Archive for February, 2006

Keep Toronto Worm Free

There are rumours and then there are rumours. But hearing Rodman say that Toronto and Portland have been offering him workouts is the latter stage of rumour. Let’s consider the source: Dennis Rodman. This is a guy who dressed up in a wedding down (and God knows what underneath), full makeup and everything to promote his book. If he hadn’t already done it, he would probably be doing it right now on Church street to get some attention.

People, The Worm is something like 44 years old. Even Clifford Robinson is looking at Rodman and saying, “Dude, you need to pack it in.” If there is ANY truth to this, the Raptors will finally earn some of the ridicule they have received over the past couple of years. In his first British league game last week, The Worm didn’t even have a big impact…IN A BRITISH LEAGUE GAME.

I don’t know if the Raptors brass is getting worried about declining attendance and are thinking about something to draw some interest, but this isn’t the way. I watch or go to every game, so I’m already there, but if you bring the “sometimes” basketball fan back to the game with Rodman, only to see him get embarrassed, get T’d up after he realizes the game has passed him by and then get busted at one of this city’s many fine “massage parlours”, the Raptors will just end up alienating more people.

Wayne Embry has made a couple of good moves since taking over as interim GM and I can’t see him going along with this. Have you ever seen that half-hesitant, corner of the eye look that Embry gives interviewers after games? I can just see him meeting with Peddie, throwing him one of those looks and saying, “You want me to WHAT? You must done gone lost your mind.”

Come on Toronto, we’re better than this.

First Half Review

When the season started and almost every analyst was picking the Raptors to finish either last or second last in the league, I maintained that while they weren’t a great club, they were probably somewhere around a .500 club. I said that I didn’t think they would make the playoffs, but that there was no way they were going to finish last. The Raptors may just prove me right and wrong in the second half of the season, making a run for the playoffs (why do they all keep calling it the “P” word?) and ending up somewhere right around the .500 mark. Let’s be honest, with the East (read: the Atlantic) as bad as it is, I’m thinking that 40-42 might just get you into the big dance at the end of the season. Anyway, on with the highs and lows.

Mike James: I know Lang will cringe at this, but MINE James has been far more impressive than any of us could have imagined and when you compare him to Crazy Rafer Alston, Rob Babcock looks like a genius. I still don’t think I would sign him to a contract (why are Toronto fans so high on getting this guy signed?), instead using him in some sort of trade deadline deal. Sure, there really isn’t a whole lot you can package him for now, but it might be worth checking out available options. Somebody has to be interested in a guy who’s 4th in the league in 3%. Now if we could just teach him to pass…

Charlie V: I remember when I was watching the draft and the Raptors took Charlie Villanueva, I was confused. I wasn’t outright angry (Steven A. Smith anyone?), just confused. When they picked Joey Graham next, the draft seemed to make a little more sense to me. Analysts were quick to get on Charlie about his work ethic, but I always hesitate when people bring that up on any player. It is so easy to get labelled as lazy. All it takes is one analyst to see you practice when you have the flu or not completely hustle down the court when you’re hiding an injury and that’s it. When put in the right situation with the right coach, sometimes guys tend to shine. Charlie still needs to work on his concentration a bit and use his body more, but that will come with experience.

Morris Peterson: MoPete is quietly putting together a solid campaign and while most people will say this is Chris Bosh’s team, take note: it’s really MoPete’s. The Ironman nails 3s from his office in the corner and if there is a better flopper on defence in the league, let me know. Positioning on D is great, but he doesn’t get enough cred for his quick hands. Like an A-student, rarely do you see him miss an assignment and he makes so many circus shots I think we have to stop calling them circus shots.

Chris Bosh: I still don’t think Bosh is as quick as everyone says he is, but when he is making some guys look stupid, I guess he is. Chris has learned to work with his frame (although I think a season with Bonds in the “weight room” might help him out…wink wink) and has played a smart man’s game, working to his strengths. People never seem to get used to a lefty, so this helps with the quickness and he exploits people with it. It would be nice if at the end of the game, MINE James would look inside to Bosh a bit more, but that’s a discussion Sam needs to have with them.


Mike James: Okay, so you’re asking, how can a guy be a high and a low? Right now you’re calling me an idiot. But let’s go back to the San Antonio game on Feb 8th. I was there, a few rows up from the court, watching MINE James put on a show in the fourth. I was also watching him continually getting beaten on the dribble. I was also watching him miss shots at the end of regulation. I was also watching him miss free throws down the stretch. I was also watching him not pass to Bosh in OT. If there was ever a time for Antonio Davis to walk in and (to borrow a term from Bull Durham) “Announce his presence with authority”, he should have walked over to James and said, “Look dude, you’re a point guard. Pass first, shoot second”. A lot of games have been close because of James, but the Raptors have also let a lot slip through their fingers because of poor decision making down the stretch.

Rafael Araujo: I hate picking on Hoffa because it’s like pushing the fat kid around in school. It’s easy and quite pleasurable, but it’s almost too easy and that takes the pleasure out of it. Honestly, Hoffa needs to go to the D-league. Now that Babcock is gone, send the kid down to get some confidence (and if he fails down there, well, he can go back to Brazil and have sex on the beach all day or something) and then see if you can salvage something from there.

Matt Bonner: I’m not sure what happened to The Matt Bomber this year, but he doesn’t look as confident as he has in the past. Slow on D, a hitch in his shot, maybe all of the late nights at Mr. Sub are starting to get to him. Regular minutes aren’t really there for him, but they never really have been. Matt needs to look at the second half as an opportunity to get back into the swing of things.

