Get Free Shots from Toronto Raptors Ramblings: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006


No real shock here, the Raps take big white Italian, and you know what....I'm excited. I have to be. But why not the guy plays good ball in Euroleague against old dudes and he did just fine against the raps. Sure his body needs work but so long as we put a decent team together by the time this kid gets good (i.e. the same time he can leave the team) hopefully he'll be ready to stay.

Bargnani....needs a nickname. Coming soon....

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

B-Co speaks in riddles....but read between the lines

Some Babble from B-C0....a few nuggets between the lines:
B-Co dropped a whole lot of nothing on us tonight, only 24 hours before the draft. In summary what we heard was that he's down to 2 players and none of the offers we've heard so far are still on the table. B-Co was very adament that we can't simply trade down to #5, get a good player and hope to get Italian Boy Bargnani.

BRACE YOURSELF RAPTORS FANS WE MIGHT ACTUALLY USE THIS PICK! This would be a huge disappointment. I don't think anybody in Raptorville is too jacked about #1. I'd rather get excited about somebody with "tremendous upside" at #5 and have another 'asset'. Alas that is not the message today. So my advice is to start mentally bracing yourself about getting excited about a White Player who is over 6'10. I repeat...white and over 6'10. This does not break my golden draft rule about tall white guys for several clauses kick in. One he's not from this continent. Two, he's not a true centre, i.e. he's a jack the three centre. There in lies our only hope.

The rest of the press conference made me feel a bit better, as you can rest assured B-Angelo will be wheeling and dealing come July 11th (when free agents are out there and cap is offiically set). There were lots of hints that the Raps have got lots of guys in 'pencil' for deals down the road, potentially involving this draft pick. Here are some snippets from a man who can take a simple question and turn it into an 8 minute speech.

"we've got a lot of areas we need to improve"
"Who is the best asset, to maybe make a trade or something to do later"
"We are focussed on trade and free agency"
"We are going to use the pick"
"We may do things subsequently"
"July 11th we can sign free agents"
"Any trade we can do now is limited"
"lots of deals you talk about now changes a lot when July 11th and the tax is set and cap space is known"
"sometimes you can predict someone has space i.e. us, The Toronto Raptors, we can committ to deals"
"conversations continue"
"we have targeted some players in the free agency market"
"we've got names in pencil"
"it's not a banner free agent year"
"still need our current guys to take a step up"
"we are not good enough to draft around positions"
"we are going to use the pick"
"there is critical information that is not open to the public. It could relate to personality traits, personality tests or other personality things you get a gut feel on when you are meeting with players. That's where we are today, and how we've come down to 2 players"
"if someone comes forward and knocks us down we might make a deal but at the end of the day we have no viable options right now"
"to be very clear to move the pick outright we would have to get an all-star calibre player. lots of names are thrown around but how do we rate those players"
"players we have asked for are not available. rest assured we are approaching teams on all starts"
"to move down we'd need a good middle ten pick (i.e. top 10) which would require a prospect and a pick. a good prospect. at this stage not situation is presented itself"
"moving down to select one of our two candidates is NOT possible. the speculation that we can move down and get our guy is not a realistic scenario. There is a lot of disinformation being thrown around which hopes we believe that"
"the most glaring scenarion is that we can move down to 6th and get Italian way, he's gone. I saw a mock draft where he's on the board at 10. no way
. roy, morrison and gay, it's all the same."
"I don't know how to play poker to be honest. I have watched it, but I can't spend the time to learn"
"I believe you never outright lie. You may not tell them everything"
"I don't have to lie at the #1 pick"
"If I were at 6 or 7 I'd sure want to know what Toronto is doing"
"the only people who get rich at draft time are the phone companies"
"Roy, Morrison are probably the two most ready players in terms of impact"
"Gay and Barjani and Tyrus as the greatest upside. Each has strength and weakness"
Bargani is playing against grown men in Europe and he isn't embarrasing himself.
Gay and Thomas have played phenomenal games at the highest level of awareness (NCAA tournament)
Morrison, I watched 3 games straight and he threw up 43 against Michigan State.
He wants to win at all costs. But there is a lot that goes into the process. You project on a ready basis now and you need to say what is the ceiling.
"rest assured all the thoughts - personality, medical,
"we have film of the inside of joints of all playesr at this point. our doctor came in and gave us a full run down of everyone we are looking at"
"we have a lot more footage and information on the Euro's now. Give Donnie credit because he had the database of where guys started and where they came. Dirk Nowitzki didn't start like the Dirk you know now. Consider him to a guy like Barjani and there is a lot of footage that everyone has seen. When he played in Toronto he probably first came to light. He's grown an inch or inch and a half since then.

Unlimited Upside

What are the levels of upside? Listening to Raptors TV, you'd have to ask 'what the hell is upside'? Sure, it's pretty straight fwd what the word means, but every single player being discussed has tremendous upside. Great upside. Huge upside. Unlimited Upside. Upside of a Marion. Well at least the last one says something. Basically you are saying his upside is a 22 - 10 guy who gets the hustle stats. Okay, well at least that's something. Give me something people...something!

