The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Hollinger be talking; Kapono be thinking; Sampson be signing; Manatee be resting

Posted by Arsenalist on October 1, 2008

The name’s Sampson. Jamal Sampson. The initial reaction to this signing was much like the ones of Hassan Adams and Willie Solomon: Who? Once you get past the disappointment of signing somebody on the fringe of the association the normal next step is to wonder what he can do for us. At the worst it’s a move that will replace Maceo Baston, at best he might turn into a Loren Wood or Jelani McCoy. The numbers aren’t flattering and he’s bounced around (the Raptors are his 7th team) but who knows, with some playing time he might be able to show us a little something something. All the best to Sampson, I mean that, hopefully he puts up a fight in training camp and gives Humphries a run for his money.

If you really want to read between the lines you could say the Sampson signing is insurance for Nathan Jawai. The Raptors are taking every precaution with The Manatee’s heart condition. The question that comes to mind is whether we did a proper physical before we drafted him. He missed most of summer league and couldn’t get past media day, not being crude here but isn’t it too soon to be seeing specialists? This one’s got early retirement written all over it. All the best to him too, he seems like good people. I really wanted to see how he reacts when he’s put in the game to defend Dwight Howard, I’m taking he’s seen nothing like the sort before. NBA initiation, it’s the best.

Hollinger’s Raptors preview is out and he’s predicting a 47-35 record (tied with best ever) which would be good for third in the Atlantic and fifth in the East. To sum it up he’s saying that our interior defense is our biggest strength and the lack of depth in the backcourt our biggest weakness. Hollinger’s a closet Raptors fan who wants us to trade for a more experienced reserve. Well, we all do but since we refuse to pay the luxury tax and have a plethora of small and unproven contracts, we can’t make a move. So we better learn to live with what we’ve got. In summing up last season he brings up 1 good and 1 bad point. The good: We were better than our record last year and should’ve piled up more wins but the TJ Ford saga and Bargnani’s regression while playing heavy minutes cost us wins. The bad: He once again brings up his stupid, retarded and nonsensical point differential argument and uses it to argue point #1. There are many things wrong with giving any sort of weight to point-differential without considering records against +.500 teams. After all beating a good team by 1 point is much more indicative of a team than blowing out a sorry opponent by 20.

Dave Feschuk is back and his initial offering is weaker than an Arsenalist 3AM post. And that’s weak. The subject of the matter is Jason Kapono and how he was two players last season: a good one and a crappy one. Says Kapono about his inconsistent playing time and performance:

“Partly the blame’s on me, I’ve got to perform in the short time that I do get, and then extend my minutes. Hopefully now I have earned somewhat of a chance to kind of work through an oh-for-2 or oh-for-3 start (from the field).”

“Partly”. Let me finish of his thought for you: Sam Mitchell didn’t know how to use me and I was just trying to get mine in an offense that is based on freestyling. I’m a shooter and you can’t yank me after I miss my first two shots – see, I’m not Bargnani or Humphries. And so I didn’t play great defense last year, well, who did? Cut me some slack here, this time I don’t have Delfino to compete with and I’m damn sure that Adams and Solomon aren’t taking any PT away from The Kap. As long as I get some consistent playing time and have some idea of when I come in to the game I’ll put up some numbers. Running a play for me would help too, I can’t do this on my own. I tried last year and you should give me credit for that instead of talking about my 4 3’s all spring. You know?

There’s an article about Will Solomon in the Sun. It’s about how he left a couple million dollars on the table and went to Europe instead thinking there was more money there. Fast-forward six years and its no longer about the money but the pride of playing in the NBA. I don’t know, something tells me if he had gotten Delfino-money in Europe he’d manage to suffocate that pride for a few more years. Again, good luck to Solomon. He’s also good people. Plus he seems like a motivated guy who could play hard for a new contract. Always good to have those unless they start jacking up shots to pad stats (see Voshon Lenard).

Finally, Matt Devlin’s thinking that Jermaine O’Neal is looking “lean and strong” and by O’Neal’s own admission he’s never worked out this hard in the summer in quite some time. Andrea Bargnani was working on his back-to-the-basket moves at Tim Grgurich’s Big Man’s Camp and Sam Mitchell wants him to play “18-feet and in”. That sounds good on paper but Bargnani’s mid-range jumper had back-rim written all over it last season and he was far more comfortable shooting the 3, a lot like Bruce Bowen. Don’t know how that’s going to work but I’m all for moving Bargnani closer to the basket.

