Saturday March 21 2009 – 1:25pm Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

Rather than responding to some of the ”comments” in my previous blog (in last night’s Raptors/Bobcats recap), I figured I would write something fresh …  

I am open to criticism.  It comes with the job.  It’s part of the business.  And when you’re covering “sports” and interacting with the fans it’s only a given that there are bound to be differing opinions and disagreements.

But some of you have to realize the difference between optimism, pessimism, and realism. 

And the word “objectivity” comes to mind as well.

You’re entitled to think what you like — that we (Jonesy and I) have rose-coloured glasses or that we’re too supportive of Jay Triano — but, of course, I/we beg to differ.

When have we not said that this has been a “brutal year”?  When have we not said this has been a “disappointing year”?  And have we not be saying for almost 6 weeks now that “we won’t mention the ‘P’ word (playoffs) anymore because this team simply isn’t good enough and hasn’t warranted that kind of respect; the respect that would deservedly put them in any post-season discussions”?

Plus, as recently as last night, did we not suggest that a major overhaul of the roster is needed?  I specifically remember talking about the glaring weakness at the 2-3 (needing a guy who can break down his man … create his own shot … and give you 18-20+ on any given night).  I remember talking about the weak bench – which was a strength just two seasons ago (and even last year to a certain extent) – and how it needs to be drastically improved.  I also recall a discussion about Jose Calderon (one of the favourite targets for many fans this year) that Jonesy and I had … where we both agreed that he has struggled – for many reasons – with his first full-time starting role.  And, finally, there was a quick chat on Shawn Marion too … and the fact that he may not be the right fit for this team.  He’s a piece to the puzzle but maybe not that SCORING 2-3 they need.

So I’m failing to see where we’re so overly positive about this team.  I’m not quite sure how those stances are rose-coloured.  They’re objective.  They’re realistic.  They’re not Chicken Little.

Of course, the other two targets are Bryan Colangelo and Jay Triano.

(A) Colangelo.  I think I speak for Jonesy when I say that we aren’t jumping on the ‘Attack BC’ bandwagon because I think many of you are hypocrites for doing so.  The only people that are justified in their criticism of Colangelo right now are the people that DIDN’T think this was a 44-48 win team at the beginning of the season.  If you didn’t think this team was capable of at least holding on to the 6TH seed they had last year – or finishing even higher at #4 or #5 – then kudos to you.  You called it.  And you have every right to voice your displeasure.  However, if you’re like me (and MOST of you are), you had greater expectations for this team.  And while the Raptors have come nowhere close to meeting those expectations, I don’t think it’s fair to pin it all on Colangelo.  We saw what he saw (and when I say “we” – I’m clearly referring to the majority of you/us out there that had great hopes for the 2008-09 Raptors).  Thus, I’m giving the man a chance to fix the problems.  I still have faith in his abilities as a general manager and I think it’s absolutely preposterous for anybody to think that Colangelo should be fired.  We can argue about whether or not BC is in the upper tier or lower tier of GMs in the league, but to say that he’s not capable of being a GM or that he deserves to be let go at this time is crazy. 

(B) Triano.  Some of you may call them “excuses”, but I call them “facts” …
Of the 6-7 coaches who have been fired this year, only one of the replacements has a record better than .500 (Tony DiLeo in Philly – who, by the way, has the security blanket of a front office job to fall back on when he’s done — something the other coaches, like Triano, don’t have.  Most of these coaches don’t know where they’ll be next year).  One of the greatest coaches of all time, Larry Brown, said as recently as this week that Triano is a great coach and that he needs (and maybe even deserves) a Training Camp to implement his style and his system.  Brown said it’s all-but impossible to come in mid-stream — whether it’s 17 games in or 47 games in — and magically turn things around.  Plus, as Jonesy has pointed out many times, take a look at Mike D’Antoni’s record in Phoenix the year he took over … and then look at what he has done since. 

I have yet to say “bring back Jay Triano”.  However, I have yet to say “fire Jay Triano”.  Quite honestly, I don’t know what Jonesy has or hasn’t said on the issue.  I’m objective and realistic enough to understand that if he is let go, it will be because Colangelo feels a new voice or vision is needed.  It will be because the team simply didn’t turn it around the way BC had hoped for when he replaced Sam Mitchell with Triano.  But if Jay IS brought back, it will be because Colangelo feels that the Canadian showed promise – even in all of the losses – as a head coach.  It will be because his players like and respect him.  It will be because of stability — wanting to keep a familiar face and voice in the fold instead of going with a 3rd coach in less than 12 months.  And perhaps it will be because Colangelo realizes that Triano has had to deal with no less than 2 major pieces being injured for 10+ games (Jermaine O’Neal and Jose Calderon (and Calderon hasn’t been truly healthy all season)) and a major trade (O’Neal and Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks) completely altering the look and make-up of this team.  Sprinkle in the stress and circus (for the players, fans, media) of the coaching change itself, all of the speculation of Bosh’s future in Toronto (plus his injury too — which kept him out of the All Star game and still lingers slightly right now) and the lack of a quality back-up point guard (Roko Ukic will be there one day – but he’s not there yet) and it’s understandable why Triano hasn’t enjoyed a lot of success. 

Given all of those facts and issues, do you honestly think that Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich would be better than 16-36 right now?  I know I don’t.

So there’s where I stand. 

Criticize all you like — that’s part of sports / sports radio.  But understand the difference between objectivity and subjectivity; pessimism and realism.

E. Smith

52 Responses to “For The Record”
  1. 1.

    i agree with your thoughts! makes a lot of sense. i’m curious to know what you think about the “chemistry” of the raptors – in other words, do u believe that there must be good chemistry on a team to be successful or does talent and stats override everything else? is it possible to have good chemistry but a poor team?

    - andrew
  2. 2.

    I agree. I have been aqauinted with fans who are extremely knowledgable and informed and knew that the JO trade would not work out. Although they were bashed by the 90%, they stuck with their decision and proved right by the end. They were also right with Calderon in that he isn’t a starting pg, but would fit best as a back-up. However, these same fans still want Colangelo around, so I think everyone needs to chill and atleast let Colangelo fix this.

