Fossil Fool: The Only Solution
Old 07-11-2010, 09:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'll give you the juicy parts of the long-ass read here. Find the rest of the long-ass read there -

Raptors Blog » The Only Solution - Toronto Raptors Blog & Message Forum

Maybe read it at the beach on your iPad? And don't just go skimming over all the same damn points I've been hammering home for weeks now just because of the insufferable repetition - you'll miss all the great jokes, and that one really moving passage that might change your life forever.

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One word has dominated Bryan Colangelo’s communications over the last couple of months. Whether it be in scrums, more formal pressers, or his most recent letter to fans, he has said it over and over: evolve. OK. So what has happened with the loss of Chris Bosh is not something that wasn’t anticipated? Good I guess, although I think he repeatedly tried to assure us that if Bosh left there would be a fair bit coming back. Maybe he will manage to convert the Traded Player Exception into something fairly exceptional. If that happens then we should all move on and allow the evolving to continue.

But at this moment I see a flashpoint that cannot be ignored before we just think this team will go on with business as usual. Bryan has been here for some time now. In his first year he made an excellent assessment of what was needed, put forward a blueprint with a core that looked promising, and he got real real results. They are results that he still throws out there to vindicate himself. At the end of the season he pointed out that the team averaged around 30 wins before he arrived, was averaging around 40 since he arrived, and he promised to keep the team “evolving” towards 50 wins. That sounds lovely, but the 47 win team happened four seasons in the past, and instead of evolving, they look to be eroding and losing traction. And it’s hard to see how losing an All-Star, and if nothing else, just about the only guy that gets to the free throw line, is going to push them onwards.

What is actually evolving, I suspect, is the message. And there is a note of desperation involved. Was Bryan responsible for putting an old video of Chris Bosh saying he wanted to be “the man” back into circulation on NBA.com? It seems pretty clear that it wasn’t Bosh. Bosh could have linked to it through his own website. Instead it looks like an attempt to undermine the character of the same guy that Bryan signed four years ago, at that time offering a testimony in the most glowing terms, of Chris Bosh’s character, above and beyond his talents. When Colangelo talks now, he constantly slips various references to Bosh changing his mindset, being more concerned with his brand than with basketball, and most recently, of being there hand in hand with himself as every move was made. Without admitting that this team outright sucks, he is quite brilliantly offering up his character signing as being at least somewhat responsible for the suckage.
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No - it doesn’t add up. Sooner or later, Colangelo is going to have to accept that the focus is going to land squarely on him. Four years ago he was quite happy to accept the perception of himself as the guy that was going to turn things around here. Again - I have to give him credit for getting off to a brilliant start. This team needed to pair Bosh up with another consistent scoring option. He got that done. He signed John Salmons. Boom. Job well done. Give this team a two-way wing player like that, along with TJ Ford, and the potential of Bargnani with Bosh, and it wasn’t hard to see this team evolving into something at that point. And yet it did turn into nothing much pretty quickly. Salmons somehow decided to swim downstream (now there’s a sure sign of evolution). TJ got whacked. Garbajosa too. Bargnani’s mental strength was not as steely as the pre-draft testing suggested. Bosh kept patient and kept getting stronger. Maybe the whole time he was thinking of being on a real team down the road, and down in South Beach, but the chance to get something done here in that time was present all the same. The means of reversing some bad luck had to be there to some extent. If not - starting over, and looking to evolve all over again would have been a little easier to swallow many years earlier. He failed to have the necessary foresight. He failed to act. He never missed an opportunity to sell.
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Is it all on Colangelo? I wish I could say yes. I think the job of GM in this city is simply very difficult and requires more good luck than bad. But if Colangelo is going to bask in a good perception upon his arrival, he needs to accept whatever poor perception might be cast upon him now. I simply wish he would not pee in a cup and tell me it’s Gatorade (or G, or whatever the hell it is now), or steal that brand’s latest slogan to try and sell some seats. After years of not being able to deliver what he’s been selling, he needs to just give us the straight goods and straight talk as much as possible. At most: let him pee in a cup and call it P. I’ll live with that. Because even if he offers a little bit of wizardry this off-season, this team will at best only give some indication of what kind of foundation they might be able to build upon. This team will be much more like the primordial goo where DNA first came together, than any kind of life-form worthy of evolution. If that is too hard to sell, it’s only because of how long we have seen him come up short. Which is a shame. The only thing that might have evolved from Dinosaurs are birds. And maybe that’s alright. Maybe this team takes that sort of step and finally takes flight after 15 years. They don’t need to fly into the sun or fly like an eagle. Just find some wings and show us some stability for a few years. With a little luck that can happen. Or maybe Colangelo just gets tarred and feathered, and sticks his head in the sand.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ostriches are like dinosaurs - large, scary, powerful legs...

What I don't get in all this whirlwind of criticism, from LX as well as a lot of others, less eloquent, but no less persistent, is any kind of an alternative path he should have taken. OK, all right, we get it, you guys don't think he should've tried to "win now". To wit, he shouldn't have tried to build a team around Bosh that could start winning games ASAP, or if he should have, it should have been a different team.