That’s it for this morning. Eid Mubarak!

19 Responses to “Hollinger be talking; Kapono be thinking; Sampson be signing; Manatee be resting”

  1. fluxland said

    Arse, I had the same thoughts upon hearing about Jawai and Sampson. Why are we finding about this condition now and this is an insurance signing. (Man, I’d love to see the list of players BC has on his radar most of the time)

    re: JKap… how many minutes are you looking at him to get? I’m looking at his stats and I don’t see a drastic change when he gets more minutes. I think he’s blowing this I need more minutes out of proportion. And I realize he’s no Bargs or Hump but if you are a designated shooter while going 0-3 in 10 minutes… I dunno.. I’m just saying. I don’t like shooters who need time to warm up.

    re: Devlin – i get a text during that jersey bonanza: “THIS is who is replacing Chuck? I’m sleeping already” I couldn’t help but feel the same way. This guys sounds like one of those baseball guys I listen to when I wanna fetch a nap in the middle of the summer. Puts me right to sleep. I got another text “WTF? This seems so poorly organized.. was this last minute?” Seriously that “presentation” was wack. I’ve see high school assemblies organized better then that.

  2. khandor said

    re: Finally, Matt Devlin’s thinking that Jermaine O’Neal is looking “lean and strong” and by O’Neal’s own admission he’s never worked out this hard in the summer in quite some time.

    JO is going to look terrific right now.

    It’s once the miles begin to build up on his legs … during the season … that he’ll be susceptible to another injury.

    re: Andrea Bargnani was working on his back-to-the-basket moves at Tim Grgurich’s Big Man’s Camp and Sam Mitchell wants him to play “18-feet and in”. That sounds good on paper but Bargnani’s mid-range jumper had back-rim written all over it last season and he was far more comfortable shooting the 3, a lot like Bruce Bowen. Don’t know how that’s going to work but I’m all for moving Bargnani closer to the basket.

    IMO … moving Bargnani ‘closer’ to the basket would be a gigantic mistake in ‘NBA 101’ judgment.

    To make ‘best use’ of Il Mago would be to fully unleash the ‘Bill Laimbeer‘ aspects to his individual game and HIS actual character [i.e. from that personality ‘disorder’ test he did during his initial draft evaluation].

    Fact is … it’s there; you just need to know what to look for. :-)

    Fact is … not many know HOW to do this. :-(


    Over the years, it is so sad to see how this organization has simply mis-used its player personnel.

  3. Raptors2009 said

    Gotta love that nickname for Jawai.

    I think moving Bargnani closer to the rim is a good thing, he doesn’t have Bill Laimbeer in him khandor. Expecting him to be that kind of player is misusing the personnel. I don’t think he needed to get bulkier because quickness and size was his advantage and if he gets big he’ll naturally lose quickness which is what we drafted him for. His fundamentals were the problem not the physique.

    Kap will be solid. Flux, he doesn’t need to get warmed up, he needs proper shots. I don’t buy that theory that he’s gun-shy and protecting his percentages, give him clean looks and he’ll take them. Last year he was running around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to get shots. Give him a good offensive system and he’ll do wonders for you.

  4. fluxland said

    Raps2009… in 4 systems (however different they may be) his numbers are similar/identical. I really do think he protects his percentages. I am not a huge stats guy but looking at his career averages..I am not impressed at all. I would look at them and say.. your job is to come in and make buckets. Period. I just don’t expect much from the guy.. that’s all. Maybe I don’t know how to read those stats. But he is the type (apparently) to keep around come playoff time.

  5. Grumpy Fan said

    Eid Mubarak Arse. Here’s some recent comments from your man Doug Smith on his early impressions on Bargs yesterday:

    “So, we get into the final 20 minutes or so of the night practice last night (remember, we can’t see the whole thing because we might write that Jermaine O’Neal gets the ball often) and there’s Andrea Bargnani working with Jay Triano and massage therapist Ray Chow at one of the side baskets.

    And, I swear to whatever deity you want, he looked good.

    Drop steps. Spin moves. Left-handed jump hooks. Fadeaways.


