Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Raptors, Desired?

This offseason for the raps has had a unique theme within the NBA and the history of the entire franchise. Although I'm sure many have noticed it, it has received fairly little publicity and appreciation. What I'm referring to is the fact that this offseason is highlighted by moves of players who WANT to come to Toronto. Unheard of 5 years ago, hell even just 5 months ago. Highlighted by an uncharacteristic burning of Portland, Hedo has definitely helped foster an atmosphere amongst the NBA where players want to come to join the Raps. Preceding this comes the rookie signing of DD, who seems to have been genuinely looking forward to joining the Raptors. Yes it's a rookie signing and he had no choice but still, he seems sincere in his appreciation. Couple this with Jack agreeing to sign an offer sheet with Toronto as a primary backup (which is generally unheard of for previous starters) and we're now looking at a franchise that I dare say seems credible. In recent news, Rasho turned down many suitors to join the Raptors for a ONE year deal and Delfino has done nothing but spread good publicity about the Raptors and his desire to return to Toronto, not just the NBA.

As a Raps fan, this is extremely bizarre for a team that has a history of its bright stars fleeing, demanding trades or players refusing to even show up. To me this signals the beginning of something new. Not only do we have a much more talented NBA team, but we seem to have the attention of the NBA and its players. It all points towards us seeing Bosh for years to come and other players wanting to come up north to join him and the franchise.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Follow Up Post- Carlos Delfino talked this morning on 1 reason why he might not be a Raptor

This morning on "Estudio Futbol" (another popular soccer morning show), Carlos Delfino was invited to talk about his future. He said that he was leaving in a few hours to Italy, where they would check to see if his shoulder needed to be operated.

If it does need operation, then he will miss the season for the Raptors and any future games he had planned to play with Argentina. But his intention so far is to find a mutual agreement and sign.

Here's hoping for the best...

Carlos Delfino speaks on Argentinean Television Show "Gol de Medianoche" about Toronto and the NBA

I just finished watching Carlos Delfino on a midnight soccer talk show called "Gol de Media Noche". There were a few interesting points he brought up about Toronto and the NBA.

1. He wants to come back to Toronto. He has travelled around the US while playing for the Raptors, and for him Toronto is his favorite city not only to visit, but to live.
2. He considers Jose Calderon a true friend, which according to him is rare in the NBA.

3. He said Ben Wallace was a monster (in size). He was a nice guy, but said that during his year in Detroit, Ben and other players spent most of the year making fun of the fact that Carlos couldn't speak English.

Ben Wallace will soon be awarded a whole wing in the "Douche bag hall of fame".

4. When in Detroit, the constant battle of Egos prevented any real team spirit from developing. Players would immediately go home after practices or games. But according to Delfino, this was not the case in Toronto. While playing for the Raptors, the players constantly went out together to the mall, dinner, eachother's houses. Everyone played their part to keep the locker room together.

In short, he went on a bit about how competitive the NBA was and how he can't wait to come back to the Raptors.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sticky Notes: Raps considered title contenders among Magic??

Some quick unscrambled words from the M4EV4 crew:


"I'm excited about this team, but there AIN'T no way, AIN'T NO FUCKING WAY this is even close to a championship team. AIN'T NO WAY! I'm just saying... because there's a lot of people out there saying, if we get J. Jack, Rasho and Delfino back... all of a sudden, the Raps are title contenders. The Raptors still need to get a really good guard, unless DeRozan turns out to be a superstar which we're all hoping for in two-three years...

But right now, no way the Raps can win a title without having a superstar, other than Bosh... "superstar"... only team to win without superstars were the Pistons, but those guys are incredible together."


"if everyone is injury free, it's LA's to lose, then boston. I find it hard to believe that boston will be injury free though

Given that, I would have to say best case scenario is the finals which is about a one and two thousand chance so it would take a lot of luck, a great regular season, and ideal playoff matchups but you never know in the NBA. I mean if a team comes together at the right time, anything is possible.

I would say its more possible than roko being the next ginobili ;)

I think people, myself included are just really excited because of how rapid the turnaround is and also because behind boston, we're probably now one of the most injury proof teams in the NBA. This definitely sits well with the fan base considering how last years season was lost because of one injury.

