The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Bosh out, Lucas in, Garbo walking, team toughness and Tyler Hansbrough

Posted by Arsenalist on March 1, 2008

Chris Bosh won’t be playing in the upcoming mini-roadtrip against Charlotte, Orlando and Miami. I suppose it’s a precautionary measure, the last thing you want to do is aggravate it and have him out for an extended period of time with the playoffs coming up. The one thing that is worrisome about Bosh injuries is that no matter how small they are, they always seem to have an effect on his play when he comes back. He’s the type of player that likes to gradually return from injury (smart move, really) and doesn’t extend himself too much in the first few games after coming back. So expect to see some jumpers when he does return (hopefully) against Washington at home.

The Raptors signed TJ’s good buddy and professor of hilarity John Lucas till the end of the season. From hearing TJ talk he’s been greatly helped by Lucas in recovering from his injury. This of course is a little weird because John Lucas specializes in drug rehabilitation more than anything, but hey, whatever works. It’s probably a goodwill gesture from the Raptors and something that’ll keep TJ happy. TJ and Sam reflect on what it means to them and finally John Lucas spills the beans about his long road to being officially back with a club, any club:

“One, he’s my trainer but, two, he’s a good support for me, he gives me a lot of advice He’s been there for me … He’s definitely a good mentor.” – TJ Ford

“We want to make sure to give T.J. every opportunity to get better and it gives him a comfort level” – Sam Mitchell

“I’ve been chasing being around a good team ever since (Cleveland).” – John Lucas

Back to the mini-roadtrip. Now on paper, we should be able to go 2-1. With Bosh out, Howard might be in for a career night and the Magic should win this one. It’ll be fun to watch Howard and Brezec go at it, here’s hoping Sam gives the Slovenian big guy some minutes so we could get some real entertainment from this loss. This is a crucial game in terms of playoff seeding, it’s a three game series which is tied 1-1 so in the case of equal records, the winner of this game would get the higher seed. I know, the chances of the Raptors catching Orlando are pretty low but it’s still an angle.

Charlotte and Miami are winnable games but then again so were NY and Indiana. Charlotte’s struggling, they’re 1-9 in their last 10 and Miami’s 2-8 since the big trade. The Raptors generally speaking do play with better energy and enthusiasm on the road and I’m looking at them to come out focused against Charlotte. The blase attitude is generally reserved for the home games where the friendliness of the arena and the general cheeriness of the atmosphere is a bit too much to stay serious in for our heroes. I’m still waiting for the day when they’ll allow flares to be allowed in the arena and constant chanting instead of watching 3-year olds race. Wakes up. Realizes he’s in North America.

One small step for Garbo, one giant leap for………nobody. It’s nice to see Garbajosa shoot some free throws while avoiding putting weight on his injured leg, but aside from this being a heart-warming story it’s got zero impact on the Raptors. He’s not coming back this year even if we make it to Game 7 of the NBA finals. In the off-season Colangelo will need to reevaluate just exactly where he fits into the piece of the puzzle, if anywhere. He’s not getting any younger and his greatest value to the team might be as an expiring contract next year. Sounds harsh but it’s the truth. Whatever you do don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s the anchor to our defense and the reason why we’re so pathetic. He’s a good team defender when the other members of the team are decent defenders, on the perimeter against other threes, he’ll be a liability.

