Raptors' Report Card - Year End Edition

THE REPORT CARDS ARE IN. Yes, on our first edit earlier today we left Mr. Villanueva off somehow...but he's here along with everyone from Bosh to Bonner. This final set of grades was tough as we had to decide on whether we were evaluating players based on their final semester, overall year, or on our expectations of the players going into the season. For instance, I felt that Joey Graham deserved an F based on the expectations I had of him coming into this season. A bit harsh? Perhaps and in the end we stuck with our previous grading scheme whereby the grades are simply a reflection of how valuable we felt each player was ONLY TO the Raptors. For example we felt Pape Sow deserved a C- for the impact he had on the Raptors...but on another Pistonesque club we definitely realize that his value would be significantly less. So without further adieu, let's take a look at the grades. - Franchise

RAPTORS TEAM GRADE - C

Howland: Well, the poll of the readers indicates C, with a 42.4 per cent rating. And the end of the year injuries make it a bit tough to grade. Overall, though, the team was worse than I expected.

Chapman: Yeah, I lost on my over/under bet of 28.5 wins.

Franchise: I give this team a C. I thought they'd be better too...not playoffs better but I thought with the talent brought in another year under the belts of Bosh, Hoffa, Pape, even Mitchell, that this team would win about as many games as last season.

Chapman: I don't know, I'm all about the bookends. I'd go C because, without the two and 27 start and finish, this team played close to .500 ball and lost a number of winnable games.

Howland: I'd go C. I think once fans saw the product on the court after the horrendous start, there really was some hope.

Chapman: Well C seems fair to me. It is not a grade that you take home to moms, but you did pass...it's what you want in first year Calculus. Unless, of course, you dream about being a Calculus teacher.

RAFAEL ARAUJO - D-

Howland: He did improve for the last half of the season...but barely.

Chapman: It's not his fault Mitchell doesn't play him!

Franchise: His past two grades were D-...

Chapman: He showed SOMETHING though in the Heat and Charlotte games near the end of the year.

Howland: I don't know, I'm still extremely disappointed...I really thought he could average six points and six rebounds this year. He slimmed down, looked quicker...I give him a D- for the year. I am spent on him at this point, is he headed back to the summer leauge or the national team...time for the annual pink-eye I guess.

Chapman: I say D-. But if he played on a consistent basis I feel that his grade could have been higher, even slightly.

Franchise: I'd go D-. I've backed him but I'm almost done with this experiment as well. Sure he shows some flashes, but so does Loren.

Chapman: In my opinion this is really a wild card here. You have a player who obviously was picked too high, but can he contribute ANYTHING to this team? There just weren't enough chances to see, I don't think. He couldn't even play through his mistakes...something may I remind you that CV Smooth HAS been able to do for the most part.

Franchise: Red Rocket on deck...

MATT BONNER - C-

Chapman: Draft Novak and ship Bonner out. Although Bonner WAS rockin' the Toronto Rock hat on at the Jays game Wednesday night...

Franchise: C-...didn't improve. I think this is the real Matt Bonner basically.

Chapman: Actually, he got worse. On a per 48 minute basis, he averaged 18 points and nine rebounds last season. THIS YEAR - 16 and eight...weeeeeeeeak...

Howland: I'll be shocked if he doesn't get moved this offseason.

Franchise: I think his novelty has worn off and a player who surprised fans last year now has fans realizing that he really should be a 10th man on teams. I mean is Bonner that different from an Eric Piatkowski, Matt Bullard or Scott Padgett? Think about that for a second...

Howland: Ok, C-...but I think the Mitchell love-fest with him needs to simmer a bit next year...

Chapman: C- in terms of value to this team but I think if Hoffa got half the minutes Bonner got we might actually see something from him.

CHRIS BOSH - A

Chapman: You gotta give him an A.

Howland: A

Franchise: Yeah, this was easy...A.

Chapman: He improved a ton.

Howland: Candidate for most improved player, All-Star...you name it...without him, we won 1 of our last 12 and might have won 10 games all year!

Franchise: I'm interested to see what he brings next season in terms of adding to his arsenal...look out league...

JOSE CALDERON - C

Chapman: A very polarizing individual. Steve Nash East? Not quite yet...

Howland: Potential candidate for Most Improved Player next season I feel.

Franchise: Frankly I'm disappointed. I watched him a lot last summer in the Euros and thought he'd be able to bring more to the table.

Chapman: Well how many games do Euros play? I think he wore down in the second half. Food for thought, dog. Get a plate. The shooting is an obvious worry, though.

Howland: Yeah something he'll have to work on this summer.