    I however do disagree with your last point. I’m betting that Jackson or Popovich would have a better record than Triano (by several games – certainly closer to the 8th seed) had they replaced the team when 7-8. This team has no chemistry, effort, desire and deciving talent. However, they are HOF coaches for a reason with all their experience. I
    m betting the Raptors are better today with them. To say they both would be where Jay is right now isn’t a great analysis. Would the Lakers or Spurs be where they are with Triano running the show? I remember when Ginobili and Parker was out for weeks, but the Spurs stayed .500 with the likes of Bonner, Mason, Hill, etc. It was incredible.

    Thanks as always,

    - Daniel
  3. 3.

    Well said, Eric.

    But your injury excuse is flat-out silly. Every team…every team…deals with injury issues, some never even leaked to the media and fans.

    This has been a relatively injury-free season for the Raps. And, I believe the injuries we’ve had have not significantly affected the team’s record. Could they have won a handful more with guys like Bosh and Jose playing every single game? Of course. But they’d still be piles of games behind most of the teams in the Eastern Conference.

    And pointing out Jermaine’s injury is like complaining about Toronto winters being cold…we all know too well about his last three years of constant injuries and missed games. The fact remains the trade was doomed from the day it was announced — regardless of what we may or may not have been giving up, we were getting a very, very worn out player on the heels of retirement.

    Not too unlike the Hakeem Olajuwon signing…except we were forced to give up two adequate NBA starters in Rasho and TJ. Not stars, but serviceable.

    One last thing — as I’ve mentioned before, Eric — hearing you say that we are all in the same preseason predictions boat…BC, yourself, the fans, players, etc…makes no sense whatsoever.

    It is NOT the fans’ responsiblity to accurately predict how many wins a team will accumulate. We simply don’t have enough facts.

    But, it ABSOLUTELY is the responsibility of the GM to have his team perform at a level in line with his remarks. And if the GM fails, he gets fired. It’s that simple. It’s a job…we all have them. And if our performances fall far short of what they should be, someone must be held accountable.

    And it ABSOLUTELY should NOT have been Sam Mitchell to be held accountable…at 7-8.

    - brento
  4. 4.

    Listen, Flat out Kapono, Marion and Parker can’t be here next year. And if BC’s identity is to be a running team, Bosh shouldn’t be here either. Kapono is soft and a perimeter player who suddenly can’t shoot from the perimeter or anywhere else. Parker is also soft, rarely gets to the basket, and because of that is just as likely to put up 3 points one night as he is fifteen the next. And let’s face it, Marion is useless offensively at any distance from the basket. He’s over paid, and let someone else over pay for him next year. As it is, this is not a running team, and should be imposing a half-court style through Bosh in the post as it did when Mitchell made Bosh go to the basket and accounted for the last couple years of reasonable success. If you are going to offer Bosh franchise money, he’d better be working hard in the half court, otherwise a running identity demands another kind of player.

    - troy tymchuk
  5. 5.

    Good look Eric. I don’t know why you’re getting the criticism – except that Raptor fans are cranky! Next year, when the ship has been turned around, tunes will change. Hang in there.

    - Jon
  6. 6.

    I agree with you Eric, I personally don’t think Jose should be traded unless this team is going to rebuild! Jose and Bosh have good Chemistry with each other

    Eric which one of these players will fit in the 2-3 spot for the Raptors? Free agency or sign and trade:

    Allen Iverson
    Jamal Crawford
    Ron Artest
    Trevor Ariza
    Lamar Odom
    Larry Hughes

    - Raps Fan
  7. 7.

    Hi Eric: Nicely put. We were watching Friday night’s game and if you are a 24 fan, this will give you a chuckle. We agreed what the Raptors need is Jack Bauer in the dressing room. Somehow we think they would come out a little more ready to play!! Just kidding, we sure need something.

    - Susan Dickie
  8. 8.

    I see no one said anything! Guess no one has the cojones to rebutt! Eric your honesty has spoken volumes…the people who criticize do so with only info they feel is accurate. Truth is, that everyone has their own truth! People Don’t bust on the guys covering the team cause you think its not accurate, if you feel that way, then get your Raps fix with negativety from D.Feschuk or the other guy from the Sun…no matter what, These guys are honest of what they see, if you listen regularly you will know that Eric and Paul don’t throw people under the bus, its not their style, they aren’t Stephen A. Smith! They have no problem saying that someone isn’t playing well or that something has to change for the Raps to win, I’ve heard on more than one occasion them say “players have to look in the mirror”. I understand everyone is entitled to their opinion, so be it but make sure you are relating it to fact not just what you heard for 30 seconds! if you don’t agree with what they say, Great! Tell them you think they are wrong, But don’t question their integrity, they call it as they see it man! Cheers…BTW – My Bracket is dying, any tips of resuscitation??

    - Lanny from Whitby
  9. 9.

    Just to let you know, Jonesy weighed in on this subject as well (on his blog/column) … check it out:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/blogs/2009/03/21/jones_not_so_fast_to_judge/

    - E. Smith
  10. 10.

    Good to know you’re holding the GM to the same standards as the fans.

    Even if Fan X thought we could’ve won 60 games and ended up winning 25, he/she has the complete right to criticize the GM because the GM is supposed to know their stuff while the fan isn’t.

    - Arsenalist
  11. 11.

    Hey Eric. If you were a GM right looking for a HEAD coach, who are the men that comes into your mind that should be a good fit for the Raptors?

    - Steven
  12. 12.

    Hey Eric:

    I read some of the comments just to see what this was about. I would support what your saying here. I laughed out loud when I read a comparison to you and Chuck. I am pretty sure Brandon Roy would have got your vote and let’s leave it at that. I have never seen you a “Homer” announcer. I think when it comes to honest straight forward comments on this team you and Jonesy are second to just one man. Doug Maclean…LOL just kidding, I of course mean Jack Armstrong.

