The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Sam Mitchell’s staying + Colangelo’s biggest mistake (for the Suns)

Posted by Arsenalist on May 2, 2008

It looks like the folks at did all that work for nothing. Bryan Colangelo revealed yesterday that Sam Mitchell isn’t going anywhere. This time he didn’t add any suffix phrases such as “at this point” or “for now”, it was pure and simple English:

“Let me say this: We have no intention of making a coaching change, period.”

OK, so another year of Smitch isn’t all that bad, is it? Maybe he’ll get better at his preparatory skills and X’s and O’s knowledge enough so that we won’t be calling for his head after every stagnant offensive set. Just because Mitchell’s staying for another year doesn’t mean his assistants have to. The Raptors are a poor defensive team (a lot has to do with the roster) and have an offense that struggles with less than 4 minutes to go. Perhaps Colangelo can supplement the coaching staff with a knowledgeable basketball professor that can be the piston that drives Mitchell’s engine. It’s the best we can hope for.

Mitchell assesses that the reason they lost to the Magic was talent rather than tactics. It’s hard to apply that analysis to the whole series but in games 4 and 5 our offense down the stretch did choke and the players get the majority of the blame there. Games 1 and 2 were lost because of Mitchell’s insane changes to the starting lineup.

Bill Simmons is reviewing the end of the Phoenix Suns era that ended up producing nothing except for false hope for a championship for their fans. He tries to sum up all the mistakes the Suns management made in their quest for a championship and Bryan Colangelo is mentioned in Mistake #1:

As astounding as this sounds, Bryan Colangelo’s decision to sign Richardson instead of drafting Deng or Iguodala — which was dumb at the time, by the way — ended up costing them a whopping FOUR FIRST-ROUND PICKS! Would you rather have Richardson, or would you rather have the No. 7 pick in 2004, the No. 21 pick in 2005, and your first-rounders in 2008 and 2010? Hold on, this gets better. Your 2005 NBA Executive of the Year? That’s right, Mr. Bryan Colangelo! I love the NBA.)

Hindsight is 20/20 but it’s worth a mention.

Kevin Durant won the Rookie of the Year award with the first-place votes going 90-30 in the favor of Durant. Al Horford can make a good case for getting shafted, Horford averaged a double-double with 13/11/4 in 31 minutes while Durant averaged 21/4/2 in 34 minutes. Horford was a huge part of Atlanta’s playoff push and has shown that he’ll be a legitimate force in the low-block for years to come. I’d have given it to Horford. Jamario Moon finished fourth.

Watching Detroit’s smackdown on Philly you realize that Pistons have woken up. They were dicking around for the first few games of the series and expected Philly to be content on making it this far but once push came to shove they rose to the occasion. They really do have a switch.

Big triple header tonight, enjoy it. Here’s your unrelated link for the day.

30 Responses to “Sam Mitchell’s staying + Colangelo’s biggest mistake (for the Suns)”

  1. fluxland said

    Hey Arse!

    I still cannot believe people think Sam is a garbage coach. He is going to be a head coach for a long long time in the L. Your sentence regarding the offense struggling with 4 minutes to go has nothing to do with Sam, it has to do with the players. I don’t know how many times I have mentioned that a number of players on the team are effective for “3 and a half qs”. With the exception of TJ, who has hit numerous shots for us in crunch time over his tenure with the team, (something fans have forgotten about since he’s returned from injury because they were so busy riding Jose’s jock) not to mention game winners, everyone else seems to not even want to be on the floor.

    Read the Vipers article about Sam and apology about that Andrew crap:

    and enjoy this quote (I happen to feel the same way)
    “Please, God, with five minutes to go let me be within five points. That meant I had done his job, that I had put my team in position to win. From that point on it was up to them. Players win games by making plays.”

    And for all the people that want to blast the play calling: players need to execute and so many things change on the floor within seconds, that players are expected to make necessary adjustments on the fly. The fact they fail to do so… for the love of everything, I don’t understand how it falls on the coach. EXECUTE.. YOU C***S!

  2. FAQ said

    Perhaps BC knows that NY will make a bid for Mitchell’s services, and BC will not stand in the way of Mitchell going to the Knicks .. ergo .. “We have no intention of making a coaching change” … (“but if Mitchell wants to move on we will not stop him.”)

    Ideally, I suspect that BC would prefer to bring in a Euro-coach type as a Raptor assistant coach and then slide him into full coach as Mitchell is canned mid-season.

