Yesterday we almost shut the site down thanks to the great discussion around Part I of RaptorsHQ's look at Bryan Colangelo's season wrap-up chat with the media.
Part II should provide more of the same...
That's probably the best way for me to sum up the discussion on the site yesterday, which was absolutely fabulous. Not everyone was in agreement but as usual, there were some very well thought-out points on both sides, so much in fact that late last night I contemplated foregoing this "Part II" and simply posting reader thoughts for discussion.
We may still do that at some point, but I'd like to first get through the rest of BC's chat with the media, as there are some other interesting points that I felt came out of the talk.
So again, in the words of Slick Rick the Ruler, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go...
Q: So, what’s the plan here?
BC: The plan, Michael (Grange), is to win basketball games at whatever cost and whatever extent. It’s been noted, and I will reiterate, that the board is fully committed to doing whatever it takes to put a winning team on the floor. That includes re-signing Chris Bosh. That includes exceeding the tax limit. We did get some favourable news the other day as a league, I guess, people in my position are licensed to spend more money: The cap and the tax figures that were anticipated to drop quite a bit will not drop as much as originally thought. It gives some teams with cap space more flexibility and more room to move. But it also gives teams that are over the cap and trying to avoid the tax more room to move. I would say, though, in any regard that when you plug in a Chris Bosh and you plug in a possible re-signing of an Amir Johnson and plugging in a few other positions in the roster that will address a few other needs in the roster we’re probably going to exceed the tax. Not probably, but very likely. The question of exceeding the tax and to what degree will be determined by what’s in front of us. The outcome of the Chris Bosh will probably determine quite a bit. If he comes back at that number, we know what the number is, the number where that starting contract might be. If he goes away in a sign-and-trade, it depends on what we net back, how much flexibility, how much less or how much more, we take back. Again, there are some other things. If we stay above the cap, which is likely to be the case, you’re looking at the mid-level exception as a possibility. You’re looking at sign-and-trade pieces with your own players. An Antoine Wright piece, similar to what we did with Carlos Delfino. He was a piece that was an asset staying within our team or roster as a cap hold, and we took his free agent rights and decided to make a deal that acquired two productive, young players in Amir and Sonny. There are situations like that that need to be worked out. The plan is to win basketball games. The commitment is there from ownership to exceed the tax if necessary. And we’ll do what we can to bring the right pieces in.
Q:What is "if necessary"?
BC: It depends on what’s there and what’s available. If there is a free agent and there’s justification to signing that free agent, because A, he is the right fit, and B, he’s the right piece, he’s got the right character, the right mentality, the right everything and he’s going to move the dial in the right direction, that’s if necessary. If there’s someone we just have to feel, "OK, we just have to spend a mid-level contract on him," no, it doesn’t make sense. If the Amir Johnson situation pans out and he’s a free agent and we intend to bring him back, we want to bring him back, he wants to come back, that ultimate number will decided how much flexibility we have. So if necessary, we will move to address those other concerns to what extent, again, gets left.
If you look at Antoine Wright, the same kind of thing will work itself out. All the unknowns are the numbers, the slots, the amount of flexibility we have that will determine to what extent we exceed the tax. I’ve got scenarios where I can paint a picture that we’ll be a 3-million-dollar tax team. I’ve got scenarios where we’ll be a 7-million-dollar tax team. And I’ve got scenarios where we’ll be higher than that. But they’re all scenarios because of the unknowns of free agency and the off-season that have yet to be determined. Today, those answers aren’t available.
Q: How much do you need to do to get to the next step?
BC: …Not a whole lot. But there are clearly things that we’re going to address to make sure we get there. And the biggest variable is Chris. If Chris is here, we’ve got a certain team to address, and certain needs to address. And if Chris is not here, depending on what comes out of that Chris Bosh scenario, there are going to be certain needs that need to be addressed. It’s going to take some time. But I think you know and understand and have witnessed that we will do what is necessary to make changes and address those areas.
Q: So you believe in core of this team and assets you have?