    When it comes to Triano I just can’t imagine the press conference that announces Jay Triano returning as coach unless it happens at same time Raptors announce they have traded for Steve Nash. Calderon no need to talk about I have always been in the camp that he was not as good as everyone thinks.

    I just say screw the haters Eric you do a solid job and I respect what you do and even if we don’t agree on every issue I still think you are objective and balanced in you views. It is just the sad product of a bad season.

    - James Borbath
  13. 13.

    So you think the team is good … you like the players and the make up of the team … and you have great expectations as for the club. Then the team goes out and doesn’t look good … the players don’t seem to gel or ‘fit’ well together at times … and the club fails to meet any/all expectations …

    It’s now okay for you to lay it all on the GM? I don’t agree.

    But that’s why I remain objective about it – and not reactionary like some fans.

    Truth be told, look at the root word – the literal meaning – of “fan”; it’s “Fanatic”. So you are supposed to be reactionary and crazy in a weird sort of way! But there’s a fine line between being critical and simply wanting your team to be better … and calling for a man’s job and trying to run him out of town when he’s clearly still one of the better/respected GMs in the league.

    - E. Smith
  14. 14.

    I think you are caught up in the “mystique” that is Bryan Colangelo, Eric.

    I do not believe that BC is one of the better/respected GMs in the league.

    A closer analysis of his performance in Phoenix, and certainly in Toronto, indicates a reputation quite in contrast to performance.

    And NO ONE is laying it all on the GM, Eric. Far from it. The same fans (including me) that have chastised BC for his performance are the same fans who feel as though there are only 3 or 4 pieces of this team they would keep going forward.

    So, no, Eric…you are not the only objective one, and we are not simply being reactionary. This has been a problem brewing for over two years, and something has to give…before this team truly becomes the joke many already feel it is.

    - brento
  15. 15.

    I have not paid too much attention to the Raptors until the last couple of years. I like the idea of putting together a cosmpolitan team in a multicultural town. I like the team itself, as disappointing as they have been. I find it fascinating how fans- as fanatics – call for everyone’s head when the team is not winning. I think Jay Triano deserves a proper shot, and we should all lighten up a bit. Good luck to them playing for pride the rest of the way. And for next year.

    - Frank
  16. 16.

    Phil or Pop wouldn’t be better than 16-36 with this team even though Smitch had them at 8-9?

    You really think ppl believe that? Fine, say they wouldn’t fix the season and get this team to their projected 44-48 wins, but to say that Phil/Pop couldn’t do better than 16-36 is lol worthy.

    Also love the logic. It’s not Colangelo’s fault b/c we all thought the team would be better. It’s not Triano’s fault b/c the roster sucks. But it’s not COlangelo’s fault the roster sucks b/c the fans thought the roster would be good.

    Lets get serious. Philly saved their season with an interim. Ok City is probably better than 16-36 with their interim.

    - Mike
  17. 17.

    Re-read the blog Mike, then you might understand it bettter

    I didn’t say there wasn’t “fault” or issues with this team. Clearly there are.

    I’m simply saying that I wouldn’t fire Bryan Colangelo and I’m not going to be hypocritical and criticize for the roster that I thought was capable of 44 wins and a post season berth as well.

    It’s his job to fix it now. Period.

    I find it funny too … how many of you think Bosh isn’t a “real star” … Bargnani is a bust … Calderon isn’t a starting PG … Parker isn’t a good SG anymore … Kapono is no good … the bench is weak … JO wasn’t a good fit … Marion’s not a good fit now either … buuuuuut … it’s Jay’s fault because the team isn’t winning and/or Pop or Phill would do better?

    I’ve heard all of those comments from many fans this year.

    So which is it? The GM put together a bad team, or the coach has bad players (thus, could any coach succeed?)

    See where I’m talking about being objective?

    I think Jonesy said it best in his column when he talked about being critical but not being emotional and jumping up and down and demanding a pound of flesh.

    - E. Smith
  18. 18.

    This isn’t a playoff team no matter who coaches. If Pop or Phil coaches, we are a whole lot better (several games probably), but not enough to .500 with the group we have. I predicted a .500 record after our last pre-season game. I also predicted that JO was healthy as he told everyone, I also predicted that Jose Calderon’s contract was worth it and he would be a strong starting guard (he still can if he has a 2 man who can take the ball pressure off him and we don’t need him to be a 3rd scorer, and hide his defensive liabilities by funneling them to the baseline). But I’ve been wrong with all of those predictions. Those 10% of fans who tried to correct me months ago still want Colangelo around. So none of us have any right to run the man out of town. As a fan, I think this off-season we can regroup without breaking everything if we can get rid of Kapono’s or Calderon’s contract. But please, the worse thing we can do is fire BC. Richard Peddie believes in his 2 GM’s so don’t get your hopes up.

    From my understanding, we can sign a big-time FA if we let go of Parker, Graham, MLE, and if we let Marion walk. Thus, the only thing the Raptors can do is sign-and trade, or resign Marion for a lower price to keep Parker and Graham. Which means ultimately we don’t have much cap space or freedom as many believe.

    - Daniel
  19. 19.

    I doubt if many expect a team’s announcers to criticise their team’s coach or GM .

    - Chas Calz
  20. 20.

    BRING BUTCH BACK!!

    Watched a classic raps game on rapstv (Orlando vs Toronto) and noticed something astonishing. After any easy bucket or uncontested dunk, Butch would call a time-out and give it to his team. Butch as a coach was hard-ass grinder and expected the same from his players and held them accountable throughout the game when they weren’t giving effort.

    I said it,

    BRING BUTCH BACK!!

    - Mr. T
  21. 21.

    just to make it clear, I am not placing complete blame on Jay with my BRING BUTCH BACK campaign…this year was a disaster and I think the players are to blame. I think Joey said it best on ‘hoops.’ And for those of you who think E, Jonsey and Jack are homers, just listen to the show…I appreciate the questions you asked Joey and appreciate Joey’s honesty as well. Joey G MVP.

