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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 15.02.11
Ryan Wolstat's Coutside: Dunking at its best
Would Triano boo Bosh?
When Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Los Angeles phenom Blake Griffin met on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre it was a preview of what was to come this weekend at the NBA’s slam dunk competition.
Griffin is the clear favourite, though DeRozan says the only time he has ever lost a dunk contest was at last year’s all-star weekend.
While Griffin had one spectacular jam on Sunday, DeRozan had the dunk of the night and even stared down the Clippers bench afterwards.
DeRozan said there wasn’t any malice intended or any message trying to be sent:
“It’s just fun to get out and run and get a dunk. I don’t get to dunk as much as Blake during a game,” he said.
Griffin and the young Raptor had a discussion at the conclusion of the game about the dunk contest.
“He told me we definitely have to make (the contest) fun and entertaining for the fans and everything,” DeRozan said.
“Then he tried to ask me what I was going to do and I tried to ask him the same thing. Neither one of us wanted to tell the other what we were doing.”
Griffin’s teammate Al-Farouq Aminu said he can’t wait for the event, because he knows what DeRozan can do.
“I remember DeRozan in the dunk contest when we were in the McDonald’s (All-American high school) Game, he did some pretty cool dunks,” Aminu said.
“But I guess I have to go for my Clipper since I see him night in and night out do some amazing dunks. I think it might come down to creativity. It will be fun, hopefully Blake wins it.”
DeRozan said he has settled on four dunks he is ready to try and added each of them are “ones I have never done (in previous competitions) before.”
What kind of reception will Bosh get at the ACC?
You knew someone, at some point was going to bring Vince Carter’s name into the much anticipated return of former Raptors franchise player Chris Bosh.
Carter, after all, sets the tone when it comes to suffering the wrath of spurned Torontonians.
You just didn’t expect that someone to be head coach Jay Triano.
Asked if he were a fan, would he boo Bosh who returns to the ACC Wednesday night for the first time since leaving to join the Miami Heat, Triano gave the question a little thought first.
“If I was fan, I don’t know, maybe,” he said smiling just a little. “Probably just because I’m so tired of booing Vince.”
“But honestly I don’t know all the details,” Triano said more seriously. “Was it a planned thing to leave? If it was a planned thing I would boo for sure.”
Then the smile returned.
“As a fan though, I’d probably be tired of booing Vince and be looking for a new target anyway,” he said.
Feschuk: Bosh’s homecoming could get ugly, but probably won't
There are only six players left on the roster who played with Bosh — Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, Reggie Evans, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan.
Head coach Jay Triano knows Bosh as well as anyone while Alex English, Alvin Williams, Micah Nori and Eric Hughes all dealt with Bosh during some or all of his seven years with the organization as members of he coaching staff.
Some believe he will be booed, others aren’t sure what to think, but none believe he deserves to be booed.
Call it brothers in arms or the bond of teammates or whatever, the idea of Bosh being booed just doesn’t seem to compute with his ex-teammates.
“I don’t know,” Amir Johnson said when asked if he thought Bosh deserved to be booed Wednesday. “It’s up to the fans. I don’t think he did like what LeBron (James) did (to Cleveland), but I’m expecting some boos, definitely.”
Reggie Evans suggested if the fans saw Bosh’s move for what it was — a business decision to play for a championship team — the thought of booing him would never even enter their minds.
“No, I wouldn’t boo him. He was my teammate,” Evans said. “He just made a business decision. It wasn’t a personal thing. He just said he wanted to play for the Miami Heat. It’s not a loyal business. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for two teams. (Michael Jordan) played for two teams. There is no loyalty in this business. It’s a business.”
It was then suggested to Evans that a Raptor could endear himself to the home crowd real quick with a hard foul at Bosh’s expense.
Evans was having none of that. For one, he’s not ready to return to the court yet so he won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday, but even if he were, Evans has no beef with Bosh and hard fouls in Evans’ world aren’t handed out lightly.
