Archive for April, 2010
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
By Eric Smith
I am heading out on vacation today so I may not be submitting much in this space over the next 7-10 days.
I will still be keeping a close eye on the NBA playoffs though, and I’ll look forward to writing here and interacting with you when I’m back from my RnR.
Jack Armstrong will be holding down The Game Plan without me as well.
Have a good one folks!
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010
Tuesday April 20 2010 – 10:26pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
Between the NBA playoffs, pre-draft workouts, the NBA draft, free agency, trades, Team Canada, the World Championships, and then Training Camp … there will be plenty to talk about in this space.
I will try to continue to submit stuff on a daily basis and welcome the interaction and comments below.
Today … I figured I’d go with some Random Raptor Thoughts:
1. Bryan Colangelo is heading into the last year of his contract with the Raptors (next season). Given that this is the most important summer in recent memory for the Raps, the MLSE board needs to decide right now what they want to do with Colangelo. You can’t hand the keys to your organization – and your future – to a guy that is in the final year of his contract. Thus, you need to make a decision on him right now. If it were up to me, I’d give Colangelo an extension right now. I know Jack Armstrong feels the same way — we both chatted about this on The Game Plan on Monday afternoon. Colangelo is not without fault. Two straight years out of the post-season is not a traditional time to be handing out extensions either. However, for the stability of your present and future you need to ensure that the man orchestrating and directing that future is a part of it.
2. I can’t believe people didn’t make more of the fact that Colangelo revealed on Monday that the Raptors offered Chris Bosh an extension over the course of the season and CB turned it down. That’s not only new news but I think it’s significant news as well. And is it a sign of things to come this summer?
3. For those that have been asking about the Raptors 1st round draft pick this year (which would have gone to Miami if Toronto had made it into the post-season) … Here’s the official terminology I was given by the Raps: “A lottery protected 1st round pick was conveyed in the original deal. If the pick has been conveyed by 2014, then the 2015 pick is unconditional and must be conveyed. Additionally, if the pick was not delivered in 2010, then our own (Toronto’s) own 2010 2nd round pick is conveyed.
4. Another interesting tidbit dropped by Colangelo on Monday that got little play: Reggie Evans still isn’t 100% healthy and if the doctors don’t feel that Evans’ foot is good-to-go, Toronto could very easily cut bait by next year. That said, though the ‘toughness’ factor will be missed (even though he didn’t have a chance to bring much of it this year because of his health), the minutes could be sparse again anyway given the fact that Andrea Bargnani is likely back, Amir Johnson being re-signed is a priority, and Chris Bosh or his ‘replacement’ will be in the mix too!
5. Informal poll time: If 1 of the 2 point guards is on the move this summer, who will it be … Jose Calderon or Jarrett Jack? Calderon has a bigger ticket which may be harder to deal but he needs to be a much better defender for his team to be effective. Jack’s price tag isn’t as hefty which may make him easier to move but is he considered to be the kind of play-maker that Jose is?
Should be interesting.
Have a good one folks
Monday, April 19th, 2010
Monday April 19 2010 – 8:29pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
Sorry for posting this so late folks – it was a busy day … covering the Bryan Colangelo press conference and then hosting The Game Plan this afternoon as well.
But I wanted to be sure to post something from Colangelo’s end-of-the-year chat with the media.
The President and General Manger of the Raptors weighed-in on topics like:
- The future of Chris Bosh and whether or not he could be moved in a sign and trade
- The future of Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon and the fact that 1 of the 2 may be on the move
- Toronto’s inconsistent season
- Hedo Turkoglu’s sub-par season and the higher expectations he’ll have next year
- Jay Triano’s job security
- The Raptors standing in the overall landscape of the Eastern Conference
And much more.
If you missed Colangelo’s comments, you can hear the press conference in its entirety right here, right now:
Have a good night folks … enjoy the NBA Playoff action!
Saturday, April 17th, 2010
Saturday April 17 2010 – 7:26pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
I know one game is already in the books (Cleveland over Chicago) but you’ll have to trust me that these selections were made well before the first game tipped-off. In fact, these picks were unveiled on “The Game Plan” yesterday afternoon around 3:45pm – so both Jack and I have proof if we ever need it (or wanna hide from it, haha)!
