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Old 12-06-2012, 06:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Chisholm: Worst case scenario for Colangelo, Raptors

All in all, this is probably the worst-case scenario for Bryan Colangelo this year.


.211 winning percentage, second-worst in the NBA.

25th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, 27th in points per game defence, 27th in field goal percentage defence, 26th in three-point percentage defence, 28th in opponent's free throw attempts per game and 28th in opponent points per shot.

Andrea Bargnani is scoring a four-year low 16.8 ppg on a five-year low .395 field goal percentage. He's shooting 4.6 threes and 4.7 long-twos per game and only 2.8 shots per game at the rim. He's shooting just 3.4 free throws per game after shooting 5.6 a season ago. He's sporting a career-low rebound rate and his worst assist rate since his rookie season.

That DeMar DeRozan has struggled at perimeter defence is to be expected; he's not a good defender, but the thought was that Casey and Lowry were a defensive match made in heaven that should help offset DeRozan's defensive weaknesses. In reality, Casey has not been able to corral Lowry's obsession with gambling on defence which, paired with DeRozan's ball-watching, has turned Toronto's perimeter defence into a non-entity and put way too much pressure on Valanciunas to rotate to cover everyone's permissive ways.

All of this has put Toronto into panic mode, with ESPN.com reporting that Bryan Colangelo has already put in a call to the L.A. Lakers to see if he can pry Pau Gasol away before Toronto's season becomes a complete write-off.

Here's the situation facing Colangelo: he knows that if this season continues down the path it's on, his contract will be allowed to expire this offseason and he'll hit the unemployment line significantly tarnished. He sold the higher-ups at MLSE on his rebuilding plan that involved punting two seasons (after missing the playoffs in the two seasons before that), so that he could assemble a new roster the 'right way'. This year was supposed to show the early promise of that plan, and so far, the team has performed worse than they did at the start of either of their two rebuilding seasons.

While most fans would usually be starting a #tank meme on Twitter right around now in order to secure a high draft pick, Colangelo sold his first-round pick to Houston (now with Oklahoma City) in exchange for Lowry. He felt the move had a built-in failsafe, though, because even though the pick is protected so that it's guaranteed to be in the lottery, the team was supposed to be good enough to prevent the pick from being any higher than 8 or 9.

Yes, the pick was wisely protected in the top-three this season, but the top-three picks are distributed through the lottery, and not even a bottom-three record guarantees a top-three pick (the Raptors themselves fell from three to five in the 2011 draft lottery). So, at least for Colangelo, tanking is simply not an option this year because it has an even narrower potential for success than it does in a normal year.

So, instead of a #tank meme, the fans have instead opted for a #fireBC meme, which will probably only gain in popularity if the season continues to waste away like it has been for six weeks.

Colangelo likely won't be fired, though. The organization knows that they can just let him walk in July and not have to pay him another dime if they so choose, and they also know that Colangelo won't sit on his hands like his predecessor Rob Babcock did while another season is frittered away (as the inquiries about Gasol would indicate). Handing the reins to Ed Stefanski doesn't actually do anything but temporarily subdue the fans, and the club will need time to find a suitable long-term replacement if Colangelo is not retained, and such searches only paralyze a team mid-season, which the Raptors cannot afford right now.

Chisholm: Worst-case scenario for Raptors' Colangelo
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