    - Mr. T
  22. 22.

    Hi Eric,

    I’m Waiting for my GM cheque. Apparently BC and I are peers. Kind of like can’t you blame the Doctor for misdiagnosing, if you didn’t know what it was either. Wow, you must have had to go through a lot of responses before you resorted to that one. Why bother Eric? Don’t take criticisms of the Raps personally; everyone knows who you work for, no ones expecting you to go on a rant naming names. Fans are just venting as they are long past being consoled, to the point now, where they find any silver lining patronizing.

    But when I heard Jonsey say on hoops, to write this year off as “an anomaly”, and hope next year goes better before making changes, I thought to myself he can’t really believe that? I guess it’s a good idea if you are really trying to make sure Maimi doesn’t get that pick next year. But whatever, you have bosses, I have bosses, your just doing your thing, if people don’t like it, just shrug it off. What’s the point of trying to defend it?

    The team as sucked this year, no? And the tweaks to fix it have sucked, no? So why bother even defending, BC? Just say, yeah it’s been a rough year, he’s a good GM, hopefully he’ll make adjustments. I think he’s done a lousy job this year, but I don’t think he should be fired. My kid goes near the hot stove; I scold him. I don’t want to get rid of him, but I want him to know there are consequences.

    I thought firing Sam was needed, I still think that, while Triano hasn’t solved the problems, I think there are other reasons for our problems, mainly, the decline in Bosh’s play, specifically on d, and his questionable focus, mental toughness and poor leadership, yet even with the writing on the wall, BC didn’t show leadership and move Bosh at the deadline.

    If anything, I blame BC for that. We always try the easy fixes, just hoping something magical happens. C’mon., this team is not playing hard enough to deserve to have good thing happen. I’m sick of management being so far behind and so late to react, how about showing us the way. I’m not calling for his job, I just think it’s fair to say his performance has been disappointing this year and I hope it improves.

    I can go on CB’s facebook page and I can gather in a minute, that the writing is on the wall, no pun intended. This is Bosh’s final year here, but BC can’t figure it out? Fans jeer him more than cheer him there, and BC couldn’t see that coming? We give standing O’s to the first sign of any toughness, because we are starved for it, yet resigning Bosh is still the main goal? Why? To maintain status quo? Seems like a poor risk/reward. I’m not saying give CB away, but why did we not deal him at the deadline, when we could have maximized his value, and perhaps salvaged the season?

    I guess it just seems odd to see a member of the press speaking out against commenting on the performance of the local sports team, if it fails to meet expectations? (scratches own head) Are you just PR disguised as media? This is a Fan590 blog, not Raps.com right? Where would the fan 590 be if they shared your opinion of the fifth estate? I could see how your defence would make sense if, say, John Hollinger was giving BC a hard time; he’s supposed to be an expert too. But in my opinion, a guy like “Raptorize John” doesn’t need to worry about being in hypocrite if he doesn’t renew his season tickets, next year and wants to let BC know about it. Maybe you feel if we were foolish and believed BC when he said this was the best team on paper, shame on us, right? It’s our fault too? We should all know better than to trust him, and therefore we should keep our mouths shut now, is that right?

    - dallas
  23. 23.

    Eric,

    Some people blame BC. Some blame certain players; some blame other players. Some blame Jay, some still blame Sam. Some think everything is fine. But when you take all the comments you get from many different Raptors fans and attribute them like they all come from one person, yeah it looks like dissenters do not make much sense, and are hypocritical. But these are different views, from different people, and when you just lump them all as the voice of the crazy raptor fans, it’s building a straw man. You find me the one guy that blames all of those contrasting factors, and yeah, that guy’s probably nuts. But there are more than one person making comments. If you are talking to one guy who has all those opinions, name him. There is plenty of blame to go around, so I’m sure among Raps fans you hear a lot opinions, from many raptor fans.

    BTW, I don’t mean to give you a hard time, I think you are great. Hoops is great, and you blog is good. I bet you are just tired of dealing with the negativity, none of which is your fault, whether you thought the team would be better or not.

    - dallas
  24. 24.

    Eric…it’s easy for you to say that everyone’s comments are simply emotional, reactive.

    But, they’re not. While some of the comments on this board might seem unfounded, I believe the majority of fans are tired of watching spiritless players managed by a GM who seems more concerned with his image than he does the success of his team.

    So, please give us all more credit — we aren’t hollering and jumping up and down. We are not animals, grabbing for flesh. We are educated, hard working, committed fans of basketball and we refuse to be treated like a bunch of hooligans.

    BTW…for the record…NONE of this is Jay Triano’s fault. It was bad enough that Colangelo fired Sam Mitchell after winning 8 or his first 17 games. But, what’s worse, was putting Jay Triano (an accomplished NBA assistant) is a position where he had absolutely no chance to win.

    All in the name of the GM keeping out of spotlight and finding anyone, everyone, to blame…but himself.

    Pathetic.

    - brento
  25. 25.

    In a commercial break …

    To be clear – I didn’t lump you all in one boat and I didn’t say “everyone” …

    I specifically made a point of talking about “SOME” fans and/or “MANY” fans in my original blog posting. If you reading this took it personally, that’s on you. But I specifically said SOME and MANY, not **ALL**

    - E. Smith
  26. 26.

    Eric,

    I was skeptical of the JO move this summer, but I did understand some of the optimisim surrounding the roster. I think the players deserve to bear most of the responsibility for this season.

    That said, the lead cheerleader in the off-season was BC, and he is the professional talent evaluator. To say that the Raptors fans can be held equally accountable for the failure of this team based on their expectations is fallacy, and it is not hypocritical without that condition. If we had the basketball acumen and position to do anything about it, your point would be correct.

    Re: Triano
    - He is not the right coach for this roster. Not saying he is a bad coach; just that he is not what this roster (as it currently sits) needs.

    - Neil
  27. 27.