Franchise: Well in terms of grades, he started off hot, we gave him a B-. He then cooled off and got a C+ second semester. I think overall on the year I'd give him a C-.

Chapman: There's a comfort zone here and I think he fell out of it and his confidence suffered. We saw that in terms of his shooting as well.

Franchise: Agreed, he missed a ton of shots this year that I saw him make last year.

Howland: He was hurt though. I would give him a C-. He was really a bit below average for a backup in this league.

Chapman: Good point...C-...he'll need to step it up if he wants the starting job at some point.

JOEY GRAHAM - C

Franchise: I'm tough on Joey. I just didn't see the qualities that made him a pick I wanted out of college.

Chapman: I don't know. I think just in terms of the last "semester", he was playing at a B- level.

Franchise: I don't know. Anyone in the league can score on a bad team, especially when Bosh is hurt and Mike James sits in that last game.

Howland: Joey shot the ball a whole lot better than I expected though.

Chapman: But GET IN THE POST!

Howland: I know, he's a beast in terms of his size. I mean, you could use him like Jalen down low.

Franchise: Don't agree...he's no Jalen...too bulky first of all. I think he needs to trim down a bit and work on his quickness.

Howland: Maybe not Jalen but he should be able to take his man down in the blocks. And yes, definitely side to side quickness needs improvement.

Franchise: I mean, if our boy Lacas was taking him at that fantasy camp...

Howland: I kinda think Bonner could take him!

Chapman: I still think he could be a good perimeter defender.

Howland: He gets a C from me.

Chapman: I won't lie, I like what he did in the last 20 games. I think a C is fair based on what he showed near the end of the season.

Franchise: I'd go C, he really had the same effect on me when we close the book as Calderon...expected more from both. However it's tough because our rookies are forced into way more action than your average pick...look at Dorell Wright...or even players like Ike Diogu and Travis Outlaw...high picks on bad teams that just don't get the minutes...

Howland: Out of curiousity, would you rather have TJ Ford or Calderon?

Franchise: Ford

Chapman: Ford aka Talib Kweli.

Howland: Really? But I'd say Calderon has a BETTER jump shot than Ford.

Franchise: Yeah but I'd take Ford's quicks and defense over Calderon...at this point in careers anyways.

Howland: We need a pass first point guard though and soon...an Eric Snow type even...just NOT Eric Snow.

Chapman: I would rather have JT Snow than Eric Snow running my point.

Howland: Or Snowjob, the GI Joe.

Chapman: Slash former Much Music spring Event...what it dew...

MIKE JAMES - B+

Chapman: B+

Howland: B

Franchise: A-...ok...so some disagreement here. I'd say most Raptor fans have this type of mixed viewpoint on James. I just think we would have won 10 less games without him. Sure, he has his limitations and I'm not saying I want him back, but he really was valuable to this team on-court this year. Who else would have penetrated to the rim at will...Eric Williams?

Howland: I don't know...too many Rafer-esque antics.

Franchise: I don't care about off-court stuff, as long as it's not detrimental to the team ON THE COURT...Rafer's antics WERE, that's the difference here. James played his heart out for the team.

Howland: Hmmm...that off-court stuff though makes me wonder.

Franchise: He's not Kenyon Martin or Zach Randolph. And by the way, if we had to make a list of the most overrated players in the league considering their contracts, I'd put K-Mart right up there with Jerome James.

Chapman: He's Drew Gooden with a max deal...except that he looks exactly like Method Man.

Howland: Drew Gooden? Well who would you rather pick to start a team...Randolph, Martin or Drew Gooden?

Chapman: Z-Bo, Gooden and THEN Martin. And I think Drew Gooden is a complete fraud.

Franchise: Totally agree...I don't think people realize how good Jason Kidd is and how easy he makes the game sometimes. Look at Martin after he left Jersey...or even look at Vince now that he's there!

Howland: Alright, well back to James - I thought he played extremely well at times but sometimes you had to hold me back from "grabbin' my shotgun." B+

Franchise: Well to this team I thought he was of an A value but I understand the logic...maybe I'm a bit biased because of his resemblance in name to Mike Jones...B+ it is.

Howland: AND, I still think a sign and trade is in the works.

Chapman - To who?

Howland - I'm not sure...just think that a ton of deals are going down in offseason as tons of teams are a disaster and need to make changes.

DARRICK MARTIN - C-

Franchise: He got INC's in the first two semesters...but he played a lot at the end.

Chapman: Doesn't turn the ball over...he came in and settled the team down a few times...I'd give him a C- for a grade.

Howland: Yeah, high basketball IQ...C- sounds about right...especially in terms of the rave reviews he draws behind the scenes for his leadership etc.

