results. It’s not the greatest indicator, but it’s half decent barometer for how much a player is helping his team win.

Now, take a look at the Raptor’s next opponent, the Lakers. The top five players are the five best players, Kobe, Gasol, Odom, Artest and Bynum. These are the players that play the bulk of the minutes for the Lakers. Boston’s top five players are their starters: Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, Allen and Perkins. Same goes for Atlanta. It’s not like that for every team, but there’s enough of a pattern for me to want to take a closer look at the Raptors roster.

As most Raptor fans know, the Raptor starters are Bosh, Bargnani, Turkoglu, DeRozan and Jack.

The top five Raptors according to 82games.com’s Simple/Roland Rating? Bosh, Evans, Belinelli, Johnson and Calderon.

Things get even more interesting when you look at the Individual Player Floor Time Stats, the top five being Johnson, Wright, Bosh, Belinelli and Calderon.

Now, I don’t pretend to know what all these statistics mean, or whether or not they actually mean anything what-so-ever, but when you look at all the players, you realize two things. The first is that all, but one, are at least average defensively. The second thing you notice is that Bargnani, Turkoglu, Jack and DeRozan are not listed.

As readers of this blog know, I’ve often been critical of Bargnani. I HATE the fact that he can’t rebound the ball for his size, and while I applauded him for his improved defense a little while ago, he seems to have taken a couple of steps back in that category lately. In fact, he’s taken a couple of steps back in just about EVERY category lately. In the last five games, Bargnani is averaging 14.4 ppg, 4 rpg and 0.6 bpg. Those that said that Bargnani would rebound more and score more inside without Bosh have been silenced. Bargnani actually played worse, and less inside, without Bosh. I don’t know if any player is more responsible for the current slump the Raptors find themselves in than Bargnani. When he plays good defense and scores, the Raptors usually win. Unfortunately, after nearly four full years, it’s becoming fairly clear that Bargnani can never be a player you can count on. He needs to score to be effective, but isn’t a consistent enough scorer to be a first or second option on a contender, and doesn’t do anything else well enough to warrant heavy minutes if he’s NOT scoring 15+ a game.

Turkoglu has at least shown that he can be a starter on a contender. Unfortunately, that was only one season, and he’s currently not playing at that same level. If he can get back to that level, it’s obvious that Turkoglu could easily be a starter again for a contender. With his below average rebounding and weak defense, he would need a team with an above average defense and rebounding front line. This describes Bosh, but not Bargnani.

Jack is a peculiar case. He doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses that the other starters not mentioned do, and he’s actually one of the Raptors more complete players. He hasn’t been all that consistent, though, and with him in the starting lineup, the Raptors have often started games badly. He certainly doesn’t have the acumen for running an offense that Calderon has. And his defense is not where I thought it would be.

Now, I actually feel that DeRozan has done a half-decent job this season. I said at the beginning that if he had a season similar to Courtney Lee’s rookie season, then it would be a success. Well, in nearly every statistical category, including PER, DeRozan’s numbers are pretty similar to Lee’s. The two things that Lee was better at was Defense and 3 point shooting. Of course, Lee was 3 years older than DeRozan is, so that is a big factor. I never had a problem starting DeRozan, because he was playing well enough, and it was a good way of helping him grow. Earlier in the season, I argued against those who said he should be replaced in the starting lineup and I still believe I was right. Hell, their record since December 5th was pretty damn good, so I’d say it was a good choice. And while I think it was not alright to replace him then, I think now might be the time to. Two things have changed. The first is that he seems to have hit the rookie wall. The second, and most important, is that as the playoffs approach, wins become more important. Until now, DeRozan’s development outweighed the few wins his starting might have missed out on.

Now, changing the starting lineup now might not be the best idea, and I don’t know if the change would benefit the team this season (although it very well might). I do think, however, that who the Raptors starters are needs to be looked at further this summer. Either way, there are questions that come up when looking at which players help the team win more? Would Amir Johnson be a better frontcourt partner to Bosh than Bargnani?Should Calderon be moved back into the starting lineup? Is Belinelli, because of his all around game, a more fitting starter at the shooting guard until DeRozan develops more, or should Wright’s defense be taken more advantage of despite his brain freezes on offense?

Personally, if I was coaching the Raptors, and didn’t have to take into consideration contracts or team investments in certain players, against the Lakers, and for the rest of the season, I’d trot out a starting lineup of Bosh, Johnson, Turkoglu, Belinelli and Calderon. I’d give those players the bulk of the minutes, and generally finish the game with those players, as well.

I know that Belinelli has been incredibly inconsistent this season, but as readers of this blog know, I’m a fan of his and feel he’d be more consistent as a starter. His one game as a starter was his best of the season, and he strikes me as the type of player that excels when not looking over his shoulder. He’s also much better defensively than many give him credit for. In fact, I’d say that he’s the second best wing player on the defensive end, behind Wright.

Calderon has not been good defensively this year, but with Belinelli and Johnson in the starting lineup, the team defense would improve enough that I think he would do alright. Besides, his offense is just too good to have him come off the bench when the team has been struggling so much to start games.