    2nd quarter commercial …

    Dallas, give the original blog a re-read. Where did I say you couldn’t criticize?

    In fact, did I not “criticize” in the original blog as well (in talking about the improvements that need to be made with this roster during the summer)?

    Criticism is fine and fair. I’m simply saying that some criticism is more justified than others. And I’m simply saying that I’m not calling for a guy’s head. I still believe that Colangelo should be given the off-season (and the remainder of his contract) to “fix” the current issues. Has the FAN not posted every comment (good or bad) on this blog and do Jonesy and I not take every call we can (good or bad)? We as a radio crew, as writers, or as a station overall have not ducked from criticism about the team or about us.

    And for what it’s worth (RE: Triano) … Mike Dunleavy today said (paraphrasing) “it’s really hard to do anything as a coach without having a Training Camp … “

    - E. Smith
  28. 28.

    Eric,

    It baffles me that some of the things you say carry subtance to some of these Bloggers,

    The fact that you will not critisize Colangelo because of the fact that you predicted this team to do well, Is a load, because being in the position that you are in covering the raptors on behalf of the fan 590, No matter the circumstance your predictions always seem to give the raptors and Colangelo the benifit of the doubt, therfore you will never hold BC accountable

    For example I don’t think any analyis in their right mind predicted Toronto to beat Orlando in last years playoff. The two teams were just a total contrast in personell and also in terms of the records.
    Yet for some reason which carries no substance you had the raptors defeating Orlando.
    Im sure alot of anaylis including yourself knew of the factors that would go against the raptors in the Orlando series
    1.the Raptors stumbled into the playoffs at 41-41. 2.the Magic cruised into the playoffs 3.How many times do you see upsets between those seats 4. Raptors clearly had no players dominant enough to stop Dwight or did not have the defense or the intangibles to shut down their perimetre and wing.
    5.Bargnani had a poor season.
    6. Not enough consistancy to contend with Turkolou,Howard, Lewis,
    7. No tougness and rebounding
    and amoung these things there were many other reasons to vote in favour of Orlando,
    So I guess because you had Toronto beating Orlando again you do not hold Brian accountable because you picked Raptors to win. Where is the substance,the rational in a deficient Toronto team beating a much improved Orlando team.

    Was this prediction just a product of Bias, If it’s not bias then I guess you will have Detroit pistons beating one of the top three teams this year.

    This year you say your predictions were based on this Roster, Well Eric in case you did not realised Jermain had not played very much basketball in the last three seasons and was way past his prime, Bargnani had a horrible year last year, The Raptors came into the year without a slasher. Sam Job was at stake and again there were alot of factors that did not favor the raptors, Yet again you the iternal optimist that was probably living off Bargnani’s successful first season and Jermains successful season of four or five years ago and also living off Brians success way back in his phoenix day felt that this team full of ifs were bound to make a run.

    Eric I hope somewhere along the lines your predictions in favor of the raps will be based off of substantial #’s or positive facts that are consistant year after year and did not exsist 6 or seven years ago ie Jermain O Neal.

    - Neil
  29. 29.

    Thinking of the other teams that fired coaches:

    1. Carlesimo – Thunder
    2. Jordan – Wizards
    4. Wittman – T’Wolves
    5. Cheeks – 76ers
    6. Theus – Kings
    7. Iavaroni – Grizzlies

    None of those teams were expected to be as good as the Raptors, with the exception of the 76ers who have done better since their move.

    - Terry Copshack
  30. 30.

    Yet again, either some of you need to re-read the blog, or you need to get a dictionary to understand certain words.

    Where did I say fans should be held accountable? I simply said some of the criticism is hypocritical.

    How does that equate to you being held accountable – just like the GM?

    And, AGAIN, say what you will about me or Jonesy and our criticism (or lack there of) of BC, but did I not just point out some of the issues in my original blog? Moves/issues that were made by Colangelo?

    As for Orlando … are you really bringing up an example that is nearly 12 months old?

    And are you forgetting that nearly every analyst – outside Toronto as well – said that the best match-up for the Raps in the first round was probably Orlando?

    Are you also forgetting that after getting BLOWN OUT in game 1 against the Magic, Toronto had the lead with a minute to go (but lost) in game 2 … won game 3 … lost in the final 2 minutes of games 4 and let it go with about 5:00 minutes to play in game 5. Yes, they got beat 4 games to 1, but as Jonesy pointed out in his Sportsnet blog last year, that series was won in about an 8-minute (total) stretch.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/basketball/2008/05/05/jones_raps_wrap/

    Alright, my halftime “break” is almost over now, and I’ve spent farrrr too much time on this. I’m done. I’ve said all I have to say. Keep posting if ya like folks, but I’m done on this one.

    - E. Smith
  31. 31.

    Thanks for hanging in there, Eric.

    I don’t believe anyone is really after you…you’re not in a position of influence, anyways.

    But, based on the above comments (some from “new” guys), it’s clear that Bryan Colangelo’s free pass is officially over.

    And I can’t believe Jonesy actually said that this year should be considered an “anomaly” or whatever he said.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Last year was his big mulligan…at his big ticket (and self adoration), he doesn’t get another freebie.

    I don’t have any faith in his ability to rebuild this team.

    And the only thing I could do to voice my displeasure was to cancel my season seats — and that’s what I did. Well, not entirely…but two of my four (that I’ve had for almost a decade) are now gone.

    And, I GUARANTEE I am not alone.

    - brento
  32. 32.

    Eric As A longtime fan,4 seasons tickets since day one,we drive in from the London area for each game. What is most disconcerting for us this year is the often seemingly lack of effort given by many/most players on many games.We have had many years when we came to games rarely expecting to win,but have made the long drive home satisfied with a good effort.We were also of the belief that a 40+ win season was in the cards,I believe that given the off season appropriate changes will be made.I feel that this team “helps” far too much on defence rather than concentrating on better on the ball individual defence.Secondly Raps.need to get Dave Hopla back wherever & at whatever price,they have not been as good clutch shooters or apparently shooters period since his deoarture.