Here's a brief summary for those of you who didn't PVR (Tivo) the fantastic analysis on Raptors TV....

Adam Morrison - Did we mention the next Larry Bird? Did you know that Larry Bird's upside was questioned when he came out of college due to his defense? Apparently the upside of his defensive game was low, which meant he would suffer. Let's put it this way...what if you passed on Larry Bird (think MJ) and you had to look back and say "Well Bargnani was okay for a couple of years"

Tyrus Thomas - Huge Ups. Offensive Boarding Machine. Good shot blocker. Little Baby Hook. Plays the 3 or 4. Uh oh! Plays the 3 or 4!! That's not good. How can you compare a guy to Amare Stoudemire (as they just did) or Stromile Swift (how is this a good thing?) and then talk about him playing the 3. Basically what they are saying is he is short. That's limited upside.

Rudy Gay - 'this guy has a world of potential', 'this guy has all the tools', 'can he live up to his upside'. Now that one is a beauty. The guy is lazy, i'm guessing he plays lots of vids and is waiting for his cash. Just a hunch. Anytime these announcers talk about upside and it being limited to 'effort' then you are in trouble. On the other hand he can break you down and play lots of positions and any of these announcers would take him in their top 10. Great endorsement.

Little Man - what's the upside on this movie? I'd say it has the potential to be a poor man's White Chicks. And I haven't seen White Chicks. But if you have can you tell me why you saw it? What possesses you to go see a flick like this? Well Little Man's upside is that it looks so bad and is advertised as "from the Producers of White Chicks" that we'll give it a miss.

Shelden Williams - "4 years at Duke and coaches like that". "Is he Carlos Boozer?". No. He's way this stage of his career. 3 blocks per game...that is fancy. But can he take it to the next level? "He's a true tough guy who can mix it up like a Hasleem".
They've downgraded to 'he can improve at the next level and he has good instincts'. They've also used the nickname 'landlord' about 4 times. Oh...and now they are wondering what position he'll play. Okay....this guy is sunk. 6'8, 250lbs. Wrong size.

JJ Redick - Herniated Disc in his back. Let me tell you, i've had one of these doozies and they stink. And they nag and nag and nag at you, for a long time. And while i was once considered 'active' I'd probably collapse 15 games into an 82 game season. NICE! Announcers just thought he'd be a good fit with the Knicks! Can you imagine. JJ just sitting out 3 feet behind the 3 point waiting for Marbury to pass him the ball. And then he starts to realize that Starbury is the point guard. The guy who swore that he'd play ball his own way. And i'm guessing this doesn't involve getting the ball to JJ.
"He could be more than a Steve Kerr or a Jon Paxson". Beautiful.

Brandon Roy - A jack of all trades, a master of none. Like a Luel Deng type guy who can do so many things. Impact - greatest immediate impact of anyone in the draft.
"When a team can't decide what position they need, he could be a great pick." This analysis is phenomenal. What does that even mean? What team is hoping to hear that?

The latest rumours

Jamal Magloire - who's afraid of a guy who wears tights and his name ain't Superman. Well this guy had better not think it's okay to wear these things outside of Milwaukee. Sure when a 7 foot white from Aussie land is wearing them, anybody looks good in these things. Or at least you notice that it's only on the big white fellas that it really stands out.

All that aside watching Magloire this year reminded me that I'm getting old and so is Jamal. He was never great, never will be. He's a more than serviceable big, but do we need him and his $8 million beans?

TJ Ford - the player also mentioned in the deal. I think his injuries are bad luck. This kid could be a star one day, but for now he would just be a very solid point guard. He can shoot the lights out when he's close enough, and has the game of a PG. I'd be shocked if the Bucks give him up to swap picks and land Charles Smooth (V).

Charlie V - the 48 pt game single handedly vaulted his trade value to 'big upside' vs. simply 'one year with a grudge'. Admittedly the man did drop 48, mostly on outside shooting. A feat you hate to ignore but one you should capitalize on.

This deal seems wildly unlikely for the Bucks to pull, pending who else we'd have to give up to make the salaries work. Maybe Alvin Williams or Zo. Zo....damn you Zo. Damn you.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bryan Colangelo - Too hard to spell & the #1 draft pick 2006

The NBA draft is right around the corner and Bryan Colangelo is weeks into misleading every GM in the lead into mass confusion. Nobody seems to know what we are going to do with this pick.

First let's address what these postings will be about. Raptors and dabblings into other sports. Mostly Raptors, but if something big goes down I can't promise not to rant about it.

Next why is Bryan Colangelo so hard to remember / spell? How about B-Co until we come up with something better? Generating nicknames will be important now that we've lost the Red Rocket and my be drafting an Italian guy who NOBODY can remember his name. Let's call him Whitey for now.