While Johnson is not the scorer than Bargnani is, he so much better on the boards and defensively that I actually think he might be a better player than Bargnani, at least right now. Just looking at PER, which is flawed and doesn’t take into consideration defense, they are neck and neck. When you then include defense, I’d rather have Johnson on the floor than Bargnani.

Turkoglu has shown he can play on a contender with better statistics, and while you could put Wright in here, Turkoglu’s worth can not often be seen on the stat sheet. Unlike Bargnani, Turkglu is not a one note player. He makes players around him better, and that’s not something that can be overlooked.

Bosh, Johnson, Turkoglu, Belinelli and Calderon is a starting unit that is dangerous offensively and should be able to play good defense. Calderon, Belinelli and Turkoglu can all create, score from the outside get the ball to the big men inside. Bosh and Johnson can clean up the boards inside and defend the middle. I think the team would be much more consistent offensively and defensively.

Who would your starters be?

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  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    The Raptors’ best player rotation actually something looks like this:

    STARTERS
    Calderon, PG
    DeRozan, OG
    Turkoglu, SF
    Johnson, PF
    Bosh, C

    KEY SUBS
    Jack, PG
    Weems, OG-SF
    Bargnani, PF-C

    ———————

    RESERVES
    Belinelli, PG-OG
    Wright, OG-SF
    Evans, PF
    Nesterovic, C

    EXTRAS/OUTS
    Banks, PG
    O’Bryant, C

    That’s a tight 8-man rotation which would win a lot of games in the regular season schedule.

    The only reason the Raptors have not used their players in the proper way is connected with the flawed Basketball Philosophy of their GM, Bryan Colangelo, who has consistently prioritized “offensively” skilled players, when constructing his teams in the NBA, rather than players with an abundance of “defensive and rebounding” skills.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    khandor,

    I don’t know if I necessarily agree with your statement about Colangelo. Just think of the players that Colangelo has brought in. There are very few players that he has acquired that can be described as lacking defense and rebounding skills. Turkoglu was not his first choice, or second choice, for that matter. Every other player he acquired this summer are, at least, average defensively, or better. Marion can be described as having defense and rebounding skills, as can O’Neal. And Parker, and Garbajosa, and Jamario Moon, and Carlos Delfino. Hell, even Humphries.

    The only two players I wholly disagreed with him acquiring were Bargnani and Kapono (I give him a pass for Turkoglu since he was the best player who would sign with the Raptors, and since he tried to get better players). If the Raptors had drafted number one just about any other year, what choice would Colangelo have made. I mean, it’s not like he made a BAD choice. No player in the top 5 drafted that year has panned out the way people thought.

    1. Bargnani- 17.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 15.6 PER
    2. Aldridge- 17.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 18.1 PER
    3. Morrison- 2.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 6.8 PER
    4. Thomas- 9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 17.4 PER
    5. Williams, 3.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 12.8 PER

    Three of the top five players aren’t even on the same team, with Sheldon Williams actually being waived (and Morrison being close to). I was very vocal at the time that I would select Aldridge (or possibly Thomas), but it’s not as if there’s a huge difference. And NO ONE would have picked Roy in the first spot.

    Colangelo is more a victim of circumstance. Even in Phoenix, there are few moves that you can really disagree with. Bringing in Nash was what made them a contender, Marion, Bell and Diaw were all players that would above average rebounding and defensive players. Drafting Stoudemire, who is not a good defensive player, can’t really be against because Colangelo got the second best player in that draft with the 9th pick. You can get much better than that.

    If Colangelo had drafted two years earlier, then Im guessing he would have picked Dwight Howard. And what if Ariza had agreed to sign with the Raptors? This team would certainly be different from the one that’s on the court now, and that’s just with two different players.

    I do think he has too much faith in Bargnani and needs to get rid of him. Unfortunately, I don’t know what he would be able to get for him this summer.

  • Boko

    Tim W, over the years, I’ve found that the Efficiency & Efficiency/Minute stats best reflect the talent level of individual players. I look for starters to be in the top 150, and subs to be in the top 240. Belinelli, Weems and Wright don’t make either, but Weems has the most potential, period. It isn’t even close. I can’t stand watching Belinelli (crazy)or Wright (bad judgements) play!!!!!!!!

  • Boko

    Oh, yea. I forgot to add my starters & subs in the push to the playoffs. Start Bargnani, Bosh, Turkoglu, DeRozan & Calderon. Sub Johnston, Weems & Jack.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    I think both Weems and Belinelli have the potential to be much better. I’ve been impressed watching Weems as he really does seem to have the whole package. He’s got the athleticism, can drive, ull up and hit the mid-range shot. He looks like he could one day become a very good defender and he is a very good rebounder for his position. I do agree that it can be frustrating to watch Belinelli at times, but I do truly believe he will one day become a top bench player. I remember when Ginobili was in his first or second year with the Spurs, Popovich was asked about him, and I’ve always remembered what he said (unfortunately not word for word). Basically he says that he puts up with the crazy stuff because of the good things he does. Now, I don’t think Belinelli will ever be as good as Ginobili, but I think he’s the same type of player. He is so gifted offensively, and is actually a fairly good defensive player, that when he learns consistency (if he does), he’ll be an extremely valuable reserve for the Raptors.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Tim,

    1. “Average” defenders are not really of much value in the NBA game.

