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Old 11-26-2012, 10:10 PM   #66 (permalink)
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5 reasons why Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo should be fired

By Andy Phillips

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2012 | 02:11 PM
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Bryan Colangelo's tenure as Toronto Raptors general manager has had its share of ups and downs. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

The Bryan Colangelo era must come to an end. Mired in a four-year playoff drought and a 12-year "contender" drought, losing has become second nature to the Raptors, and expected by their fans. With a record of 3-11, the organization is looking down the barrel of another lost season. The current roster is lacking talent, plain and simple. When you don't have the players to win, the fault lies with the general manager.

So here are five reasons why Bryan Colangelo should be fired:

1. The wing rotation

The small-forward position has been an enigma to Colangelo during his time with the Raptors. Jason Kapono, Hedo Turkoglu, Jamario Moon have all occupied that position with little success. The current wing rotation might be the worst in the league. Outside of DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors are playing fringe NBA players. Landry Fields, Alan Anderson, Dominic McGuire and Linas Kleiza are all end of the bench players being asked to deliver significant results. None have a specific skill which sets them apart and all lack the ball handling and three-point shooting to be consistent threats. Now, didn't they draft a wing player, 8th overall, who was NBA-ready? Terrence Ross looks completely lost and unprepared for the NBA pace. The wing rotation has been a weakness for far too long and that's a strong indictment on Colangelo's tenure.

2. Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani

Colangelo has never been shy in moving players, but for whatever reason Calderon and Bargnani have remained immune. In reality, they should have been shipped out long ago. Calderon's inability to play a modicum of defence is losing the team games. Opposing teams go out of their way to attack him and have been rewarded by doing so. Bargnani remains the most frustrating player to have ever donned a Raptors uniform. Despite moments of brilliance, it's impossible to build a culture of accountability by giving minutes and shots to the apathetic 7-footer. His bouts of indifference frustrate fans and must infuriate his fellow teammates. Both Calderon and Bargnani lack the grit and motor to lift the Raptors to any level of success.

3. Lack of a veteran presence

In the hay day of the Toronto Raptors, the Vince Carter era, there was a strong veteran presence. Kevin Willis, Charles Oakley, and Mugsey Bogues led the team with a no-nonsense locker-room presence. No such identity is present on the roster, no internal accountability exists amongst the ranks of the players. In fact, the lack of an experienced voice has extended for almost three years now, since Jermaine O'Neal and Shawn Marion. Veterans don't just help you win games, they mold the young players.

4. No discernible vision

Are the Raptors rebuilding or contending? This has been the question throughout Colangelo's tenure as the team building strategy seems to wander. Ultimately, it appears the Raptors have been content with taking a stab at the eighth playoff spot, in a vain attempt to build a 'winning atmosphere.' But, more often than not, this strategy has left the team in the middle of the lottery acquiring low-ceiling players like Ed Davis and Ross. The current roster, at its peak, is first-round fodder for the superior Eastern Conference powers. With the Raptors' first rounder most likely heading to the Oklahoma City Thunder (via the Kyle Lowry trade), the direction of this team is aimless.

5. Culture of excuses

What's most alarming is the culture of excuses which is wafting out from the team. Poor officiating has become the go-to reason for the latest fourth-quarter breakdowns. Whether it comes from the on-air personalities, players, coaches or management, there's a clearly strong focus on the referees. Now, there have been a lot of questionable calls, I'll admit that. But when the team is attempting to construct a system of accountability, excuses are counterproductive. This isn't anything new, in fact, this has been going on for quite some time in Toronto. Jorge Garbajosa's infamous leg injury was to blame for the Raptors' playoff loss in 2007. Chris Bosh's lack of toughness and leadership were used as a crutch for the failures of the various roster concoctions. Colangelo has used so many different excuses for Bargnani, that I've simply lost count at this point. It starts from the top and it trickles down.

Bryan Colangelo is not without his supporters. Many believe he has brought a reputation of legitimacy to the Raptors' organization. This may be true. But one can look no further than the team's record during Colangelo's reign to understand the need for his departure: 209 wins, 281 losses. Two first-round playoff ousts and four straight lottery appearances. It's simply not good enough. The city of Toronto, and its fans, deserve better.
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