clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Just the Facts: A Look at Bryan Colangelo's Time with the Toronto Raptors

The HQ breaks down the facts; both sides of GM Bryan Colangelo's Raptors' resume...

This entire week has been spent talking about the current GM of the Toronto Raptors, Bryan Colangelo.

I've looked at his comments to the media, given my thoughts on them, and discussed why I'm not convinced he's got the team back on track as of yet.

I don't want to drone on and on about this subject, as really, there's only two other things to look at in relation to the man we once referred to as "The Legomaster:"

1)  Whether or not he should be retained,

2)  and if not, who should replace him.

Next week we'll look at the latter but on this Friday morning I thought we'd look at both sides of the coin and discuss why it makes sense to keep Bryan Colangelo, or cut ties and move on.

I don't want this to become a "I think he screwed this up," or "I think he should be commended for this" column either, so let's stick with the straight up facts.

First, the positives.

The big one is obviously year one of his tenure.

He came in and made swift work of the old regime, transforming the Toronto Raptors from a 27 win laughingstock into a 47 win playoff club, one that clinched its first and only Atlantic Division title.  They lost in the first round to the New Jersey Nets, but the future looked very bright for the Dinos.

Year two was a bit of a step back, but the team still was a .500 ball club with 41 wins and 41 losses, and again made the playoffs, although fell once more in the first round.

It was pretty hard to argue with his results at this point.

He had managed to re-sign Chris Bosh early in his tenure, something many outsiders didn't think possible considering the team's past with the likes of Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire and Tracy McGrady.

He had made some savvy moves too like exchanging of all-time draft bust Rafael Araujo for a useful piece in Kris Humphries, and acquiring dynamic point guard TJ Ford for what looked like a redundant piece in Charlie Villanueva.

In addition, metrics-wise, he oversaw a club that was one of the most lethal offensive forces in the league.  The Raptors had the ninth, tenth and fifth best offensive ratings in the league in three of Colangelo's first four seasons with the team.

The biggest "plus" though is a harder one to measure.

By all accounts, Bryan Colangelo brings a suave legitimacy to the Toronto Raptors that simply never existed previously. The team has done exceptionally well from a business perspective, despite the recent losing seasons, and was last year valued by Forbes Magazine as the 10th most valuable NBA franchise.  Season ticket renewals are reportedly up for next season as well, despite the 22 win season.

When you add it all up, the pros can be defined therefore by early on-court success, and consistent business success throughout his tenure.  Add on the certain "cachet" that he apparently holds, and you can understand why many fans (and by the sounds of it, folks at MLSE) are hesitant to drop the guillotine on his career here in Toronto.

But let's look at the cons.

As previously mentioned, for that, you can look at the last three seasons.  The team missed the playoffs in all three, and this year sunk to a franchise low, winning only 22 games despite being far removed from its expansion origins.

The club failed to develop a single All-Star under Colangelo's reign, and the only one they employed, not to mention their franchise player, he failed to hang onto in the end.  Sure, there may have been extenuating circumstances such as collusion etc, but at face value, BC came in with Chris Bosh, and failed to retain his services.

In addition, every major free agent acquisition that Colangelo has made under his tenure has been unsuccessful.

This isn't an opinion piece either, had Colangelo himself deemed them to be successful pieces, undoubtedly the likes of Jason Kapono, Jermaine O'Neal and Hedo Turkoglu would have lasted longer than they did with the team.

Instead, BC flipped most of these and other players soon after he acquired them.

These moves stripped the team of major talent, and to correct many of these miscues, Colangelo was also forced to deal many draft picks, further robbing the team should a rebuild become necessary.  While on his watch Colangelo dealt three first round picks in five years, one of which he got back when Chris Bosh was moved to Miami.

His draft record includes Andrea Bargnani, PJ Tucker, Georgios Printezis, Nathan Jawai, DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis and Solomon Alabi.

On a macro level though, Colangelo oversaw some of the worst defensive clubs in NBA history.  The last two years specifically, the team finished at the bottom of the NBA in most defensive categories, and prior to this past season, was also traditionally one of the worst rebounding teams as well, two stats that consistently equate with winning basketball clubs.

Off the court, there aren't many negatives that jump out, although attendance this year did dip to 19th in the league, the lowest it's been in over a decade, and the team has resorted to dropping ticket prices for next season.

So that's it.

That's the resume, both sides.

It's easy to make a case both ways as the fact that Colangelo did have early on-court success may sway many to retain him since off the court, it's hard to imagine a much better fit.

However the "off-court" stuff is admittedly tough to use on either side, because it's hard to know where Bryan Colangelo starts, and where the Toronto Maple Leafs and MLSE stop.  If the Raptors were managed in isolation, would the off-court success be the same?

And should that even matter to us fans, considering that above all else, we want to see a winning product on the court?

Probably not, but since the point of this piece was to look at Colangelo's tenure, hopefully using the same process as MLSE to a great degree, then the business side of things does need to be factored in.

For me, the last three, even four seasons of basketball decisions out-weigh any "off-court" positives simply because the Raptors are not the Leafs, and at some point, without marquee stars and a winning club, the attendance will indeed dwindle as it has, and the bottom line will feel eventually the heat.

I do believe there are other legitimate options out there, something we'll begin exploring next week, but beyond everything, I hope MLSE makes a decision asap around BC.

Say what you will about his time here, but there's no question he gave this franchise 100 per cent, and if the team does want to part ways, how about they do it with class instead of further harming what's already a dubious PR image.