Acceptance Of Mediocrity......................................

Does anyone even remember who won the World Series?  I mean I do, but rest assured the 2012 MLB Champion San Francisco Giants will be the daunting answer to a stumper of a trivia question in the not too distant future.  And with the Fall Classic officially a thing of the past, it’s time once again to turn to the hardwood for my much deserved and highly needed ooohs, and ahhhs.  For those of you out there that are paying attention, you’re probably asking yourself a simple yet complicated question, didn’t Brad swear off the NBA last summer once and for all?  It’s true I did.  Ray Allen’s Benedict Arnold act hurt me so deep and in so many ways that I didn’t think I could ever sit through another game, let alone another season of professional basketball, and I use the term professional about as loosely as I possibly ever could.  But if a metaphor is needed to explain why I’m back and enjoying this game of ours, I can give you one.  Baseball is my one true love, of that there is no debate, but if baseball is my wife, well then basketball is my mistress.  And I don’t think that requires any further elucidation.  So now that we have that all cleared up, somewhat anyway, and with the season officially underway, what will the first hoops related post be about?  The shit show that is the Lakers management and coaching situation?  Nah.  The boy band down in South Beach that make every sports enthusiast damn near sick to their stomach?  Not this week.  The “oops” that was the James Harden situation, and for the record I mean “oops” from both sides of the table? Again, no.  How about we talk about the acceptance of mediocrity? Toronto sports fans know exactly what I mean when I say that, don’t we?  On Raptors opening night this year I gave them 10 games to get off to a good start, and by good start I mean better than .500.  They go at least 6-4 and I’ll pay attention and back them for the remainder of the season, regardless of what happens the rest of the way.  Well, 6 games in that became mathematically impossible.  So for the 2012-13 season I am not only NOT a Raptors fan, but I will take every available opportunity to rip them to shreds from my armchair GM spot, from my Manager in bed while watching the game spot, and especially my disgusted bile covered jersey wearing fan spot.  So this week, let’s look at the inefficiency of General Manager Bryan Colangelo and a few of the roster errors he has made thus far in his quest to provide us with yet another lack luster underperforming men’s house league wanna-be NBA squad……..

Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but admiration for both these players, and I have advocated and supported them since the first time they threw on a Raps jersey, but there time has definitely come and gone, and the reality of it all is, there is a strong market out there for both of them.  Are you going to get immediate returns in the form of rising stars or solid starting players? Probably not, and that’s not their fault and it’s not a bad thing either.  What you are possibly going to get is draft picks, but you aren’t going to get them from the team you are directly dealing with.  This is getting confusing.  Ok look, Bargnani and Calderon are NOT superstars by any stretch of the imagination.  Not even fucking close.  What Calderon is, is an amazing, and I mean amazing, backup point guard.   We know this because we see it every time he loses his starting job to our next point guard of the future (see T.J. Ford, Jarret Jack, Kyle Lowry).  The Lakers for one would pounce at the opportunity to have one of the top free throw percentage shooters and turn over to assist ratio point guards back up Steve Nash.  What Bargnani is, is more complicated.  He could be used as a compliment backup power forward, maybe even a three, but it would have to be on a team where either defense isn’t a top priority, or a team that is big man heavy up front and an outside shooter big would really change the opposition’s game plan.  Possibly the Spurs?  Maybe even the Lakers? Hell, Clips Mavs and even the Thunder would be interested I bet.  But since all these teams are contenders, you’re not going to get anyone of importance from them in a trade.  And since they are contenders they aren’t going to get decent enough draft picks that we would need to part ways with our guys.  So you would have to bring in third teams that would like the pieces these teams are willing to part with and that are not necessarily in contention themselves and would be willing to trade picks.  Conceivably we could get two top ten draft picks next season for these two guys.  Maybe even three.  And as long as Colangelo doesn’t get to pick, that could be up to 60 percent of a new starting lineup in exchange for two guys, that again I have nothing but respect for, that have shown us they do not have what it takes to lead us anywhere in particular. 