BC: I don’t think we’re as bad as the picture is being painted. We might not be as good as we had hoped, but we’re not as bad. We have the knowledge of the value of the players. We have the knowledge of the talent of these players. We see the interaction of these players on a daily basis. It’s something that you’ve just got to trust that we’re going to do what we can to turn us into that 50-win team.
I grouped this next bunch of questions together because they all deal with Colangelo's vision of the franchise going forward, or his "master plan" so to speak, and I think the most important thing to take from this section is that MLSE is willing to open the coffers.
I'm not sure nearly enough has been made of this point.
Sure various "small-market" teams have had success in the league, however by and large, if you look at this year's top guns, they're all willing to venture into the luxury tax zone to have a shot at an NBA Championship. Traditionally Toronto hasn't been cheap so to speak, but they've never been able to play with the proverbial big boys in terms of spend either.
If indeed MLSE is willing to spend more to "win basketball games at whatever cost and whatever extent," then suddenly the messy contracts that BC will have to deal with going forward, don't seem like such a pair of cement shoes.
But what about the "game plan" as Michael Grange asked? Couldn't BC have alluded to what he's looking to do with this team? Even in years past he's been forthcoming about looking to get "tougher, more athletic, etc, etc." This year, not a peep.
However I think that's because until the Chris Bosh domino falls, there's really not much he CAN say. The whole off-season in essence is predicated on what decision CB4 makes and that's why even the draft this year could be very interesting.
Q: What about the year Hedo Turkoglu has had?
BC: Hedo had a tough year, there’s no way to sugarcoat that. He acknowledged it himself. He struggled. I really appreciate the fact that he acknowledged it, not only acknowledged it but apologized to the fans for some of the things that took place during the season. He remains a talented player. He made some progress down the stretch with the relationship with the coach. Perhaps a common ground was met on a few things. Perhaps late we addressed some issues that needed to be addressed. But he’s a solid basketball player and he can help this basketball teams win games. But he needs to be more prepared next year to do so.
Q: What is the future for yourself and Jay?
BC: Myself, I’m under contract. I want to be here. I’m committed to being here. I’m committed to making this team a winner. And I believe the ownership group is committed to me allowing that to happen. With respect to Jay, Jay’s under contract. I look around the league and I count as few as six and as many as nine possible coaching vacancies this summer. I have no intention to make this one of those nine. Jay obviously learned a lot this year. I think this was a learning year for all of us. We learned about the players. We learned about the coaching staff. Jay probably learned a little bit more about coaching in the NBA as an NBA head coach. As he acknowledged, he probably would do a few things differently. And those are things that he’s brought to my attention or we’ve discussed throughout the year. Given the chance, he will address those things going forward to be a better coach. He’s young in this business. Every coach deserves an opportunity to learn. He acknowledged to all of you what some of those situations were.
Q: Hedo’s relationship with the coach, is that on the coach or is that on the player?
BC: It’s probably a combination of both. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a relationship, maybe I phrased that wrong. It’s not a relationship issue, per say, but it’s more of a, ‘did we use him right?’ and did he take advantage of the opportunity that was given to him and did he handle himself appropriately.
Again, I don’t want to paint this picture that this is all on Hedo. Just like I said this is not all on Chris Bosh. It’s a combination of bringing nine new players together and a lot of change and a coach that was in his first full hear at the helm. We learned a lot. We learned a lot as a group. And if we do nothing but come to training camp with the same team we’re going to be a better team. I think you guys know we’re not going to sit back and wait for that to happen. We’ll make some new adjustments, we’ll make some changes and we’ll look at things and we’ll assess everything, but I don’t think the relationship was necessarily fractured it was just not as good as it could have been and they found a common ground down the stretch of how things could be different but it was a case of too little too late.
Q: Do you think you overestimated Hedo?
BC: I think we overestimated the ability, potentially, to bring nine new faces together and bring such dramatic change and have it all come together. Rightly or wrongly, he just never got himself in the right kind of condition to compete as he had the previous year and that was pretty clear. It wasn’t from a lack of work. He worked hard, the kid worked hard, he just never seemed to recover. As soon as he started making forward progress he was set back a little bit. He had an illness to his mother, he got hit in the face twice, he went out and played with a busted nose, mask or no mask. He’s frustrated, he’s disappointed, he’s embarrassed. He doesn’t feel good about things. I would say the chapter is not over. It’s just not. You’ll see a better Hedo Turkoglu next year.