    2. If Colangelo really valued defense and rebounding over offense he would not have signed Turkoglu this past off season, rather than giving big bucks to Marion, or going in a different direction altogether, e.g. using that money on a combination of lesser thought of but still cost effective defensive/rebounding focused wing players. By acquiring an aging Turkoglu, to go with Calderon and Bargnani, he now has 3 players in his core group who are at best “average” defenders at their respective positions.

    3. Colangelo made a poor choice to not trade out of the No. 1 [overall] position in the 2006 NBA Draft, in order to select a more all-around player, like Brandon Roy or Rudy Gay, with the capacity to become a “star” at this level of competition.

    4. Marco Belinelli is only a legitimate “difference-maker” for an NBA organization that is willing [insightful enough?] to use him as its starting PG. At this position, he is a high end player, IMO, although still limited defensively.

    However, he is nothing like Manu Ginobili, who is a much more dynamic wing player with a truly multi-dimensional game and a totally different level of physicality to his customary style of play.

    5. Weems is the young player on the roster who is physically talented enough to make a major impact down-the-road, if he continues to develop at the OG position.

    6. DeRozan is a keeper, although he may never develop into a super-star type of player.

    7. Antoine Wright is a waste of time.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    1. I used the term “average” mostly as a minimum, meaning that Colangelo has actually brought in very few below average defenders. And an average defender isn’t bad to have. He’s not going to hurt your team, and if he has other useful skills, he can really help your team. Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher are average defenders. And they have rings.

    2. I don’t completely disagree with you, but I at least understand Colangelo’s strategy. He needed to make a big splash in the offseason in order to ensure Bosh would re-sign. As for splitting the money up on lesser players, I don’t know whether that would have helped. Quite frankly, I don’t think there were many players out there, and the Raptors needed talent more than role players. Now, personally, I didn’t agree with him trading for Marion, anyway, which would have meant they wouldn’t have had cap room this summer, so the point is kind of moot on what I would have done.

    3. Trading the number one pick is incredibly risky, and from what I gather, there wasn’t much interest in it. I recall rumours that Colangelo did try and trade down, but couldn’t find any takers. I don’t think I would have tried to trade down, despite the fact there was no real number one guy.

    4. I obviously disagree. I agree Ginobili is a much more dynamic wing player, but they are similar in that they both can play both backcourt positions, have great vision, good ball handling skills, are very creative on the court and have never been afraid of any shot, which sometimes drives coaches crazy. And I think Belinelli is a much better defender than people think. His biggest weakness is that he gets caught up on screens, but he can be an annoying defender (ask Rip Hamilton), and considering he played on Golden State his first two seasons, he’s never had much coaching on defense until this season.

    5. Agree totally on Weems, obviously. I still find it funny that when I discussed the trade that brought Johnson and Weems, I announced it as a trade for Johnson and another player (because I didn’t even think he’d play). He’s got to be the biggest, and best, surprise of the season for the Raptors.

    6. Also agree on DeRozan.

    7. I don’t think Wright is a waste of time, but I don’t see him returning this summer. With DeRozan, Weems and Belinelli, there’s simply no room for him. Speaking of which, I think the only thing the Raptors need this summer is a big backup SF who might one day be able to start. Maybe that Rudy Gay guy will sign for the MLE?

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Tim,

    IMO …

    When D-Fish was a good player in the NBA he was an above average defender. Derek’s only strengths today are his streaky outside shooting, when he’s “on” his game and his general leadership qualities; otherwise, he is now a below average player in the NBA, and one of the biggest obstacles to LA being to repeat as champions this season.

    As an incredibly versatile player, Lamar Odom is also an above average defender … he just has the ability to play so many positions effectively that it’s easy to lose track of how good [i.e. offensively, defensively and rebounding wise] he really is at any one of them [i.e. perhaps the No. 1 #3-4/SF-PF, in the entire NBA].

    “Average” defenders … without the ability to be big-time scorers, as well … are not really that valuable in the NBA.

    [i.e. if your team has a bunch of these players you might be a mediocre team but you are NOT getting near the Larry O'Brien trophy ... ever.]

    Like you, neither am I a big Marion fan; nor would I have trade for him last season.

    That said …

    As a rebounding/defensive specialist … who can also function adequately at the offensive end … he is simply a better basketball player than Hedo Turkoglu.

    ——————
    re: I don’t completely disagree with you, but I at least understand Colangelo’s strategy. He needed to make a big splash in the offseason in order to ensure Bosh would re-sign.
    ——————

    I have a fundamental disagreement with this position, which was/is entirely driven by the media perception of what’s required to build and maintain a top notch team in the NBA, in order to attract and keep high profile players.

    Is Chris Bosh any closer to re-signing this summer, with Hedo Turkoglu on-board, if the team finishes 8th this season and is eliminated from the post-season in 5 games by the Cavs/Magic/Celtics?