    Fantacizing conspiracy is so much fun ..LOL

  3. Raps Fan said

    i can’t seen anyone making bid for smith as long as he is under contract.

    flux: smitch deserves some blame, it is a team effort, although i would put it 65% players and 35% coach. i agree he will be a coach in this league for years to come though.

  4. Sam said

    The questions isn’t whether Mitchell can coach in the NBA it’s is he the best coach for this team & GM? I guess we’ll see what kind of team we have going into training camp next year and it looks like Colangelo is going to let the season answer the question of whether the team and Sam are a fit. Still think Arsenalist is right about bringing in a new assistant or 2, although I tend to think we should do the inverse of Doc and the Celtics – bring in an offensive mind to see if we can lessen the periods of stagnation on offence. They don’t just happen in the closing minutes from what I’ve seen. Making Bargnani run off a bunch of screens to open up a shot/drive for him might help salvage what we can from our #1 pick too.

  5. Raps Fan said

    i don;t know if bargnani can run off screens, he has shown zero athleticism in that regard. interesting about bringing in offensive assistants, i’ll admit i never considered that at all.

  6. fluxland said

    Raps Fan.. how much blame you want to assign is up to you. Maybe I should have made it more clear that they players are not the only ones to blame, either.

    I guess the point was more something like this: Thru my perception during the season.. every single loss was attributed to Sam. In the eyes of the(most)fans with the exception of Andrea and TJ, everything was Sam’s fault. Player goes 0/20.. Sam. Player doesn’t rebound…Sam. Player fills his diaper… Sam. Not the mention, when they were winning… it had NOTHING to do with Sam. At all! Nada! As if the guy wasn’t even on the sidelines.

    It’s just the same old thing. So many people are in love with these players as people that they cannot do anything wrong in their eyes as players, and when things go wrong it’s all on Sam. When things go right, these same players are the second coming of Jordan. Fucking imbeciles!

  7. […] – Was it wrong for Sam to go golfing? Arsenalist – Sam is staying and what BC did wrong in Phoenix. Dino Nation Blog – Bloggers on trial and Mo […]

  8. fluxland said

    FAQ.. no way Sam goes anywhere, IMO.. he loves CB4 and TJ. He also knows his development of Andrea will define him in some way.

    We all have our opinions on who should go… I really hope it’s not TJ in any way and Parker, Delfino, Brezec, Joey, Jorge, Rasho and Jose find new homes.. not sure what you can get for that. I’m not much of a “potential trade cruncher”. Bring in that Greek kid, bring in Roko.. let me see what they got. I will guarantee you Roko is 10 times better then Jose.

  9. Sam said

    Raps Fan, I’m not sure about Bargnani either although I think he’s athletic enough, I just wonder about conditioning/desire this year. Hopefully, he works out like a beast and comes to camp with a more varied arsenal on offence. If he was the kind of guy who could give you 20 a night I’d overlook his woeful help defence for a few years. If he gave us 20/night against Orlando I think we would have won since Howard would have to pick his poison in terms of who to guard on the outside. Anyway, I don’t think Bargs is coming back from the summer a defensive powerhouse but here’s hoping he (and to a much lesser extent the coaching staff) figure out how to contribute offensively.

  10. FAQ said

    Oh fluxy … such naivete and you such a bball aficionado … and I hate to hang you on this demented statement of your’s: ‘I will guarantee you Roko is 10 times better then Jose.”!!!

    If Roko = Jose x 10 … then will he start at PG or will TJ still be accorded that respect that he so plainly deserves???

    If you were in BC’s shoes and shirt(ugh), wouldn’t you be considering blowing up this Ratpor team for next season because you probably have built into your contract with MLSE some big bonu$$$$ incentives if you fill the stands, sell the jerseys, feed the tribal honking masses at ACC and keep tv ratings up … and again pull in the suckers with something ‘new & improved’ ..???!!!

    Would you keep this current band of misfits and dare offer them to the highly discriminating Rats Fans next season .. when the chances of them making the playoffs is between doubtful and nil ??? Would you as the Rats GM sacrifice your big year-end bonu$$$$ from the MLSE shareholders or would you slice and dice this current roster, starting at the top .. with Bosh ..???!!!

    And there are a lot of Greeks, Polacks, Chinese, Arabs, Sikhs(turban?!), others multicultis … who have nobody to identify with on the Ratpors. So bring on the Greek kid, go shopping in China, even a couple of bilingual Frogs if possible … (but Filipinos are too short) …!!!

    Now watch khador complaining about ethicity, race, and basketball .. LOL …!!!