This part I found extremely interesting as it was the first I'd heard of actual issues between Triano and Turk. I'm guessing it stemmed from Triano's uber-competitiveness and his frustration with seeing Hedo simply go through the motions. However as a fan, it's frustrating to read this and not wonder why Jay didn't therefore yank the Ottoman's chain a lot sooner. I guess this is one of the "learning" points BC refers to.
It was also at this point in the press conference that I began to get really worried about next year.
Colangelo had noted in response to one of my early questions that he didn't know if Andrea "would ever be fully ready to replace Chris," and now was defending Hedo, essentially saying that while he was somewhat to blame, the major issue was trying to incorporate that many new players at once, and that we'd see a better Turk next year.
Does anyone else then get the feeling that if Bosh is gone, Colangelo envisions this as Hedo's team, not Andrea's?
I do...and it scares me JUST a bit.
Q: If you overestimated bringing nine new faces together, how do you account for the middle section where the team was 10 games over .500?
BC: Its maintaining or sustaining the consistency as to where we fell short. Not to mention we hit the stride and then our best player goes out with an ankle and misses six or seven games. It completely threw us into a downward spiral and by the time we got … it was tough to recover from. Now we find ourselves trying to make the transition away with Chris, Chris comes back then we have the transition back to Chris. You might have seen even down the stretch it really is a couple of different styles that can be played, but Chris is a dominant scorer and he’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot which makes others on the court play differently. When hes off the court we have to do other things and make adjustments. It’s probably safe to say that the first time around Andrea wasn’t ready to do that. I’m not sure why he didn’t grab it, maybe it was just the fact that the team was struggling as a whole. The second go around I think we were much better prepared for it. He gets hit and we played okay, we played better than we had the earlier time. But your best player is out of the lineup for 12 games.
Q: You were 5-7 in those games…with that record down the stretch, you're in the playoffs...
BC: Your best player misses 12 games down the stretch of the season. you’re making adjustments to him being in and out of the lineup and the team was not performing well as a whole. We were not playing consistently.
RHQ: In a year where you're trying to retain Chris Bosh's services, you've talked a lot about "learnings" from Triano, obvioulsy Hedo, even DeMar, was that necessarily advisable because this is such a crucial time-period where you're trying to incorporate nine new people, yet trying to retain Chris Bosh at the same time. Is it possible now, because of this, that he (Bosh) might take his services elsewhere?
Q: I don’t think that has anything to do with it. In fact, developing young players like DeMar, playing as many minutes as he did, is only going to benefit him down the stretch, it’s going to benefit us long term. I don’t think you can pin the season failures on DeMar DeRozan. That’s not fair. A Sonny Weems comes in and gives you all kinds of lift when you needed lift. That’s certainly not a detraction from where Chris is going to be looking at things this year. It’s more collectively where we failed. It’s not individuals, it’s collectively. I said it all along, the one thing about this team, it wasn’t a talent issue it was more mental. It was about getting 14 individuals to work together that maybe we fell short and that’s something again we’ve learned from and we will improve upon and maybe make some adjustments or changes to certain areas of the locker room. One thing that goes unnoticed or unwritten is that we failed at bridging some of the relationships per say in the locker room. There might have been a guy in the past like Anthony Parker that did a great job at understanding what the international players were going through and understanding what the American players were going through. We didn’t have that kind of piece that was a stability or a glue guy that made that happen. That’s something, I can’t say that enough because he was such a vital part and a stable force in that scenario whereas this year we didn’t seem to have that. Again, I think you have to look at the situation that 12, 13, 14 individuals were playing maybe more as individuals than they were as teammates and team basketball wins games. To the point of the demise or the spiral downward at the end oft he season, that’s part of where some of those things factored in.
Oooh...things got a bit testy here and this is when I felt BC started to really go on the defensive. I also thought this section represented some of the best direct questions on the day. (And not just because I got one in here.)
The fact is that if the club had such a tough time incorporating nine new faces, shouldn't we have seen that early in the season but not late? Why indeed was the middle stretch quite good? You can't use the "nine new faces" excuse in some circumstances but not others!