Trade Chris Bosh for Antoine Walker?

Raptor hater and analyst for ESPN’s Fastbreak show, Tim Legler, showed no love for Toronto and no intelligence as a basketball analyst when he suggested trading Chris Bosh for Antoine Walker and a handful of expiring contracts. If you remember, this is coming from the guy who suggested that the Raptors move to St. Louis. You can find that story here.

As far as I’m concerned, Tim Legler needs to climb back into his space pod with the rest of the crazies and make the long journey back to their planet. I’d love to see Tom on the Surreal Life, but I’d just feel sorry for Jose Canseco.

Raptors remarks

There was a story yesterday in the Newark Star-Ledger reporting that coach Flip Saunders is determined to start Vince Carter in place of the injured Jermaine O’Neal for this weekend’s All Star game.

I know many of you fans in Toronto are hoping that Chris Bosh will be called to fill that spot come game time, however slim those chances may be. Going with Carter would essentially match him up with San Antonio’s Tim Duncan. I’m going on the record as saying that I would much rather see Bosh play opposite Duncan than Vince Carter, but maybe that’s my bias showing through.

And on an unrelated note. Leave it up to Jalen Rose to come up with the quote of the day. When asked during a Raptors-Knicks pre-game interview on how great he thought it would be to get a win against his former team, Rose replied without missing a beat, “It’d be great to get a win against any team.”

You gotta love Jalen.

Raptors in motion

The All Star weekend is fast approaching and the Toronto Raptors are looking much more like a band of brothers rather than a band of others. Tomorrow night the team slides into Madison Square Garden for a match against the down-trodden New York Knicks and looks to extend the current winning streak to 4 games. Let’s take a quick look at the team.

  • Scheduling: There is no doubt that January and February has been easy on the team, and the Raptors have worked to capitalize on the easy schedule.
  • Chris Bosh: If it worked for Adam Sandler, maybe we should double up Bosh’s duties as the team waterboy as well. A fired-up Bosh would cause unbelievable havoc against any opponent. H2O!
  • Mike James: Shoot first, shoot second. Next time count how many times Mike James launches ridiculously long 3’s in the final two minutes of the game. It’s like he’s shooting to win his own late night talk show.
  • Hoffa: I feel terrible for him. As much as I’ve been riding him all year, this isn’t the way he should be going out. The best thing for his career right now is to head down to the D-League and fast, before he enters his 3rd year and becomes ineligible.
  • Mo Pete: Still auditioning for the Ringling Bros., but becoming consistent in the process. Mo is definitely a key factor in Toronto’s ability to tuck away games.
  • Pape Sow: Sometimes he looks better suited to play beach volleyball, but you can’t deny his effort, albeit a little bit misguided at times.
  • Rob Babcock: Just because he’s gone.
  • Charlie V.: I’m still very uncomfortable with Charlie as a starter. It’s only a matter of time until it gets to his head and he sets his effort on cruise control.
  • Antonio Davis: He’ll never be the man he was during his first stint with the team, but make no mistake - he is a smart basketball player. That counts for a lot more than people think.
  • Jose Calderon: I can’t believe he made that 3-pointer against Minnesota. Please don’t ever take that shot again.

On another note, if you’re planning on attending any Raptor game right up until March 17th, visit this site to receive 20% off all tickets. Thanks for supporting the Toronto Raptors.

MINE James

If you plan on attending the game at the Air Canada Centre this Sunday between the Toronto Raptors and the Portland Trailblazers, be sure to be early. The first 5000 through the gates will receive a promotional pair of Raptors gloves made entirely of velcro with the number 13 sewn on the back.

Can someone from the Raptors front office please send Mike James a memo and tell him that it’s acceptable to pass the ball. The overtime quarter in the San Antonio game is just another reminder why Toronto should not feel entirely hard-pressed to re-sign MINE James. I can count on my nose how many times Chris Bosh, our franchise player, got a touch in overtime against the defending NBA champions. That is absolutely poor basketball decision-making.

Mike James has spent a considerable amount of years bouncing around this league as a journeyman player, and with good reason. Prior to this season, he has never really been able to string together a decent set of stats for an entire year. And purely out of need rather than choice, the Toronto Raptors moved Mike into the starting rotation. And much like Carlton Banks suddenly pushed out on stage, his eyes lit up and he put on a horrible performance with no regard for reality.

Mike James is not the go-to player on this team. Mike James is not leader of this team. Mike James is not the voice of this team. Mike James is not the future of this team. Mike James is not the answer for this team.

Legend has it that one night it took Mike James 2 hours to drive down the Lakeshore because he didn’t know how to use the passing lane.

True story.

Jalen Rose traded for Antonio Davis.

The following was published on CBC Sports, “For the second time in his career, Jalen Rose has been traded for Antonio Davis. According to, the Toronto Raptors dealt Rose to the New York Knicks in exchange for former Raptor Antonio Davis on Friday. The Knicks, who play the Raptors Friday night in Toronto, also get a first-round draft pick in the deal.”

Thanks for everything, Jalen. You are a true professional and will sorely be missed in Toronto.

That aside, Wayne Embry is brilliant.

Antonio Davis is a far better component than Penny Hardaway, who wouldn’t have even contributed in any fashion. With AD, we get a solid center who can help with the defense immediately. And better yet, his contract expires this year, leaving the Raptors with more cap space to make some moves.

Great, great deal.

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