  11. Raps Fan said

    i assumed you were spreading the blame around from management down. you’re right flux, for the most part, during the regular season, sam got blamed for everything. hard to blame a coach for a player shooting 0-20, but my only questions is this:

    your guy is shooting 0-12, can’t find the rim for his life. do you let him shoot 8 more? do you find someone else for those shots? do you even take a jumper at that point?

    when i blamed smitch, it was because i didn’t think he was making the right moves. it isn’t his fault that someone goes 3-11, but it is his fault if that someone is still jacking shots, imho.

  12. Raps Fan said

    also, i think colangelo’s biggest mistake as a suns gm was trading joe johnson for diaw and a bag of balls. i think that was far worse then bringing on richardson, who didn’t play all that badly during his tenure with the team.

  13. fluxland said

    naivete, ha? Ouch! OK.. sure I’ll give you that.

    K would crazy to assume he would start over TJ.. but I believe his game would be more at an NBA level then Jose’s was when get got here, develop much quicker and he has the killer mentality Jose lacks. Roko comes from a country of proved NBA players.. this is in his blood.. the coaching and tutelage he has received has the mental game on lock. The contract issues and buyout money has serious blocks though and I’m sure they want him to play more anyway after the injury he suffered WHILE SHATTERING THE FREAKING BACKBOARD!!

    It’s hard to say what BC is thinking at this point.. things are alwyays in the state of flux you know? I’m sure he will have to make some calls to the big spenders first, runs some polls.. see what he can get away with or what will bring in the cash.

    I already pointed out who I’d like to pack their bags, the Girlscouts can never sell enough cookies… they could use a few. Gotta hang on to Bosh.. he’s still you best asset and what are you gonna get for him right now anyway?

    Like I said before I don’t like playing the trade game.. way too many variables, not enough info and the new season is light years away.

    If anyone doesn’t think race ethnicity is not part of the decision making process.. you are kidding yourself.. see Yao, Ming and that Yi kid.

  14. fluxland said

    Raps I was exaggerating with the 0/20. Yes, it would stand to reason you yank a guy if he’s cold. No argument there.. but sometimes you gotta leave a guy other there so he doesn’t think you are losing trust in him and also to allow him to learn how to work thru a shooting slump. Yanking a guy instantly when he is cold.. benefits no one.

    And regarding Sam and his mistakes. I don’t understand why people expected dude to be a Jax or Tex Winter x and o genius, within the 1st 3 years. Does he not get some leeway towards learning on the job.. like the players do? Does his offensive playbook need work? Yes. Does that fact take away from all the other things he does well? Not, in my criticismbook. I’m sure there a ton of dudes out there with offensive stuff that would blow your mind… can they coach players?..more the likely not.

    And regarding GMs making mistakes… show me one that hasn’t made any.. live and learn right?

  15. fluxland said

    It would help if I could type..sorry fellas! And Raps: also regarding cold shooters.. sometimes they have other skills they do well and other s don’t.. in a particular matchup you need them to stay out there, no?

  16. arsenalist said

    Raps Fan, I think Joe Johnson wanted out from Phoenix when he was traded. It couldn’t have helped his trade value.

    Flux, Sam is not the right coach for this team. He has good qualities in him such as motivation and such and he is improving, but given the makeup of last year’s Raptor squad (more finesse than grit) you could tell he was struggling putting the personnel he had to good use. Just look at Kapono, Graham, Hump, Bargnani, Parker etc. I don’t think Mitchell did enough over the course of the year to utilize players effectively. I know it sounds harsh but think about how many times you got mad after we lost a game because of bad subs? How many times did you beg for Rasho/Hump to get more PT against big forwards? How many times did you wonder why the hell Moon was playing offensive possessions late in the fourth? etc.

    Of course a lot of it is the players’ own fault but for our squad to flourish they need to have a movement-oriented offense rather than a two-play one which is very predictable. As I’ve been saying all year, down the stretch our offense grinds to a halt and that has a lot to do with the predictability of it.

  17. fluxland said

    Arse… point made and understood. Maybe my POV stems from the fact that I think we should change the players not the coach. Which one is more realistic or conceivable.. I don’t know.. I suppose the coach. Which one will benefit the club more.. again I don’t know.
    But finesse has no place in the NBA.. they way things are going right now. Not to mention it does nothing for you in the playoffs where things get really physical and intimidating. Finesse is for ballet, horse back riding and massage therapy.. not the war that the NBA can be night in and night out.

