While the Leafs were coughing up another one, the Raps were clawing out a win in Portland. With a 12-15 record, the Raptors now lead the Atlantic Division.
We last time led the division was November 25, 2003. It's fair to say the Raptors didn't play up to this standard but the division played down to us. 12-15 has no business leading any division, anywhere, but we'll take it.
The Raptors and Leafs share a personality trait as well as owners. Both teams seems to come together nicely when the superstar is injured. The Leafs play quite well without Mats Sundin in the lineup and the Raptors have been surging without Chris Bosh.
TGFAWD: Thank God for a weak division.
Whether the Raps are headed in the right direction or not, will be decided on the court. No matter how they fare this season, nobody will be able to accuse Bryan Colangelo of sitting on his hands and fiddling while Rome burned. The man has been active with a capital "A" and we're seeing some heavy duty turnover with a capital "T".
With Anthony Parker and John Salmons joining the club and Uros Slokar, Jorge Garbajosa and P.J. Tucker expected to sign, the Raptors 15 man roster will include eight new players. Here's the possible 15:
- Andrea Bargnani - New
- Chris Bosh - Old
- Jose Calderon - Old
- T.J. Ford - New
- Jorge Garbajosa - New
- Joey Graham - Old
- Kris Humphries - New
- Darrick Martin - Old
- Rasho Nesterovic - New
- Anthony Parker - New
- Morris Peterson - Old
- P.J. Tucker - New
- Uros Slokar - New
- Pape Sow - Old
- Alvin Williams - Old
When you go 27-55, change is a good thing. Even change with a capital "C".
During the 2003 NBA entry drafts, the Raptors had the 52nd pick overall and Carl English from Patrick's Cove, Newfoundland was available. I thought it was a no-brainer. Glen Grunwald disagreed and decided to go with Remon Van de Hare instead. If you haven't heard of Remon Van de Hare, you're not alone. He was a grade-A bust.
Last night, after ordering Italian, the Raptors had the 35th pick and Toronto native Denham Brown was still available. Some projected Brown would go even higher, and he definitely wanted to play in his home town. Without a doubt, Raptor fans wanted him here. Once again, faced with a no-brainer, the Raptors went with North Carolina native P.J. Tucker.
Bryan Colangelo will suggest it wouldn't have been good for Brown to play in Toronto, he'd have too much pressure here. Brown's mother will tell you he has too many friends here and it's better for him to get away. I say if you have the chance to draft a home town boy at a point in the draft when it makes sense, you do it. The Raptors have never drafted a Canadian.
Brown ended up going to Seattle only five picks later. It would have been sweet to watch the 6-foot-5 shooting guard who grew up near Jane and Finch try and make the Raptors this season. I know 4,558,800 who would have been rooting for him.
There is much speculation as to whom the Raptors will draft tomorrow with the first overall pick. I'm not a smart man, but I know who the Raptors will take. They will draft Italian forward Andrea Bargnani, making him the first European to go first overall.
Andrea Bargnani played last season for the Benetton Treviso. Who was the Executive Director for the Bentton Treviso last season? The answer to that question is Maurizio Gherardini, the newly hired vice-president and assistant general manager with the Toronto Raptors.
Sometimes 1 + 1 does in fact equal 2. Welcome aboard Andrea.
We had the NBA's fifth worst record at 27-55 but we ended up jumping four spots to win our first draft lottery tonight. With Bryan Colangelo at the helm, this couldn't have worked out better.
Actually, that's not true. We could have won this thing when Lebron James was available. Underclassmen Adam Morrison of Gonzaga, Texas center LaMarcus Aldridge and LSU forward Tyrus Thomas are considered top candidates. None of them have a Lebron sized "can't miss" label tatooed on their foreheads. Let's hope this is a sign that our luck is changing for the better.
Draft well, Colangelo. Vince Carter good, Rafael Araujo bad. Got that?
It hasn't been a very memorable season for our Toronto Raptors, but we've still managed to play ourselves into the positive side of the record book. Morris Peterson's 3-pointer late in the first quarter yesterday set an NBA record for most consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal. The previous record of 594 was set by the Miami Heat.
A record is a record. We'll go for 596 Tuesday in Philadelphia.
Phoenix Suns president and general manager Bryan Colangelo resigned yesterday and joined the Toronto Raptors as president and general manager today. For the first time in the history of the Raptors, there's experience and proven success running the show.
Colangelo was the NBA's 2005 executive of the year after the Suns won a league-high 62 games. The Suns were 29 game winners before he retooled the line up and brought them to the conference final. He's only 40 but he's already spent 17 years with the Suns, the past 11 as general manager.
I'll bet this guy has a vision. I'll bet this guy has a plan. The hiring of Colangelo is indeed a rare Raptors coup.
Imagine if the Raptors didn't start the season 1-15. If you discard those first sixteen games, we're a respectable 19-17 and comfortably in a playoff position.
Against all odds, the Raps are actually playing some entertaining basketball these days. Chris Bosh has been rewarded for his effort by being only the third Raptor ever selected to play in an all-star game. Mike James has been everything I hoped he would be and Charlie Villanueva doesn't appear to be that bad a pick after all.
Can we call a mulligan on those first sixteen?
I was never a fan of the Rob Babcock hiring. He quickly began to prove me right when he selected Rafael Araujo with the eighth pick of the 2004 draft. Then, there was the Vince Carter trade.
A year and a half after he was hired, Babcock has been fired by the Toronto Raptors. "I'm disappointed that Rob was the wrong choice for us," said Richard Peddie, who hired Babcock. "In hindsight (I) should have got someone who was more proven."
You didn't need hindsight Dick. You just needed to chat with me.
It seems I've lit a fire under the Raptors' collective asses. Just two mornings ago I call them out for playing like a bunch of 1-15 bums and now they're on a two game winning streak.
With great power comes great responsibility. I shall use it wisely.
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