Terence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas

These two guys are perfect examples of why Colangelo shouldn’t get to pick on draft night anymore.  Jonas, in his defense is just in way over his head.  He’s a puppy in with grown dogs.  Bigger dogs.  Meaner dogs.  Dogs that probably had more aggressive competition on the court in their early teen years than Jonas had his entire career overseas.  In order for him to grow into the talent he could very well become, he would have had to be drafted by a team with a solid evil big man present and given the opportunity to learn from him.  Get toughened up in practice if you will.  If he were playing behind a Kevin Garnett or a Kendrick Perkins, I have no doubt that chip on the shoulder those two guys have could have rubbed off on him a bit.  Instead though he scrimmages against Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, and of course Bargnani, three guys that don’t exactly exude tough.  And tough is what Valanciunas will have to become if he wants to compete in this league.  Now Terence Ross, he’s a different story altogether.  He’s no more than a poor man’s Mo Pete, except for the fact that we at least knew Peterson owned a jersey.  If you’re drafted that high to a team that is doing nothing, you HAVE to average more than 9 and a half minutes a game.  You have too.  I can’t even tell you were his minutes are going, because outside of Lowry, Calderon and Demar, there aren’t really any other guards worth mentioning on this squad.  You can’t score from the bench, not saying he would anyway to be honest, and if you aren’t scoring on a team going nowhere you eventually aren’t going to go anywhere yourself.  Both these guys have been hindered drastically by being picked by the Raptors, but more so the Raptors have been hindered by picking both these guys.  In our current position in the NBA pecking order you MUST draft the best player available.  You must.  Personally, and I don’t believe I’m alone in my thinking, there were way better, way more athletic, more gifted and almost NBA ready players available than both our “coveted” rookies were in the spots we had to pick from. 
Demar DeRozan

I don’t even know where to start with this kid.  Ok, first of all, are the Raptors really that desperate for a superstar that they continually attempt to make one via ridiculous contracts?  10 mil per year for Demar is stupid.  There are no better adjectives to use here.  And not “my girlfriend is irrational and not making sense right now, arguing over foolishness” stupid either.  We are talking Forrest fucking Gump stupid.  Dog shit stupid. “Throw up in my mouth at how fucking stupid this is” stupid.  The non-skeptics and DeRozan supporters will say the Raptors paid up on potential and didn’t want to lose another star through free agency.  Excuse me I just threw up again.  What potential?  And you’re calling him a star?  Where I come from a basketball star garners respect, he intimidates you every time he gets the ball, and has the ability to blow any game wide open at any moment.  The next time anyone says anything like that about Demar DeRozan will be the first time anyone says anything like that about Demar DeRozan.  The Raptors should have sat him down and said, “Listen kid, here’s how this is going to work. You have until the All Star break to average at least 25 points per game.  We want some boards and assists mixed in there too.  You’re going to become not necessarily a lock down defender but a hard tough defender, and if you don’t shoot at least 10 free throws a night you’re on the bench.  Do that, you’ll be paid handsomely.  Failure to do that will result in you being shipped to the worst team not called the Raptors in this league for light bulbs and toilet paper”.  He keeps up his end of the bargain pay him.  He doesn’t, who cares.  But no, they decided it was a good idea to give the most timid 2 guard in the league, who honestly hasn’t done shit to this point a massive contract that they will just be angry about in 2 years when they can’t dump him anywhere.  There should have been a provision stating that for every jump shot he takes he loses $1,000, and every “And 1” he makes he gets $500.  That would assuredly create some aggression in an otherwise unaggressive 2 guard, I would think.  But too little too late for that.  Get ready for another 5 years of pull up jump shots and complacent basketball from our beloved number 10.  Who can blame him really?  He got paid, that’s the point to hunger less talent isn’t it?

There’s so much more to pick apart on this team that it isn’t even funny anymore, and rest assured I’ll take every chance I can get my chubby little fingers on to have a go at this worthlessness the suits pass off as a professional squad, but to be fair this is Toronto, right?  A place where sports teams don’t have to be good in order to be followed and have their tickets sold.  A place where below average is exceptional? A place where fans will flock to the arena and watch without a smell of playoff contention anywhere to be smelt? It’s our fault really because we accept it, and we spend our money on it without questioning anything. We go, we cheer, we lose, we shut up and we go home.  That is until April of course.  When my wife and one true love gets back in town, rebuilt and ready to kick some ass.  November 18, and I’m already jonesing for baseball, where hopefully the acceptance of mediocrity, for at least 6 months anyway, becomes a thing of the past.  God I miss her.  But anyway, I’ll catch you all in a few weeks.  Till then, hang in there……………………………….