  18. FAQ said

    “But finesse has no place in the NBA.. they way things are going right now.” – fluxland

    Given that the Raptors will never assemble a team of big mf US NBA players for obvious reasons, what other choices do the Raps have but to attempt to assemble a high-IQ, up-tempo, finesse-style international team .. and hoping to out-play the opposition by out-thinking them on the floor??!!!

    At present, ppl are fantacizing about one or even two established US NBA types that might, maybe, hopefully will turn the Rats team around next season .. including myself, but at least I am looking at ‘international’ players currently in the NBA. I don’t delude myself fantacizing that some US NBA big FA will ‘love to cum’ to T.O. without a hope of going deep into playoffs. (How about Ben Wallace??!!)

  19. Raps Fan said

    my vote is changing players then the coach this summer. can’t do both, means that bc wasn’t doing his job. keeping the coach in place, and making some player moves will have the least impact on bc’s cred.

    i gotta agree with arse…player subs were sorely lacking. i can take being a one-trick pony (for the most part) on offense if the right guys are out there on the court.

  20. fluxland said

    FAQ.. I keep mulling over what direction this team needs/should take. You yourself, know I understand how it seems that BC is bent on the Rats (lol.. fav. Euro play analogy thus far) concept. At the same time.. how do we go to war when the rest of the L has brute and we have ballerinas. “Hoping to outplay the opposition” is not my idea of approach to the war. I can now see what BC may have had in mind with the 50/50 concept (Euro/US) but we both know that just messes up team chemistry. Then again… maybe this was the experiment year and at times it looked like it failed. The summer and team changes will tell us to what degree.

    Ben Wallace..if you can get him to play all out for 82 games or there abouts.. I’m all for that. I’m just not a big fan of bringing in dudes that have spent their best years already. Although, his no nonsense attitude may make up for that.

  21. Raps Fan said

    i will ban this team if they bring in wallace at 15mill per…

    i agree they need to have a couple tough bad-asses here. *cough* ron artest *cough*

  22. fluxland said

    That might be a little too much craziness, no, Raps? It’s so hard to gauge who to bring in cuz, like FAQ and always allude to…I just don’t think too many well known, established names would want to. It’s got nothing to do with the city itself, for the most part, as Khandor believes we are implying. It just the culture/history of past player experiences of/with the organization and it relevance in the NBA. This is simply the Sacramento Kings of old. Sure you’ll come here for a paycheck (ty Mr. Kapono) but do you come here to be a part of something, or to build on something?

  23. FAQ said

    Fluxer … You certainly display a sane state of mind when you assess the position of T.O. in the U.S. NBA .. it’s the very last stop any US FA will make in his fading career. The only way we can get a legit ‘star’ is with a high draft pick .. unless they refuse to play in ‘Canada’ if selected, and we know that has happened.

    Now what has BC got to work with assembling a team that will at least reach the first round in the playoffs? Getting deeper into the playoffs will only be extreme good luck considering how other NBA teams are developing.

    Bringing Gherardini and Ujiri on board must be overwhelming evidence that BC intends to bring in more international players mainly because he doesn’t have much choice otherwise. The Toronto Ratpors will eventually be the proto-typical NBA international team reflecting the demographics of the city because it has no other choice.

    The current edition of the Ratpors has no real major trading pieces other than Bosh, Jose and possibly TJ, and even they are problematic. I think the fantacizing of attracting a young US NBA player is a delusion trip, unless money is the motivator, and if it is then that is a danger signal for all here.

    BC was hired to build an international team, and he has started with the players he brought in plus his staff. Can’t anybody see that too …??!!!

  24. fluxland said

    You know, that I can. But we also must assume that the average fan would still want to come and see a competitive team. Bringing in more Rats will more then likely bring in more fans.. but will it do anything to make us compete, as you say past the 1st round? Not to mention, as some of us have discussed before, even making the 1st round will be a goal to achieve. I mentioned how the East will be d different beast and Khandor provided us with the list… the situation is scary. BC has to be smart enough to realize bringing in a bunch of Rats has major downfalls. Namely, development and acclimation. This is not something that happens overnight (ty Jose). You are right, the prototype international team makeover is in full effect. It just won’t happen, more then likely in the span of 2 -3 years. It’s going to be a much longer process that will continue down the path of mixing US and Euros with various percentages of each. It’s the same as in Europe.. you don’t see a full stacked US team over there.