    Now, he was being guarded by ghosts and empty space but, I tell you, the kid looked comfortable. No idea if that possibly translates into success when there are other players on the court and the game’s at full speed but if it does, he’s got a chance to make an impact this season.”

  6. FAQ said

    Once Bargnani releases his first mid-range jump shot we will know if he’s capable or a bust. If it’s another “back rim knocker” that will tell us he has no touch for anything but 3-point puffballs. If he succeeds somewhat with his post-up moves close to the basket all for the better. I will be watching.

    As for this new edition of the Raptor team, why do I get the impression that it’s only an interim solution until the 2010 bazaar for players and money? I mean just stand back and look at this lineup objectively. Surely this is only a temporary roster that will be shed in the near future.

    Looks like the MLSE is only intent on maximizing profit rather than producing a clear winner …. after all it is business first. Maybe I’m wrong .. but I doubt it.

  7. Arsenalist said

    Grumpy, thanks. As I said in the last couple posts, I’m going to wait and see for myself what his progress is. As you said, third-hand reports against no defense don’t reflect anything. BTW, you should see the up-and-under move I pull off when I’m being guarded by air.

    FAQ, I’m terrified of the “back rim knocker”. There’s nothing smooth about that thing at all, I don’t care how much rotation you put on there. I think we talked about it last year and how his “shot architecture” is almost made for the three and nothing more. We’ll see. Soon.

  8. Dan H said

    Re: Mid range jump shot

    Looks like he’s working on it – and it looks good.

    Can’t see the rim (unfortunately) but not hearing any back-rim knockers!

  9. khandor said

    I can guarantee you this …

    if Andrea Bargnani had been drafted into a different NBA organization, based on the talents he’s been graced with from above, there’s absolutely NO LEGIT REASON WHATSOEVER for him to be any lesser of a player in this League than the former ‘Tippy-toe-jumpshot-bad-boy‘. None, whatsoever.

    It’s a simple case of seeing what’s really there … when others [including certain NBA GM’s, coaches, analysts, media types, and/or fans] think it’s not. :-)

  10. fluxland said

    I’m really starting to think 2010 is going to be a wholelottanothing. All the “prizes” people are salivating over wlll re-sign with their teams and that will be that. Under that assumpiton.. what exactly is MLSE gearing up for? (I am not even going to mention how no “superstar” is coming here anyway) Think people are getting worked up over nothing. FAQ, I dunno why you are so bent on 2010. So many things could happen by then… why not just “enjoy” the two years in between?

  11. Paps said


    I disagree big time. Smitch is a good coach for young players. Examples are Bosh, Jose and Moon. It’s totally up up to Bargs and even Joey to work harder at their profession. He helped Hoffa by instructing him to do the most basic basketball skills and Hoffa failed at it.

    There has been plenty of high draft picks that can’t play ball. Look at Kwame Brown, he’s played for a few teams now, possibly the best coach ever in Phil Jackson and played with the closest thing to Jordan and still can’t get it done.

    A ton of it is up to the players. Coaches and management are the first scapegoats.

  12. fluxland said

    Oh Paps.. I wish you luck with that one, Sir.

    I agree with this 100%.. “A ton of it is up to the players. Coaches and management are the first scapegoats.”

  13. Arsenalist said

    It depends on a player to player basis. Sometimes it’s the effort that’s missing (Kwame), other times its bad instruction (IMO Bargnani) or misuse (last year Kapono). There are others who find their niche under certain circumstances (Chauncey Billups) so NBA players fall into different categories and its wrong to paint with a broad brush and say definitely, “It’s the coach’s fault” or “It’s the GMs fault”.

    I’m not making excuses for Bargnani because the guy was brutal last year but I don’t think he was being instructed properly throughout the whole season and his minutes, sub-pattern, on-court assignments were thoroughly mismanaged.

    If the effort is there, I’m happy with the player. After that it’s the coach’s job to get something out of him unless he’s a dud. And since I don’t think Bargnani’s a dud, I blame either Mitchell and Bargnani’s effort/preperation for his failures last season. It’s not as black and white as people make it out to be.

  14. fluxland said

    Well put Arse!

    I guess,for the majority of the time it does seem as if when the players excel the coaches are merely lucky to be in the same room with them, but when they players fail it’s ALL on the coach. And I really disagree with’s a little bit of both as you say..gray area.. not so much black and white.