Chapman: Just from that Philly game...solid work in limited minutes. Per 48 minutes actually, 14 points, eight assists...

Franchise: I think he comes back in a third stringer role next year too...

Chapman: Well, considering Omar Cook's in Belgium...with the brews...

Howland: C-. And his ability to clap while the opposing team is shooting three's makes this grade well worth it...

Franchise: That made me laugh everytime he did it...clapping at Damon Jones from the bench while Damon killed us at the buzzer was the best one though.

Chapman: If you think about it, the biggest thing Martin did all year was was polarize the Raptor blogging community!

Franchise: Quite true ha ha...C- for D Mart and thoughts that we'll see him next year...up next, my boy Mo Pete.

MORRIS PETERSON - A-

Chapman: Strong A-...maybe didn't win us as many games as James, but also didn't lose us as many.

Howland: Agreed...A-

Chapman: It used to be "Mo Pete, Mo' Problems" with this guy. Not anymore. He just comes in and does his job and does it well. And I just can't picture him in another jersey other than a Raptors one.

Franchise: I don't know...I love Mo, favourite Raptor, but not sure he was more valuable than James to the team this year...perhaps based on intangibles.

Howland: As a sidenote, think about Mo being the 21st pick...great value...and a perfect example of a player from a great program that may not be a star but who does all the little things to help the team win.

Franchise: I'm hoping Joey takes that approach. You could argue similar situations in that respect. Ok, A- for Mo. Not much argument there and he really showed another level this year just like Bosh did.

Howland: Well that was quick, Spidey's on deck.

PAPE SOW - C-

Franchise: I'd say C...he actually was a pleasant surprise for me.

Chapman: Yes, but the only area, per 48 minutes, in which his stats were markedly better than Hoffa was blocks...

Howland: You know I love the guy...but he leaves his feet way too early...

Franchise: Maybe a topic for another day but do you keep him?

Howland: Yep

Chapman: Yes...but he's got a ways to go. I don't see much better stats than Hoffa. I give him a D.

Franchise: I don't know...I think Pape did WAY more on the court which stuck out to me...just hustle plays alone. Sure, he fouls a ton but he was one of the ONLY Raptors I felt good about having in for defensive purposes.

Howland: I'd say C-

Franchise: I just don't see him being much less impacting than Calderon or Bonner. C-

Chapman: If you put it that way, and in terms of the growth in his game (foul shooting, offensive moves around the basket) than I agree. He's developing better than Bonner in that sense and he is the true definition of upside. C-

CHARLIE VILLANUEVA - B

Howland: CV gets a B, maybe even B+. Obviously the 48 point outburst shocked the world and even forced Stephen A. Smith to get on the Score to defend his a** , like Bush's administration to Democrats and Republicans alike. Did you know Smith is only one of twelve African American sports broadcasters?

Franchise: Stephen Smith, the mission specialist you mean? I say B...we gave James a B+ and I think Charlie needs to work on his consistency to get to a B+ range...too many games where he was a non-factor whereas Bosh, James and Mo Pete brought it almost every game.

Chapman: I've gotta go with B on this one. A fine season, all things
considered. Did any of us really see him as, arguably, the second best
rookie in the L this season? The 48 point game shows us what he is capable
of. 12 double-doubles. Eight other games where he was one rebound away from the
KG. He just needs to add more consistency.

Howland: Did you also know Stephen A. Smith has his VERY OWN radio show?

Franchise: I still have secret worries about him playing the 3 spot...I just feel he's more effective offensively down low with his back to the basket game and passing ability and really needs to work DEFENSIVELY on guarding that position.

Chapman: He'll have the offseason to do that. First report card B. Second a B+...I think we're all in agreement here that a B is well deserved.

ALVIN WILLIAMS - INC

Franchise: Poor Alvin...hopefully another off-season of rest and rehab will help...if he could even get back to 75 per cent at this point it would be a huge help to the club.

Chapman: Best Villanova product in Raptors history - until we get Allan Ray in the second round...

Howland: Oh please, Allan Ray is all about turnovers like Betty Crocker...and actually, I just bought some of Ms. Crocker's turnovers at Loblaws!

Chapman: I think you're referring to Terrell Everett, Howland.

ERIC WILLIAMS - F

Chapman: Best PROVIDENCE grad we've ever had, only because we didn't get Ryan Gomes last year. Eric's brought nothing to the table in my opinion. Hopefully we can pull some draft day deal with him...maybe a reverse Jonathan Bender styles trade. Oh, and speaking of which, I was watching the Breakfast Club on the weekend and did you know that Judd Nelson's character is named Jonathan Bender?