  25. mark said

    Players are attracted to winning environments. If we have a few years where we win three consecutive first round matchups and say another second round one, players will come to Toronto. Nobody wants to play on a loser team, as long as the money’s even and the environment is a winning one, players will come. This year we regressed so its not an attractive summer for players but if we had beaten Orlando and taken Detroit to 6, things would’ve been different.

  26. FAQ said



  27. Lopez said

    BC and Smitch are pieces of shit! Plain and Simple.

  28. Sam said

    OK, I understand that all this US vs Euro talk is about styles of play but I think you are overstating the difference – though it does exist. Is Cleveland a Euro-style team? Because beyond the King a good chunk of their players are from the Eurorleague but they win on defence and rebounding. The fact they have one of the 2 or 3 best players in the league doesn’t hurt either.

    The other thing I think people need to understand is that both the draft and free agency are always going to be a bit of a crapshoot. That doesn’t excuse every pick or signing that doesn’t work out but basketball is such a chemistry-dependent game. How player A performs with the other 4 guys on court for any given team is perhaps the most difficult thing in sports to predict. And that, I think, is why Colangelo rightly values having flexibility under the tax while he’s trying to build something here. He’s got a few pieces in place (Bosh, Calderon/TJ, Kapono to a degree) and he’s madly experimenting to get the remaining ones. We won’t be players in free agency this summer but who will? Philadelphia, Memphis and that’s about it. Next summer? Lots of teams will have a lot of room under the tax including us. Keeping the flexibility to change courses when players don’t work out is the sign of a good GM. If Colangelo can convert himself a bit to the defense/rebounding religion of his current coach and keep making educated guesses as to players to fill the holes on this team I’m OK with that. I am not a firm believer in this, but if Bargs starts scoring consistently next year that means Bosh isn’t carrying most of the offensive load. With a productive Bargs on the current team I think we could well have beaten Orlando even though Howard’s a beast and their other players rose to the occasion. So a productive Bargs means that we are a few role players away from contending. Those are big ifs but this team is neither as good as a lot of fans contended at the beginning of the season or as bad as it seems now.

    Rant over, except for this: if Ron Artest is so good why have all his teams underachieved?

  29. FAQ said

    SamSamSam …. Yes the difference does exist, and it all revolves around ‘star’ bball and ‘team’ ball. Yesterday I saw the boxscore between Tau Ceramica and Moscow where Moscow(Messina) won the playoff game. What was striking about the scoring was that it was very evenly spread out, and there was no hero player with 25 points … everybody was in the teens on both teams. That indicates that players were looking out for each other and running plays, while the coach was using the players who were scoring consistently. This is opposed to the NBA ‘hero’ style of play where one all-star player is always given the ball and he makes his one-on-one move to break down the defense and make his hero drive or hero jumpshot .. while the rest of the team stands around watching and getting ready to run back on defense.

    Tribal honker neeeeed a ‘hero’ they can cling to because they are mostly ‘nerds’.. non-athletic crud .. who fantacize about their ‘hero’ to satisfy their feeeeelings. Even if their home team loses, they leave with the satisfaction that their ‘hero’ scored 25/10 even though the rest of the team sucked. Get the point ??!!!

    To be honest, I am sick of watching these heroes doing their thing .. like Bosh, LeBron, Kobe, AI .. playing their one-on-one game and getting the big money and Nike endorsement contract so that the nerds can wear the same shit their hero wears … it’s truly sickening to watch and here listen to these tribal honking morons expressing their feeeelings in stupid one-liner blurts.

    I prefer to watch ‘team’ basketball Euro-style, taking apart a NBA ‘hero’ team with superior bball IQ and ball movement. Why do you think Bargs is so out of place on the Raptors, and why do you think that Jose took a couple of years to adapt to the silly NBA game that depends solely on ‘heroes’ and fan adoration??? (The exception could be the Pistons who played team ball and had no ‘all-stars’ in previous years.) The All-Star game is the pinnacle of tribal honking fan stupidity .. catering to their need for hero worship.

    I say trade Bosh, TJ, and other low IQ NBA types who play their own schoolyard brand of bball, and bring in international players who are not ‘hero-types’ and must depend on their brain skills to play the game as a team. I say piss on the tribal honkers with their ‘hero’ worship, and make the Raptors into a truly international team that bball aficionados can really appreciate.

  30. Paps said

    The Hero ball is definitly out of control. Worst/Best example was DWade in the finals. Every call was for him. Made him a HUGE star in the league.

    The game has become choppy and simple. But now with an age limit and international players it will become better. With todays athletes and every team boasting at least 1 or 2 worthy allstars we should soon see the best basketball ever in the NBA.

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