    - David
  33. 33.

    Eric credibilty is not just based on recent occurances but past as well, so the fact that you are bringing up when you made the Orlando prediction is irrelevant, the point is you made a prediction that the Raptors would win the series as oppose to other wiser anaylst that said Orlando would be Toronto’s best matchup, there is clearly a difference. I could care less how much you want to pick apart that series, and talk about the margin of lose and at what point they lost, etc the point is for two years straight there personell did not have the chemistry or talent to beat their fist round opponent. You for some reason with no substance felt that Jermain O Neal was the answer, when time and time again we have heard anaylst say the raptors have noone to create. That is the problem and I believe that is a good chunk of why this year looks the way it does. Do you not see that most of the teams in the east has a creator/slaher that has given us a migrane. Why would that be any different in the playoffs.

    - Neil
  34. 34.

    That series was not lost in 8 min but rather lost befor it even started. They were not ultimately going to have an answer for Turkolou,Howard,Lewis or Nelson and the team on a whole with some of the best three point shooting. Eric do you think it seems logical to even ponder giving a 41-41 team that stumbled into the playoffs the benifit of the doubt over a top teeam with one of the most dominant players in the game and some of the best three point shooting. It’s not logical Eric, it’s another form of bias and another way to give BC a free pass, the same free pass that he got all those years in phoenix and continues to get from you regardless.

    Previous entry was sent by me not my brother Neil who also posts comments on the fan590.com

    - Thomas
  35. 35.

    I’m sure you suspect this, but its usually the highly negative fans that clog your inbox and/or comment during these times. For every 1 of those, I would think there are 20 would completely agree with your analysis – but wouldn’t bother to write a comment.

    So, let me say that your points today were 100% on the money in my mind. Only one’s man opinion but I pride myself in being objective (it’s critical in my job) and knowing a bit about bball. On BC and Triano, you could not have said it better – I actually believe they’re both in the upper (though not near the very top) tier of what they do. The only challenge I see is that maybe Triano is not a fit with THESE players – some of these guys need more stick than carrot right now – maybe a Stan Van Gundy type is a better fit. But who would really have coached this team – this year — to a much better record? NO ONE! Insane reaction in my mind to start throwing EVERYONE under the bus. Sometimes guys get hurt. Sometimes guys don’t gel. Add in coaches changes and our stars missing games and/or playing 75% and there goes a bunch of games. Sh*t happens.

    What may be a thought is keeping Triano (maybe bring in a PJ Carlesamo(sp)-type as an assistant) and get an butt-kicking vet player on our team. Our guys are just “too nice”. Not hustling and calling out fellow players when they’re not stepping up. Bosh did it once to Jamario, but he should be doing it once or twice a game (probably more in the huddle or halftime than in front of everyone – but sometimes that’s okay as well). They all respect him and everyone can group hug *after* the game. Bring in that vet that practices hard, keeps guys around to “shoot a few more” after practice, have a little chat about lack of effort he sees in etc.

    I think most balanced and knowledgeable bball fans believe you’re top drawer – no question you do your homework and have balanced and fair opinions. I actually think we’re quite fortunate to have not only a *very* knowledgeable group of bball broadcasters/reporters (you, Jonesy, D Smith, Armstrong, Sherm and Devlin is a good “host”) but also some really decent and fun people. Great personalities all around. No BS and bravado from some reporters in other cities, ESPN, etc.

    Keep up the good work. Most Raptors fans appreciate it.

    Tom

    - Tom L
  36. 36.

    No one who watches basketball can stand the broadcasts on TV or the radio..the whole Raptor experience is agonizing…the worst colour men on air to go along with one of the worst teams…the lack of interest in NBA basketball is apparent in the personnel choices made by Toronto outlets…embarrassingly weak commentary..

    ..and yes Smith..some of us HAVE beens saying, for as long as Bosh has been the “leader” of this team that it was at best mediocre and that the O’Neal trade was a flatout disaster…
    YOU were among the ones calling Bosh a superstar MVP and if you still can’t see why that isn’t so and never will be, you shouldn’t have a job…

    They need to blow up more than the team.

    - d57fan
  37. 37.

    Hey Tom L a couple of things, if you want to call fans that are angry, negative after a season like this, it just goes to show that there are some people after a season like this and 2 seasons prior of getting ousted in the forst round of the playoffs, that just love consolation and have relagated this team to a very low standard. It’s not called being negative it’s called wanting results and holding those in charge accountable. It’s called cost efficiency and for the whole season in terms of wins we just didn’t get it. If a group of employees are contiuesly recycled and always under performing horribly way below expectation for two years straight , then I assure you management will be evaluated acordingly. Raptor fans that some reffer to as negative are fans that demand cost efficiency. Sad that some people are passive about this teams performance, while the have invested moey and have recieved little or no return.

    - Thomas
  38. 38.

    While you’re at it, Tom, can you give Dwayne Wade a call and ask if he’d join our team?

    Give me one good reason why you would trust Bryan Colangelo with the job of rebuilding our basketball team?

    If you think all this team needs is a tough guy player and tough guy assistant coach…then you’re likely a good candidate to be close friends with Colangelo.

    ‘Cause, apparently, he thinks this team is quite good…just underachieving…

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

    - brento
  39. 39.

    Listening regularly, I know that both Jonesy and Eric are critical about the team, not really the coaching because lets be honest it would be pretty unfair to criticize the coaching staff that really has tried changing the team philosphy on the fly. Really, without sounding like a complete kiss-up, I hope all this stuff doesn’t change Jonesy or Eric’s style. The reason a lot of us listen to you both is because you guys represent us a lot closer than anyone else that reports on the Team(I don’t know how many other people who report spend money out of their pocket for season tickets). you guys allow us to talk/vent/share stuff with you and I’m pretty sure I speak for alot of us. You guys make it pretty easy to be a Raps fan (especially this year). That’s why I am confident when you go to Fazooli’s people are buying ya at least 1 round of beer (Dirty Bananas or Red Stripe for Jonesy).