The reality is in my books, the schedule had a lot to do with how this team played. If you graphed it out you'd get sort of a bell curve type shape, with the schedule starting off extremely tough, softening up towards the middle, and then getting stronger again towards the end. And really, that echoed this team's performance didn't it?
And as the Sun reporter was trying to point out, you can't blame the poor finish on missing Bosh as the team did go 5 and 7, and had that pace had continued, it would have been enough for an 8th place finish.
Instead of getting into that however, BC simply restated his first answer!
Now onto my question.
In hindsight, I could have worded it a lot better, but in those press conference type situations, it's tough to ask long-winded questions, so it came out a bit garbled. My real question would have been:
"Was it really a good idea to gamble on a number of "rookies," from the head coach to shooting guard etc, in a year where you're trying to convince Chris Bosh to remain a Raptor?"
In any event, whether he understood my question or not, he didn't answer it. However his answer did bring up the interesting point about the importance of an Anthony Parker type, something that I found quite valid. Any time I was in the Raptors' locker-room this year, there really did seem to be a gap between the International players and the North American ones. Not in terms of actual animosity, but just a bit of a communication gap. For instance I'd roll in and Turk and Marco would be stretching and joking around. Or Weems and Amir Johnson would be singing together. But rarely did I see much crossover between the groups, the one exception being Antoine Wright, telling his locker-neighbour Rasho that he better lock the doors tonight because Wright was going to come over and feed Rasho's kids candy to keep them up all evening.
Q: Guard play is so important in the league right now. How do you like the make up of this team with respect to the guards?
BC: You getting back to our point guard situation or our off guard? Clearly guard play is critical and the ability to create shots and the ability to distribute the ball and get the team into an offence. All of those things that make good teams great. Right now do we have that player who can go out and score 20 points a game alongside Chris Bosh at the guard position? Yes, but not with consistency.
You’ll see the occasional 20-point night out of one of the guards, whether it was DeMar in the last game, sometimes Jarrett Jack, sometimes Jose. There’s someone capable of that, but right now our 20-point scorer is in the power forward spot or the five with Bargnani. He’s the guy that night in and night out can average 20 points a game. We need to address the guard play, that’s something we’ve already talked about needing to address. Two point guards, can they co-exist, are they good enough? Are they good enough together. Collectively I think they averaged 22 and 10. You want your starting point guard to average 10 assists per game. Means they’re getting people involved on the court and getting things done out on the court. Division of minutes, consistency, injuries those sorts of things, you’ve got to figure out if they can both still play. If you take one and make a move with the other, is that guy capable of running the show and doing that.
With regard to the wing position, you’ve got some talent there too. You’ve got a 20 year-old that is learning his way. For everyone that wants me or us to find a 20-point scorer, they’re not falling from the sky. Kobe’s not available and you’ve gotta make do with what you’ve got. We set out to find that player or potentially increase the possibility of finding that player by drafting an athletic, talented player in DeMar DeRozan who at times showed flashes of being a guy who maybe could go out and do that. It’s going to take some time, he’s only 20, this was a good jump start for him to be able to do that. It’s going to take a lot of work on his part, some offseason training that’s going to entail some of those things. Working on his handle, shot creation, those sorts of things, but you can see the positive development of both he and Sonny Weems.
A year ago Sonny Weems couldn’t crack a roster. He played in the NBDL for Denver, he gets traded once, twice in the summer, he comes into our situation and down the stretch he didn’t look like an NBDL player for us. To get back to the conversation I had with Tim Grgurich about him, the assistant coach in Denver, he’s going to tell you he can score 20 a game, but he can really defend the win position. For us to go out and find a guy like that who can stop people, it’s great. It’s great that we found a guy. He’s versatile too. He can guard ones, twos, sometimes threes. It’s a positive. That’s the development, that’s the work that the coaching staff put in with these guys.
We’ve got two young players that we can tap into .Where they take it, it’s all part of the game. Offseason is a where these guys get better. I don’t think DeMar is going to be sitting around. He’s very hungry and busy and doing the things that he needs to do. One of the reasons that we drafted him was because of his character and his drive. He wants to be good. He wants to be considered one of the best. We’ll see where it goes.