    Ih my eyes, he is not.

    What Bryan Colangelo NEEDED to do this season WASN’T [necessarily] to sign a major free agent last off season, but … to put the 1,000 little pieces in place to demonstrate to his All-Star player that HE [i.e. Bryan Colangelo] actually knows what he’s doing, in a concerted effort [i.e. in a long build-up] to construct a championship calibre TEAM around him [i.e. Chris Bosh].

    For example … you don’t do this by:

    A. Trying to insist that Andrea Bargnani is still a “diamond-in-the-rough” who is capable of playing the type of all-around game it will take to be considered as a legitimate “partner-in-crime” to Chris Bosh, over the course of the next 5-7 years;

    B. Signing a 30 year old player to a 5-yr, $50.0 M contract, who is an “average” defender at the Small Forward position, when 3 of your other supposed CORE PLAYERS are [i] Chris Bosh/PF, [ii] Jose Calderon/PG, and [iii] Andrea Bargnani/C, none of whom is a stellar 1-on-1 individual defender.

    What you do, instead, when you make a move like THAT is give Chris Bosh … and everybody else who also happens to know and understand exactly how the NBA game actually works … a legitimate reason to question whether, or not, YOU are someone who he SHOULD trust his future career to, as the architect of this team, given CB4′s current status as one of the best big men in the league today.

    Elite level Big Men, more than any other position, really do need a GM who knows what he’s doing, as far as being able to construct a championship calibre, if they are going to be able to succeed in a major way, given the fact that they are not guards with the primary responsibility of handling the ball on each and every possession in a game.

    re: Belinelli vs Ginobili

    Once someone like Charles Barkley has christianed Marco with some sort of moniker/title/nickname/identifier, akin to the classic, “Ginobili!!!” … then, and only then, it might be fitting to try and compare him, as a basketball player, with the “Argentinian Dynamo” who has led his countrymen to world prominence at the World Championships and the Olympic Games, plus formed part of the Big Three in San Antonio that was primarily responsible for the winning of multiple NBA titles during the last 10 years, due in part to his prowess in ALL 3 main phases of the game [i.e. O, D & R], rather than strictly offense [which is where Belinelli is today].

    Antoine Wright is a total waste of time, in the sense that each and every minute which he actually plays is a minute of real game-time that is NOT going to the further development of DeRozan and Weems, each of whom has huge upside, in comparison with Mr. Notverygoodatanythingreally.

    If Chris Bosh walks this summer … the state of this franchise is almost no better whatsoever than it would have been had they simply stayed the course under the direction of a “bad-to-mediocre” GM like Rob Babcock.

    4 years down the drain.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    sorry … that should read as:

    “christened”

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    khandor,

    Personally, I feel Belinelli is an above average defender, and has the ability to be an explosive scorer and playmaker. You obviously disagree. Keep in mind, though, that Ginobili was 25 in his rookie year with the Spurs. Belinelli’s still got some time.

    As for Colangelo, I have said I’ve disagreed with him on several of his deals. Now, I don’t think it’s any secret that I would trade Bargnani in a second. I think Colangelo holding onto him and giving him a big contract was a mistake. I think if the team needs to take the next step, he HAS TO go. A front line of him, Bosh and Turkoglu will never, ever be a contender. Now, that said, I have no idea what plans Colangelo has. If he was trying to build a contender immediately, he wouldn’t have acquired so many young players. To me, it’s obvious he’s looking ahead, but just I had no idea what his plans were when he traded for Marion, I have no idea now. My very first blog was blasting the trade for Marion, in part, because I never felt that Marion would re-sign (also because he wasn’t exactly the player the Raptors needed), and that the chance of signing a good player was slim.

    Despite him getting Turkoglu, which wasn’t close to my first choice (my second post), the summer was a much bigger success than I thought it was going to be. DeRozan wa the first Raptors draft pick I agreed with since Bosh (that’s a long time being unhappy with how your team drafts). Being able to get Jack, Belinelli, Johnson and Weems was very big, in my opinion. All are above average defenders and young players with a lot of potential. For that reason, even if Bosh leaves, the team is in a far better position than if Rob Babcock were still in charge.

    Babcock was not a very good judge of talent, never improved the team with any of the trades he made, and never seemed to have an overall plan of where he wanted the team to go, and never seemed to learn from, or admit to, his mistakes. For all of Colangelo’s flaws, you do feel that he does have a clear plan, and he’s been quite willing to correct mistakes and learn from them.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Tim,

    I share your opinion that Belinelli has the ability to be a solid playmaker and scorer, at the PG position.

    I do not share your opinion that Belinelli is an above average defender.

    IMO, Rob Babcock was a bad GM who should never have been hired in the first place.

    What SHOULD be alarming to some is that Bryan Colangelo … for all his fancy window dressing … simply hasn’t done a much better job, thus far, than even a “bad” GM like Rob Babcock would have done, during these last 4+ years.

    There can be no more harsh indictment of his tenure than that, when you really stop and think about.

