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Step 2 - Making Changes - More on Bryan Colangelo's Future with the Raptors


In this morning's post, the HQ notes that while Colangelo may have taken "step 1" of 12, it's their version of step 2 that really counts...

On Tuesday I gave my overall take on Bryan Colangelo's year-end presser.

Many readers noted that it lacked a sense of euphoria considering that it sounded like BC was finally owning up to some of the issues that have plagued this club for the last few seasons.

It's true, my take was perhaps a bit skeptical, and not the "yes, he finally gets it!" angle some expected.

So keeping with my "12 Steps" theme, let me explain.

It's great that Colangelo admitted to having a problem, that's indeed Step 1.

But as I noted yesterday, actions speak louder than words, so really, it's the next actions he performs that will be the deciding factors in terms of my level of excitement going forward.

Because as one reader put it yesterday, I should be excited.

Long-time readers will recall that really since year two of Colangelo's regime, I thought the team needed to start over to a certain extent. Sure the Raptors had just finished a second-straight visit to the playoffs, but even in that loss to Orlando you could see some major cracks in the team's core.  The team lacked toughness, athleticism, a slashing wing, defense and really, aside from perhaps rebounding, these same issues are true today, some even more apparent.

So hearing Colangelo speak of a rebuild should bring tears of joy to my eyes, as he now sees the light.

But does he?

That's what we have to ask ourselves honestly.

Because while I'd love to believe that his moves this season were in line with this "rebuild mentality," you have to wonder if injuries didn't play a major role in pushing him towards this line of thought.  Remember, the team was actually playing better basketball than many expected until Reggie Evans went down, and then things really started to come unglued. 

The club had actually reeled off four straight wins in late November after a 2 and 9 start, and then down went Reggie.

After that?

A 6 and 13 stretch that only got worse once the new year hit.

Further to that, it was injuries, not "giving the young players experience" that seemed to dictate Jay Triano's allocation of minutes. The Raptors' coach was still rolling out guys like Leandro Barbosa and Reggie Evans over younger players when it was clear that a losing season was a foregone conclusion.

And the fact of the matter is that BC's off-season moves don't exactly back up a re-build approach.

Re-signing Amir Johnson was a must considering the team didn't know what it would get from Reggie Evans or Ed Davis, had struck out on Tyson Chandler, and sorely needed some rebounding and shot-blocking beside Andrea Bargnani.

Moving Hedo was also a no-brainer, and that leaves the Julian Wright and Linas Kleiza transactions.

Wright one could argue was indeed a move made with an eye on the future, but remember that Marco Belinelli was hardly a 10-year vet.  No, I'd say this move was made out of positional need (remember, the Raptors essentially had no SF with Hedo being shown the door) than a need to rebuild for the future.

And the Linas Kleiza signing?

This one was made firmly on improving the team in the short-term, a stop-gap if you will with only Julian Wright as a true 3 on the roster.

Oh...and of course, the big fork in the rebuilding season potato comes from the fact that during out time at the Raptors' pre-season media session Colangelo refused to call this season a "rebuilding one."

If you add it all up then, it should be a major cause for concern.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, it appears that Colangelo wasn't viewing this club as needing a "rebuild" until injuries set in, and didn't switch gears into "rebuild mode" until things really started to fall apart.

Not good.

I'd argue that one of the key attributes of a good GM is talent evaluation, and the evidence again, for a third straight season I'd add, points in the direction of Colangelo thinking his team was a lot better than it really was.

I'll add on the "we're not far off" comments from years three and four of his regime, both made prior to seasons that saw the team miss the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, and recently his comparisons of DeMar DeRozan to Kobe Bryant, and before that, Andrea Bargnani to Dirk Nowitzki.

He's assured fans and the media that he'd get something good in return for Chris Bosh, that Hedo was a good fit, and that Shawn Marion was a viable  short-term and long-term solution.

Sure, there are some pluses on the other side of the chalk board, but my point here is that Colangelo has done very little with the resources that he's previously had at his disposal, and there hasn't been much evidence lately to say that that's going to change.

He even touted DeRozan as a player who would have been drafted a lot higher now, should the 2009 draft get a redo.

A lot higher?

Let's see, he went ninth.  Would you take him over Blake Griffin, James Harden, Tyreke Evans or Steph Curry?


Ricky Rubio?

Probably not at this point.

Yep, he probably goes ahead of Jonny Flynn and Jordan Hill, and definitely Hasheem Thabeet, but you could make the exact same case for Brandon Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Tyler Hansbrough, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Darren Collison, Roddy Beaubois, DeJuan Blair...

You get the point.

In my books, BC still has a lot to prove before I can jump back on any bandwagon.

And with Marc Stein's report yesterday, there's a good possibility he might not even get a chance.

So while Step 1 might be admitting you have a problem, for me, Step 2 is far more important.

Step 2 is traditionally "coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity," but in my books, for the future of the Toronto Raptors, this second step goes like this:

"Now that I've admitted I have a problem, I'm going to make changes to show that I'm indeed going to fix said problem."

And if BC sticks around, it's this second step that I'll wait on before I can truly take off my skeptic hat.