Court Surfing: Calderon and Bargnani May Hold Key to Raptors Future
Old 07-20-2009, 04:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Court Surfing: Calderon and Bargnani May Hold Key to Raptors Future



Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Casciaro via The Score
As the 2009 offseason rolls along, it's another summer of similarities for Raptors fans. Sure, the Raps signed possibly the biggest free-agent in franchise history in Hedo Turkoglu and have made a bigger splash than usual. But, at the end of the day, we're talking about Raptors fans. They were going to head into the next season hyped no matter what.

Most would have tried to convince you that even bringing back the pieces (Marion, Parker, etc.) from the team that finished last season could have competed in the East.

Maybe this season will be different. Perhaps Toronto will finally live up to Canadian basketball fans' expectations. Heck, dare I say, exceed them. And maybe, just maybe, the team will become relevant outside of Canada. But while fans sit and wonder how good Turkoglu will look or whether DeMar DeRozan can deliver mind-blowing plays reminiscent of "he who must not be named," the fact is, the key to the Raptors success or failure lies in the hands of the "already-heres."

The core of Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani, while considered a young tandem on the rise just two years ago, now face questions of whether they are good enough to warrant future championship aspirations. And one of the three may not even be here long enough to be considered part of the "core."

For all of Bosh's criticisms (too weak, too soft, not a finisher, jump-shooting big man), even his skeptics would admit, any GM worth his weight in salt would want Bosh in their future plans. When healthy, you know what you're getting from C.B. every night, and that's 20-25 points to go along with eight to 12 rebounds. For a guy that's knocked a lot, those are pretty good numbers to "settle" for. If Bosh commits to Toronto long term, there needn't be any worry about his play.

This brings us to the other two: Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. Both have made us jump for joy and salivate over the future, as Calderon looks mistake free running the offence and Bargnani moves with the grace of a prize fighter. But both have also caused us to pull our hair out and wonder why. "Why does your mistake-free, big-shot game fade when it matters most Jose?" "Why do you look more ballerina than ball player in the paint Andrea, and why don't you care about it?"

Which Calderon and Bargnani will show up for the 2009-2010 season? Will we see the anti-clutch Calderon, who saves all his turnovers and missed free-throws for a close fourth quarter? Or will we see the Calderon dishing out 10-plus assists with ease, knocking down free throws and big shots with ice water in his veins, three fingers raised in the air?

My knocks on Calderon were always his choke-shows in clutch situations and his lack of fiery competition. Last year, when healthy, Calderon was a true big-shot, go-to guy who would get into Kevin Garnett's face when need be.

My knocks on Bargnani, who I once dubbed a "waste of talent," were his inconsistent scoring, lack of post presence and lack of emotion. Upon Sam Mitchell's firing and Jay Triano's promotion, with more minutes came the Andrea Bargnani that went No. 1 in the 2006 NBA draft for good reason. "Il Mago" ended the wizardly-disappearing act and finally showed up. He averaged 20 points per game after New Year's and fist-pumped his way into a five-year, $50 million extension; a deal that will seem like a bargain for Toronto if Andrea plays five years the way he finished last.

With a locked up Bosh or replacements for him via free agency or trade, how good can the Raptors be in the near future?

If the pair of Calderon and Bargnani can shut up the former doubters and critics, like yours truly, then it won't be a matter of "if Chris Bosh stays," "if Hedo can make them relevant," or "if DeRozan lives up to the hype." It will simply be a matter of "when." When will the Conference Finals, NBA Finals and possibly even the Larry O'Brien Trophy, finally make their way up North?

The question of whether the Toronto Raptors can become relevant again, this season and for years to come, may have less to do with the Chris Bosh hoopla, less to do with the 2009 summer acquisitions, and everything to do with two guys in Calderon and Bargnani who have everything to prove.

Of course, with these two, it could go in the entirely different direction.
Source - Court Surfing - The Score
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Duh.

Definately know what the Bosh will bring, as it hasnt changed in a few years, they are the real question marks. And if they do in fact improve what effect will it have on Bosh himself)as in his scoring/defense relationship)
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Old 07-20-2009, 04:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I know the article is looking longer term, but as far as this coming season is concerned Calderon's impact doesn't worry me as much anymore.

Here's why:

Last year the team was too dependent on Jose to create offense. With his injuries he wasn't effective and the team really suffered without a credible back-up.
Now they've got Hedo and Jack - two players who can handle the ball, create for themselves and others, as well as knock down the jumper. All things the Raps rely on Jose to do as well. There's just such a better balance with this new line-up.

Andrea is another issue. He and Chris are going to have to take turns working down low, if only to provide Jose, Hedo and the 2 (DeRo? Wright?) room to operate. They can't have all five on the perimeter. I think Bosh can handle a bit more banging inside, at least part-time. It's up to Bargs to share the load and do his part on the glass as well.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is the first time I've heard talk of Jose being un-clutch. The only mishap I can really think of is his botched pass in the playoffs a couple years ago that sealed the series for New Jersey. Jose has hit a handful of big shots for this team.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I just hope they dont force Bargs down low over and over and over and over again and that Bosh actually goes down low.

Bargs' uniqness is what makes him special-making him stay down low will take alot of that away.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snooch View Post
I just hope they dont force Bargs down low over and over and over and over again and that Bosh actually goes down low.

Bargs' uniqness is what makes him special-making him stay down low will take alot of that away.
Agreed. Bosh and Bargs both need to be able to switch it up. They're great jump shooters, it opens everything else up for them.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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court surfing on the score? The show where they show clips of dunks and stuff. Hosted by adnan virk?
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Adnan has not hosted Court Surfing in a long time, unfortunately, and won't be doing so going forward as he works for MLSE now; the positive side of that is that we get to see a lot more of him during Raptors stuff.

I'm a little surprised that Jose is called "unclutch". I really don't remember many missed free throws, much less missed free throws down the stretch.

I agree, though, that if Jose can play consistently and Bargnani can continue to grow, the team will have a good year.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:

Will we see the anti-clutch Calderon, who saves all his turnovers and missed free-throws for a close fourth quarter

.
Im sorry but what Calderon was this guy watching? All this turnovers and missed free throws? Fuck the guy missed like 3 free throws all year. I guess all three were in the 4th quarter lol
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