Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Off To Nowhere

Doug Smith's latest blog entry following another loss by the Toronto Raptors is titled, "Tell me you were surprised by a bad game following a good one".

It is the Raptors sixth loss, where they have been beaten by more than twenty points. The Raptors are predictable. Pay attention to their efforts in the first quarter and the remainder of the game can be determined.

“It’s a good team, a playoff team. Probably fifth best in the East. But I have no idea why they can’t play hard every night. If you get them down, they go away.”¹

The Raptors are "a good team" on paper, but unfortunately the "good" materializes in reality in snippets. Chris Bosh continues to flourish, but his individual effort cannot bail out the uninspired collective.

“The Magic offered a three-year deal for almost $24-million (US) and Toronto gave me five years and ($53)-million,” Turkoglu said, “They gave me that kind of money and Orlando did not want to pay".

It is never right to fault individual players. But when the second highest paid player struts around on court, while another player like Sonny Weems who barely makes a full million, grinds his heart out, then one is forced to speak out.

“On today’s Raptors ‘You ain’t going nowhere with 7-footers shooting three-pointers. You can’t put four or five scorers on the floor at one time. You can, but you ain’t going nowhere. You got four or five scorers on the floor, ain’t enough shots in a game, in a quarter, for everybody to be consistent. You need your two scorers, outside threat and a post-up threat. You need your sixth man who can score. You need another guy that can just be an all-around energy guy, and you need another guy who can just, you know, play basketball.” - Charles Oakley

Tell me again how the team's problem is not rooted in toughness and I will continually disagree. Explain to me how it is about selflessness, yet how many times do I have to sit and watch Bargnani or Belinelli launch a shot early in to the shotclock when not one of our players is in position to rebound? And why even worry about selflessness when problems are coming from the defensive end?

Toughness, especially at the defensive end wins games. And the toughness I speak of is one, based on a symmetry of the mental and physical. The Raptors are an NBA best, 8-0 when they hold their opponents to less than a hundred points.

I look back at one particular year when the Raptors were 47-35 with a line-up that epitomized effort/heart: Alvin Williams, Vince Carter, Morris Peterson, Charles Oakley and Antonio Davis. Then you have Jerome Williams and Dell Curry on the bench, which gave you both energy and a sixth man, who can score.

Look at the present Raptors roster and the rest will speak for itself.


  1. Oakley nailed it when he said that. We still have way too much talent to be this shitty though, defense or not. It's just unfathomable how the players show such a lack of effort out there on the court.

  2. "and not Alvin Williams facilitating communication workshops while Gherardini translates." LOL!