The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

I can smell Joey in the air

Posted by Arsenalist on October 18, 2008

Joey Graham plays a few minutes where he looks like a basketball player and all three papers are pumping out articles about him: Star, Sun and Globe. But you don’t really need to click on any of those links because what they say about Graham can be logically deduced if you’ve been a casual supporter over the last few years. The Raptors have always just been hoping that Good Joey shows up to the games rather than actually hastening his return, but Mitchell thinks the coaches are doing what they can:

Joey’s attitude is always great He’s a joy to be around. It’s frustrating sometimes because you see that talent and you’re trying to figure out how to tap into it. You know that you’re really going to have something good if you can and you’re always hopeful. As coaches we have to continue to work with him. Not get down on him, not give up on him, we’re not going to do that.

Judging by the 8.7 minutes Graham played last year somehow I think we’re not doing all we can to help him out. As Feschuk points out in the Star, it might be that “Mitchell’s incessant criticism has damaged Graham beyond repair”. Who knows, maybe he’ll come around and be productive for us and usurp Jamario Moon. There’s a school of thought out there that says if you put him in the starting lineup instead of Moon we’re going to be a better team. Joey is a much better slasher than Moon and has shown a desire to attack the rim (the finishing isn’t there but that’s a different story) which should be welcomed by Mitchell. The defense is probably not as good as Moon’s but that’s only because of Moon’s reach, there’s no talent differential there. Both have serious issues with their man-defense, can’t shoot, become anonymous on offense, take bad shots and do general dumb stuff on the court. I don’t think I’d even notice a difference if you substituted one for the other which is why I’ve always said that Graham deserves more time.

So Joey had a good game, so what? Let’s get back to reality, he always has a good preseason game or two giving way to such enthusiasm and since this is already his fourth year with the team and neither the coach or the GM has seen anything great out of him, I think Graham is done as a Raptor. But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to be a serviceable NBA player. At this stage of his career he needs a team where he can play through his mistakes for 20 minutes a night and a coach that doesn’t ride him so hard so that he gets his rhythm and confidence back.

Speaking of Graham, his brother’s having a good preseason over in Indiana along with Raptors draft pick Roy Hibbert. You’ll love Hibbert’s line: 12 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. Has any Raptor grabbed 12 rebounds or 4 blocks this preseason? No, they haven’t. We’re going to regret trading Hibbert, it was obvious then it’s even more obvious now. The O’Neal trade would’ve felt a lot better if we would’ve been able to keep our pick, as khandor mentions all the time it was a 4 assets for 1 asset trade.

There’s a very nice blog post over at CBC sports which really stole the words out of my mouth. Its basically pointing out that although Will Solomon looks good he doesn’t really look good which is very true. There are some who compared Solomon to TJ Ford which was ridiculous because Solomon just doesn’t have the court vision or dribbling skills to ever be as good as Ford is now. Bringing the ball up the court, using a screen and knocking down a jumper behind it does not make a point guard. Granted, Solomon’s pleasantly surprised a few people with his scoring but that doesn’t mean he’s been running the point effectively, his assists and turnover numbers aren’t flattering and he often guides the offense to a grounding halt by picking up his dribble under mild pressure. Last year we had Delfino playing the point for about 4-6 minutes a game when Ford went down and this year you would think Roko Ukic would get that opportunity and if you’re a Roko fan (which I am), you’d want Solomon and his minutes switched around. Help me out here Sam.

The Knicks might be sending Danilo Gallinari to the D-League on a “rehab assignment”. D’Antoni feels that the D-League was made for raw talent like Gallinari which prompts me to suggest that we should be sending Nathan Jawai down there too. Get him that “taste of reality” D’Antoni’s talking about, its a lot better than rotting on the bench in Toronto. And might I suggest that if Roko Ukic isn’t going to be getting much playing time as indicated by the preseason (if he’s averaging 8MPG in preseason, what will happen in the real games), send him down to the trenches so he can get a taste of the physical American game. It’s not a crazy thought, no, its not.

Do you ever feel nostalgic about Rob Babcock? You ever thank him for Jose Calderon, Roko Ukic, Charlie V and freeing up cap space? I sometimes do but then I look back at the 2004 draft and remember that we passed over Andre Iguodala (9), Andris Biedrins (11), Al Jefferson (15), Josh Smith (17), JR Smith (18) and Beno Udrih (18). It makes me feel a little better until I look at the 2006 draft and remember that Colangelo passed up on Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay. Actually, come to think of it that was very crappy draft year….just some Saturday morning random thoughts.