    That being said, people, relax. If there is a bone to pick it is with the organization, yes BC has been on board and it hasn’t gone his way and I refuse to believe he is happy with the season, he has to see this through! Calling in to “Hoops” and “The Rap” and saying Eric or Jonesy are blinded by their position with the team and they aren’t critical of the team is totally off base! Again just cause they don’t throw people under the bus to our delight does not mean they are happy with “status quo”. Anyone in their right mind would want to be associated with an organization that is a championship calibre! People lets stop the “everyone is too cheery and everyone associated with the team are liars and are blind”! Listen to what they say clearly and then make a comment. But don’t sit there and judge their integrity cause they sure as hell have done nothing to deserve that! Thanks Go Raps Go! Jonesy and Smitty you guys keep doing what you doing and don’t change!!

    - Lanny
  40. 40.

    Hate me if ya like D57 – but get your facts straight. I’ve never once trumpeted Chris Bosh for “MVP”

    So if you’re going to rip, rip intelligently with legit info and facts.

    - E. Smith
  41. 41.

    (standing up and clapping for perhaps one of the most entertaining blogs ever on “the rap!!” Reading this blog is more entertaining than watching the raptors!)

    B.B.B. (BRING BACK BUTCH)

    - Mr. T
  42. 42.

    Eric,

    =============================
    re: (A) Colangelo. I think I speak for Jonesy when I say that we aren’t jumping on the ‘Attack BC’ bandwagon because I think many of you are hypocrites for doing so. The only people that are justified in their criticism of Colangelo right now are the people that DIDN’T think this was a 44-48 win team at the beginning of the season. If you didn’t think this team was capable of at least holding on to the 6TH seed they had last year – or finishing even higher at #4 or #5 – then kudos to you.
    =============================

    Thank you for acknowledging that I am NOT in the company of most Raptors fans who may well be hypocrites, when it comes to criticizing the work of Bryan Colangelo this season.

    It’s no fun at all being absolutely right about the mis-fortunes which have befallen the Raptors this season.

    At least those who took the time to read my blog have known since June 2008 that everything which has transpired this season was a likely possibility and should NOT have come as a surprise at all, at least, to those who were paying close attention to what I said about the decisions which the Raptors have made since the prospect of acquiring Jermaine O’Neal was first brought to light.

    Much appreciated on my part. :-)

    - khandor
  43. 43.

    E,

    I guess my point was we can’t use circular logic.

    The point being it is SOMEBODY’S fault. Now everyone has a different opinion of who that somebody is, but that somebody does exist.

    It’s disingenuous to basically lay blame on nobody because there isn’t concensus on a single party, and that’s what the media is doing right now.

    What annoys me is when we get a HOOPS episode and some of the panel is basically excusing each individual component (player, coach, GM) by saying it’s a whole host of factors, and then basically saying the only way to proceed is to “tweak” the roster and let the same coach come back and the same GM assemble nearly the same roster.

    Honestly I think the best thing for this franchise would be to luckbox the lottery, get the #1 pick and then have the GM be forced to completely change the roster as the consensus #1 pick is a PF, so 1 of Bosh/Bargs would get dealt.

    This team needs to get a major talent upgrade but at the same time the salary structure is completely screwed up. Just keep Bosh/Bargs/Calderon once they extend their contracts is going to cost in the range of 34-38 mill/yr. How are we going to be anything other than a treadmill team?

    - Mike
  44. 44.

    I said it once and I’ll saying it again, this year is at least 50% of Colangelo’s fault 40% of the players fault and 10% of the coaches fault (Sam & Triano). How can you fire a coach who had a 7-8 record 7th seed in the east replace him with an interm coach and when the team is now 12 to 15 games under 500, Colangelo still goes on to say that he likes the direction of the team and it is improving. If Colangelo calls this a better direction, I would hate to see what he calls the wrong direction. Dallas I don’t think you have been watching the NBA standings or the Raptor’s record. They are 20 games below 500 and 2nd last in the eastern Conference even the Knicks are better then them and you still think Sam should have been fired. If you notice Bosh’s play declined dramatically after Sam’s firing. It is also ironic that one of the players who was happy to see Sam go is Moon and Colangelo didn’t keep him either. As a GM if you at least have a coach that can bring your team to the playoffs you stand by that coach (Sam). If however Sam did not make the playoffs or did not pass the 1st round again, then you fire him (if you want). Colangelo has helped make this team 19 games worse. I have to agree with Neil and Thomas in regards to your 8 minute from winning games in the Orlando series. It is not that this happened 12 months ago but it seems like a trend, especially Armstrong when he was on the bullpen, saying how Jameer Nelson can’t hold a candle to the Raptors point guards Ford & Jose. Well Armstrong was right because he was to busy carring a blow torch and torched the hell out of the Raptors backcourt. It is this type of analysis that I find strange and it seems with coaches Colangelo seems to have this weak analysis as well. You shouldn’t just fire a coach to make changes, to me that shows weakness. I personally did not see the Raptors winning more then 45 games I was thinking more like 42 maybe 43, the reason:
    1. Will Bosh, Jose and Oneil have a similar chemistry as Garnett, Allen and Pierce?
    2.Would they stay healthy?
    And with all these things coming together I still gave them no more then 45 wins. Colangelo needs to be a man and stop being like George Bush and put down his sign in the Air Canada Centre saying Mission Accomplish, because the only thing this year he has accomplished is humiliating this franchise.

    - David Dawson
  45. 45.