Not a ton to get into here but this is the 17th time I've heard Colangelo use this "Kobe doesn't grow on trees" type argument.
But this team doesn't necessarily need a Kobe. It does need someone who can create off the bounce and defend the wing position and unfortunately, the last draft did have a number of players of that ilk.
And more Sonny Weems talk.
Yes Weems took another step forward in terms of his game.
But ask yourself, on a good team, would he have gotten that chance? Part of the issue here is that the Raptors are not a good team, and therefore a player like Weems sticks out like a sore thumb. Had he been playing for Denver still, he might not have gotten much more than a second look.
As well...I had half a mind to stand up and say "if you're praising Sonny so much, why in the hell didn't you make Jay use him more during the bulk of the season?"
End rant. Next...
Q: You have to get better defensively. Do you have the personnel?
BC: It’s safe to say we need to improve our personnel in that area and we have to probably get better at formulating and executing a defensive strategy using the personnel that we have available. I think we can all be better defenders and we lost sight of it at times, but as it’s been pointed out our defence was good at times but it was when our offence was rolling. It seemed to feed off of our offence. We were number one in the East if I’m not mistaken in team offence and number five overall in the league. Defensively we were in the 20 range, if I’m not mistaken. It’s an area of improvement. No sugar-coating that we need to get better defensively. We need to demand more of the players defensively and we will.
RHQ: Bryan, just going back to the defence, a lot of teams employ a lot of advanced statistics, and there's sort of this rise in that line of thought with NBA GM's. Just comment a little bit in that regards on the Raptors' organization. Are you looking to move in that direction, is there a gap there that needs to be close?
BC: I don't think you necessarily need to react to what everyone else is doing. We need to get better defensively, that's clear. As much as we can talk about how "effiicient" we are on offense, I think we're right there at the top, we need to get better defensively. And we'll address that with personnel changes potentially and with some of the things we've been talking about from a coaching stanpoint and how we prepare and how we motivate players to play better defensively.
RHQ: Do you believe in all these advanced stats, PER, adjusted plus minus, all this sort of stuff?
BC: (Looking like he wants to kill me.) We've got our own models, we don't necessarily go onto any popular websites when discussing the statistical component. We are investing significantly in the quantitative analysis that's going on in league. Jay has embraced it in a big way, and to a lesser extent with data that's available we're applying that as well to our draft selection criteria if you will. And as it relates to simple things like plus/minus and points and rebounds...we're well beyond that. Any trade target or free-agent target; any sign-and-trade scenarios which we will undertake with Chris, we've got all sorts of information and analysis which we'll look at to help make a more educated decision on how those things might work out.
Aaaah, so the Raptors DO use statistical analysis!
To what degree maybe we'll never know, but after some prompting, it was at least good to know that Toronto is not completely in the dark ages here in terms of analysis. However it's curious that if these "models" were in place last summer, why some of the free-agent and trade decisions were made and even more so, why none of these models helped sway Triano and co. to make better rotation decisions in terms of the team's defence. I'd love to sit down with Jay and talk more specifically about this and hopefully later this summer it's something the Raptors' organization would permit.
Q: What could you get in a sign-and-trade with Chris?
BC: It’s an impossible question to answer. I know what Chris Bosh’s value is in the market, over the course of the last year and a half, but it’s a situation where right now, because those conversations are not necessarily relevant or real time, I think it’s safe to say there are several cap teams with enough space to sign Chris outright. Again, on the premise that Chris is not is probably not going to make a decision to walk away from a significant amount of money, and security, we can be looking at those teams and analyzing possible targets and possible scenarios for us to consider. However, as you know, that’s a one-sided thought process at this point. There’s a whole other universe of teams out there that are over the cap, and would be interested in Chris Bosh, and have assets that we may be interested in. So assuming that Chris would rather play somewhere else, and he gives us a list of teams that he would be agreeable to go play for, then we can delve further into ‘What would we want back from this team?" That’s being evaluated, it has been evaluated, it will continue to be evaluated. And we will try to maximize our opportunity in the event that that’s the course of action.