“I wouldn’t foul Chris hard,” Evans said. “The only way I foul somebody hard is somebody would have to do something to me or my teammates. That’s the only thing that will trigger me to react like that. I would try to grab a guy to prevent him from getting an and one but just to foul hard, no. I would not do that.
“Chris is a professional. Great teammate. First class guy, on time, worked hard. He did great on the court, so I have nothing negative to say about him.”
Jose Calderon, one of Bosh’s closest friends during his seven years in Toronto, says off the court Bosh remains his friend, but once the ball is tipped, he’s just like anyone else not wearing a Raptors jersey, an opponent.
“When he was here he was a great teammate and a great friend. He played really good for us,” Calderon said. “He got us a lot of wins. After that it’s up to the fans. I wasn’t here when everything happened in the summer so I really don’t know what is going on. But we’ll see what happens.”
Bosh in search of homecoming advice? Just ask James
What’s more difficult to forecast, perhaps, is how the current Raptors will react to what amounts to a lost season’s biggest moment. Standard NBA protocol suggests that there’ll be an on-court love-in while the fans are getting their hate on, that Bosh will be welcomed by his opponents with fist bumps and man-hugs even after the faithful shower him in derision.
Still, once the ball is in the air, any savvy opportunist in a Toronto uniform will understand that there will be something at stake beyond what is, for the lottery-bound Raptors, a relatively meaningless win or loss.
To get specific: There’ll be folk-hero status bestowed on the man or men who makes Bosh’s life difficult. One blocked shot — if it’s Bosh’s shot you block—will be worth something like 100 blocked shots in the collective memory of Toronto’s rabid fan base. One dunk — if it’s Bosh’s stick-figure helplessness that frames your poster — might just be enough to turn an otherwise under-the-radar Raptor into a trending Twitter hashtag or a timeless message-board avatar. And one hard foul?
“(A hard foul on Bosh) would mean a great deal,” said Sonny Weems, the Raptors swingman. “It probably wouldn’t even be the fact that we fouled. It’s just Chris hitting the ground. That’d be the biggest thing about it.”
Nobody’s encouraging thuggery or flagrancy. Nobody’s discouraging thoroughness. And if you’re scanning Toronto’s lineup and don’t see a likely candidate for dirty work, you’re a perceptive observer. These Raptors are confirmed pushovers, the flimsiest defensive team in the league. In a game ruled by near-sociopathic alpha types, they’re mostly nice guys who are just happy to be pros.
So don’t be surprised if Jose Calderon, the long-time Toronto point guard, gives Bosh a hearty hug and a smile at the same moment the folks who pay Calderon’s salary (i.e. the fans) are expressing a less amorous emotion. It could get uncomfortable.
“He’s my friend. I played with him for five years,” Calderon said of Bosh. “We don’t have to make a big thing about (Bosh’s return).”
Timing conspires against Raptors' Colangelo
“If he wants some advice, then he can ask me. He’s seen what I went through Dec. 2 (in Cleveland) so he should be prepared,” James said after joining a handful of Miami teammates — Bosh not among them — at an optional workout at Conseco Fieldhouse here Monday.
“First of all, it will not be as bad as it was for me,” James said. “But he can expect boos, he can expect a little hatred from them, the fans giving it to him. As teammates, we’ll be there for him and we’ll make sure we’re in tune with our game plan, trying to get that win for him.”
Bosh makes his first appearance at the Air Canada Centre with the Heat on Wednesday in what’s expected to be the most electric atmosphere in the building this season.
Some fans felt abandoned when Bosh fled for Miami in July and remember his various pronouncements after leaving— he was critical of the availability of some cable television networks in the city among other complaints.
No one knows yet what the level of anger from the stands will be, just as no one knows how Bosh will handle it.
“I haven’t seen him in that situation yet,” said James, whose Heat play the Pacers here Tuesday night. “Chris is a great guy, he’s very laid-back and I probably have never seen people get on him about anything because he kind of stays to himself.
