With yet another trade perhaps imminent, Franchise steps back to ponder just what Bryan Colangelo was really thinking about his team last season...Nine new players.
With a roster of 15, that means that over the past two and a half months or so, Bryan Colangelo has somehow managed to replace two-thirds of his roster.
What makes this feat that much more incredible is that not three months ago, many fans, myself included, didn't believe that BC could do much other than re-sign Shawn Marion, maybe keep Anthony Parker and Carlos Delfino, and perhaps use whatever leftover scraps existed to sign someone else. It really was hard to imagine a huge improvement from the club going into this October.
Now, no matter how you feel about certain key moves like the Hedo signing, as Scott Carefoot recently noted on Raptorblog, there is enough youth, athleticism, and upside that any team improvement doesn't solely have to come at the hands of Bosh (who may have plateaued) or Bargnani (who may revert to his sophomore season for all we know.) No, in the current situation players like Marco Belinelli, Amir Johnson, Jarrett Jack, and of course DeMar DeRozan, last Friday's X Factor topic, could all push this club to a level that Hedo, CB4, Andrea and Jose could only dream of.
Hell, even Sonny Weems could carve out a nice niche for himself on this roster!
Training camp and preseason should be a real treat then this year with so many new players battling for playing time. But the influx of new names had me thinking last night that instead of posting the next X Factor report this morning, maybe I should be talking about something else...
...like the need for Raptors fans to petition the Academy so that Bryan Colangelo receives an Oscar for his performance last year.
I'm serious here.
Remember the whole "we're not that far away" speech at the end of last season?
Does 10 new players suggest "not that far away" to you?
The guy must have been just losing it internally having to watch Sam Mitchell chain Andrea to the bench, JO hobble around, Kapono pass on shooting 3's, and Jamario pass on driving in order TO shoot 3's.
As a fan it was infuriating to watch so I can't even imagine how he felt, especially considering he put the whole mess together.
In contrast, regardless of how the upcoming season turns out, you get the feeling that Colangelo finally has the team HE wants; multiple options at every position, lots of players who can score and distribute, a few ridiculous athletes, shooters galore, and not a single player who doesn't want to be here.
He also has a coach who he feels can mould the club into playing the style of basketball he wants to run in Toronto, and as much talent as he could possibly hope for given his original off-season salary restrictions to surround Chris Bosh in a last ditch effort to retain the four-time All-Star's services.
Fait accompli right?
At face value you'd have to say yes.
I'm still not convinced this is a 50 win team but with each passing move I'm more and more excited to see just how this new blend of players mixes.
I'm betting BC is too as really, he's done a house-cleaning job of massive proportions this summer.
Which brings me back to my original point; just how much did BC hate last year's club?
Was Colangelo really even that enamoured with the Jermaine O'Neal trade? If you think about it, the composition of last year's club, one that was supposed to be based on half-court "twin towers" sets, defence and rebounding, is almost a complete opposite of the one he's still putting the finishing touches on.
Perhaps the TJ Ford issues forced his hand and that really was the best option out there, an option he felt he could always divest himself of in two seasons max if things didn't work out?
Or perhaps he saw the troubles his old club, Phoenix, had in getting past some of the more traditional teams in the West and so he decided to buck his usual style given the limited resources he was working with?
I don't think we'll ever know the true story but it's safe to say that the team that fans watched playing in January (if you were actually still tuned in) was basically the antithesis of the type of team BC wanted to send out on the court every night.
The Shawn Marion trade was a band-aid solution and by putting some extra time in the ER this off-season the Legomaster was able to upgrade from "band-aid" to full-scale lobotomy.
While the results of this lobotomy have yet to be determined, there's no question that Colangelo now has assembled his "own team," arguably for the first time since his arrival in Toronto. In fact, with the dealing of Roko Ukic, there are now only two remnants from the Rob Babcock era; Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon.
And even for someone who's been as critical of some of Bryan Colangelo's moves as me, this fact alone has me looking forward to this season and beyond.