    Thomas/bento,
    Appreciate your thoughts.
    My questions are:
    What combo of GM/Coach do you think we can attract then and how much will we have to pay (for how long)?
    How long do we give a new GM/Coach to turn things around?
    Would keeping TJ, Rasho and drafting Hibbert mean we’re a 500 team this year? Was it worth the gamble on O’Neal’s knee in an attempt to move us up materially?
    Do you think the Toronto GM job is a bit tougher as we know certain trades don’t get done as many players will have Vince Carter syndrome here?
    Do you believe Steve Nash’s opinion on Triano carries any weight? Have you played for Triano personally?
    Where did the DWade comment come from?
    And no, I’m not close friends with BC. I still think he’s the best GM Toronto’s had to date and yes, I think he has the potential to rebuild.
    This is the type of comments I see as being equivalent: http://tinyurl.com/cjg3kw
    And what happened that following year?
    BTW, I’m also a season ticket holder and am very disappointed. I simply (maybe incorrectly) have a different view on how to fix this mess. Lining up BC/Triano and have the team isn’t the answer in my mind.
    Cheers,

    - Tom L
  46. 46.

    Colangelo’s makes approx $4 mill a year to get players and hire a coach .
    This year he has been an abysmal failure in both areas .
    The O’Neal- Ford trade was a disaster .
    The firing of Mitchell was a huge blunder.Triano has been a mess in terms of W-Ls .

    - Chas Calz
  47. 47.

    Tom…you’ve obviously asked a lot of questions. Unfortunately, many of them can’t be answered because they are hypothetical. However, one thing I am certain of is that none of BC’s transactions over the past two years have done anything to improve this team.

    I don’t know where this team would be without the JO trade, but I can guarantee you the Raps would not be below 13th place in the Conference. As such, BC’s tenure has been a failure. He has made a pile of transactions, all of them leading to a horrible record in an amazingly weak conference. What makes being 13th in the East even worse is knowing that two thirds of our games are against this weak conference — can you imagine having a team over .500 and being out of the playoffs, as it is in the West?

    BTW…my Wade comment was strictly sarcastic…your tone just seemed too upbeat, too simple. As if the Raps just needed a little tweak here, a little change there. Add an assistant and bring in a role player, and we’ll be fine.

    Well, it’s exactly that attitude that leads to mediocrity…or worse. And, as a fellow season seat holder, that is far from good enough. Our fans, and venue, are clearly in the top third of the NBA…and we deserve so much more than what BC and management are giving us.

    I’m fed up.

    P.S. As I’ve stated over and over, NONE of this is the fault of Jay Triano. He was thrown into a mess of a situation by a GM who refused to admit that this team was far from the “best team I’ve had in my three years here” prediction he made last summer.

    Completely unfair for Triano.

    - brento
  48. 48.

    well Said Tom L…Bravo!!

    - Lanny from Whitby
  49. 49.

    To say Triano is blameless is nonsense . Sam Rosen blogged that Triano went after the job .
    Even if he didn’t, he must have accepted the job with the intention of doing a better job than Sam .
    He must have suggested to Colangelo he had some ideas that would improve on Mitchell’s 8-9 .470 winning % I presume .
    Coaching is about wins and losses .. Triano has been far worse than Sam .
    Does anyone think Triano or Colangelo in their wildest imaginations felt Raps would be 17-36 with Triano coaching and getting advice from Colangelo? .
    Colangelo reminds me a bit of those A.I.G execs .

    - Chas Calz
  50. 50.

    People, People, People…this has been a difficult season for all of us. WE are arguing semantics and opinions. What’s next Arguing about the actual red on their Jerseys? I think everyone should head to Fazooli’s after the games, Order your fave adult beverage, drink and yell out “There’s always next year” People we live in Toronto…Last Championship won was by the Toronto Rock, We cheer the Laughs and they haven’t won anything in 40+ years, we Cheer the Raps and they’ve taken a step back, Argos??? only thing they can do is get better! Jays??? Lets not get on that boat. TFC??? Optimism for now but 2 straight losses and we will be begging for winter! In the end we are fans, True fans. We want our teams to succeed! However opinions ANYONES opinion is just an opinion and should be respected…if We knew exactly how to fix a problem we would be a GM in any of these sports, lets assume these teams did everything that we wanted?? we probably would still be blaming them! In the end, another year has gone by now we let the people in charge do the job, if we don’t like it, do don’t go to the games, its our only way of making our point! Oh well…its monday, this blog is pretty long! Check out the Todd Mcullough stuff that E posted, light hearted stuff y’all…HAve a good one!

    - Lanny from Whitby
  51. 51.

    brento, very fair response. And I do think its more than the other two points I made on improving this team – I’m (with everyone practically) in the camp of needing a slashing 3. I’ve heard through a good source that the TJ/GWallace deal didn’t happen since Charlotte got cold feet on TJ’s health – and I do believe that O’Neal was worth the gamble vs the alternative – I just didn’t see TJ/Rasho/Hibbert(or xxx) taking us to the next level. The gamble backfired as O’Neal was the same ol’ oft-injured O’Neal instead of the “best-shape-in-six years” O’Neal as he advertised. Maybe there was still a better trade out there, but status quo wasn’t an option in my mind with the East poised to get much stronger in 08/09. (And note you wouldn’t have received much bang for the buck with trading Bargs this past off season)
    I do appreciate that the buck stops with BC though. Besides perhaps JK, I don’t see many terrible moves (although with hindsight, sure O’Neal was a bad move – but at the time the vast majority thought it was a good gamble). He did fix the O’Neal situation right away – and gave us some cap room THIS year – which I believe is very important given the state of the economy. I would hate to have us on the hook for another $24? million next. Of course, some may have had the foresight to see the economy was going to tank, then some may have not done the deal in the first place.
    Cheers,

    - Tom L
  52. 52.

    You know the back up point guard was a sore spot, the bench not so great. And you guys I’m talking specifically eric smith, paul jones, jack armstrong thought the o neal trade was good for us and that the o neal will really help those problems and also that it was goiing to help chris bosh. ARE YOU KIDDING ME a guy who has had so many injury problems the past few years won’t all of a sudden be his old self again. They the so called “experts” should have known that. And other thing isn’t it so strange that after o’neal was traded they the “experts” thought o’neal wasn’t the right fit in Toronto. Like honestly get some actually experts who will critique the raptors when things go bad and not say “oh everything will be alright” everytime.

    - steve suk
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