“He doesn’t get in people’s business and things like that so we’ll see, but the one thing about it is he doesn’t have to do it alone. He’s got 14 other guys and we have our game plan and we’ll be ready for it.”
Why Toronto Raptors fans still abhor CB4
The timing can't get much worse for Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo, who could learn as early as this week whether his contract is being renewed.
Injuries have thrust the team's NBA season into a tailspin, the Raptors have lost 16 of their past 18 games and ticket sales are down by about 1,600 seats a game compared to last season. No player has been captivating enough to fill the void left by former franchise player Chris Bosh.
Now the six-time all-star will be back in Toronto on Wednesday night, dressed in his Miami Heat uniform, to take on his old team – just in time to remind the Raptors' owner, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, how little Colangelo got in return for the star who fled to Florida.
Still, Toronto's chief architect, and two-time NBA executive of the year, appears optimistic that he'll be sticking around. His tailored suits have been scarce around the Air Canada Centre in recent weeks as he hunts for players to prop up his roster. His key advisers, senior vice-president of basketball operations and assistant general manager Marc Eversley, are on a 12-day scouting trip in Europe.
Colangelo won't specify the moves under consideration, saying only he's hunting for the “best talent,” as his team careens toward the draft lottery for the third successive season.
And he issues this note of caution: “Finding the right balance and blending the right pieces together is critical, but you have to realize that acquiring talent is not like going shopping or playing fantasy basketball. There are a lot of factors – some controllable and some not – at play.”
Bosh doesn't deserve to face heat: Raptors
It just seems as if the most eagerly-awaited return in Toronto sports is Phil Kessel’s scoring touch. Bah. A mere minor detail, compared to Chris Bosh’s return to Toronto on Wednesday. Call it anti-Valentine’s Day, because as much as Vince Carter quit on the Toronto Raptors and the city, at least Carter didn’t have access to social media to gloat about it. It’s up to the Raptors fan base to decide the validity of general manager Bryan Colangelo’s suggestions that Bosh was a different guy after the all-star break last season (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) but there should be no love at the Air Canada Centre for Bosh when he and the Miami Heat visit. And here’s hoping the Raptors don’t adopt the goofy, little brother approach of the Cleveland Cavaliers on LeBron James’s return. If they want to build their own identity, throwing CB4 around a bit would be a start
Bosh's homecoming will be anything but
Would the Toronto Raptors be better off if Chris Bosh was still on the team? Jay Triano is not sure.
"It's hard for me to answer that," the Raptors head coach said. "I don't know if we're better off. What's better off? Being capped out and playing .500 or having a group of young players that are developing and playing lots at this point and [have] a ton of money to spend and a good draft pick? What's better?
"Everybody's going to have their own opinion."
Raptors fans will voice their opinion about Bosh during Wednesday's game at the Air Canada Centre when the former face of the franchise plays in Toronto for the first time since signing with the Miami Heat in the off-season.
The Raptors have struggled since Bosh departed compiling a 15-40 record. Last season Toronto finished 40-42.
Bosh played in Toronto seven years, Carter six and a half. In NBA terms, outside of Hall of Fame names, that's about standard tenure with a team. Stoudamire and Carter never again matched their output here. McGrady put up great numbers, but only sniffed the second round of the playoffs - injured and on the bench.
There are of course obstacles to getting certain players in Toronto. I've known Americans have who lived here - and they did have concerns, from serious realities about how the health care system applies to them if they're expecting a child, to frivolous-yet-annoying factors like not getting ESPN. Antonio Davis worried about his kids learning the metric system (silly yes, but a parent's choice).
However, do people really believe that a young, male, NBA player would prefer playing in Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Portland, Indianapolis or a laundry list of NBA cities over Toronto from simply a lifestyle perspective? Home and visiting players love it here, and I don't need to get into the reasons why. The key to keeping the good ones is winning. That's why players generally don't complain (yet) about plying their trade in Utah because they've been contending for the better part of 30 years.