  15. khandor said

    Let me put it this way to you fellas, re: a player with a limited skill set like Mr. Bill Laimbeer [acknowledged today, as one of the NBA’s Greatest 50 Players of All-Time].

    There is no way whatsoever Bill Laimbeer wins 2 NBA championships, makes that prestigious list and, quite possibly, even has an 10-yr NBA career to begin with … if he isn’t a member of the Detroit Pistons [e.g. if, instead, he was so unfortunate as to have been a player for a sad-sack, know-almost-nothing outfit like _________________ [you can fill the blank in for yourself].

    Now … I am going to say this in a way that might offend some [or many?] of you here … but that’s just too bad, if you ain’t ‘tough enough’ to see the difference between a condescending attitude and straight goods, pure and simple.

    The dude who took that personality test at the NBA draft combine in 2006 has inside him … the cold-hearted, f-you attitude of one Bill Laimbeer … if he’s used in the right way … just as he has the range and accuracy on that funky 3Pt-shot of his … if he’s used the right way … by the Raptors organization.

    On top of which … his quickness, at the 5-spot, is so far superior to a lead-footen player like Bill Laimbeer, it isn’t even funny. [not to mention his passing skills]

    There is no reason whatsoever for this kid to be as poor of a rebounder as he is, plain and simple.

    And it has nothing to do with what’s inside this kid.

    If he isn’t handled properly by this organization and he doesn’t develop in the way I’m describing here … i.e. as an extremely serviceable NBA perimeter Big, who can knock down 3’s with regularity … to stretch the defense … get his fair share of defensive rebounds, ala Mr. Tippy-toes … AND then inflict some serious hurt on all those who dare enter into the Raptors’ Lane, without any remorse, whatsoever …

    then this organization has no one else to blame but the people running the show for their team from the top on down.

    You good folks who visit here may not see it … clear as day … that’s okay … you don’t earn your living, in part, based on your ability to distinguish who can really play/coach/gm/etc. this game and who can’t … but do not simply assume that everybody else who chooses to drop by this fine blog fits into the same boat with you. :-)

  16. Dave said

    I’m happy to hear Bargnani is working on his midrange game. I think it’s the most important part of his offensive arsenal. He could be very difficult to defend when he faces up and looks to drive/shoot.

    Kapono saying he’s “partly” to blame ticks me off. He’s entirely to blame.

  17. Hotshot2003 said

    Dave you are correct. Kapono is enitrely to blame, the man went for almost 2 months without making or even attempting a 3 point shot, that’s inexcusable.

    However Smitch does not come out with clean hands either.

    In the interview he gave today, he clearly favoured using Moon and Delfino over Kapono last season because JK wasn’t able to keep up with the more athletic SF of the league. Now it may be true that Kapono may be a one dimensional one trick pony but he was coming to a new situation and he never really given the long leash that was needed for him in order to succeed. Whenever you are new to a team(JK) or starting your NBA career(AB) sometimes all you need is alot of minutes and make alot of mistakes in order to succeed. Chris Bosh only started to shine when Vince Carter left town and the team sucked as whole, given him plenty of time and mistakes to become the player he is today. If Detroit would have drafted Chris Bosh, he might not have been able to become the player he is today due to lack of playing time, heck they probably ruined Darko.

  18. FAQ said

    Dan H Says: October 1, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Re: Mid range jump shot
    Looks like he’s working on it – and it looks good.
    Can’t see the rim (unfortunately) but not hearing any back-rim knockers!


    Sorry, Dan … those practice “jump” shots by Bargs in the video are not “game” jump shots .. they are only unstressed “pot” shots that could not be executed under game conditions. When time is taken away by the defence and Bargs has to actually elevate to release a true game jump shot, we will see what he’s been practicing.

    If under game stress he “throws” another back-rim knocker, that will bench him because the quality of his mid-range jump shot will be suspect. To modify a 3-point lofted shot into a true attacking jump shot is not … feasible, because each is quite different. I want to know is Bargs has developed a true jump shot … that will be the test … can he jump … can he shoot … has he paid the price of intensive, punishing, brutal, continuous jump shot practice this summer??

  19. It’s critically important because it allows you to understand how likely an event is to happen, and what your potential winnings will be.

Leave a Reply to FAQ Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: