I will probably anger some of you with what I am about to say about the Rob Babcock firing, but in times of high emotions and sports politics, it’s imperative that we stay grounded and look at the facts.
Richard Peddie’s sleight of hand could have had David Copperfield smiling. At a time when Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment was facing it’s darkest hour with it’s two storied franchises crawling through the mud, storm clouds were brewing. Someone’s head was about to roll and in order to secure his own well-being at MLSE, Richard Peddie fired a body before the heat came into his kitchen.
Sure, Rob Babcock was hardly a capable GM in today’s NBA climate, but it is entirely arguable that he was learning from his mistakes. Recall that when Babcock was brought onboard, his two absolute priorities were to secure both a center and a point guard for the team. So what did he do? He went and drafted what he thought was the best center in the draft, and he signed Rafer Alston to a long-term contract. Granted, in hind sight both moves were as poor decisions as Britney Spears giving Kevin Federline her bank card, but he followed the mandate of the club. Rob also had what was touted as a stellar front office at his side, so the entire Raptors management has to take blame for those initial blunders.
In comparison, John Ferguson Jr. has absolutely no business as the GM of the Maple Leafs and MLSE is still parading him up and down Main St. The Leafs currently sit at 8 straight losses, and I can guarantee you that they can go to 15 and Ferguson Jr. will still be munching donuts from high atop the ACC.
If we can garner one positive out of this debacle, it’s the fact that Pete Babcock was let go as the team’s director of NBA player personnel. If you know anything about Pete, you’ll remember that as the Atlanta Hawk’s former GM, he spent 13 years pretending to build through the draft and taking the Hawks no where in the league. When Pete came to the Raptors, he made it his responsibility to follow his brother everywhere and yap into his ear about how to run the team. Starting to see the parallels between where the Raptors were heading and the Atlanta Hawks franchise? The firing of Pete Babcock was without a doubt the best move the team has made all season.
I would love to see Wayne Embry take a shot at remaining GM for the next season. I’d also like to see Jack Armstrong hired as the team president. If the Raptors are able to secure these two moves, the future will be very bright for this franchise.