Btw whats the thoughts on Otis Smith. I used to think he was a good GM but I'm getting the impression that the magic just have a great owner with an open cheque book. His moves involve drastically overpaying, taking on long contracts that other teams dont want etc. Seems he's just making the easy decisions and his owner is whipping out the cash. To me part of being a good GM is working with limited resources. He seems to have the dream GM job.

Rashard, Vince, Keeping Gortat is costing them an extra 10 million. 6 million for bass. thats a lot of overpaying for a system that turns all players into stand still 3 point shooters."


"I still think the Vince Carter move was a great one, but I agree... that price they pay for Bass and Gortat is more excessive than anything. But I mean, Vince is more explosive than Turk and now they can score from anywhere.

I'm curious to see how the Bulls do after losing Gordon. I mean, I loved the guy, but he just takes so many shats! I think the Bulls probably won't even make the playoffs this year because they seem to be a team that either makes a run for the playoffs and then just completely stinks the following season.

Man, I loved Charlie V. That trade for T.J. was horrible... I wished the Raps could've kept him."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jack A Rap? Roko, & New Marcus Banks Nickname

The possiblity of Jarrett Jack becoming a Raptor just keeps on adding to the amount of presents that Raptors fans are getting this offseason. Colangelo sure isn't pulling any punches huh? I wasn't too sure of the proposed 4 years/$20 million offer at first but this could end up being another steal if not a solid deal in general. The Jack man is strong, can shoot, and play decent defense, and of course, most importantly, put our worries of struggling when Jose is resting on the bench at ease.

I like Roko, I really do - I probably like him more than most people, but I can't deny that he just hasn't shown enough yet - he's shown flashes of brilliance here and there, but he's definitely not stable enough to run a team given serious minutes. Plus his two summer league games have been subpar so far. But I am confident he will get there, so until then, it's good to have a proven point guard in Jarrett Jack who could arguably start on a lot of teams. Adding Jack should motivate Roko that much more.

And as for Marcus Banks, Jarrett Jack is now his torturer - Banks must've thinking he was so close to the possiblity of seeing court time this upcoming season but the possible arrival of Jack just kills it. Marcus Banks, just infuriates me now, thinking about it - what a deadbeat, his new name is Carcass Banks. He's useless, like a dead body .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What's Next For BC?

Well we all now how amazing that trade was as we essentially set the grounds for getting a GOOD nba bench by trading hump and jawai. Sad to see jawai go before really seeing what he can do but it was again a no brainer for the trade. Not to mention the fact that douby is not a bad third option for point guard or even second if roko is really struggling. But now that we have 12 million left to spend on three players, what are the next steps:

Well firstly we have to look out where are the wholes:

a) 6th man - wright is a great defensive pickup and he and george both played good minutes in dallas but i see george being more of a bench warmer and wright actually having a role for about 15-20 minutes a game. Having said that, great teams have that undisputed guy who can come in and drop at least 10-12 on a nightly basis. Contenders have that guy as a star but I don't see that as an option right now. Mainly because when your sixth man is a star, that position in your starting lineup is generally a whole that is filled when he comes off the bench. The raptors pretty much have their five set and instead they just need 3 guys off the bench who play CONSISTENT. No body needs to drop 20 nightly, there is enough offense on the starting lineup but we need 3 guys who can play defense and gives us consistency.

b) another big man. I like what reggie brings us on the boards and in toughness but he is a still a bit undersized. We need someone who is tall enough, and can provide some offense to spread the floor to complement his offensive rebounding.

c) point guard: whether this is needed is debatable based on how ukic really develops but it might be a good idea to pick up someone who can be an undisputed backup capable of staring if jose goes down again. It would be a real shame if the season goes in the toilet if jose gets injured again and with the talent we have now, it might be a safe and wise choice.

So whose available?

In terms of 6th man, it seems like its a lock that delfino is coming back at around 4 million with bird rights. To me thats great, he's fast, young, athletic, can definitely play good in the fast break and more importantly, plays on both ends of the floor

Other than that, there doesn't seem to be a lot of guys out there who can come in this year and be that guy. Only other options that I've heard are being considered are josh childress and marvin williams. Whether we can get them for the mid level and whether they are ok with being a 6th man is another story. Another option is klieza who I love as a back up small forward. If we were to sign delfino and use part of the mid on klieza, that would be a stellar bench backcourt but there are still other bases we need to cover. Also I've always liked Matt Barnes game so him instead of klieza wouldn't be a bad idea just because he can play 3 positions, and is fast enough to guard three position while klieza is a little stronger and slower and one sided.