    * 32-31 … at this point, in year #4

    * Chris Bosh still hasn’t given any clear indication that he intends to resign w/Toronto

    * the 2006 No. 1, overall, Draft Pick was used on Bargnani who is not going to be a franchise-changing player

    * the 2009 No. 9, overall, Draft Pick was used on DeRozan who is not going to be a franchise-changing player

    * Turkoglu has been signed for 5 years, at $50.0 M

    * Jay Triano is a 2nd yr head coach with a 57-71/.445 career W-L Record

    Can the franchise recover?

    Yes, it can.

    There is no good reason, whatsoever, the Raptors cannot eventually win a NBA championship. All MLSE needs to do is stop hiring the wrong people to run their Basketball Operations and start hiring the right ones.

    Unfortunately, I have seen no signs from MLSE, since they assumed full control of the Raptors, that they have any serious intention of pursuing that specific goal.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    Unlike a lot of Raptor fans, I don’t see things as black and white, and I also look at the circumstances, not just the result.

    - Colangelo has lead the Raptors to the playoffs 2 out of 3 years and probably 3 out of 4. Babcock didn’t get the Raptors to within shouting distance of the playoffs during his tenure. There’s no comparison.

    - 32-31 record is this year. This is a different team than the one last year and the one before that. Is it disappointing that Colangelo had to reboot the team? Yes, but unlike Babcock, Colangelo had the wherewithal to realize when something drastic needs to be done and do it.

    - Chris Bosh hasn’t given a clear indication of what he going to do this summer. Neither has LeBron or Wade. It’s how they’re playing the game. If the Raptors were a contender, I still don’t know whether Bosh would have said anything about re-signing.

    - The 2006 draft only had one player was a franchise changing player, Brandon Roy, and no one in the league thought he would be as good as he is, otherwise he would have been drafted higher than he was. You can’t blame Colangelo for getting the first pick in a draft with just one great player. As I said on your blog, luck has a lot to do with it.

    - Again, the 2009 draft was not an incredibly strong draft, but Colangelo picked very well, in my opinion. Would the franchise be in a better position if he had picked someone else in that position? I don’t think so. Read Scott Carefoot’s blog on this subject…
    http://blogs.thescore.com/nba/2010/03/03/revisiting-the-draft-was-derozan-the-right-pick-for-toronto/

    Again, I don’t see how you can blame Colangelo for not getting a better player.

    - I’m not a big fan of the Turkoglu signing or contract (more the contract than the signing), but I don’t hate it, even now.

    - Jay Triano took over a team that needed to be rebuilt, and struggled with injuries. This season, he lead a team most pundits never gave a chance to even make the playoffs and a below .500 record (Hollinger predicted 35 wins) to a better than expected record and currently a 6th seed. You can’t blame the GM for putting out a subpar team and then blame the coach for not doing better with it.

    MLSE hired the wrong guy when they hired Babcock, but he was the guy that was recommended to them. I, and most others, felt they corrected themselves when they fired him and hired Colangelo. Has he been perfect? No, but he’s done as good as a job as anyone else could have under the circumstances. He’s has some bad luck (injuries, high picks in bad draft years) which has meant he had to reboot after it was clear the team was not heading in the right direction.

    Right now, Colangelo’s got more talent on the team than I expected he would at the beginning of last summer. Other than Turkoglu, the team is incredibly young, so the talent level should only increase. It’s not that I don’t think that moves need to be made, obviously I do, but I like the position the team is in right now. I’m optimistic about the future, which I never felt when Babcock was in charge.

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Tim,

    1. Rob Babcock was a bad GM.

    What’s the reason you keep comparing Bryan Colangelo to a bad GM?

    I only mentioned Babcock’s name so that you might see just how “bad” Bryan Colangelo has actually been … i.e. he’s done almost as little in his 4 years as even a bad GM, like Babcock, would have been able to do, given the advantageous circumstances which’ve existed over the last 4 years.

    - Rob Babcock was GM of this team for all of 19 months [Jun 2004 to Jan 2006]

    - by contrast, Bryan Colangelo has been the Vice-President/GM of this team for 60 months [Feb 2006 to Mar 2010]

    IMO, it’s silly to compare these 2 individuals, except to sugggest just how bad the last 4+ years have actually been.

    2. re: putting 32-31 this year in the proper perspective

    2006-2007, 47-35
    2007-2008, 41-41
    2008-2009, 33-49
    2009-2010, 32-31

    What’s aberration in your opinion?

    3. Why mention Bosh’s name with LeBron’s and Wade’s?

    Wade has already won a championship with Pat Riley and the Miami Heat.

    James has already been to the NBA Finals with Dan Ferry and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Their circumstances are not the same as CB4′s with the Raptors.

    Are you trying to suggest that they are?

    IMO, if Bryan Colangelo would have done a better job during the 2006-2007, 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons then the Raptors wouldn’t be in the situation they are right now, regarding the uncertain status of their best player.

    4. I do not read Mr. Carefoot’s blog. [nuff said]

    5. On the contrary, several/many NBA pundits actually had the Raptors as their darkhorse pick for the “sleeper team” of the year in the Eastern Conference and, in fact, had them as becoming a legitimate challenger for the #4 or #5 playoff seed.

