It's end of the year report card time, right?
Arrive at arena about 10, stand around waiting to talk to players, drift out of there around 5. Total time actually listening and talking: Maybe 40 minutes. Worst day of the year. By far.
But, it does yield some things.
Not once in the seven years I’ve covered him has Chris Bosh knowingly mislead anyone. Ever.
So I take him at his word that he’s still entirely unsure what he’ll do next year but I do know his shot across the bow at Bryan Colangelo should be taken seriously.
You know the one, about having to get some roster tweaking done over the next three months for a better player or two, even if it costs tax dollars to do it.
And, as Dave wrote today, the GM had already been working the board to get salaries approved that’ll take the team into the tax.
That means we may see more flurries of movement this spring and early summer – this all has to be done before free agency issues are dealt with in July – which kind of turns things on its ear, doesn’t it?
We’ve long expected that nothing else could happen until the Bosh situation was resolved, he’s kind of saying now that things have to happen before he makes up his mind.
Wacky months ahead, folks.
Yesterday, I told you we’d do some kind of player-by-player thing. Well, some folks are always looking for grades, so let’s do grades. It’s all relative, with C being an average year, okay?
Have at it
Had best statistical year of his career and was the best power forward in the game early in the season. Pesky ankle injury sure set him – and the team – back. Needs to work on ball movement in the post but his skills are really quite extraordinary.
We saw post moves, we saw some aggressive offence, we saw some spotty nights. No, he’s not a good rebounder and he knows it. But he’s a very good on-the-ball defender and if ever figures out how to give good weak side defensive help, those rebounding numbers are going to go up.
Everything was down, offence, defence, minutes, shooting stats across the board. And, yes, he gets blown by too often and needs to get with some sprint coach to become quicker. But, no, he’s not the worst defender you’ve ever seen, and that’s an opinion offered privately by his coaches, too.
All kinds of team insiders tell me he knows how bad he was and he really does care about making amends. No one likes to bear the brunt of that kind of criticism. That said, he brought it on himself, even if he did get some help by an organization that coddled him too much.
Kid got better, no question about it. He’s got to go home and work on ball-handling skills above all else because if he can beat his man off the dribble, he could be really good. Oh and learning how to guard his man and trail around screens would be really good, too.
Quite simply: He came in as something of a punk and grew up as a player but most important, as a man. If he continues to be serious about his work, he could really become a valuable player to a team.
Yes, he did well in both roles, as a starter and a backup and played with fire. But insiders will tell you he’s prone to mood swings when things don’t go well and that can drag teammates down.
Was emerging as some kind of leader and was the team’s best defender. But he was also slowed by injuries more times than I can count almost and that kept him from being all that he could have been. Too bad he’s a virtual lock to leave as a free agent.
If they don’t lock this kid up, they should be shot. Coaches love him because he’s really a good young man who works hard and we saw a lot improvement in his game. Heck, he was making jump shots at the season ends. Made about $4 million this year, I’m thinking a 3-year, $15 million deal might get it done.
How’d that whole “tough guy brings defence, rebounding and intensity” thing work out for you? Not so well, eh? They couldn’t play him in close games because teams just fouled him and he seemed to play something akin to a one-man zone.
I wonder if he’s like a young Andrea, that if you let him play through mistakes and give him some confidence he’d do well? Think so? But I don’t know if they can given Weems and DeRozan and Turk play pretty much the same spots. Kind of a lost year for him.
Yes, he did okay in very, very limited minutes; yes, he was professional in his demeanour and contribution. No, he is not being counted on as anything more than an expiring contract to be dangled this summer.
Rasho Nesterovic, Patrick O’Bryant
Since they were never expected to play much and didn’t, let’s lump them together, give ‘em an average grade and thank them for being around this season. Good guys who’ll be gone.
No, he probably wasn’t tough enough with some guys and, yes, he and his bosses realize it. But he’s a good tactician and has the respect of the men he’s in charge of. To use his conversational tactic: Could he be better? Yes. Will he? I’m pretty sure.
Didn’t really do much over the course of the season, trade-wise, which is a good thing because he’s got a tendency to over-react emotionally sometime and I think the group he put together needs time to simmer before it’s done.
Tough to grade a GM on a regular season since his work is done in the summer.
Okay, this has been far too serious; we’ll get back to hijinks and stuff tomorrow.
Oh, we still need to figure out what we’re doing, if anything, on in-game blogs. Want to follow one team? Do two or three nights a week? Stay in the east or venture west even if that means late nights?
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Guess we gotta make ‘em before Monday, when I think it’s best to start.
Oh, last thing before I go and do some NBA playoff preview stuff for the paper and spend an afternoon somewhere goofing around on the full mail bag. You’ve got one more kick at the mail bag can, send the queries here.
Enjoy the day.