So here are my first round NBA Playoff picks … And Jack Armstrong’s as well …
Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (8)
Lakers in 5 – Eric
Lakers in 6 – Jack
Dallas Mavericks (2) vs San Antonio Spurs (7)
Mavericks in 6 - Eric
Mavericks in 7 – Jack
Phoenix Suns (3) vs Portland Trailblazers (6)
Suns in 6 – Eric
Suns in 6 – Jack
Denver Nuggets (4) vs Utah Jazz (5)
Denver in 7 – Eric
Utah in 7 – Jack
Cleveland Cavaliers (1) vs Chicago Bulls (8)
Cavs in 5 – Eric
Cavs in 5 – Jack
Orlando Magic (2) vs Charlotte Bobcats (7)
Magic in 5 – Eric
Magic in 6 – Jack
Atlanta Hawks (3) vs Milwaukee Bucks (6)
Atlanta in 4 – Eric
Atlanta in 5 – Jack
Boston Celtics (4) vs Miami Heat (5)
Miami in 7 – Eric
Boston in 6 – Jack
Friday, April 16th, 2010
Friday April 16 2010 – 11:25pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
For the past 5 years I have had the opportunity to vote for the end-of-the-season awards in the NBA.
I’ve never had the honour of voting for EVERY award — normally 3 or 4 are assigned to me each season.
This season I was asked to vote for the Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, 6TH Man, and All NBA Team(s).
To see my selections, check out my other blog at http://www.nba.com/raptors/news/eric_smith_blog.html
The other awards that I didn’t have a vote are listed below and these are how my ballots would have looked:
Defensive Player of the Year
Honourable Mention: Thabo Sefolosha. He may be the best wing defender in the league — maybe even better than Wallace. It’s THAT close.
Honourable Mention: Really? You want more? The MVP is the only award that asks you for FIVE nominees (every other ballot asks for 3) so there is nobody else more deserving – in my eyes – than the five I’ve listed above.
Most Improved Player
Honourable Mention: Kevin Durant. That may see weird given the fact that he’s in the MVP talk as well, but his all-around game has gone to another level this season and his impact on his 50-win Thunder is bigger than it has ever been!
Have a good one folks. Enjoy your weekend.
I’m going to check-in with my 2010 Playoff picks tomorrow!
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Thursday April 15 2010 – 12:28pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
Just a few key quotes from Jose Calderon’s locker clean-out press conference
RE: Your thoughts on this season and how it ended:
“I think it was a little bit disappointing. Ups and downs; good moments (and) bad moments. It’s sad to be here today.”
RE: Thoughts on his own personal play this year:
“I didn’t play the way I (would have) like to play this season.”
“Next season I’ll be ready and this summer I’ll keep working.”
“Nobody expected us to be here (but) we just have to keep working and get better.”
RE: The future of Chris Bosh
“We really don’t know what’s going to happen. Everybody has been talking for 2 years about all of this free agency. Hopefully we can keep him here. He’s a great player and a better person.”
RE: Chemistry on this team and if it was an issue
“I think it was more basketball-wise. We needed to play better.”
RE: His emotions at times this year
“I always try to be happy … I was disappointed. Sometimes I show that frustration. I don’t like to lose; not at all. You have to keep working and come back the next day …”
RE: The toughness of this team
“I think we were tougher. Yeah, for sure. You could see that if we made mistakes, we were heading to the bench.
RE: The post-All Star collapse after the mid-season surge that had Toronto in 5TH in the East
“After we lost that … why? Ahhh, I don’t know.”
RE: The struggles of Hedo Turkoglu this season:
“It’s my fault too. We needed to help him – and the opposite. We have to keep working on that (the chemistry) and get better on the court.”
RE: His status here in Toronto, if he expects to be dealt or if he has ever thought about going back to Europe:
“I’ve got 3 more years here – and hopefully with the Raptors … This is the best league in the world.”
RE: If changes will be coming – again – for Toronto during this off-season
“I don’t know if it’s going to be an overhaul, but there’s going to be a lot of moves in the NBA.
- He then suggested that it all depends on what happens with Chris Bosh or not.
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Thursday April 15 2010 – 11:06am Eastern – Toronto, ON
Just a few key quotes from Jarrett Jack’s locker clean-out press conference
RE: What happened to this team after the All Star break:
“We were without our best player … not to make any excuses.”
- He drew comparisons to the Lakers trying to go at it without their force in the middle, Andrew Bynum
- He said the bulk of the Raptors offensive schemes run through Chris so his absence after the All Star break was massive.
RE: The ‘chemistry’ issue that seemed to exist with this team at times this year:
“It was as good as it gets when you have 10 new faces. Also, we had a whole new coaching staff.”
“It’s going to be a struggle at times; it’s going to be a tug-of-war.”
“Everybody is friends on some type of level.”
RE: The coaching staff and the job they did
“I think they did a great job. I think the coaching staff was absolutely wonderful. I think it comes down to us as players. It’s the will of the players.”
RE: The defensive struggles of this team:
“Mental lapses. Not being mentally strong. Being able to dig in … That’s another thing that falls on the players’ shoulders.”