A lot has been made of the makeup of the Raptors and whether their European composition has anything to do with their lack of toughness and grit. And you’d be blind to not give weight to that claim and blame Bryan Colangelo for assembling a bunch of nice guys relying on finesse rather than grit and determination. Whenever this discussion props up, Bargnani, Parker, Rasho and to some degree Calderon’s name (MIP?) is mentioned. Here’s my take on this, feel free to have your own: With the team as it is, we’re headed for a first round exit because of porous perimeter defense, bad interior defense and a reliance on perimeter shots. It just so happens that these are the traits of three of our starters in Calderon, Parker and Bargnani. But aside from these three, we also have Jason Kapono, TJ Ford and Jamario Moon who log significant minutes whlie playing very shoddy defense. So yes, I do think that there isn’t a good balance on this team between finesse players and hard-nosed, “lunch pail” type players. But that doesn’t mean Bargnani and Calderon can’t be a mainstay on this team, it just means we need to offset their weaknesses with a Ron Artest, Travis Outlaw or Reggie Evans type players who live to play tough defense. This probably means getting rid of some of Kapono, Parker and one of TJ Ford/Calderon.

Nathan Jawai anyone? If your thing is undersized centers, he might be your man. Watch him play to the tune of some serious gangsta rap, if that’s not tough, I don’t know what is. He’ll be in the NBA soon and can have a career ranging from Jahidi White to Eddy Curry to a black version of Brad Miller. I bring this up because there’s a school of thought which says Bryan Colangelo should be looking at the draft to address the toughness (or lack thereof) factor. I’m not an astute follower of college basketball but looking at the 2008 mock draft, a name that jumps out is Tyler Hansbrough who they have us selecting. Now before you get turned off by his complexion, check out the following analysis of him:

Offensively Hansbrough has stuck with his bread and butter so far this season; hard nosed play in the paint. Not only is he one of the strongest players pound for pound in the country, but Hansbrough is so smart when he gets the ball inside. He keeps his pivot foot better than maybe any post player in the college game, and uses a flurry of head and ball fakes to get himself good looks inside. His most dangerous weapon this season though, as it has always been is his ability to draw contact and go to the free throw line. Hansbrough is attempting a whopping 10.3 free throws per game this season, and with a free throw percent of 77% he is doing a lot of easy scoring. In total, Hansbrough has scored 37% of his points this season from the charity stripe. While his ability to get to the line is phenomenal, there have been points this season where Hansbrough has missed out on easy baskets as a result of giving head fakes rather than going right to the basket.

This sounds pretty good to me. If you follow college basketball, do give your thoughts.

Oh, anybody hot for teacher?

Here’s to a win in Charlotte and erasing that despicable memory of Indiana. Let’s go you Raptors!

8 Responses to “Bosh out, Lucas in, Garbo walking, team toughness and Tyler Hansbrough”

  1. Crank said

    Posting on an off-day? I’ll take it.

    Nothing to argue with here, the Raptors need to make a trade to get better defensively and toughen up, here’s who is expendable:

    – Kapono: Bad signing, bad fit.
    – Parker: Good player but doesn’t fit into long term plans. Bad defender.
    – TJ: Calderon’s staying, BC said so.
    – Moon: We need to upgrade the starting 3 position. If not, start Delfino.
    – Baston: Obvious. Can’t believe this guy has another year with us. Another bad signing by BC.
    – Hump and/or Rasho: Need to find a consistent rebounder off the bench, none of these two fit the bill.

  2. SAMisCOY said

    “Wakes up. Realizes he’s in North America.”

    LOL, does that mean you’ve never been to a ball game where rocks and pillboxes are thrown? :)

  3. arsenalist said

    Man, I watch a lot of soccer and some of those stadiums in Europe are absolutely electric. I don’t think the NBA or any other North American sport (maybe MLS someday) can create an atmosphere like that.

    Check the Besiktas fans against Liverpool, keep in mind there is no music, all chants:

  4. jjdynomite said

    Arse, I lived in NYC for 3 years and the bleachers of Yankee Stadium are pretty nasty; not the sing-songs of European soccer, but let’s just say you do not want to be there wearing a Mets cap (actually did a video up there for a school project and watched this happen; thrown beer, violence and police were involved). I’m sure with the new Yankee stadium that’ll get all gentrified too, sigh.

