While working away on my final paper of the semester I was suddenly over taken by nostalgia. I was nostalgic over the fire that was under the Raptors when we made it to the Eastern Conference Finals where V.C missed the game winner in Philly. I then started wondering what that roster had that we don't have today, and a few things quickly became very clear. For one thing we had a superstar, and that's what everyone will notice right away; Vince Carter. But I think a team can be a solid team without a superstar and indeed the thing that the 00-01 Raptors had that's missing today is more than just a superstar. For one thing, we are missing a traditional point guard. Though Kyle Lowry is a very talented player, I don't think he can lead a team like Alvin Williams or Jose did. But I think most of all, we are missing balls. Not basketballs but the kind of balls that make you go face to face with another player who fouled your teammate harder than he should have, the kind of balls that make you walk away from a fallen opponent instead of helping him up. Some people think that's good sportsmanship, but an opponent is an opponent and should be treated like one until the game is over. Think back to Antonio Davis, Charles Oakley, people hated playing against those two because they bumped and bruised you, and they didn't apologize for it. We are also missing character. I know people will say we have Tyler now, but I think even he has been playing softer as a Rap compared to his Pacers season(s).
Lastly, how many of you remember the echoes of barks carrying through the stadium as J.Y.D was about to check into the game? THAT was character, it didn't matter to the fans how many points he got, he went out and was diving for a ball before as soon as he entered. I think the current Raptor squad looks pretty damn good on paper, so I often wonder if they're just missing some character.