    6. I, personally, would have traded down, and then selected either Brandon Roy or Rudy Gay, and said just that prior to the 2006 NBA Draft.

    It matters not whether other talent evaluators could tell, in advance, that these 2 players were eventually going to become the biggest impact players from that specific draft class.

    7. I, personally, would not have drafted DeRozan this past off season and, instead, would have traded down to secure additional players and picks … and I said exactly that prior to the 2009 NBA Draft.

    8. Has Bryan Colangelo made some good decisions along the way?

    Yes he has.

    But he has also made plenty of major mistakes since taking over this team, including:

    - trading for TJ Ford
    - re-upping Sam Mitchell
    - selecting Bargnani, 1st overall
    - signing Jason Kapono
    - failing to replace Jorge Garbajosa
    - signing Hassan Adams and Will Solomon
    - firing Sam Mitchell Dec/2008
    - trading for Jermaine O’Neal
    - trading for Shawn Marion
    - selecting DeMar DeRozan, 9th overall
    - trading for Hedo Turkoglu/$50.0 M for 5yrs

    Let’s just leave it at that.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    1. I brought him up because you did. I guess we can stop bringing him up then.

    2. Colangelo immediately built a team that went from 33 wins to 47 and immediately changed the culture of the franchise. I very difficult thing to do considering where the Raptors were when he took over. I give him a lot of credit for that. That first team was built far more on defense and rebounding than this present team. But this present team is much younger and has more potential than the earlier team. Unfortunately injuries (Garbajosa and Ford) really derailed that team. Jermaine O’Neal was a gamble that didn’t pay off, unfortunately. Still, I appreciated him trying for it.

    3. I mentioned Bosh’s name with Wade and LeBron because they are all free agents this year. And a Championship doesn’t seem to have helped Riley’s cause, as has building a contender helped Ferry’s cause. That’s my point. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be more comfortable about this summer if the Raptors were a contender. Colangelo would be too.

    4. I’m not asking you to subscribe to Mr. Carefoot’s blog. Just read the one post which I think is a very good one.

    5. I don’t recall any non-Raptor fan picking the Raptors as a possible 4th seed. And considering who are the first four teams, only an idiot would pick them as one.

    6. SAYING you would, and actually doing it are to different things. Besides, there’s a big difference between ROy and Gay. I’m still not sold on Gay. And Roy was considered a good player, but with a low ceiling. First-class GMs usually make the bet with the bigger payoff, not go with the safe bet.

    7. I think DeRozan is going to end up being better than any of the players picked below him. And trading down usually just results in less talented players.

    8. Colangelo has made some decisions I’ve disagreed with (to say they were mistakes is overstating).

    - Trading for Ford, I thought, was a good trade. He got a young, talented PG for an incredibly soft and one dimensional forward.
    - I’m not sure how re-upping Sam after he won the Coach of the Year award was a mistake. Sam was a fine coach for the circumstances.
    - I’ll agree with that one, but it wasn’t nearly as bad a decision as it’s made out to be. Bargnani is valuable, but will never be the player Colangelo hoped when drafting him.
    - I hated the Kapono signing.
    - I don’t know what Colangelo tried to do, and what was available. He was able to find Moon, though, who looked like he could replace him.
    - I don’t think signing them was mistake. I think the fact that they had to play a larger role than they should have was a problem.
    - If re-upping Sam was a mistake, how was firing him one?
    - The trade for O’Neal wasn’t a mistake. It was a gamble that unfortunately didn’t pay off. Ford had to go, and his behaviour and injury earlier in the season caused his trade value to go down. The Raptors desperately needed a legitimate big man and O’Neal was who Colangelo got. Personally, I was hoping for Nene, but apparently Denver didn’t want Ford.
    - I didn’t like the trade for Marion, but it turned out better than I anticipated. And that is due to Colangelo. Again, his first choice (and mine), Trevor Ariza, had agreed to the deal that was bigger than the one he eventually signed in Houston, then the Raptors would be in a much better position. And again, if Colangelo was the GM for the Lakers, do you think he would have free agents turning down less money to play elsewhere? Jeryy West never had that problem.
    - I liked the selection of DeRozan. I don’t understand how you can say it was a mistake.
    - I thought the deal that Colangelo pulled off was genius, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with paying Turkoglu $50 million over 5 years.

    Besides, I could run down a similar list with other so-call first-class GMs.

    Danny Ainge:
    - Trading Darius Songolia for two 2nd round picks that ended up being nothing
    - Trading for Ricky Davis and Michael Stewart
    - Drafting Tony Allen (instead of Kevin Martin, Anderson Varejao, or Chris Duhon)
    - Trading away, among other players, a first round draft pick for Antoine Walker, who he had traded away a couple of seasons before.
    - Drafting Gerald Green (instead of Hakim Warrick, Nate Robinson, Jarrett Jack or David Lee)
    - Trading for Qyntel Woods and Curtis Borchardt
    - Signing Brian Scalabrine to the contract he did
    - Trading away their 7th pick in the 2006 draft (Rudy Gay was available).
    - Trading for Ray Allen before he was able to trade for Garnett.
    - Drafting J.R Giddens (instead of Mario Chalmers, Deandre Jordan or Luc Mbah a Moute)
    - Not replacing James Posey
    - Signing Stephon Marbury
    - Signing Rasheed Wallace.
    - Trading for Nate Robinson
    - Not trading Ray Allen and his expiring contract

    I could do the same for every GM you think is a first-class one, INCLUDING R.C. Buford (giving away Scola for instance), who I also think is a first-class one.