That's pretty much the only option though in terms of whose left in free agency right now.

In terms of big man it seems pretty easy again. I live around the air canada centre and have seen rasho here with maurizo many times so it seems like a lock that he's coming back. I think the only question is really whether he does so on the bi annual or at the vet minimum. Either way, it's nice to have a big man who wants to be in toronto, can play defense, and can spread the floor a little bit. He contrasts reggie evans well and I think thats the kind of big man we need so they can play together. Not to mention, if god forbid someone goes down, both those big men can step up and start for a while. Having said that, if that does happen, I would have liked to have a third big man who can still provide a spark off the bench if either rasho or reggie has to start due to injury. Enter Pops. His cheap, we have bird rights, he's young so we can add him without really hurting any of our other options. The only thing is whether he's ok with sometimes possibly not even getting in the game.

Finally, we got the point guard position. Again whether we need it or not is another question based on roko's development, but I don't want to see this season squandered because of injury to ANY one player. We have the money, the space and the appeal to build a great deep team and we should use it. Here the most prominent name for the mid level seems to be jarret Jack who is use to coming off the bench, can start, and commands around the mid level. He would be my number one choice for that position. Again this need is a little less because if jose does go down, ukic or delfino can play point and turk can be a point forward so I'm ok with them using the mid level to sign another wing like klieza. He seems to be the only great back up out there with sessions likely to be kept by the bucks. If we can't get him for the mid level, I would probably take our chances on ukic and use the mid level to bring in another wing instead.

I think more than anything else, this money has to be used to find players who can play multiple roles and make us strong enough to whether injuries to the playoff. I definitely think we have the opportunity to contend with the right signings and I definitely trust BC to make the right move.

Ideally it would be this:

PG: Jose, Jack, Ukic, Banks, Douby
SG: DeRoazen, Delfino
SF: Hedo, Wright, George
PF: Bosh, Reggie
C: Bargnani, Rasho, Pops, O'Bryant

I realize that is 16 players but I feel they can buy O'Bryant or Douby out and it wouldn't be a big deal. That's an injury proof 15 man team for sure provided we are healthy for the playoffs, and even if we're missing one, we would still be strong enough to do some damage for a round or two. Again it does look ugly to have 5 point guards so I would be down with buying out Douby or bringing in klieza or barnes for part of mid level instead of jack but I definitely feel a solid pg backup could prove the difference in an injury proof season.

Regardless, BC IS THE MAN and has definitely quieted all his haters in Toronto.

Can't wait for next season!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Turkoglu A Tantalizing Scenario - Maybe Even Good

Okay, so you've probably heard the news that sent shock waves around the NBA: Hedo Turkoglu ditched Portland after pretty much closing the deal with them verbally in order to come to Toronto. I have a multitude of thoughts bouncing around in my head feverishly, possibly accelerated by the fact that I just drank a can of Red Bull.

First of all, wow..I honestly feel for Portland fans, that must suck big time. The Cleveland fans must be saying "now you know how WE feel!" Turkoglu has been in Portland for a few days, the negotiations were completed, just a matter of time to make it official, and he even had dinner with head coach Nate McMillan. Then he changed his mind. Just like that.

So I've read all over the Raptors blogosphere how bad it would be for Colangelo to sign Turkoglu, and the points are very valid:
  • It would be way to expensive..
  • Which would leave no cap space to sign any other good players
  • Turkoglu is too old
  • He was only that good because he had Dwight Howard in the paint
  • He's overrated
  • He can't play defense
And I honestly didn't want Turk to be our main pursuit either, I'd rather much prefer that Colangelo went after Artest, Ariza (which he apparently did), Kleiza, or just resign Shawn Marion. Or another situation I was secretly hoping for was that, after the Blazers got Hedo, Colangelo try and pry Rudy Fernandez away from them - He's a solid, solid talent with great potential, and would be a superb 2 or 3 while DeRozan gets used to the NBA game. As Malin has pointed out, he sees some Ginobili in him - again, not saying he will be ever in the same calibre as Manu, but he's definitely got a similar game. But obviously that's impossible now, so..