I have a suggestion for every critic - put himself in BC's shoes when he arrived here and tell us all what YOU would have done as the Raptors' GM had they hired you instead of him. Make the post as long as you feel like, we promise to read it through, but try to avoid using the all-powerful hindsight. Please.
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Old 07-11-2010, 09:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I did say a lot of good luck would be required here. But more than anything I would like to see him stick to some firm principles. And maybe he did. Maybe he truly believes that tinkering around the edges of a team designed to have five offensive threats of some sort on the floor at once will eventually evolve into a good enough team defensively to win. If that's the case then I wish he would just leave quietly in the dark of the night. But really I like what he did when he arrived very much, and I wish he hadn't strayed from the principles that were in play then.

If time constraints - with only a four year deal from Bosh - caused problems, then a red light should have gone off, and he should have traded Bosh at the end of the 41 win season. My criticism - and I don't think it's entirely unfair and all about hindsight - is that he's about selling more than anything else, and he was going to sell a Bosh team for as long as he could, rather than bring about the real stability that was required. Now that's a generalization. There is plenty of grey in there. Maybe he saw Bosh staying for the full term as the best means to gaining stability and just couldn't complete the puzzle in time. I just think there were a few important moments where selling seats might have overridden the need to follow a proper blueprint.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't support every move he made either and I totally agree with the defensive deficiencies of the players BC brought on board. Personally, for instance, I wouldn't have retained Triano and would have gone for an established international defensive-minded coach instead...

My request had to do with the overall understanding of how you or any other critic would have approached team building exercise in Toronto. I'd love to have seen a credible overall strategy that would be different from BC's, but also realistic and, conceivably, leading to better results, at least in theory.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great read! I still have some confidence in Bryan Colangelo. I do not think it is entirely his fault. He makes moves that look good on paper but sometimes don't pan out. It is the GMs job though to work through this and try to fix these problems and I think Colangelo has given us his best. Is it Colangelo's fault Turkoglu showed up out of shape to training camp after he got signed to a big a deal. Also some blame needs to be put on the surrounding players. Most of them didn't give it their all. There was no true leader to pump everyone up and make them give it their all which may come from the coach or a leader on the court. I agree with your dinosaur analogy. I kind of think of it is our old team which could have been one era's dominant creatures go extinct and next year's team kind of like our team hatching out of an egg. Irregardless of how we do, I think its great we have some hard working, young, athletic players and I can't wait to see them develop!
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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LX, don't you find it interesting that BC's decided to provide us with more ammunition in this discussion? I mean, we'd still have to figure out whose position these moves support, but one thing is for sure - Colangelo is not a man who'd sit on his hands and wait. He is one active dude, and one thing remains constant in all of this - his i18n angle.
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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LX and MikeTO in the same thread...

*sniff sniff* ....Memories....misty water colored memories.....
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Evolve is just a clever way of saying re-building without having to admit it to the fans, especially season ticket holders. Damn, I'm awesome. I'm a public relations genius. Time to go celebrate the latest trades by purchasing a custom tailored suit.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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LX, don't you find it interesting that BC's decided to provide us with more ammunition in this discussion? I mean, we'd still have to figure out whose position these moves support, but one thing is for sure - Colangelo is not a man who'd sit on his hands and wait. He is one active dude, and one thing remains constant in all of this - his i18n angle.
ooh - I had to google that. I wonder how much is his fetish and how much is simply necessity. In the sense that he loves and knows the international game, and players from the US will never tend to look at this place as overly desirable, I guess it's likely a good fit all the way around.

Benzo - wanna talk memories? Remember when you promoted the idea of building this team almost exclusively with international players? I've been thinking about starting a thread proclaiming that you were right, or that MAYBE you were right. I'm just not quite there yet, but I'm starting to see that out of necessity it might be a way to go. And then get any euro coach that Mike would love to see. If they could get two way players in the mold of Ilyasova and Scola I'd be ecstatic myself. And if they could ever get a top seed with some stability, then they would have that much more to choose from - the stigma that sticks here would start to fade, you'd think.

In any case - Bryan is wiping the slate clean to a certain extent. It looks like not only will there not be a franchise player, but that there won't be much on the roster committed for any great length of time. Just please let a real foundation become evident and start to take shape over the course of the next season.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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ooh - I had to google that. I wonder how much is his fetish and how much is simply necessity. In the sense that he loves and knows the international game, and players from the US will never tend to look at this place as overly desirable, I guess it's likely a good fit all the way around.

Benzo - wanna talk memories? Remember when you promoted the idea of building this team almost exclusively with international players? I've been thinking about starting a thread proclaiming that you were right, or that MAYBE you were right. I'm just not quite there yet, but I'm starting to see that out of necessity it might be a way to go. And then get any euro coach that Mike would love to see. If they could get two way players in the mold of Ilyasova and Scola I'd be ecstatic myself. And if they could ever get a top seed with some stability, then they would have that much more to choose from - the stigma that sticks here would start to fade, you'd think.