    Every GM makes mistakes. Even the really good ones.

    If Ainge was not able to trade for Garnett, would he still be a first-class GM?

    If R.C. Buford didn’t get Tim Duncan would he still be a first-class GM?

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    Tim,

    1. I brought Mr. Babcock’s namue up to show, by comparison, just what a mediocre-to-poor GM Bryan Colangelo has been in his 4-yr tenure.

    In contrast, you keep bringing his name up to show what a good GM you think Bryan Colangelo has been, thus far.

    Do you see the difference there?

    2. Building the team up from 33 to 47 wins in one season is an almost worthless accomplishment, if that type of improvement proves to be unsustainable.

    Better to have gone more slowly, perhaps, by laying the groundwork better, and then ensure a steady upward climb in the standings over a broad period of years.

    IMO, changing the culture of a losing team is actually one of the easiest things for a solid GM to be be able to do in the NBA.

    The 47 win team wasn’t derailed by injuries. It was derailed by Bryan Colangelo’s inability to cope successfully in the aftermath of those injures, as a top notch GM SHOULD have been prepared to do, in the first place.

    3. Winning a championship with the Heat has most definitely helped Pat Riley’s cause with being able to resign Dwyane Wade this coming summer.

    e.g. Have you read even 1 report from any type of reputable source that reads like this,

    “D-Wade is definitely going to leave Miami in the summer of 2010,”

    because I have not.

    Now compare that to what has been written, thus far, about Chris Bosh’s “supposed” intentions.

    It isn’t even close.

    Micky Arison, Miami’s owner, has even come out and said that he is almost 90% sure that Flash will be re-signing with the Heat.

    4. In the past, Mr. Carefoot has had an issue with me and I, likewise, have had an issue with him. I do not read his blog.

    5. Does the name Chris Sheridan resonate with you?

    6. The bigger “payoff” was, in fact, to be found with Roy and Gay, as dynamic wing players … not in a perimeter-based Center like Bargnani.

    Those who under-valued players like Roy and Gay, coming into the 2006 NBA Draft, were flat-out wrong.

    7. With the passage of time, you are going to be proven so wrong on that account, my friend.

    You won’t be alone, however, in that regard, as there were quite a number of NBA pundits who shared your same opinion, at the time of the draft.

    8. Restricted to just 3 items:

    I. If Bryan Colangelo really knew what he was doing, Sam Mitchell would have had his contract terminated at the end of the 2005-2006 season … i.e. before he had a chance to coach the 47 win team the following year.

    If Bryan Colangelo really knew what he was doing, Sam Mitchell would not have had his contract terminated in December 2008 but would have:

    i. Been fired in the summer of 2008; or,
    ii. Been fired in the summer of 2009; or,
    iii. Been fired in the summer of 2006; or,
    iv. Never been fired at all by the Raptors.

    II. Ainge’s and Buford’s and Kupchak’s mistakes have all been mitigated by the FACT that teams which they have put together have gone on to win the NBA title.

    Bryan Colangelo’s mistakes have yet to be diminished by any type of FACT like that.

    IMO, it’s a waste of time for you to try and compare their achievements, in this league, to theirs.

  • http://www.wearingfilm.com Tim W.

    1. If you were comparing Colangelo to Babcock to show what a bad GM Colangelo has been, it was a bad comparison. Compared to Babcock, Colangelo has been a tremendous GM. Babcock never made a good personnel move and made the worst trade in Raptors history. Colangelo has made far more good trades than bad.

    See the difference?

    2. going from 33 to 47 wins IS an accomplishment, because it’s difficult to do. And it’s easy enough to SAY that Colangelo should have responded to the injuries, but it’s quite another thing to do it. Every GM has had problems recovering from injuries or other problems. It doesn’t make them a bad GM. You seem to want a GM to be perfect. Obviously Joe DUmars is a bad GM in your eyes, as is Pat Riley, because he allowed the team to descend to lottery after winning a Champoonship and did not anticipate the decline of Shaq. Kupchuck mishandled the Shaq and Kobe situation, allowed Phil Jackson to leave, trade Caron Butler for Kwame Brown and nearly let Kobe, a guy who should have been a shoe in to be a life-long Laker, to nearly sign with the Clippers.

    3. The US press are, for the most part, ignorant xenophobes who couldn’t imagine an American player choosing to remain in Canada. It was exactly the same thing before Vince re-signed with the Raptors. And a lot of people believe that Wade will re-sign with Miami because a) it’s South Florida, and b) there are no state taxes. Places like Miami and Orlando ALWAYS have advantages over cold weather places. There are many who think that Wade might also sign with Chicago, but a lot don’t think he wants to leave the warm climate of Miami. Also, one of the reasons that people don’t think Wade will leave Miami is that they have enough cap room that he can recruit another max player (Boozer lives there in the offseason!). Most, though, believe that if another star isn’t signed in Miami, he won’t re-sign. None of that has anything to do with him previously winning a Championship there.

