Eric Smith's "Class Act"
Old 03-26-2008, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Eric just posted this on his blog a few minutes ago. Now that I've had a few hours to stew this over, the more excited and optimistic I am for this team. If such a gesture gets Ford back on track then it only does this team good no matter how much you "hate" Ford. Bottom line is we're all Raptor fans and we want to see this team succeed. Hopefully the anti-Ford fan club can take a break for the next couple games and see how this transpires before they march and protest outside Colangelo's office demanding for Ford to be dealt or Sam to be fired, STAT.

I think these roster changes that Sam, BC and Jose suggested will make this team stronger and much deeper if that's even possible. Let's see how it pans out over the next 3 or 4 games because as Eric alluded too in his blog the worse case scenario is taking Ford out and putting Jose back in as a starter. So right now we have nothing to lose and potentially more to gain.

From Mr. Smith himself:

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Originally Posted by Eric Smith's Blog
So the Raptors are switching up the starting line up on a couple of fronts and one of the moves was instigated or initiated by the man who will now find himself on the bench.

Wow.

These kind of situations simply don’t happen in professional sports. They’re very rare. But then again, Jose Calderon is a rare breed to begin with.

Calderon sat down with Bryan Colangelo and Sam Mitchell on Tuesday and basically said (I’m paraphrasing / speculating ) … ‘Let TJ start. Move me back to the bench. We’ve got to find a way to get TJ going and it’s clear that he just hasn’t had ‘it’ as a back-up. Let’s go back to the way it was - for the betterment of the team - and see if we can get things back on track for the final 12 games of the season’.

Colangelo and Mitchell agreed … and that was that. Effective immediately, TJ Ford will be reinserted into the Raptors starting line up. Calderon will return to his back-up role; a job he had when the season began and throughout last season as well.

While he was outstanding for most of his time as a starter (struggling a bit over the last couple of weeks (like the entire team has)), Calderon has proven time and time again that he can be effective in either role. He seems just as comfortable with the 2ND unit as he does with the starters. But the same can’t be said for Ford. When TJ finally returned after missing 24 games, he never really seemed to adjust to his back-up role. He seemed confused at the best of times; struggling with when to be a distributor and facilitator … and when to be an attacker and dominator.

Ford was, arguably, the best Raptor on the floor for the first month of the season. Before he got hammered by Al Horford in Atlanta - and contemplated retirement - Ford was playing some of the best ball of his career. And he was coming off a hugely-successful 2006-07 campaign as well … when he and Chris Bosh led the Raptors to a franchise-high 47 wins and the Raptors first-ever Atlantic Division Championship. In returning to the starting line up, the hope is that Ford can find that magic touch again and finally return to form.

Ford isn’t the only change though. Rasho Nesterovic will be back in the starting unit … replacing Andrea Bargnani. As I wrote the other day, Bargnani has regressed this season. If you’re not moving forward - even if you’re simply standing still - you’re regressing in my eyes. However, I still believe Bargnani can be a special player. His growth process may simply take longer than others. So why not allow the guy to take those baby steps off the bench as opposed to ‘in the fire’ as a starter?

Nesterovic provides the Raptors with a lot of size, solid rebounding and defence, and veteran experience that Toronto could use in their final 12 games and into the post-season (no matter who they face). His presence amongst the starters allows Bargnani to come in against 2ND unit guys now - like he did last year. If Bargnani comes in and he’s hot … you stick with him. If not, you know you always have Rasho to go back to … and options like Kris Humphries as well.

Some folks may be critical of these moves - especially Ford going in for Calderon - but clearly something had to be done. After losing 7 of their last 8 and suffering through a TERRIBLE month of March, a shake-up was needed. While there were rumblings about making a move with Jamario Moon (for Carlos Delfino), the rookie swingman has answered his critics with some outstanding play - especially on the glass - over the past week or two. Thus, the most obvious place to make a change was at the point - where you have a solid 1-2 punch - or at the center spot … where you have a vet (Rasho) who is ready to go whenever he’s needed.

Best case scenario … this change ignites the Raps and they finish their final 12 games on a high note and they have momentum going into the post-season.

Worst case scenario … TJ still doesn’t break out of his funk and Mitchell is forced to go back to Calderon again.

We’ll see how it all plays out … beginning with the Pistons and Raptors tonight at 7pm on the FAN.

E. Smith
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well i definitely want to see the team do well again and would be happy with whatever combination does the trick. Let's hope this gets us going again. Last few weeks have been tough.
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well i definitely want to see the team do well again and would be happy with whatever combination does the trick. Let's hope this gets us going again. Last few weeks have been tough.
My exact sentiments.

Calderon is one of a kind. It's very rare to see a PG that can make his unit - whether it is starting, or coming of the bench - play well together.

Let's hope we can re-sign him.


Go Raps!!!
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Old 03-26-2008, 11:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bosh made a good point in the post game tonight. TJ is just as gracious as Jose in relinquishing the starting role to Jose when he returned. It sounds from everyone invovled, TJ included that it wasn't being a spoiled sport that was causing his struggles, more just in preperation and expectations of being a bench point guard vs starting. In other words TJ wasn't playing bad in protest, he just hasn't been accustomed to it and at present isn't suited for the backup whereas Jose has lots of experience now with both. I've always felt TJ starting and Jose backing him up was best for this team, and I hope tonight wasn't a fluke... it reminded me a lot of watching the team last year and that felt good
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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We need to re-sign him in order to hold the chemistry on this team, otherwise start all over again.
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Jose's value just went up again.

Teams are salivating over this.

Some idiot posted that it shows his lack of confidence, and wa sa detriment.

All I can say is this, messageboards are free, so we can all participate, but just cuz you type it, doesn't m,ake it right.

Jose Calderon is a super valuable player for any serious team. No way we lose him, but he's gonna cost us large.
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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no he won't - his price will go down. Most GMs are idiots anyway, and most don't have the money to spend. Memphis and Philadelphia are stacked at pg, and they're the only one with some cap-space. Even Philadelphia won't have a lot because they need to sign Igoudala. Unless Colangelo decides to let Jose leave, we will keep him for a decent amount. Maybe during today's meeting, they've already decided his salary for next year. You've got to believe that Jose's agent would advise him very strongly against this move, UNLESS he already got what he wanted for his player.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:08 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sick, Wicked and Nasty! View Post
Bosh made a good point in the post game tonight. TJ is just as gracious as Jose in relinquishing the starting role to Jose when he returned. It sounds from everyone invovled, TJ included that it wasn't being a spoiled sport that was causing his struggles, more just in preperation and expectations of being a bench point guard vs starting. In other words TJ wasn't playing bad in protest, he just hasn't been accustomed to it and at present isn't suited for the backup whereas Jose has lots of experience now with both. I've always felt TJ starting and Jose backing him up was best for this team, and I hope tonight wasn't a fluke... it reminded me a lot of watching the team last year and that felt good
Ford may not have been accustomed to playing off the bench, but it looked like he wasn't improving on it. The job of the PG is to make the players on the floor better. If Calderon can do it, it only makes sense (and fair) to expect the same from Ford. But alas, this goes to show how much more valuable - in the PG role - Calderon is, than Ford. Whether it's mental/physical Jose delivers it like a pro'.

No, doubt, Ford is very talented - and I'd rather have him than some of the other ungracious PG's that passed through TO - but for all the money he's making let's not make too many excuses for him. Bosh, as a leader, should be calling all his teammates out.

But, hey! if both are happy in their new rotations, all that matters is the team winning.

I hope lastnight wasn't a fluke either. Might have been, but regardless, I think it can only get better as long as we're healthy.
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