Captain Crunch to Captain Slump

Can you smell what Jalen is cooking?

Even though the site isn’t close to completion, I wanted to take some time to talk about Jalen Rose.

It’s common practice in Toronto to have at least one player on a sports team to dump on. The fans need a scapegoat, and although it can be argued that Hoffa is the recognized Raptor we love to hate, I’d like to make a case for Jalen bearing the brunt end of the complaints.

Jack Armstrong constantly reminds us that it wasn’t Hoffa’s fault that he was drafted 8th. Well, it’s not Jalen’s fault someone decided to pay him 16 million a season. At the twilight of last season when in his glorious cape, he was single-handedly winning games for the team, everyone dropped the trade talk. Now that he’s not only out of the starting rotation but has seen a significant drop in his minutes, everyone’s on his case again.

“The youth movement,” they cry! “Let’s give the rookies a chance to play!”

The Raptors are 4 and 17. Don’t get me wrong – I have no illusions about the team’s playoff chances, despite the fact that the Titanic Division is so embarassing that we’re only 6 games out of first. But if by some miracle the Raptors go on a few hot streaks and make a run for an 8th spot, who do you think will become the most valuable player to us come playoff time?

It’s still early, but a young team like the Clippers are making a serious push. They’d have no second thoughts about taking a contract like Jalen’s to put them over the edge for the post-season. He’s a proven veteran, and a considerable asset down the stretch.

Some feel like Jalen doesn’t fit in our new system. I’d like to ask, “What system?” He’s not the only one who looks lost out there. If you’re not going to run any plays for him in the clutch, then he essentially becomes ineffective. You can argue all you like that Bosh should be the go-to guy, but until the team actually learns to set final plays for any go-to guy, I’ll stick by my argument.

Jalen’s the first one to take responsibility for his poor performance. He puts the extra time in at practice to work on his shot. Don’t think for a second that he doesn’t care, because he’s played on winning teams and believe me, there’s nothing that gnaws at a winner more than losing all the time.

Would I trade Jalen if a great deal came up? Absolutely.

But until then, give the man a chance to play. 10 minutes a game isn’t enough for him to even get his mouthguard wet.

One Comment

Jay - Lang's Twin  on December 12th, 2005

You’re dead on about Jalen, the only drawback is that the more time he spends on the bench, the more wary teams are going to be regarding picking him up near the deadline. While every team needs a good veteran presence, especially heading into the playoffs, there is nothing worse than having a veteran who might be a little out of shape come playoff time because his minutes have decreased the whole season. Don’t get me wrong, Jalen is a hard worker and is always in good shape (no images of Chris Childs here…shudder), but game shape is a different thing.

I’m convinced Hoffa is the answer for anything bad in my life. Gas price goes up: Hoffa. Have the runs: Hoffa. Got the clap? Hoffa. Sure, Hoffa didn’t ask to be drafted 8th and there is probably only one person in the world who would have drafted him 8th…unfortunately, that man is our GM. It’s not like Hoffa has raw talent or is a pure athlete that is still learning the game, this guy has nothing and looks like the geek when we were kids, who was abnormally bigger than everyone else, but never wore anything other than brown corduroys and had no athletic ability at all.

Back to the original post topic…Jalen will be tough to move. Big contract, disappearing minutes…and the Raps need a big man in a league where there are few of any talent. It would have to be a pretty sweet package to unload Jalen, and I could see the Raps having to eat some of the contract too.