Howland: Was not aware of that, but I thought Molly Ringwald was hot. Eric Williams, not so hot...I'd give him an F...followed by a U...

Franchise: F...I mean, with Hoffa at least you're still saying "ok, what if he played more?" The sucky thing is that you KNOW he's gonna go contribute somewhere else.

Howland: Uh...welcome to the Aaron Williams Project.

Chapman: Welcome to the VINCE CARTER PROJECT!

Howland (examining his Blackberry which just buzzed): Oh man...I think I gotta work this weekend again.

Chapman: You're Peter Gibbons!

Howland: I'd rather be Peter Griffin!

Chapman: Let's close the book on Eric. He gets an F...my momma always taught me, if you don't have anything nice to say...

LOREN WOODS D

Chapman: Breaking 2 - Electric Boogaloo...what up!

Franchise: We gave him an F and a D+ in the first two semesters.

Chapman: THE DUNK though...D...that Portland Spin dunk pulls it up for sure...and per 48 minutes he's BY FAR the team's top rebounder at 16.3 a game. I guess that's why they say there are only three types of lies: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.

Franchise: Oh Loren...drives me nuts a bit too...can't catch the ball in traffic but do you keep Loren as a third center?

Howland: No.

Chapman: Once Bosh's name is on the contract...nope!

Howland: D for Loren who did, as usual, show just enough skill to annoy fans concerning his prospects.

Chapman: A D for the dunk

Franchise: I'd go D too...aight,

GRADING ADDITION - ANDRE BARRETT - C-

Chapman: Barrett was OK. Even though I worried every time he shot a jumper, it always seemed to go in. I've got to check his shooting percentage.... (thumbs through stats)...upon further review, I'm an idiot. His shooting was 36 per cent. Yikes. He did some other things well enough though for me to warrant a C- in minimum exposure.

Franchise: C-, I think he did some nice things in terms of passing at times, especially during that stretch when Jose was hurt.

Howland: C-. He did shoot a lot though and not at a great clip.

Franchise: I feel like this is one of those guys that if he was three inches taller, he would be in the league for good in some role.

Chapman: I mean, he is the best Seton Hall player we've ever had...

SAM MITCHELL - C

Franchise: I'd say B-...yes, needs work defensively but I really think we just need new players...

Howland: C-...with the talent we had, we should have won more of the close games...should have been a .500 team in my opinion.

Franchise: YOU ARE WORKING TOO MUCH PETER! .500???

Chapman: I think with everything breaking right this team wins 35 games max this past season.

Franchise: Agreed...not 40+

Chapman: Mitchell's substitution patterns bothered me...no love for Hoffa...no defense...

Franchise: I think though that he used the zone this year to some success and you have to realize that in some respects he's learning on the job. Howland, you still think C-? HOWLAND?

Howland (staring off at nearby TV): Martine Gaillard...hot...she gets an A.

Chapman: They always mess with the lighting on her for some reason making her sometimes hot, sometimes not.

Howland: Yeah, I think the camera guys just get distracted. Maybe she's not Sunday morning love...pure Saturday night...anyways, Mitchell. My issue is that once it was clear that we were going to miss the playoffs, the rooks still didn't get enough time and the team didn't experiment enough I don't think.

Chapman: Especially with Bosh out. They competed on a nightly basis but subs and defence hurt them all season...C.

Howland: Ok, I could see a C grade here, any higher gets a contract extension.

Franchise: I'd still say B- just for the competitiveness...until we get more defense minded players, I don't think all the blame can fall on Mitchell's shoulders. I mean, Chapman you watched Keady's Purdue teams...why hasn't his mentality defensively translated to the players as well?

Chapman: If you're going to talk college hoops, look at UCLA. I don't think with the Raptors it's the players that can't play D, it's the coach. With the Bruins, a lot of the same players were on this squad and then coach Ben Howland came in and instilled a sense of defense and a defensive system that helped them all the way to the finals. And if you look at a lot of UCLA's players, they're not "defensive stoppers" one on one...but the Coach got them to buy into his system. Sorry, Sam gets the C.

Franchise: Ok...I'm out-voted here...anything else? In Game Entertainment? Still pretty weak.

Chapman: PLEASE give the 4 Corners Hypeman ONE SPIN...he does nothing but clap those things together. Didn't thunder sticks go out when the Angels won the World Series???

Franchise: And I better be on the committee to pick a new warmup song next year...that was a disgrace.

Howland: Ok, let's wrap this up...your truly Peter Gibbons needs to get some sleep before returning to Penetrode tomorrow...

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