Is It Okay to Question Now?
Funny how some sports execs in this city are given a long rope, others not so much.
J.P. Ricciardi, for example, was the boy genius when he arrived in 2001, and only now, with so much mediocrity behind him, is he being seriously questioned as the proper man to lead the Blue Jays.
John Ferguson Jr., on the other hand, was widely branded a dope from Day One of his brief tenure.
Which brings us once more to the sainted Bryan Colangelo, a sports suit so accomplished that MLSE simply believes it has to locate a "Colangelo of hockey" to turn around the tarnished Maple Leafs and all will be well.
Well, you sure about that?
Colangelo comes from a famous sports family, yes, and he is a stylish, athletic young man who speaks well.
Last season, his Raptors came up with 47 wins, followed by a mildly disappointing first round loss to the New Jersey Nets. Every move he made seemed to pay off.
Last night, the Raps bowed out meekly to Orlando in five games, ending a season that mirrored, in some ways, the season of the Ottawa Senators; strong start, lousy second half, early exit. This year, every move Colangelo made seemed to fizzle.
When I questioned Colangelo's supposed infallibility in mid-March - never suggested he should be fired, mind you, just wondered what the fuss was all about - the comments from readers poured in, many wondering how I had the nerve to even wonder aloud about the great man.
Well, is it okay to question now?
There are a variety of problems with the Raptors, of course. Some say its all Sam Mitchell's fault, others lament the decline of Andrea Bargnani and the disintegration of the point guard tag team, all about T.J. Ford's apparent determination to be designation the starter surely had something to do with it.
Last night's loss was like a replay of so many in the second half, with the Magic making the shots down the stretch and the Raptors not only missing theirs, but either making bad decisions or having players on the floor unwilling to take charge. When you look at how Atlanta is competing against mightly Boston, with that series tied 2-2, the lack of true competitiveness on the part of the Raps in the mediocre Eastern Conference really is brought into vivid relief.
So surely, even to his greatest supporters, the bloom is off the rose now for Colangelo. What matters now is how he fixes this team, how he makes it better.
He's never won an NBA championship or managed this Raptor team into the second round, yet MLSE has tried to dress him up as the genius of basketball and the model for a modern executive in any sport.
Maybe he is. Now would be a good time to show it.