Tuesday July 28 2009 – 4:02pm Eastern (Toronto, ON) 

Normally I like reading Bill Simmons. I still do. And I’ll still continue to click on his articles and enjoy his wit and sarcasm.

But I do take some exception to what he recently wrote about the Toronto Raptors:

“To Toronto’s Bryan Colangelo, who spent money more recklessly than Michael Bay. A $53 million extension for Andrea Bargnani? Sure! Another $53 million for Hedo Turkoglu? Why not? How ’bout $20 million for a third guard (Jarrett Jack) just because he’s college buddies with Chris Bosh and might sway Bosh to stick around next summer? Absolutely! As always, there’s nothing more dangerous than an NBA GM in desperation mode. Smart moves for 2010 — dumb moves for 2012, 2013 and 2014 … and, of course, he’ll be gone by then. Sorry, Raptor Truthers. You deserve better.”

Every man is entitled to his opinion, but let’s break down what Simmons wrote …

- The Raps may have slightly over-spent for Bargnani but if that’s the going rate for a former #1 overall pick, then you do it. In fact, as crazy as it may sound, $10 million/year may end up being a relative “bargain”. If Bargs continues to improve this season (and next season, and the season after that) as he did in 2008-2009, that contract will be very fair.

- Jack is not a third guard.  He’s the primary back-up for Jose Calderon. He may even start some games – or see “starter-like minutes” if Toronto toys with Calderon and Jack seeing the floor together at the 1 and 2.  So while he may be third on the depth chart at the 1 and 2, I don’t think it’s fair to label him as a “third guard”.  He’ll have a larger role.  Furthermore, Colangelo wouldn’t make a move just to bring in “Bosh’s buddy”. Please. That’s ridiculous. Is it an added bonus? Sure. But is that the primary reason? Absolutely not. Did Simmons forget that Jack is coming off a career year and he brings the kind of grit and D that Toronto is looking for?

- Dumb moves for 2012, 2013, and 2014? I take exception with that as well. *IF* Bosh were to walk next summer, they’d still have a core in place for the next few seasons that would include Turkoglu, Calderon, Bargnani, Jack, and DeRozan. And based on approximate numbers … Toronto would still have about $25+ million to round out their roster around that core. That looks alright to me. If you’re trying to win now, you can’t ignore the future. You still need to be responsible about the future. But you’re trying to win NOW, period. I believe BC has managed both. And to flippantly throw away Toronto’s flexibility in 2010 isn’t fair either. Isn’t that what it’s all about right now – for almost every team in the league? That’s not a point to kinda ignore or brush aside.

- Was Turkoglu not one of the top 3 free agents available this summer?  And Toronto landed him at the going rate for a player of his calibre.  How is that a bad thing or a bad move?

Anyway, that’s my take. I’m sure some will agree with me … some will call me an “apologist”. Whatever. Differing opinions are what makes sports go around – and what makes sports so interesting!

Looking forward to future columns from Simmons!

E. Smith

22 Responses to “Taking A Closer Look”
  1. 1.

    Simmons always seems to have a bad opinion of the Raps moves….a lot of people at ESPN seem to as well.

    He’ll be in for quite a surprise when the Raps finish Top 3 in the East….that’s my bold prediction!

    - Shawn
  2. 2.

    I agree completely.

    - Yao
  3. 3.

    I agree with you Eric, never read Bull Simmons articles and never will!

    - Raps Fan
  4. 4.

    His opinion exists to elicit emotion from the readers, good or bad.

    Job done.

    I see the Raptors finishing 4-5 and with the balanced power now in the East, anything could happen. The Celtics could get old in a hurry, Shaq could blow out a knee (or back) that even the icy cold patch can’t treat and Vince Carter could fall down just in sympathy.

    Let’s start training camp…

    - Gary
  5. 5.

    Completely agree. Simmons doesnt know what he is talking about–the moves BC made does not only make CBosh happy right now but also in the future.

    - Quentin
  6. 6.

    Eric,

    Im tired of defending the Raptors to the ignorance of American writers and analyst looking to get a rise out of us (1 of the top supportive fan bases in the league). This is their feble attempt to lure Bosh back to America. Dont read into it, I laughed earlier today when I first read it. A couple of years ago he would have got a long email. But I understand the methods to their madness and the source of their envy. Dwayne Wade said ” The moves made in the offseason mean alot to Bosh”. Thats why he is pushing for Booz and Odom.
    I got the feeling that Bosh is going to play for the Raptors till his dreads past his number.

    - Dru
  7. 7.

    Agreed, Eric. I stopped reading Simmons when his unique cynicism, wit and self-pity with respect to the Celtics turned to obnoxious arrogance.

    - sillz
  8. 8.

    Not only are the Raps the most improved team this summer but BC has put them in a position to finsh top5 maybe even top 4 next season. Simmons needs to get his head straight. He’s just one of those Air Head Americans that hate on Canada. Get a life dude!!!

    - Hardeep
  9. 9.

    There will always be haters. The Raptors have to get it together and perform this year. If they don’t, Colangelo will get eaten alive. If they do, he will be hailed as GM of the year.

    I really hope we can show these guys south of the border what we are made of. GO CANADA!

    - big4bound
  10. 10.

    I agree completely. thanks Eric for writing this article.
    And whether Bosh stays or goes I love this team.

    - Dell
  11. 11.

    In the same article, Simmons wonders “what possessed them (i.e. Orlando) to spend $50 million on Gortat and Brandon Bass over just bringing back Turkoglu and making another run at the title?” Apparently, he wouldn’t have had the same reservations if Orlando had thrown $50 million at Turkoglu. His argument loses some validity with such contradictory statements.