RE: If the leadership in Toronto is strong enough:
“Yes, I think so. I think teams have their own ingredients (on what works) … We have our own. We go about our business as we see fit.”
“I thought we were competitive still – regardless of if we made the playoffs or not.”
RE: The suggestion – by Bryan Colangelo – that some of Toronto’s struggles came down to some guys’ individual agendas
“I think at times your individual abilities take over. It might just be somebody trying to make a play and be aggressive.”
RE: The future of Chris Bosh
“I can’t speculate as to what he’s going to do. That’s stuff that they’ll (management) talk about later on.”
“He’s one of the most focused people I’ve been around. If you know Chris, he’s methodical about the game. For anyone to suggest that his head was anywhere else … is ridiculous.”
“He just loves this city. Toronto is definitely a home away from home. For him, he really dedicates himself to this city.”
“He loves playing here man. I think he loves being the face of the franchise.”
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Thursday April 15 2010 – 10:43am Eastern – Toronto, ON
Just a few key quotes from Hedo Turkoglu’s locker clean-out press conference
“I’m not happy (with) the way I played or the way I performed.”
“I had some difficulties throughout the year; but (that’s) no excuse.”
“I know I disappointed a lot of people – especially the fans.”
- He admitted that missing Training Camp may have played a part in him starting the season slow and not getting the chemistry clicking off the bat
- Turk says it’s a different system here than what he was used to as a ‘point-forward’ in Orlando
“If I get traded … I do. If I stay here, I have to work things out. I have to try to communicate and do things the right way.”
- He was asked directly: Do you want to stay? His answer … “Yes.”
“I didn’t come here to be in this situation … (but) … It was a good experience for me … Hopefully, if I stay here, I have a great year (next season).”
- RE: What he learned about himself: “I learned a lot in this organization; in this city. I have to keep myself calm all of the time. People expect a lot of things from me. It’s normal, they want more from me.”
- Turk mentioned that at times he may have had a “bad attitude” or made “bad comments” and admitted he has to be smarter about things next year.
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Wednesday April 14 2010 – 11:58pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
Knicks @ Raptors
131-113, Toronto (Toronto finishes the year 40-42)
“Smith and Jones” Player of the Game:
- ANDREA BARGNANI
9/15 FG (including 5/6 from 3PT)
“Alice Fazoolis” Player of the Game:
- JOSE CALDERON
Shout-out to the Knicks:
- BILL WALKER
Stats that stood out:
- Points in the Paint: 62-28, Toronto
- Second Chance Points: 20-11, New York
- Fast-Break Points: 30-20, Toronto
- Raptors shot 65% FG for the game
- DeMar DeRozan had a career-high 24 points (on 9/11 FG). He added 9 rebounds as well. A nice finish to the year for rookie.
- The Knicks scored 45 points off the 3-ball … nailing 15 of 33 from distance
- Toronto finished the season 29-8 when leading after 3 quarters
- New York hammered Toronto on the offensive glass, 18-4
- Amir Johnson followed up his career-high on Monday in Detroit with another fine performance … 21 points (9/13 FG) and 5 rebounds
- Getting the must-win victory, period.
- Chicago beating Charlotte and eliminating Toronto from the post-season for the 2nd straight year.
- “A disappointing end; a disappointing year. I have nothing more to say.”
- “It was a good performance overall tonight but too many others got away over the course of the season.”
Keep the 3-ball Steak Alive (942 games and counting):
- The Raptors were 7 of 14 from 3PT range
- October 2010!
* Missed the post-game show? You can check it out right here:
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Wednesday April 14 2010 – 3:57pm Eastern – Toronto, ON
For all of the talk of how ‘long’ the NBA season is, how ironic that the FINAL game still means something.
If Toronto wins tonight and the Bulls lose to the Bobcats, the Raptors will grab the #8 seed in the East.
If Chicago wins, they’re in. And similarly, if the Raptors lose … Chicago is in the post-season, win or lose.
When all is said and done, if Toronto is on the outside looking in, their demise may be linked to their defensive struggles this season:
Raptors Defensive Rankings This Season
Points allowed/Game – 105.8 (28th)
Opp FG% – 46.9 (20th)
Opp 3PT FG% – 36.4 (24th)
Opp Fastbreak PTS - 17.2 (27th)
Rebounds/Game – 40.5 (23rd)
Raptors Offensive Rankings This Season
Points/Game – 103.5 (5th)
Field Goal % – 48.0 (5th)
3PT FG% – 36.9 (6th)
Assists/Game – 21.9 (10th)
PTS in Paint – 42.0 (16th)