Q: How do you sell him to stay this time?
BC: Depends really on what he is looking to achieve out of free agency. There’s been talk and speculation he wants to be a No. 1 guy; we have that. If he’s content to be a No. 2 guy, then there’s other options for him. This city is a place that has grown fond of him, and I think that he has grown fond of. And the unknown of moving to a new city, a new situation, acclimating, the pressures of a new maximum contract, are all things that he’s going to have to consider.
But this is a unique opportunity to him to market himself to an entire country, not just the city of Toronto. And for all the talk about marketing opportunities and new situations out there that will open up because of a move, sometimes it’s be careful what you wish for. More marketing opportunities and more time that’s spent away from the game is a drain, physically and otherwise, and you might make up a few dollars, but you might also suffer the consequences. The game is the most important aspect of it.
And he’s got the opportunity here to be the No. 1 guy, and he’s got a franchise behind him, he’s got an ownership group behind him, willing to exceed the tax limit, willing to do whatever it takes. He’s got a management team behind him, and relationships within the organization, that hopefully are longstanding. And there’s a loyalty that’s been built up, both ways.
Q: He told us last week that he wants to win…
BC: Absolutely, absolutely. And not just this team evolves, or has evolved, but the league evolves. And as the league continuous to evolve, and you look at what we’ve done, and I know it’s nothing to be proud of, but over the last four years we’re averaged 40 wins a season. The previous four years, I think, we averaged 29. So we’ve made a significant jump. And now it’s time to take the next jump. And that’s part of the evolution of this franchise. We want to get to the 50-plus plateau on a consistent basis, and continue to build from there. That’s on the horizon. We’ve flirted with it, we got to 47, we won the division, and things haven’t worked out. And you can talk about all the reasons why, or why not. But the fact of the matter is we’re a significantly better organization than when Chris signed the extension. There’s nothing to say we can’t continue moving, especially with the commitment that we have from ownership, the passion that our management team has to continue to make this thing grow, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make it happen.
And there’s going to be good decisions along the way, and bad decisions along the way. It’s the nature of the game. There’s going to be highs and lows. But the notion that the grass is greener somewhere else is a frightening notion sometimes. We’re not that far away. It’s not doom and gloom, as it’s been painted. And we’re going to be fine. it’s just a matter of a couple things falling into place here.
Q: What is your case? What do you tell Chris when you sit down with him?
BC: I’m not going to sell myself. I’m going to sell the organization and the city and the opportunity he has here. His agents know what my track record is, his agents know what my history is in terms of trying to make things happen. He knows where my passion lies, and also where the rest of this organization is in terms of our commitment to winning. That will be something we talk about. But there shouldn’t be any question about our desire to get better.
The interesting point in this next group of Bosh-related questions is the "how do you sell him to stay this time?" one. It's a very good question because this is now round two for BC. He convinced Bosh the first time by promising to deliver a team Bosh could lead to contention...and that didn't happen.
So now what?
Outside of "we can pay you more," what can BC do?
He alluded to a lot of outside factors like the organization as a whole, the city etc, but the reality is that if Chris "just wants to win" as he stated, this is going to be a tough sell considering the last three seasons.
Q: Do you think your reputation has suffered?
BC: Thanks to you guys? Just kidding.
I’m not going to grade myself. I think you guys have done a pretty good job of that. Reputationally, if I listen to people, I hope they’re not blowing smoke, but they think we’ve got a good basketball team and we’ve got a chance to be solid every year because we have a committed management team and a dedicated management team and a passionate group that has put this thing together. And a knowledgeable one. We’re not talking about a couple years of experience here, we’re talking about a lot of years. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t. It’s always easy to look back and say ‘Should have done this, could have done this, would have done that.’ But let’s look at the averages. I think we spoiled you guys a little early here, went from 27 wins to 47, won a division, got into the playoffs two years in a row, and everything seemed to be coasting in the right direction. This business is not easy. And we continue to move and we continue to evolve and we continue to try to make the right decisions, and out-work the people we’re competing against.
And I’m not proud of averaging 40 wins and only making the playoffs twice. I’m just not.