There’s a little note in this article which says the Raptors will play one of FC Barcelona or the Lakers on Sunday if they beat the Clippers tonight. Back-to-back’s in preseason. What’s that all about?

Hey, get the RSS feed for this blog. It’s free. Got to get ready for Arsenal vs. Everton now. Later.

13 Responses to “I can smell Joey in the air”

  1. Tunez said

    Loved the subtle shot of Babcock on the jumbo screen at the Raps game on Thursday… he was off the left of the screen when they were “focusing” on a couple fans…. the 2% of the fans there who recognized him let out some boooooo’s

  2. Arsenalist said

    I totally missed that. I had really good seats so I barely ever looked at the jumbotron. I noticed that if you’re in the cheap seats you look at the screen a lot more.

  3. Tunez said

    I was row 12, so the seats were far from cheap, but I picked up on it nevertheless. I also got chosen to play in that “spin around with your head on a bat ten times” game…. I was the guy who made it to the basket first, and proceeded to miss 2 layups… damn that canadian beer

  4. Arsenalist said

    That is awesome! How do you get into those contests anyway?

    BTW, I wasn’t implying your seats are cheap. I was just speaking for myself, I’ve rarely had good seats.

  5. eastcoastrapsfan said

    Hey Arse, I don’t share your feeling on Joey, I think he could be a good player. I have so many doubts about Sam that it’s hard for me to pass judgment on such an athlete, with a good attitude who by all reports is the best Raptor in practice.

    From Doug Smith’s mail bag blog, this gem is dropped:

    “A: Depth? Sure, there aren’t as many players vying for playing time this year but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of the likes of Kapono, Delfino, Joey, and even Juan Dixon expecting time on the court, Sam’s going to be forced to use Kapono and probably Joey more often, which may allow them the freedom to make mistakes without getting the quick hook. And, up front, if Hump ever figures it out, you’ll have a four-man bigs rotation that should ease time on O’Neal and Bosh, not add to it.”

    If this idea is commonly held, and we’ve heard BC espouse it, how long can a coach expect to stay when the team has to start protecting itself from his actions.

  6. Tinman said

    You are assuming the Raptors would of picked Hibbert. Surely you know that was Indy’s pick.

  7. Arsenalist said

    eastcoast: I agree that Joey can be a good player, just not with the Raptors.

    Tinman: I’m just playing hindsight here. I personally wanted the Raptors to target Brandon Rush because he was exactly what this team needed: an athletic SG who could become a staple with the organization.

  8. FAQ said

    I suspect Joey is being highlighted because they want to trade him asap. He has not personally developed into a NBA-quality bball player in his 3 years in the league. I think this reflects on his lack of commitment to improve as he enjoys his Million$$$$$$. He may be planning for a new line of work when his contract is finished.

    If anybody here believes Joey has potential to improve, please explain.

  9. Raptors2009 said

    FAQ, I was thinking that but it makes no sense. His value is so low that you’re not going to get anything for him and we have a shortage of small forwards so its in our best interest that he plays well and plays well here.

  10. whyarewecalledraptors said

    Something not really related to the original post but I found interesting…

    I was watching one of those raptors tv specials that is constantly re-run. This was the one about raptors draft day 2008. In one scene Colangelo is standing and on the phone in the draft board room. Behind him is a white board with all the 1st round picks which I assume they were writing as they were called.

    The (barely) interesting part is that the top of the board had the raptors lineups written. It showed Bosh, O’neal, Calderon, Moon, Parker in one column. In the next column was Bargnani, Kapono, Ukic, Humphries, Graham. In a third column, written much more informally, were names with question marks…I could only decipher “Adams?”, and another looked like “Harriton?” There were maybe 4 others.

    Anyway…this information is probably pretty useless but at the very least it probably shows the 10 man rotation that the raptors were expecting to use at that point in time.

  11. nunya said

    What in the FUCK is wrong with Anthony Parker??? He has shit the bed for a LONG time now. Is it possible he has completely lost it?? If they don’t get a fucking upgrade at the guard/sf they are NOT going to make the fucking playoffs.

  12. Yoshi said

    Is it me, or are our swingmen getting worse?

  13. khandor said

    It’s extremely interesting to me to see what the three major daily papers are writing these days about the subject of Joey Graham. :-)

    Who knows … before too long they might all be calling for Jamario Moon to be tried at the #2 spot for the Raptors and for Kris Humphries to replace Jermaine O’Neal in the starting line-up … allowing Bosh & Hump to work together with JO & Bargnani coming off the bench with the 2nd unit. :-)

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