    I have nothing against Hansbrough; he reminds me of Collison back in his Kansas days, and even currently, Nick’s averaging 8.8 RPG for the Sonics in only 27 MPG. Obviously, the Sonics’ front-court is pretty weak but those are solid numbers. And yes, they’re both white.

    Further, I apologize if I offended PsychicSpy yesterday with my Jane & Finch comment. True, it is perception that darker-skinned folks would be more aggressive on the court, but as we saw Friday night Bargs can be quite aggressive (on the offensive end, which is a start). However, he’s such an asset with his outside shooting it would be silly to turn him into a banger like Brad Miller who sometimes shoots the long ball.

    Conversely, one would assume that Moon (and similarly, Gerald Green), would be traditionally more aggressive given their pigmentation and hops, but both of them are jump-shooting pansies (unless they get fed alley-oops) and neither will stick in the league if they continue modelling their games like that.

    They don’t have to go nuts like Moon’s high school nemesis “Crash” Wallace and get a concussion every year, but it’s not like either of them are Wince (or for that matter, Bargnani) and can remain an asset as a strict jump shooter. It a shame to see such talent going to waste by their own decision-making.

    Oh yeah, here’s a good related post by Kinnon from HoopsAddict on the Moon tip:

  5. RedManPlus said

    jjdynomite… apology accepted.

    When Psychic Spy talks about Euro versus American… he means NCCA product as opposed to Euroleague product… nothing to do with “complexion”.

  6. Raps Fan said

    i get warm fuzzy feelings when artest and raptors are mentioned in the same sentence. i really like Hansbrough, i don’t know if any of you watched that game with boston college yesterday, but he had a solid game! i agree on the garbo front too. however, seeing how bc likes to politic so well, garbo wont be traded until the deadline. job # 1 is to resign calderon. wont be easy if your friend/countrymen is moved before that goes down.

  7. SAMisCOY said

    RedManPlus > agreed. We can probably do this all day and point out that an average N. American kid who is discovered with great basketball aptitude at an early age, regardless of skin color, would most likely be brought along as a “star” player, and be exposed to the “me mentality”. This wasn’t race driven, this was Stern driven :)

    Raps Fan > after watching the Spurs gut out a close game against the Bucks last night, I kept thinking that we are not in the same league as these guys. These guys (along with Detroit who we always wilt against)are physical. I give you credit in your thinking before that sometimes skill just isn’t enough to be champs in this league.

    arsenalist > I’ve watched basketball games from the bleachers where rocks, pillboxes, and riot police have come together :)

  8. khandor said

    Tyler Hansbrough (6-9, 250/UNC) is a similar player to … Kris Humphries (6-9, 235/Minnesota).

    Unless you believe that Hump (PF) … if given more PT with this team, as the main side-kick to Bosh (C) … is a big part of ‘The Answer’ to their current ailments, as I do … then Tyler Hansbrough shouldn’t be your cup-of-team either.

    IMO … when Chris Bosh is your franchise player, in the NBA:

    * Bosh SHOULD be playing Center
    * someone like Calderon SHOULD be playing Point Guard

    * someone like Tyrus Thomas or Kris Humphries or Carl Landry or Andray Blatche or Dominic McGuire or Tyler Hansbrough, etc., SHOULD be playing Power Forward
    * someone like Al Thornton or Rudy Gay or Brandon Roy or Travis Outlaw, etc., SHOULD be playing one of the Wing spots
    * someone like Rodney Carney or Nick Young or Tony Allen or Martel Webster, etc., SHOULD be playing the other Wing spot

    with some combination of supporting ‘role players’ like TJ Ford, Anthony Parker, Carlos Delfino, Jamario Moon, Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nesterovic, Primo Brezec … who are strictly BACK-UP PLAYERS, in the NBA, on an elite level.

    IMO … that’s the type of team it will take for the Toronto Raptors to WIN the NBA championship one day in the future …

    AND, in NO WAY do I ever see Bryan Colangelo as the GM/President to make this happen.

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