RHQ: Bryan, you've talked a lot about getting to that "next level." How big of a step-back is it going to be if Bosh leaves? Do you feel the players you have now, because you've got a lot of contracts tied up long-term, can they take this club still to the "next level?"
BC: It all depends on what you net back in a sign-and-trade, how other players evolve. And I do believe we have players who can evolve. I do believe Andrea bargnani has got potential to considerably increase his scoring, and he absolutely has room to increase rebounding. And as he gets better and learns and, maybe even becomes more of a focal point if Chris Bosh leaves, we’re going to see just what he’s made of, but I think you see glimpses of it more often than not. With respect to the rest of the guys, if Chris leaves, then the ball will be in someone else’s hands. And if Hedo Turkoglu is back, then he’ll have the ball in his hands. And perhaps that will be an evolution of this team. Things will change if Chris leaves, and we will have to replace 24 points and 11 rebounds. We will have to replace his presence with his team.
Q: What do you think about the anger from your fanbase this season?
BC: I feel their frustration. I think they would be less frustrated if there wasn’t such a frenzied movement. I think that we are addressing the areas of concern of our season seatholders with added value elements, all the time. More accessibility, entertainment, character, giving back to the community, all the things that we do in a positive light in this marketplace, are things that we will continue to strive to get better at. We will strive to make the basketball team more entertaining, more competitive, and do everything we can to win basketball games. Our fans have been incredibly supportive, in particular the people who invest in our company by purchasing season tickets, individual tickets, group tickets, all those partners are incredibly valuable to us and supportive of us. And the rest of the market is supportive of us. And I’m not just talking about Toronto. I’m talking about all of Canada. We’ve got a lot of interest as we got o other cities, it’s incredible the amount of pride in the Toronto Raptors jersey that we have, the relationships that have been built up … there’s people who know we’re doing everything we can to make this thing as good as possible, to make them proud.
But we cannot be swayed by the angst of a vocal minority that wants us to be someone we’re not. What we are is we’re a solid organization, one of the best-run organizations in the NBA and in professional sports. Top to bottom. I’m talking about hockey, basketball, soccer, real estate, everything. Television. it’s a company that will do everything in its power to answer the fans’ concerns, and that’s what we’re doing.
The one thing we control is our effort and our attempt to make it happen.
My last question was thanks to Howland, who texted me during the presser to ask Bryan just what he thought this team would be like minus Bosh.
Because it's a huge point.
On one hand BC talked a lot about this team being close and not as bad as its record indicates.
Yet on another, he talked a lot about the possibility of not having Bosh next year.
And again, from Colangelo's answers, I get the feeling he really believes that sans-Bosh, Hedo and Bargs will pick up some of the slack and things won't be as bad as many think they'll be.
And that I've got to question.
I would never say Bosh is the toughest player but he's He-Man compared to most of his teammates. Who replaces that? Or how about the free-throw attempts or rebounds?
What I don't want is to come to this point next season and have Colangelo tell us "well guys, what did you expect? We wont 22 games this year because we were missing our franchise player!"
And unfortunately I can see that happening based on the past few seasons and BC's explanations for what frankly have been some poor decisions.
So in summary, what can we as Raptors' fans take from this marathon media session?
Well, I'd say the basics are that one or both of the point guards have to go, Jay will be back, Hedo will get another shot with new teammates once more, MLSE is williing to spend to put a winner in the ACC, Bosh may not return but Toronto is still his best option financially, and depending on what CB4 decides, BC will adjust accordingly via free-agency and to a lesser extent the draft.
Oh...and the Toronto Raptors may or may not use some form of advanced statistics.
As many of our readers mentioned yesterday, you really have no choice now but to hope that BC can pull off some off-season heroics.
The team has failed to meet even mediocre expectations the past three seasons after over-achieving in year one, and now has to right the ship before things get really ugly.
Is BC the right man to do it?
I'd be lying if I said I was sure he was but really, it's ridiculous to have a "fire BC" discussion unless you can name some suitable replacements and provide evidence as to why they should take the helm in TO.
Right now I can't...but that's not to say that should the troubles continue, I won't start compiling a list of potential candidates.