Well, this season has been terrible so far, and even that sounds like an understatement. Words really can’t describe the true feelings going on in Raptor land right now.
The season started out with some really nice optimism from fans and media alike. With legitimate playoff aspirations and a roster at least capable of putting up a fight until the end of the season.
But, after just 16 games into the season, the Raptors now find themselves as the second worst team in the entire league right now, only better than the last place Wizards, who are 1-12.
Yes, there were some really close losses, and games that could have easily been won. In fact, this team could just as easily have been at .500% right now. But that doesn’t change the fact that this team is off to one of its most disappointing starts in years.
At this point in time, the Raptors need to make some front office changes, to take a giant leap forward with this “culture change” its creator had tried, but failed to do. Simply put, there is nothing else this team can do, or no one else that it can blame right now other than one person.
That’s you Bryan Colangelo.
The single biggest flaw in Colangelo’s tenure so far in Toronto has been the inability to build a real winning team from the ground up. I was never sold on this whole accelerated rebuild that the Raptors were in. Believe me, they are in one.
The Raptors made nice moves this offseason that could have put them into the playoffs, and I even said that in my Raptors preview. But I still knew that even with the playoffs, this team was probably never going to make it past the first round. The Raptors ceiling in a few years was a second round playoff team. But they were never going to make it further than that.
To make matters worse, the Raptors even had Chris Bosh to work with when Colangelo started as the GM. Whether Bosh is a true #1 or not is debatable, but there’s no question Bosh is an All-Star talent. After failing to surround Bosh with talent, he left. All the Raptors got for him was a first round pick from Miami, (which ended up being traded for James Johnson, and now a second rounder), and also a trade exception.
A second big flaw in Colangelo’s rebuild plan was his drafting habits. Despite the Raptors spending many years in the lottery, they never made any great picks, in my opinion. That was one of the biggest problems with the team. Colangelo made some nice, but not great picks with what draft positions he was in. But, then he overpaid to keep those good (but not great) players around.
The problem was that the Raptors were always bad, but never bad enough to get a top-3 pick, where you are most likely to get that elite talent. Other than 2006, the best pick they had was 5th. So, there lies a big problem.
When they did get that number one pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, they made a huge mistake and to this day, still can’t move on from it.
Of course, with the Raptors luck, the 06 class happened to be a bad draft class (thanks to the eligibility rule). But it’s fair to say that LaMarcus Aldridge was the guy to pick there.
Now, to be fair, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross might change that, and I really hope that they do, but realistically, it’s far too early to tell.
A third big flaw of Colangelo, was how he held on to these players when they clearly didn’t fit. It’s almost like forcing pieces of a puzzle together, even though you know they don’t fit. Eventually, they break off or look extremely awkward when the puzzle starts to take shape around it. Despite the one-dimensional and inefficient players and what Colangelo calls “franchise talent” on this team, some are actually paid like elite level talent which further adds to the whole mess that we have in Toronto right now.
Even in this past year in the 2011-2012 Lockout shortened season when the Raptors were clearly trying to lose to get another high pick, Dwane Casey had other plans and the team eventually exceeded everyone’s expectations, for the worse.
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So, without going into detail over the many questionable moves that the Raptors have made in the recent past that I don’t agree with, I’ll sum it up in a couple of sentences instead.
The Raptors failed to acquire the most important aspect of a so-called “rebuilding team”. This missing piece obviously being that elite level talent that clearly lacks on this team, because it was never added.
So, now that Bryan Colangelo’s plan for the future has proven to be a bust, and has shown an inability to properly build a team, it’s time for his days in Toronto to end.
What better way to start Bryan Colangelo’s proposed “culture change” than to start from the top this time instead. That truly, would be a culture change and a new identity for a team that could really use one right about now.
You’ve had 7 years to build a respectable team, and you failed. It’s time to move on.
Fire Bryan Colangelo.