Is this rock bottom?
Isn’t this a fine pickle they find themselves in?
Losers of eight of 10, season-worst five games under .500, Chris Bosh can’t make a shot, some guys show some nights and a disappear many others and the local supporters are as disgruntled as they’ve been in years.
And a Merry Christmas to all.
Action: This is ugly
|Raptors get their turn to fly away, on a nice long road trip after this one.|
Reaction: What to do?
The immediate reaction is to do everything. Make trades, bench guys, fire the coach (oops, already tried that one!), do something.
But maybe this is rock bottom, maybe it’s time to stay the course, hope they’ve bottomed out and, with the schedule turning, hope for better.
I know there was a sense of embarrassment around the locker room and the coaches office after the game. You can only hope it was legitimate and not something for the cameras and microphones.
Had a scout say to me last night “these guys shouldn’t be this bad” to which the initial reaction is, “you’re right, but they are.”
Yes, there are flaws, as we’ve been talking about since October but you look down the roster and this team shouldn’t lose eight of 10 and it shouldn’t be free-falling through the conference standings.
But a wise football guy, or I’m at least told he wise, once said something to the effect that you are what your record says you are and these dudes are 10-15 and in danger of having the season go in the toilet before the calendar year turns.
Now we’ll find out what they’re made of, mentally and physically. They know where they are, they know what they have to do. It’s time to show some heart, if they have it, and win some games.
It’ll be quite interesting to see how they react.
A mail thing:
Q: Hi Doug, I was wondering if you thought switching Bargnani to SF has screwed him up mentally because, in my opinion, he is hanging around the three point line again.
Patrick W, Toronto
A: Oh yeah, I’m sure being jerked around from starter to backup, centre to small forward is messing with his head a little bit. But the dude has to try a bit harder. I know he can shoot, we’ve seen it. But he looks like he’s playing scared or something and he’s just got to grow some, um,
cajones cojones, suck it up and go harder.
Action: The booing.
Reaction: A good thing?
Probably not. It did start with the game very much in the balance and really is not the way for fans to get the team going, but sort of understandable.
Can I just say this: Antoine Walker?
Are you people on crack? Shot-happy, no-defending, old big man? Come on. Be serious.
Action: Nate can play.
Excellent news on Jawai, wasn’t it? He’s a really nice kid and deserves a shot to see if he can play.
But anyone thinking he’s going to do anything soon should just chill a bit. He hasn’t had a single practice since the beginning of October, he hasn’t done a lick of physical work since then, either. To think it’ll be anything less than months before he’s ready to go is a stretch. He is, after all, a young kid who’s played 30 games in Australia, let’s hold off on the “how can he help and when” talk.
Oh, and all of you who were ripping the Raptors for drafting him and wondering about cap relief and especially those who told me repeatedly that his career was over should apologize to someone. Sometimes health issues take a while to get sorted out, as we pointed out repeatedly since camp began. Part of the “testing” was resting and that’s what he did.
You want trades? We’ve got trades. These all came in the same e-mail from someone with too much idle time. Seriously, this is the kind of stuff that makes me hope the Internet eventually goes away.
But it would make for the greatest day of Bryan Colangelo’s life:
Wake up, pour coffee, make first call:
Toronto sends: Chris Bosh to Chicago
Chicago sends: Derrick Rose, Andres Nocioni, Joakim Noah, 1st round draft pick Why?: You think Chicago doesn't regret doing the Gasol trade now that their stuck with Deng for 50 years? They finally get a real star out of all their assets. Sit back and relax.
Order lunch, pick up the phone:
Toronto sends: Calderon, H. Adams, J. Graham, W. Solomon to Washington
Washington sends: Caron Butler Why?: Probably the least likely to happen, but they're in last place and they get a top-tier PG with a reasonable contract who gives them more flexibility with Arenas.
Go for some fresh air. Come back to office, make a call:
Toronto sends: Anthony Parker, Jason Kapono to LA Clippers
LAC sends: Marcus Camby
Why?: They already have Kaman and Randolph, Camby is the oldest of the three. Might as well get some immediate cap relief and the best 3-point shooter in the league for him. And because Dunleavy will do anything.
Eat dinner. Feel unsatisfied. Get on the horn again:
Toronto sends: Jermaine O'Neal to New Jersey
NJ sends: Vince Carter and Keyon Dooling
Why?: If they're serious about this Lebron in 2010 thing, don't they have to be able to sign someone else PLUS LeBron to sell the possibility of multiple championships? And how do you attract LeBron with VC sitting in his role? And if they lose the LeBron sweepstakes, why keep VC around and pay him when you can turn his max contract into 20 million in cap space after 2010? So, what do you have:
I know this is crazy, but you end up with the following Toronto depth chart:
PG: Derrick Rose, Roko Ukic (some Dooling in case of emergency)
SG: Vince Carter, Keyon Dooling (Jamario Moon in case of emergency)
SF: Caron Butler, Andres Nocioni, Jamario Moon
PF: Andrea Bargnani, Kris Humphries
C: Marcus Camby, Jake Voshkul
Who would want to play against that team in the playoffs? They can score, rebound, defend and have some depth too. It also all works under the salary cap according to ESPN's trade machine. And, I think there's a reasonable chance that these trades appeal to all teams involved. Make Eddie Jordan coach and off you go...
A: Wherever you are, I suggest you seek professional help. And if I get many more like this, I will, too.
Be a heckuva news conference, though.
Here’s what they said in Dallas this morning.
Action: Jose Barea
Reaction: Dennis Rodman redux
Standing in the hallway before the game, waiting with the Dallas grunts to say hi to Rick Carlisle, I casually mention they might want to check the record books to see what the career high in rebounding is for Billy Barty, um, I mean J. J. Barea.
Sitting in a social setting after with the same grunts, they mention that the, um, diminutive Barea set a season high with six boards.
This is just one of a few I got with the same theme:
Q: How bad are the Raps? So bad that I have done a 180 and am now writing letters to Rogers begging them to NOT pick up TSN2.
Shawn Q, Ottawa
A: As they say, Ding! Ding! Ding!