Back to Turkoglu - so like I was saying - he wasn't my first choice either, but I won't lie - I'm excited as hell. It's a tantalizing situation - we all know all the negatives. But they could be positives too. For one, yes he's 30, but guess what? Shawn Marion in 31, and Marion's game is all about his athleticism, while Hedo's never been known for jumping out of the gym. His game centres around his ability to use his height and body to get off shots against smaller opponents. Also, Marion is way past his prime, I would argue Turkoglu is right in the midst of his. Yes, you're right, he could be a defensive liability, but since when has Toronto been known for it's defensive presence, and since we're trying to play up-tempo basketball, we can maybe get away with it for even just the tiniest bit. Plus he's 6'9" - 6'10", so that has to bother his opponents somewhat...right?? Yup, we overpaid him, for sure - any team signing would, he's coming off his best year fresh from an NBA finals appearance, he's gonna get overpaid one way or another. What this does do however, is show Bosh the organization is dead serious about contending and getting back into the playoffs.

Furthermore, regarding that "He only looked so good because Dwight Howard got him open looks" argument - uhh...last time I checked, Chris Bosh draws double teams too. Now don't get me wrong, Bosh doesn't have anywhere near the beast of a presence that Howard has in the paint, but Bosh is definitely more skilled offensively than Howard, and he draws double-teams night in and night out. Remember when we signed Kapono and we were thinking, "Boy, Kapono is gonna make those defenders PAY for leaving him open to get to Bosh." Well, it's like that again, except 10 times better now.

The potential starting line up is...fascinating to me..because I have no idea if the team will discombobulate like it did with Jermaine O'Neal or gel to form a potent, cohesive unit:

PG - Calderon
SG - DeRozan
SF - Turkoglu
PF - Bosh
C - Bargnani

We would have a big, starting line up. We're talking about guys going from 6'10" to 7 feet in the front court. Offensively, there's no worries I think - it's not like Turkoglu will cancel out Bosh like J.O. did. And it'll be interesting to see how he meshes with Bargnani and rest of the squad. The bench is a huge issue again though, like last year, but already a bit better with Evans in there. The rest is hard to look at, and this is where it hurts - where is Colangelo going to get the money to sign even half decent players to fill out the roster? Sign-and-trade with Shawn Marion? Or will he work some more magic and sign a great unknown like he did with Jorge Garbajosa? I don't know, and all this together intrigues me, for better or for worse. But

We're most likely losing (in addition to Marion of course) Parker and Delfino too. I could give two shits about Parker but will dearly miss Delfino because I was really looking forward to having him back, I love his game and I'm not afraid to admit it. If there was someway, somehow, we could still resign him I'd be happy as hell.

Lastly, I have to mention this whole, actually wanting to come to Toronto situation. It brings me great joy as a Torontonian and Canadian in general to see a player actually cancel a deal he made in the last second because he wanted to be in T.O. Especially since players around the league generally will do anything NOT to play here with all the stereotypes they have of this city. We're naturally stigmatized whether we like to admit it or not, being the only team outside of the U.S. Portland has way more talent, and it's not like Turkoglu was taking a HUGE paycut to play for the Blazers instead of us (only $ 3 million more per year roughly). But the fact that Toronto's diversity and international flavour (as in a big Turkish population) actually drew a player here for once fills me with some pride, since it's usually the opposite.

On Bryan Colangelo: the guy has balls. His massive screw up with the O'Neal deal did not shake him one bit in terms of making gigantic signings that could go either way, and I respect that, for better or for worse. In his most important off season yet with the Raptors, you can't say he just sat on his ass and made soft decisions, which he's been accused of plenty and rightly so in the past. But if you look back, he's actually made tons of big-money deals with players who at the time seemed to get overpaid, highlighted by Steve Nash of course. This move by BC could backfire big time, or maybe, just maybe, it could be the key move that propels us to the next level.

I don't know, I have nooo idea, but I do think we have an intriguing situation in our hands this upcoming season. Again, not saying this deal will work or won't work, we have no idea until it actually plays out, but I do know one thing: I'm excited as hell.