    I don’t care what Turkoglu stats are going to be, or what he eats before games, or whatever. Just be clutch and help us win ball games over the next couple of years and put us back on the map. If he does that we’ll all accept the reduced productivity in the closing years of his contract.

    - Michel G
  12. 12.

    To be fair, if Bargs is being paid 10 mill, how much are you paying these guys E?

    1. Roy
    2. LMA
    3. Gay

    b/c Portland wanted to sign LMA for 10 mill a year but that plan has gone out the window now.

    If Bargs = 10, does Roy = max?

    What is Gay worth? I mean I don’t think he’s a 12 mill player but you can’t hold a straight face and say Bargs has produces more on the floor (and they’re the same age so who is to say who has more upside …. in fact most ppl think Gay has underperformed for his talent thus far … yet he’s still produced far more)

    Just curious.

    - Mike
  13. 13.

    Eric,
    Can’t disagree with anything you said. Well done.

    Criticism of Bill Simmons is unjustified. With all due respect for everyone on the net – he is without a doubt the most entertaining writer out there. There is no close second.
    Simmons has a history of baiting Raptor fans.

    - Tinman
  14. 14.

    Plz explain to me what Rudy Gay has done, he’s been on the worse team in the league since he came in and still has not exploded. Rudy Gay does not deserve anything north of 10mill starting.

    - Aplus
  15. 15.

    I totally agree with Steve Simmons. Colangelo has spent a wack of money and in no way adressed the major concerns of defense and toughness. He devoted a great sum of cash to Bargnani and Hedo who love to sit on the perimetre and grab a few rebounds.

    Eric You have always agreed with everything Colangelo does regardless and never object. Honestly now Eric, how many of us fans last year was saying that we need a Turkolou on this team or a Devean George or even a Jared Jack. Eric I never heard you nor Jonsey say that we needed any of these types of players What I did hear was a large concensious between media and fans on the fact that we need to improve on the wing and get tougher.

    so why is it that now all of a sudden giving a lagre contract to Hedo a 30 year old that doesn’t play defese and spends most of his time on the perimetre a great move or why is he such a genius for aquiring Devean Geaorg a guy that’s been unheard of in the last few years. Eric please tell me how Any of these moves gives us an identity or makes us better on the defesive side of the ball or on Offense at the wing position.

    Eric I think just like last year you and the people on this blog are making a big hype for nothing. I look foward to you saying at the end of the year that you cannot fault Colangelo because you had hig expectations for this team. Keep you expectations high so you never have to hold him accountable, because you might just consider youself to be a hyprocryte. Nonsense.

    This team is no tougher or faster than the team that started and ended the season for us last year.

    - Thomas
  16. 16.

    I agree his work was a bit unnecessary considering training camp hasn’t started. But I will say this his article on the clippers was funny and scary.

    - Phil
  17. 17.

    Simmons is right about Turk, people. The signing looks okay right now, but 3 or 4 years down the road he’s going to be a huge liability and he’s still going to be making top dollar. I’m a Raptors fan, I like Bryan Colangelo, but I can’t defend that contract.

    Bargs – it’s a risk. He’s not worth $10 million right now, but if he improves his defense and rebounding, he’ll be worth much more than that. I’m not going to kill BC for this one, it might end up being a steal.

    Jack – Well, ideally he is a 3rd guard. He’d come off the bench and play minutes at the 1 and 2. Here, he’ll get close to starter’s minutes, because we don’t have a legit starting 2 right now. But anyway, that’s cool with me, and I’m cool with the contract.

    About Rudy Gay – yeah, he’s not very good. Decent stats, but only because he plays a lot of minutes and takes a lot of shots. He’s not exactly a defensive force, either.

    - Vittorio De Zen
  18. 18.

    By the way Eric, Since when is there such a thing as a going rate for a player that hasn’t fully played to his potential. Going rate is based on performance not your position in the draft.

    - Thomas
  19. 19.

    Chandler =12 mil.
    Nazi Mohammed = 6.5 mil.
    Brad Miller = 12.5 mil.
    Jerome James = 6.6 mil.
    Dunleavy = 9.8 mil.
    Jeff Foster = 6 mil.
    Kaman = 10.5 mil.
    Randolph = 16 mil.
    Mark Blount = 8 mil.
    J. O’ Neil = 23 mil.
    Bogut = 10 mil.
    Gadzuric = almost 7 mil.
    Dalambert = almost 12.
    B. Wallace = 10.
    kenny Thomas = 8.5

    People need to remember that the prices are not necessarily the same for perimeter players and big men. Almost every big man in this league is overpaid…it’s how the NBA has worked for the past two decades. Players such as Rudy Gay (although they are not a dime a dozen) are easier to acquire then a Bargnani (it’s an example, not comparing the two). As the list of PF’s and Centers shows above, teams tend to overpay for bigs (and there are a lot more players that I haven’t added to the list, i.e. Tony Battie, Udonis Haslem, etc.). Is Bargs worth 10 million?? time will tell but I guarantee he would have made anywhere between 8-12 if he went on the open market.

    - Mr. T
  20. 20.

    One thing overlooked is BC’s ability to move his unwanted players. So if Turkolou get a little old I am sure BC will find a taker for him…same thing for Bargs if he shows signs of regressing. That’s the beauty of having a GM who knows what/who is available and what each team requires.

    - Chris M
  21. 21.

    hey eric,
    steve simmons really doesnt know what he talks about. he seems to say things just to stir up controversy!
    he really needs to stop writing and evenmore stop talking on the replrters.
    BC has done an awesome job and i think raptor fans and sport fans will be pleasantly surprised with the rpators turnaround this season.
    and eric, youre awesome!

    - rikki
  22. 22.

    Hey Eric,

    again, you are my kind of media.

    I want the glass half full version. It’s too ez (and cheap) to be negative.

    - eddy
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