In any case - Bryan is wiping the slate clean to a certain extent. It looks like not only will there not be a franchise player, but that there won't be much on the roster committed for any great length of time. Just please let a real foundation become evident and start to take shape over the course of the next season.
Forgot about the Euro theme ... the theme should be International.
There are great players around the world that would prefer playing in Toronto over playing in the US. Our culture makes it easier for the Players and their families. I'm certainly not stating we shouldn't have US born players ... far from that ... BC needs to ensure these guys are willing to play here.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yep, that's what "i18n" stands for - software developers are lazy and use it instead of typing "internationalization" which happens to have exactly 18 letters between i and n.

Fetish or not for Colangelo, both Benzo and I were suggesting this course out of necessity - those damned Americans keep leaving us, don't they? Messina or Blatt, IMO, were a perfect fit for such a crew precisely because both are top-notch international coaches with particular talents in teaching team defense.

One thing is certain - Toronto as a city would get behind such team 100%.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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100 percent? Not quite sure about that. It would depend on the players and what kind of success they had. And yeah - the americans keep leaving, but I suspect they also tend to do everything they can to never come here in the first place. So the necessity is becoming all too apparent.

At the same time it is pretty cool to see chemistry developing amongst the young 'uns, and JJ. I would still hope to see that sort of chemistry grow into the sort of situation they have in OKC, and for that matter, if we could get a big chunk of offense directly from defensive stops like they do in OKC, then who knows where things could go. A guy like Messina just might be able to make that work with the sort of mix here. At this point I would be intrigued at the prospect.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:20 PM   #13 (permalink)
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OK, perhaps I am not qualified to speak for the entire city, but I would still stipulate that a hard-working international team that is visibly different from the rest of the league would be embraced by the locals.

As for the coaching - yep, I've never warmed up to Triano at the helm. I am not sure who could be available this summer and I doubt Colangelo is really ready to let Jay go, but his job is certainly dependent on the results (not necessarily win-loss record) of this upcoming season.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:30 PM   #14 (permalink)
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And if they end up being locked out after next season, then maybe we get to see a whole new look when they return, just as a bunch of contracts will expire. The timing is about right, and maybe some luck comes our way as well.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:36 PM   #15 (permalink)
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We'll need tons of luck, that's for sure.

Personally, I hope Colangelo stays on with the Raps. For all his faults, he is a man of actions as well as words, not afraid of admitting his mistakes and has the best cache around the league of all who've ever been a GM here. What he really needs is a can't miss draft pick who will turn into super-star and stay to win here.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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We'll need tons of luck, that's for sure.

Personally, I hope Colangelo stays on with the Raps. For all his faults, he is a man of actions as well as words, not afraid of admitting his mistakes and has the best cache around the league of all who've ever been a GM here. What he really needs is a can't miss draft pick who will turn into super-star and stay to win here.
So what you're saying is that we need luck rather than a solid GM?

Could be lol... could be.

And to answer your question (what would anyone else have done if in BC's place?) I can tell you pretty easily.

1) Re-sign Bosh (which he did)

2) Do everything possible to acquire (through draft or trade) a solid, young PG or SG (all-star quality).

3) Fill in the rest of the roster with tough, scrappy defensive-minded players.

I don't see how this couldn't have been done in 4 years.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:24 PM   #17 (permalink)
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2) Do everything possible to acquire (through draft or trade) a solid, young PG or SG (all-star quality).
How? Gimme a plausible scenario, please.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
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How? Gimme a plausible scenario, please.
I'm not sure that I can Mike.... because I'm not privy to the goings on in the back offices of every team.

Many good perimeter players were dealt over the past 4-5 seasons though. Quite a few were drafted as well.

Personally I would have passed on Bargs and taken a swingman like Gay or Roy (even if I had to trade down). There certainly wasn't any sure-fire #1 pick that year and I daresay that BC could have traded down if he wasn't completely enamored with his latest euro-project.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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How? Gimme a plausible scenario, please.
I'm gald you asked him that. Most people respond to the types of questions you're asking with sweeping generalizations. I wouldn't be surprised if he plays the Brandon Roy card. In a conversation about how he thinks Babcock is better than BC, he asked "why couldn't BC have traded back and taken Roy?"

edit - yup, it happened.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:47 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm gald you asked him that. Most people respond to the types of questions you're asking with sweeping generalizations. I wouldn't be surprised if he plays the Brandon Roy card. In a conversation about how he thinks Babcock is better than BC, he asked "why couldn't BC have traded back and taken Roy?"

edit - yup, it happened.
How would anyone on this site provide anything more than a sweeping generalization?

I could pull a trade out of my ass and say that BC could have dealt Bargs for Ellis at the trade deadline but that certainly wouldn't have any kind of credibility behind it.
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