    4. Okay.

    5. I do recall this, but notice he’s certainly not in line with his colleagues or with the majority of others. The fact that he picked Atlanta to finish 7th shows he was way off on many accounts (Bucks being below the Nets, Boston being the best team in the East).

    6. Again, you were right. Great. I have found myself to be right about my predictions about 95% of the time, too. That and a bag of chips will give us a snack when we’re hungry.

    7. Well, the difference between you and I is that, despite the fact I have, as previously mentioned, rarely been wrong on my predictions about players and teams over the years, one thing I have learned is never to pretend that I’m 100% positive. I don’t have a crystal ball, and I understand I’m not infallible. You may end up being right, but I don’t think you will.

    8. Another place where you and I differ. You seem to look at everything as black and white. It’s not. You say Colangelo SHOULD have fired Mitchell at this point. Well, it’s an opinion. You have no idea what a “good” GM would have done. It’s a guess. Personally, I think a good GM would have done what Colangelo did. Give Mitchell a chance to prove himself.

    According to you, Championship is some sort of magical elixir that wipes away every mistake a GM ever had. And the only good GM is one who has either made no mistakes (there are none), or has won a Championship. In other words, the only measure of a GM is whether or not he has won a title.

    Personally, I think Ainge is incredibly overrated and one title doesn’t diminish the fact that he screwed up countless times and only made a few good trades, one of the being a trade that got him the Championship. I think how he responded to that one Championship was a big indicator, and I don’t like how he’s responded. Giving Rasheed Wallace a 3 year, $19 million deal was incredibly stupid, especially after giving up in Detroit in the playoffs last year. Then shopping Rondo and then allowing to feel alienated was perplexing, to say the least. And I didn’t like the trade for Robinson. I don’t think the Celtics have a legitimate shot at a title this year, but instead of using Ray Allen’s expiring contract to improve the team and get younger, he stood pat.

    And if you criticize Colangelo for not firing Mitchell right away, or not during the summer, then you have to do the same to Ainge for not firing Jim O’Brien when he took over, and then for firing mid-season. Or does Ainge get a free pass on everything now?

    And if Colangelo is able to re-sign Bosh, put together a trade that makes them contenders and they win a Championship, does it make you wrong about Colangelo and does it make him a first-class GM?

    And did you believe Ainge was a good GM during the first four years of his tenure when they won 36, 45, 33 and 24 games?

  • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

    1. Rob Babcock was a bad GM. It’s a waste of time to try to defend him.

    He was the GM for the Raptors for 19 months with a W-L Record of 53-85/.384.

    You are free to defend Brayn Colangelo, if you wish, considering his W-L Record of 153-156/.495, over a period of 60 months.

    2. Actually Dumars, Ainge and Kupchak are all examples of good GM’s, in my book, so it isn’t accurate for you to assert that I expect a high end GM to be perfect.

    3. The fact that Pat Riley has multiple NBA championship rings to show for his work in the NBA, one of them acquired with the help of Flash, is most definitely part of the reason D-Wade is even willing to listen when his GM wants to talk about the future success he expects to occur in South Beach, following the trials and tribulations of the past few seasons.

    4. Good.

    5. You said there was no pundit who picked Toronto to finish as high as 4th this season. I said that you were wrong about that, then showed you proof. Nuff said.

    6. I was right about that, and many other things, as well … and, I have the proof to back it up.

    If you are right about what you predict 95% of the time, then, that is something which will earn my respect. All you have to do is show me proof, in support of that specific claim.

    Making assessments, in advance, is a part of what I happen to do from a professional standpoint. When I’m right, I earn a living. When I’m wrong, then it costs me $$$.

    In general, I tend not to snack on chips. :-)

    7. Being able to agree to disagree, respectfully, is always a good thing.

    Time is what eventually proves whose opinion about something was right or wrong.

    In general, time is a terrific arbitrator.

    8. The fact is …

    I see the world in black, white and grey.

    The trick in life is being able to discern one situation from the other with a high degree of accuracy.

    9. re: Danny Ainge

    Jim O’Brien is a totally different sort of coach compared with Sam Mitchell.

    Ainge is responding in a way that’s consistent with being a championship-winning GM.

    Championship-winning GM’s are the ones who are prepared to lose with “their guys” still on-board, rather than give up the ship too soon, by looking for a new crew to man the oars.

    If they can repeat their victory … all the more power to them.

    If they cannot, however … then, there is honour in that type of defeat.

    Only those who have never won it all are willing to through their own oarsmen over-board, in an effort not to go down with the ship themselves.

    True “Captains”, however, already know that they have the skills required to re-build what they had before, in a different time and place; hence, they have no fear of future failure.

    If I’m wrong about something, it is actually quite easy for me to acknowledge that fact … because in my line of work, being wrong from time to time, simply goes with the territory.

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