The many faces of the Raptors

The past few games have shown just how this team is trying to pull things together. A win against the Cavs, a loss to the Hawks (well, maybe if the scorers learned how to operate the board, it would be a different story) and ALMOST blowing a 26 point lead against the Pacers. You can expect a team with tons of new players to take some time to gel and there are going to be ups and downs, so here is what you’re going to see a lot of for a while.

What everybody has to like is that Sam is playing Bargnani, although it appears this is happening because of Colangelo’s view that if you’re going to lose, lose playing your #1 rookie. Makes sense. Bargnani has shown some promise and while his offensive game is coming along, his defense is too. Listen, this guy is never going to be a big-time defender, that’s not what he’s here to do. But the fact that he is actually standing up to bigger guys (well, thicker guys) shows what he is made of. Highlight against the Pacers? Bargnani’s “watch how I can travel twice on the same play” finger roll. Nice.

Lately, there have been a lot of people coming to Sam’s aid, saying that in the end, it comes down to the players not making crucial mistakes at crucial times and there is definitely that side of the argument. But what must also be remembered is that when you are coming to key points in the game (for example, the last 10 seconds), EVERYBODY on the floor should know their role and what is going to take place. Racing down the court and jacking a 3 instead of taking a time out and setting up is a) player stupidity and b) lack of coaching. It should be drilled into everybody’s head: “Guys, when we get the rebound, get over half and call timeout.” Simple. Anyway, the whole Sam conversation is getting stale, so I’ll move on.

MoPete is back in the gym working with a shooting coach. WHA??? A shooting coach? The guy is cashmoney for years and has a “slow” start (let’s be honest, it probably has a lot to do with his injury) and all of a sudden he needs a shooting coach? Really? I’m not one to talk about slaps in the face, but this could be the second clear slap to MoPete in the past few weeks. A shooting coach…you’ve got to be kidding. In the same way that a coach doesn’t just go bad overnight and require firing, players don’t just go bad overnight and never regain their stroke. Give it time, get healthy and it will be back. It’s like a swing in baseball…once you start to overthink it and overtrain it, you make it a million times worse.